The process of adoption standardized in this country has all but imploded on itself. The adoption of a newly born infant with a same race female mother/parent and same race male father/parent with unknown birthparents who are healthy, free from addictions and who live in the same country is so rare I would guess it to be the least occurring of all the ways to create a family by now.
Brenda, at Living With RAD put up a request for bloggers who might have something to add to a series she is presenting on her blog about adoption. I had been thinking about this for a while, and now seems as good a time as any to explore some of my thoughts on the subject of adoption, how it has changed.(Note to Brenda, you don't have to use this, I just used your post as the jumping off point for my own thoughts!)
Adoption today is nothing like it was 20 and 30 years ago. Therefore there are almost no applicable theories or models to work from.
Most research prior to 1990 is useless.
Adopting a child from a traumatic and stressful past is with good intentions, another trauma and stress. Therefore, adoption should be viewed as a process involving treatment of trauma and healing, and bonding should never be assumed.
Children are not universally resilient. They are harmed by the evil done to them. They can recover in the way that they will never be the person they could have been had harm never come to them but they can have a good chance.
Most children will struggle with all the implications and applications of adoption therefore attachment disorder (not necessarily RAD), once considered rare and obscure, frequently occurs in non-newborn adoptions and families should be prepped with this.
Qualified attachment therapists are hard to find and often self-taught. Because this phenomenon is new there is no training in colleges for it. Relevant professionals have learned from the old research and inapplicable methods.
Not only has adoption changed dramatically, so has the world. The internet was largely unavailable prior to say, 1995, with most people becoming regular internet users in just the most recent 10 years. A typical research study on non-infant adoption can take years to develop and come to a conclusion. The internet allows everyone to exchange and learn as life is happening.
Lastly, we are it. Those on the internet right now, reading, writing, lurking and commenting, we are it. People who are on message boards, putting up websites, writing their stories. We are the research, the evidence and the hope. At the speed of light we float our hypothesis, test test and retest, publish test and test again. We prove and disprove our own ideas every single day and our progress and our failures are the strategies for healing. We document and learn from each other. Several of the best and most current books available used message board posts and individually developed websites to collect and interview members for information and coincidentally those tend to be the most useful and accurate.
Am I that important? OF course not! It may read like I am making grandiose, sweeping statements but I am only trying to be general in concept. Also these are my thoughts from my experience and possibly apply to no one else.
Before we adopted my daughter I had no idea, NONE. The research, it just isn't there. The treatment, there is none. Answers? There aren't any. That still astounds me. It never occurred to me that I would be it. My only resource- me. And then, a computer full of people who had no research or evidence based treatments to turn to either but who understood and could help.
Adoption radically changed and no one kept up with it. Now, here we are.