Over the years, it has become clear that one of the greatest impediments to meaningful reform in adoption and foster care are the societal misperceptions and general lack of knowledge surrounding this experience. Through education, DAI’s work brought about understanding for society as well as the systems that serve families in order to shift perceptions and create meaningful change.

Eliminating Barriers to Adoption for Children in Need of Families

To assist professionals in preparing adoptive parents to meet the mental health and developmental needs of their children, our Adoptive Parent Preparation Project outlines best­-practice standards for supporting children.

Promoting Ethical and Equitable Adoption Policies and Practices

DAI completed a curriculum on adoption openness, Making Open Adoption Work for You: A Training for Parents, that seeks to promote positive identity in adopted children by preparing and supporting both expectant parents considering adoption and pre­-adoptive parents to develop positive open adoption relationships.

Building on two of our previous studies – Beyond Culture Camp and Finding Families for African American Children, Adoption Clubhouse focuses on promoting positive identity in children adopted across race and culture. Creating an Adoption Clubhouse, a collaborative effort with Lutheran Social Services of New England, will be a support curriculum for transracially/culturally adopted children and their families.

DAI’s Adoption in the Schools: A Lot to Learn, for the first time brings together research and experience on a range of issues adoptive families are confronting, and it offers recommendations for how educators can better meet those challenges.

Enhancing Supports for Everyone in the Extended Family of Adoption

One of the most frequent complaints from members of adoptive and birth families is an inability to find psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers and other mental health professionals who understand the unique adoption issues that can affect identities and relationships.

DAI partnered with transracial adoptee Angela Tucker and her creative partner Bryan Tucker to create a companion discussion guide for Episode 3 of The Adopted Life. This web series created by Angela features 1-on-1 conversations between herself and transracially adopted youth discussing various topics around adoption. The hope is that adoptive families, agencies and professionals utilize the episodes along with the discussion guide as resources to better understand and serve transracially adopted youth and to help educate the broader public on the experiences of transracially adopted people.

DAI’s A Need to Know recommends that mental health professionals receive more and better training to address that need. It is imperative to raise the level of professionals’ awareness about the nature and importance of adoption clinical competence, heighten their desire to receive such training, and identify various means by which the relevant knowledge and skills can be obtained.