The journey to adopt a child who has special needs: Parents' perspectives

Ramona W. Denby, Keith A. Alford, Jessica Ayala

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Many of the children eligible for adoption from the public child welfare system are considered to have special needs. Given the importance of securing adoptive families for these children, knowing more about the adoption process as it is experienced by prospective parents who complete (or are in the process of completing) their adoption pursuit and those who discontinue it are critical. Using qualitative inquiry, prospective adoptive parents in nine families were studied in an effort to learn more about their motivations, expectations, preparation, and experiences. Although the adoption outcome (continued versus discontinued) was different, the process, including negative experiences, was quite similar. Programming implications and suggestions for future research are offered.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1543-1554
Number of pages12
JournalChildren and Youth Services Review
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Adoption preparation
  • Adoption process
  • Adoptive parents
  • Special needs adoption

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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