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​1.7.0 Risk and Failures in Intercountry Adoption


Source: Sename presentation to Accredited Foreign Bodies (November 2008)

Risk factors related to Adoptive Parents
  • Incomplete evaluations of suitability with a lack of information of the Adoptive Parents’ profile. This results in poorness of quantity and quality in reports and at the same time hides applicant’s negative or unsuitable aspects, even if a further analysis was required. 

  • Information might not be the best in terms of Personality traits; Motivation for adopting by both of the applicants; Grief development (Infertility, loss of a child, empty nest, etc.) Unrealistic, not clear and/or ambivalent expectations. ​

  • Lack of preparation when adopting an older child and/or with special needs.


Risk factors related to Children​
  • Children’s poor and incomplete psychological, health or pedagogical evaluations​

  • The child does not meet conditions for adoption due to age, characteristics, damage level or other issues that are minimised or were not sighted. 

  • Poorly or wrongly executed repairing and preparing processes


Other dynamics and risk factors
  • Lack of mentoring, orientation and appropriate training for Applicants. 

  • Inappropriate interventions of Regional Adoption Units, collaborative centres or Courts.

  • Matching mistake/ applicants do not meet the child’s profile and needs.​

  • Language barrier.


Consequences for Children and Adoptive Parents

For Children:
  • Desertion trauma reactivation.​

  • More difficulties upon a new match process and/or that results in a total extinction of future possibilities of adoption.

For Adoptive Parents:
  • Generates feelings of personal failure, unsuitability, frustration and exacerbates parents’ insecurities in respect of their skills to continue the attempt of becoming parents. 

Failure rates in finalised adoptions
  • According to Madrid’s community studies, where several countries experiences are mentioned, the international adoption failure figure is 10% in the last 8 years. (IMMF study; Antonio Ferrandis; Spain, 2006.)​

  • Experts from the communities of Madrid and Cataluña (2006) indicate that in most of the cases happen through adolescence (mainly in the teenage years) and  involve behavorial problems  along with school failures, violent episodes and difficult relationships with the parents. Parents cannot control the situation that has been developing  through time and ends with the child returning to an institution, probably without a second chance of being incorporated to a foster family.  

  • Common variables are: Disruptive behaviours such as aggressiveness and sexual precocity; Difficulties in the establishing emotional and affectionate bonds particularly with the mother; Difficulties for some adoptive parents to accept the reality of an older child that has experienced desertion and institutionalisation (innappropriate expectations.); Difficulties in giving up idealised expectations about the child  or the filial relationship with the parents; Conflicts between the child and the rest of the family’s children, if any; Late disclosure of adopted condition; Discriminitive treatment in schools or certain social fields. 


Consequences of unsuccessful adoptions​
  • When the adopted child returns to the Protection System due to a relinquishment adoptive parents, the injury produced by the loss is so significant  that only a 60% can adjust to a second foster family. (Hoopes 1997, Steinhauer 1991 and others quoted in “Revista Interamericana Pedagogía Social,” 2001.)

  • In such cases, the depth of the damage and the age of the child by the time of return,  determines the chance of getting a second assignment. 

  • In order to have a new repairing process, the child must be examined therapeutically.​

  • Depending on the country, the child could be neglected, resulting in negative implications for him/her. ​