Journal Issue: Adoption Volume 3 Number 1 Spring 1993
In the United States, two overriding principles guide attempts to find homes for children whose biological parents cannot or will not provide for them. These are (1) that decisions made shall be in the best interests of the child and (2) that the goal should be for permanency in a secure, stable, and nurturing environment.
Over the years, adoption has come to be accepted as the most desirable solution for children who cannot be reunited with parents and thus need permanent homes. Adoption provides a legal process which creates the relationship of parent and child between individuals who are not each other's biological parent and child.1 Beyond this, however, it creates for the child a degree of stability, security, and psychological belonging unmatched by any other form of substitute care. This statement is supported by the results of virtually all outcome studies, which have shown strikingly positive results despite the great variety in the types of adoptions studied. At the same time, evidence has continued to accumulate regarding the adverse effects on children of prolonged stays in foster care and other types of substitute care.
As the number of children in need of permanent homes has grown dramatically in the past decade, so has the number of children for whom adoption is the best alternative. And yet, significant obstacles exist in the path for bringing homeless and parentless children to homes and families which can be provided through adoption.
The purpose of this issue of the journal is to identify those areas where significant barriers exist to and in adoption and, where possible, to offer suggestions for improvement.