The term “disrupted adoption” generally refers to an adoption that either disrupts after placement but before finalization, or disrupts after finalization after the child is already your legal child. Technically, only the first type is a “disruption”; the second type is called a “dissolution.”
Any parent can face parenting challenges with a child (biological or adopted) and if your family needs assistance, please seek help. No one wants to give up, but there are times when an adopted child cannot continue in a family for a variety of reasons, including major medical or mental health needs. This is not your fault and there are several options available if this happens.
If you are hoping to stabilize the placement, there are adoption preservation services available in most states which are a good place to start. These primarily include counseling and other services. If you are having trouble finding or accessing resources in your state, or you just don’t know where to begin, search our Attorney Directory for a Fellow in your state and give them a call. They may be able to help you find public and private resources for assisting your family.
If you find there is no option other than finding a new home for your child, it is important to work with a licensed agency and an attorney to find a new adoptive family that will work for the child. These are sometimes called “second chance adoptions” or “secondary adoptive placements”; they sometimes go by the derogatory term of “re-homing.”
A family should not try to do this without professional assistance: a licensed agency, an attorney, and a mental health professional. A secondary adoptive placement is very hard on everyone involved – especially the child – so it is important to involve professionals every step of the way. In addition, finding a secondary adoptive placement for the child without involving an agency or court is now becoming a crime in some states.
Many of our AAAA Fellows have experience in handling secondary adoptive placements and helping families access resources to stabilize and preserve placements. Search our Attorney Directory for a Fellow in your state of residence and start there.