Advancing Change

DAI recently conducted opinion research among the general public, first/birth parents, adopted people, people raised in foster care, adoptive parents, and foster parents. What we found was broad based, consistent support across all groups for important policies and practices that will strengthen all families.

Our survey of over 2,000 Americans revealed a broad consensus behind important, current policy issues that impact the adoption and foster care adoption community. From LGBT adoption rights, to openness in adoption, to rehoming, to support for pre- and post-adoption services, our community and the public agree about important changes that can strengthen all families.

We will be discussing, debating and advocating for these positions throughout our national tour. By educating our community, political leaders, policy makers, professionals and the public about this consensus, we believe we can:

  • Reframe the conversation and change perceptions about adoption in the 21st century
  • Inspire solidarity and build coalitions among the adoption and foster care adoption communities
  • Lead the advocacy effort to implement key changes to policy and practice

Please explore using your device in landscape mode.

The Issue:

The practice of adoption is in many ways guided by differing rules and regulations developed at the individual state level. Because of this, key elements of the adoption process vary widely. The absence of uniformity in adoption paves the way for a lack of preparedness, fraud, coercion and other alarming possibilities that ultimately harm children and families.

DAI’s Position:

National standards are needed to uniformly regulate the critical elements of the adoption process. This includes the home study assessment and training of prospective adoptive parents, counseling and services to expectant parents facing an unintended pregnancy, post-adoption supports, and other significant aspects of this process. Ultimately, these standards would ensure the safety and well-being of children and strengthen families.

Share :
GRAPH: % of people who believe prospective adoptive parents should be evaluated on the same set of rigorous criteria.
  • 100%
  • 90%
  • 80%
  • 70%
  • 60%
  • 50%
  • 40%
  • 30%
  • 20%
  • 10%
  • 0%
  • General Public
  • First/Birth Parents
  • Adoptive Parents
  • Adopted Person
  • Foster Parents
  • Foster Alumni

The Issue:

When a child is adopted, their original birth certificate becomes sealed. In most US states, adopted persons typically cannot obtain a copy of this document even as an adult. Healthy identity development requires people to have knowledge of all parts of themselves. Adopted persons have the right to have their original birth certificates, just like everyone else.

DAI’s Position:

Every state should immediately restore unrestricted access for adopted persons to obtain their original birth certificate. From there, we must ensure resources are in place for adopted persons who may desire support as they obtain this information.

Share :
GRAPH: % of people who support adopted persons’ right to access their original birth certificate.
  • 100%
  • 90%
  • 80%
  • 70%
  • 60%
  • 50%
  • 40%
  • 30%
  • 20%
  • 10%
  • 0%
  • General Public
  • First/Birth Parents
  • Adoptive Parents
  • Adopted Person
  • Foster Parents
  • Foster Alumni

The Issue:

Openness in adoption refers to the relationship and communication between members of the adoptive family and members of the first/birth family. Although openness is common today, the level can vary. With the right support, families can develop and sustain authentic relationships with one another that ensure everyone’s well-being.

DAI’s Position:

Openness in adoption is healthy for all members of the extended family of adoption. It helps facilitate identity development for the child and their family and allows family members to fully embrace the truth. Families need to be encouraged to build authentic relationships in order for their families to be strong.

Share :
GRAPH: % of people who support openness, adoptions where first/birth parents, adoptive families and the adopted person have an ongoing relationship.
  • 100%
  • 90%
  • 80%
  • 70%
  • 60%
  • 50%
  • 40%
  • 30%
  • 20%
  • 10%
  • 0%
  • General Public
  • First/Birth Parents
  • Adoptive Parents
  • Adopted Person
  • Foster Parents
  • Foster Alumni

The Issue:

Adoption is often treated as a one-time transaction instead of the lifelong transformation that it is. In the absence of services for expectant, first/birth and adoptive parents, families and individuals may experience difficulties.

DAI’s Position:

DAI views support services in adoption holistically and believes in increasing the availability of and access to quality pre- and post-adoption education and training to ensure the well-being of individuals and families. Every family deserves the chance to be strong, and in adoption, we can strengthen families by making sure they have the services they need and deserve.

Share :
GRAPH: % of people who support increased public funding for pre- and post-adoption services.
  • 100%
  • 90%
  • 80%
  • 70%
  • 60%
  • 50%
  • 40%
  • 30%
  • 20%
  • 10%
  • 0%
  • General Public
  • First/Birth Parents
  • Adoptive Parents
  • Adopted Person
  • Foster Parents
  • Foster Alumni

The Issue:

Unregulated child custody transfers ("rehoming") is a practice in which parents transfer custody of their adopted child without the oversight of the courts or child welfare system. In the absence of supervision and regulations, many children have suffered abuse and neglect because of this dangerous practice. Currently, very few states have laws that explicitly ban this practice.

DAI’s Position:

One child "rehomed" is one child too many. Every state must immediately enact statutes that deem this practice illegal while also requiring the necessary and pre- and post-adoption support. As a community, we must all ensure the resources are in place for families who need them in order to ensure the safety and well-being of children.

Share :
GRAPH: % of people who support an explicit ban on "rehoming."
  • 100%
  • 90%
  • 80%
  • 70%
  • 60%
  • 50%
  • 40%
  • 30%
  • 20%
  • 10%
  • 0%
  • General Public
  • First/Birth Parents
  • Adoptive Parents
  • Adopted Person
  • Foster Parents
  • Foster Alumni

The Issue:

Stigma, stereotype and a general lack of knowledge about the realities of adoption and foster care adoption can negatively affect those closest to it. Societal misperceptions and lack of awareness can inhibit positive change.

DAI’s Position:

We must ensure realistic and appropriate depictions of adoption and foster care adoption. This, combined with research, will allow us to influence needed changes in policy, practice and perceptions that keep children and families strong.

Share :
GRAPH: % of people who think film and television accurately portray adoption and foster care.
  • 100%
  • 90%
  • 80%
  • 70%
  • 60%
  • 50%
  • 40%
  • 30%
  • 20%
  • 10%
  • 0%
  • General Public
  • First/Birth Parents
  • Adoptive Parents
  • Adopted Person
  • Foster Parents
  • Foster Alumni

The Issue:

Even in light of the Supreme Court marriage equality ruling, members of the LGBT community continue to face roadblocks in their efforts to adopt. Some states have sought to pass laws allowing agencies to deny services to LGBT persons under the guise of ‘religious freedoms’.

DAI’s Position:

Adopting a child is not an entitlement. It is a privilege that should come only after careful assessment of an individual's or couples' appropriateness to provide a safe and loving home. This assessment must be based on a person’s qualifications, not their sexual orientation, marital status, or any other elements related to their personhood that have no bearing on their ability to provide love and nurturance to a child.

Share :
GRAPH: % of people who agree that prospective adoptive parents should not be evaluated on the basis of their race, ethnicity, religion, marital status or sexual orientation.
  • 100%
  • 90%
  • 80%
  • 70%
  • 60%
  • 50%
  • 40%
  • 30%
  • 20%
  • 10%
  • 0%
  • General Public
  • First/Birth Parents
  • Adoptive Parents
  • Adopted Person
  • Foster Parents
  • Foster Alumni

The Issue:

Many times, members of the extended family of adoption are isolated from one another. This is in part due to the many years adoption was practiced in a closed manner that deliberately segregated family members when facilitating adoptions, and continues today based on a combination of practices and perceptions.

DAI’s Position:

We are better able to influence needed changes in policy, practice and perceptions in adoption as a united community. We must actively engage in solidarity-building by authentically opening ourselves to sharing our unique experiences, learning from others, and embracing the commonalities in our experiences as we move forward together.

Share :
GRAPH: % of people who think the interactions between members of the adoption community could be improved.
  • 100%
  • 90%
  • 80%
  • 70%
  • 60%
  • 50%
  • 40%
  • 30%
  • 20%
  • 10%
  • 0%
  • General Public
  • First/Birth Parents
  • Adoptive Parents
  • Adopted Person

The Issue:

Adoption has in many ways become a marketplace, with children viewed as commodities and vulnerable parents (expectant, first/birth and pre-adoptive) left open to coercion and emotional despair. Although this harsh depiction may disregard the many appropriate adoption practices, no one can deny that a marketplace exists, which privileges some over others and distorts the essence of what family building should be about.

DAI’s Position:

It is critical to develop uniform standards and regulations in order to remove the influence of money as it relates to the practice of adoption. Children are not commodities.

Share :
GRAPH: % of people who think money and privilege distort adoption.
  • 100%
  • 90%
  • 80%
  • 70%
  • 60%
  • 50%
  • 40%
  • 30%
  • 20%
  • 10%
  • 0%
  • First/Birth Parents
  • Adoptive Parents
  • Adopted Person

The Issue:

Technology has expanded the reach of adoption connections in many ways. Adopted persons and first/birth family members have reconnected through these resources, and adoptive and first/birth families can utilize technology to stay connected over time. What can be problematic is when technology is used in the absence of qualified, professional support. When uniform regulations do not exist to limit the use of technology, it paves the way for a host of dangerous practices.

DAI’s Position:

Uniform regulations must be implemented to ensure standards in using technology in the development and facilitation of an adoption plan. From there, we must utilize the opportunities technology provides as a way to strengthen the family experience; this could occur in the provision of resources, to connect individuals with others who share in the adoption experience, as well as to provide one of many possibilities for ongoing communication between adoptive and first/birth families.

Share :
GRAPH: % of people who support advertising their child to be adopted by someone else.
  • 100%
  • 90%
  • 80%
  • 70%
  • 60%
  • 50%
  • 40%
  • 30%
  • 20%
  • 10%
  • 0%
  • General Public
  • First/Birth Parents
  • Adoptive Parents
  • Adopted Person
  • Foster Parents
  • Foster Alumni

Our Research Partner

Our research was conducted by Research In Kind, which partners nonprofits with marketing research companies looking to support causes. The organization was founded by Mark Truss, Global Head of Research at J. Walter Thompson and Karen Montecuollo, Research Director at J. Walter Thompson.

I want to #adoptreform

Let’s Ignite Conversations.

Let’s Strengthen Families.

Let’s Adopt Reform!

Research Sponsor Research in Kind Logo
For information on becoming a sponsor click here

Help support the change our community needs.

Donate