A deadly definition of adoption has been developed by a team of researchers from the University of Pennsylvania and Harvard.
The researchers, led by Dr. William G. Smith, created the new definition after they observed the adoption of an infant by a family in Texas that was seeking to adopt out their infant child.
“When we observed a family with a toddler in their arms and a dog in their backyard, we could see that they were trying to adopt a child, but they were also trying to have a baby,” Smith told Bleacher Sports.
“So that’s what we thought that was the point of the study: to find out if we can quantify what it means to adopt, what is adoption, and how can we measure adoption in this way.”
The study’s lead author, Dr. James J. O’Connell, a professor of behavioral science and of epidemiology at Penn, and his colleagues have created a new definition of an adopted child based on their research.
“Adoption is not a static concept,” Smith said.
“We found that it’s a process that happens over time, over time.”
Adoption is defined as “the act of placing a child into a family home, usually in a long-term foster care setting, for a limited period of time.
The children are cared for by a non-custodial parent or family member.”
It’s the process of finding a home for an adopted family, and when that child reaches age 17, he or she is considered to be adopted.
It’s a definition that Smith and his team are now using to understand the process that leads to adoption, the meaning of adoption and how to quantify it.
“The definitions are based on the way that people talk about adoption,” Smith explained.
“People talk about ‘adoption’ as if adoption is a matter of moving into a new family home.
Adoption actually occurs when a child is placed into a foster home by a parent, family member or someone who is legally responsible for the child.”
Smith explained that the definition used in the study is derived from the words of adoption experts.
“They all use the word ‘adoptive,’ which implies that the child will be adopted by someone who can care for and protect the child,” Smith noted.
“And that’s a very common concept in the adoption world.”
Smith’s team was able to track the adoption process over time using the adoption data from the National Adoption Analysis Center (NAAC).
NAAC collects data from adoption agencies across the country.
This data was used to create a statistical model that used the adoption definitions and the adoption statistics from the Adoption Data Institute.
“It’s really important that we know what it is we are measuring and how we can measure it,” Smith added.
The team also found that there was an important distinction between the definitions of adoption used in research and those used in practice.
“There is no one definition that people use when they are looking at the adoption market,” Smith stated.
“Every agency in the country, every agency in Texas and every agency across the U.S. uses different adoption definitions, but we know that adoption is not something that is a single word, a single phrase that describes adoption in the marketplace.”
The researchers said they hope that their study will help improve the way in which adoption is measured and that it will provide an objective measure of how much money families spend on adoption.
“I think adoption is something that has to be quantified,” Smith continued.
“If we can understand how people are using the market to find homes, then we can make better decisions and we can help more families adopt.”
Smith said that he believes that the adoption industry needs to improve its communication with families.
“As an adoption professional, I feel very strongly that people should be able to talk to their families about adoption in a nonjudgmental way,” Smith emphasized.
“In a way, it’s really a matter that I think the industry needs now to improve on, because they’re going to be the ones to decide if they want to adopt their child or not.”