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“This book contains answers to almost all the questions we are asked by prospective adoptive families...This is a book we will refer to often, and is an excellent resource for anyone seeking the unbiased facts about adoption.”

— Jewish Children's Adoption Network newsletter, June 2008

“This book comprehensively covers adoption policies across the country and the world. The authors provide a rich abundance of material and links to other materials about adoption.”

— Carol Rippey Massat, Jane Addams College of Social Work

A Reference for Families, Professionals, and Students

Martha J. Henry, University of Massachusetts Medical School
Daniel Pollack, Yeshiva University 

Navigating the adoption process is no easy feat. This is the only comprehensive adoption guide that includes information on health issues as well as state-specific legal procedures that influence domestic infant adoptions, intercountry adoptions, and the creation of foster families. Henry and Pollack combine a unique range of research with an accessible style as they reach out to parents, professionals, and students. The authors also address difficult topics, including openness throughout the adoption process and special considerations for cross-cultural families. This book is a must read.


  • Provides valuable sources for staying up-to-date on ever-changing adoption laws
  • Includes an extensive appendix of tables and charts, clearly presenting procedures and regulations that vary by state
  • Discusses critical (yet often overlooked) behavioral, developmental, and mental health issues
  • Addresses sensitive topics, such as language use and confidentiality
  • Gives professionals and students an interdisciplinary background to increase practice effectiveness
  • Provides information on the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC) and the Interstate Compact on Adoption and Medical Assistance (ICAMA) — two compacts typically not included in texts, yet inevitably encountered by adoption workers, students, and parents


About the Authors
Preface  Download the PDF
A Note on Language: Accuracy and Respect for Children, Parents, and Families
Adopting in the United States  Download the PDF
  History of Adoption in the United States
Views on Adoption in the United States
Considering Adoption
Agency Adoptions
Independent Adoptions
Approaches to Adoption
The Application Process
The Home Study
Referral and Placement
Post-placement Period
Openness in Adoption
Research Spotlight: Open Adoption
Diversity and Adoption

Transracial Adoption
Unique Aspects and Issues concerning Transracial Adoption
Research Spotlight: Outcomes of Transracial Adoption
Adoptions by Same-Sex Couples and Single Gay and Lesbian Individuals
Co-parent or Second-Parent Adoptions by Same-Sex Couples

Legal Issues in Adoption
  Confidentiality in the Adoption Process
Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children
Interstate Compact on Adoption and Medical Assistance
Infant Safe Haven Legislation
Public Adoption
  The Application Process
Pre-placement Training
The Referral or Match Process
Placement Planning
The Post-placement Process
Domestic Infant Adoption
  Parent Profiles
Agency-Identified Adoption
Parent-Identified and Agency-Assisted Adoption
Surrender or Termination of Parental Rights
Research Spotlight: Birth Parents
Intercountry Adoption
  The Application Process
U.S. Immigration Requirements
Two Basic Approaches to Intercountry Adoption
Health Concerns
The Matching Process
Processing the Adoption
Adjusting to a New World
Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption
Readoption for Intercountry Adoption
Medical, Developmental, and Mental Health Considerations  Download the PDF
  Health Considerations for Children Adopted from Foster Care
Research Spotlight: Physical, Developmental, and Mental Health Issues in Foster Care
Research Spotlight: Guidelines for and Barriers to Quality Health Care for Children in Foster Care
Health Considerations for Domestic Infant Adoption
Adoption in Cases of Fetal Anomaly and Genetic Risks
Health Considerations for Intercountry Adoption
After Adoption
  Child Development and Understanding of Adoption
Talking to Children about Adoption
Post-adoption Support and Services
Working with Schools and Teachers
Multicultural Adoptive Families
Special Education Services for Children: The Individual with Disabilities Education Act
Early Intervention
Selected Resources
Appendix A State Agencies Responsible for Adoption from Foster Care
Appendix B State Laws for Advertising, Age of Adoptive Parents, and Use of Facilitators
Appendix C Time from Post-placement to Finalization by State
Appendix D States in which Post-adoption Contact Agreements Are Legally Enforceable
Appendix E Legality of Adoption by Same-Sex Couples by State
Appendix F State ICPC Office Phone Numbers
Appendix G State Infant Safe Haven Laws, Part I
Appendix H State Infant Safe Haven Laws, Part II
Appendix I Allowable Birth Parent Expenses
Appendix J Timeframes for Consent and Revocation of Parental Rights
Appendix K States with Presumed or Putative Father Registries
Appendix L Most Frequently Used Sending Countries to the United States
Appendix M State Re-adoption Requirements
Appendix N State Laws regarding Access to Original Birth Records
Appendix O Early Intervention Oversight Agencies

About the Authors

Martha J. Henry (MA, PhD, Clark University) is director of the Center for Adoption Research at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. Her background in developmental psychology informs her work creating adoption and foster care curricula and training sessions for medical, social service, and educational professionals, as well as for families.  She has developed seminars for medical students regarding health care practice that includes considerations for adoption and foster care.  Her research focuses on permanency solutions for children needing families.

Daniel Pollack (MSW, Case Western Reserve University; JD, Cleveland State University) is professor of social work at Yeshiva University and senior fellow at the Center for Adoption Research at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. He has held positions at the Ohio Department of Human Services, Maryland Social Services Administration, and has been the executive assistant to Ohio's governor. He is an executive committee member for the World Initiative for Orphans and a member of the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts (AFCC), as well as the Family Court Reform Coalition. He is an honorary fellow of the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys and has published extensively.

2009, Paper, 250 Pages, ISBN 978-1-933478-20-3, Price $48.95