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Adoption in the United States

A Reference for Families, Professionals, and Students

By Martha J. Henry and Daniel Pollack

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Review by Allison Martin

Starting with appropriate adoption language and ending with special needs education, this book covers the wide range of types of adoptions and adoption situations, in an authoritative manner. All the major types of adoption are addressed, including adoption of babies, older children, special needs adoption, private domestic adoptions, international adoption and adoption through the foster and state welfare programs.

This book stand out among other adoption guides in that it is written for professionals and students and is backed by research with numerous citations and references. The examination of domestic adoption of older children through the US state social agency system is exceptional - a cut above information in any other adoption guide. The discussions of a number of other complex topics, such as medical issues related to adoption (domestic and international), barriers to quality health care for domestically adopted children, and developmental issues of adoption, are also outstanding. In keeping with the professional and research based focus, sixteen appendices cover lists of state resources or laws on topics such as adoption from foster care, adoption advertising rules, time of placement to finalization, same sex couple adoption, allowable birth parent expenses, early intervention and safe haven laws..

Both authors are associated with the renowned Center for Adoption Research at the University of Massachusetts. Martha Henry is a developmental psychologist and Daniel Pollack is social work professor and honorary fellow of the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys. Their backgrounds in research and their years of work experience provide an exceptional depth and professional quality to this adoption presentation.

Although authoritative, the authors' approach is optimistic and presents the view that adoption is widely accepted in our society and can help children have better lives. Within this framework, the importance of ethics in adoption is a key feature, with reference throughout to the law and to its application. Overall, the focus is on providing children with good homes, through ethical adoption and parent preparation.

I especially recommend this book for professionals involved in adoptions, including attorneys, social workers and pediatricians, but it will also be of interest to adoptive parents.

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