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Key assessment criteria for prospective adopters

Academics have isolated a set of key criteria for assessing prospective adopters

The Key assessment criteria that Kaniuk J et al (2004) in Adoption and Fostering have suggested are:

  • the ability to make and sustain close relationships;
  • the capacity for emotional openness;
  • the capacity for reflectiveness or ‘psychological mindedness’;
  • the successful resolution of earlier losses or traumatic experiences;
  • for couples, the quality, stability and permanence of their relationship;
  • support networks; and,
  • tolerant social attitudes.
1 Kaniuk J, Steele M, and Hodges J (2004): Adoption and Fostering 28:2, pp61–67, BAAF.

These criteria show how you, and your partner function, and how this may impact on parenting an adoptive child.

According to them, your past pattern of forming, building and sustaining close relationships is likely to form the basis for predicting your future attachments with children.  Thus your personal history of relationships from childhood onwards will be explored.

Your ability to empathise, ie showing a capacity to understand other people's feelings, motives and behaviour will be assessed by  looking into your past experiences of relationships and how difficulties or conflicts have been resolved.

Your 'psychological mindedness', relates to sadness or anger may be gained by your explanations of problems and resolutions of past relationships.

Kaniuk's attachment research suggests that your description of past traumas and losses and how they have been resolved gives a great insight, especially if you are able to demonstrate awareness of emotional distress and ways to resolve them. This will included your feelings about infertility if you are affected.

Your ability to build secure attachments will be explored though 'confiding' relationships and your social worker will be looking into the existence of your supportive relationships and your ability to share difficulties and accept help.

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