Post Adoption Support Services


Timm, T.M., Mooradian, J.K., & Hock, R.M. (2011). Exploring core issues in adoption: Individual and marital experience of adoptive mothers. Adoption Quarterly, 14, 268-283.  doi: 10.1080/10926755.2011.628264.


Theoretical literature on adoption discusses what are known as the “core issues in adoption.” The original core issues have been modified specifically for the adoptive family system and include 1) loss and grief, 2) entitlement, 3) claiming, 4) unmatched expectations, 5) family integration, 6) bonding and attachment, 7) identity, and 8) mastery and control. Using a self-report survey, this descriptive research assessed the degree to which adoptive mothers (N = 104) reported experiencing these core issues individually, and in their marriages. Results indicated that all of the core issues were experienced, but in varying degrees. Although challenging, some participants reported that their marriage was strengthened as a result of having encountered these issues. Qualitative data illuminated what was difficult and supported the need for skill-building marital interventions for adoptive parents.

Mooradian, J.K., Hock, R.M., Jackson, R., & Timm, T.M. (2011). They don't focus on the relationship between parents”: What couples who adopt children from child welfare want professionals to know about supporting their marriages. Families in Society: The Journal of Contemporary Social Services, 92, 390-396. doi: 10.1606/1044-3894.4155.

Data from focus groups of spouses who adopted children from the child welfare system reveal that couples want professionals to consider the impact of adoption on the marital relationship early in the adoption process prior to placement of children; to facilitate group contact among adoptive couples that focuses on couple relationships in addition to parenting issues after children have been placed; and to actively support the marital relationship in post-placement/post-adoption services, even when children’s behavior or needs constitute a presenting problem. Taken together, results indicate that it is appropriate for professionals to address the couple relationship throughout the adoption process.


Hock, R.M., & Mooradian, J.K. (2012). Coparenting quality among adoptive mothers: Contributions of socioeconomic status, child characteristics, and adult relationship characteristics. Child and Family Social Work, 17, 85-95. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2206.2011.00775.x


Coparenting consists of the cooperative effort of two or more adults working together to raise a child for whom they share responsibility. Using survey data, this study considered contributions of socioeconomic status (SES), child demands, and couple relationship characteristics to the quality of coparenting reported by mothers of adopted children. Results revealed that SES and child demands were largely unrelated to co-parenting quality, while couple relationship characteristics (dyadic coping, dyadic adjustment and conflict resolution) contributed significantly to co-parenting quality. Professionals are encouraged to strengthen the coparenting relationship by attending to couple relationship characteristics.


Mooradian, J.K., Timm, T.M., Hock, R.M., Jackson, R. (2011). “It’s about us”: Marital adjustment and marital adaptation of couples who adopt children from the child welfare system. Journal of Family Social Work, 14, 262-280. doi: 10.1080/10522158.2011.571644

This article presents a conceptual model of marital development among couples who adopted children from the child welfare system that was developed from focus group data. All couples reported an initial marital adjustment that featured husbands’ support of their wives’ initiation of adoption and management of child needs. About half of the couples in this study also reported that they prioritized time together and accepted mutual influence from each other, which allowed them to achieve a state of marital adaptation that is characterized by deeper and more intimate connections than those experienced in the initial adjustment phase. Professionals are encouraged to understand and support adult relationships throughout the entire adoption process.

Strengthening Marriages and the Well Being of Children Post Adoption Marriage Education Project

The MSU School of Social Work conducted research for the Strengthening Marriages and the Well Being of Children Post Adoption Marriage Education Project that was funded in part by a financial assistance award from the US Department of Health and Human Services Grant #90c0l026/01. This research was aimed at understanding the strengths and challenges of couples who raise children involved in the foster care system. Over several years beginning in 2006, the project conducted focus groups for adoptive couples and for adoption professionals. In addition a survey was mailed to adoptive couples. This research led to the development of the Couples Curriculum for Adoptive, Foster, and Kinship Parents: Building a Home with Heart. In addition, the School's project results and the resources created have been and will continue to be disseminated to practitioners and other researchers through conference presentations and peer-reviewed journal articles.