The Center for Child and Family Studies



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Email: AE Lamb

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Little research exists on adolescent adoptions, much less on successful ones. To fill this void, The Center initiated a qualitative research project funded by the US Department of Health and Human Services, in which Center employees interviewed both the adoptive parents and the adoptees.

We are discovering what factors contribute to successful adoptions and have made recommendations for services to parents and adolescents before, during, and after the adoption process.

For example, recruitment strategies should include opportunities for adults in the community to get to know teens in foster care. Also, a coordinated orientation program or Web site for potential adoptive parents would help them access information. And finally, foster care workers should prepare adolescents individually for the adoption process and then allow them to make an informed decision.

Looking for something to help encourage teens to consider adoption? We also have developed a pamphlet for adolescents who are considering adoption. It has quotes from the adoptees in our study and is entitled, You're Never Too Old... Teens Speak Out on Adoption, which is available in both English and Spanish.



In the pamphlet entitled They're Never Too Old... Teen Adoption, also available in English and Spanish, parents answer questions about their decision to adopt, their experiences with discipline, and their frustrations and successes. Adoptees respond to questions concerning their decision to be adopted, their experiences with their adoptive and biological families, and their quality of life since their adoption.

Feel free to print copies and distribute these pamphlets. (For best results print on legal-sized paper, front and back and minimize the margins. This page should be folded in half twice to appear as a four-panel pamphlet.)

The executive summary that accompanied the final report of this study is located here. The full adoption report is located here.


  • Wright, L., & Flynn, C.C. (2006). Adolescent adoption: Success despite challenges. Child and Youth Services Review, 28, 487-510.
  • Wright, L., Flynn, C.C., & Welch, W. (2007). Adolescent adoption and the birthfamily. Journal of Public Child Welfare, 1(1), 35-63.

For further information about this study, contact This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it or call 803-777-1378.

University of South Carolina