Research & Practice

More than ever before, DAI conducts original research to fill gaps in current knowledge and to inform best practices in the field, so that we can indeed improve reality on the ground for the millions of people for whom adoption is part of everyday life.

Eliminating Barriers to Adoption for Children in Need of Families

DAI is engaged in several initiatives to achieve the goal of finding families for children who need them, in the U.S. and other countries alike.

To inform best practices in providing services and supports to families, DAI is examining pre­ and post-­adoption education and support, parental beliefs and attitudes – as well as children’s characteristics and adjustment – in a variety of family types. This research will analyze straight and gay/lesbian­-headed families, in­-racial and transracial families, and families with various levels of openness and types of adoption.

To understand the impact of the 1993 Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption, we explore developments and best practices for promoting ethical, sound adoptions that better meet the needs of children and their birth and adoptive families in A Changing World: Shaping Best Practices through Understanding of the New Realities of Intercountry Adoption. The research finds that a growing number of the girls and boys being adopted internationally today are not the infants of adoption’s recent past but, instead, are older children with sometimes-­serious special needs.

Promoting Ethical and Equitable Adoption Policies and Practices

To understand and address the Internet’s historic impact on all parties in adoption – and on the process itself – is a primary focus of DAI’s work. Untangling the Web: The Internet’s Transformative Impact on Adoption, is the first-­ever examination of the major issues; it concludes that the Internet, and social media in particular, are having historic effects – both positive and negative – on adoption practice and on people’s lives, while raising serious ethical and procedural concerns that have yet to be addressed.

Enhancing Supports for Everyone in the Extended Family of Adoption

To fill the research gaps on post­-adoption instability and availability of adoption support and preservation services (ASAP), DAI is conducting a national study on disruption and dissolution and a qualitative study consisting of interviews with state adoption managers to collect information about ASAP provision and funding. The Institute also provides consultation to states to further the development of ASAP.