Project: The Contact after Adoption Study

Dates: 1996-2000, 2002-2004, 2012-2014

Funder: The Nuffield Foundation

Research Team: Dr Beth Neil, Mary Beek, Dr Emma Ward

Website - http://www.uea.ac.uk/contact-after-adoption

The longitudinal "Contact after Adoption" research study aims to answer questions about what post-adoption contact arrangements are like from the point of view of children, adoptive parents, and birth relatives. The study has focused on children adopted in England who were under the age of four when placed for adoption. The families in the study have experienced a range of different post-adoption contact plans from no contact through to face-to-face contact. The study began in 1996 and has three stages:

Stage 1: 1996-2000. Dr Beth Neil began the research as her Ph.D. study. A survey (completed by social workers) of 168 adopted children was carried out. Interviews took place with adoptive parents and birth relatives, all of whom were involved in face-to-face contact arrangements

Stage 2: 2002-2004. The Nuffield Foundation funded an extension of the project to follow up families approximately 7 years after adoption. The study included families where indirect contact was the plan as well as the original families having face-to-face contact. Interviews were carried out with 62 adoptive families, 43 adopted children, and 73 birth relatives (mostly parents and grandparents).

Stage 3: 2012-14. The Nuffield Foundation is funding this further stage of the study. We have returned to the people who took part in the study at stage 2; the adopted young people at this stage were now mainly aged between 16 and 21 years old. At least one family member from 45 adoptive families took part. This meant we have collected information about 65 adopted young people; 40 of these young people took part themselves in the study. Thirty seven birth relatives from 28 families also participated. The report on the research was completed in December 2013. The full report is available on the Contact After Adoption website.

The full report was launched at the CRCF annual conference on 15th July 2014. To learn more about the conference visit the event page - 'Contact After Adoption' Conference.

Publications

Neil, E. (2013). The mental distress of the birth relatives of adopted children: ‘disease' or ‘unease'. Health and Social care in the Community

Neil, E. (2012). Making sense of adoption: integration and differentiation from the perspectives of adopted children in middle childhood, Children and Youth Services Review, 34, 409-416. Click here for abstract.

Neil, E. (2009). ‘The corresponding experiences of adoptive parents and birth relatives in open adoptions'. In Wrobel, G. and Neil, E. (Eds.) International advances in adoption research for practice. Chichester: Wiley. Click here for details on publisher's website.

Young, J. and Neil, E. (2009). ‘Contact after adoption'. In G. Schofield and J. Simmonds (Eds.) The Child Placement Handbook: Research, Policy and Practice. London: British Association for Adoption and Fostering. Click here for details on publisher's website.

Neil, E. (2007). Post adoption contact and openness in adoptive parents' minds: consequences for children's development. London: British Journal of Social Work- Advance Access: doi: 10.1093/bjsw/bcm087. Click here for abstract.

Neil, E. (2007). Coming to Terms with the Loss of a Child: The Feelings of Birth Parents and Grandparents about Adoption and Post-Adoption Contact, Adoption Quarterly, 10 (1), pp. 1-23. Click here for abstract.

Neil, E. (2004). The "Contact after Adoption" Study: indirect contact and adoptive parents' communication about adoption. In E. Neil and D. Howe (Eds.) Contact in Adoption and Permanent Foster Care: Research, Theory and Practice. London: British Association for Adoption and Fostering. Click here for details on publisher's website.

Neil, E. (2004). The "Contact after Adoption" study: face-to-face contact. In E. Neil and D. Howe (Eds.) Contact in Adoption and Permanent Foster Care: Research, Theory and Practice. London: British Association for Adoption and Fostering. Click here for details on publisher's website.

Young, J. and Neil, E. (2004). The ‘Contact after Adoption' study: The perspective of Birth Relatives after non-voluntary adoption. In E. Neil and D. Howe (Eds). Contact in Adoption and Permanent Foster Care: Research, Theory and Practice. London: British Association for Adoption and Fostering. Click here for details on publisher's website.

Neil, E. and Howe, D. (2004). Conclusions: a transactional model for thinking about contact. In E. Neil and D. Howe (Eds.). Contact in Adoption and Permanent Foster Care: Research, Theory and Practice. London: British Agencies for Adoption and Fostering. Click here for details on publisher's website.

Neil, E. (2003). Understanding other people's perspectives: tasks for adopters in open adoptions, Adoption Quarterly, 6 (3), 3-30. Click here for abstract.

Neil, E. (2003). Accepting the reality of adoption: birth relative's experiences of face-to-face contact, Adoption and Fostering, 27 (2), 32-43. Click here for abstract.

Neil, E. (2003). 'Contact after Adoption: A Research Review' in M. Bainham, B. Lindley, M. Richards, and L. Trinder (Eds.) Children and their families: Contact, rights and welfare. Oxford: Richard Hart. Click here for details on publisher's website.

Neil, E., Beek, M. and Schofield, G. (2003). Thinking about and managing contact in permanent placements: the differences and similarities between adoptive parents and foster carers, Clinical Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 8 (3), 401-418. Click here for abstract.

Neil, E. (2002a). Contact after Adoption: The role of agencies in making and supporting plans, Adoption and Fostering, 26 (1), 25-38. Click here for abstract.

Neil, E. (2002b). 'Managing face to face contact for young adopted children' in H. Argent (Ed.) Staying Connected: Managing Contact Arrangements in Adoption, London: British Association for Adoption and Fostering. Click here for details on publisher's website.

Neil, E. (2000). The reasons why young children are placed for adoption: findings from a recently placed sample and implications for future identity issues, Child and Family Social Work, 5 (4), 303-316. Click here for abstract.

Neil, E. (1999). ‘The sibling relationships of adopted children and patterns of contact after adoption' in Mullender, M. (Ed.) We are Family: Sibling Relationships in Placement and Beyond, London: British Association for Adoption and Fostering. Click here for details on publisher's website.