There are times when an adoption placement doesn't work. This is more common in older child adoptions and is referred to as an adoption disruption. Adoption disruptions occur after a legal placement but before a finalization. Sometimes, the term disruption may refer to an adoption that has been finalized but does not continue. However, a scenario like that is called a dissolution.
Adoption disruptions are rare, but knowing about the kind of causes that increase the risk of an adoption disruption may help make the experience easier to handle.
First and foremost, older children who have lived in the foster care system or been abused and neglected from a young age are more likely to have emotional disorders that do not allow them to bond with an adoptive family. These children may be known for having destructive behavior, which includes resisting a placement. Children that have been placed multiple times in their life find it easier to disassociate themselves from the adoption process and may resist any adoptive family. This risk is heightened if a child who has experience multiple placements have done so due to adoption disruptions.
The problem doesn't have to be with the child's ability to bond or willingness to open up to an adoptive family. Adoptive parents can also be the cause of disruption if they're particularly strict, inexperienced or have unrealistic expectations of their adoptee.
Adoptive parents can avoid disrupted adoptions by being honest about what they can handle in an adoptee. If parents do not have the time or resources for a child with special needs, then they shouldn't adopt one. They may also want to find a support group to help work through the challenges of such an adoption and try to make it work as well as be open for their child.