Parent Education in International Adoption Regarding Communication Development
Opolka, Meghan R.
University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, College of Professional Studies
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International adoption is life changing for those involved, but it can also be emotionally, mentally, and financially demanding. International adoption is a process that requires a tremendous amount of education. Children who are adopted from other countries face language acquisition challenges that are unlike any others. Children adopted at very young ages, are exposed to their native language and then experience an abrupt period of language termination at the time of adoption. The child is then placed in an environment where he or she must begin to acquire a second first language (Glennen, 2002), even though the child never developed mastery of their first language. Children who are adopted at older ages face further language challenges because they must become proficient with a new language while losing proficiency in their first, all while preparing for school. Internationally adopted children also face emotional and cultural adjustments when arriving in a new country with a new family. There are a significant amount of variables that can play a role in the success of acquiring a new language, and only by educating prospective parents will this process become easier. This project is a mixed methods study with responses from electronic surveys, and qualitative phone interviews investigating the education parents receive prior to and post international adoption regarding communication development. The research study was approved by the Institutional Review Board for the Protection of Human Subjects at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point. Findings from this study demonstrated the high importance of education regarding communication development prior to and post international adoption. The results of this study showed the lack of communication development education throughout the international adoption process. Further research is needed to identify specific topics within communication development that are most beneficial to international adoptions.