ABSTRACT

Social service providers have long turned to theories to guide them during those lengthy breaks from certainty about what to do and why. Theory building in adoption has been quite limited. Indeed, only Kirk’s (1964, 1981) work on the importance of acknowledging the differences of adoptive families qualifies in even the closest way to being a unique adoption theory. Others have made beginning attempts to enlist attachment theory (Fahlberg, 1979; Goodfield & Carson, 1986), loss and grief (Elbow & Knight 1987), and Eriksonian developmental theory (Brodzinsky, 1987a) to explain adjustment to adoption. In short, theoretical explanations of adjustment to adoption, adoption disruption, and the adoption of older children are largely undeveloped.