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Season 1, Episode 24: Dr. Marta Reinoso outlines trends in international adoption in Spain and globally. She then moves on to discuss the role of attachment and bonding within the family system following international adoption, emphasizing the need for adoptees to develop both their individuality and belonging within the family. With greater emphasis in the field of adoption on contact and openness, Dr. Reinoso touches on this in the context of international adoptions and addresses search and reunion efforts among international adoptees. She also describes the importance of adoptive parents supporting the racial and ethnic identity development for their adopted children. Dr. Reinoso ends by highlighting the importance of communication about adoption within the family and the benefits of research centering the perspective of adoptees. 

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For more background

Routledge Handbook of Adoption

Transcript (English)

Dr. Emily Helder: Hello. I’m Dr. Emily Helder and I’m here with Dr. Marta Reinoso and she has broad training and research and clinical experience in the areas of childhood, adolescence, families and vulnerable and at-risk children. She’s the author of a chapter in the Routledge Handbook of Adoption entitled “The unique challenges and strengths for families formed through international adoption.” So thanks so much for being here.

Dr. Marta Reinoso: Thank you, Emily

Dr. Emily Helder: I wondered if you could briefly share a bit about the trends in international adoption in Spain over the last 20 years or so. We want to understand a bit about numbers and countries and changes in policy as well.

Dr. Marta Reinoso: In Spain, international adoption has become a social phenomenon of great importance in the last twenty years. In fact, two stages can be clearly distinguished: the first, from 1996 to 2004, with a markedly upward trend; and the second, from 2005 to the present, with a marked decrease in the figures.

In the first stage, the number of international adoptions increases progressively, reaching a historical maximum of 5,541 in 2004. This figure represents a very high increase, in fact, of 273% compared to the beginning of that stage in 1998. Thus, with a maximum rate of 12.4 international adoptions per 1,000 births, Spain ranks second in the world in terms of international adoption figures, both in absolute and relative terms. In this way, despite its short history, compared to other Northern European countries (Norway, Sweden, the Netherlands) or the United States, these figures show the intense and rapid development that international adoption had in the Spanish territory.

This growth was caused by a combination of factors of various kinds: First, those of a legislative nature, that is, the ratification by Spain of the Hague Convention and the entry into force of the international adoption law, also by demographic changes such as the delay in maternity age, the increase in infertility, the decrease in the number of adoptable minors in our country, there are also social elements such as the recognition of new diverse family modalities, and the greater acceptance of adoption and finally economic factors such as economic prosperity of the country, as they also influenced.

As I mentioned at the beginning, this upward trend reverts as of 2005, and there is a marked decrease that is constant in the number of international adoptions. Thus, in 2018, the last year for which we have official statistics, the number of international adoptions in Spain was 445. If we recall in 2004, the peak year, 5,541 adoptions were made.

The decrease in Spanish families seeking adoption, the decrease and change in the profile of minors susceptible to being adopted internationally, the contraction in the supply of adoptions by the countries of origin, the economic recession, and the growing public concern about the development and integration of these minors, among other causes, explain the decrease in the figures.

Regarding the origin of internationally adopted children, the data reveal a marked initial preference for adoptions in Latin America (in fact, 65% of adoptions constituted in 1998) were from that area, while as of the year 2000 the majority are adoptions of children from Eastern Europe and Asia. This change is due, to a large extent, to the accumulation of applications in Latin American countries, whose linguistic and cultural proximity led many adopters to go to this area to carry out their adoption. However, shorter deadlines and less restrictive requirements for carrying out the procedures favored the emergence of these new destinations.

Thus, according to official data provided by the state, the total number of minors adopted in Spain from 1997 to 2018 amounts to 55,245. The main countries of origin of children adopted in Spain are China, Russia, Colombia, Ukraine and Ethiopia. And taken together, these figures reveal the magnitude and significance of the phenomenon of international adoption in current Spanish society.

Dr. Emily Helder: So your chapter talks a bit about bonding and attachment, and I really appreciated how you really emphasize the roles and the challenges of all the members in the family system. And I wondered if you could say a bit more about why you think it’s so important to take that family systems approach?

Dr. Marta Reinoso: First of all, it should be noted that both the adopted minor and the adoptive parents come to the adoption with their own history. That is, the child comes to the adoptive family with a history of significant material and emotional deficiencies, which may have been painful, stressful and even traumatic. This makes it difficult for many of these children to acquire feelings of security and trust, since these develop from the satisfaction of basic needs, the quality and continuity of early relationships and the stability of the environment. In the same way, we know that the adoptive parents’ own bonding history, as well as the emotional bond and the existing stability between the two members of the couple (if it is the case) influence the attachment pattern they offer to their child. Both partners, we could say, that of the adoptee and that of the adoptive parents, will be put into play and must be reviewed throughout the adoptive project.

Likewise, it must be kept in mind that the establishment of adoptive parentage is two-way: from the child to the father and mother, and from the father and mother to the child. Adoptive parents start the emotional relationship and the discovery of their child in a context of strong desire for parenting and dedication, but at the same time accompanied by many doubts regarding parenting. In moments of tension, the image of the expected and imagined child (non-existent) is confronted with that of the real child (unique and singular); the adoptive project and the expectations placed are reviewed; and, ultimately, the strength of the link is called into question. Research shows that families with a more realistic and adjusted vision of adoption, capable of anticipating possible difficulties and demands, tend to also be able to resolve them more quickly and effectively. It must be borne in mind that it is not only about building the link, but at the same time this process includes the repair of what has not been lived or that has been lived in a confused, distorted or deficient way.

At the same time, it is important to keep in mind that co-building the bond is a process and requires time and dedication. It involves a period of adaptation, which may be longer or shorter depending on the ability of the child and the family to readjust to the new situation. The strengthening of the relationship follows different cycles and that is why in the literature it is considered appropriate to speak of transition to adoptive parenting.

Other elements that can add complexity to the bonding process between parents and adoptive children are related to the different types of family realities, such as the assumption of parenthood alone, the existence of other previous children (biological or adopted). Each of them includes specific characteristics that will have to be addressed in a parallel way to those of the adoptive act, always in order to facilitate the integration of the child into the new family and to consolidate a lasting affective relationship throughout life.

Therefore, to summarize, both the adopted minor and the adoptive parents arrive at the adoption with their own story. The establishment of adoptive parentage is two-way, the co-construction of the bond is a process and there are different types of family realities that must be taken into account.

Together, then, all these elements reveal how family and individual resilience – understood as the ability to adapt to change, tolerate ambiguity and uncertainty, maintain realistic and hopeful expectations, mobilize the necessary resources, work out losses, and make sense of experiences – is what explains the success of the adoptive process and the establishment of the adoptive parentage, beyond specific facts and sociodemographic characteristics.

Dr. Emily Helder: So to follow up, I would like to ask you too about a particular section at the beginning of the chapter. I’ll just, maybe read this, read this quote that you have in there. It says “a unique feature of the international adoption process is that emotional ties are constructed independently of genetic inheritance and the cultural or ethnic origin of the child and adopted children must therefore establish their differentness from others and build relationships of individuality as well as of similarity and belonging, especially with the adoptive family.”

And I thought there was just so much packed in there. A lot of wisdom. And I wondered if you could say a bit more about what you meant, especially about the establishing their different needs from others and building relationships of individuality and similarity and belonging.”

Dr. Marta Reinoso: A central peculiarity in adoption is that the affective bond and the ties of belonging within the adoptive family are built independently of inheritance and genetic similarity, and also beyond the ethnic origin of each of its members. The feeling of union and affinity, of cohesion, has more to do with having a common and shared project as a family. It is from this alliance and complicity that the possible respective positions are legitimized, accepting and valuing the different origins and, at the same time, the similarities and the joint history.

All these issues are especially activated in adolescence. In this stage important physical changes take place, and the adoptee’s body transforms without resembling anyone. Thus, the adoptee has a shared culture with the parents, but does not physically resemble them; and with his racial group of belonging, he physically resembles but does not share the culture. The adolescent begins a process of differentiation, personal reaffirmation and autonomy, typical of any young person of this age, feeling at the same time, the need to establish similar relationships with the adoptive family and, at the same time, to explore the place in that the family of origin.

It is a difficult time, full of uncertainties and contradictions, mainly related to the need to establish a double identification and genealogy (biological and adoptive). The questions regarding the origin and the link with the origins erupt with force and the identity itself is subjected to a deep questioning.

This reformulation of one’s own history and identity can be costly in some cases. At the end of the day, this whole process implies an identification of similarities and differences (with respect to the biological family and the adoptive family, the birth society and the host society; as well as in relation to one’s own uniqueness and individuality), all harmoniously integrated, allow a more balanced and significant internal reorganization.

Dr. Emily Helder: In the chapter you also talk about issues of openness in adoption and maintenance of contact with birth or first families. And I wondered if you could talk a bit about why that might be more difficult for international adoptees as compared to domestic adoptees and also how that openness and contact is implemented in Spain.?

Dr. Marta Reinoso: Starting with the latter in the case of Spain, note that open adoption was recently legislated, in 2015. Open adoption is a measure used since the 1990s in other countries such as the United States, Great Britain, Germany, Austria, Canada or New Zealand, with a generally positive assessment by all those involved (adoptees, biological families, adoptive families and the professional world), as shown by the investigations carried out.

In Spain, it is constituted as a counterpart to the traditional adoption system, or also called closed adoption, which cuts off any contact between the adoptee and the biological family. With open adoption, the adoptee is allowed to maintain a relationship with their family of origin through visits or communications. In this sense, the legal ties with the biological family are broken but not the personal ones.

With this measure in Spain, it is intended to make the institution of adoption more flexible and that certain minors, especially the older ones, achieve greater family and personal stability and that their adoption presents fewer difficulties. In addition, this must be understood from the right of adopted children to know their origins, which leads to transparency in adoption reflected in open adoption. And also take into account that what really benefits adopted people is having some form of continuity that allows them to integrate the past with the present and the future, which also reinforces their identity.

However, the development of open adoption in Spain collides with the existence of a great traditional conception of the family. This means that its development is proving slow and generates suspicion and a certain mistrust in the agents involved. Thus, according to a study carried out in 2018, and after two years of implementation of the measure: throughout the national territory, only 8 open adoptions had been established, there were 18 being processed and 10 under evaluation. What has been observed is generally in relation to open adoption: It is that the professionals who are in charge of adoptions and foster care are not properly trained. Foster and adoptive families are not trained, nor have enough specific instruments for exploration and assessment been developed to assess the level of preparation of families. There are also no criteria for adoptability or criteria for determining adopters in an open adoption regime. There is no interest in creating an Adoptive Family Registry for now under an open adoption regime. And this type of adoption tends to be limited exclusively to relationships with siblings and is hardly foreseen for another degree of relatives.

It is therefore necessary, in general, to continue working for a change of mentality in relation to open adoption in all the subjects involved. As for the other point you were commenting on, that is, the existence of possible differences in contact in the case of national and international adoptions, inevitably in the latter they present a series of elements that add complexity to the process, such as: geographical distance, which makes face-to-face contact difficult; more laws at stake, those of the country of origin and the host country; Language and cultural issues, which make understanding and communication difficult, for example the adoptee seldom speaks the language of origin, the gestures and habits are Western, all this influences; There are also more third parties involved (cultural mediators, translators), precisely to try to build bridges; and there are also more economic costs to be able to develop all this. Finally, it is also important to point out that all this today is nuanced by social networks, and by the risks and opportunities they offer, such as greater accessibility, freedom and connection possibilities, although also less respect for privacy and control.

Dr. Emily Helder: Your chapter also takes up the theme of ethnic and racial identity development and focusing on this, especially among international adoptees, many of whom are transracially adopted. And I wondered if you could talk a bit about the results of your research in terms of outcomes related to racial and ethnic identity development and ways maybe that adoptive parents can aid in facilitating that kind of positive develop.

Dr. Marta Reinoso: Indeed, many of the children from international adoption have a physical appearance and a cultural heritage that differs from that of their adoptive parents and the host society. As they grow older and understand the meaning of adoption at a deeper level, they may experience feelings of loss and difference, while also becoming more aware of stigma and discrimination.

The clinical experience and the results of the investigations carried out indicate a series of aspects that I try to break down: First of all, they want to resemble the rest. Children progressively recognize their physical features and perceive the existing resemblance (or not) with the environment. This is a natural and healthy fact. As children, adoptees clearly identify with their ethnicity of origin, while in adolescence and adulthood the feeling of ethnicity decreases or becomes confused and ambivalent. Some are satisfied with their appearance, while others experience differences with discomfort and inconvenience. Sometimes there is a more or less explicit desire to physically resemble their parents and friends, to have physical features “like those of the majority.” On the other hand, research also shows that they feel a double ethnic and cultural link. They identify with the country of origin and, at the same time, with the receiving country. A multiple identity is possible if they continue to be exposed to both cultures and the adoptive family maintains a positive and flexible attitude. Then there is no situation of tension or conflict, but both belongings are combined in a healthy and functional way. However, sometimes this double belonging can be lived badly. This mainly affects identity, since it is crucial how the culture of origin is located in the person. It has also been seen that adoptees show interest in the region where they were born. The curiosity and attraction towards the place of origin progresses from more objective and distant elements (such as cultural goods, types of books and music, food customs, language, traditions and festivities) to more symbolic and profound elements (such as the feeling of belonging and identity). These latter aspects are more intense, but less visible, so that it is easy to underestimate the importance that cultural origins acquire after certain ages. It has also been seen on the other hand that they may want to visit their country of origin. At an early age, the decision and the journey still largely depend on the will of the adoptive parents. Over the years, the consolidation of the adoptive identity can stimulate the desire to know and visit the country of birth. Now, beyond the trip, the interest and curiosity about the roots is a very broad concept. It has also been observed that they maintain close contact with children and people from the same country. Today there are many adoptive family associations and multiple spaces that facilitate the meeting with people of different origins and cultures. This direct contact with other people of the same ethnicity allows sharing not only experiences related to adoption, but also physical features and heritage. Having a reference group helps to understand that no culture is better than another, and that difference is not synonymous with inferiority. It has also been observed that they identify with the adoptive family and feel generally happy and satisfied. As we have commented before, regardless of ethnic and physical differences, adoptees recognize elements of resemblance and cohesion with the members of their adoptive family, a fact that reinforces the feeling of belonging and emotional bonding. Even so, the complexity associated with their status makes this identification process more costly in some cases. Adoptive families in which differences are accepted and managed with flexibility and warmth and are a source of enrichment are those that favor the healthy and harmonious development of the child. Finally, the investigations also identify that they experience negative reactions from the environment. Stigma and discrimination related to physical appearance and/or adoption is present and affects transracial adoptees repeatedly, and in a more or less subtle way. These are everyday experiences that generate stress and discomfort. Also, the interference in personal life. Here the adoptive parents have an important role, especially while the minor is not able to give assertive answers on his own, when it comes to preserving identity and privacy.

Therefore, by way of synthesis, clinical and research experience shows that transracial adoptees in general: want to resemble the rest, feel a dual ethnic and cultural link, show interest in the region where they were born, may want to visit their country of origin, maintain close contact with other people from the same country, identify with the adoptive family and feel satisfied, and experience negative reactions from the environment.

As we can see, then, there are multiple elements to consider, and that is why traditionally there has been a tendency to consider that international adoptees or those of different ethnic groups present more adaptation and integration problems than the rest. Even so, there is no scientific evidence to confirm this since, according to the meta-analysis studies carried out, most of these boys and girls develop in a healthy and adequate way, just like the rest. Although it is certainly recognized that in interracial adoptions there is a greater risk or vulnerability. Despite this, every person, every family, can resolve this situation in a very different way, depending on their resources and limitations.

That is why it is important to train families, equip them with strategies, when it comes to addressing ethnic and cultural issues. When dealing with the adoptee, it is important to take into account the following aspects: First, appreciate the uniqueness. Value the unique as something positive and enriching. Recognize the differences. Talk about everything that unites them, but also about what distinguishes them (the color of the skin, the shape of the eyes, the country of birth). Help accept, integrate and transcend the pain of dissimilarities. Explain what racism and xenophobia are. Recognize and legitimize the feelings that are derived. Do not allow certain actions. That is, zero tolerance for any type of personal attack and intolerant, discriminatory or exclusive attitude. Give support and credibility. Listen, with respect and understanding, to the adoptee and their experiences. To give help. Promote assertive responses and coping resources in the face of disqualifications, insults or contempt. Incorporate bi-cultural elements in daily life. Maintain some of the customs and traditions of the country of origin, as long as the adoptee wishes and feels comfortable. Finding the balance between respect for origins and integration into the current family and social context. And finally, favor access to multi-cultural and hybrid environments. Facilitate contact with people of different origins. This helps to relativize the feeling of difference and allows us to acquire a more inclusive and inclusive vision.

Dr. Emily Helder: So related to this you also talk about search and reunion efforts in the chapter by adoptees and how that’s somewhat of a unique experience for international adoptees. Given the significant differences that might exist between their birth country and culture and language and their adoptive country.

And so based on the research what recommendations do you have for adoptees as they’re considering initiating a search process and for perhaps adoptive families and supporting them through this process?

Dr. Marta Reinoso: In the first place, it is important to contextualize these search processes, to understand where they arise, from what place they occur and what needs are behind them. It should be said that the trip to the country of origin and the search for the biological family usually takes place at a fairly advanced stage. And the fact is that the inquiry process is broad and diverse. Initially it tends to be an internal search, intimate and private, in which through reflection and analysis it is intended to answer a series of questions. Later, in some cases, there is an external search, more manifest and evident. It tends to be unleashed in important life transition stages, which lead to an intense questioning of inheritance and the link with origins. It involves the deployment of a series of actions aimed at obtaining additional information to help fill the existing gaps. For some people, it will be sufficient to know in greater or less detail what happened (what was the reason for the abandonment, why they were adopted), and this can be done through access through certain documentation; for others, the search will involve a visit to the orphanage and will end with the actual encounter with their parents or biological siblings. Thus, as we see, in this process there is great individual variability, both in terms of the type and amount of information sought and the means used.

Furthermore, the search for information is influenced by a series of obstacles and facilitators. The support of the adoptive family, partner and/or friends; the accessibility of information; the existence of favorable legislative regulations; or the fact of having financial resources to manage the procedures and make the trip are elements, among others, that will encourage the process.

Similarly, other more internal aspects must be considered. Feeling mature enough to take the step and assume the consequences, and/or believe that the new data obtained will be useful and beneficial, are some of the elements that will favor exploration. On the contrary, the feeling of loyalty towards the adoptive family will inhibit the search to the extent that it is interpreted as a threat or a betrayal. The fear of rejection by the wanted person (that is, the fear of a “second abandonment”) constitutes another stop.

Thus, some guidelines or recommendations when considering the search for origins may be the following: In the first place, it is important that the investigation of the origins is developed progressively and always in accordance with the characteristics and needs of the adopted person, in order to ensure that they have sufficient resources to elaborate and assimilate what is happening. The best thing is not to do these steps alone, but rather accompanied by someone significant. It would be ideal for the adoptive parents to be able to do this monitoring, among other reasons, because the child thus feels that the parents allow or legitimize this process. In this way the bond is reaffirmed, and all family members can live and share this process. Likewise, when addressing those aspects that may represent greater difficulty, the guidance and mediation of a specialized post-adoptive service can be very useful. We cannot ignore that this is a very intense process, with very high emotional implications for the adoptees and those closest to them. It is not just about obtaining a piece of information, but about interpreting and integrating new meanings in the self of personal and family history.

When planning a trip to the country of birth, that is, they have to prepare very well. It is important that there is a clear demand on the part of the adoptee to visit, otherwise it may be rather counterproductive. It is also necessary that, previously, the whole family is documented on the situation of the country, since certain circumstances – such as extreme poverty – can have a great impact. It is also important to anticipate possible difficulties, for example linguistic and cultural, as we have already discussed.

Regarding the results of the search, research shows that this is usually a transformative and positive experience, especially when the adoptee feels that they have reached where they wanted or was possible, and they are satisfied. Curiosity has allowed us to discover places and events, recover memories and (re) know each other. So much so that in most cases there is an approach to the adoptive family. Although the feeling of disappointment, discouragement and failure can also appear when new data does not appear, when what was feared is confirmed, or when there is a significant mismatch between what was expected and what is finally obtained. All this accentuates the feeling of strangeness and distance, and even disconnection. In any case, we must always bear in mind that once the search process has started, it is almost impossible to predict what the results will be. The confrontation with the origins can reveal new elements or keep the questions. There is always a part of uncertainty.

Finally, it is important to also bear in mind the vision of the biological family, since we are not so used to putting ourselves in their point of view. In this sense, the investigations carried out show that the majority continue to keep in mind the minor given up for adoption. When it comes to raising a possible contact, they also often oscillate between the desire (to know how they are, what they are doing) and the fear (of judgment and rejection). The type of relationship existing (or not) with and between biological family and adoptive family is an aspect to be specified, depending on the real possibilities and the connection that the adoptee wants or can assume. It is important to find a fit that is comfortable, constructive and healthy.

Dr. Emily Helder: At the end of your chapter, you focus on some different practical implications and suggestions that you have for future research. And I wanted to ask you about several of them. One that you spent some time talking about was the importance of open communication about origins and discussion about adoption within the adoptive family. And I wondered if you could say a bit more about the role that, that plays in the adjustment for adoptees.

Dr. Marta Reinoso: Talking about adoption awakens great interest and respect at the same time. It is a delicate and complex subject that evokes highly emotional events. It provokes great uncertainty and curiosity in the adoptee and sooner or later questions arise, such as: Why am I here? Why did you adopt me? What happened? Where do I come from? What is my story? Who I am? These are questions that are not only intellectual, but especially have a very important affective aspect. Often it is difficult to give an answer and then the convenience or not of addressing them arises. It is still common to think, for example, that if the child wants to know, they will ask; or that they were very young when they came, and they don’t remember; or that they have to look ahead and that’s it. That is, the importance of the present is undeniable, what is not so clear is what we do with past experiences.

Thus, when asked: is it necessary to talk about adoption? The answer is undoubtedly yes. First, in inter-ethnic and inter-ethnic adoptions, physical differences within the family reveal the fact of adoption. Therefore, what is evident cannot be hidden or denied. There is also more scientific evidence, around the need and right of adopted people to know their history. Origins are part of life and cannot be eliminated. In this sense, the literature breaks down several fundamental arguments:

In the first place, because it is correct. We start from the basis that a fundamental right of the whole person is to know the data of their history. Adoptive parents have custody of the information they know about their child, but they are not the owners, but rather the ones in charge of providing it gradually and constructively.

Second, because the adoptee needs it to grow. The origins constitute the pillars on which the identity itself is founded and developed, so they are fundamental for the healthy and balanced development of the individual.

Third, because not talking about adoption puts the relationship with the adoptive parents at risk, that is, the bond with the adoptive family.

Fourth, because if parents don’t explain it, others will. The child is exposed to other people telling them, without being able to control the form and the moment. Again, the relationship of trust within the family nucleus can be put at risk.

And, fifth, because the child may not dare to ask. If there is significant reluctance in adults to talk about the adoption event, the emotional climate and the non-verbal climate will facilitate the adolescent to remain silent. They will not dare to ask, but the desire and the need will be present, and they will look for the information in other sources or the gaps will be filled with fantasies that may be very far from reality.

Ultimately, the literature is conclusive in stating that it is necessary to talk about adoption and the earlier the better, adapting the discourse to the evolutionary moment of the child and to the demands that it makes. For this, it is necessary to deal with the subject openly and in a natural way, creating appropriate spaces to listen, with respect and understanding, to the different experiences. This will help to integrate the adoptive fact into the child’s mental structure, but also the adults will develop their own discourse. And it is that the revelation of the origins is not a specific event of a day, but a process, in which the narrative is polished according to the needs of the child and the parents’ own safety to transmit certain information.

Dr. Emily Helder: So you also discuss the importance of more research that incorporates the perspective of adoptees, really centering the adoptees. And I wondered if you could describe what you feel like has been lacking at times in past research or what kinds of studies you would like to see in the future related to that issue in particular.

Dr. Marta Reinoso: Indeed, and this is especially true in the case of childhood. Most studies on the development and adaptation of adopted minors have been based solely on the assessment carried out by adults – mainly adoptive mothers – to the detriment of the direct assessment of the child, due in part to the difficulty of obtaining their participation. The information provided by adults is important, without forgetting that the one provided by the subject himself, the child, is equally relevant and necessary. In addition, listening to the opinions of the adoptees is also important because it allows us to know what their real needs are and thus achieve a greater and deeper understanding of their experience.

For that, it is necessary to have tools that allow an appropriate evaluation of the most relevant aspects of the adoption experience. However, the lack of availability of specific measurement instruments for the child population has been precisely one of the main shortcomings of research in this area.

It is of special interest to study how minors experience certain aspects inherent to their adoptive status, especially those related to discrimination and cultural origins, as the results of some of the research carried out have shown, and we have also commented previously.

In the same way, the most positive results provided by the meta-analyzes carried out raise the need to carry out research focused not only on the problem of these minors, as has been done more traditionally, but also on their capacities and potentialities, on their strengths. This second set of variables plays a key role in the adjustment of the individual, cushioning the impact of stressful situations and promoting successful or resilient results.

In this same sense, it would be interesting for future work to incorporate the perspective of other close and significant people for the child, particularly siblings and grandparents. The results of the studies show the prominent role that the nuclear and extended family play in addressing specific issues related to adoption, such as communication about origins.

Finally, most of the research carried out in this field, and particularly in Spain, has been based on transversal designs. Future longitudinal and prospective studies of the population of international adoptees are necessary to know their long-term evolution and determine personal, family and social factors that affect their development and adaptation trajectories.

Dr. Emily Helder: Thank you so much, Marta, for sharing about your research and all the different important things that your chapter raises. I think it’s so helpful for both people who are planning to become practitioners or adoption researchers, but also for adoptees themselves and everyone in their network to really understand some of the research that, that you and others have done. So thank you so much.

Dr. Marta Reinoso: And thank you, you too.

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