Adoption satisfaction survey


Siobhan Rowe
Focus on Adoption magazine

Just over 650 people took part in BC's first adoption satisfaction survey. TWI Surveys, a Canada-wide, independent research and strategy development company, designed and hosted the survey which was conducted in September 2009.

Overall, the results were positive, but improvements can be made.

Because of the large number of responses to our survey, the results are extremely reliable. As well as areas for improvement, there is lots of good news.

Adoption recommended

Ninety three percent of BC's adoptive families strongly agree or agree that they would recommend adoption as a way to build a family. Waiting parents, who were slightly less positive--presumably reflecting the frustrations of the process--registered at 86%. Seventy-three percent of respondents said that they would recommend the adoption route they chose.

Follow in my footsteps

Eighty-one percent of parents who adopted a local infant through an adoption agency would recommend that option. Seventy-three percent of parents who did an intercountry adoption would recommend that route, and 69% of MCFD adoptive parents would recommend the choice they made. These results suggest that even though some prospective parents shy away from MCFD adoptions, the satisfaction level of parents who take that route are close to those of intercountry families.

You're connected

I would recommend adoption as a way to build a family.

MCFD 89%
International 96%
Local infant 93%
All families 93%

I would recommend the adoption route I chose.

MCFD 69%
International 73%
Local infant 82%
All families 73%

There was adequate post-adoption support from MCFD/my adoption agency.

MCFD 53%
International 32%
Local infant 37%
All families 41%

MCFD/my adoption agency was responsive throughout my adoption process.

MCFD 62%
International 69%
Local infant 60%
All families 60%

The general public has an awareness of adoption and the adoption process.

MCFD 13%
International 15%
Local infant 14%
All families 14%

Sixty-four percent of respondents told us that they participate in networking opportunities with other adoptive families, and 66% say that they have regular contact with other adoptive families. As we know that connection with other adoptees is immensely helpful for kids, and support fro other adoptive parents can be valuable for adoptive parents, this is good news. However, those numbers still mean that around 40% of families may not be connected. The families that were most connected (86%) were those who adopted internationally.

You're educated

When we asked if families found the education they received prior to adoption valuable, most (72%) said "Yes." The figure was slightly smaller (66%) when it came to intercountry families.

How about homestudies?

When we asked if families found that the homestudy process prepared them to adopt, the figures are not so high. Only 51% of MCFD families agreed or strongly agreed. The figure for local infant adoptions was 65% and for intercountry families it was 58%. This suggests that agencies and MCFD should work on their homestudies so that families perceive them as more valuable.

Kept in the loop

The numbers of families who didn't feel that their agency of MCFD kept them informed during the adoption process was remarkably similar across all adoption routes (27% for intercountry; 23% for MCFD; 23% for local infant). MCFD scored highest (59%( when it came to families who agreed or strongly agreed that they were kept informed.

A question of money

Though we sometimes hear that adoptive families complain that they did not understand or were not kept informed about the fees they pay to their adoption agencies, around 70% of the people that answered our survey agreed that the fees were clear and up front. However, 14% of local infant families and 13% of intercountry families strongly disagreed or disagreed.

Why the wait?

Survey snapshot

The range of survey respondents accurately reflected the numver and types of adoptions in BC each year, and the spread of adoptive families across the province.

Type of adoption

MCFD adoption 260
International 294
Local infant 70
Direct placement 16
Other 16

Across BC

Fraser Valley 94
Northern BC  145
Interior/Okanagan/Kootenays 145
Vancouver Island 110
Vancouver/Lower Mainland 256
Other 15

TIme of last adoption

In process 126
Less than 2 years ago 171
2-5 years ago 181
6-10 years ago 85
More than 10 years ago 58
Other 35

Adoptive parents generally seem to understand why they wait to bring home a child. A whopping 87% of local infant families clearly understood; 57% of MCFD families and 68% of international families agreed or strongly agreed that they knew why they had to wait. This suggests that MCFD needs to communicate better with waiting families.

Trouble in transition

When it came to deciding if the support families received once they brought a child home was adequate there were some significant differences: 57% of MCFD families agreed or strongly agreed; the figure for local infant was 55% and for intercountry it was 36%. in all groups, around 60% of families felt that MCFD or the agency were responsive. However, 21% of MCFD families, closely followed by 19% of intercountry families, either strongly disagreed or disagreed.

After adoption

When it came to deciding if post-adoption support is adequate there were also some significant differences. 54% of MCFD families agreed or strongly agreed that there was adequate post-adoption support. However, the figured were lower for agency families with 37% of local infant families agreeing and just 32% of intercountry families feeling adequately supported. IN comments made by families who responded to the survey, the wait for a child and lack of support for children with special needs were the cause of the most frustration.

Poor public perceptions

Another less positive area of agreement (66%0, was that the general public does not have an awareness of adoption or the adoption process. Only 15% of intercountry families, 20% of MCFD families, and 14% of local infant adoptive families agreed or strongly agreed that the general public has an awareness of adoption and the adoption process.

By the way

The comments made by respondents filled 58 pages. Many comments reflected parents' frustrations around the wait for a child and obtaining support after adoption.

Thank you to the people who took the time to write comments; we will use them to inform our work, and will pass on the main themes contained in the remarks to the other adoption organizations as appropriate.