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The way to adoption: five years follow-up (2002-2006). Results and criticalness


Context. The aim of this paper is to give a current picture of the system of the national and international adoptions in the town of Padova. As a public service, our mission is to follow prospective adoptive parents all along the way to become adoptive family: from the very first moment, when they are searching for a counselling, across the dossier to get the approval to adopt by the Juvenile Court, till to the arrival of the child in the family. In the last twenty years Italy, like others industrialized Countries in Europe and North America, has seen an abnormal increasing of application to national and international adoption. Currently the Veneto Region is the second in Italy according to the national rate of application to adoption reached to the Juvenile Court. Moreover, inside Veneto, the Ulss 16's area (that is the local health department) is the one with the greater number of applications.

The increase of application to adoption is directly connected to the increase of infertility and sterility; according with the WHO, in the industrializes countries, the 25% of persons in fertile age are affected by infertility and sterility. Therefore, adoption becomes a problem of mental health for thousand couples; in this meaning, adoption catch the topic of the Conference.

Purpose. Beginning from January 2002 we had started a monitoring activity of the prospective adoptive parents that finished in January 2007. We supposed that, in a period of 5 years, a couple should be able to conclude the adoption with the arrive of adoptive children inside the family. Through this monitoring we tried to draw a picture of 5 year's activities of our service, in particular we want to analyse the number of couples that have become adoptive parents, the number of couples that are still waiting for the child, the number of couples that have decided to drop the adoption project, and their motivation of the drop out. We surveyed a sample of 613 couples who applied for adoption in Veneto Region. Instrument consisted of: database and service flow chart.

 Results. Between the 613 couples that had applied for adoption: 57% (350) continued the way to adoption while 43% (263) dropped it. Between the 350 couples who continue the way to adoption only the 18% (63) have realized the adoption, while 63% (220) are still in waiting. The mean time between the application and the arrival of the child is 3 years, 4 months, and 12 days: from a minimum of 1 year, 4 months, and 12 days to a maximum of 6 years, 5 months, and 16 days.

Table 1 shows that the number of adoptions decreases along the years, from 33 in 2002 to 0 in 2006. The number of couples that have dropped the project of adoption is 13% (N=46). Analyzing the diagram it is possible to notice that the first motivation for dropping (48% of the couples) is pregnancy, natural or with Pma.

Tab. 1 - Descriptive data


Application for adoption

Dropped couple


Still waiting couple



































Implications and recommendations. The difference between adoptable children and families allowed to adopt is extremely elevated: 9 couples on 10 will renounce to the national adoption and only 1 couple on 4 will succeed to adopt in international context.

The political's administrators should extent this kind of investigation on the other part of the Veneto Region to implement new policies on the basis of human resources and service organization. Moreover it is necessary, on the basis of our findings, to evaluate the way to adoption in order to identify the steps which need more support. In our experiences inside the public service, a critical step is represented by the support to the adoptive families (18% of the couples that continues the way to adoption) from the arrival of the child in family. Despite the reduced number of adoptions, the adoption public service is growing in its activity which now need to be evaluated.

Another step that need attention is represented by the "waiting" time (the "waiting" couples represent the 63% of the sample).

The complexity of adoption and its implications, emphasizes the importance of collaboration between the public service and the Authorised Bodies[1]  in order to offer support and accompaniment to the families all along the way to become adoptive family.

The flow charts below describe the follow up of couples in 5 years, starting from their first interview (when they ask for information about adoption) to the adoption. 613 couples had their interviews at the service for adoption, 263 did not proceed and 350 go further (first flow chart). Among these 350 couples, 220 are still waiting for adoption and 63 completed the adoption steps.

Key references

Canali, C., Maluccio, A.N., Vecchiato, T. (a cura di) (2003). La valutazione di efficacia nei servizi alle persone. Padova: Fondazione Zancan.

Moro A. (2003). Verifica e valutazione partecipata in un nuovo servizio per le adozioni. Studi Zancan, 5, pp. 116-138.

Moro A. (2007). Sei anni di attività dell'équipe adozioni di Padova, in "Le frontiere dell'adozione nel rapporto fra pubblico e privato, Atti del convegno regionale del 23 novembre 2007, Città Invisibile Ed., Padova, pp.45-64.

Contacts: Alessandra Moro, Equipe Adozioni, Azienda Ulss 16 Padova, Via Temanza n 1 35100 Padova Italy, E-mail: alessandra.moro@sanita.padova.it, Phone +39 049 8216116 Fax +39 329 9062239.


[1]. Bodies authorised to intenational adoption work on procedures in connections with different countries, encharged by the adoptive couple. These bodies are recognised and accredited by the National Commission for International Adoption (CAI), Italian authority that control the appropriateness of procedures.


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