The Transition to Adoptive Parenthood

  • Abbie E. Goldberg


The transition to parenthood is generally regarded as a major life event that necessitates change and readjustment on the part of individuals and couples in order to negotiate a successful transition (Belsky et al. 1985). Specifically, the dyadic (couple) unit must evolve from a two-person to a three-person system; in turn, partners must expand their repertoire of roles to include that of a parent. New parents experience change and reorganization in many aspects of their lives, which can produce both rewards and stresses. While parenthood is experienced as a valued and desirable role by many (Landridge et al. 2000), the transition to parenthood is often associated with emotional and physical fatigue, increased strain between work and family responsibilities, and compromised well-being (Ballard et al. 1994; Costigan et al. 2003; and Schulz et al. 2004). The addition of a child can also result in at least temporary declines in marital intimacy and communication, which arise from the drains on couples’ psychological, emotional, physical, and material resources that accompany this transition (Demo and Cox 2000; Pacey 2004). Indeed, studies of both heterosexual (Belsky and Rovine 1990) and lesbian (Goldberg and Sayer 2006) couples during the transition to parenthood have documented declines in relationship quality and increases in relationship conflict. While not all couples experience deterioration in their relationship quality (Belsky and Rovine 1990) and some couples recover relatively quickly, others experience persistent relationship instability, which in turn poses risk to child and family adjustment (Pacey 2004).


Adoptive Parent Heterosexual Couple Adoption Process Adopted Child Birth Parent 
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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Clark UniversityWorcesterUSA

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