Introduction: It is often assumed that after child placement in an adoptive family, the adoptive parents and the adoptees will take an easy and happy passage throughout their life. But in reality they experience several different stresses that can lead to the failure in the adoption process for adoptive parents. This is an unpleasant occurrence for both the adoptive parents and the adoptees, which occasionally instigates the disruption of this relationship and multiple separation experience for the child. With increasing the rate of adoption and adoptive families in Iran (1000 adoptive families per year and more than 30000 adoptive families); the interest in recognition of adoptive families, related challenges and required support and services has grown. Often, Iranian adoptive families consider adoption as a mystery and most of them try to hide the case of adoption.
In Iran the unknown factors about adoption are more than the countries that have done vast studies on this issue. The aim of this study was to investigate the challenges associated with the Iranian adoptive families and research needs in this area.
Methods: In this systematic review study, the English databases (google scholar, Elsevier, and PubMed) and Persian databases (SID, Magiran, and IranDoc) have been searched to find out relevant articles on adoption especially in Iran. Furthermore, State Welfare Organization of Iran publications added to this search. The most of searches were limited to ten years (2000-2010) nearly.
Findings: Although recent research indicates more stability and continuity in adoptions in Iran, we must acknowledge that adoptive families and adoptees are still facing huge challenges. Most of the articles published on adoption in Iran were related to legal studies and comparative studies of juridical and legal issues. There are few studies on social and psychological factors of selecting adoption process among infertile couples, the obstacles on adoption and also the educational needs of the applicants for adoption. Some studies showed the following themes as important characteristics of adoption in Iran: infertility of couples, gender of adoptee, Mahramiyat (confidentiality or familial privacy as a religious and cultural subject), understanding the child history, telling the fact to the adopted child and post-adoption challenges. The other important issue is factors result in failure to adoption which are classified in three categories: (1) Child characteristics, (2) Parents and adoptive family characteristics, and (3) Welfare characteristics. The follow-up studies on child adoption process were limited in Iranian families. In the absence of evidence based statistics and information, there are no study about adoptive families and adoptees after adoption finalization too.
Discussion: Although a thematic classification on important issues of adoption has done in Iran, most of the studies are limited to legal issues and few researches have studied effective factors on adoption by infertile couples. The lack of post-adoption studies is another important issue that might be effective in planning and policy making in this area. There are some questions for researches that could answer the needs of adoptive families. The consequences that the adoptees endure because of adoption failure must direct the researchers, psychologists and politicians to work on various fronts and study more about it. They have to make more studies to prevent possible failure in adoption, decrease its consequences and negative impacts on families, and also provide positive intervention to promote adoption and improve the welfare of the adoptive families and adoptees. The adoptive families are growing each year in Iran, and its subsequent needs and demands are wide and diverse. Research findings support the claim that meeting the needs of families and children at different stages of decision-making for adoption and parenting requires scientific planning and professional support. The families also need to have access to pre and post adoption interventions during all stages of adoption and fostering. The main problem of these families and the effective factors on success, maintenance or failure of adoption should be examined systematically, otherwise the effect of these services could be faced with ambiguity. Overall, the well-being of these families requires further analytic research and systematic orientation by considering cultural factors