IAS Visiting Scholar, June 2025

David Brodzinsky is Professor Emeritus in the Department of Psychology at Rutgers University in the United States (1974-2006).  He did his PhD in Developmental Psychology at the State University of New York at Buffalo (1969-1974) under the supervision of Irving Sigel, with additional training in Clinical Psychology at the Irving Schwartz Institute for Children and Youth in Philadelphia (1972-1974). For more than four decades, his research and scholarly writings have focused primarily on developmental, family, and clinical issues in adoption and foster care. Among the many topics he has explored are: children’s understanding of and coping with adoption; adoption-related loss and trauma; transracial and transnational adoption; parenting issues in adoption and fostering; identity issues in adoption; adoption by sexual-minority adults; clinical assessment and treatment issues in working with adoption kinship members; adoptive parent preparation; adjustment issues in women who relinquish children for adoption; and training mental health professionals for adoption clinical competency. He has over 120 publications, including numerous articles in major journals, book chapters, and seven books on adoption, the most recent being, The Adopted Child (Cambridge University Press, 2023).  Professor Brodzinsky’s research, scholarly writings, clinical work, and advocacy in the field of adoption has been recognized by two awards from the U.S. government: U.S. Congressional Coalition on Adoption, “Angel in Adoption Award” (2002), and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, “Adoption Excellence Award” (2015). His work has also been supported by government and private foundation grants and contracts.

As a licensed psychologist, Professor Brodzinsky has maintained a private clinical and consultation practice focusing primarily on the mental health needs of adopted and fostered individuals and their families. He has also served as a forensic expert in numerous legal cases focusing on issues related to adoption and fostering, including parenting by sexual-minority adults. Professor Brodzinsky has been a clinical and training consultant to countless public and private adoption agencies and mental health organizations throughout North America, Europe, and parts of South America. He was one of the founding directors of the Donaldson Adoption Institute in New York City (2006-2014), an internationally- known think tank focusing on research, education, policy, and advocacy related to adoption and foster care. Currently, he is a consultant to the Center for Adoption Support and Education (Maryland) supporting their development of training programs for fostering adoption clinical competence among mental health professionals, as well as the National Center on Adoption and Permanency (Massachusetts).

As an IAS Visiting Scholar, Professor Brodzinsky will collaborate with Professor Nayanika Mookherjee (Anthropology) on her project, Displaced Childhoods, which focuses on adult adoptees who were displaced from their birth families and moved into alternative families or institutions, as a result of state interventions and adoption malpractices. Professor Brodzinsky will extend his expertise of developmental psychology in the context of transnational adoption in times of conflict. The psychological, cognitive, and neuroscience perspectives will enhance the historical, political, sociological, anthropological, embodied, and emotional understandings of the experience of adoptees. To this end, he will be part of a department seminar in anthropology to highlight the bio-social interface in relation to adoption and be in conversation with colleagues across the three subject groups in anthropology.  He will also be part of a cross-faculty workshop to extend discussions on these issues across the University.