The Impact of Religiosity and Spirituality among Members of the Adoptive Kinship Network

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Roughly 65% of Americans have personal experience with adoption, either as a birth parent, as an adopted person, as an adoptive or foster parent, or through a close friend or family member who is adopted, has adopted or fostered, or is a birth parent of an adopted child (Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute, 2002). Additionally, in the United States alone approximately 100,000 children are waiting to be adopted from foster care. Research that examines the motivations of prospective adoptive parents and the link between motivations and outcomes post-adoption is important for the successful matching of children with adoptive families. Additionally, research that examines ways that adoptive families, birth families, and adopted children derive meaning from the adoption experience is also necessary for facilitating the best possible outcomes for all the members of the adoption kinship network. The current study seeks to examine motivations and meaning –making as they intersect with religiosity/spirituality by incorporating a variety of perspectives within the adoption kinship network (birth family, the adopted person, and the adoptive family network). The proposed project centers around the following goals: (1) examining the impact of religious motivations for adoption by prospective adoptive parents, and (2) describing ways that religiosity/spirituality are used to give meaning to the adoption and the impact this has on outcomes for the child and family.

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Emily Helder

Emily Helder

Associate Professor
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