Researchers Looking to Learn from Adoptive Parents, Families

If you or your organization work with adoptive families or children, now is the time for their voices to be heard as part of a major research project.

The New York-based Donaldson Adoption Institute is making a final push on a new survey exploring the experiences and needs of different types of adoptive families, in the hopes of informing and enhancing the training of adoption professionals. The institute is also conducting surveys on the role and influence of the internet in adoption.

The first survey has elicited about 1,600 responses thus far, according to Dr. David Brodzinsky, who is leading the project with Dr. Jeanne Howard of the Institutional Review Board of Illinois State University. The team would like to push the number of responses closer to 2,000, he told The Chronicle of Social Change.

“The goal of the study is to increase our knowledge of the post-placement needs of adopted children and their parents so as to improve adoption professional training and develop more effective services for adoptive families,” says a letter from the two researchers to potential parents.

Of particular interest in the study is the experience of gay adoptive parents, and those involved in transracial adoptions, when compared to other adoptive families. The issue of transracial adoption was recently brought by former foster youth Jaclyn Casey at a Congressional briefing in Washington, D.C.

When the federal Multiethnic Placement Act was updated in 1996, Casey argues, the subtle removal of the word “solely” in that phrase left state agencies spooked about even discussing race with prospective adoptive parents.

The impact of that, Casey said at the briefing, is a lack of preparation for white parents who are adopting minority children, particularly African-American children.

Parents can fill out the questionnaire online, by E-mail, or by regular mail. This is a confidential survey, requiring no sharing of identifying information.

For the family survey: Click here to access the survey online, or e-mail Brodzinsky to receive a copy by e-mail.

For the Adoption and the Internet survey – which is available to parents, children and child welfare workers – click here.

John Kelly is the editor-in-chief of The Chronicle of Social Change

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John Kelly
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John Kelly is editor-in-chief of The Chronicle of Social Change.

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