- November 2017
- Vol. 18, No. 8
Construct of "Ideal" Adoptive Families in Online Foster Adoption Photolistings
About one-quarter of the more than 400,000 children in foster care in the United States are waiting to be adopted into permanent families. However, according to a recent Adoption Quarterly article, adopting a child through the foster care system is still considered by some to be the "third best" way to form a family, following natural birth and private adoption. Further, there are often barriers to adopting from foster care, such as children having case goals of reunification or kinship adoption, that keep these children from finding permanent homes with adoptive families.
The article, "'A Family for Every Child': Discursive Constructions of 'Ideal' Adoptive Families in Online Foster Adoption Photolistings That Promote Adoption of Children From Foster Care," examines the narratives written by child welfare workers for photolistings in www.afamilyforeverychild.org. The authors discuss the importance of understanding how child welfare professionals depict potential permanent families, especially in light of the cultural assumption that families with biological ties are superior. The study highlighted in the article focuses on relational dialectics theory, which is described as how particular meanings are socially constructed and sustained through the competition of discourses for dominance in a given culture.
The authors found that simply using "forever family" can help undercut the notion that family is always based on biological ties as well as emphasize the permanent nature of the adoption. In addition, including awaiting children's perspectives may prove beneficial in encouraging adoption from foster care.
"'A Family for Every Child': Discursive Constructions of 'Ideal' Adoptive Families in Online Foster Adoption Photolistings That Promote Adoption of Children From Foster Care," by Lindsey J. Thomas and Kristina M. Scharp (Adoption Quarterly, 20), is available at http://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/10926755.2016.1263261.