Rudd Adoption Research Program Dissertations

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  • Publication
    The Intersectionality of Race, Adoption and Parenting: How White Adoptive Parents of Asian Born Children Talk About Race Within the Family
    (2012-01-01) Dolan, Jen H
    Transracial adoption has been a controversial form of adoption since it came into vogue in the United States in the 1950s. In 1972, The National Association of Black Social Workers (NABSW) established a decree stating transracial adoption was akin to cultural genocide because they were concerned that under the tutelage of White parents, Black children would not learn the skills needed to survive in a racist society. Whereas the NABSW was looking out for the well being of domestic children of color, there was no corresponding advocate for children of color adopted internationally. Recognizing that large numbers of children are adopted from Asia, racism is still an issue for people of color and not all White people are aware of the extent that racism exists in our society, I set out to learn if and how White adoptive parents of Asian born children talk about race related issues within the context of the family. This dissertation shares the insights and experiences of White parents from nine families who adopted children from Korea and the Philippines. The goal of the study was to learn if and how White parents talk to their Asian born children about racism, how comfortable and confident they feel having those conversations and who they turn to when they need help in supporting their children around race related issues. The results indicate that before children reached adolescence, they were much more open and willing to share upsetting events with their parents. Pre-adolescent youth turned to their parents for comfort, support and guidance. During the teen years, communication between parents and children decreased thus limiting the parent’s influence about imparting wisdom about how to navigate race related situations. The final chapter offers recommendations for practice, research and policy.
  • Publication
    Adoptee Information Seeking: Changes between Adolescence and Emerging Adulthood and the Impact of Adoption Communicative Openness
    (2009-01-01) Skinner-Drawz, Brooke Alison
    This dissertation examined changes in information seeking intentions and behaviors between adolescence and emerging adulthood for a group of adoptees who did not have direct contact with birth relatives in adolescence. Associations between information seeking in emerging adulthood and life cycle events typical of emerging adulthood, gender, and Adoption Communicative Openness were also examined. Data from 119 adoptees and their adoptive mothers were used from Waves 2 (1996-2000) and 3 (2005-2008) of the Minnesota-Texas Adoption Research Project (Grotevant & McRoy, 1998). Degree of information seeking between adolescence (Wave 2) and emerging adulthood (Wave 3) increased for the majority of adoptees (62.2%). Approximately 16% of adoptees experienced no change in information seeking and 22% of adoptees experienced a decrease in information seeking. Females were more likely to exhibit a greater increase in information seeking change between Waves 2 and 3 and information seeking at Wave 3 than males. Life cycle events typical of emerging adulthood including living out of adoptive parents’ home, being in a committed romantic relationship, and being a parent were not associated with information seeking in emerging adulthood. Number of life cycle events experienced also was not associated with information seeking in emerging adulthood. Adoption Communicative Openness was positively associated with degree of information seeking in emerging adulthood. Results suggest that adoptee information seeking is a dynamic process that takes place over several life stages and that open communication about adoption within the adoptive family supports adoptee information seeking.