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Document Type

Feature Article

Publication Date

Fall 9-1-2006

Publication Title

Washington University Undergraduate Research Digest: WUURD 2(1)


Faculty Mentor: Melissa Jonson-Reid

his project was designed to analyze the problem of foster care chil- dren in the United States left waiting for adoptive homes. Research was conducted in order to uncover the factors preventing adoptive parents from adopting waiting children, as well as to understand the demographics of people who adopt available children. This study sur- veyed adoption services providers in private adoption agencies (including workers that handle the three types of adoption: Domestic Public/Special Needs, International and Domestic-Private) about the important characteristics of adoptive children and the adoptive process. The survey also collected adoptive parent demographic infor- mation. Findings from this study indicated that there are certain char- acteristics that make children less appealing to adoptive parents, specifically, if a child is older than age five, has a moderate to high level of disabilities, or is the member of a sibling group of three or more children. As for the adoption process, adoption service providers indicated that parents are very concerned with the ease and cost of the process. There were also certain adoptive parent charac- teristics that made them significantly more likely to work with Domestic-Public/Special Needs adoption workers, and consequently more likely to adopt waiting foster children.

From the Washington University Undergraduate Research Digest: WUURD, Volume 2, Issue 1, Fall 2006. Published by the Office of Undergraduate Research.

Henry Biggs, Director of Undergraduate Research and Associate Dean in the College of Arts & Sciences; Joy Zalis Kiefer, Undergraduate Research Coordinator, Editor, and Assistant Dean in the College of Arts & Sciences.


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