Religiosity and Adoption

Authored by: Emily Helder , Elisha Marr

The Routledge Handbook Of Adoption

Print publication date:  March  2020
Online publication date:  February  2020

Print ISBN: 9781138362505
eBook ISBN: 9780429432040
Adobe ISBN:


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This chapter examines the relationship between religiosity and the activities of potential and current adoptive parents by considering the ways this information can better inform pre- and post-adoption practice. Several measurements of religiosity have been found to be predictors of whether women consider or take steps to adopt a child. However, no one measure of religiosity is consistently found to impact a woman’s willingness to adopt. Also, levels of religiosity might play a greater role in non-Hispanic White women’s propensity to seek to adopt, than among Black and Hispanic women. When studies directly assess for religious motivations among adoptive parents, these motivations are present in a consistent subgroup of families who adopt children. Additionally, research has linked these motivations with choices parents make in the adoptive process and with parenting practices. The research examining the link between religious motivations to adopt and outcomes for children and families is currently quite small and findings are quite mixed. Last, qualitative studies have examined the use of religious meaning-making in the adoptive process and have found several themes in adoptive parents’ descriptions.

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