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Waiting for adoption : Coping with uncertainty

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Title: Waiting for adoption : Coping with uncertainty
Author: Frank, Sharon Lynn
Degree Master of Social Work - MSW
Program Social Work
Copyright Date: 1994
Abstract: Waiting for adoption has been acknowledged in the literature as potentially problematic and stressful, yet this has not been the subject of research. In Saskatchewan during the 1980s, the supply of children available for adoption has diminished and the demand for adoption by infertile couples has increased. One of the results of this imbalance has been increased waiting times for prospective adopters. Guided by grounded theory, this qualitative, exploratory, retrospective study of the experience of waiting for adoption focuses upon the period of time between agency approval of the adoption application and the selection or placement of a child. Data was gathered by single occasion interviews with nine adoptive families. Coping with uncertainty is the central issue for prospective adopters who enter the waiting period with expectation and hopefulness about their desire to adopt. Primary coping strategies are problem-focused, such as information search and mobilization of support, or emotion-focused, such as denial or distancing. Gender differences in coping strategies were identified. Discrepancies between expected waiting time and experienced waiting time are a key determinate of uncertainty strain. Sensitivity to the passage of time heightens over the course of waiting and perceptions of social support resources may change if they fail to meet waiting adopters' expressed needs for information and support. Perceptions of social workers tended to change as waiting uncertainty increased; they were found to be less accessible, supportive or well-informed. The Adoptive Parents Association was found to be the most consistent and reliable source of information and support. Revising expectations of waiting time appears to provide the most effective management of uncertainty strain. These findings are preliminary and further study is required to confirm and expand them further.
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2429/3537
Series/Report no. UBC Retrospective Theses Digitization Project [http://www.library.ubc.ca/archives/retro_theses/]

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