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Preparing for parenthood. Adoption assessment as an institutional process.


Becoming a parent involves a highly private decision. However, adults who want to adopt a child are asked to open their private lives to the institutional gaze. Prior to the adoption, prospective adoptive parents must participate in mandatory parenting courses and reveal their inner concerns and feelings to the scrutiny of social services. The assessment process is motivated by the societal concern to protect the adoptive child’s rights and to secure the best interests of the child. Encounters between the professionals and the individual citizen become a crucial locus for assessment of what a child needs in order to develop optimally and of what applicants need to know, how they need to act and talk in order to prove their capabilities as adoptive parents. In parenting courses and assessment interviews such requirements and otherwise implicit expectations become visible, simultaneously creating a normative framework for the institutional decision of people’s suitability for adoptive parenthood.

This project aims to examine the assessment of prospective parenthood as an institutional process. The focus is: how the professionals (responsible for parenting courses and assessment interviews) and prospective parents produce or negotiate knowledge, taken for granted norms and notions characterizing suitable parenthood. The project comprises three sub-studies that together cover the adoption assessment process: 1) mandatory parenting courses 2) assessment interviews 3) written reports to the municipal social welfare committees. The studies are grounded in a well-established research tradition for the analysis of institutional encounters and social work interactions (comprising the production of institutional texts and talk). The project will contribute to international and Swedish research on adoption, assessment processes in social work, and the organization of talk and texts in institutional encounters between professionals and lay-persons.


Project duration: 2016-2019

Funder:  Finansieras av Forskningsrådet för hälsa, arbetsliv och välfärd (Forte)

Contact person:

Cecilia Lindgren
+46 13 28 29 27

Asta Cekaite
+46 13 28 26 74

Judith Lind
+46 13 28 29 01

Madeleine Wirzén
+46 13 28 46 26



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Page manager: cecilia.lindgren@liu.se
Last updated: Mon Sep 12 11:43:51 CEST 2016