University of Worcester Worcester Research and Publications

Symposium: Adoption and Same-Sex Parent Families: International Perspectives on Research, Policy and Practice Paper: New Zealand Professionals’ Beliefs and Attitudes about Placing Children with Same-Sex Couples

Scherman, R. and Misca, Gabriela ORCID: (2018) Symposium: Adoption and Same-Sex Parent Families: International Perspectives on Research, Policy and Practice Paper: New Zealand Professionals’ Beliefs and Attitudes about Placing Children with Same-Sex Couples. In: 6th International Conference on Adoption Research, 8-12 July 2018, Montreal, Quebec, Canada. (Unpublished)

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Aim/Objective: Currently, there are 25 nations that recognise same-sex marriage. New Zealand is one of those countries, having passed its marriage equality legislation in 2013. Commensurate with that law change, lesbian and gay couples also became eligible to adopt as a couple, whereas prior to that, only married couples could adopt children in New Zealand. These global trends appear to be legitimising same-sex relationships. Yet, international research shows that despite statutory rights to marry—and by extension, adopt—same-sex couples continue to experience difficulties when trying to adopt, ostensibly perpetrated by biased adoption workers and agencies. For lesbian and gay couples, is winning their rights to legally marry merely the first step? Do same-sex couples also have to prepare themselves to battle individual and/or agency biases in their quests to adoptive parents? That is the question at the heart of our project.

Method: All participants were recruited via professional bodies who advertised or passed along information about the study including a direct link to the online anonymous questionnaire. Completion of the survey signalled informed consent and no identifying information was collected from participants at any point in the questionnaire. Because studying attitudes and beliefs on socially sensitive topics are highly susceptible to social desirability, for our study we utilized multiple methods to assess and corroborate participants’ beliefs about placing children with same-sex parents. Data were collected using SurveyMonkey. The first part of the survey asked demographic questions such as age, gender, sexual orientation, religiosity, occupation, education, experience working directly with same-sex clients, etc. The second part of the survey obtained data on participants’ beliefs about lesbian and gay adoptions using 24 negative-meaning and positive-meaning statements on a 6-point Likert Scale (1 = Strongly Disagree, 6 = Strongly Agree). The last part of the survey involved the use of a vignette describing a prospective adoptive couple whose gender was ambiguous. Participants were then asked a series of questions based on the couple being male and the same questions for if the couple was female.

Results: A total of 313 respondents completed at least part of the survey. The most pertinent descriptive and inferential results will be discussed. In brief, we found that respondents who were female, younger aged, non-religious, and held liberal political views were more supportive of gay and lesbian adoption.

Conclusions: Overall, our findings strongly mirror those of similar overseas studies. This will be briefly discussed. How the results affect same-sex adopters will also be discussed. Implications of the findings for adoption practice and training will be considered. Plans for expanding the study to other countries will also be outlined.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Additional Information:

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Uncontrolled Discrete Keywords: adoption, same-sex couples, family, children
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology
H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
Divisions: College of Business, Psychology and Sport > School of Psychology
Depositing User: Gabriela Misca
Date Deposited: 30 Jul 2018 10:18
Last Modified: 17 Jun 2020 17:24

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