Gaining balance: Toward a grounded theory of the decision-making processes of applicants for adoption of children with and without disabilities

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The Qualitative Report, Volume 14, Issue 4, pp. 566-603.

A grounded theory is presented of the decision-making processes among applicants when considering available children with and without disabilities for domestic public adoption. Using grounded theory methodology (Strauss & Corbin, 1998), data from 15 adoption applicants were analyzed followed the traditional three coding phases. The central category of Adoption Decision Making is labeled Gaining Balance and was the underpinning concept to all categories and sub-categories (i.e., in parentheses) of the theory: Commitment (e.g., motivation, financial considerations), Persistence (e.g., coping with emotions, counteracting pessimism), and Evaluation (e.g., assessments of personal abilities and resources, assessments of knowledge of potential adoptees’ needs). The results are compared to existing literature and implications for child welfare practices and further research are discussed.

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