Adoption Internet Project
Research on how the Internet and social networking are reshaping post adoption life.
The world of adoption is changing – for adopted children, adoptive parents, prospective adopters, birth families, foster carers, and adoption professionals – and the Internet has become a central tool for change.
For example, through social networking all parties in the adoption triad have increased opportunities for connection with their peers, and for affiliation and support that were otherwise difficult to find.
Issues for adoptive families primarily relate to the ways in which the Internet and in particular social media, such as Facebook, are facilitating search and reshaping contact between adoptive parents, adoptees, and birth families.
The problems as well as the opportunities that social media can bring have become familiar to adoption professionals through personal experiences and shared anecdotal accounts.
To date however, there has been little systematic research into how adoptive family lives are being reshaped by the Internet. For example, how do adoptive and birth families use online communication to manage their contact? How does emotional distance regulation work online? What factors create problems for the parties, and which circumstances lead to breakdown of online contact?
For 2016 I’m starting some new research to look into these issues.
I’m thinking of three phases for the project.
1. To begin with, I’m aiming to review our existing knowledge about how the Internet, social networking, and mobile technologies are reshaping post-adoption life for adoptive families; to gather current information and advice from around the web; and to nurture ideas for empirical research.
2. Second, I want to integrate some perspectives from Internet psychology that may help us to understand how the interaction between psychological processes, social activities and communication technologies shapes online communication for adoptive families. At this stage I’m thinking in terms of processes such as acquaintanceship, attraction, identity, trust, privacy, emotion communication and relationship development and dissolution.
3. In the third stage I plan to gather stories, accounts and survey data that will help us further understand how the Internet and digital technologies are integrated into the lives of adoptive families, so that we can learn from each other and develop better strategies to navigate adoption relationships online.
If you’re interested in following the research and learning more about the issues with me, please sign up to join my email list for the Adoption Internet Project.
In regular emails I’ll give you:
- my ideas and articles about the research issues
- brief notes and links to published research
- video recordings of presentations by researchers
- audio recordings of interviews with researchers and professionals
- information about relevant books concerning the Internet and adoption
- summaries and links to tips for adoptive families by adoption professionals
- and anything else that seems useful.