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Soc. Sci. 2018, 7(12), 257;

Parenting under Adversity: Birth Parents’ Accounts of Inequality and Adoption

Centre for Trust, Peace and Social Relations, Coventry University, Coventry CV1 5FB, UK
Centre for Innovative Research across the Lifecourse, Coventry University, Coventry CV1 5FB, UK
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 6 October 2018 / Revised: 14 November 2018 / Accepted: 28 November 2018 / Published: 6 December 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Child Protection and Social Inequality)
Full-Text   |   PDF [220 KB, uploaded 6 December 2018]


This paper aims to highlight inequality in current adoption processes and procedures in England and Wales. Whilst inequality has been recognised in adoption research, the role of social structures is often neglected. Inequality within social structures plays a role in the process of the permanent removal of children to be adopted and is worthy of further attention. Birth parent voices can contribute to a wider understanding of adoption, but often remain hidden. Empirical research findings highlight how birth parents may find that their adverse experiences are exacerbated by the adoption process, the emotional impact causing existing problems to increase, and through the impact of the adoption process on birth parent’s socio-economic status. Findings also illustrate how birth parents’ experiences were influenced by ideals of motherhood and ideas about ‘risk’ to children. The paper contributes to the growing area of research which illuminates the intersection of poverty, deprivation and child protection services and the wider contemporaneous debate concerning adoption in England and Wales. View Full-Text
Keywords: Adoption; inequality; birth parents; gender; adversity Adoption; inequality; birth parents; gender; adversity
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Lewis, S.; Brady, G. Parenting under Adversity: Birth Parents’ Accounts of Inequality and Adoption. Soc. Sci. 2018, 7, 257.

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