The Assessment of Prospective Adoptive Parents


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, and this is motivated by the concern to protect the adoptive child's rights and best interest. In this project we study the assessment process preceding an adoption.

The project aims to examine the assessment of prospective parenthood as an institutional process. It focuses on how social work professionals and prospective parents produce or negotiate knowledge, taken for granted norms and notions characterizing suitable parenthood. Encounters between the social workers and adoption applicants 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 assessment interviews and reports such requirements and otherwise implicit expectations become visible, simultaneously creating a normative framework for the institutional decision of people’s suitability for adoptive parenthood. The studies conducted within the project are grounded in a well-established research tradition for the analysis of institutional text and talk and social work interactions. They 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.

The research procedure was reviewed and approved by the Regional Ethical Review Board, Linköping, Sweden.

The research project

Preparing for parenthood. Adoption assessment as an institutional process.


This project was funded by the Swedish Research Council for Health, Working Life and Welfare, grant number 2015-00542.

Researches in the project


Cover of publication ''
Judith Lind, Cecilia Lindgren (2017)

Child & Family Social Work , Vol.22 , s.53-63 Continue to DOI

Cover of publication ''
Cecilia Lindgren (2016)

Doing good parenthood: ideas and practices of parental involvement , s.17-27 Continue to DOI