The Center for Research on Families is thrilled to congratulate Rachel Farr on her recent Wayne F. Placek award in the amount of $15,000. This grant, sponsored by the American Psychology Foundation, encourages researchers to increase the general public's understanding of homosexuality and sexual orientation and to alleviate the stress that lesbian women, gay men, bisexuals and transgender people experience now and in the future.
Farr is continuing the first longitudinal comparison of adoptive families between lesbian or gay and heterosexual parents with school-age children. Farr is a Research Assistant Professor of Psychology and works at the Rudd Adoption Research Center and has dedicated her career to studying adoptive families.
Farr is using this grant to study the adjustment of children adopted by same-sex couples to inform policy debates about whether prospective parents' sexual orientation should be considered when screening adoptive families.
She explains, “Adoption by lesbian and gay adults remains controversial in the United States, and yet the numbers of lesbian and gay adoptive parents are increasing. Thus, longitudinal research with diverse adoptive families is vital in assessing what factors predict the health and wellness of children and parents over time. The results will inform critical policy questions about the suitability of adoption by lesbian and gay, and will guide post-adoption services essential to successful adoptive placements and overall family health.”
Farr's work has important ramifications for the more than 100,000 U.S. children waiting to be adopted. When asked about the opportunity to continue her work, Farr said that she is “very excited and grateful to have received the Placek Grant. Without such financial support, a second wave of data collection for this research would not be possible, as our participating adoptive families live all across the country.” Through this work, she will be able to shed light on this highly debated topic and inform the decisions of policymakers, parents, and anyone considering adoption.
Her research will prove to be invaluable to her work with the Rudd Adoption Center as well who is holding their 5th annual conference this April 11th and 12th which is entitled, “Contact Between Adoptive and Birth Families; What Works?”. The program seeks to develop synergy among scientists, practitioners, and policymakers from varied disciplines who share interests in the many topics relevant to adoption. The ultimate goal of these activities is to contribute to evidence-based practice in adoption and to provide research-based information that will influence policy at agency, state, federal, and international levels.
(For more information about the conference or Rachel Farr go to: http://psych.umass.edu/ruddchair/annualconference/ or http://www.psych.umass.edu/ruddchair/staff/)