Rudd Adoption Research Scholars have received graduate level training in adoption research during residence in the Rudd Adoption Research Program. This includes graduate students who have participated in the Rudd Adoption Research Lab at UMass Amherst, participants in the Rudd Summer Adoption Research Institutes, and visiting scholars to the Rudd Adoption Research Program.
Intern at Family Studies and Research University Centre, Catholic University of the Sacred Heart of Milan
Petra is part of a national research group that investigates family transitions such as adoption and explores topics such as emotional and behavior problems, alcohol & drug abuse, and the likelihood of admission to psychiatric clinics. She is involved in a cross cultural study that aims to examine the adjustment and quality of family and social relationships of adolescents adopted within four different European countries. Petra’s past research includes a clinical project that explored the fundamentals of team work and an experiment that consisted of observing different professionals (psychologists, social workers, educators, etc.) working with prisoners for rehabilitation. She has attended several adoption conferences globally.
Special Assistant Professional, Missouri Department of Social Services
Dr. Alyssa Bish is a Special Assistant Professional for the Missouri Department of Social Services, Children’s Division. She has seven years of combined work experience leading, managing, and building strong foster care networks through evidence-based practice. Her research has focused primarily on sibling relationships and resilience outcomes for foster and adopted children. Alyssa serves as a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) for children in foster care. Being involved in her local community has brought a personal and unique perspective to her research, allowing her to understand the complexities of navigating diversity and sustaining strong family ties with birth, foster, and adoptive families. Her goal in this work is to better understand the lived experiences of children in foster care and how it impacts their family identity. Alyssa is a strong advocate for using research to inform foster and adoption policy in an effort to help families have strong, healthy relationships.
Graduate Student, University of Massachusetts Amherst
Krystal Cashen is a sixth-year developmental science student at UMass Amherst working with Dr. Harold Grotevant. Krystal's research interests center around how experiences unique to diverse family contexts (e.g., adoptive families, LGBT-parented families) are associated with relational and identity outcomes in emerging adulthood. In addition to her research interests, Krystal is interested in the integration of diversity and inclusive teaching practices in undergraduate psychology courses.
Associate Professor, University of Missouri
Dr. Colleen Colaner's is an assistant professor at the University of Missouri. Her research examines how communication shapes and sustains relationships in complex, diverse, and modern family structures and experiences. A major focus of her research is communication in adoptive families, examining how parental communication facilitates the formation of adoptive identity and sustains open adoption relationships with birth families. She also researches links between family communication and diverse social identities, such as religious, political, and feminist identification, as well as children's perceptions of family communication.
Dr. Colaner’s work has been published in international, national, and specialty journals and has been funded by the Organization for Research on Women in Communication. Dr. Colaner is also the founder and co-director of the Institute of Family Diversity and Communication (www.ifdc.missouri.edu), an interdisciplinary working group of researchers examining issues facing modern families.
Sarah Côté Auger
Graduate Student, School of Social Work, University of Montreal
Sarah’s research primarily focuses on adoption-from-care and the youth protection system. Her master’s thesis explored the construction of adoptive identity for young people aged 14 to 21 adopted through a foster-to-adopt program in Quebec. In addition, she has previous experience working as a research assistant on projects related to the context of youth protection. Sarah aspires to develop professional expertise in the field of foster-care placements and adoption, and to promote the sharing of knowledge in order to provide quality services to better serve adopted youth and their families.
Graduate Student, Catholic University of Milan
My name is Francesca Danioni and I am a PhD student in Social Psychology at the Catholic University of Milan, where I collaborate at the Family Studies and Research University Centre. I work under the supervision of Professor Rosa Rosnati and Professor Daniela Barni. My research interests mainly deal with value development and family relations, with regard as well to intergenerational relationships and adoptive families. I am currently collaborating on a cross cultural research project that aims at investigating the adjustment of a sample of adopted adolescents (13- 17 years of age) and the quality of family and social relationships in adoptive families. Adoptive families from four different European countries (Italy, France, Norway, and Spain) will take part in this study.
Amélie De Serres-Lafontaine
Graduate Student, Department of Psychology (Clinical and Research), University of Quebec in Trois-Rivières
Amélie’s research has centered on parental commitment and its impact on outcomes of adopted children. She is involved in a longitudinal study that investigates the evolution of parenting throughout placement and changes in placement, as well as the impact changes may have on child development. The study collected data from biological parents, their children, and the foster parents. She has been able to utilize the data to address expressive and receptive language delays and various characteristics of placement trajectory.
Graduate Student, Interdisciplinary Studies, Union Institute & University; Lecturer, Department of English & Literature, Utah Valley University
Liz is interested in the fields of adoption and feminism and their intersectionality. Through her research she is investigating the impact societal norms and values have on birth mothers and ways that adoption facilitates a solution for families with fertility issues. As an adoptee herself, she draws upon her personal experience to critically assess the existing, but small amount, of literature that discusses the link between adoption and feminism. Through this exploration she aims to reveal inequities in adoption due to social construct.
Research Professional, CHU de Québec Research Center
Béatrice graduated with her Ph.D. in clinical psychology from Laval University. She completed her doctoral thesis entitled " Inuit customary adoption in Nunavik and child behaviors at school age" under the direction of Dr. Gina Muckle. She is currently involved in several research projects focusing on the "adoption-from-care" context in Québec with Dr. Geneviève Pagé and Dr. Marie-Andrée Poirier.
Graduate Student, Paris-Descartes University
Simonella is a socio-policital scientist and is currently pursuing her Ph.D at Paris-Descartes University. Her doctoral research focuses on a comparison of adoption policies and practices in France and Germany following World War 2. She has previously been involved in the Expertise- und Forschungszentrum Adoption (Expert and Research Center on Adoption) project in Germany.
Mercedes Fernández Oromendia
Clinical Psychology Postdoctoral Fellow, University of California, Los Angeles
Mercedes previously worked in a research lab at the University of Minnesota as an undergraduate focusing on the wellbeing of international and national adoptees which led to her current role at UCLA TIES (Training, Intervention, Education, and Services) for Families. At UCLA TIES she provides a wide range of services to help the development of foster children and their families. She is involved in a project developing manualized treatment to support the welfare of families who have adopted children transracially. She is committed to move the field forward by developing a body of work that focuses on systematically analyzing the needs and strengths of foster-adoptive families.
Graduate Student, School of Social Work, University of Hong Kong
Marty’s research focuses on adoption, foster care, and family formation in Asia, including open adoption and LGBT parenting. His Ph.D. dissertation explores legislative and policy assessments of adoption and foster care systems in both Hong Kong and Taiwan. Due to the scarcity of ongoing discourse that focuses on eastern countries regarding this topic, he is devoted to building more eastern-based research around adoption, non-biological family formation, and related policy and legal issues within the Asia Pacific region. Additionally, Marty is interested in the opportunity to learn about LGBT or sexual-minority populations and their inclusion in adoption and family-formation systems.
Graduate Student, Clark University
Reihonna Frost is a third year doctoral student in Clinical Psychology at Clark University. She received her undergraduate degree in Psychology from Oberlin College. Reihonna’s research interests are united by the basic question, “What works in adoption?” She is curious about what it means to be an adoptive family and how adoption experiences differ for diverse families. She is particularly interested in questions around adoptive siblinghood and sibling groups in foster care and adoption. She has co-authored several papers on diverse adoptive families and their experiences with friends, family, communities, and schools.
Graduate Student, University of Florida
Catherine is a Certified Nurse-Midwife on the Nursing faculty at the University of New Brunswick in Canada and a doctoral student at the University of Florida. She completed her prior education at Duke and Yale Universities. Her primary area of interest is trauma-informed care of the adoptive family, and has an expertise in Social Network Analysis and mixed methods research, which she is applying to complete her dissertation entitled Understanding the social environments of adoption: A mixed methods study of trauma and social integration in adopted adolescents. With a secondary interest in team science, she has also networked twenty-five years of adoption research to identify the relationships that may be leveraged to strengthen the field of adoption research.
Graduate Student, Montclair State University
Elliotte is pursuing her doctorate in Counselor Education at Montclair State University working with Dr. Amanda Baden. She is currently working on her dissertation which involves a qualitative study focusing on the post-placement counseling experiences of birth mothers.
Research Assistant, Deutsches Jugendinstitut e.V. (DJI)
Fabienne Hornfeck has a master´s degree in clinical psychology and is currently working as a research assistant at the “Expertise- und Forschungszentrum Adoption” (Expert and Research Center on Adoption, EFZA) located at the German Youth Institute in Munich (DJI). The EFZA is the first nationwide survey of both the policies and practices of German adoption agencies and the experiences and needs of adoptive families. Fabienne´s research focuses on risk and protective factors for the well-being of adopted children as well as on differences between children adopted through domestic and intercountry adoption in Germany.
In addition to her research work, Fabienne works as a clinical psychologist with a focus on behavioral therapy and is interested in human rights topics.
Postdoctoral Research Scholar, Universidad de La Frontera, Temuco - Chile
Pamela received her Ph.D. in psychology at the University of Cambridge under the supervision of Dr. Susan Golombok. Her dissertation research focused on the psychological development of adoptive children aged 4 to 9 raised in Chilean families in comparison with children living in Chilean institutions as well as factors associated with the psychological development and well-being of adopted children. She is currently a postdoctoral research scholar at the Universidad de la Frontera, Temuco - Chile where her research focuses on topics that contribute to better decision making in child protection.
Clinical Lecturer, Department of Psychiatry, University of Michigan
Dr. Megan Julian is a Clinical Lecturer and Licensed Clinical Psychologist in the Department of Psychiatry at the University of Michigan. She completed her doctorate in Clinical and Developmental Psychology at the University of Pittsburgh, where she was a member of the St. Petersburg-USA Orphanage Research Team. Her current research focuses on how early relational care affects the course of development, and how relationships can be enhanced in order to support children’s development. She studies both typically-developing children in normative contexts (e.g., families, school, daycare) and children exposed to non-normative early experiences (e.g., orphanage rearing, early abuse or neglect) in order to understand how to best support optimal development and how development goes awry when certain expected experiences fail to occur. She is also interested in the psychological (e.g., reflective capacity) and biological (e.g., oxytocin) processes that drive parenting behavior, and how parent- and child-level contextual factors (e.g., child sleep, parent early life stress) facilitate or impede these processes. Dr. Julian has clinical expertise in the assessment and treatment of young children (ages 0-6) and their parents, and sees patients through University of Michigan’s Infant and Early Childhood Clinic.
Graduate Student, University of Minnesota
Adam Kim is a graduate student in the Personality, Individual Differences, and Behavior Genetics Ph.D. program at the University of Minnesota where he works with Dr. Richard M. Lee. Adam's research focuses on issues relevant to transnationally adopted individuals and ethnic-racial minorities with the U.S. He has worked on the development of the Birth Family Thoughts Scale which measures psychological presence of the birth family for transnationally adopted individuals and the Diaspora Identity Scale which is designed to assess the role of a psychologically significant homeland for dispersed individuals.
Graduate Student, University of Massachusetts Amherst
Eun-Jeung Lee is a graduate student in the College of Education at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Her research interests focus on cultural socialization in international adoptive families.
Graduate Student, University of Massachusetts Amherst
Albert Lo is a third-year clinical psychology student at UMass Amherst working with Dr. Grotevant. Albert recently completed his master’s thesis, which focused on adoptive parenting cognitions and their implications for the parent-child relationship. He is also involved in research examining how different trajectories of birth family contact may predict the well-being of adopted individuals in adulthood. Albert is currently the program coordinator for the Adoption Mentoring Partnership (AMP), a partnership between the Rudd Adoption Research Program and Big Brothers Big Sisters of Hampshire County. As program coordinator, he instructs college-age adopted persons who are matched with adopted youths in the community.
Research Associate, Institute of Open Adoption Studies, Sydney School of Education and Social Work, University of Sydney
Betty began her involvement with adoption research as a research associate with the Institute of Open Adoption Studies at the University of Sydney. Her research on open adoption focuses on out-of-home care. She is currently working on a project funded by the New South Wales (NSW) Department of Education in which she reviews case files of adoptions from out-of-home case finalized in 2017, including information about children’s child protection history, birth family contact, decisions about children’s best interests and cultural identity. When concluded, she will present the findings on her investigations into sibling relationships, children’s views of adoption, adverse childhood experiences, judicial decisions on children’s best interests in adoption, and cultural planning for children adopted from out-of-home care.
Postdoctoral Scholar, University of Massachusetts Amherst
Jessica A.K. Matthews is the post-doctoral research scholar for the Rudd Adoption Program. In addition to her own research on adoptive families, she is responsible for managing the undergraduate research laboratory, as well as working on the dissemination and translation of adoption related research for general audiences. She has begun projects surrounding adoptive sibling relationships, and birthfather relationships within the Minnesota Texas Adoption Research Project sample. Jessica received her PhD from Tufts University in Child Study and Human Development in 2017 working with Professor Ellen Pinderhughes. While attending the University of California, Berkeley as an undergraduate, Jessica majored in psychology and political science where she became interested in adoption. Jessica has been studying adoption, international adoption in particular, for the past ten years. Jessica's dissertation research concerned the maltreatment experiences of previously adopted children in the U.S. foster care system, though most of her graduate work focused on early emotion regulation, identity formation, and the ethnic-racial socialization of international and transracial adoptees. Additional research interests include the complexities of transracial adoption, special needs adoption, and the development of children who do not regularly experience parental care worldwide. Jessica is a transplant from California, and she and her husband, Jonathan, live in Northampton, Massachusetts with their three dogs.
Graduate Student, University of Cambridge
Anja McConnachie is a PhD student and Research Assistant at the Centre for Family Research at the University of Cambridge. She joined the CFR in October 2015 to work as Research Assistant on the UK longitudinal study of adoptive two-parent gay father, lesbian mother and heterosexual parent families. The aim of this longitudinal study is to investigate parent-child relationships and the adjustment of adopted children raised in different family structures. Anja’s PhD is supervised by Professor Susan Golombok and focuses on the specific outcomes for boys and girls of being raised in families headed by two mothers, two fathers or by a mother and a father.
Graduate Student, School of Social Work, University of Iowa
As an adoptee herself, Monica began mentoring other adoptees in a pilot program in 2013 at Bethany Christian Services. Her work includes direct collaboration with clinical therapists to implement, monitor, and expand the Adoption Mentor Program which is a facilitated meeting that includes adopted children ages 4-18+, adoptive parents, and birth parents in order to support them through various stages of adoption. Currently, she is in the evaluative stages of her work to confirm the effectiveness of the program. Her primary interests are focused on the direction of future adoption research with regard to mentoring programs. Monica’s past work includes time with the ADOPTS Group Therapy and Experiential Individual Therapy and she has attended post-adoption home-visits with social workers in the assessment phases of the adoption process.
Sandra Melero Santos
Graduate Student, University of Cadiz, Spain.
Sandra is part of a longitudinal study on domestic adoption in Spain. She is involved in the design of the protocols, data collection, coordinating personnel, and data analysis. She has previous experience presenting her research projects at various conferences including the International Conference on Adoption Research (ICAR6) where she presented her research project “Psychological Adjustment in Spanish Adult Adoptees.” Sandra has published various articles on topics including mental health and psychological adjustment in adults who were adopted during their childhood and the psychological adjustment in Spanish young adult domestic adoptees. She is looking forward to networking with other researchers in the field.
Josep Mercadal Rotger
Ph.D., Ramon Llull University - Barcelona
Josep is a researcher working with the Couple and Family Research Group as part of the Vidal and Barraquer Foundation and Ramon Llull University in Barcelona, Spain. Josep recently successfully defended his dissertation entitled "From bond to attachment of the internationally adopted adolescent." His masters degree focused on general sanitary psychology, couple therapy, clinical psychopathology, and psychoanalytic psychotherapy.
Graduate Student, Boston College
Kathleen (Kat) Nielsen is a doctoral student in social work at Boston college where she works with Dr. Ruth McRoy. Through her research, Kat has focused on the post adoption support seeking experiences of women who have relinquished children as well as putative father registries.
Professor, University of Montreal
Geneviève Pagé is a full professor in the Department of Social Work at Université du Québec en Outaouais (Québec, Canada). Her research projects are on adoption from care in Québec. She is mainly interested in the relationships within the adoptive kinship network, adoption communicative openness, adoptive identity, and post-adoption support. She is the Chair for the Sixth International Conference on Adoption Research which will take place in Montréal in July 2018.
Carmen Paniagua Infantes
PhD, University of Seville, Degree in Psychology and M Sc Family Intervention and Mediation
My research group is Developmental and Educational Process in Family and School Contexts, a group from the Developmental and Educational Psychology Department. I work in the following projects: Health Behaviour in School-aged Children (HBSC) Study; Risk factors and breakdowns in adoption and foster care (Factores de riesgo y rupturas en adopción y acogimiento familiar); European study about health behaviours in school-aged children (Estudio europeo sobre las conductas de los escolares relacionadas con la salud); Wellbeing and developmental in adolescents with different trajectories of adversity and recovery. Personal, family and social challenges (Bienestar y desarrollo de adolescentes con distintas trayectorias de adversidad y recuperación. Retos personales, familiares y sociales).
Anne Marie Shier
Graduate Student, Social Sciences, University College Cork; Lecturer, Technological University Dublin
Anne Marie’s current research focuses on the reunion experiences of intercountry adoptees in Ireland. Her research is the first Irish research to focus specifically on the reunion experiences of intercountry adoptees. Anne Marie is equipped with rich research experience, as well as with practical experience in the field of adoption. She has worked as a social worker and gained a vast amount of experience as a practitioner. These previous roles provided her with a unique perspective regarding inadequacies in systems that facilitate the well-being of adopted/foster children.
Graduate Student, Experimental Psychology (Developmental Concentration), University of Kentucky
Kyle is currently involved in several projects focusing on LGBTQ+ identity, (future) parenthood, and family dynamics within adoptive families. Much of his research explores the development and maintenance of narratives (e.g., perceptions of future parenthood) or relationship dynamics (parent-child relationship quality following discriminatory experiences) among diverse and understudied populations especially LGBTQ+ individuals and/or adoptees. In the long-term, he is hoping that he will maintain two lines of research: one dedicated to LGBTQ+ identity and the other to adoption and the intersectionality of these topics.
PhD, Psychology and Education Sciences, Porto University, Portugal, Fellowship researcher, Group for Research and Intervention
Joana has been working in the field of adoption for over ten years. She started her journey as an adoption researcher by completing her master’s thesis on adoption communication in the context of the first Portuguese adoption research project. Through this work she noticed the lack of national literature and research on this topic. Her doctoral dissertation focused on the social competence of school-aged adopted children, aiming to identify their individual (child-related), family (parent and parent-child relationship related) and out-of-family (school/teachers and classmates-related) predictors. Her goal is to continue her career in adoption research and develop post-doctoral research based on surveys that follow adoptive families in the post-adoption period.
Graduate Student, University of California, Riverside
Sofia has a broad background in clinical, forensic, and developmental psychology. She is currently working on several projects that touch on comprehensive facets of adoption research including the intricate role of individual and familial factors on the well-being of children and adolescents. She has papers in the process of journal submission using adoptive families as the sample. Sofia is interested in the development of the ethnic/racial identity in cross cultural and cross racial adoption cases. She looks forward to expanding the breadth of her knowledge and the depth of her understanding of adoption research..
Manager, Program Development & Youth Transition Services, Adoption Rhode Island
Katheryn Tavares, MSW is the primary person responsible for data, evaluation, and research for Adoption Rhode Island, the state’s adoption exchange and leading resource for adoption and permanency-related policy and practice. Katheryn was the lead in developing a program to evaluate the use of several adoption-competent and trauma-informed practices to improve outcomes at risk of aging out of foster care without permanency and has a research goal to explore how to continue to use research and evaluation to inform advocacy and policymaking. Katheryn has over 10 years of experience in human services, including community engagement, systems advocacy, program development and administrative leadership. In addition to her work at Adoption Rhode Island, Katheryn serves as Adjunct Faculty at the Rhode Island College School of Social Work. She earned both her Bachelors and Masters in Social Work from Rhode Island College and completed Dr. Joyce McGuire Pavao’s All Adoptions Consulting and Training (AACT) Certificate Program in Adoption Competency.
Graduate Student, School of Social Work, Université de Montréal
Johanne’s research interest as a master’s student was to understand international-adult adoptees’ experience in regard to contact with birth families initiated through communication technology. In early 2018, Johanne began her involvement with a project investigating adoptive parents’ international adoption journey. She was a member of a student committee that assisted in the organization of the ICAR6 conference. Her long-term goal is to explore the issues internationally adopted adults face in order to properly offer services and resources to facilitate success through their journey.
Graduate Student, Experimental Psychology (Developmental Psychology concentration), University of Kentucky
Cassandra is interested in sexuality communication among adoptive families and families headed by sexual and gender minority parents. Specifically, she would like to explore how family structure (e.g., LGBTQ parents; adoptive status) interacts with family processes (e.g., parent-child attachment) and shapes parent-child communication characteristics and explanatory mechanisms of adolescent sexuality, relationships, and associated developmental outcomes. She is currently involved in several projects, including retrospective narratives of emerging adults for reported feelings of difference in childhood based on gender or sexuality, and a study focusing on the perspectives of birth relatives’ experiences of contact with adoptive families headed by parents diverse in sexual orientation.
Data Manager/Analyst, Rudd Adoption Research Program
Dongwei joined the Rudd Adoption Research Program in February 2018 after completing her graduate studies in educational psychology & quantitative research methods. Her expertise includes knowledge of a variety of statistical techniques and she continues to learn additional data management and research skills. She is primarily responsible for managing data analysis and providing consultation for faculty and students conducting family and adoption related research. Dongwei also serves as a methodology consultant for the Center for Research on Families where she provides consultation services in study design and statistical analysis.
Graduate Student, Developmental Psychology, University of California, Riverside
Jing is currently working with adoption data examining the relationship between infertility and parenting stress. She is using adoption data to examine the impact of social skills on peer acceptance on adopted children. In addition, her interests include the development of ethnic/racial identity among international/transracial adoptees. Jing has extensive experience working in research labs globally. Her past research includes conducting lab observations and interviewing children and parents to collect datasets to code child behavior. Her long-term goal is to bridge the gap between adoption research and the real life application in the adoption community.
Postdoctoral Fellow, Clinical Psychology, University of California, Los Angeles
Erica’s research interests shifted from trauma-informed care in schools, and deaf and hard of hearing towards adoption-specific questions when she began her fellowship position with UCLA TIES for Families. She currently serves as co-lead on two different research projects: one of them focuses on infant mental health within the foster care and foster-adopt population; the other examines the effect of several medical risk factors on the development of parent-child attachment bonds. Her professional objective is to contribute to research for attachment-based and trauma-informed interventions for adoptive and foster-adopt families.
Graduate Student, Virginia Commonwealth University
Annie Wright is a fourth-year Clinical Developmental Scholar in Virginia Commonwealth University's clinical psychology doctoral program. She works with Dr. Wendy Kliewer studying risk and resilience in at-risk youth. Specifically, her interests include understanding the varying patterns of adjustment seen among youth in foster or orphanage care, along with protective factors and predictors of positive youth adjustment within these settings. Outside of her research work she teaches a parenting class to incarcerated parents, supporting their efforts to build and maintain strong positive relationships with their children throughout their time of separation and eventual reunification.
Adeline Wyman Battalen
Graduate Student, Boston College
Adeline "Addie" Wyman Battalen, MSSW, LICSW is a doctoral candidate at the Boston College School of Social Work. She is a licensed clinical social worker and practiced school social work and family therapy for eight years prior to enrolling at Boston College. She holds a Master of Science in Social Work from Columbia University and a Bachelor of Arts degree from Earlham College. Her research interests include the mental health and well-being of diverse families; specifically the intersections of gay/lesbian and interracial parenting, adoption, and the transition to parenthood. Addie has experience teaching at the BSW level (Diversity), MSW level (HBSE, Social Action & Advocacy, Child Welfare Policy), and as a Teaching Assistant at the Doctoral level (Social Welfare Policy, Adoption & Foster Care).
Graduate Student, Tufts University
Xian Zhang is a graduate student of Child Study and Human Development at Tufts University. Her research revolves around the role of culture in children and families. She currently works with Dr. Ellen Pinderhughes on the depth of birth culture exposure in adoptive families raising children who are of a different race to parents. Xian’s other research project examines transnational separation among Chinese immigrant families. She hopes to understand ways in which culture is related to the practice of sending U.S.-born babies to China to be raised by grandparents.