Document Type

Honors Project

First Advisor

Dr. Michele Strano

Degree Award Date

Fall 2013


Race, ethnicity, adoption, adoption process, adoption agencies, websites, photographs


Communication Technology and New Media | Gender, Race, Sexuality, and Ethnicity in Communication | Graphic Communications | Public Relations and Advertising


Stereotypical views about race influence the adoption process in several ways. First, according to Maldonado (2006), there are higher nUlilbers of African American children waiting to be adopted as opposed to white children. In addition, adoption agencies may try to match the race of adoptive children and the parents in order to create a more "biological looking" family. However, this can further delay the adoption of certain children. Lastly, certain stereotypes about the "natural" strengths of different races may influence the decision of what race of child is chosen to be adopted.

This study examined whether these problematic perceptions of race are replicated and reinforced on adoption agency websites. A content analysis of photographs on the websites was conducted in order to determine if a certain race was depicted more dominantly on the websites, if children were pictured with adults of the same or different race, and if the children supported stereotypical activities performed by certain races. Race was defined by the observable physical characteristics of children on the websites.