'Making' a family: The motives and practices of foster parenting

Zhanna Chernova, Larisa Shpakovskaya

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterScientificpeer-review


The chapter examines the discursive practices of foster parents as they attempt to make sense of parenthood and family. The meaningful context of parental narratives is the problematisation and sometimes stigmatisation of fostering at the level of wider social attitudes and media discourse. The controversial meaningful context explains the need for discursive justifications of parental decision to foster children. Three research questions structure the chapter: (1) how foster parents talk and what family and parenthood mean for them; (2) how foster parents justify their decision to foster; and (3) what practices are mentioned in these narratives. The chapter is based on an analysis of a corpus of texts written by foster parents about their parental experience. One conclusion reached here is that foster care is often presented in parental narratives as meaningfully equal to birth parenthood. Several justification strategies of discursive foster family and foster parenthood building were identified and are examined in the chapter.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationReforming Child Welfare in the Post-Soviet Space : Institutional Change in Russia
EditorsMeri Kulmala, Maija Jäppinen, Anna Tarasenko, Anna Pivovarova
Number of pages18
Place of PublicationAbingdon
Publication date2021
Article number7
ISBN (Print)9780367904241
ISBN (Electronic)9781003024316
Publication statusPublished - 2021
MoE publication typeA3 Book chapter

Publication series

NameAdvances in Social Work

Fields of Science

  • 5141 Sociology

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