Since 1992 thousands of U.S. families have adopted children from China. Parents wishing to adopt a Chinese child must work with the China Center of Adoption Affairs (CCAA), which writes and enforces the regulations for domestic and international adoptions. In December 2006 the CCAA suddenly announced it would soon implement dramatic new restrictions on parents seeking to adopt a child from China. This prompted parents enrolled in China's international adoption program to actively seek sources of information about the CCAA's rule changes. Many people turned to the www.chinaadopttalk.com website--more commonly known as the Rumor Queen. This dissertation utilizes case study research strategy and employs several qualitative research methods to investigate the broad topics and themes explored in the Rumor Queen website and to specifically examine the "uses and gratifications" associated with this site. To answer the main research questions posed in this dissertation I analyzed the 3,270 postings users created on the Rumor Queen blog in December 2006. Second, I interviewed informants who used the Rumor Queen blog during their personal adoption journeys. Third, I conducted interviews with adoption agency officials. Fourth, I conducted a search and analyzed the December 2006 mainstream media coverage of the CCAA rule changes. The findings in this dissertation suggest the participants in the "Rumor Queen" site reflect the uses and gratifications theoretical framework in mass communication research. This theory assumes that people use media with purpose, selectively, and actively to satisfy their needs and wants. This case study suggests implications for journalism and mass communication. 1) People will create other sources for communication and information. 2) Individuals actively seek information sources when their information needs are not being met with "traditional" media platforms. 3) The "Rumor Queen" blog helps to fill what many adoptive parents perceive as a communication void due to a lack of reporting in traditional mass media, and the reluctance of adoption officials to share information.
University of Minnesota Ph.D. dissertation. January 2014. Major: Mass Communication. Advisors: Prof. Kathleen Hansen and Dr. Shayla Thiel-Stern. 1 computer file (PDF); v, 228 pages.
Cunningham, Greta Elizabeth.
The Red Thread Web: a case study of the uses and gratifications parents adopting a child from China discovered in the Rumor Queen blog.
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