Publication Date

Spring 4-10-2017


Center for Academic Support and Advising Services (CASAS)


Interdisciplinary Studies


Adoption, Foster Care, Orphan Care, Special Needs, Disability, Church Support


Christianity | Family, Life Course, and Society | Social Work


Much research is done on the populations of families of children with special needs, church-going Christian families, and foster and adoptive families, but little exists on the families who fall into all three categories. This thesis seeks to help remedy this problem by studying the support experiences of these families. Existing research on foster and adoptive families, families with special needs, and disability in the church is reviewed. A phenomenological study of five parents’ lived experiences was completed through interviews, where three main themes emerged: the importance of informal support, the need for formal support, and the integral role of faith. The significance of these findings is discussed and recommendations are given.