The search for missing pieces: a grounded theory of adult adoptees' experiences of searching and re-engaging with birth families.
Mrs Janine Bolger email@example.com
The lived experience of adult adoptees in searching and re-engaging with birth families is an under-researched area, and receives limited focus in social work practice and policy. The aim of this study is to explore both the experience and the impact of searching and re-engaging with birth families on the emotional and psychological wellbeing of adult adoptees. The study adopted a constructivist grounded theory methodology, drawing on the principles of phenomenology and symbolic interactionism. The positionality of the researcher was of central importance to the study. Data was gathered from seven in-depth interviews with adult adoptees who were at different stages in the process of searching and re-engaging with their birth families. Saturation was achieved in the core category which had the two dimensions of controlling the narrative and missing pieces. Using constant comparison, the experiences of participants were coalesced around the core category, with elements of the core category being evident through six identified theoretical categories. This thesis has demonstrated the lifelong impact of adoption contained within the unique narratives of adult adoptees. The grounded theory demonstrates the positive impact on emotional and psychological wellbeing of searching for and re-engaging with their birth families. Identification and acquisition of the missing pieces and their ability to control the narrative of both the search and in a broader sense the narrative of their lives, brought feelings of security, increased self-esteem and increased self-confidence. These positive outcomes appeared to have an impact on attachment behaviour, potentially leading to participants achieving an earned secure pattern of attachment. This study has implications for social work practice in the fields of childhood adoption and in adult services with adopted adults. There are clear practice and policy implications for the promotion of identity work with both adopted children and adult adoptees.
HANCOCK-FRASER, C. 2021. The search for missing pieces: a grounded theory of adult adoptees' experiences of searching and re-engaging with birth families. Robert Gordon University, PhD thesis. Hosted on OpenAIR [online]. Available from: https://doi.org/10.48526/rgu-wt-1603299
|Deposit Date||Feb 24, 2022|
|Publicly Available Date||Feb 24, 2022|
|Keywords||Adoptee psychology; Adoptee wellbeing; Adoptees; Adopted children; Adopted adults|
HANCOCK-FRASER 2021 The search for missing pieces
Copyright: the author and Robert Gordon University
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