The Significance of Story

Megan LaFond, Kathryn Kell, Mallory Spangler


Due to the evolution of and increase in adoptions, families and helping professionals often seek guidance on how adoptees can form healthy bonds with their families. This has led to many quantitative studies conducted to measure attachment in adopted children and to better understand both overall family bonding as well as risk factors for attachment disorders1. Furthermore, it is widely recognized that adoptive identity development is an extensive process that takes place in the lives of most adoptees’2. However, a gap in qualitative research exists when looking for the adoptees’ perspectives on this process, and the factors which aid in the continual development of strong family bonds and secure adoptive identity. Upon approval by John Brown University’s Institutional Review Board, the researchers conducted a qualitative phenomenological study to interview fourteen adoptees, who were adopted as children but are now eighteen years of age or older. The study was focused on their personal experiences growing up within their adopted families. In their interviews, the adoptees were asked what factors and experiences helped or hindered healthy familial bonding and positive adoptive identity formation. The researchers recruited adoptees of diverse personal demographics who had been adopted under a variety of circumstances. Through a process of open coding, the researchers analyzed the transcriptions of the interviews to highlight the factors contributing to each participant’s adoptive identity and sense of family bonding. This qualitative study of adoptees’ reflections on their past experiences seeks to provide the missing voice of adopted children as well as the factors that can promote positive adoptive identity development and healthy familial bonding.


Identity; Adoption; Bonding

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