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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Adoption reunion and the experience of the adoptive parents : an exploratory study Travers, Annemarie Gerarda


Adoption policy, practice and law are undergoing rapid change in British Columbia. One of the recent changes has been the establishment of an adoption reunion registry allowing birth parents and adoptees to become reacquainted. Studies of adoption reunion have focused primarily on the experience from the perspective of the adoptee or birth parent. There has been little attention given, to date, to the adoptive parents' experiences when their son or daughter has reunited with a birth parent. At the same time, there have been many assumptions made regarding adoptive parents' reactions to adoption reunion. This exploratory study was intended to examine the positive and negative experiences of adoptive parents, whose adult son or daughter had recently reunited with his/her birth parent(s). However, only adoptive parents who were supportive of the reunion came forward to be interviewed. Seven sets of adoptive parents, recruited through the Adoption Reunion registry, were interviewed and a qualitative design was used to identify commonalities in the experiences of these adoptive parents. The adoptive parents demonstrated an open attitude to adoption through their family legends, their willingness to extend their definition of family, and their recognition of their son/daughter's multiple belonging. Of particular interest in the findings is a developmental component, which suggests that the experience of reunion varies for adoptive parents depending on their developmental stage and that of their adult child.

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