Adoptees' relationship experiences post-reunion: exploring the effects of interactions with biological relatives

Passmore, Nola and Foulstone, Alexis and Feeney, Judith (2006) Adoptees' relationship experiences post-reunion: exploring the effects of interactions with biological relatives. In: 6th Annual Conference of the APS Psychology of Relationships Interest Group: Relationships Near and Far, 11-12 Nov 2006, Melbourne, Australia.

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Recent changes in adoption legislation and practice have provided adoptees with greater opportunities to search and be reunited with birth relatives. A thorough understanding of the relationship experiences an adoptee may encounter post-reunion is critical for counsellors seeking to provide support for adoptees during these search and reunion experiences. This paper examines the relationship benefits and difficulties associated with the broadening social network after a reunion. As part of a larger study, 57 adoptees were interviewed about their adoptive experiences and interpersonal relationships. Thematic analysis revealed several major themes associated with adoptees’ reunions: (a) potential issues in adapting to a new family, (b) difficulties experienced when attempting to negotiate family roles and set boundaries between family members, (c) positive and negative interactions between adoptive and biological families, and (d) benefits and difficulties that can affect significant others (e.g., romantic partners, children). Open communication, compatible personalities, and supportive adoptive parents were factors promoting a beneficial environment for adoptive and biological families post-reunion. Conversely, strong loyalties to the adoptive family, secrecy or withholding information about the reunion, and different needs or expectations of family members created difficulties within the broader social network. Recommendations for adoption practice and counselling will be discussed.

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Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Commonwealth Reporting Category E) (Paper)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Faculty/School / Institute/Centre: Historic - Faculty of Sciences - Department of Psychology
Date Deposited: 30 Nov 2007 11:55
Last Modified: 10 Aug 2018 02:38
Uncontrolled Keywords: adoptees; birth family; family reunion; birth mother; birth father
Fields of Research : 16 Studies in Human Society > 1603 Demography > 160301 Family and Household Studies
17 Psychology and Cognitive Sciences > 1701 Psychology > 170110 Psychological Methodology, Design and Analysis
17 Psychology and Cognitive Sciences > 1701 Psychology > 170106 Health, Clinical and Counselling Psychology
Socio-Economic Objective: E Expanding Knowledge > 97 Expanding Knowledge > 970117 Expanding Knowledge in Psychology and Cognitive Sciences
Identification Number or DOI: 10.1080/00049530600940020

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