Adopted adults’ Motivation, Decision Making, and Experience of Searching for Birth Family: A Systematic Review and Meta-Ethnography of the Qualitative Literature

Bridie lawler Whatson, Adam Danquah, Gina Charlton, Clare Murray, Rebecca Haw, Peter Taylor

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Abstract

This paper is the first to systematically review qualitative research on adopted adults’ motivations and experiences of birth family searching. A line of argument synthesis developed four overarching themes: ‘missing pieces’, ‘different and othered’, ‘the circumscribed position in the adoption triad’ and ‘internal and external challenges.’ The main findings illustrated that searching is complex, inherently linked to identity. Also implicated in the process are relational dynamics and internal and external challenges. Practice implications include recommending contact services that provide psychological support for the searching process. Also recommended for mental health practitioners is specialized training in contemporary adoption issues.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-28
JournalAdoption Quarterly
Early online date7 Jun 2024
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 7 Jun 2024

Keywords

  • birth-family
  • searching
  • adopted adults
  • identity
  • motivation

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