Alternative Title

Adoption experiences and effects

Publication Date


Document Type

Masters Thesis

Study Type



School for Social Work


Adoptees-Social conditions, Parenthood-Decision making. Adoption, Adult adoptee, Parenthood


This exploratory, qualitative study sought to investigate how the experience of adoption affects an adoptee’s decision to start a family (or not). One reason to conduct this study was to isolate a particular developmental stage – entering parenthood – to observe deliberations related to the experience of being adopted. This study adds to the limited but growing body of research dedicated to adult adoptees with the aim of assisting clinicians in the field of social work to enhance their knowledge about the experiences of adopted people, especially those who are considering starting a family.

The study was conducted by interviewing seventeen adult adoptees who were: adopted as an infant, either domestically or internationally; were at least eighteen; and were contemplating starting a family or were parents already. The study was designed to elicit information about the participants’ adoption narratives in order to observe if connections exist between their adoption experiences and considerations of starting a family. The major finding of this project is that, though the participants agreed their family planning decisions were affected by their adoptive experience, they were not ultimately hindered in their parenting choices by any lasting effects of adoption. Participants often recounted how either their idyllic childhoods provided inspiration for becoming a parent or their experiences as adoptees promoted a desire to address adoption-related emotional injuries.




iv, 92 pages. M.S.W., Smith College School for Social Work, Northampton, Ma., 2016. Includes bibliographical references (pages 77-82)

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