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Publication Date


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


School for Social Work


Race, Ethnicity, Identity development, Social supports, Self-image, Transracial adoption, Interracial adoption-Psychological aspects, Racially mixed children-Race identity, Racially mixed children-Ethnic identity, Identity (Psychology) in children, Racially mixed people-Social networks, Self-perception


Using Giorgi’s (1997) phenomenological approach, this retrospective and exploratory study interviewed eleven individuals, who identified as biracial or multiracial, and were adopted transracially into White homes. The goal of this study was to gain an understanding of they key informants’ lived experiences in receiving support for their racial and ethnic identities. Interviews focused on self and other identification experiences, identifying challenging life situations, and where and whether identity crises may have occurred. The researcher also sought out information on how key informants garnered supports to reclaim a viable sense of him/her self as a person of color, while living in a White home or community as a transracially adopted youth. These narratives will add to the thinking about transracial adoptees’ experiences. The study adds to the psychotherapy practitioner literature with a roadmap for helping children move through various stages of their identity development. Key informant narratives will also inform parents and social workers in supporting multiracial children to explore their ethnic identities. In addition, the study will help normalize multiracial individual’s life experiences as transracial adoptees. Finally, the study adds to the adoption policy literature, supporting policies, which include experiences where transracially adopted individuals and their families can gain additional identity family support.




xii, 250 pages. Includes bibliographical references (pages 216-229)