I know I am adopted but who am I? A phenomenological exploration of the lived experiences of an adult adoptee

No Thumbnail Available
Alvey, Ruth
Issue Date
BA (Hons) Counselling and Psychotherapy
Dublin Business School
Items in Esource are protected by copyright. Previously published items are made available in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher/copyright holder.
Research studies on adoption have found that adoptees appear to experience issues that biological children never have to confront as they lack the historical and genetic knowledge of their birth families, (March, 2005). This study focused on the lived experiences of adult adoptees that experienced a closed adoption by exploring their unique circumstances. Important issues such as age appropriate information, the impact of non-identifying information and building an adoptees sense of identity in the absence of identifying information were explored in order to identify whether their experiences were transferable from literature and research to date. This study also explored whether the emergence of fantasy was experienced by the participants in order to give meaning to their lived experiences. Finally this research study explored whether the psychotherapeutic relationship and other support services were of value and benefit to the adult adoptee. The research method used in this study was qualitative semi-structured interviews and Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) was applied in order to analyse the data. As this study was explorative in nature, this enabled the participants to discuss their lived experiences as adult adoptees in an open and non judgemental environment. Interesting findings also emerged within this study with regard to the motherhood myth and the implications of secrecy the absence of identifying information. Unexpected findings also emerged with regard to the effect and relationship a search and reunion with a biological parent has on the adoptive parents. This research study concluded that in the absence of identifying information a fundamental question continues to arise for the adult adoptee: I know I am adopted but who am I?