Is early adoption good-enough? a phenomenological exploration of adoption and attachment

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O'Brien, Lauren
Issue Date
MA in Psychotherapy
Dublin Business School
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Research has found that adoptees face the developmental task of incorporating their unique history and perceptions of the adoptive experience into their identities as they grow into adulthood (Singer & Krebs, 2008). Understanding the adoptive experience can assist psychotherapists and other health care professionals in working with adoptees and their families. Important issues to understand include the impact of age and pre-adoptive experience, the relationships within the family of adoption, feelings or experiences concerning re-uniting with family of origin, and the challenges of attachment. Despite the vast number of families affected by adoption important research in the area is lacking. Furthermore, research on adoption commonly fails to allow the members of the adoption process to share their experiences without the researchers‟ preconceived ideas and biases (Baltimore & Crase, 2009). This study will closely examine attachment theory and research, and literature and research concerning adoption. Concentration is given to Winnicott‟s theories of adoption and attachment. The research method employed was qualitative semi-structured interviews, and Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis (IPA) was utilized to analyse the data. In this way the research is concerned with giving adoptees the opportunity to present their own stories. The research concludes that early can be adoption is „good-enough‟, and interesting findings regarding the participant‟s adoption experiences come to light. These include the influence of the age of adoption, the relationship with adoptive families, the role of fantasy, the relationship with the biological family, the importance of achievement in the adoptee‟s lives and the need for therapy and support. Author keywords: Attachment, adoption, phenomenological, IPA, qualitative