Advertisement

Journal of Child and Family Studies

, Volume 27, Issue 5, pp 1428–1439 | Cite as

Parents’ Understanding of Adopted Children’s Ways of Being, Belonging, and Becoming

  • Waganesh A. Zeleke
  • Lynne S. Koester
  • Gabriella Lock
Original Paper
  • 454 Downloads

Abstract

Internationally-adopted children experience a range of challenges as they cope with the demands of everyday functioning and strive to develop a healthy identity. Research shows that family context such as parenting practices impact the level of adoptees' adjustment and their eventual identity development. In this study, we examined the process of how relationships are built between Ethiopia adoptees and their adoptive families within the new family setting. Using data obtained through semi-structured interviews, a brief survey, and focus group discussion from 25 North American families who adopted 35 Ethiopia children, we conducted a systematic content analysis to examine parents' way of being, way of understanding, and way of intervening. Based on results of this study, we provide a framework that explains the dynamic of Ethiopian adoptees' existence and belonging from pre- to post-adoption in the adoptive family. Implications for future research regarding the need for multiculturally competent parenting practices and family level strategies to reduce barriers to the child and parent relationship are addressed.

Keywords

International adoption Adoptive parenting Adoptee identity development Way of being Transnational adoptive childhood Ethiopian adoptees 

Notes

Author Contributions

W.A.Z.: designed and executed the study, collect the data and assisted with the data analyses, and wrote the paper. L.S.K.L.: collaborated with the design and writing of the study. G.L.: helps on analyzed the data and wrote part of the results. W.A.Z. and G.L.: collaborated with the writing of the study. L.S.K.: collaborated in the writing and editing of the final manuscript.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The lead author, Waganesh Zeleke, has received research grants from the vice president for Research and Creative Scholarship of the University of Montanahe. The remaining authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical Approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards. Institutional Review Board approval from University of Montana was obtained prior to all data collection.

Informed Consent

Participation was voluntary and written informed consent was obtained from all the participants. Informants were informed about the purpose of the study and they were informed that they could withdraw at any time from the study and cease responding to any question they felt uncomfortable. Information obtained from all the participants was anonymized and confidentiality was assured throughout the data collection process.

References

  1. Baden, A. L. (2002). The psychological adjustment of transracial adoptees: An application of the cultural-racial identity model. Journal of Social Distress and the Homeless, 11, 167–192.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Baden, A. L., & Steward, R. J. (2000). A framework for use with racially and culturally integrated families: The Cultural-Racial Identity Model as applied to transracial adoption. Journal of Social Distress and the Homeless, 9, 309–337.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Baden, A. L., & Steward, R. J. (2007). The cultural-racial identity model. In: R. A. Javier, A. L. Baden, F. A. Biafora, & A. Camacho-Gingerich (eds.) Handbook of adoption: Implications for researchers, practitioners, and families (pp. 90–112). Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage Publications.Google Scholar
  4. Bagley, C., & Young, L. (1979). The identity, adjustment and achievement of transracially adopted children: A review and empirical report. In G. K. Verma & C. Bagley (Eds.), Race, education and identity (pp. 192–219). London, UK: Macmillan Press.Google Scholar
  5. Barth, R. P., & Berry, M. (1988). Adoption and disruption: Rates, risks, and responses. New York, NY: Aldine de Gruyter.Google Scholar
  6. Basow, S. A., Lilley, E., Bookwala, J., & McGillicuddy-DeLisi, A. (2008). Identity development and psychological well-being in Korean-born adoptees in the U.S. American Journal of Orthopsychiatry, 78(4), 473–480.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  7. Bavelas, J. B., & Segal, L. (1982). Family systems theory: Background and Implications. Journal of Communication, 32, 99–107.  https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1460-2466.1982.tb02503.x.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bertran, M. (2013). Being a mother and father in international adoption in Spain: Towards the child’s wellbeing. Childhood, 20(4), 507–520.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Bimmel, N., Juffer, F., Van IJzendoorn, M. H., & Bakermans-Kranenburg, M. J. (2003). Problem behavior of internationally-adopted adolescents: A review and meta- analysis. Harvard Review of Psychiatry, 11, 64–78.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. Bohman, M., & Sigvardsson, S. (1990). Outcome in adoption: Lessons from longitudinal studies. In D. Brodzinsky & M. Schechter (Eds.), The psychology of adoption (pp. 93–106). New York, NY: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  11. Bowlby, J. (1988). A secure base: Parent-child attachment and healthy human development. New York: Basic Books.Google Scholar
  12. Charmaz, K. (1983). The ground theory method: An explanation and interpretation. In R. M. Emerson (Ed.), Contemporary field research: A collection of readings (pp. 109–126). Boston: Little, Brown.Google Scholar
  13. Chrisolm, K. (1998). A three year follow-up of attachment and indiscriminate friendliness in children adopted from Romanian orphanages. Child Development, 69(4), 1092–1106.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Creswell, J. W. (2007). Qualitative inquiry and research design: Choosing among five approaches (2nd ed.) Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  15. Edwards, C., Knoche, L., Aukrust, V. Kumru, A. & Kim, M. (2006) Parental ethnotheories of child development: Looking beyond independence and individualism in American belief system. In K. Uichol, K. Yang & K. Hwang (Eds.), Indigenous and cultural psychology: Understanding people in context. New York, USA: Springer.Google Scholar
  16. Erikson, E. H.(1959). Identity and the life cycle. Psychological Issues, 1, 51–63.Google Scholar
  17. Frasch, K. M., & Brooks, D. (2003). Normative development in transracial adoptive families: An integration of the literature and implications for the construction of a theoretical framework. Families in Society, 84(2), 201–216.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Friedlander, M. L. (1999). Ethnic identity development of internationally-adopted children and adolescents: Implications for family therapists. Journal of Marital and Family Therapy, 25(1), 43–60.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  19. Gaber, I., & Aldridge, J. (Eds.) (1994). In the best interests of the child: Culture, identity and transracial adoption. London, UK: Free Association Books. .Google Scholar
  20. Graeve, K (2012). “Making families”: parenting and belonging in transnational adoption in Flanders. Afrika Focus, 25(2), 100–108CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Gunnar, M., & Van Dulmen, M. H., The International Adoption Project Team. (2007). Behavior problems in post-institutionalized international adopted children. Development and Psychopathology, 19, 129–148.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  22. Harkness, S., & Super, C. M. (2006). Themes and variations: Parental ethnotheories in western cultures. In K. Rubin (Eds.), Parenting beliefs, behaviors, and parent-child relations: A cross-cultural perspective (pp. 61–79). New York: Psychology Press.Google Scholar
  23. Hodges, J., & Tizard, B. (1989). IQ and behavioral adjustment of ex-institutional adolescents. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry, 30(1), 53–76.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  24. Hollingsworth, L. (1998). Adoptee dissimilarity from the adoptive family: Clinical practice and research implications. Child and Adolescent Work Journal, 15(4), 303–319.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Howell, S. (2003). Kinning: The creation of life trajectories in transnational adoptive families. Journal of Royal Anthropological Institute, 9, 465–484.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Jacobson, H. (2008). Culture keeping: White mothers, international adoption, and the negotiation of family difference. Nashville, TN: Vanderbilt University Press.Google Scholar
  27. Jacobson, H (2010). Book Review: Culture keeping: White mothers, international adoption, and the negotiation of family difference. Gender & Society, 24(4), 555–557.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Juffer, F. (2006). Children’s awareness of adoption and their problem behavior in families with 7-year-old internationally adopted children. Adoption Quarterly, 9(2), 1–22.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Juffer, F., & van IJzendoorn, M. H. (2007). Adoptees do not lack self-esteem: A meta-analysis of studies on self-esteem of transracial, international, and domestic adoptees. Psychological Bulletin, 133, 1067–1083.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  30. Kershaw, P. (2010). Caregiving for identity is political: Implications for citizenship theory. Citizenship Studies, 14(4), 395–410.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Kim, N. (2007). Critical thoughts on Asian American assimilation in the whitening literature. Social Forces, 86(2), 561–574.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Lee, R. (2009). Development and well-being of Korean adoptees. International Adoption Project News. Minneapolis, MI: University of Minnesota. http://www.cehd.umn.edu/icd/iap/Newsletters/IAPNewsletter2009.pdf.
  33. Levy-Shiff, R. (2001). Psychological adjustment of adoptees in adulthood: Family environment and adoption-related correlates. International Journal of Behavioral Development, 25(2), 97–104.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Levy-Shiff, R., Zoran, N., & Shulman, S. (1997). International and domestic adoption: Child, parents, and family adjustment. International Journal of Behavioral Development, 20, 109–129.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Patton, M. Q. (2002). Qualitative research and evaluation methods (3rd ed.) Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  36. Punch, S. (2012). Studying transnational children: A multi-sited, longitudinal, ethnographic approach. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 38(6), 1007–1023.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Sears, W., & Sears, M. (2001). The attachment parenting book. Boston: Little, Brown and Company.Google Scholar
  38. Sharma, A. R., McGue, M. K., & Bensons, P. L. (1998). The psychological adjustment of United States adopted adolescents and their nonadopted siblings. Child Development, 69(3), 791–802.CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  39. Steele, M., Hodge, J., Kaniuk, J., Steele, H., Asquith, K., & Hilman, S. (2009). Attachment representations and adoption outcome: On the use of narrative assessments to track the adoption of previously maltreated children in their new families. In G. M. Wrobel & E. Neil (Eds.), International advances in adoption research for practice (pp. 193–216). West Sussex, UK: Wiley- Blackwell.Google Scholar
  40. Stryker, R (2011). The war at home: Affective economics and transnationally adoptive families in the United States. International Migration, 49(6), 25–49CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  41. Ung, T., O’Connor, S. H. & Pillidge, R. (2012). The development of racial identity in transracially adopted people: An ecological approach. Adoption and Fostering Journal, 36(3), 73–84.Google Scholar
  42. Van IJzendoorn, M. H., & Kroonenberg, P. M. (1988). Cross-cultural patterns of attachment: A meta-analysis of the strange situation. Child Development, 59, 147–156.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Yngvesson, B. (2007). Refiguring kinship in the space of adoption. Cadernos Pagu, 29, 111–138.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Yngvesson, B. (2010). Belonging in an adopted world: Race, identity, and transnational adoption. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Yngvesson, B. (2013). The child who was left behind: Dynamic temporality and interpretation of history in transnational adoption. Childhood, 20(3), 354–367.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Zeleke, W. (2013). Psychological adjustment and relational development in Ethiopian adoptees and their families. Doctoral dissertation, ProQuest. UMI Number 3588046.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Counseling, Psychology and Special Needs EducationDuquesne UniversityPittsburghUSA
  2. 2.University of MontanaMissoulaUSA

Personalised recommendations