Parenthood and Open Adoption: An Interpretative Phenomenological Analysis.
ix, 142 p.
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This book explores what it is like to be involved in contemporary open adoption, characterized by varying forms of contact with the birth relatives. It presents the findings of a study that involved 31 adoptive parents, from 17 families, from all five Health and Social Trusts in Northern Ireland. All the participants had adopted unrelated children from care, most of the participants’ children had been placed in their adoptive families between 2000 and 2006, and the children had been adopted between 5 years and 11 years and ranged in age from 9 years to 14 years. Following an introduction, Chapter 2 discusses the meaning and main features of adoptive parenthood and open adoption. It includes an overview of the existing research knowledge on open adoption and presents a concise outline of how the study was conducted. Chapter 3 discusses how participants’ sense of parental entitlement was contingent upon the effective outworking of parenthood in day-to-day care-giving. The significance of living as an adoptive parent in public social spheres is highlighted in Chapter 4, while Chapter 5 explores the essentially relational nature of adoptive parenthood and presents an interpretation of the adoptive parents’ accounts through the lens of relational sociology, identifying in particular the configurations and the family practices associated with adoptive kinship. The concluding chapter identifies the contested nature of adoptive parenthood in cultural conceptions of what it means to be a parent, in child welfare discourse and policy, and in actual relationships with birth kin. Suggestions are made for developing a more sensitive, ethical, and empowering adoption practice. Numerous references.
ADOPTIVE PARENTS; ADOPTED CHILDREN; OPEN ADOPTION; PARENTING; Northern Ireland; parent child relationships; BIRTH PARENTS; ADOPTION TRIADS; PARENTAL ROLE