Research – NZ

Adoption and adjustment in adolescence

Manu is my homegirl:  navigating the ethnic identity of the Māori adoptee
Author:  Emma West  

Family Membership in Post-Reunion Adoption Narratives (November 2005)
Authors:  Julee Browning, Grant Duncan
Published by Massey University Albany

The abstract for this article in the Social Policy Journal is as follows:

This article reports original research conducted with 20 adoptees, adopted under closed-stranger protocols, who have been experiencing regular post-reunion contact with their birth families for more than 10 years. It expands on earlier research that focused on the search, reunion and immediate post-reunion stages. Drawing upon in-depth interviews, it examines the long-term experiences of adoptees in post-reunion. It examines the themes of the mothering role, family obligation and family membership to uncover how adoptees navigate their family membership within and between two families (adoptive and birth family). This study is informed by the thoughts, feelings and observations of the participants, in their own words, to convey a deeper understanding of their experiences. The findings indicate that long-term reunited relationships have no predictable pathways and are approached with varying levels of ambivalence and emotional strain; that no fixed pattern of family arrangements and relational boundaries emerges; and that the adoptive mother generally retains the primary role of “mother”. While closed-stranger adoptions and the subsequent reunions may eventually cease, this research may assist in understanding the issues surrounding the reunion between gamete (egg and sperm) donors and their offspring in the future.