Department of Family Therapy Dissertations and Applied Clinical Projects

Date of Award

2020

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy in Family Therapy

Department

College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences – Department of Family Therapy

Advisor

Dr. Christine A Beliard

Committee Member

Dr. Ronald Chenail

Committee Member

Dr. Kara Erolin

Abstract

This qualitative research study offers exploration into Caribbean adoptee experiences related to their adoptive parent-child relationships. Existing studies focus on adoptive parent perspectives. Few accounts focus on Caribbean adoptees' experiences with adoption (Caughman, 2007). The existing research serves a purpose by helping adopted parents discuss adoption with adoptees. However, this approach does not include thevoice of the adoptee and fails to encompass the totality of adoptee lived experiences. The research does not focus on the amplification of the adoptees' voice, which in turn, neglects the adoptees' role inunderstanding their family processes. Therefore, it is pertinent to include lived experiences of Caribbean adoptees in the adoptive phenomenon. This study aimed to find meaningful connections through curiosity-driven research. To highlight the idiosyncratic stories that encompass the Caribbean adoptees' experiences, I used interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA). Interviewing adults using narrative therapy as my conceptual framework provided rich descriptions into the meaning adoptees attach to adoptive family experiences. Study findings suggested that the marginalizing effects of the adoptee population, pressure to conform to cultural norms of family structure, and stigma surrounding retrieval of mental health services effect Caribbean adoptees overarching experience with adoption. Implications and future suggestions for this study will be provided and can be of use to all mental health professionals, persons providing child-centered services, and adoptive families that have hopes of advancing more collaborative adoptive outcomes.

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