CAUCASIAN PARENTS’ EXPERIENCE WITH TRANSNATIONAL-TRANSRACIAL ADOPTION: A PHENOMENOLOGICAL STUDY

Soyeon Park

Abstract


This qualitative research explored American Caucasian parents’ experience with transnational-transracial adoption. Guided by social constructivism and phenomenology, the goal of this study was to understand how parents perceive and interpret their experience when adopting a child transracially, specifically from China and Korea. Data from in-depth interviews with 17 parents revealed the essence of their experience as embedded in family relations distinctive at various stages of the adoption process. Prior to adoption, transracial adoptive parents possessed well-established ideas about the family and parenthood, which enhanced their commitment and sense of ownership throughout the adoption process. While meeting the child and developing a relationship, parents experienced a complicated mixture of emotions, including tension, anxiety, guilt, and grief. The results also offer further insight into the perspective of American Caucasian parents regarding the cultural socialization of their children. The lack of knowledge and resources regarding the adopted child’s birth culture influenced the parents, often resulting in feelings of helplessness.


Keywords


transnational-transracial adoption, parenting, culture, phenomenology

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International Journal of Child, Youth & Family Studies
ISSN
(online) 1920-7298
© University of Victoria

 

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