A1 Journal article (refereed)
Searching for the Self : Adult International Adoptees’ Narratives of Their Search for and Reunion With Their Birth Families (2019)

Koskinen, M. G., & Böök, M. L. (2019). Searching for the Self : Adult International Adoptees’ Narratives of Their Search for and Reunion With Their Birth Families. Adoption Quarterly, 22(3), 219-246. https://doi.org/10.1080/10926755.2019.1627449

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editors: Koskinen, Maarit G.; Böök, Marja Leena

Journal or series: Adoption Quarterly

ISSN: 1092-6755

eISSN: 1544-452X

Publication year: 2019

Volume: 22

Issue number: 3

Pages range: 219-246

Publisher: Routledge

Publication country: United States

Publication language: English

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/10926755.2019.1627449

Publication open access: Not open

Publication channel open access:

Publication is parallel published (JYX): https://jyx.jyu.fi/handle/123456789/65175


In this case study, five international adoptees from Finland were interviewed about their search and reunion experiences to find out what meanings they ascribed to their identities and family relations. The thematic analysis yielded three themes: search and reunion in significant periods of life, meaning of reunion for identity, and belonging and relatedness within family. The first theme was characterized by the changing interest in birth family from the inability in childhood to fully understand the meaning of adoption and the growing interest in adolescence to adulthood where participants’ own parenthood intensified their interest. The second theme was characterized by the sense of coherence and sense of continuity that the adoptees, despite the conflicting emotions of reunion, felt they had achieved through reunion. In the third theme, reunion with their birth family appeared significant, even though belonging to a family was interpreted more as an outcome of attachment and nurture than biology. Particular for all themes was the meaning of communicating about adoption-related issues for the adoptee–adoptive parent relationship. Future research is needed to concentrate in more detail on the broad themes and to investigate how the meanings of the birth family for adoptive identity change over life courses.

Keywords: intercountry adoption; biological parents; biological children; joining together; identity (mental objects)

Free keywords: international adoption; birth family; search; reunion; identity

Contributing organizations

Ministry reporting: Yes

Reporting Year: 2019

JUFO rating: 1

Last updated on 2022-20-09 at 13:40