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11-01-2018 | Original Paper | Uitgave 5/2018

Journal of Child and Family Studies 5/2018

Parents’ Understanding of Adopted Children’s Ways of Being, Belonging, and Becoming

Journal of Child and Family Studies > Uitgave 5/2018
Waganesh A. Zeleke, Lynne S. Koester, Gabriella Lock


Internationally-adopted children experience a range of challenges as they cope with the demands of everyday functioning and strive to develop a healthy identity. Research shows that family context such as parenting practices impact the level of adoptees' adjustment and their eventual identity development. In this study, we examined the process of how relationships are built between Ethiopia adoptees and their adoptive families within the new family setting. Using data obtained through semi-structured interviews, a brief survey, and focus group discussion from 25 North American families who adopted 35 Ethiopia children, we conducted a systematic content analysis to examine parents' way of being, way of understanding, and way of intervening. Based on results of this study, we provide a framework that explains the dynamic of Ethiopian adoptees' existence and belonging from pre- to post-adoption in the adoptive family. Implications for future research regarding the need for multiculturally competent parenting practices and family level strategies to reduce barriers to the child and parent relationship are addressed.

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