Recently, one of our readers asked if we would write an article about the difficulties faced by children and adults who were adopted.
Exploring Identity Development in Adopted Adolescents University of Michigan Introduction Identity development for adolescents is a complex and dynamic process. This process can be especially challenging for adopted teenagers due to a muddled self-history, lack of stability in the home environment, and grappling with emotions associated with being adopted.
Adopted teens often struggle with coming to terms with the adoption process. Researchers have argued that identity formation, although challenging, should not necessarily be viewed as pathological Grotevant, Studies have investigated how openness in communication and acknowledgement of differences can impact positive identity development.
However, few studies have looked specifically at interventions designed to increase cultural awareness of both birth family culture and adoptive family culture.
With this gap in mind, I aim to answer the following question: I predict the intervention designed specifically to bring awareness to a dual cultural identity will foster positive identity development more so than an intervention focused solely openness about the adoption process.
In this proposal, first I will discuss the theoretical framework and related literature essential to the study. Then I will describe the intervention itself and study methods. Finally, I will provide a brief outline of planned analyses of data associated with the study.
Related Literature and Theoretical Framework For this study it is important to consider literature describing the stages of identity development in conjunction with previous studies done investigating identity development of adopted individuals.
In this section, I define identity and describe the typical identity development process as compared to that of an adopted individual. Then I will identify the most important aspects of identity for adoptees.
Finally, I discuss prior research investigating these important aspects and their effects. Identity development is cyclical, as the individual weaves new life experiences into the grand tapestry of their identity over time, forming a cohesive story that reflects who they are.
The process of identity development in adoptees versus non-adoptees is distinctly different. Not only must an adopted individual develop a sense of coherence of personality and a sense of continuity over time, an adopted individual must also come to terms with the adoption itself.
This can be increasingly important for those individuals that differ from their adopted parents and physical appearance or ethnic or cultural origin Grotevant, Lack of knowledge of biological relatives may cause adopted persons to feel that they are missing a key piece of their personal history, causing the identity development period to become extended into a life-long process.
Concentrating on positive identity development in adopted individuals may provide them with tools to come to terms with crises as they occur and may help them to develop a cohesive narrative. Wierzbicki found adoptive children often have higher levels of maladjustment, externalizing disorders e.
Oppositional Defiant Disorderand academic problems. Participants in this study, however, were largely homogenous in nature, and the sample may not have represented the range of social classes present in the United States today. In another study investigating adoptive families and development of delinquent behaviors, Anderson and colleagues found that families who acknowledged cultural differences between the adoptee and the adoptive family had the fewest mean delinquent behaviors.
Using covariant analysis to look closely at adoptive families with adopted Korean adolescents, Anderson and colleagues observed a wide range of delinquent behaviors such as truancy, running away, aggravated assault, and homicide among adoptees with an incoherent self-concept.
Results of these studies justify future interventions to support adoptees and their adoptive families in recognizing and discussing the importance of differences between the adoptee and the adopted family. Some limitations of the study should be considered are.
Certain selection biases were present due to several families not indicating race and ethnicity of adoptee on surveys, and therefore not being chosen to participate in the study. Additionally, response bias should be considered as a study limitation, because the individuals who responded to the adoption race and ethnicity survey were likely already open about adoption to some extent.
Finally, results cannot be generalized to non-South Korean transracial adoptees. Investigating Factors that Contribute to Positive Identity Formation Several studies have investigated factors that could potentially contribute to positive identity formation.
To investigate how open communication about adoption impacts identity development and coming to terms with adoption, Le Mare and Audet followed a sample of 80 adolescents adopted from Romania, who were an average age of fifteen years old.
Additionally, they followed 36 adoptees in a longitudinal study to measure lasting effects. Participants were asked to describe the degree to which they felt negative and positive emotions and to describe the communicative openness about their adoption story and their birth parents as well as birth culture.Identity Issues Please find some of our best articles, essays, videos and reviews on this topic.
Identity formation is a critical task of childhood and indeed life. According to the great psychologist, Eric Erikson, adolescence involves a search for self identity. While this search is difficult for most teenagers, it presents special problems for adoptee.
Assuming they never met their natural parents and family and have no idea of their genetic background, they are left with a gigantic gap in their search. Too Korean to be White and too White to be Korean: Ethnic identity development among transracial Korean American adoptees.
Journal of Student Affairs Research and Practice, 50 (2), – Helping Your Adopted Teen Develop an Identity.
June 9, The Attached Family 1 Comment. By Rita Brhel, The families where adopted teens will have problems are those where the parents insist that an adopted parent-child relationship is no different than a biological relationship.
Teens do better when their parents acknowledge their . development of African American adoptees who are adopted transracially. The nature of identity development becomes increasingly important once an adoptee steps outside of the multiracial. Genealogical bewilderment is a term referring to potential identity problems that could be experienced by a child who was either fostered, adopted, or conceived via an assisted reproductive technology procedure such as surrogacy or .