Adoptees' Contact with Birth Parents in Emerging Adulthood: The Role of Adoption Communication and Attachment to Adoptive Parents

Rachel H. Farr, Holly A. Grant-Marsney, Harold D. Grotevant

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations

Abstract

As adoptees transition to adulthood, their roles in the family may shift, providing them with opportunities to have increasing autonomy in their decisions about contact and initiating conversations about adoption. Research has often focused more on adoptees as children, yet in emerging adulthood, there are important shifts in the life roles and relationships of adoptees during which adoptive parents continue to be meaningful. This study examined associations among attachment and communication within the adoptive family during adulthood with emerging adult adoptees' experience of birth family contact (frequency of and satisfaction with birth family contact), in a sample of 167 emerging adults with varied contact with birth family (from no contact to frequent contact). Results suggest that perceptions of secure parent-child attachment relationships, as well as sensitive and open communication with adoptive parents about adoption, continue to be important for emerging adult adoptees and lead to greater satisfaction for adoptees with birth parent contact-regardless of whether adoptees actually have birth family contact. In particular, positive family communication about adoption during adulthood was predictive of satisfaction with birth parent contact. Limitations and implications are discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)656-671
Number of pages16
JournalFamily process
Volume53
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 1 2014

Keywords

  • Adoptees
  • Birth parent contact
  • Emerging adulthood
  • Family adoption communication

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