Adult adoptees’ perspectives on adoption

Langenhoven, Cherith (2017-11-22)

Thesis (MA)--Stellenbosch University, 2017.


ENGLISH ABSTRACT: In this study I explore the perspectives on adoption of searching adult adoptees who are living in the Western Cape province of South Africa. The motivation for this study was validated when a review of the South African literature indicated that most of the adoption research had been conducted with non-adoptees or adopted children, whereas this research focused solely on the perspectives of adult adoptees. The research aim was achieved by answering the following research question: What are adult adoptees’ perspectives on adoption? The theoretical framework for this study is Erikson’s Psychosocial Theory, as well as Family Systems Theory. An exploratory qualitative research design was utilised due to its relevance to obtaining subjective adoption perspectives. Additionally, I applied specific procedures to ensure trustworthy research results. The adoptees were identified and recruited by Cape Town Child Welfare and through snowball sampling. A biographical questionnaire was utilised to add context to their responses. Semi-structured interviews with open-ended questions, followed by probing questions when necessary, were used to collect data from 12 adoptees. Thematic analysis was implemented to analyse the data obtained, and the ATLAS.ti 7 (2015) software program was utilised as an organisational tool. The perspectives of the adult adoptees were identified and described within the following four meta-themes: 1) Optimistic adoption views, beliefs and values, 2) The integral role of the adoptive family in adoption, 3) The impact of adoption, and 4) Perceptions of adoption in society. These meta-themes individually include themes and subthemes. The findings indicate that adoption is a good option for alternative childcare and considered by most of the participants as a normal life experience. All of the adult adoptees believed in the positive nature of adoption and the possibility of positive adoption outcomes. However, a positive adoption experience is dependent on the adoptees’ access to their biological history, the absence of abuse, and open communicativeness on adoption within the adoptive family. The greatest adoption-related recommendation uncovered through this research is that adoptive parents, the extended family and society need to be educated appropriately to prepare them to understand adoption and their roles within adoption better.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: In hierdie studie ondersoek ek die perspektief van aanneming van volwasse aangenome persone wat in die Wes-Kaap provinsie van Suid-Afrika woon. Die motivering vir hierdie studie is gestaaf toe ’n oorsig van die Suid-Afrikaanse literatuur aangedui het dat die meerderheid navorsing oor aanneming met mense onderneem is wat nie aangeneem is nie of met aangenome kinders, terwyl hierdie navorsing suiwer gefokus het op die perspektiewe van volwasse aangenome persone. Die navorsingsdoel is bereik deur die volgende navorsingsvraag te beantwoord: Wat is die perspektief van aanneming van volwasse aangenome persone? Die teoretiese raamwerk vir hierdie studie was Erikson se Psigososiale Teorie, asook Family Systems Theory. ’n Verkennende kwalitatiewe navorsingsontwerp is gebruik vanweë die gepastheid daarvan om subjektiewe perspektiewe van aanneming te verkry. Ek het ook spesifieke prosedures toegepas om betroubare navorsingsresultate te verseker. Die aangenome persone is deur die Kaapstadse Kindersorg geïdentifiseer en gewerf, asook deur sneeubalsteekproefneming (snowball sampling). Daar is van ’n biografiese vraelys gebruik gemaak om konteks aan hulle antwoorde te verskaf. Semi-gestruktureerde onderhoude met oopeinde-vrae, gevolg deur ondersoekende vrae waar nodig, is gebruik om data vanaf 12 aangenome persone te versamel. Tematiese ontleding is gebruik om die data wat verkry is, te ontleed, en die ATLAS.ti 7 (2015) sagteware program is as ’n organisatoriese instrument gebruik. Die perspektiewe van die volwasse aangenome persone is geïdentifiseer en binne die volgende vier meta-temas beskryf: 1) Optimistiese sienings, oortuigings en waardes, 2) Die integrale rol van die aangenome gesin in aanneming, 3) Die impak van aanneming en 4) Persepsies van aanneming in die samelewing. Hierdie meta-temas het elkeen bestaan uit temas en sub-temas. Die bevindings dui aan dat aanneming ’n goeie opsie is vir alternatiewe kindersorg en deur die meerderheid van die deelnemers as ’n normale lewenservaring beskou is. Al die volwasse aangenome persone het geglo in die positiewe aard van aanneming en die moontlikheid vir positiewe uitkomstes van aanneming. ’n Positiewe ervaring van aanneming was egter afhanklik van die aangenome persone se toegang tot hulle biologiese geskiedenis, die afwesigheid van mishandeling, en oop kommunikasie oor aanneming binne die aannemende gesin. Die grootste aannemingsverwante aanbeveling wat deur hierdie navorsing gevind is, is dat aanneemouers, die uitgebreide familie en die samelewing korrek opgevoed moet word om hulle voor te berei om aanneming en hulle rolle daarbinne beter te begryp.

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