Fulfilling parental identity through private adoption

Date of Award




Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (Ph.D.)



First Committee Member

Lydia DeSantis, Committee Chair


Fourteen individuals who had experienced adoptive parenthood achieved by means of the private adoption route were interviewed and then observed with their infants and children using grounded theory method. The basic social process or core variable described by these parents was their search for ways to fulfill their expectation of parental identity. This process was found to consist of five stages that culminated in achievement of parental identity and the development of a parent-child relationship. Causal conditions that led to the search were described in Stage 1--Jumping Through Hoops, as participants tried to become biological parents on their own and through medical means. The search comprised action/interaction strategies employed by participants in Stage 2--Finding a Way, Stage 3--Finding a Fit, and Stage 4--Waiting in Limbo. Strategies led to the consequence of the process of searching to fulfill expectation of parental identity explicated in Stage 5, Becoming parents.


Psychology, Behavioral; Health Sciences, Nursing; Psychology, Personality

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