Birthmother perceptions of the psychologically present adopted child: Adoption openness and boundary ambiguity

Deborah Lewis Fravel, Ruth G. McRoy, Harold D. Grotevant

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations

Abstract

Secondary analysis of interviews with 163 birthmothers revealed that the adopted child remains psychologically present. Ten indicators of psychological presence were identified. Indicators related to roles were more salient the more open the adoption, and supernatural referents were more salient when a birthmother once had mediated communication but now has none. Degree of psychological presence was highest in fully-disclosed adoptions and lower in ongoing-mediated, confidential, and time-limited-mediated adoptions, respectively. Valence was generally positive, but more so in fully-disclosed adoptions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)425-432
Number of pages8
JournalFamily relations
Volume49
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 2000

Keywords

  • Adoption
  • Adoption openness
  • Birthmothers
  • Boundary ambiguity
  • Presence
  • Psychological presence

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