Journal Article

The Role of ‘Family Practices’ and ‘Displays of Family’ in the Creation of Adoptive Kinship

Chris Jones and Simon Hackett

in The British Journal of Social Work

Published on behalf of British Association of Social Workers

Volume 41, issue 1, pages 40-56
Published in print January 2011 | ISSN: 0045-3102
Published online February 2010 | e-ISSN: 1468-263X | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/bjsw/bcq017
The Role of ‘Family Practices’ and ‘Displays of Family’ in the Creation of Adoptive Kinship

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Adoption has changed significantly over the last four decades, placing new demands on those affected by adoption, including adopters, adoptees and birth relatives (i.e. the ‘adoption triangle’), as well as the professionals involved. Over the same period, sociological theories relating to the family have developed considerably, yet their application to adoptive family relationships has been limited. This paper reports the findings of an in-depth narrative study of twenty-two parents who adopted children over a twenty-four-year period, linking their experiences to the sociological concepts of ‘family practices’ and ‘displaying family’. A common challenge shared by adoptive parents following domestic stranger adoption in an era of increasing openness was the requirement to create a new version of kinship that includes both adoptive relatives and birth relatives within the conceptual model of the adoptive family as well as the day-to-day ‘doing’ of family. The relevance of findings are explored in relation to adoptive family life, adoption practice and, specifically, post-adoption support services.

Keywords: Adoption; openness; kinship; family practices

Journal Article.  6792 words. 

Subjects: Social Work

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