ABSTRACT

The purpose of this study is to understand the adjustment process of families adopting an older child, and to generate a substantial theory. To achieve this purpose, we conducted in-depth interviews with mothers adopting an older child and analyzed data with qualitative analysis approach. From the analysis, theoretical model has been made, and the model includes the adoptive families' diverse experiences, barriers to adjustment as well as resources and strategies that they mobilized and used for smooth adjustment. Their experiences in the process of adjustment consisted of five phases: unfamiliar meeting, shock, fighting alone without support, control, and stability. Barriers to adjustment process were composed of adoptees' problem behaviors, loss of time, lack of preparation, lack of experiences, repetition of the vicious circle, withstanding alone, improper resources, lack of support, and being criticized. Resources and strategies that families adopting an older child utilized were individual resources and ability such as rearing experiences, intellectual ability, willingness, belief, and perspective change; family system such as spouse and other offsprings; informal support system such as extended families, relatives, friends, neighbors, and other families adopting an older child; formal resources such as adoption workers and helping professionals. From our results, we suggested policy and practice guidelines to help adjustment experiences for families adopting an older child.

KEYWORD

adoption, families adopting an older child, adjustment process, qualitative study

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