Lifting the Voices of Adopted Teens and Emerging Adults in LGBTQ+ Families: A Narrative Inquiry

  • Author / Creator
    Brosinsky, Larissa H
  • One in five Canadians are touched by adoption in their life, encompassing over 162,000 people in the city of Edmonton, and over seven million people across Canada (Adoption Council of Canada, n.d.). The “adopted family” has become very diverse over the past few decades, with many lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer (LGBTQ+) and other couples now successfully adopting children, with these adoption rates likely continuing to rise (Farr & Vázquez, 2020a, 2020b). The small body of research currently available on people who are adopted indicates that many youth and adolescent adoptees struggle disproportionately with depression, grief, identity crises, and suicide (Wiley, 2017). Interestingly, more recent research suggests that these concerns do not persist into adulthood, with adult adoptees becoming just as well-adjusted as their non-adopted peers despite experiences of early adversity and misbehaviour (Holmgren & Elovainio, 2019). Currently available research is limited in that it does not explore the lived experiences of adolescent and young adult adoptees from their own perspectives, a gap that this study aims to begin bridging.

    This study explored the lived experiences of two adoptees, Sarah (age 21) and Dolores (age 13), with the goal of co-constructing a narrative of their experiences being adopted into LGBTQ+ families. Sarah’s experiences highlighted the following strengths: LGBTQ+ parents, LGBTQ+ community, strong female role models, and cultural exploration. Dolores’ lived experiences underscored the following as strengths in her life: humor and openness, supportive friendships, LGBTQ+ parents and their chosen family, and superhero role models. A discussion of how these narratives relate to the literature (a) explores adoptee challenges as external, (b) highlights the importance of adoptee resiliency and conducting flexible research, (c) acknowledges the importance of developmental levels, and (d) identifies LGBTQ+ families as assets. Limitations of the study and directions for future research are explored.

  • Subjects / Keywords
  • Graduation date
    Fall 2023
  • Type of Item
  • Degree
    Doctor of Philosophy
  • DOI
  • License
    This thesis is made available by the University of Alberta Libraries with permission of the copyright owner solely for non-commercial purposes. This thesis, or any portion thereof, may not otherwise be copied or reproduced without the written consent of the copyright owner, except to the extent permitted by Canadian copyright law.