The long term outcome of reunions between adult adopted people and their birth mothers

David K. Howe, Julia Feast

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35 Citations (Scopus)


Increasing numbers of adult adopted people are searching for and having reunions with their birth relatives. Although a growing number of studies now exist that have looked at the search and reunion process, few have examined reunion outcomes over the long term. The present study investigated the experiences of 48 adult adopted people who first had contact with their birth mothers at least eight years prior to the survey. Outcomes were examined in terms of the adopted person's evaluation of their own adoption experience, and the frequency of contact, if any, currently occurring between the adopted person and their adoptive and birth mothers. Although over half of adopted people were still in contact with their birth mother eight years or more post reunion, the number still in touch with their adoptive mothers was higher still. Furthermore, of those still in contact with both their adoptive and birth mothers, the frequency of contact was more likely to be higher with the adoptive mother than with the birth mother. The results are discussed in terms of the search for identity, filial relationships, genetic relatedness and affectional bonds formed during childhood.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)351-368
Number of pages18
JournalBritish Journal of Social Work
Publication statusPublished - 2001

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