Sense of self
MetadataShow full item record
The purpose of this study was to explore how Adult Korean Adoptees’ (AKAs) evolving relationships with their birth families affect their developing senses of self. The study addresses the following research questions: RQ1. How do AKAs describe their evolving relationships with their birth families? RQ2. How have AKAs’ sense of self developed through their evolving relationships with their birth families? RQ3. What meaning do AKAs attach to the experience of reuniting with their birth families? A qualitative approach implementing narrative inquiry was used for this study. Open-ended interviews were conducted with eight Adult Korean Adoptees (AKAs) who have had reunion experiences with their birth families and have continuing relationships with their birth families. Analysis revealed four major themes. The first theme indicated that AKAs develop unique and distinctive family relationships with their birth families. The second theme revealed AKAs challenges with the language, culture, and social stigmas that make their relationships with their birth families complicated. The third theme showed that AKAs were satisfied with their experiences in terms of validating their identities by integrating knowledge about their origins and birth families. Finally, this study found that their evolving relationships with their birth families have had significant impacts on their understandings of themselves by increasing their attachment to their origin of birth. Three major conclusions were drawn from this study: 1.) AKAs increase the complexity of understanding self by building distinctive family affiliations with their birth families; 2.) AKAs generate developmental pathways by experiencing their cognitive maturation and connecting the self with others selectively; and finally, 3.) AKAs’ relationships with their birth families are turning points that precipitate the ongoing development of their senses of self in their adulthoods.