Author ORCID Identifier

Date Available


Year of Publication


Degree Name

Master of Science in Family Sciences (MSFS)

Document Type

Master's Thesis


Agriculture, Food and Environment


Family Sciences

First Advisor

Dr. Ronald Werner-Wilson


Despite calls for increased Adoption Communication Openness (ACO) within the adoptive family, research indicates that families still struggle to accomplish the recommended elements and levels of openness. What could be holding families back from this key process? Three focus groups comprised of 17 adoptive parents of early adolescents (aged 10-14) who were age 0-2 at the time of placement were thematically coded. This inductive analysis revealed the complexity rooted in being —sometimes successfully and sometimes not—communicatively open. Four key themes emerged painting a vivid and rich picture of: a) the breadth and depth of this experience; b) the work entailed; c) the emotionality of it; and d) the grief and loss embedded in it. These results strengthen the understanding of the lived-experience of the adoptive parent thus magnifying the call for not only further research into what drives ACO in the family, but also consistent and supportive pre- and post-adoption services and clinical work.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

Funding Information

Chellgren Endowment, Department of Family Sciences, 2019

Samuel-thesis-errata-page.pdf (110 kB)
Errata page