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Here and now - there and then: Narrative time and space in intercountry adoptees' stories about background, origin and roots
Linköping University, The Tema Institute, Department of Child Studies. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.
Linköping University, The Tema Institute, Department of Child Studies. Linköping University, Faculty of Arts and Sciences.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-1833-5506
2014 (English)In: Qualitative Social Work, ISSN 1473-3250, E-ISSN 1741-3117, Vol. 13, no 4, 539-554 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Intercountry adoption policy emphasizes openness in relation to adoptees’ background. However, because intercountry adoption is a complex web of relations including individuals, institutions and countries, it is impossible to foresee what background, origin and roots will mean to the adopted individual. The present article examines what meanings adoptees themselves ascribe to background, origin and roots. A total of 22 internationally adopted men and women participated in focus group conversations. The participants were invited to discuss their diverse experiences and opinions on these matters and their stories were analyzed from a narrative perspective. The analysis focuses how time and space were made significant in narratives about background, origin and roots. Two contrasting stories – the here-and-now narrative and the there-and-then narrative – are discerned, but further analysis of the narrative space and time dimensions shows a much more complex pattern beyond these extremes. Adoptee narratives characterized by an open time dimension deal with what could have happened, alternative lives, and the analysis shows how these alternative lives are storied and valued. Furthermore, when adoptees tell their stories about background and roots, ‘there’, i. e. the birth country, is ascribed different meanings. Our analysis shows that the categorization of space as wide or narrow, in the sense of collective or personal, respectively, is useful in understanding the different approaches to background and roots. Based on the present results, we suggest that social workers may wish to organize their counseling along the time and space dimensions of adoptees’ narratives.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Sage Publications, 2014. Vol. 13, no 4, 539-554 p.
Keyword [en]
Adoptees' stories, intercountry adoption, narrative space, narrative time, origin, post-adoption services, roots, very small focus groups
National Category
Social Work
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-104908DOI: 10.1177/1473325013502376ISI: 000339334500006OAI: diva2:700003
Culture of origin and culture of living. The significance of culture for transnational adoptees’ health and quality of life. (Financed by the Swedish Research Council) Ursprungskultur och uppväxtkultur. Kulturens betydelse för internationellt adopterades hälsa och livskvalitet. (Finansieras av Vetenskapsrådet, VR)
Swedish Research Council, FS-2010-430
Available from: 2014-03-03 Created: 2014-03-03 Last updated: 2016-05-04

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Lindgren, CeciliaZetterqvist Nelson, Karin
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