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Social Work


Kenneth Larimore


This research addressed the social and emotional challenges kinship adoptive families have encountered when their adopted child's trauma symptomology surfaces. The unique relationship between the adoptive relative and the kinship child offered a different view on the coping techniques used by kinship families and uncovered areas where resources could support permanency. In this phenomenological study, 12 interviews with relative adoptive parents guided by the attachment and family system theories, offered insight to what fosters or degrades the bond with the adopted child. Using post-adoption resource events, service agencies, and community resources, this study recruited participants through flyers posted on websites, agency waiting areas, public bulletin boards, and email distribution. The self-selected respondents learned more about the study to decide if they would participate. The data reached saturation after 12 interviews and the transcribed accounts were reviewed with each corresponding participant. Using NVivo 11 to organize the data,, the transcribed interviews were compared to discover themes inherent to the adoptive relative parent(s). Learning about kinship challenges after adopting a child exposed to maltreatment, neglect, or pre-adoptive trauma and the methods used by these families to overcome thoughts of dissolution or their discovery of areas that would benefit from supportive resources may contribute to the understanding of successful kinship adoption. The implication for social change is the decrease in dissolution rates of the adoptive relationship, thereby creating permanency outcomes in the lives of the children and creating a system of care that is proactive to societal needs and influential in providing for future generations.

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