Crafting Identity out of Uncertainty: Narratives of Israeli Adults Adopted as Infants

Limor Lotan*, Charles W. Greenbaum, Muhammad M. Haj-Yahia

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

The present qualitative study examined the identity of 24 adults adopted as infants in Israel in closed adoptions who searched for their biological families. Previous research has shown that adoption-related uncertainty (ARU) may be characteristic of adoptees. Based on Erikson’s (1968) theory of identity formation and the concept of narrative identity (McAdams, 2011), we investigated how ARU relates to participants’ sense of identity. Based on the risk and resilience approach (Garmezy, 1991), we conceptualized ARU as a risk factor for identity formation and identified protective factors in the personal and social domains. Results showed that all participants experienced ARU regarding some major identity components. The analysis revealed two basic styles of coping with ARU: Limiting, in which adoption issues are avoided, and Expanding, in which they are dealt with more openly. We discussed the study’s limitations and implications for future research and practice.

Original languageAmerican English
JournalAdoption Quarterly
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2023

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.

Keywords

  • Adoption
  • identity
  • narrative identity risk and resilience
  • stigma
  • uncertainty

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