Electronic Theses and Dissertations



Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Social Work


Social Work

Committee Chair

Susan Elswick

Committee Member

Melissa Hirschi

Committee Member

Mindy Kronenberg


Almost three-quarters of adoptees have known birth siblings, while a little more than one-quarter have birth siblings adopted by the same family (National Survey of Adoptive Parents, 2009). Many studies have been completed surrounding the issue of sibling placement in adoptions. However, no studies to this date have been published from the perspective of the adoptee. This study utilized interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA) to explore the phenomenon of sibling placements from the perspective of adoptees. Purposive sampling was utilized to select eight participants who met the criteria of being over the age of 18, being a domestic adoptee, and having siblings. In this study, 63% of interviewees experienced private infant adoption, while the other 37% were adopted from foster care. The participants provided their experience with the phenomenon in a semi-structured interview. A total of nine themes emerged across interviews, which included: impacts of sibling separations; adoptee perspectives on sibling placements; connections with biological families; relational patterns; the need for genetic mirroring; ethical issues in sibling placements; outside pressure on adoptees; the impact of knowledge of their own adoption; and changes in insight in adoptees with transition to parenthood. In summation, adoptees felt strongly that siblings should be kept together, if possible, but that careful evaluation of relationships should occur when separating some but not all siblings. Additionally, adoptees felt strongly that adopted children should have open knowledge and conversations regarding their status as adoptees. Finally, adoptees discussed feeling immense pressure from society to be grateful for their experience of adoption and minimize the trauma of separation from their biological parents or siblings. This study presents information to guide future research in the area of adoption as well as provide insight and guidance for professionals involved in the adoption community. Keywords: adoption; adoptee; sibling placements; adoptee perspective


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

Dissertation or thesis originally submitted to ProQuest


Open Access