BEYOND CULTURE CAMP: Promoting Healthy Identity Formation in Adoption
This new study by the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute, launched with funding by theW.K. Kellogg Foundation, seeks to broaden our knowledge of key aspects of adoptive identity formation both through a thorough examination of the research on this subject and, most pointedly, through the experience and knowledge of those who understand the process best: adopted adults. Specifically, the project sought to identify those factors that contribute to the formation of healthy identities for people who were adopted internationally by parents of a
different race, and to develop knowledge about the dynamics of identity formation. Based on a review of the emerging literature on adoptive identity, racial/ethnic identity, and transracial
adoptive identity and the relevance of identity issues for all adopted persons, the Adoption
Institute conducted a national web-based survey of adults adopted both transculturally and
transracially and those adopted domestically. Specifically, this paper compares adults adopted from South Korea and adopted White, U.S. born adults on many measures.
Further, the study sought to derive lessons from the experiences of participants to inform
current practices and services to promote healthy identity, and to provide the basis for best-
practice recommendations. This ground-breaking study is, to our knowledge, the largest to date to focus on identity issues of adopted adults in the U.S., a topic relevant to the estimated 6 to 8 million Americans who have been adopted into their families, irrespective of whether they are of the same race/ethnicity as their parents. This report examines two separate but related issues – the factors that contribute to adopted people’s formation of adoptive identity and those that shape racial/ethnic identity for persons adopted across race/ethnicity.
This study was published November 2009.