Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Social Work (MSW)


Social Work


Lyle S. Hallman Faculty of Social Work

First Advisor

Anne Westhues

Advisor Role

Thesis Supervisor


Research on the experience of transracial adoption and the development of identity has indicated that supports for this process are required. Research that has not named transracial adoption as negatively impacting on identity has also recommended these kinds of family supports. There has, however, been a disquieting absence of such support programs. It is for these reasons that I have set out to start the process of identifying the best practices for such supports and begin the process of creating such a program. The methodology is influenced by a number of different theories: participatory action research (PAR), needs assessment, capacity building, empowerment theory, adult education models and the constructionist movement in psychology. The analysis procedure was primarily informed by the PAR, constructionist, problematizing and grounded theory models. A detailed description of the struggles and supports adoptees and parents reported in interviews and focus groups is provided. The discussion and analysis of the results made use of theories of development, attachment, adoption, identity and narrative creation. Finally an outline for a parenting program is offered, based on the recommendations identified in this research. The program sessions fall under the following themes: expectations, identity, attachment, racism, culture, seeing difference/being different, social interaction, adoptee sorrow, birth parents/country of origin, family culture, communication, hard times, parents' emotions, resourcing and multicultural education.

Convocation Year


Convocation Season