This research was conducted in practical theology with a postfoundational narrative approach. Interviews were conducted with four adults who were adopted as well as their families. The names of two adult adoptees were obtained from the Christelike Maatskaplike Raad (CMR) in Pretoria, while the researcher knew the other two families in a personal capacity. Pseudonyms were used, and the families’ identities and privacy were protected. The goal of the study was to determine the extent of the experience of loss in the adoption triad. The triad includes the adoptee, the adoptive parents, and the biological parents. The specific group of families in which adoptions took place were selected for research within specific parameters which will be detailed later in this dissertation. The narrative study focused on these specific families and therefore the results cannot be generalised to other families in which adoptions took place.
A narrative and qualitative research method was employed. The experience of loss was a golden thread in all the stories. The adoptive parents interviewed in this study mourned their inability to have biological children and were confronted with this loss before they decided to adopt. The adoptees wondered about the kind of people they would have been had they not been adopted. The biological mothers and fathers all mourned the loss of their babies and the years they could have shared with the children they relinquished. The theme of guilt was an omnipresent burden for the biological parents.
A theme of hope was also present in all stories. One adoptee, however, had no hope and described herself as depressed with few future prospects. The other co-researchers based their hope on their faith in God and saw a good and prosperous future ahead.
An adoption in a family is always a tragic event for at least one party in the adoption triad. The themes of loss, guilt, and hope were evident in all families interviewed. Some adoptees adapted very well and viewed the adoption as natural, while other families found it difficult to adapt.