3rd British Conference of Autoethnography: (re)membering, (re)cognition and regret - How an adopted person negotiates kinship with her birth mother at Christmas.

    Activity: Talk or presentation typesOral presentation


    The aim of this study is to illuminate how I understood and negotiated kinship practices with Jean (pseudonym) my birth mum, after knowing her for only 3 months. I utilise an autoethnographic theoretical lens (Ellis 2000) through use of an epiphany (Denzin 1989) in narrating the scene. Reflexive analysis is subsequently layered in clarifying the interplay between my fixed, negotiated, ethereal and sensory kinship practices (Mason 2008), providing the conceptual framework. The result is that elements of congruence and conflict can be viewed in the relationship between myself and Jean which otherwise would have been imperceptible.
    I felt conflict as I perceived Jean’s immediate physical, ethereal need to have me nearby, eventually I was able to negotiate a position of congruence in our kinship practices that enabled me to feel comfortable. This epiphany illustrates that kinship practices can be both transitory and transferable from adoptive family to birth family. For myself as an adopted person who later in life met my birth parents the exclusive interplay and interpretation of the kinship affinities I lived out became crucial to my relationship with Jean progressing beyond the initial stages and would resonate into the future. Consequently this study has implications for future social science research in developing understanding around family relationships, particularly reconstituted families. Adoption practitioners would also benefit when working with all members of the adoptive triad; adoptees, birth parents and adoptive parents in developing a deeper understanding of perceptions of communication between these kin. It is also hoped that future social policy makers may use this knowledge to develop practice in social work settings in supporting families across the UK.
    Period29 Jul 201630 Jul 2016
    Event title3rd British Conference of Autoethnography: Auto-ethnography: re)membering, (re)cognition and regret
    Event typeConference
    LocationAberdeen, United KingdomShow on map


    • Adoption
    • Autoethnography
    • epiphany
    • kinship
    • affinities