From being adopted to becoming a parent:
when adopted people become parents and adopters become grandparents

For people adopted as children, becoming a parent themselves might bring along specific joys and challenges and raise certain questions.

For example, how might becoming a parent affect how adopted people feel about their origins? How do they experience parenting their own child given their past histories, which may include loss, abuse and/or neglect?

For adoptive parents, now grandparents, there are also important questions to be answered. How can adoptive parents support their child as parents? How do they react to the arrival of a grandchild, and do how they see any role of their child’s birth family?

We need to know more about the later life and experiences of adoptive families, especially those adoptions within the last 30 years. This study: ‘From being adopted to becoming a parent: when adopted people become parents and adopters become grandparents’ will explore questions around identity, risk and resilience.

We hope the study will benefit adopted people, their children and adoptive parents, as well as practitioners, policy makers, and academics studying adoption and families.

This project is now in its analysis phase. We have heard from 40 adopted people who now have children of their own and 40 adopters who are now grandparents.
Recruitment is now closed. We have heard from people who adopted or were adopted a children in England or Wales, in or after 1989, the link below tells you more about how people have shared their experiences and taken part.
Tell us your story

The study is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC) It is being carried out by the Centre for Research on Children and Families at the University of East Anglia; and has been approved by the School of Social Work’s Research Ethics Committee.

Following the COVID-19 pandemic, we have experienced delays in our analysis and been successful in applying for an extension to our funding for 4 months – until end March 2021.

Hello, I am Beth Neil. I have been researching adoption for the last twenty years, mainly exploring contact in adoption.

One of my studies has followed a group of adoptive and birth families over 18 years, this study ending as the young adopted people entered adulthood – this left me wondering ‘what next’ for everyone concerned? Adoption is a lifelong issue and this new study looks at a next major step in adoptive families’ lives: when adopted people go on to become mums and dads, and adopters become grandparents”.

Working alongside me at the University of East Anglia, will be Dr Julia Rimmer (part time), who is helping to lead and manage the study and Dr Irina Sirbu, who is the full time project researcher.

Current number of participants