Imagined and occasional co-presence in open adoption: how adoptive parents mediate birth connections.

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


This chapter explores the ways that adopted children and their birth parents can remain co-present following adoption. It focuses specifically on public adoption of children who have been in the care of child welfare services, and draws on adoptive parents’ accounts of their experiences of adoption openness. The distinctive features of co-presence between children and their birth parents after adoption are: that it is mediated by negotiated contact agreements and through on-going adoptive family practices; and that it is occasional, with its infrequency displaying the status and significance of birth relationships. Physical co-presence can in some cases be achieved through face-to-face contact meetings, however, even when this not possible, birth parents can be present in the hearts and minds of the adoptive family, constituting a form of imagined co-presence. The chapter explores how adopters achieve, delimit and mediate imagined and physical co-presence between their child and birth parent and concludes by considering the emergence of virtual co-presence via online social media.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationParenting From Afar: The Reconfiguration of the Family Across Distance
EditorsMaria Rosario de Guzman, Jill Brown, Carolyn Edwards
PublisherOxford University Press
Number of pages35
ISBN (Print)ISBN: 9780190265076
Publication statusPublished - 31 May 2018

Bibliographical note

Invited contribution to edited book


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