What is close: Objects as creation of adoption belongings

Christine Rogers, Laura Fulton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Adoptees can experience pervasive feelings of not-belonging, absence, and loss (Verrier, 1993); however, precious objects can help alleviate these feelings. Russell Belk (1998) argues that some objects come to be seen as part of the self. For writers Christine Rogers and Laura Fulton, a handkerchief taken from a birthfather, and a teddy bear gifted by a special uncle, helped create belonging and connection. In this article, Rogers and Fulton introduce their cherished objects and explore the complex layers of attachment that their items generate and express. Rogers and Fulton argue that these things are haunted (Brown, Reavey & Brookfield, 2014), invested with power and rich with meaning. For Rogers, the stolen handkerchief expresses her fear that the attachment to her birthfather was not stable or permanent, and embroidering the handkerchief acknowledged and helped transform this adoption fear. For Fulton, a teddy bear was the conduit for her complex thoughts and feelings when she was brought into a new family as a toddler. It was the bear who helped her storytelling practices, which were a way of addressing and understanding the silence and loss of her adoption.
Original languageEnglish
Issue numberSpecial 61
Publication statusPublished - 29 Apr 2021


  • Adoption
  • objects
  • belonging
  • identity
  • autoethnography


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