The Lived Experience of Parenting a Child Adopted from an Institution in Eastern Europe

Thursday, 15 July 2010

Kimberly Curry-Lourenco, MSN, MEd, RN
School of Nursing, Old Dominion University, Norfolk, VA
Lenore K. Resick, PhD, CRNP, FNP-BC, FAANP
School of Nursing, Duquesne University, Pittsburgh, PA

Learning Objective 1: The learner will be able to identify three experiences associated with parenting the post- institutionalized internationally adopted children as described by study participants.

Learning Objective 2: The learner will be able to verbalize implications for healthcare providers in designing care for families with post-institutionalized internationally adopted children.

Purpose: The primary aim of this study was to understand the lived experience of parenting a child adopted from an institution in Eastern Europe. A secondary aim of the study was to provide the researcher opportunity to enhance data collection and analysis proficiency through application of hermeneutic methodology prior to dissertation.

Methods: Hermeneutic phenomenological approach was employed  using the philosophy of the Utrecht School. Sample size consisted of three adoptive mothers to children who formerly resided in institutions in Eastern Europe. Two semi-structured interviews with participants were conducted, audio-taped and transcribed verbatim. The purpose of the first interview was data collection related to the experience of parenting a child adopted from an institution in Eastern Europe. The purpose of the second interview was to clarify and verify the researcher’s interpretation of data collected in the first interview.
Results: Data analysis was conducted through coding and identification of common themes within the transcripts (Barritt, Beckman, & Mulderij, 1984). Interpretation of the data was verified by participants. Inter-coder reliability was established with the researcher’s faculty advisor.  Saturation was not expected due to the small scope and purpose of this preliminary study. Within this small sample, four themes emerged. Findings of this study suggest that parenting in this context means experiencing helplessness and hopelessness. Being in this parenting world means feeling loss and fearing the future.   
Conclusion:  The findings of this preliminary study carry implications for health care providers within the United States and other Western countries. While the United States tops the list for receiving countries, Canada  and  Western European countries are also considered major recipients of internationally adopted children.  
 This study provided the novice researcher an opportunity to practice interview skills and data analysis. Findings verified need for the larger study and confirmed the congruence of the research question and methodology.