Date of Award


Degree Type

Creative Project

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Communication Studies and Philosophy

Committee Chair(s)

Syndey Oshay


Sydney Oshay


Tim Curran


Nicole Allen


Discourse in adoptive families is how families create relationships and familial identity. This literature review addresses how parents talk to adoptees and the negative and positive outcomes of these conversations. Parents discuss entrance stories, word choice, and privacy management with their adopted children. When parents are open with adoptees, adoptees are better adjusted and have a strong sense of identity. Parents who had good quality conversations with their children saw children who had a stronger sense of belonging. When parents withhold information, adoptees developed anxious and avoidant attachment styles. Adoptees also felt betrayed and lost trust in their adopted parents. With these findings, future adoption researchers and practitioners should work to expand which participants are included in adoption studies and disseminate the information to the lay public.