Exploring adult adoptees’ use of DNA testing as a method of adoption tracing

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Linehan, Denise
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Community-Academic Research Links, University College Cork
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Advances in science and technology have influenced several facets of modern society. Specifically, the emergence of DNA testing or Direct to Consumer Genetic Testing (DTC-GT). In addition, the development of social media platforms has made the ability to connect with others instantaneous, anonymous, and effortless. Regarding the field of adoption these resources have changed the practice of search and reunion for birth parents, adoptees, and adoptive families in Ireland. In view of these novel resources for adoption services, it is essential to critically evaluate their utility. Hence, in collaboration with Aitheantas-Adoptee Identity Rights, this dissertation explored adult adoptees’ use of these methods for tracing biological relatives by means of primary research. Initially an online Google Form questionnaire was distributed which received 48 individual responses. Thereafter, follow up interviews were conducted online over MS Teams with just 6 participants, due to the scope of this minor dissertation. The participant’s journey for connection, access to birth information and reunion in several cases informed this dissertation. The findings indicate that the above methods proved to be a positive resource for several adoptees. Adoptees also acknowledged that there are limitations to using such resources. With regards to DNA testing, results may not yield close familial matches and can be difficult to interpret in some instances. Given this, adoptees highlighted the emotional element of these contemporary methods of adoption tracing. Consequently, it emerged that further consideration and revision as to the current search and reunion practices mentioned above need reform in the Irish context.
Adult adoptees , DNA testing , Adoption tracing , Direct-to-consumer genetic testing , DTC-GT
Linehan, D. (2021) Exploring adult adoptees’ use of DNA testing as a method of adoption tracing. Cork: Community-Academic Research Links, University College Cork.
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©2021, Denise Linehan.