A Qualitative Study of “fa’a’amu” Kinship Care Experiences in Tahiti

Tehani Benjamin, Doris F. Chang, Miriam Steele

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Abstract

    “Fa'a'amu” is a type of adoption commonly found in French Polynesia involving open, informal adoption arrangements, in which the child maintains ties to the family of origin. Although the function that child circulation plays in Oceanic societies has been widely documented by anthropologists, the implications of fa'a'amu at the individual level have yet to be examined. To address this gap, an exploratory qualitative study was conducted to 1) examine the lived experiences of adults who were fa'a'amu as children, and 2) identify experiences and characteristics associated with positive psychosocial and mental health outcomes in adulthood. The sample consisted of 22 Tahitian adults, who had been fa'a'amu during childhood. Applying a developmental and attachment lens, we explored how participants experienced relationships with birth and adoptive families, and how being fa'a'amu impacted their sense of well-being, attachment, identity, and belonging. Data was collected through The Adult Attachment Interview and the Fa'a'amu Experience Interview, which were coded using thematic analysis. Factors associated with positive outcomes in adulthood included early age at adoption, sensitive fa'a'amu parents, positive or benign relationships with birth parents, and respect between fa'a'amu and birth families. Factors associated with emotional distress included late age at adoption, abandonment and rejection, exploitative fa'a'amu parents, and conflict between birth and fa'a'amu families.

    Original languageEnglish (US)
    Pages (from-to)173-198
    Number of pages26
    JournalAdoption Quarterly
    Volume22
    Issue number3
    DOIs
    StatePublished - Jul 3 2019

    Fingerprint

    kinship
    parents
    adulthood
    experience
    Polynesia
    interview
    respect
    well-being
    mental health
    childhood
    society

    Keywords

    • fa'a'amu
    • grandparent caregivers
    • kinship adoption
    • Kinship care
    • Polynesian adoption

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Demography
    • Sociology and Political Science
    • Law

    Cite this

    A Qualitative Study of “fa’a’amu” Kinship Care Experiences in Tahiti. / Benjamin, Tehani; Chang, Doris F.; Steele, Miriam.

    In: Adoption Quarterly, Vol. 22, No. 3, 03.07.2019, p. 173-198.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

    Benjamin, Tehani ; Chang, Doris F. ; Steele, Miriam. / A Qualitative Study of “fa’a’amu” Kinship Care Experiences in Tahiti. In: Adoption Quarterly. 2019 ; Vol. 22, No. 3. pp. 173-198.
    @article{16e0e65b4ca34075842f264c60296628,
    title = "A Qualitative Study of “fa’a’amu” Kinship Care Experiences in Tahiti",
    abstract = "“Fa'a'amu” is a type of adoption commonly found in French Polynesia involving open, informal adoption arrangements, in which the child maintains ties to the family of origin. Although the function that child circulation plays in Oceanic societies has been widely documented by anthropologists, the implications of fa'a'amu at the individual level have yet to be examined. To address this gap, an exploratory qualitative study was conducted to 1) examine the lived experiences of adults who were fa'a'amu as children, and 2) identify experiences and characteristics associated with positive psychosocial and mental health outcomes in adulthood. The sample consisted of 22 Tahitian adults, who had been fa'a'amu during childhood. Applying a developmental and attachment lens, we explored how participants experienced relationships with birth and adoptive families, and how being fa'a'amu impacted their sense of well-being, attachment, identity, and belonging. Data was collected through The Adult Attachment Interview and the Fa'a'amu Experience Interview, which were coded using thematic analysis. Factors associated with positive outcomes in adulthood included early age at adoption, sensitive fa'a'amu parents, positive or benign relationships with birth parents, and respect between fa'a'amu and birth families. Factors associated with emotional distress included late age at adoption, abandonment and rejection, exploitative fa'a'amu parents, and conflict between birth and fa'a'amu families.",
    keywords = "fa'a'amu, grandparent caregivers, kinship adoption, Kinship care, Polynesian adoption",
    author = "Tehani Benjamin and Chang, {Doris F.} and Miriam Steele",
    year = "2019",
    month = "7",
    day = "3",
    doi = "10.1080/10926755.2019.1625835",
    language = "English (US)",
    volume = "22",
    pages = "173--198",
    journal = "Adoption Quarterly",
    issn = "1092-6755",
    publisher = "Routledge",
    number = "3",

    }

    TY - JOUR

    T1 - A Qualitative Study of “fa’a’amu” Kinship Care Experiences in Tahiti

    AU - Benjamin, Tehani

    AU - Chang, Doris F.

    AU - Steele, Miriam

    PY - 2019/7/3

    Y1 - 2019/7/3

    N2 - “Fa'a'amu” is a type of adoption commonly found in French Polynesia involving open, informal adoption arrangements, in which the child maintains ties to the family of origin. Although the function that child circulation plays in Oceanic societies has been widely documented by anthropologists, the implications of fa'a'amu at the individual level have yet to be examined. To address this gap, an exploratory qualitative study was conducted to 1) examine the lived experiences of adults who were fa'a'amu as children, and 2) identify experiences and characteristics associated with positive psychosocial and mental health outcomes in adulthood. The sample consisted of 22 Tahitian adults, who had been fa'a'amu during childhood. Applying a developmental and attachment lens, we explored how participants experienced relationships with birth and adoptive families, and how being fa'a'amu impacted their sense of well-being, attachment, identity, and belonging. Data was collected through The Adult Attachment Interview and the Fa'a'amu Experience Interview, which were coded using thematic analysis. Factors associated with positive outcomes in adulthood included early age at adoption, sensitive fa'a'amu parents, positive or benign relationships with birth parents, and respect between fa'a'amu and birth families. Factors associated with emotional distress included late age at adoption, abandonment and rejection, exploitative fa'a'amu parents, and conflict between birth and fa'a'amu families.

    AB - “Fa'a'amu” is a type of adoption commonly found in French Polynesia involving open, informal adoption arrangements, in which the child maintains ties to the family of origin. Although the function that child circulation plays in Oceanic societies has been widely documented by anthropologists, the implications of fa'a'amu at the individual level have yet to be examined. To address this gap, an exploratory qualitative study was conducted to 1) examine the lived experiences of adults who were fa'a'amu as children, and 2) identify experiences and characteristics associated with positive psychosocial and mental health outcomes in adulthood. The sample consisted of 22 Tahitian adults, who had been fa'a'amu during childhood. Applying a developmental and attachment lens, we explored how participants experienced relationships with birth and adoptive families, and how being fa'a'amu impacted their sense of well-being, attachment, identity, and belonging. Data was collected through The Adult Attachment Interview and the Fa'a'amu Experience Interview, which were coded using thematic analysis. Factors associated with positive outcomes in adulthood included early age at adoption, sensitive fa'a'amu parents, positive or benign relationships with birth parents, and respect between fa'a'amu and birth families. Factors associated with emotional distress included late age at adoption, abandonment and rejection, exploitative fa'a'amu parents, and conflict between birth and fa'a'amu families.

    KW - fa'a'amu

    KW - grandparent caregivers

    KW - kinship adoption

    KW - Kinship care

    KW - Polynesian adoption

    UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=85068149147&partnerID=8YFLogxK

    UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=85068149147&partnerID=8YFLogxK

    U2 - 10.1080/10926755.2019.1625835

    DO - 10.1080/10926755.2019.1625835

    M3 - Article

    VL - 22

    SP - 173

    EP - 198

    JO - Adoption Quarterly

    JF - Adoption Quarterly

    SN - 1092-6755

    IS - 3

    ER -