Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Type



College of Education and Human Services


Counseling, Rehabilitation Counseling & Counseling Psychology

Committee Chair

Jeffrey Daniels

Committee Co-Chair

James Bartee

Committee Member

Lisa Hamilton

Committee Member

Christine Schimmel

Committee Member

Melissa Sherfinski


Parents from the United States adopt more children from overseas than parents from any other country. There are numerous factors that play a role in the decision to adopt internationally, and most families remain highly satisfied with the adoption outcome (Adoption Institute, 2010). However, families with internationally adopted children face numerous challenges during their adoption journey, and generally report a higher utilization of professional services than biological families (Adoption Institute, 2010). In this study I utilized a qualitative research design to examine experiences of parents who adopted children from other countries. Thematic analysis of family narratives was employed to examine the stories of parents and identify their current needs. It was found that themes of loss, anticipation, and emotion-focused coping prevail in the adoptive families' narratives. Clinical implications, strengths and limitations, and recommendations for mental health professionals who work with adoptive families are discussed.