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Article
“Dear Birth Mother”: Addressivity and Meaning-Making in Online Adoption-Seeking Letters
Journal of Family Communication (2011)
  • Leslie M. Baxter, University of Iowa
  • Kristen M. Norwood
Abstract
The current study, a qualitative investigation of online letters to domestic birth mothers from adoption-seeking parents, was framed in Relational Dialectics Theory and identified four discursive struggles that animate the meanings of domestic adoption, adoptive parenting, the identity of the birth mother, and the anticipated nature of the adoption triad among the birth mother, the child, and the adoptive parents: adoption as gain versus adoption as loss; adoption as desirable parenting versus parenting as last resort; the birth mother as a good parent versus bad parent; and birth mother autonomy versus interdependence in the adoption triad. The first three discursive struggles were constructed through the discursive practice of the hidden polemic, privileging positively valenced discourses over competing negative discourses. The last discursive struggle was constructed through a more direct interplay and privileged birth mother autonomy.
Disciplines
Publication Date
2011
Publisher Statement
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Citation Information
Leslie M. Baxter and Kristen M. Norwood. "“Dear Birth Mother”: Addressivity and Meaning-Making in Online Adoption-Seeking Letters" Journal of Family Communication Vol. 11 Iss. 3 (2011)
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/leslie_baxter/69/