Date of Award

Spring 5-2013

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Education & Educational Psychology

First Advisor

Deborah Hardy, EdD

Second Advisor

Marcia A. B. Delcourt, PhD

Third Advisor

George F. Kain, PhD


The purpose of this qualitative study was to explore the perspectives of adolescent and young adult Chinese adoptees raised in the United States. It sought to describe how the adoptees perceived their life experiences in different contexts of their lives and over time. To date, there has been very little research conducted with Chinese adoptees. The studies that had been conducted with this population have predominantly relied upon the parents’ perspectives; simply because most of the children had not been old enough to speak for themselves. As a result, the voices of these young women were missing from previous research.

The intent of this research was, therefore, to give this oldest group of Chinese adoptees a voice by harvesting their personal perceptions in order to describe and illuminate the essence of their lived experiences. The focus was the development of identity, the experiences of academic life, and the quality of family, peer, and community relationships.

Using a multiple case study design, data were gathered from a sample of 11 cases. Each case consisted of three participants—one female Chinese adoptee, one parent, and one educator who worked with the adoptee. The maximum variation sample of volunteers was recruited through networking methods and snowball sampling. The perspectives of parents and educators were included to enhance the credibility and consistency of the findings through triangulation of sources.

Each adoptee completed a demographic survey, semi-structured interview, and a self-concept inventory, which was a self-reporting instrument. Parents and educators also completed demographic surveys and participated in personal semi-structured interviews.

Data from the 33 interview transcripts were qualitatively coded and analyzed for commonly recurring themes and comparisons both within and across cases. Results from the self-concept scale were used as additional data to support and verify the qualitative data obtained from the interviews and questionnaires. The analyses yielded nine overarching themes: good fortune and specialness, family bonding and appreciation, self-confidence, strong work ethic, Asian stereotypes, resilience, a sense of belonging, an interest in a variety of cultures, and a fluctuating appreciation of origins.