“Do You Know Your Real Parents?” and Other Adoption Microaggressions

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86 Scopus citations


Myths, fairy tales, films, books, and everyday communication contain images and stories of orphans and adoptees that convey societal discomfort and judgment about adoption (i.e., adoption stigma). In this article, I apply the microaggression model to adoption-related experiences using the literature and theory on adoption stigma. Definitions for adoption-related microaggressions (microassaults, microinvalidations, and microinsults) and a fourth type of microaggression called microfictions (i.e., shared and hidden narratives that contribute to and define the secrecy in adoption) are introduced. Thirteen themes for adoption microaggressions and examples for each are proposed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-25
Number of pages25
JournalAdoption Quarterly
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2 Jan 2016


  • Adoption
  • adoptees
  • birth parents
  • microaggressions
  • stigma


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