The Transition to First-­Time Fatherhood Through Adoption

Prof Doc Thesis

Gordon-Jones, S. 2018. The Transition to First-­Time Fatherhood Through Adoption. Prof Doc Thesis University of East London School of Psychology
AuthorsGordon-Jones, S.
TypeProf Doc Thesis

Becoming a parent for the first time is a significant transitional life event (Johns & Belsky, 2007). The transition to fatherhood is starting to receive more attention in the research in the context of changing societal attitudes towards fatherhood. Becoming an adoptive father is different in many tangible ways to biological parenthood and yet this is a neglected area of research in the United Kingdom. This study sought to explore the experiences of men in the process of becoming fathers for the first time through domestic adoption. Semi-­structured interviews were completed with eleven adoptive fathers regarding their experience of the adoption process and early first-­time fatherhood. A thematic analysis was conducted. Four key themes were found: ‘Adopting was a challenging time’, ‘Becoming an adoptive father requires adjustments’, ‘Finding ways to cope’ and ‘The rewards of adoption’. A number
of challenges were experienced across the time period including the distress of turning down children for adoption as well as being turned down themselves and a lack of power in the process. This research also highlighted the significant adjustments men felt they needed to make throughout the process and after placement, predominantly in regards to approaches to parenthood. Contact with other adoptive parents was highly valued by the fathers. The findings are discussed in relation to discourses around masculinity and fatherhood. Clinical and policy implications are explored from a clinical psychology perspective.

KeywordsAdoption; fatherhood; adoptive father; transition to parenthood
PublisherUniversity of East London
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Publication dates
PrintMay 2018
Publication process dates
Deposited20 Nov 2019
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