Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 2018

First Advisor

Cindy H. White

Second Advisor

Robert Wyrod

Third Advisor

L. Lori Poole


One underexplored category of adoption is intrafamily adoption, which occurs when an adult adopts a child who is also a relative. Using a relational dialectics theory framework, this study examined online posts from 40 intrafamily adoptive families to identify communicative tensions and struggles within the family following the adoption. This project explored how these tensions and struggles were expressed in the process of becoming an intrafamily adoptive family and how intrafamily adoptive families navigate their new familial roles following the adoption. This study found discourses of dynamic relating and familial inclusivity to be discourses intrafamily adoptive families use to guide their process of determining their family identity. The process of intrafamily adoption is difficult and challenging for the family unit, this project explored the communicative tensions within the family.