This qualitative study examines adoptive families’ return trips to their children’s birth countries. The empirical material consists of interviews with children and their parents in ten Swedish adoptive families, conducted both before and after their adoption return trips. The study focuses on questions relating to how children and their parents reason about the decision to conduct an adoption return trip, the planning of the trip’s content and their experiences of the trip. The analysis shows that both children and parents are involved in planning and implementing the adoption return trips. Among other things, the family members negotiate the direction, function and meaning of the trips. Adoption return trips are created in interaction between children and their parents, involving recommendations for adoption return trips, hopes, conditions, opportunities, risks and, not least, individual fears. The study challenges general ideas that adoption return trips are exclusively for the benefit of the adoptee and suggests that we need to understand these trips as a joint family project. In addition, the study shows that family adoption return trips are the result of dynamic family processes that create and actualise values and ideas about family life, parenthood, children, holidays and money – and that children are part of how such values and ideals are created. To capture the complexity that surrounds families’ adoption return trips, the study employed a combination of theories and methods from child and childhood studies and family studies with tourism research and economic sociology. The study results from an approach that addresses the fluidity of concepts such as family, children, parenthood, origins, money and return, and highlights the importance of recognising children as social and cultural actors in their own right. The dissertation contributes both theoretically and methodologically to research on adoption return trips, personal heritage trips and family holidays.




Gustafsson, Johanna (2020). Adoptivfamiljers återresor till barnens födelseländer [Adoptive families’ return trips to the children’s birth countries] Linköping: Linköpings universitet. Dissertation.