Date of Award

Summer 2017

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Counseling & Human Services

Committee Director

Tim Grothaus

Committee Member

Garrett McAuliffe

Committee Member

Tammi Dice


This phenomenological dissertation study explored the lived experiences of adoptive parents in the process of raising their internationally adopted adolescents. The researcher interviewed 9 participants. Criteria for selection of the research sample included having personal experience with parenting one or more international adolescents adopted at age 10 or older and raising these adolescents for at least two years following such adoption. Data analysis included steps suggested by Moustakas (1994) and the participation of a research team and external auditor. According to the recommendations of Lincoln and Guba (1985), several strategies for trustworthiness were implemented during this course of the study. The research team identified 5 superordinate themes related to experiences of parents with raising their internationally adopted adolescents: parental beliefs, trauma, parental strategies, parental challenges, and experiences with therapy. In addition, research team identified 34 themes and 9 subthemes through consensus coding process during data analysis. The findings of this study may inform practices of counseling professionals, counselor educators, community organizations, agencies, and adoptive parents of international adolescents.