The Coordinated Management of a Culturally Diffused Identity
Internationally Adopted People and the Narrative Burden of Self
Internationally adopted persons confront multiple challenges in constructing their identities. This study of the narrative burden of self looks at and interprets the dynamic process in which internationally adopted people develop, coordinate and manage their sense of self, identity and cultural/racial personhood. Drawing on the theory of the Coordinated Management of Meaning (CMM), the study focuses on their use of orphaning and adoption stories to most skillfully position and tell one's origin story in concert with one's internal sense of self, and the pressures and forces found in interpersonal and intercultural dialogue. The research reveals how internationally adopted people develop and demonstrate varying levels of game mastery in managing societal scripts and oppressive frames of stigma. Through this game mastery, the research brings to view how the participants have reflexively learned to claim ownership of their stories and develop a sense of agency while fashioning self-empowering narratives out of the resources of their personal root journeys to better manage, frame and coordinate the meaning of their stories across cultural and interpersonal boundaries.
About the Author
Jeff Leinaweaver, Ph.D., is a social researcher, narrative genealogist and fellow at the Institute for Social Innovation at Fielding Graduate University where he studies topics related to the intersection of narrative, complexity and global identity development. He represents a first generation of internationally adopted scholars studying and re-framing the conversation on international adoption and human development.