When the education material for presumptive adoptive parents published by the Swedish National Board of Health and Welfare was revised in 2015 a new section was added; adoption return trips (NBHW 2015). Among other things, the section describes the emotions connected to going on an adoption return trip and emphasizes that it has become more common to go on a trip as a young child together with the family.
Adoption return trips are a growing travel industry, several Swedish, and international, travel agencies make and sell return trip packages for a commercial purpose. Many of these travel agencies recommend families to conduct a trip while the children are still young, one of the arguments supporting this recommendation is that adoptees most likely benefit from the trip before they reach adolescence and starts to explore their identities.
Thus, both politically, socially and culturally, do ideas circulate on the meanings and purposes of the trips. This, as my research shows, has implications for how decisions about return trips are made. Adoptees and their families both meet and comply to a jumble of different guidelines, recommendations, expectations, hopes and wishes.
To understand these processes my research focuses on the social, economic and political dimensions of the trips. Through placing the trips at the intersection between adoption research, child studies, and family holiday research I explore how children and parents relate to these trips as a phenomenon. My research is based on interviews conducted before and after the trips with ten Swedish transnational adoptive families and interviews with Swedish travel agencies that arrange adoption return trips.
Adoption return trips are all about the dynamics between children and parents, how the trips ‘do’ family, and how the trips both resemble with and differ from any other family trip.