Children forever: The search for origins among Chilean adults who were adopted

Irene Salvo Agoglia, Diana Marre - Child & Family Social Work


There has been a global increase in the number of adults who were adopted searching for their origins. This trend has promoted the interest of social sciences researchers, as well as carry out the obligations of states to provide specialized services. In this article, we present some results from the first qualitative study that explores the experiences of some Chilean adults who were adopted and searched for their origins in Chile through the National Service of Minor's Search for Origins Program. The narratives of the participants show that, in spite of legislative changes, a series of barriers and contradictions continue to exist, which make it difficult to guarantee the right to know one's origins. The legal and technical frameworks and practices analysed show how difficult it is to dismantle the “clean break” principle. They also highlight the persistence of the image of adoptees as “minors” who need the “protection” of their parents or professionals. We discuss the different challenges to be considered by researchers, practitioners, and policy-makers involved in adoption policies and practices.