Locating Self through Adoption Homeland Tours: A Phenomenological Approach
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Tourism and adoption are separate subjects, which are both well-studied. Studies that look at adoption and tourism together are hard to find. Generally, these studies are written from a social work perspective rather than a tourism perspective. Works by Muller, Gibs and Ariely (2003); Passmore (2005); and Sachdev (1991) are examples of these types of studies. However there is a small amount of research written from a tourism perspective, which focuses on adult adoptees that travel back to their homeland to explore their roots. Amongst tour operators, these types of tours are known as Adoption Homeland Tours and cater specifically to adoptees to show them the place and culture of their biological roots. As Sachdev (1992) points out, “since the professionals have only recently directed their attention to the phenomenon of search and reunion between adoptees and their biological parents, research studies are exceedingly limited” (p. 54). This study aims to address this under-represented area of tourism research by providing a baseline understanding of the subject as understood through a phenomenological perspective and bring forward the term “Adoption Homeland Tours” to the academic community. Moreover, this study aims to explore the meanings adoption homeland tourists attribute to their experiences and to contextualize the findings within broader academic approaches towards understanding dynamics which influence adult adoptees’ understanding of self through tourism experiences.