Card image cap
Card image cap

“My name is...” : Narratives on the Proper Names of Adoptees in Chile and Argentina

Irene Salvo Agoglia, Soledad Gesteira

Research Framework: Chile and Argentina are among the South American countries where the number of adoptees who are either searching for their origins or questioning them, and the various aspects of their personal identity has increased exponentially over the past decade.

Objectives : In order to deepen academic knowledge of (re)naming processes, the specific aim of this study is to explore the history that each participant has constructed around their first and last name (birth and adopted), as well as the meanings they give to naming processes and the operations they actively perform in this regard.

Methodology: The data presented in this article come from a subset of 13 participants in a multi-site qualitative study in Chile and Argentina of 75 national adoptees (legal and illegal). Their experiences were collected through qualitative interviews and analyzed along thematic analysis.

Results: The narratives show the unique perspectives that adoptees have on maintaining, changing or combining their names, decisions that can be seen as an exercise in affirmation and ongoing transformation of their sense of self and the relationships they establish with their past, present and future.

Conclusion : The question of name is at the heart of the identity-building process. It is essential to understand the identity-related operations that people actively, reflectively and creatively perform on their names.

Contribution : By analyzing the identity operations carried out by adoptees, our article contributes to the understanding of the identity work they carry out throughout their lives as a result of their dual filiation.