Minnesota Texas Adoption Research Project

I am a lab rat for adoption research.

My parents signed us up for this longitudinal study on adoption, and so, for as long as I can remember, I have been participating in the Minnesota Texas Adoption Research Project (MTARP). As a counseling professional, it is kind of trippy to be working on compiling information to give for presentations or papers for grad school and using some of the findings from past MTARP publications. Because, isn’t that a little like citing myself?

I’m not going to bore you with all their mumbo jumbo details, but I do remember clearly receiving the call in my early 20’s to participate in the study again as an adult. I had just reunited with my half-sister on Myspace (of all places) and we had struck up an online relationship. I can still remember chatting with the researcher about my reasoning for reunion, and my feelings about my adoptive family. Just this past year I was asked, again, to participate and gave much different answers about my reasons. I hope this is reflected in the research.


    • Oh, the first time I remember being studied, was when I was 12 and a researcher came to my house. They asked a bunch of questions, but I don’t honestly remember what they were…I remember I was feeling protective of my adoptive parents and said things like “I don’t want to meet my birth parents.” At that time I couldn’t articulate the complexities of being adopted.

      Then, in my early 20’s the interview was via instant messenger chat, and it was a few hours long (over a few days), and focused mostly on my recent reunion with my maternal half-sister, and my reasons for reaching out to her, etc.

      Then, in my later 20’s, it was an online survey where I could fill in boxes to give them an update on who I was in contact with and some of my feelings about it.

      I imagine that in the future there will be another in-person or longer chat research questionnaire. I think they are limited by funding.

  1. I am always conflicted about adoptees being studied but have always held this study in high regard because it was longitudinal and it appeared that the adoptees could answer honestly – ie not in front of their parents. Now I am fascinated and hope you do talk mumble-jumble. I also wish the results and the papers that use the research would be open access so just regular folk could access them…(perhaps I just am bad at locating them?)

    • I was able to access some of the older data (prob from when I was a kid). Yeah, we never talked in front of our parents (I remember doing the study as early as 12), but I think at that time my answers reflected a fear of letting my parents know my confusion about being adopted…and I couldn’t always put into words my confusion about being adopted.

      I will see if I can find some of my old research PDF’s and see where I found them so you can peruse them, too 🙂

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