Date of Award

Winter 1-15-2024

Document Type


Degree Name

PHD - Doctor of Philosophy


Expressive Therapies

First Advisor

Robyn Flaum Cruz, PhD

Second Advisor

Kazuyo Kubo, PhD

Third Advisor

Martha Henry, PhD


This qualitative study explored how individuals adopted from foster care experience the concept of relational permanency using an arts-based storytelling process. Participants were eight young adults between the ages of 18 and 30 who were adopted from foster care as youth. All participants identified as cisgender women, 75% identified as Black/African American (n = 6) and 25% as white (n = 2). Participants completed a demographic survey and engaged in a single 60-to-90-minute interview session. The interview was comprised of three main components, a semi-structured interview regarding participant understanding of relational permanency, an embodied check-in focused on physiological experience, and an arts-based storytelling process involving the creation of timeline of relationship and a house drawing. Thematic analysis revealed three themes regarding participant’s understanding of the construct of relational permanence: relational elements of building permanency, personal barriers to permanency, and external barriers to permanency. Analysis of the arts-based storytelling component suggest that the use of creative process supported participants in sharing about and reflecting on their experiences. Findings confirm that relational permanency is a complex construct and further investigation into how it may function as a protective factor for individuals with lived experience in care is warranted.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.



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