While Type 1 diabetes (T1D) is generally associated with childhood, half of all cases occur in adulthood. The adaptive strategies individuals employ during the initial adaptive phase may have an important impact on their risk of future diabetes complications and their psychosocial well-being. We conducted a systematic review of six databases and included nine qualitative studies in a meta-synthesis, the aims of which were to develop a better understanding of how adults newly diagnosed with T1D experience the diagnosis and the phenomena associated with the early process of adaptation to life with diabetes. The meta-synthesis identified five constructs that shaped and influenced the early adaptive process: disruption, constructing a personal view of diabetes, reconstructing a view of self, learning to live with diabetes, and behavioral adaptations. The adaptive processes of adults to a diabetes diagnosis are highly referenced to prior life experiences, social habitus, and psychological orientation.