Broken Links, Enduring Ties: American Adoption across Race, Class, and Nation
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Seligmann observed and interviewed numerous adoptive parents and children, non-adoptive families, religious figures, teachers and administrators, and adoption brokers. The book uncovers that adoption—once wholly stigmatized—is now often embraced either as a romanticized mission of rescue or, conversely, as simply one among multiple ways to make a family.
laws that determine transactions and that the causes for supply and demand need not be addressed. As she explains, In purely economic terms, adoption is the most rational aspect of the baby trade. There is a vast unmet demand for children and a ready supply of them scattered across the world. By matching demand with supply, adoption would Power and Institutions 33 appear to be the ideal solution to infertility, a match of immeasurable value on both sides of the transaction. . . . The
struggling with the assumed relationship between biological family-making and “as if ” family-making through adoption. She noted that “natives” themselves were articulating and revising theories of kinship and that they “constructed a critique that very much resembles those made by anthropologists, confronting (as these do) the ‘biologism’ that dominates the construction of American kinship” (see, e.g., Schneider 1984). Modell found that her informants were “fish out of water— people well aware
they had connections] . . . and they found this woman because you have to register when you move. . . . You can’t just live wherever you want, you have to register with the local police station and they keep track of the population that way. And they found her in Beijing, living with her daughter and son-in-law and grandkids. And we went and visited them. And so when Yvonne was 8, I guess she had been here for two years, we went to Beijing for a week and she got to spend time with her
everything just seemed to be heading toward China. . . . I suspect that our girls . . . are going to have a lot of ques tions that us as moms and dads probably are not going to be able answer. . . . What am I doing here? Where do I belong? Where do I fit in? And you know, there may not be good answers for that, but at least there will be somebody else in the same boat —Lola, CA4 Place and Culture in Transnational and Transracial Adoption The ease of traversing physical distances and traveling
and a desire for more knowledge on the part of children themselves. Later, children became ambivalent about these forays into place-making and culture building, as we discuss in greater detail in Chapter 9. Families located in dense urban areas, such as Boston or the Upper West Side of Manhattan, where the number of adoptive Chinese families was high, were more likely to embrace place-making practices because they had friends and peers pursuing the same kinds of activities. Both density and