Kinship & Adoption

Indian children, photo taken after tsunami

Since I last blogged on Haitian adoptions, the buzz has quieted, but several good articles (in my humble opinion) did surface. Many of them stress that transnational adoption is not a sustainable solution, but a band-aid to systems keep people living in poverty, while others urge the world to learn something from the history of this practice and question its policies.

My own research continues to follow the ways in which traditional kinship practices coalesce or collide with the modern concept of childhood implicit in transnational adoption. Two authors who I find neither glorify traditional kinship practices nor champion transnational adoption, but meticulously detail the way the two interact amongst differing cultures are Jessaca B. Leinaweaver, in her work on Peruvian child circulation, and Kay Ann Johnson, who has written numerous articles and books about the complicated nature of the abandonment of baby girls in China.

As I prepare for my qualifying examinations in May, I am learning more and more about the ways 21st century technology is effecting kinship practices all over the world. An article today in The Times of India, describes a new phenomenon dubbed, Embryo Adoption, in which the term ‘birth mother’ in the adoption narrative becomes even more fuzzy and elusive. I’m wondering how others are responding to these increasing global trends and how we might reflect upon the ties of family, kinship, and motherhood, and how they are being fundamentally altered.

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