Global Families, Inequality and Transnational Adoption
This book looks at the simultaneous processes of making and un-making of families that are part of the adoption practice. Whereas most studies on transnational adoption concentrate on the adoptive family, the author identifies not only the happy occasion when a family gains a child, but also the sorrow and loss of the child to its family of origin. Situating transnational adoption in the context of the Global North-South divide, Hogbacka investigates the devastating effects of unequal life chances and asymmetrical power relations on the adoption process and on the mothers whose children are adopted. Based on unique primary material gathered in in-depth interviews with South African families of origin and Finnish adoptive families, the book investigates the decision-making processes of both sets of parents and the encounters between them. The first mothers' narratives are juxtaposed with those of the adopters and of the adoption social workers who act on the principles of the wider adoption system. Concluding with a critique of the Global Northism that exemplifies current practices, Hogbacka sketches the contours of a more just approach to transnational adoption that would shatter rather than perpetuate inequality. The book can also be read as an expose of the consequences of current inequalities for poor families. Global Families, Inequality and Transnational Adoption will be of interest to students and scholars of adoption studies, family and kinship, sociology, anthropology, social work and development. 'This provocative examination of transnational adoption breaks new ground with a nuanced analysis of how agency and power shape the adoption process. Based on interviews with black South African 'birth' or first mothers, Finnish adoptive parents, and South African social workers, Riitta Hogbacka provides a compelling account of the complex circumstances in which first mothers turn to transnational adoption as a way of caring for their children. A powerful exploration of the dynamics of inequality in transnational adoption, Global Families, Inequality and Transnational Adoption: The De-Kinning of First Mothers is an important contribution to scholarship on adoption, debates about adoption policy, and research on the ways more inclusive approaches to family may transform adoption practice.' -Barbara Yngvesson, Hampshire College, USA 'Riitta Hogbacka's new book cements the author's reputation as a critically important voice in contemporary adoption discourse. Hogbacka provides some voices, perspectives, and situations of first mothers, which are juxtaposed to those of adoptive parents, underscoring the profound inequalities which form the contexts for transnational adoption. While focusing on transnational adoption, Hogbacka's work contributes to the growing impetus to reconceive adoption itself, by questioning the full severance model predominate in some legal systems, and describing contrasting cultural models of family and parentage. Hogbacka's work should set some of the premises and foundations for future adoption research practice and discourse.' -David Smolin, Samford University, USA Riitta Högbacka is Lecturer in the Department of Social Research, University of Helsinki, Finland.
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