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Additional info for Kinship with strangers: adoption and interpretations of kinship in American culture
KinshipUnited States. StatesSocial life and customs. Title. 48-1984 Page v To my children, Jennifer and Matthew Page vii CONTENTS Preface ix Acknowledgments xiii 1 American Adoption: A Kinship with Strangers 1 Part One: The Setting: American Adoption Policy 2 In the Best Interests: The Background of American Adoption Policy 19 3 This Child is Mine: The Mechanisms for Delegating Parenthood 36 Part Two: The Experience of Adoptive Kinship 4 The White Flag of Surrender: Birthparent Experiences of Adoption 61 5 Everyone Else Just Has Babies: Becoming an Adoptive Parent 91 Page viii 6 The Chosen Child: Growing Up Adopted 115 Part Three: The Revision of Adoptive Kinship 7 Just My Truth: The Adoptee Search for a Birth Family 143 8 Lost to Adoption: The Birthparent Search for a Relinquished Child 169 9 A Child of One's Own: Being an Adoptive Parent 200 Part Four: Conclusion 10 A New Kind of Kinship: The Implications of Change in American Adoption 225 Notes 239 Bibliography 261 Index 275 Page ix PREFACE This book originates in and is representative of the interpretations of the people I interviewed.
Calling them Mom and Dad, Lyle made his adoptive parents as-if-genealogical, corresponding with the as-if-begotten of his own birth certificate. Adoptive parents, then, said in one way what scholars expressed in another way: "The meanings of kinship words are not free to com- Page 5 mute away from these anchoring basic models and processes without some tension, fiction, and resistance" (Turner 1987, 78). In fact, in adoption kinship terms both do and do not "commute away" from the basic models; the compromise causes the tension I describe below.
The wholesale distribution of children" The transfer of children was not a new phenomenon in the nineteenth century, nor was it new in the United States. 2 But the "felt necessities" had changed by the 1850s when laws were passed. Industrialization and urbanization, in the company of restrictions on child labor, did put more children on the streets; that a child ought not be at work but rather at school or at home seemed to have the effect of producing bands of wandering children (Howe 1983). 3 But these do not totally explain why laws of adoption were passed, laws that made the child a "real" member of the family that took him or her in.