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Reframing Transracial Adoption

Adopted Koreans, White Parents, and the Politics of Kinship

Kristi Brian

Publication Year: 2012

Until the late twentieth century, the majority of foreign-born children adopted in the United States came from Korea. In the absorbing book Reframing Transracial Adoption, Kristi Brian investigates the power dynamics at work between the white families, the Korean adoptees, and the unknown birth mothers. Brian conducts interviews with adult adopted Koreans, adoptive parents, and adoption agency facilitators in the United States to explore the conflicting interpretations of race, culture, multiculturalism, and family.

Brian argues for broad changes as she critiques the so-called "colorblind" adoption policy in the United States. Analyzing the process of kinship formation, the racial aspects of these adoptions, and the experience of adoptees, she reveals the stifling impact of dominant nuclear-family ideologies and the crowded intersections of competing racial discourses.

Brian finds a resolution in the efforts of adult adoptees to form coherent identities and launch powerful adoption reform movements.

Published by: Temple University Press

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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Preface: The Personal and the Political

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pp. ix-xii

Although the Republic of Korea (South Korea) once declared that it would halt overseas adoptions by the year 2012, few believe that this will actually take place. It is far more likely that the program will come to a gradual close over the next several years or perhaps even decades. Regardless of when the final...

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pp. xiii-xvi

This book about family building could not have come to fruition without the support of many families. First I thank the adopted Koreans and the adoptive parents who invited me into their homes to offer both impressionistic...

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1. Adoption Matters: Beyond Catastrophe and Spectacle

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pp. 1-21

When Haiti experienced the January 2010 earthquake that revealed its political, economic, and infrastructural vulnerabilities to the world, many people across the globe felt compelled to give. Although the outpouring of generous and charitable giving was impressive...

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2. Adoption Facilitators and the Marketing of Family Building: “Expert” Systems Meet Spurious Culture

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pp. 22-49

What does it mean to adopt another culture? Is this a selling point for prospective adoptive parents, or does it amount to an obligation that comes with this particular type of parenting more than others? Is culture something that comes with the child but requires maintenance? Is it something...

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3. Navigating Racism: Avoiding and Confronting “Difference”in Families

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pp. 50-100

Becky Drake was adopted from Korea in 1984 at the age of five by her white American parents. The Drakes had already adopted a two-year-old girl from Korea in 1979. When they applied for their second adoption, Mr. Drake...

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4. Navigating Kinship: Searching for Family beyond and within “the Doctrine of Genealogical Unity”

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pp. 101-141

The vast majority of Korean overseas adoptions, like most transnational adoptions, are “closed,” meaning that birth parents and adoptive parents do not have contact with one another as part of the adoption...

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5. Strategic Interruptions versus Possessive Investment: Transnational Adoption in the Era of New Racism

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pp. 142-180

The impending termination of overseas adoption from Korea, whether it occurs in 2012 (as speculated in 2008)1 or anytime thereafter, will certainly be an interruption in the “business as usual” of transnational adoption. The steady supply of Korean transnational adoptions amid the booms and busts of adoption programs from other nations has made Korean...


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pp. 181-186


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pp. 187-206


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pp. 207-214

E-ISBN-13: 9781439901854
Print-ISBN-13: 9781439901847

Page Count: 230
Publication Year: 2012