A History of Asian International Adoption in America
Publication Year: 2013
Published by: NYU Press
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Title Page, Copyright, Dedication
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List of Illustrations
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These acknowledgments must begin with my gratitude for the presence of Asian American adoptees in my University of Minnesota classes. Their belief that Asian American adoptees’ history, art, and contemporary issues matter to Asian American Studies, and vice versa, has been a major source of inspiration. While I was an assistant professor...
Introduction: International Adoption Nation
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“Where did your little girl come from?”
I was finishing my lunch and was about to get my one-year-old daughter ready to visit another part of the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, when I was taken off guard. Judging by the woman’s age—early to mid-sixties—I doubted she needed a lesson on the birds and the bees. Thus, I thought I had been asked a variation of the question that has...
1. Race and Rescue in Early Asian International Adoption History
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When the January 12, 2010, earthquake in Haiti brought renewed attention to the international and transracial adoption of Haitian children by white American families, much of the media coverage was controversial and, unfortunately, one-dimensional. The story of ten white Americans who were detained at the Dominican border for “kidnapping” thirty-three...
2. The Hong Kong Project: Chinese International Adoption in the United States in the 1950s and 1960s
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Without a doubt, China plays a key role in the American public’s understanding of international adoption in the United States. Newspaper and magazine articles about the phenomenon abound. Although Americans also adopt large numbers of Eastern European, Latin American, and other Asian children, Chinese girls have become the poster...
3. A World Vision: The Labor of Asian International Adoption
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From the 1950s to the 1970s, Asian international adoption in the United States grew increasingly popular, despite remaining controversial. In order to understand this transformation, we must place the work of agencies, organizations, and individuals at center stage. Their labor is currently overshadowed by the focus on the triadic female relationships...
4. Global Family Making: Narratives by and about Adoptive Families
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Attention to celebrity adoptions has hardly waned, but Americans’ fascination with international adoption has also been cultivated by the stories of ordinary American families who adopted children overseas. Their stories became increasingly familiar in the 1950s and 1960s through national and local news media reportage. Tucked within a variety...
5. To Make Historical Their Own Stories: Adoptee Narratives as Asian American History
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Some sociologists have characterized international adoption as a “quiet migration.”1 And some Asian adoptees have referred to themselves as “seeds from a silent tree.”2 By the late twentieth century, however, those seeds had taken root and had produced a collective critique of Asian international and transracial adoption through memoirs and creative...
Conclusion: New Geographies, Historical Legacies
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Much has changed in international adoption since the 1970s. First, the phenomenon has become a truly global industry. The few thousand international adoptions that took place in the 1950s and 1960s pale in comparison to the tens of thousands in the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries. As the demographer Peter Selman notes in his...
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About the Author
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Catherine Ceniza Choy is Professor of Ethnic Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. Prior to coming to Berkeley, she was an assistant professor of American Studies and a cofounding member of the Asian American Studies Initiative at the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. She is the author of the award-winning book Empire of Care: Nursing...
Page Count: 240
Publication Year: 2013