Adopted Women and Biological Fathers offers a critical and deconstructive challenge to the dominant notions of adoptive identity. The author explores adoptive women’s experiences of meeting their biological fathers and reflects on personal narratives to give an authoritative overview of both the field of adoption and the specific history of adoption reunion. This book takes as its focus the narratives of 14 adopted women, as well as the partly fictionalised story of the author and examines their experiences of birth father reunion in an attempt to dissect the ways in which we understand adoptive female subjectivity through a psychosocial lens.
Opening a space for thinking about the role of the discursively neglected biological father, this book exposes the enigmatic dimensions of this figure and how telling the relational story of 'reconciliation' might be used to complicate wider categories of subjective completeness, belonging, and truth. This book attempts to subvert the culturally normative unifying system of the mother-child bond, and prompts the reader to think about what the biological father might represent and how his role in relation to adoptive female subjects may be understood.
This book will be essential reading for those in critical psychology, gender studies, narrative work, sociology and psychosocial studies, as well as appealing to anyone interested in adoption issues and female subjectivity.
Table of Contents
Preface Introduction 1. Wounded Women: The discursive construction of adoption and maternal separation trauma 2. Trauma Culture Interlude 1 3. Adopted Women and The Missing Father: Paternal absence and the production of truth Interlude 2 4. In Their Own Words: Adopted women, otherness and the quest for truth 5. The Search for Origins: Self-discovery, fragmentation and the fantasy of return 6. Naming and Giving Voice: Rethinking the ways in which adopted women and biological fathers have been constituted 7. Who am I?: Adopted women’s storied and subject positions 8. Becoming an Adoptive Subject Interlude 3 9. Multiple Voices/Multiple Selves Conclusion Appendix References
Elizabeth Hughes was awarded the Symonds Prize 2015 for her essay ‘There’s No Such Thing As A Whole Story: The Psychosocial Implications of Adopted Women’s Experiences of Finding Their Biological Fathers in Adulthood’, published as a lead article in the journal Studies in Gender and Sexuality. She is Associate Research Fellow in the Department of Psychosocial Studies, Birkbeck, University of London, UK.