Adoption is currently subject to a great deal of media scrutiny. High-profile cases of international adoption via the internet and other unofficial routes, have drawn attention to the relative ease with which children can be obtained on the global circuit, and have brought about legislation which regulates the exchange of children within and between countries. However a scarcity of research into cross-cultural attitudes to child-rearing, and a wider lack of awareness of cultural difference in adoptive contexts, has meant that the assumptions underlying Western childcare policy are seldom examined or made explicit.
These articles look at adoption practices from Africa, Oceania, Asia and Central America, including examples of societies in which children are routinely separated from their biological parents or passed through several foster families. Showing the range and flexibility of the child-rearing practices that approximate to the Western term 'adoption', they demonstrate the benefits of a cross-cultural appreciation of family life, and allow a broader understanding of the varied relationships that exist between children and adoptive parents.
Table of Contents
Dedication Preface List of Contributors Glossary of Anthropological Terms Introduction 1. Adoption and the Circulation of Children: A Comparative Perspective Fiona Bowie 2. Adopting a Native Child: An Anthropologist's Personal Involvement in the Field Godula Kosack Part 1: Africa 3. 'The Real Parents are the Foster Parents': Social Parenthood among the Baatombu in Northern Benin Erdmute Alber 4. Fosterage and the Politics of Marriage and Kinship in East Cameroon Catrien Notermans 5. Adoption Practices among the Pastoral Maasai of East Africa: Enacting Fertility Aud Talle Part 2: Asia and Oceania 6. Korean Institutionalised Adoption Inge Roesch-Rhomberg 7. Transactions in Rights, Transactions in Children: A view of Adoption from Papua New Guinea Melissa Demian 8. Adoption and Belonging in Wogeo, Papua New Guinea Astrid Anderson 9. Adoptions in Micronesia - Past and Present Dietrich Treide Part 3: Central and South America 10. 'The One who Feeds has the Rights': Adoption and Fostering of Kin, Affines and Enemies among the Yukpa and other Carib-speaking Indians of Lowland South America Ernst Halbmayer 11. The Circulation of Children in a Brazilian Working-Class Neighbourhood: A Local Practice in a Globalized World Claudia Fonseca 12. Person, Relation and Value: The Economy of Circulating Ecuadorian Children in International Adoptions Esben Leifsen 13. Choosing Parents: Adoption into a Global Network Huon Wardle Part 4: Intercountry and Domestic Adoptions in 'the West' 14. National Bodies and the Body of the Child: 'Completing' Families through International Adoption Barbara Yngvesson 15. The Backpackers that Come to Stay: New Challenges to Norwegian Transnational Adoptive Families Signe Howell 16. Partial to Completeness: Gender, Peril and Agency in Australian Adoption Jon Telfer 17. Adoption: A Cure for (too) Many Ills Peter Selman
Fiona Bowie is Senior Lecturer and Head of Anthropology at the University of Bristol, where she specialises in anthropology of religion, kinship and African society.