The Adopted Child : Family Life with Double Parenthood book cover
1st Edition

The Adopted Child
Family Life with Double Parenthood

ISBN 9781412862967
Published February 29, 2016 by Routledge
344 Pages

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Book Description

This exploration of the experiences of adopting parents and children offers unusual insight into adoption's complexity and its profound impact on family life. Based on the author's research in Germany, where she lived and taught, The Adopted Child has a great deal to say about child rearing and identity, as well as offering insights into similarities and differences in family life and adoption in Germany and the United States.

Hoffmann-Reim takes the reader through the decision to adopt, the adoption placement procedure, and the transition from "applicant" to "mother and father." She explores differences between emotions experienced in adopting a baby, a toddler, and an older child, and how these emotions can affect relations with the world outside the nuclear family. A central concern is secrecy and disclosure with regard to the adopted child's origins.

Based on case studies and extensive interviews, The Adopted Child has fascinated American readers as it did those in Germany. Professionals as well as those interested in adoption and family life in general will find it significant. Sociologists will find it solidly grounded in concepts and traditions from a diversity of related disciplines. And anyone interested in Germans and German society will find the materials revealing, and the author's interpretation insightful and wise.

Table of Contents

1. The Desire for a Child
"We Wanted a Child"
The Start of Marriage within the Framework of the Pattern of Normality
The Trajectory of Denormalization
The Decision to Adopt
Adoption as the Unquestioned Next Step
Doubts about the Decision to Adopt: Career as an Equivalent?
The Female as the Driving Force behind the Decision to Adopt
Adoption as the Second-Best Solution and Exceptions to the Rule
The Significance of Social Motives
Adoption in the Case of Voluntary Childlessness

2. The Adoption Placement Procedure
Applicant Expectations and Placement Procedure
Major Parameters of the Adoption Placement Procedure
The Mutual Independence of "Supply" and "Demand"
The Adoption Agency as the Legally Envisaged
Intermediary between Supply and Demand
The Adoption Agency as an Administrator of a Given
Supply in a Situation of Growing Demand
The Assessment of Adoptive Suitability as the Basis for Matching Supply and Demand
The Confrontation of Applicants with the Adoption Agency's
Pattern of Action at the Beginning of Adoption Placement Procedure
The First Information Discussion
The Information about Reality from the Perspective of the Adoption Agency
The Missing Dialogue about Differing Perspectives of Reality
The Function of Information Policy for Bureaucratic Placement Activity
The Preliminary Decision about Adoptive Suitability by the Local Social Worker
Initial Bureaucratic Selection and Initial Presentation of Self by Applicants
The Social Worker's Visit to the Home of Adoption Applicants
Initial Applicant Observations on the Subject of Bureaucracy and the Aspect of Time
The Decision by the Adoption Counselor on Adoptive Suitability
The Communication Situation during the Determination of General Adoptive Suitability
Applicant Uncertainty and a Tendency to Engage in Strategic Interaction
Applicant Uncertainty and the Specification of the
Desired Child along Various Attributive Dimensions
Applicant Uncertainty Increased by the Procedural
Administrator and the Tendency to Engage in Strategic Interaction
Applicant Certainty and No Cause to Engage in Strategic Interaction
Applicant Uncertainty and an Inability to Engage in Strategic Interaction
The Communication Situation after the Determination of General Adoptive Suitability
The Principle of Chance in Adoption Placement
The Traces of Social Status during Adoption Placement
Reference to the "Human Side" of Adoption Procedure

3. The Status Passage from Applicant for a Child to Mother and Father
"We Have a Child for You"
The Limitations of Notification over the Phone
The Specification of the Adoption Offer
The Decision to See the Child
The Phase Preceding the First Encounter
The Indeterminacy of the Child
The Act of Choosing
Establishing an Emotional Bond
The First Face-to-Face Encounter
Making the Child One's Own
From the Immediate Affection Aroused by a Baby to the Reserved Response to an Older Child
The Affective Potential of a Baby
The Affective Potential of a Toddler
The Reserved Response Triggered by the Older Child
Differences in the Intensity and Rhythm of Emotional Interaction by the Prospective Adoptive Parents
Motherhood Fixation and Motherly Feelings
The Differing Rhythm of Emotional Interaction of Men and Women
From the Immediate Acceptance of the Child to the Momentum of Emotional Involvement

4. The Constitution of the Adoptive Family: Emotionality and Awareness
From Strangeness to Familiarity: Emotional Normalization
The Moment of Emotional Normalization in Narrative Accounts
Emotional Normalization When Adopting a Baby
Emotional Normalization When Adopting a Toddler
Emotional Normalization When Adopting an Older Child
Limited Emotional Normalization in the Narrative Accounts
Living with the Artificial Status Passage: Structuring the Awareness Context
Structuring the Awareness Context towards Interaction Partners Outside of the Nuclear Family
Structuring the Awareness Context towards the Adopted Child
The Significance of the Awareness of Origin from the Point of View of the Adoptive Parents
The Biological Disclosure
The Social Disclosure
The Significance of the Awareness of Origin from the Point of View of the Adopted Child
Structuring the Awareness Context towards Oneself
The Interdependence of the Structuring of the Awareness Contexts towards the Various Interaction Partners
Emotionality and Awareness: The Preference for the Open Awareness Context

5. A Number of Special Aspects of the Construction of Biography and Identity in the Adoptive Family
The Child's Name
The Reconstruction of the Past
The Reconstruction Work by the Adoptive Parents
The Reconstruction Work by the Adopted Child
The Construction of Resemblance

6. Outlook

Theoretical and Methodological Framework of the Adoption Study
Theoretical Background
The Use of the Narrative Interview and the Composition of the Interviewee Group
Objectives and Methods of Data Evaluation


Name Index

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