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© 2015,While many proponents of transracial adoption claim that American society is increasingly becoming "color-blind," a growing body of research reveals that for transracial adoptees of all backgrounds, racial identity does matter. Rhonda M. Roorda elaborates significantly on that finding, specifically studying the effects of the adoption of black and biracial children by white parents. She incorporates diverse perspectives on transracial adoption by concerned black Americans of various ages, including those who lived through Jim Crow and the Civil Rights era. All her interviewees have been involved either personally or professionally in the lives of transracial adoptees, and they offer strategies for navigating systemic racial inequalities while affirming the importance of black communities in the lives of transracial adoptive families. In Their Voices is for parents, child-welfare providers, social workers, psychologists, educators, therapists, and adoptees from all backgrounds who seek clarity about this phenomenon. The author examines how social attitudes and federal policies concerning transracial adoption have changed over the last several decades. She also includes suggestions on how to revise transracial adoption policy to better reflect the needs of transracial adoptive families. Perhaps most important, In Their Voices is packed with advice for parents who are invested in nurturing a positive self-image in their adopted children of color and the crucial perspectives those parents should consider when raising their children. It offers adoptees of color encouragement in overcoming discrimination and explains why a "race-neutral" environment, maintained by so many white parents, is not ideal for adoptees or their families.
© 2015,Chinese adoption is often viewed as creating new possibilities for the formation of multicultural, cosmopolitan families. For white adoptive families, it is an opportunity to learn more about China and Chinese culture, as many adoptive families today try to honor what they view as their children's "birth culture." However, transnational, transracial adoption also presents challenges to families who are trying to impart in their children cultural and racial identities that they themselves do not possess, while at the same time incorporating their own racial, ethnic, and religious identities. Many of their ideas are based on assumptions about how authentic Chinese and Chinese Americans practice Chinese culture. Based on a comparative ethnographic study of white and Asian American adoptive parents over an eight year period, How Chinese Are You? explores how white adoptive parents, adoption professionals, Chinese American adoptive parents, and teens adopted from China as children negotiate meanings of Chinese identity in the context of race, culture, and family. Viewing Chineseness as something produced, rather than inherited, Andrea Louie examines how the idea of "ethnic options" differs for Asian American versus white adoptive parents as they produce Chinese adoptee identities, while re-working their own ethnic, racial, and parental identities. Considering the broader context of Asian American cultural production, Louie analyzes how both white and Asian American adoptive parents engage in changing understandings of and relationships with "Chineseness" as a form of ethnic identity, racial identity, or cultural capital over the life course. Louie also demonstrates how constructions of Chinese culture and racial identity dynamically play out between parents and their children, and for Chinese adoptee teenagers themselves as they "come of age." How Chinese Are You? is an engaging and original study of the fluidity of race, ethnicity, and cultural identity in modern America.
© 2015,"Baby safe haven" laws, which allow a parent to relinquish anewborn baby legally and anonymously at a specified institutional location--suchas a hospital or fire station--were established in every state between 1999 and2009. Promoted during a time of heated public debate over policies on abortion,sex education, teen pregnancy, adoption, welfare, immigrant reproduction, andchild abuse, safe haven laws were passed by the majority of states with littlecontest. These laws were thought to offer a solution tothe consequences of unwanted pregnancies: mothers would no longer beburdened with children they could not care for, and newborn babies would nolonger be abandoned in dumpsters. Yet while these laws are well meaning, they ignore the real problem: somewomen lack key social and economic supports that mothers need to raisechildren. Safe haven laws do little to help disadvantaged women. Instead,advocates of safe haven laws target teenagers, women of color, and poor womenwith safe haven information and see relinquishing custody of their newborns asan act of maternal love. Disadvantaged women are preemptively judged as "bad"mothers whose babies would be better off without them. Laury Oaks argues that the labeling of certain kinds ofwomen as potential "bad" mothers who should consider anonymously giving uptheir newborns for adoption into a "loving" home should best be understood asan issue of reproductive justice. Safe haven discourses promote narrow imagesof who deserves to be a mother and reflect restrictive views on how we shouldtreat women experiencing unwanted pregnancy.