Research Theme: Transnational Families
Circulating ‘Origin’ Stories: Towards A Transnational Adoptive Field between China and Spain
Transnational Adoption Programs facilitate the adoption of children from one country to another. Current academic research has been dominated by the outcome studies of developmental psychology. These studies inquire into the adaptation, acculturation, and mental health of adoptees after their adoption completely ignoring the pre-adoptive part of the adoptive trajectory. As neither adopters nor researchers inquire into the actual motives for and practices of relinquishing children in the donor countries, Western discourses on the adoptive triad (adoptive parents, birth parents, adoptees) are inevitably biased towards the interests and values of the adoptive parents, which they tacitly assume to be universal. This interdisciplinary, multi-sited project examines the pre and postadoption perspectives of the adoptive triad stretching between China (the world’s leading donor of children for adoption) and Spain (Europe’s leading recipient). Spain currently adopts more children per inhabitant than all other nations and is second only to the United States in terms of the absolute numberof children adopted internationally. China’s Transnational Adoption Programme has experienced particular growth over the last two decades and emerged as a primary source of adopted children. Combining tools from narratology and ethnography, it will unearth submerged scripts on the weaving of family that are disseminated by adoptive origin stories in order to explicate the kinship values they imply. As such, it will contribute to the international debate on the question of whether transnational adoption is a good means of protecting minors.
Project leaders: Lies Wesseling (Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences), Valentina Mazzucato (Faculty of Arts and Sosial Sciences). Other UM participants: Susan Rutten (Faculty of Law), Gerard-René de Groot (Faculty of Law).