The professor recalls the juxtaposition of these starkly different interpretations of international adoption -- kidnap versus rescue -- in her new book, Babies Without Borders, a study of adoption and migration across the Americas.P.S. O Solo Mamma has an original interview with Karen Dubinsky, Babies Without Borders author pleads for less black-and-white thinking in adoption. It expands on some of the issues in the above article -- a must-read!
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"There is a way in which adoption is easier to grasp if you look at it in miniature, the tiny little telescope of the individual case," Ms. Dubinsky said in a telephone interview from her Kingston home this week. "It's usually pretty easy to figure out, and impossible to argue that something good hasn't occurred to the child. If you broaden the lens a little bit and look at the circumstances of the birth mother, that makes it more complicated. And I'm not talking just about stories of babies ripped out of people's arms, I'm talking about the birth mother who makes the ‘voluntary' decision. We all know that is not an easy decision. Nobody gives their kids away if they don't have to."
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Events like the 1990 Romanian orphanage scandal caused applications to skyrocket, wrote Ms. Dubinksy, and fuelled the "transnational politics of pity." Then came low-interest adoption loans, airlines that featured special rates for adoption travel, "culture camps" that taught adopted children their heritage, and Hollywood mothers with foreign babes. And with adoption agencies bearing such names as Heart to Heart Adoption or Children's Hope, trading in "the vulnerability and cuteness of waiting children, always pictured isolated, alone, devoid of parents, communities and nations, and waiting for rescue," says Ms. Dubinsky, it is little wonder that many parents, and advocates, view international adoption as a humanitarian effort, citing poverty, malnutrition and poor child welfare systems in sending countries.
"The fantasy of the global cabbage patch", she calls it, filled with children who need help.
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