Until the late twentieth century, the majority of foreign-born children adopted in the United States came from Korea. In the absorbing book Reframing Transracial Adoption, Kristi Brian investigates the power dynamics at work between the white families, the Korean adoptees, and the unknown birth mothers. Brian conducts interviews with adult adopted Koreans, adoptive parents, and adoption agency facilitators in the United States to explore the conflicting interpretations of race, culture, multiculturalism, and family. Brian argues for broad changes as she critiques the so-called "colorblind" adoption policy in the United States. Analyzing the process of kinship formation, the racial aspects of these adoptions, and the experience of adoptees, she reveals the stifling impact of dominant nuclear-family ideologies and the crowded intersections of competing racial discourses. Brian finds a resolution in the efforts of adult adoptees to form coherent identities and launch powerful adoption reform movements. Kristi Brian teaches in the Women and Gender Studies Program and the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at the College of Charleston
Acknowledgments; Personal / Political Preface; (1) Adoption Matters: Beyond Catastrophe and Spectacle; (A)The Birth of "Sentimental" International Adoption; (B) Institutionalizing Harry Holt's Mission in Korea; (C)Research Questions & Methodology; (D) Towards a Critical Race Feminist Approach to Transnational Adoption; (E) Overview of chapters; (F) Names, Labels and Terms; (2) Adoption Facilitators and the Marketing of Family-Building:; "Expert" Systems meet Spurious Culture; Customized Family-Building and the Trouble with Culture; (B) Promoting Transnational Adoption; (B:1) Meeting the Consumer Needs of the Target Market; (B:2)Depicting Korea as a Nonpolitical, Cultural "Other"; (B:3)Assuming Race Consciousness in "Culture" - Consuming Parents; (C)A Confusion of Experts; (D)The Fault line between Domestic and Transnational Transracial Adoption; (E) Conclusion: Towards a Paradigm of Consciousness; (3) Navigating Racism: Avoiding and Confronting "Difference" in Families; (A) Phase 1: Choosing the "Acceptable" Model Minority in pre-adoption decision-making; (B) Phase 2: Family Lessons on Racism; (B:1) Assumptions of easy assimilation; (B:2) Failures of the "Ad Hoc," Colorblind Approach; (B:3)"The Fly on the Wall": Adoptees Witness and Confront Racism; (C)Phase 3: Adoption as Point of Departure; (C:1) Adoptees' Departures from Whiteness; (C:2)"This Is How I Taught Her To Be": Parents Observe Departures from Whiteness; (D) Conclusion; (4 ) Navigating Kinship: Searching for Family Beyond and Within "The Doctrine of Genealogical Unity"; Confronting the "Loss" of Birth and "Risk" of Adoption; Choosing "Closed" Adoptions and the "Familyless" Orphan; (C)Reconstructing Memories of Korea as Routes to the Meaning of Family; (D)Searching for Family Origins and Identities in the Shadow of Gratitude; (5) Strategic Interruptions versus Possessive Investment: Transnational Adoption in the Era of New Racism; (A) Towards a Shared Race-Conscious Discourse and Framework; (B) Abduction Language; (C)Race-blind U.S. Adoption Policy as Possessive Investment; (D) The Hague: Race-sensitive Understanding or Multicultural Fantasy?; (E) New Versions of Family to Resist the New Racism; (F) Disquieting Adoption; References.