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Outsiders Within

Writing on Transracial Adoption

Jane Jeong Trenka (Editor), Julia Chinyere Oparah (Editor), and Sun Yung Shin (Editor)

Pages: 336
ISBN: 0-89608-764-6
Format: Paper
Release Date: 2006-10-10

Purchase for $20.00

Description of Outsiders Within.

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Given increasing high-profile celebrity international adoptions by the likes of Madonna and Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt, news and entertainment are regularly abuzz with what you've observed yourself--in your own family, or the family next door, or passing the neighborhood playground--there's a boom in transracial adoption. Most coverage focuses on the struggles of good white parents wishing to adopt "unfortunate" children of color. Some touches on the irony of Black babies in the United States being exported to Canada and Europe because of their "unwanted" status here. Some even addresses the trafficking of children. But few look at

o why babies are available for adoption in the first place
o what happens when they grow up and
o how we come up with solutions that are humane and just

Healthy white infants have become hard to locate and expensive to adopt. So people from around the world turn to interracial and intercountry adoption, often with the idea that while growing their families, they’re saving children from destitution. But as Outsiders Within reveals, while transracial adoption is a practice traditionally considered benevolent, it often exacts a heavy emotional, cultural, and even economic toll.

Through compelling essays, fiction, poetry, and art, the contributors to this landmark publication carefully explore this most intimate aspect of globalization. Finally, in the unmediated voices of the adults who have matured within it, we find a rarely-considered view of adoption, an institution that pulls apart old families and identities and grafts new ones.

Moving beyond personal narrative, these transracially adopted writers from around the world tackle difficult questions about how to survive the racist and ethnocentric worlds they inhabit, what connects the countries relinquishing their children to the countries importing them, why poor families of color have their children removed rather than supported—about who, ultimately, they are. In their inquiry, they unseat conventional understandings of adoption politics, ultimately reframing the controversy as a debate that encompasses human rights, peace, and reproductive justice.

Table of Contents

Introduction Jane Jeong Trenka, Julia Chinyere Oparah, and Sun Yung Shin

Garlic and Salt Soo Na
Love is Colorblind: Reflections of a Mixed Girl Jeni C. Wright
Power of the Periphery Kim Diehl
Finding the Universal: Reflections on a Multi-Prismed Identity Mark Hagland

Economic Miracles Sun Yung Shin
Adoption Myths and Racial Realities in the United States
Dorothy Roberts
The Finer Meaning Kimberly Fardy
Parents in Prison, Children in Crisis
Ellen Barry
Orphaning the Children of Welfare:
“Crack Babies,” Race, and Adoption Reform
Laura Briggs
Shopping for Children in the International Marketplace Kim Park Nelson
Disappeared Children and the Adoptee as Immigrant Patrick McDermott


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