"Making families": parenting and belonging in transnational adoption in Flanders

Katrien De Graeve
2012 Afrika Focus  
Introduction Most research on the transnational adoption of children from countries of the metaphorical South or East, to so-called Western countries, has been conducted within fields such as psychology, paediatrics, social work and educational theory and focuses on the psycho-pathology and the emotional and behavioural problems of children involved (e.g. Hoksbergen 2000). These studies most often use quantitative methods, which as Willing (2010) argues, seem to be 'incongruent with many of the
more » ... themes and issues in transnational adoption'. Moreover, the often 'pathology oriented' perspective of these studies tends to 'take an individuated view of adoptees' (Kim 2010) and fails to take into account the social, political and ideological contexts that shape the adoptive families' experiences. Furthermore, although research by white adoptive parents tends to be over-represented in adoption research, adoptive parenting work remains relatively understudied in Belgium and elsewhere. In contrast to adoptee-researchers, who typically focus their research on adoptees' experiences and identity struggles, only a few transnational adoptive parent-researchers have looked at their own and other parents' identity work (e.g. Volkman 2003). Also researchers who occupy other subject positions than that of adoptive parent, a few notable exceptions notwithstanding (e.g. Anagnost 2000; Dorow 2006; Tigervall and Hiibinette 2010; Willing 2010), have shown relatively little interest in the experiences and identity work of adoptive parents in relation to the migration of their children. Adoptive parents' experiences as facilitators of migration who 'lack the experiences that typically define most other narratives of migration' (Willing 2010) are seldom considered relevant in migration research. As such, the way the migratory movements of [100)
doi:10.1163/2031356x-02502009 fatcat:bq2h54lv5nadjlp4hdz2m7rh3m