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Lecture 11

HIST 2800 Lecture 11: Lecture 11 - March 28

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HIST 2800
Erin J Schuurs

Lecture 11 March 28th: Lecture Outline, March 28 th Kinship by Design: Adoption in the 20 Century Main Point: Adoption is a very public, familymaking operation that has been the target of almost constant political and legal change throughout its modern history. Outline: o Adoption and Family Formation Growing number of children are adopted across national, butural and racial borders and look nothing like their parents meaning adoption has become more visible than it was in the past. Adoption demonstrates that kinship takes diverse forms and has diverse meanings. The practice highlights that defining family is not straight forward While adoption has made pluralism a fact of life it was tied to the stigma which surrounded nonmarital pregnancy and was limited by the blood bias of western society. o The widespread belief that blood was the only reliable basis of kinship o Reducing the family down to the idea that only real families shared blood ties reduced complex questions about identity and belonging into a simpler answer o The idea that blood is thicker than water undermined families built upon adoption. o Regulating Adoption Before the mid nineteenth century no western nations had legislation to regulate adoption Exception of US (regulations from 1850s) most not till 1920s Generally, people wanted to keep adoptions private and secret, and dew people felt that legal procedures were necessary to bring families together or makethem real Adoption was long considered dangerous, orphans were tainted due to lack of family ties During late 20 century philantropists argues that regulating adoption families made it safe with little risk. Adoption therefore began proffessionalized Matching Mathicng was the philosophy that governed adoption until about the 1960s Its goal was to make families sociallythat would match families made naturally Married heterosexual couples were matched with children of similar intelligence, looks, race and religion Matching ensured families wouldnt stand out or be deeme different. Regulation State gained greater control over this process than ever before Interpretation Osychology used to see how children and adults could be placed together Practitioners wanted public however to be well informed of risks and rewards Standardization Created rules for child placement and created protocols Naturalization Researchers attempted to naturalize adoption o Labour vs. Love The practice of placing out was the most commonly practiced method of adoption at the turn of the 20 century. th Social reform=ities and philantropists did not like placing out they idealized that family as the only place for children In the US, approx. 250000 children were transported from Eastern cities to Midwestern towns between 1852 and 1929 Increasingly, adoption was idealized as an arrangement that should be motivated by love for dependent children incapable of caring for themselves. o Eugenics Pre1945, a vigourous eugenics movement sought to control the reprod of inferior people through the sterilization and encourage the reproduction of genetically superior people. Fears about childrens quality or stick were shared buy ordinary people as well as proffestionals and policy makers Medical writers in the popular press warned parents to be careful about who they adopted Adopting inferior children posed a threat to society o Adoption Agencies Attitudes were slowly softened (emerged 1920s) Early ones run by female elite philantropists Largely used by affluent males Agencies were considered inferior to proffessionals Women starting agencies saw oppurtunities for children Adoption offered clear social advantages and educational oppurtunities while also makinf families whole By the end of the 1920s became professionalized
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