Academic journal article Canadian Journal of Sociology

Marie Adams, Our Son, A Stranger: Adoption Breakdown and Its Effects on Parents

Academic journal article Canadian Journal of Sociology

Marie Adams, Our Son, A Stranger: Adoption Breakdown and Its Effects on Parents

Article excerpt

Montreal and Kingston: McGill-Queen's University Press, 2002, 211 pp.

This book represents an ambitious attempt to examine adoption breakdown from a number of different perspectives using different levels of analysis. The title of the book is something of a misnomer, however, as the author focuses exclusively on the breakdown of adoptions involving First Nations children and nonnative adoptive parents. In this regard, six case studies are reported on, including the author's own experience with this kind of adoption. The first part of the book is given over to the presentation of these case studies which provide insight into the processes whereby adoption breakdown took place. This is followed by a discussion of the effects of adoption breakdown on parents who adopted with expectations of benefiting not only themselves but the children they adopted. The author discusses the emotions engendered by the adoption breakdown, borrowing from Kubler-Ross's study of the process of dying. The author also examines how gender differences in the experience of emotion are linked to gender roles in the family.

In the next section of the book, the author shifts from an examination of the families themselves to an examination of other factors implicated in these breakdowns. She identifies factors external to the family including heredity, prenatal abuse resulting in fetal alcohol syndrome, the gender of the adoptee, age at adoption, previous foster care placements, and the problems with identity First Nations children experience in non-native homes. Sources of support are identified including parent-support groups. …

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