Academic journal article Journal of Marriage and Family

The Dynamics of Adoption: Social and Personal Perspectives

Academic journal article Journal of Marriage and Family

The Dynamics of Adoption: Social and Personal Perspectives

Article excerpt

The Dynamics of Adoption: Social and Personal Perspectives. Anal Treacher & Ilan Katz (Eds.). London: Jessica Kingsley. 2000. 240 pp. ISBN 1-85302-782-0. $23.95 paper.

In the introduction, Amal Treacher bravely attempts to link together the diverse contributions to this book by identifying a common underlying theme of fantasy. Different forms of fantasy, Treacher argues, inform the way we think about adoptions. Fantasy can refer to the way that parents and professionals involved in an adoption create an interpretative story around what they do, or it can mean the way in which adoptees imagine their birth parents. Fantasy can also refer to claims that are untrue, and readers may wish to decide for themselves how many of the essays expose untruths as opposed to reinforcing them.

The idea of adoption as a story is conveyed by the sometimes quite beautiful poems of M. Henderson that are interspersed between the 14 essays of the volume. There are also two affecting personal accounts. A. Benton describes what has at times been a very difficult relationship with her adoptive daughter, and S. Greenwood tells the story of the relinquishment of her child in a closed adoption.

The analytic essays contain several interesting accounts of selection and matching in adoption, including B. Pryan's analysis of the strain imposed on social workers who make difficult placement decisions and B. Luckock's study of a local authority adoption agency. Pryan suggests that new ideas about best practice are sometimes taken up uncritically. Luckock observes the disparity between formal matching criteria and the practice of intuitive matches, based on factors such as similar appearance. …

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