Adoption and Identity
Nomadic Possibilities for Reconceiving the Self
We feel disfavor for all ideals that might lead one to feel at home
in this fragile, broken time of transition…. We ourselves who are homeless
constitute a force that breaks open ice and other all too thin “realities.”
It is great to have roots, as long as you can take them with you.
We live in a world of increasing complexity and globalization where rootlessness, forced and chosen migrations, and the deterioration of cohesive communities are increasing, where the value of a consistent, stable, and highly bounded sense of identity is being openly questioned. Postmodernism challenges modernist ideas of a unified subject, inviting us to a view of human subjectivity that instead is complex, multiple and at times contradictory. Contemporary studies of subjectivity at the interface of psychoanalysis and social theory have looked at what can be learned about subjectivity from the experience of the socially marginalized. Adoptees and their families can be seen as falling within this rubric. The problematizing of identity and the questioning of hegemonic identities by postmodern and postcolonial researchers have relevance to the framing of adoption discourse and research, as well as to our practices of nurturing the development of adoptive children. In turn, adoptees and adoptive parents’ struggles with the decentering of identity and their successes in forging hybrid identities reflective of multiple roots is illuminative of crucial issues regarding identity that increasingly confront all of us.3