In recent years, different family types have begun demanding recognition to an unprecedented extent. Despite notable changes to our cultural and academic landscapes, however, many types of kinship remain overlooked. Among the most commonly understudied are adoptive families. According to census data, about two and a half percent of children in the United States are adopted. But mere numbers do not begin to indicate the profound impact that these families have on cultural definitions of kinship. "Adoptive Families in a Diverse Society" brings together twenty-one prominent scholars to explore the experience, practice, and policy of adoption in North America. While much existing literature tends to stress the potential problems inherent in non-biological kinships, the essays in this volume consider adoptive family life in a broad and balanced context, encompassing the challenges as well as the strengths. Essays explore our current fascination with genetics, showing how our intense belief that we are produced, shaped, and controlled by our genes has affected the authenticity and value that we credit to adoptive parent/child relations.
Other essays look at identity development, community attitudes toward adoption, gay adoptive fathers' experiences, the ways in which single mother adoptive families create kinship, and the ways in which cultural assumptions about race and class operate in the system. Bringing new perspectives to the topics of kinship, identity, and belonging, this path-breaking book expands more than our understandings of adoptive family life; it urges us to rethink the limits and possibilities of diversity and assimilation in American society.