The Adopted Child: Family Life with Double Parenthood

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9780887382413: The Adopted Child: Family Life with Double Parenthood

Book by HoffmannRiem Christa

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"Based on a qualitative study of 30 adoptive families in West Germany, the book is organized sequentially from the decision to adopt and work with the placing agency through the lifelong processes of becoming a family... Hoffman-Riem's study has relevance for students, scholars, policymakers, and practitioners in all countries where the ratio of childless couples to available, healthy, white infants is high, and where adoption agencies are the legal intermediaries between supply and demand." --B. A. Pine, Choice

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This exploration of the experiences of adopting parents and children offers unusual insight into adoption's complexity and its profound impact on family life. Based on the author's research in Germany, where she lives and teaches, "The Adopted Child "has a great deal to say about child rearing and identity, as well as offering insights into similarities and differences in family life and adoption in Germany and the United States. Hoffman-Reim takes the reader through the decision to adopt, the adoption placement procedure, and the transition from "applicant" to "Mother and Father." She explores differences between emotions experienced in adopting a baby, a toddler, and an older child, and how these emotions can affect relations with the world outside the nuclear family. A central concern is secrecy and disclosure with regard to the adopted child's origins. Whether a child knows it has been adopted, how it learns, and at what age is immensely important for both child and parents. These consequences are in turn linked with how much the child and its adoptive parents know about the birth parents. Particularly fascinating is the discussion of how biography and identity is constructed by all parties to the adoption process. Based on case studies and extensive interviews, "The Adopted Child "is likely to fascinate American readers as it did those in Germany. Professionals as well as those interested in adoption and family life in general will find it significant. Sociologists will find it theoretically innovative as well as solidly grounded in concepts and traditions from a diversity of related disciplines. And anyone interested in Germans and German society will find the materials revealing, and the author's interpretation insightful and wise.

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