Face in the Mirror by Marion Crook

Face in the Mirror by Marion Crook

Author:Marion Crook [Crook, Marion]
Language: eng
Format: epub
Tags: FAM004000, FAMILY and RELATIONSHIPS / Adoption and Fostering
ISBN: 9781551523231
Publisher: Arsenal Pulp Press
Published: 2000-10-01T04:00:00+00:00


When I speak of North American society, that vast land of millions of people, I realize that there are many different cultures. And within the many different cultures are different attitudes toward adoption. North American “culture,” the one in which most people live and understand their lives within the milieu of a modern, fast-moving world of televi­sion commercials, pop music, and changing fashions, contains mini-cultures—the small towns, isolated villages, French settlements, Mennonite towns, Mormon communities, street people, and the hundreds of other smaller cultures. “Society” and “culture” are vague terms and it is impossible to state definitively what any society or culture thinks or believes. Not only are their many societies, they are in constant motion, in a continual process of change. With these restrictions in mind, we can perhaps try to understand society as the imaginary larger force in our lives into which we fit into roles as mother, father, businessperson, teacher, doctor, mechanic, son, daughter, friend, and lover. It is this world in which we live that influences us and motivates us. Some people have a spiritual life that is also rich, interesting, and influential, but even that spiritual life exists within the society, and is even shaped by it. By “culture” and “society” I mean the everyday lives of most people, not the rich, famous, or literary. Given the limitations of the word “society,” I trust the reader to imagine a definition that makes sense and is useful.

How does the process of adoption work within our society? We have evolved from the era of secrecy of the 1940s to the 1960s, with its notion that the child was “as if born to” the family, to the general acceptance, at least among professional adoption placement agencies, that the child's biological history should be preserved. This represents a significant social shift from the attitude that denying there was any difference between a biological child and an adopted child meant parents were noble, to the other extreme where celebrating differences by bringing attention to adoption is socially responsible. Birth mothers who gave up their children and promised never to look for them were considered noble once; now they are thought to be irresponsible. The actions haven't changed; the attitudes have.

In this book I speak of adoption as the legal process of making a stranger's child part of a family. There are many adoptions where a stepparent adopts his spouse's child; aunts, uncles, and grandparents adopt their relatives. Those children adopted by relatives may know their family histories, although there can be secrecy and deception around those adoptions as well. All but two of the teens I interviewed had been adopted at birth, but there are many children adopted after infancy. Their memories and their concerns may be different from the teens interviewed here. The definitions of both open and closed adop­tions differ according to the agencies, birth parents, and adoptive parents involved. Some adoptive parents are willing to exchange information with the birth mother at the time the child is born and send pictures for a few months, and then perhaps yearly.


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