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The Politics of Adoption

International Perspectives on Law, Policy & Practice

The Politics of Adoption by Kerry O'Halloran
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Adoption has always had a political dimension. Its potential use to achieve political ends has been evident throughout history and in many different cultures. In Roman 1 times an emperor would adopt a successful general to continue his rule. In Ireland under the Brehon Laws the reciprocal placements of children between clans was 2 an accepted means of cementing mutual allegiances. In Japan the adoption of non-relatives was traditionally seen as a means of allying with the fortunes of 3 the ruling family. The willingness of governments to use adoption as a political strategy was apparent, for example, in Australia where it was used to further 4 the assimilation of indigenous people. It is now present in the phenomenon of intercountry adoption where the ?ow of children, particularly in the aftermath of war, is often politics by proxy and which arguably attracts the involvement of 5 some countries for reasons of economic and political expediency. Adoption does not function in isolation. It plays a distinct role within the c- text of family law proceedings. The extent to which it is available as a resource for children in the public care system or as an adjunct to marriage proceedings is essentially politically determined. It is itself susceptible to political in?uence. 6 In fact direct political leadership, exercised ?rst by President Clinton and then 1 See, Gibbons, The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire, Harrap, London 1949 at p. 30.
Springer Netherlands; February 2006
342 pages; ISBN 9781402041549
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Title: The Politics of Adoption
Author: Kerry O'Halloran
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