Transracial adoption was one of the most fraught and contest areas of social welfare policy in the 1990’s in Britain. In this essay commissioned for a book about adoption policy I survey the history of the debate about adoption and about race, focussing on their critical points of intersection. The discussion deconstructs essentialised notions of ethnic identity and the official adoption story as a teleological tale of bad beginnings leading to happy endings. This is contrasted with the notion of adoptive identity as a site of multiple negotiations mediated by what Freud called the family Romance. The text was written for a collection on adoption policy In the Best Interests of the Child published in 2002.
Read the full text here: Yesterday’s Words