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Schwartz, D. (2013). Adoption News: Heterosexual Parents Helped by Gay Man. Psychoanal. Perspect., 10(1):139-148.

(2013). Psychoanalytic Perspectives, 10(1):139-148

Adoption News: Heterosexual Parents Helped by Gay Man

David Schwartz, PhD

Lurking behind most discussions of adoption is the rarely disputed assumption that it is best for a woman to raise the child to whom she has given birth. It easily follows that while adoption may at times be necessary, and even have good aspects, you wouldn't and even shouldn't do it unless it is necessary. One consequence of this critical view of adoption (or idealizing view of birth) is that both the parents and children involved with adoption are likely to experience a range of related anxieties.

Efforts to contend with these anxieties are in evidence in this roundtable. The participants wonder: Is it important to contact the birthparents, is learning disability a very likely handicap for adopted children, do we (adoptive parents) put too much pressure on our children to be “the same,” have we “resolved our issues,” will our child have problems with attachment, when should we tell our children the truth, and more. These are not the garden-variety worries of all parents; they are specific to adoption.

Absent any evidence that adoption is intrinsically problematic, the result of its cultural devaluation as a method of family creation is that its intrinsic joy is gratuitously depleted. The truth of this falls into relief if we permit ourselves to imagine what an unambiguous cultural celebration of adoption might look like: adoptive parents being paid, instead of the reverse; researchers attempting to verify the likely superiorities of adoptive children; relatives of adoptive parents noting with genuine pleasure how different from them their nieces and nephews look; books being published with titles like The Advantages of the Chosen Child. The improbability of these ironic musings reminds us that our culture furrows its brow at adoption much more than it smiles.

[This is a summary excerpt from the full text of the journal article. The full text of the document is available to journal subscribers on the publisher's website here.]

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