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Preservation of the Child's Background in In- and Intercountry Adoption

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The point of departure of the present article is the child's right to preservation of her/his ethnic, religious, cultural and linguistic background in adoption, as stipulated in the CRC and the Hague Convention on Intercountry Adoption. The article seeks to analyse the various meanings attributed to preservation of the child's background in in- and intercountry adoption and in different national contexts. The main focus is on the seldom-studied perspective of one of the major sending countries in intercountry adoption: India. Five representatives of two non-governmental adoption agencies and one governmental agency in addition to six Indian adoptive parents have been interviewed about their views on the significance of the child's background in adoption. In our analysis, we show that preservation of a child's background is perceived to be in conflict with other interests of the child, such as gaining a position in her/his adoptive family equal to that of a biological child and being loved unconditionally. In contrast to the general portrayal of Indian adoption applicants as being selective regarding the child's religious background and skin colour, agency representatives as well as adoptive parents endeavoured to distinguish themselves from this portrayal by emphasizing the irrelevance of the child's background.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Child Studies, Linköping University, Sweden


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