Voices in Adoption: A Narrative Analysis of Stories from Birthmother Cyber Communities
- Author(s): Deeming, Karen Lisa
- Advisor(s): Rebhun, Linda-Anne
- et al.
The dynamics of adoption from a closed, sealed records, secretive
endeavor to an open model has conflated the intersection of kinship and
social roles attached to motherhood. These roles are not natural, universal
and unchanging, instead reflecting the reorganization and mutual
understanding of social practices. How do birthmothers negotiate their
motherhood in the absence of a child? My research discusses the changing
nature of birthmother roles as ambiguous, existing outside traditional
Western notions of proper motherhood and reflective of transitional social
relations. I use anonymous narratives from birthmothers which span 6
decades of adoption to argue that birthmothers are creating an active role
and staking their claim to motherhood through proper performance of
motherhood in multiple ways.