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CALUMET . intercultural law and humanities review
ISSN 2465-0145 (on-line)
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Children in Tatters across the Earth: Intercountry Adoptions, Intercultural Discriminations
Ricca M.
The essay focuses on a different perspective of the child in the assessment of her/his best interests regarding the practice of international adoption. Specifically, it will be argued that the child who is the object of adoption should be understood in terms of his/her ‘relational being,’ rather than as an a priori reified entity. This perspective allows for a ‘lateral gaze’ on the interplay between the cultural characteristics of children and the intercultural meaning of intercountry adoption. The most important implication of such an approach is the relativization of ‘blood ties’ as the natural source of the parental relationship and responsibilities. The argument is further developed through a retrospective analysis of the cultural-religious sources of Western imagery concerning the idea of the “natural family” and its allegedly genetic roots. Jesus’s self-definition as a ‘Son of man’ serves as a fulcrum for an unorthodox journey through the Western cultural and legal tradition, which unexpectedly ends up subverting its inclination to ontologize the ‘blood family.’ At the same time, this ‘unfamiliar’ reconstruction gives rise to a new post-colonial, antiracist and non-ethnocentric configuration containing the seeds of a universal responsibility of adult human beings for all the children living on the Earth regardless of their genetic descent or geographical location. All this subverts, in a sense, the hierarchical relations between ‘blood parentage’ and ‘adoptive parentage’ paving a possible new path toward their future developments. Even so, the essay strives to leverage the same cultural-religious origins of the Western tradition and the (allegedly) secularized values/principals underpinning the international and national legal features of adoption and its intercountry projections while exploring more nuanced and fruitful alternatives.


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