10 Yale J.L. & Feminism 101 (1998)
Transracial and International Adoption: Mothers, Hierarchy, Race, and Feminist Legal Theory; Perry, Twila L.

handle is hein.journals/yjfem10 and id is 107 raw text is: TRANSRACIAL AND INTERNATIONAL ADOPTION:
MOTHERS, HIERARCHY, RACE, AND
FEMINIST LEGAL THEORY
Twila L. Perryt
INTRODUCTION
Although in recent years substantial attention has been devoted to both
transracial2 and    international adoption,3 there has been         comparatively     little
discussion of how adoption, and more specifically, how transracial and
international adoption might be analyzed from a feminist perspective. It seems
clear, however, that transracial and international adoption raise many issues that
should be of interest to feminist scholars and others whose work concerns issues
such as poverty, the economic status of women, the nature of mothering, and the
relationships between women of different classes, races, and nations.
In an earlier article on transracial adoption, I argued that the controversy over
that subject in the United States exposes the fault lines that persist between Black
and white Americans about the perception of race in larger contexts in this
society.4 There I argued that the different approaches often taken by Blacks and
whites to the question of transracial adoption reflect different racial experiences
t Professor of Law - Rutgers University School of Law - Newark. B.A., 1970, Mount Holyoke, M.S.W.,
1973, Columbia, J.D., 1976, New York University.
Earlier versions of this Article were presented at the North American Conference of the International
Society For Family Law in Quebec City, Canada on June 15, 1996 and at a Symposium entitled Challenging
Boundaries, sponsored by the Yale Journal of Law and Feminism and held at Yale Law School, on November
9, 1996. I also presented a draft of the paper at Professor Vicky Schultz's Feminist Legal Theory Seminar at
Yale Law School on November 8, 1996, and gave a lecture based on it for the 1997 Symposium on Race,
Culture and the Law at Brooklyn Law School on March 10, 1997. I wish to thank the participants in each of
these events for their many thoughtful comments. I also thank Karen Patterson, Lucy Chavis, Mari Madyun,
and Miguel Pozo for their research assistance.
2. See R. Richard Banks, The Color of Desire: Fulfilling Adoptive Parents'Racial Preferences Through
Discriminatory State Action, 107 YALE L.J. 875 (1998); Elizabeth Bartholet, Where Do Black Children
Belong? The Politics of Race Matching in Adoption, 139 U. PA. L. REv. 1163 (1991); James S. Bowen,
Cultural Convergences and Divergences: The Nexus Between Putative Afro-American Family Values and the
Best Interests of the Child, 26 J. FAM. L. 487 (1988); Ruth-Arlene Howe, Redefining the Transracial Adoption
Controversy, 2 DUKE J. GEN. L. & POL. 131 (1995); Twila L. Perry, The Transracial Adoption Controversy: An
Analysis of Discourse and Subordination, 21 N.Y.U. REV. L. & SOC. CHANGE 33 (1993-94) [hereinafter Perry,
Transracial Adoption]; Twila L. Perry, Race and Child Placement: The Best Interests of the Child and the
Costs of Discretion, 29 J. FAM. L. 51 (1990-91) [hereinafter Perry, Race and Child Placement].
3. See, e.g., Richard R. Carlson, The Emerging Law oflntercountry Adoptions: An Analysis of the Hague
Conference on Intercountry Adoption, 30 TULSA L.J. 243 (1994); Jorge L. Carro, Regulation ofIntercountry
Adoption: Can the Abuses Come to an End?, 18 HASTINGS INT'L & COMP. L. REV. 121 (1994); Stacie I. Strong,
Children's Rights in Intercountry Adoption: Towards a New Goal, 13 B.U. INT'L L.J. 163 (1995).
4. See Perry, Transracial Adoption, supra note 2.

Copyright © 1998 by the Yale Journal of Law and Feminism

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