Strangers and Brothers: A Homily on Transracial Adoption
Whittier J. Child & Fam. Advoc., Vol. 2, No. 1 (2003)
18 Pages Posted: 24 May 2017
Date Written: 2003
Primarily, family law resolves disputes among individuals about how their lives in families should be organized. But family law also referees the claims of various collectivities to influence people's intimate lives. These collectivities include families, ethnic and religious groups, and the broader community as it is represented by the government. Tensions among these collectivities are so Protean that no stable resolution of them is plausible. Nevertheless, if there is a trend, it is toward favoring the choices of individuals, toward the adage that, in America, all affinities are elective.
To be sure, family law attributes special status to "the family" by, for example, exalting "family autonomy." But that principle is at heart a generalization about what best promotes the interests of the individuals within the family and a presumption readily abrogated to protect individuals from the power of families or their dominant members. Furthermore, the primacy of the family has been eroded by developments like no-fault divorce and a mounting willingness to intervene in families to pursue and punish familial violence. Indeed, we have increasingly deinstitutionalized the family and ratified as a family whatever relationships individuals choose to call one. So I repeat: in America, all affinities are elective.
Keywords: Transracial Adoption, Family Law
JEL Classification: K00, K36
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation