Families by Law: An Adoption Reader

Posted: 29 Dec 2003

See all articles by Naomi Cahn

Naomi Cahn

University of Virginia School of Law

Joan Heifetz Hollinger

University of California, Berkeley Law School


Since the mid-19th century, American law has recognized adoption as a way to create parent-child relationships. As the product of law, rather than blood, adoptive families have become a focal point for debates about the meaning of famly, the rights and responsibilities of parents, and the best interests of children. Familes by Law brings together diverse perspectives on contemporary aspects of adoption law and practice. Following a historical overview of adoption in American law and society, the reader presents different responses to concerns about who may place children for adoption, the status of birth parents, who may adopt, and the legal and psychosocial consequences of adoption. The new frontiers of adoption are explored: from transracial and intercountry adoption, adoption by same sex couples, and the adoption of children with special needs, to the movements for opening records and maintaining post-adoption contact between adoptive and birth families. The relationship between adoption and assissted reproductive technologies is discussed, as are feminist, economic, and philosophical perspectives on adoption and procreation. The reader includes statutes and cases, as well as other pieces from scholars from a wide range of disciplines and would be appropriate for undergraduate and graduate level courses.

Keywords: families, adoption

Suggested Citation

Cahn, Naomi R. and Hollinger, Joan Heifetz, Families by Law: An Adoption Reader. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=476801

Naomi R. Cahn (Contact Author)

University of Virginia School of Law ( email )

580 Massie Road
Charlottesville, VA 22903
United States

Joan Heifetz Hollinger

University of California, Berkeley Law School ( email )

215 Boalt Hall
Berkeley, CA 94720-7200
United States

Do you have negative results from your research you’d like to share?

Paper statistics

Abstract Views
PlumX Metrics