Queering the family? A multi-layered analysis of relations of inequality in transnational adoption

Katrien De Graeve

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


This paper explores the tensions between the (equal) parental right claims in adopting countries and the global inequalities in class, race and geographical location that shape transnational adoption. It uses the story told by a Belgian couple who disguised their lesbian relationship from the authorities involved to explore the narratives of child, family and nation that undergird transnational adoption. The paper discusses the potential and limits of the creation of non-traditional families for producing greater equity and significant reinterpretations of kinship and the family script. Moreover, taking into account different layers of both oppression and privilege, it discusses the ethical implications of the (queer) liberal ideologies of parental rights and Western moral superiority that prevail in transnational adoption. It argues for a shift away from the desire to create non-biological and/or non-heterosexual forms of private nuclear kinship through transnational adoption to a more profound and critical re-thinking of the (transnational) care of children, with space and acceptance for profoundly different constellations of care.
Original languageEnglish
JournalCulture, Health and Sexuality
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)683-696
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - 2014
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Fields of Science

  • 5141 Sociology
  • Parenting
  • Intersectionality
  • Transnational Adoption
  • Belgium
  • Lesbians

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