Adoptive Migration

Raising Latinos in Spain

Adoptive Migration

Book Pages: 216 Illustrations: 6 illustrations Published: September 2013

Anthropology > Cultural Anthropology, Latin American Studies, Sociology > Migration Studies

Spain has one of the highest per capita international adoption rates in the world. Internationally adopted kids are coming from many of the same countries as do the many immigrants who are radically transforming Spain's demographics. Based on interviews with adoptive families, migrant families, and adoption professionals, Jessaca B. Leinaweaver examines the experiences of Latin American children adopted into a rapidly multiculturalizing society. She focuses on Peruvian adoptees and immigrants in Madrid, but her conclusions apply more broadly, to any pairing of adoptees and migrants from the same country. Leinaweaver finds that international adoption, particularly in a context of high rates of transnational migration, is best understood as both a privileged and unusual form of migration, and a crucial and contested method of family formation. Adoptive Migration is a fascinating study of the implications for adopted children of growing up in a country that discriminates against their fellow immigrants.


“Both professionals involved with intercountry adoption and adult family members of intercountry adoptees would benefit from reading Leinaweaver’s book… [Additionally] researchers in the area of adoption, and more specifically intercountry adoption, will find Leinaweaver’s presentation of the complex issues to be intellectually stimulating and implying directions for future research.”  — Judith L. Gibbons and Katelyn E. Poelker, PsycCRITIQUES

"A thoughtful and insightful study which describes the multiplicities inherent in the ways in which families experience both adoptive and labour migration." — Jamie-Leigh Ruse, Journal of the Royal Anthropological Institute

"An astute understanding of the Peruvian experience in Spain and an ability to network and access the Peruvian population there." — Heather Jacobson, Comparative Studies in Society and History

"Jessaca B. Leinaweaver’s Adoptive Migration is a welcome addition to this literature—a body of work that addresses questions about belonging, nation, culture, and identity. … Adoptive Migration is engagingly written; Leinaweaver deftly draws in her readers as she recounts how she came to see unanticipated overlaps between adoption and labor migration. Beyond providing fine-grained case studies of Peruvians in Spain, the book should provoke scholars of both adoption and migration to think more deeply about the intersections of adoption and migration elsewhere in the world." — Toby Alice Volkman, American Anthropologist

“This study is an innovative work because it addresses jointly and simultaneously two processes that scholars have traditionally addressed separately. Blurring the boundaries between adoption and migration processes, the study highlights the complexity of both processes and foregrounds how the identities of these children and young people are articulated, ranging from the recognition of adopted children to discrimination against migrant children.” — María del Carmen Peñaranda-Cólera, Ethnic and Racial Studies

"In sum, this masterful piece examines a current issue—international adoption and family migration—of great relevance beyond the discipline and beyond the academy. The text could be read in social work, psychology, and family studies with a focus on adoption, and in migration studies, transnationalism, demography, or by Latin Americanists with a focus on migration. Beyond the academy, adoptive families and adoption professionals could benefit from the comparative observations so clearly and engagingly written." — Diana Marre, Journal of Anthropological Research

"The real strength of the book ... is that it functions as one of the first clear attempts to provide comprehensive ethnographic data to support the theory that inter-country adoptees and other transnational migrants may be examined and theorised together.... Ultimately, the book provides anthropologists of adoption and migration with an ethnographic model for studying international adoption routes and other child migratory routes simultaneously. It also demonstrates why a comparative consciousness of global migration matters." — Rachael Stryker, The Australian Journal of Anthropology

"This perspective goes beyond traditional economic theories of labour migration and underscores the colonial, post-colonial, and global-historical contexts in which migratory relationships emerge and exist. . . . . Leinaweaver is able to demonstrate in many ways how race, gender, class, and the spectre of colonialism shape migration and everyday experiences rather than simply existing in an economic and/or family-building vacuum." — Kit W. Myers, Studies in Ethnicity and Nationalism

Adoptive Migration is a highly accessible, engagingly written, and deftly argued anthropological study. Without doubt, it deserves wide readership among scholars of a number of disciplines, and is of particular interest to social and cultural anthropologists, sociologists and professionals working with adoptive and migrant families and children.”

— Macarena García-González, Adoption & Culture

"In Adoptive Migration, Jessaca B. Leinaweaver brings her earlier work on kinship and adoption in Peru to bear on the lives of Peruvian migrants to Spain. Arguing for an integrated analysis of migration and kinship, she produces bold new insights into how children from Peru, including adoptees and immigrants, navigate their lives in a rapidly changing Spain. In the process, she raises important questions about nationality and identity." — Andrew Canessa, author of Intimate Indigeneities: Race, Sex, and History in the Small Spaces of Andean Life

"In this lucid and beautifully written book, Jessaca B. Leinaweaver rethinks transnational adoption, considering it as a form of immigration. Focusing on Spain, an epicenter for both phenomena, she examines the notions of culture, assimilation, and childhood that make receiving societies treat transnational adoptees and other immigrants so differently. This book provides food for thought for all those touched by transnational adoption or immigration, which is to say, all of us." — Laura Briggs, author of Somebody's Children: The Politics of Transracial and Transnational Adoption


Availability: In stock
Price: $24.95

Open Access

Author/Editor Bios Back to Top

Jessaca B. Leinaweaver is Associate Professor of Anthropology at Brown University. She is the author of The Circulation of Children: Kinship, Adoption, and Morality in Andean Peru, also published by Duke University Press.

Table of Contents Back to Top
Acknowledgments ix

Introduction. Comparing Adoption and Migration 1

1. Waiting for a Baby: Adopting the Ideal Immigrant 25

2. The Best Interests of a Migrant's Child: Separating Families or Displacing Children? 47

3. Mixed Marriages: Migrants and Adoption 66

4. Undomesticated Adoption: Adopting the Children of Immigrants 84

5. Solidarity: Postadoptive Overtures 102

6. Becoming and Unbecoming Peruvian: Culture, Ethnicity, and Race 122

Conclusion. What Adoptive Migration Might Mean 148

Notes 155

References 179

Index 193
Sales/Territorial Rights: World

Rights and licensing
Additional InformationBack to Top
Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-5507-6 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-5492-5
Publicity material