Life issues in debate and fiction

Tobias Hubinette, Swedish researcher

International adoption, sometimes known as intercountry or transnational adoption, the movement of predominantly non-white adoptees from the non-Western world to white adopters in the West, was born in the mid-1950s in the aftermath of the Korean War. The practice is hitherto involving an estimated number of half a million children, of whom almost one third come from Korea. In the receiving countries, the practice was initiated as a rescue mission with strong Christian undertones, while it came to be perceived as a progressive act of solidarity during the 1960s and 1970s. Today, in the leading adopting regions of North America, Western Europe and Oceania, international adoption has developed into the last resort to have a child for singles and hetero- or homosexual couples suffering from infertility, while a discourse of multiculturalism celebrates international adoptees as bridges between cultures, symbols of interethnic harmony and embodiments of global and postmodern cosmopolitans. On the other hand in the sending countries, international adoption is mostly conceived of as a mixture of a family planning method and a child welfare practice. Despite regular outbursts of criticism towards the practice coming from domestic oppositional circles, most governments in the countries of origin view international adoption as a degrading and humiliating business while they at the same time treat it as a necessary evil, well aware that the practice generates huge amounts of money and sustains a profitable adoption industry.

Mary Shelley, Frankenstein

”Did I request thee, Maker, from my clay
To mould me Man? Did I solicit thee
From darkness to promote me?”

Excerpt, chapter 20

Criticism based on Shelley’s Frankenstein

Issues to discuss

  • What right do we have to play God? Do we need a right? What are possible consequences of such play?
  • What affects our lives? Are we ”free”?
  • In what ways are we formed?

Particularly linked to adoption, in Swedish


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