Adoption, Family and the Paradox of Origins: A Foucauldian by Sally Sales (auth.)

By Sally Sales (auth.)

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Extra info for Adoption, Family and the Paradox of Origins: A Foucauldian History

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Whilst it is clear that parents were held responsible for their children’s natures, this is not in the modern sense of a psychological relationship. For much of the century it was the moral climate of family life that was considered important and this is central in understanding the move to assimilate the working classes into this familial culture – the poor would be regulated by the moralising regimes of family life, so the central issue was ensuring that the idea of family was established amongst the urban working classes.

I emphasise this because of the constitutive importance of parental presence or absence in the reaching of these decisions. Removal and severance were predicated on a parent being absent or dead. This was an era where parental responsibility was taken very seriously, both inside and outside the marital family. It was a tie not lightly broken and parents were under acute pressure to be responsible for their dependents. Indeed, the boarding out orders of 1870 and 1877 privileged the biological family as the place for the raising of children, even when not functioning well.

The inauguration of adoption 80 years later would radically change this form 38 Adoption, Family and the Paradox of Origins of welfare support through not only removing the child, but also by severing its parentage. This radical intervention was neither easily nor quickly introduced. There was a caution and reluctance surrounding the introduction of legal adoption, reflected in the number of committees that were formed to debate its desirability at the beginning of the 1920s. This reluctance to introduce adoption was a reluctance to intervene so dramatically into the kinship ties of biological birth.

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