Friday, September 30, 2016

Chambers on Adoption in Ontario

Out this month with the University of Toronto Press is A Legal History of Adoption in Ontario, 1921-2015 by Lori Chambers (Lakehead University). From the publisher:
A Legal History of Adoption in Ontario. 1921-2015Lori Chambers’ fascinating study explores the legal history of adoption in Ontario since the passage of the first statute in 1921. This volume explores a wide range of themes and issues in the history of adoption including: the reasons for the creation of statutory adoption, the increasing voice of unmarried fathers in newborn adoption, the reasons for movement away from secrecy in adoption, the evolution of step-parent adoption, the adoption of Indigenous children, and the growth of international adoption. 
Unlike other works on adoption, Chambers focuses explicitly on statutes, statutory debates and the interpretation of statues in court. In doing so, she concludes that adoption is an inadequate response to child welfare and on its own cannot solve problems regarding child neglect and abuse. Rather, Chambers argues that in order to reform the area of adoption we must first acknowledge that it is built upon social inequalities within and between nations.  
Praise for the book:

"With her usual scholarly rigour, Lori Chambers untangles the interwoven relations of the law, society and the state concerning adoption in Ontario. She brings clarity to a subject not infrequently paradoxical, even as a social construct: adoption, she demonstrates, was not always "in the best interests" of the children at its centre despite the laws developed exactly to that end." -Cynthia Comacchio 

"With her customary subtlety, alertness to multiple perspectives, and critical scrutiny of received wisdom, Lori Chambers tackles the complexities of an institution that has aided many families while intensifying hierarchies of gender, race, and class." -Robert Leckey 

"Lori Chambers’s excellent study of adoption law situates key Canadian legal cases in their social and political context, illuminating with immense clarity and insight the changing assumptions shaping the experiences of adoptive and adopting parents, children, and families over the twentieth century. Her acute analysis of adoption law exposes the conflicts, contradictions, pain, and well-meaning intentions that shaped the experience of adoption, with particular attention to the inequalities and power imbalances created by gender, race, class, and colonialism. Chambers’s study will remain the definitive look at adoption law for years to come." -Joan I. Sangster

More information is available here.