A seminal volume on the worldwide mindset that allows orphaned or unwanted children to waste away in institutions while childless adults struggle to breach the barriers that keep them from building families.
Harvard Law School professor Bartholet writes from both personal and professional experience. She's the mother of a now-adult son born during a youthful marriage, as well as of two younger sons--aged four and seven--adopted when they were babies and she was a not-so-young divorced professional who wanted another child but could no longer conceive. Bartholet went through the humiliating process familiar to many, from facing doctors who explored and experimented with her reproductive system--with the implicit suggestion that she was unworthy since she could not become pregnant--to making applications for adoption and taking subsequent tests that probed her personal history from her early relationships with her parents through her current sex life. The author ultimately found her children in Peru--but only after enduring desperate weeks of frustration and fear as authorities sent her to and fro for physical and mental exams and in search of documents, official stamps, and verifications of her worthiness. Bartholet admits that she was lucky: her knowledge of the system; the flexible schedule that enabled her to take months off while she navigated the Peruvian bureaucracy; her financial resources and Harvard credentials--all let her take home the infants she fell in love with. But why should it be so difficult? she asks. Why should there be barriers against interracial and international adoptions when the need is so great for both children and their potential parents?
By combining expert legal discussion with affecting personal memoir, Bartholet offers an important exploration of the societal barriers to adoption, as well as invaluable support to would-be parents who face these seemingly insurmountable obstacles.