From Library Journal
Berebitsky's work, which nicely fills a void in the social history of adoption, grew from a dissertation into an eminently readable and fascinating history of the adoption process and its implications from 1851 to 1950. Her well-documented study includes actual adoption cases and personal letters written by prospective adoptive parents. Imagine listing your expectations in a child much as you would the accessories in a car you were ordering! By also studying popular fiction and magazines, Berebitsky (history and director of the women's studies department, Univ. of the South) delivers a solid perspective on the period. As she shows, adoption wasn't always done for purely honorable reasonsDsometimes it was done for labor purposes, sometimes for the notion of protecting social order. It is unnerving to read about orphan trains or children who were abandoned or taken from a one-parent household only to be adopted and then ignored or used. Perhaps a follow-up will take this research up to today and compare and contrast adoptions after the sexual revolution and common use of birth control. Recommended for both academic and public libraries.DSandra Isaacson, OAO/US EPA, Las Vegas
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.
From the Back Cover
"Thoughtful, provocative, and lucidly written, this fascinating book explores a history that is both largely uncharted and of considerable contemporary interest. Berebitsky argues that early adoption practices held the potential to broaden our cultural ideologies of family and domesticity--but that, as its definition narrowed, adoption came to mirror the biological family, thus losing its utopian appeal."--Barbara Melosh, author of Gender and American History since 1890