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Weaving a Family: Untangling Race and Adoption by [Rothman, Barbara Katz]
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Weaving a Family: Untangling Race and Adoption Kindle Edition

3.9 out of 5 stars 7 customer reviews

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Length: 288 pages

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Rothman's caveat—that she'll "slide back and forth between memoir and sociology"—is disarming, even inviting. The author, a sociologist at the City University of New York, distinguishes between personal memoir, where "the driving force is the story: you want to tell your life," and the sociologist's autoethnography, where "your life is your data." Her work, she explains, is "closer to the latter, but not quite." But for readers, sticking with Rothman's stream-of-consciousness approach is trying as the white adoptive parent of a black child creates a sprawling mosaic of professional expertise and personal experience. The byways, to name a few, include home birthing, international adoption, genetics, slavery, consumerism in birthing and parenting, whiteness studies, biomedics and Jewish-black relations. The social scientist in Rothman develops a typology of black children raised by white parents—"Protégés, Pets, and Trophies"—and plunges into genomic detail. The memoirist in her surfaces to recall handling her daughter's hair ("I developed a bit of an eye, an aesthetic sense for black hair"). Comforted as readers may be by the author's general avoidance of jargon and impressed by her interdisciplinary breadth, this occasionally absorbing book too often seems an idiosyncratic grab bag. By the end, we know a little about a lot of sociological concepts and a little about the personal experience that was the book's catalyst. (May)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.


What a fine and complex book this is! Barbara Katz Rothman takes us, with lucidity and (often brave) good humor, through the tangle of pains and satisfactions that come with her family's challenge to the racial status quo.--Rosellen Brown, author of Half a Heart and Before and After

"Is it right for white parents to adopt African-American children? How does a white parent expose her black daughter to two cultures? Protect the child from insensitive remarks? Sociologist Barbara Katz Rothman . . . doesn't just describe what it's like to be the white mother of a black girl. Rothman skillfully debates adoption ethics, the commodification of children, and the politics of inequality in America."--Anne E. Stein, Chicago Tribune

"In Weaving a Family, the sociologist and white mother of an African American girl provides an accessible, sensitive portrayal of the inherent sociological complexities of mixed-race adoption and parenting."--Melissa Chianta, Mothering

"A bold and passionate autobiographical account . . . of a white mother raising her adopted black daughter. Rothman is a loving mother and also a fine sociologist. The blend of these gives us an honest and insightful book. A must read."--Arlie Hochschild, author of The Commercialization of Intimate Life

"A revealing personal account which combines sound sociological knowledge and current data with a firsthand, intimate portrayal of multiracial family life. For families contemplating transracial adoption, or interracially adoptive families, this book should be read."--Professor Howard Altstein, University of Maryland School of Social Work

"Weaving a Family makes a remarkably original contribution to the literature on race and adoption. Writing as a mother and a sociologist, Barbara Katz Rothman provides insightful, urgent lessons on mothering children in a racist world . . . Weaving a Family is ultimately hopeful about the possibility of building just and loving relationships across racial borders."--Dorothy Roberts, author of Shattered Bonds: The Color of Child Welfare

Product Details

  • File Size: 1980 KB
  • Print Length: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Beacon Press (May 15, 2005)
  • Publication Date: May 15, 2005
  • Sold by: Penguin Random House Publisher Services
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00295RA3O
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Not Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,501,699 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
As a recent adoptive (white) parent of an African-American infant girl, I found Barbara Katz Rothman's book, Weaving a Family, to be a godsend. In down-to-earth prose, but with the incisive thinking of the sociologist that she is, Katz Rothman takes a bold look at the complexities underlying her own transracial adoption (of her now-15-year-old daughter, Victoria, whom she adopted as an infant) and the phenomenon of transracial adoption in America today. While feeling no less her daughter's mother, she fearlessly explores and exposes the cultural ironies of transracial adoption, and the privilege and responsibility that imposes on those who enter such relationships.

This should be required reading for prospective parents considering transracial adoption. On one level, it's an easy read; the writing is magnificent. On another--the emotional level--it can be tough going, but absolutely necessary if the children of transracial adoptions are going to be well served by the arrangement, and by their families. Top rate...
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Format: Hardcover
Rothman skillfully weaves the knowledge of an academic with the passion of an adoptive parent in this marvellous book. This book is wise, personal, well researched, and often hilarious. Unlike many stories of adoptive parents, its never sappy. It sheds new light on the complicated questions of race and adoption; how white parents and black children fare with each other. Any one interested in adoption and contemporary race politics should read this.
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By S. Musgrove on December 30, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I must say that I was really excited to read this book, which appeared to closely parallel my struggles. What I got, instead, was a sociologists' opinion about why adoption is a bandaid for a massive wound.

Her opinions leak onto every page, leading one to beleive that they're absolute truth. I was bummed. I hoped for so much more from an intellectual stand point, but all that I got was ... a lot of wishwash with very few answers.

And so, my two stars is because I was hoping that she would act human a little more than scientist. That she would reveal her mom side a little more than her career side. (I understand that both sides make up the writer, but very little was personal about this book.)

If you're hoping to have someone who reveals what life REALLY is in a cross cultural family, go somewhere else because this book has very little to do with day to day life within my family.

"So where do babies fit in? On the one hand, mothers produce babies. On the other hand, mothers "consume" babies: we use babies as objects to produce ourselves as mothers. The baby is like an accessory, the very important object we have to add to our homes to complete ourselves and our families." -pg 37


How about I just want to aide our world by loving just one more child?
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book is well worth a read, but I had hoped for something different/ something more. As a foster parent (hopefully adoptive parent) of a black child, I was looking for practical advice through a sociology perspective. Instead, I got a slice of history about interracial adoption and some sociological commentary.

There was, however, a bit of advice. It was implied and not explicit. But it really wasn't all that helpful. For example, it could be boiled down to these simple things:
a) make friends with black people and get your kid involved in the black community
b) learn how to do hair or find someone who does
c) racism exists so prepare your child for it

Again, the book is worth a read because of the sociological perspective, but it probably won't make you much of a better parent.
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