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International AdoptionGlobal Inequalities and the Circulation of Children$
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Diana Marre and Laura Briggs

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780814791011

Published to NYU Press Scholarship Online: March 2016

DOI: 10.18574/nyu/9780814791011.001.0001

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Seeking Sisters

Seeking Sisters

Twinship and Kinship in an Age of Internet Miracles and DNA Technologies

(p.283) Chapter 16 Seeking Sisters
International Adoption

Toby Alice Volkman

NYU Press

This chapter explores the recent preoccupation among the U.S. American families of girls adopted from China with “seeking sisters,” biological siblings from whom they were separated by placement in foster care, orphanages, and adoptive families. An impossible longing for birth mothers may be transposed onto a search for siblings that is simpler, both practically and emotionally, given the availability of DNA testing and Internet connections. Successful sibling searches lend themselves to cheerful media coverage. Reporters and readers take pleasure in stories of twins running into each other's arms or jumping for joy as they reclaim their kinship. While less fraught with ambivalence than searches for and reunions with birth parents, sibling searches and reunions raise troubling new questions. Adoptive families struggle to deal with loss, while negotiating tensions between kinship imagined as biogenetic and kinship imagined as actively created, over time, on the basis of other ties.

Keywords:   China, seeking sisters, biological siblings, adoptive families, sibling searches, sibling reunions, kinship

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