Journal Article

Genealogy’s Desire: Practices of Kinship Amongst Lesbian and Gay Foster-Carers and Adopters

Stephen Hicks

in The British Journal of Social Work

Published on behalf of British Association of Social Workers

Volume 36, issue 5, pages 761-776
Published in print July 2006 | ISSN: 0045-3102
Published online December 2005 | e-ISSN: 1468-263X | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/bjsw/bch405
Genealogy’s Desire: Practices of Kinship Amongst Lesbian and Gay Foster-Carers and Adopters

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This article considers the practices of kinship amongst lesbian and gay foster-carers and adopters, and asks how far these have challenged dominant genealogical discourses. It asks not how existing social work practice can be adjusted to prevent discrimination on the basis of sexuality, but rather how the practices of lesbian and gay carers can be drawn upon to expand the genealogical visions of state foster-care and adoption work. The author discusses the methods by which lesbian and gay carers have challenged heteronormative views of adult relationships, the idea of ‘natural’ parenting, conventional state child welfare models, the biogenetic basis of adult–child bonds, notions of the proper ‘family’, and the supposedly non-political nature of heterosexual kinship. Finally, the article asks how foster-care and adoption practice might learn from the new forms of intimacy, care and parenting developed by lesbians and gay men.

Keywords: lesbians; gay men; foster-care; adoption; kinship; genealogy; social work

Journal Article.  7224 words. 

Subjects: Social Work

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