Chapter

The Perils of Money and Sentiment (and Custom, Accident, Impulse, Intuition, Common Sense, Faith, and Bad Blood)

in Kinship by Design

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print December 2008 | ISBN: 9780226327594
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226328072 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226328072.003.0002
The Perils of Money and Sentiment (and Custom, Accident, Impulse, Intuition, Common Sense, Faith, and Bad Blood)

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At the dawn of the twentieth century, many methods—formal and informal, commercial and sentimental, deliberate and impulsive—existed to acquire children. It was against this chaotic child-placing landscape that a novel family-making paradigm, kinship by design, emerged in the years around 1920. It promised to improve adoption by ridding child placement of money and sentiment, regularizing the practice of family formation, and ensuring that the welfare of vulnerable participants was protected. The watchwords of kinship by design were prediction, order, and control. These goals, historically unprecedented in adoption, were compatible with the simultaneous transformation of risk and uncertainty into intolerable yet manageable problems. This chapter emphasizes the variety of child-placing mechanisms in existence at the dawn of the twentieth century, from orphanages, baby farms, and commercial maternity homes to sentimental baby bureaus and newly invented adoption agencies.

Keywords: child placement; orphanages; baby farms; maternity homes; baby bureaus; adoption agencies

Chapter.  13104 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: History of the Americas

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