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Jessaca B.


Adoptive Migration
raising latinos in spain

Duke University Press Durham and London 2013

2013 Duke University Press. All rights reserved. Printed in the United States of America on acid-free paper $. Designed by Courtney Leigh Baker. Typeset in Whitman by Keystone Typesetting, Inc. Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Leinaweaver, Jessaca B. Adoptive migration : raising Latinos in Spain / Jessaca B. Leinaweaver. pages cm Includes bibliographical references and index. isbn 978-0-8223-5492-5 (cloth : alk. paper) isbn 978-0-8223-5507-6 (pbk. : alk. paper) 1. Intercountry adoptionSpain. 2. Intercountry adoptionPeru. 3. SpainEmigration and immigration. 4. PeruEmigration and immigration. i . Title. hv 875.5.145 2013 362.7340946dc23 2013011689 Permissions/Subventions. Some of the material in this book was previously published in another form. Portions of chapters 1 and 2 originally appeared in Kinship Paths to and from the New Europe: A Unied Analysis of Peruvian Adoption and Migration, The Journal of Latin American and Caribbean Anthropology 16 (2): 380400, 2011 American Anthropological Association.

In memory of Jorge A. Hernndez Seminario



Acknowledgments ix


comparing adoption and migration

one Waiting for a Baby

adopting the ideal immigrant



The Best Interests of a Migrants Child

separating families or displacing children?

three Mixed Marriages


migrants and adoption

four Undomesticated Adoption


adopting the children of immigrants

ve Solidarity


postadoptive overtures


Becoming and Unbecoming Peruvian

culture, ethnicity, and race



what adoptive migration might mean


Notes 155

References 179

Index 193


In the six years that I have been planning, working on, and completing this project, I have amassed countless debts. To those who supported (intellectually, nancially, and emotionally) and participated in this study, I am sincerely grateful. Any strengths of this book can be traced back to those I name here. Its errors and inadequacies are mine alone. Research and writing take time and cost money, both of which are hard to come by these days. I am fortunate that my research with Peruvians in Spain was generously supported by the National Science Foundation (nsf ) (grant no. 1026143), the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research, the Fulbright iie Program, the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (sshrc) Standard Research Grant, and the Howard Foundation. Special thanks to Deb Winslow at nsf , Mary Beth Moss at Wenner-Gren, and Aitor Rubio and Patricia Zahniser at Fulbright in Spain for outstanding support. My earlier research in Peru, 20013, was funded by the National Science Foundation Dissertation Improvement Grant, the Wenner-Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research, the Fulbright U.S. Student Program, a Jacob K. Javits Fellowship, and the University of Michigan. Brown University has been enormously generous in supporting this research through its Richard B. Salomon Faculty Research Award; Faculty Research Fund for the Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences; and the Karen T. Romer Undergraduate Teaching and Research Award for International Summer Research Collaboration. Browns Population Studies and Training Center (pstc ) provided nancial support in the form of Mellon Anthropological Demography Funding. I also received support from Browns Center for Latin American and Caribbean Studies (clacs ). A course release granted by Browns Pembroke Center during the year I was Edwin and Shirley Seave Faculty Fellow in the seminar Markets and Bodies in Transnational Perspective was deeply appreciated. Exchanges

with colleagues in that seminar, led by Kay Warren, were enormously productive. The nsf advance Career Development Award ($15,000 to support career development) that I received through Brown in 2010 was also invaluable. I cant imagine a better environment in which to do this research and writing than Brown University. I am especially grateful to those writinggroup friends who read and commented on these chapters and improved them measurably: Paja Faudree, Rebecca Carter, Bianca Dahl, Becky Schulthies, and Marcy Brink-Danan. My colleagues in the Anthropology Department deserve so much appreciation for their friendship, support, and collegiality: Adia Benton, Lina Fruzzetti, Matt Gutmann, Sherine Hamdy, Marida Hollos, Steve Houston, David Kertzer, Cathy Lutz, Pat Rubertone, Andrew Scherer, Bill Simmons, Dan Smith, and Kay Warren, along with Keith Brown, Keisha-Khan Perry, Nick Townsend, Phil Leis, Dwight Heath, and Doug Anderson. At the pstc , my thanks to Mike White, Andy Foster, and Leah VanWey. At clacs , Rich Snyder and Jim Green were very supportive. Im also grateful to Kiri Miller, Vanessa Ryan, Nancy Jacobs, and Carolyn Dean for so many non-book-related conversations that unbeknownst to them, sharpened the book anyway. The sta in Anthropology, pstc , and clacs each made this project less onerous in small and large ways: Kathy Grimaldi, Margie Sugrue, Matilde Andrade, Priscilla Terry, Tom Alarie, Kelley Smith, Shauna Mecartea, Sue Silveira, Susan Hirsch, and Jos Torrealba. Our librarians also do so much on a shrinking budget, and I am particularly grateful to Patricia Figueroa, Carina Cournoyer, Ron Fark, Ned Quist, and the Interlibrary Loan sta. Finally, I learn new things every day from my graduate and undergraduate students, and among these I especially want to single out the graduate research assistants Kristin Skrabut and Josh McLeod and the undergraduate research assistants Alfredo Aguirre and Maia Chao for their truly important contributions to this project. I am particularly grateful to those who closely read the entire book, and whose support has been absolutely invaluable: Nicole Berry and Joshua Tucker. Nicole read everything piece by piece in its earliest stages and, not for the rst time, motivated me to write and helped me gure out what I was actually saying. Joshua read the full manuscript with a sharp eye for how things actually work in Peru and in Spain, and a gift for how to write a sentence. Two anonymous reviewers improved the text signicantly as well and I thank them for the time and care they took with it. At Duke University Press I would also like to thank Valerie Millholland for her


interest in this project early on and Susan Albury, Rebecca Fowler, and Katie Courtland for their careful work on this book. It has been a true pleasure to work with Gisela Fosadomil gracias, chaque. The press is lucky to have you. I thank the audience members and discussants who oered many thoughtful suggestions as I presented this workparticularly those in Madrid at Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Cientcas (csic ), the Universidad Nacional de Educacin a Distancia, and the Universidad Ponticia Comillas. I spoke about this project at various stages with colleagues working on adoption or Latin American studies and would especially like to acknowledge the scholarly generosity of Erdmute Alber, Florence Babb, Caroline Bledsoe, Caroline Brettell, Laura Briggs, Anne Cadoret, Andrew Canessa, Jennifer Cole, Megan Crowley-Matoka, Heike Drotbohm, Gillian Feeley-Harnik, Claudia Fonseca, Susan Frekko, Britt Halvorson, Tobias Hecht, Marcia Inhorn, Eleana Kim, Esben Liefsen, Bruce Mannheim, Susan McKinnon, Ruben Oliven, Karsten Paerregaard, Jennifer Reynolds, Liz Roberts, Linda Seligmann, Sonja van Wichelen, Ceres Victora, Sylvia Yanagisako, Kristin Yarris, and Barbara Yngvesson. Colleagues in Spain were unfailingly welcoming and cordial, and several took the time to meet with me and give me advice and further contacts. I am particularly grateful to Ana Berstegui, Joaquin Eguren, Angeles Escriv, Blanca Gomez, Isabel Madruga, Diana Marre, Margarita del Olmo, Diego Ramiro, and Beatriz San Romn for discussing this work with me on multiple occasions. Thanks also to Sileny Cabala, Julio Diaz, Juan Diez Nicols, Adela Franz, Gonzalo Garland, Carlos Gimnez, Flix Jimenez, Livia Jimenez, Maribel Jociles, Asuncion Merino, Azucena Palacios, Maria Sanchez, and Liliana Suarez. Professionals working in adoption in Spain were very kind and forthcoming, and I particularly wish to thank Lila Parrondo of Adoptantis, Felipe Marn Navarro of the Reik Centro de Psicologa Dinmica, David Azcona and Laura Heckel of La Voz de los Adoptados, Dr. Jess Garcia Prez of the Hospital de Nio Jess, Antonio Ferrandis of the Instituto Madrileo del Menor y la Familia, and Beln Cabello of Familias para la Acogida. I also want to thank some associations that regularly host open workshops about adoptions: Adoptantis, Hijos que Esperan, the Adopciones, Familias y Infancia (afin) research group in Barcelona, and La Voz de los Adoptados. Peruvian migrant professionals involved in various aspects of the life of this migrant community were generous with their time as well, and I

would like to thank Ana Camargo, Sonia Castillo, Fernando Isasi Cayo, Mariella Khn, Manuel Pinto, and Yolanda Vaccaro. The associations AriPer and the Federacin de Asociaciones de Peruanos en Espaa (fedap ) also oered kind support. Finally, I want to thank those I spoke with who were not directly associated with either worldBlanca Hernando, Jorge Fernandez, and David Planellfor their time and contributions. Most of all I am grateful to the adoptive and migrant families who shared their stories with me and introduced me to their friends. Your generosity is remarkable, and tremendously appreciated. There is a special thank-you owed to my dear friends whom I followed from Peru to Spain and the Spanish friends who brought them therefor putting up with me for so long. My parents and siblings have been unfailingly supportive and I am forever grateful. And, always, all my love to Joshua and to Leo.



comparing adoption and migration

Mami, do cars have souls? And what happens if I dont wear a seatbelt in the planeif I fell, would I fall all the way down to the ground? The year 2002 was drawing to a close, and I was sitting in the small airport in Ayacucho, Peru, waiting for the arrival of the puddle jumper to Lima. The source of these questions, and many more, was Rebeca, a second grader whom I had met in the Ayacucho adoption oce a couple of weeks earlier. The target of the questions was Fernanda, a woman from northern Spain, and Rebecas new mother. In between the questions, Fernandas patient replies, and the photos that Rebeca directed us to pose for, Fernanda told me that the pair would spend a few days in the capital city of Lima to complete the adoption paperwork and obtain Rebecas Peruvian and Spanish passports. Fernandas adoption of Rebeca was the second adoption to Spain Id witnessed that year. I was living in Ayacucho while doing an ethnographic study of traditional child fostering and formal adoptions (Leinaweaver 2008b). The Ayacucho branch of the Peruvian governments adoption oce had only overseen a dozen adoptions that year, and fewer than half of them were international. Given those small numbers, two children heading to Spain from Ayacucho was noteworthy. Three months earlier, Zaida, a twenty six year old who was one of my closest friends in Ayacucho, had left her extended family, her husband, and her hometown behind and immigrated to Spain herself. She had obtained her work contract, visa, and plane ticket with the support of a

Spanish woman who had befriended Zaidas family over the course of several years worth of volunteer trips to Ayacucho. Juxtapositions like the nearly contemporaneous departures of Rebeca and Zaida to Spain were what rst clued me in to the way that adoption and migration form mutually constitutive parts of one integrated system of global mobility. I follow that juxtaposition of adoption and migration from Peru, where I rst noticed the signicance of their pairing, to Spain, where young Peruvians like Rebeca and Zaida forge their new lives.
Comparing Adoption and Migration

International adoption is a form of migration. This argument has implications for how we understand both adoption and migration, although I focus largely on the implications for adoption. Adoption and labor migration are rarely, if ever, analyzed in conjunction with one another. In many respects they are seen as wholly dierent from one another. They are regulated by dierent laws, overseen by dierent administrative departments, and governed by dierent regimes. Social workers and psychologists make adoptions happen, while consular ocials and border ocers shape labor migrations. Furthermore, not only are labor migrants numerically far superior to adoptees in every receiving nation but they also hail from many more countries (Gimnez Romero 2008, 109). Usually, adoptees enter a higher social class than do labor migrants, and they are also usually younger upon arrival (although there are exceptions to both of these tendencies). Perhaps most importantly, the children of labor migrants are more often pitied or discriminated against by a dominant society for which they can never quite assimilate enough. Meanwhile, young adoptees are more likely to fascinate those around them due to their differences. Typically, and ironically, adopted children are welcomed into receiving countriestheir immigration facilitatedwhile labor migrants from the same nation are viewed with suspicion or worse. Yet in other ways the processes are similar and linked. Both Rebeca and Zaida would have to obtain passports and visas before they would be permitted to enter Spain, for example. The paperwork behind their movements reminds us that migration and adoption are transnational phenomena where young people cross borders and, through powerful bureaucratic processes, come to possess new civil statuses and new identities. More signicantly, the same forces that propel labor migrants to leave certain nations deemed less developed, war torn, or disaster prone for new lands


of opportunity are also the forces that produce adoptable children. Adoptable is a euphemism describing children whose parents or extended family members are unable to assume their care, often due to the same poverty, war, or disaster that motivated the migration of their peers. As a result, labor migration and adoption can occur simultaneously, often sharing the same origins and destinations. For this reason, I sometimes refer to international adoption as adoptive migration. Adoptive migration highlights the similarities between international adoption and other forms of bordercrossing, oering a starting point from which to talk about the similarities and dierencesbetween adoptees and immigrants. As an ethnographer, I am interested in these broader structural questions about the forces that shape and relocate populations, but I am also interested in the intimate level of everyday experiences. Here too there are both important dierences and provocative similarities between the experiences of labor migrants and their children and the experiences of adoptive migrants. The similarities are apparent despite my best attempts to follow scholarly convention, tease apart the two phenomena, and put each tidily in its own chapter to begin my analysis. For example, in chapter 1 I describe adoption from Peru to Spain, highlighting the centrality of waiting in the experience of adoptive parents like Fernanda, and the way that parents and professionals articulate and contest a preference for infants. In chapter 2 I take up migration from Peru to Spain, focusing on the factors considered in making a decision about whether or not a young person should migrate to Spain, and how to make sense of young people once they arrive. Yet both chapters show parents waiting anxiously and with waning patience for the arrival of their children to Spain. Both chapters suggest that parents are concerned with what an ideal migrant might beadoptive parents seek infants who can adapt with ease, while some migrant parents decide that only adults can bear the diculties of migration and make the painful decision to leave their children in Peru. I trace these and other unexpected overlaps, identifying certain themes that oated to the surface of both immigrant and adoptee stories. One such theme is the contested idea of rebirth. Years ago, before Zaida immigrated to Spain, she told me that she thought going to Spain would be like a rebirth, because everything she had lived through would be left behind in Peru. Adoption too is depicted as a rebirth in the legal sense. Prior kin ties and community memberships are formally erased and substituted with new ones (Berstegui, Gmez, and Adroher 2006, 20). Yet the powerful image of rebirth can sometimes enable a childs family and
Comparing Adoption and Migration

community to mute all traces of the preadoptive past, something viewed by adoptive professionals as psychologically unhealthy and unhelpful. The idea of rebirth is contested by members of adoptive families as well. David Azcona, an adult adoptee and adoption activist in Spain, insisted to me that Spains mistake when it comes to adoption is to normalize it and erase pieces of your life. . . . By contrast, in migration, an Ecuadorian comes to Spain, he doesnt stop talking about Ecuador and become completely Spanish. Thats not normal. He has a life before Spain. Yet Carmela, an adoptive mother to three Peruvian children, told me on more than one occasion that the problematic immigrants in Spain are those who want to keep living as if they are in their birth countries. Describing a neighbor of hers, an Ecuadorian woman who had married a Spanish man, Carmela said that it was very clear to [my neighbor] that she couldnt keep thinking of her country; she had to take on Spanish norms and customs. You have to want to become part of the country, not stay on the margins. Both labor migrants and adopted youths must tread a careful path between maintaining their previous lifestyles and becoming completely Spanish. This path becomes even more complicated for those adopted as infants and for children born in Spain to labor migrantsthere is no previous lifestyle to maintain, and yet both groups of youths are under considerable pressure from parents and professionals to develop an anity for a country they may not know or remember. Labor migrants and adoptees each represent foreign bodies in Spain, and as such they raise a complicated set of questions. What is the best way to integrate (or assimilate) a foreign body? Does it matter how that body got to Spain, or who his or her parents are? To put a ner point on it: Does it matter for a young adoptee that the woman who cleans her fathers oce after hours has come from the same country that she has? This book is about the way that adoptive and other migrants and their families negotiate what mattersthe ordinary experiences and the poignant recollections, the exclusions and inclusions, the sense of belonging or not belonging that permeates their daily lives.
Belonging to Family and Nation

In the airport he told me to look after my mother, the son of a labor migrant told a team of Peruvian social scientists who went on to title their study after his quote (Ansion, Mujica, and Villacorta 2009). The airport has a heightened importance in narratives of transnational mobility: in


Peru it is the site where children and other family members strain to catch their last glimpse of a departing labor migrant, and in Spain it is a point of national entry that stands for other kinds of entries into a new country, family, and way of life. When labor migrants nally pull together the legal and nancial resources to bring their sons and daughters to Spain, these unaccompanied children land at the Madrid-Barajas Airport in their Sunday best and with every hair perfectly in place, greeted eusively by family whom the confused children may not recognize. As the adoption psychologist Lila Parrondo recounted to me, children who migrate to join their families are just as much strangers [to their families] as is the adopted child, and they, too, have to learn to adapt [acomodarse]. But the airport holds the same mystery for adoptive familiesI would later see Parrondo lecturing an audience of adoptive parents that in adolescence their children would begin to ask, Who am I? Who do I belong to? Who are my people? She insisted that they would not always be the kid who got o the plane at Barajas. Studies of transnational lives must account for the ways and reasons that people move, and also the complex and often poignant methods through which they, along with those they are joining and those they have left behind, make a home for themselves in a new and unfamiliar place. How young people, in particular, accomplish this is a question yet to be answered: the anthropologist Deborah Boehm and her colleagues have argued that young people have been largely overlooked as important players in globalization and transnational processes (Boehm et al. 2011, 5). As I began research in Spain, exploring what life is like for young people like Rebeca and Zaida after arrival at the Madrid-Barajas Airport, I found that one of the ways young adoptive and other migrants create new homes for themselves is by deploying ideologies of national identity. These ideologies are embodied as national substance, a notion I develop in chapters 3 and 4. In those two chapters I take up unexpected juxtapositionsatypical sites where I found migration and adoption considered jointly, itself an unusual nding, if one accepts my contention that adoption and migration are typically treated separately both in the literature and in real life. Chapter 3 considers mixed marriagesmarriages between a Spaniard and a Peruvianand the ways in which the dierent possibilities for children in those unions (including step-children, biological reproduction, and adoption) are inected with understandings of national substance. Chapter 4 examines an unusual but growing phenomenon, domestic adoptions of the children of immigrants, which I call
Comparing Adoption and Migration

undomesticated adoption. I analyze such adoptions as sites where both migrant misbehavior (ostensibly high fertility and irresponsible parenting) and native shirking of responsibility (gendered criticism of abortion rates) are tamed into submission. I argue that such substantialist notions of identity turn out to inltrate lives and policies even in a thoroughly transnational, supposedly postnational world. As such, thinking about adoption in the context of migration oers novel and signicant insights into the continuing centrality of the nation. Yet it is also possible that I found national substance to be signicant precisely because I was studying adoption and migration with a specic focus on Peruvians in Spain (rather than, for example, adopted children and migrants from anywhere), a criticism I heard from a few astute colleagues in Spain, and one that has been eloquently described as methodological nationalism (Wimmer and Glick Schiller 2002, 302). My challenge in problematizing nationalism has been that the national origin of adopted children clearly matters a great deal to their families. It matters in practical terms: each country has dierent restrictions and requirements, and adoptive parents must choose only one country from which to adopt before proceeding with their application. Indeed, there is an emotional premium placed on the selection of the country. The social worker Charo Gonzlez told prospective parents at an information session in Madrid in 2012 that the choice is something very personal and intimate between spouses. In this sense national dierences are what anthropologists refer to as an emic distinction, a distinction made by research participants themselvesit would be remiss of me to ignore them. The importance of the nation may even increase after the adoption has been concluded, as I discuss in chapters 5 and 6, because Spanish family members learn to conceptualize themselves as tied in crucial ways to the childs country of origin. As a Catalan adoptive father put it to the anthropologist Diana Marre, When you go to a country . . . you are of the country that your children are from. . . . Your children are from that country, you have ties with . . . you have links to that country, little by little you come to know the people, you get accustomed (2004). It is further signicant in the friendships the family develops; in Spain, as elsewhere, adoptive family associations are organized largely by the childs country of origin (compare Howell 2002 for Norway). Chapter 5 considers these ideas through the framework of solidarity as a window into ethical behavior in the postadoptive day-to-day, looking for moments or places where adoptees and migrants actually meet, from employment to philan6


thropy to high school. Chapter 6 begins from the observation that both migrant youths and adopted youths are toldon a daily basis, through a dizzying array of actions and behaviors, comments and assumptions that they are inextricably associated with Peru. I follow this presumption of connection to its logical conclusion, investigating both the ways in which Peruvianness is highlighted in adopted and migrant children, and the ways in which (and the reasons why) it is sometimes rejected.
The Big Picture

Nation is a genealogical metaphor: like nature, the word comes from the Latin natio or birth (Herzfeld 1997, 41). Naturalization occurs when a migrant obtains citizenship of a new nation. Metaphorically, sharing a nationality means belonging to the same family. Where dual nationality is not permitted, one may only belong to one such family at a time. This exclusivity of family is seen most literally in plenary adoption, a legal term meaning that a child who is adopted loses all legal ties to his or her birth family (e.g., cannot inherit), as those ties are replaced by a full set of formal and legal ties to the adoptive family. Adoption in most wealthy countries, following the Hague Adoption Convention of 1993, is plenary. Sara Dorow has referred to plenary adoption as a kind of serial monogamy of national/familial kinship (2006, 209). As John Terrell and Judith Schachter have argued, a study of adoption can shed light on denitions of and criteria for citizenship: What does it mean to belong to a group or nation, and is this linked with ideas about what it means to be a family? (Terrell and Modell 1994, 159). The idea of belonging is central to our understandings of adoption and migration. Both phenomena ultimately demand an interrogation of what it means to belong to a family, to a community, to one nation or another or more than one, in a context where key symbolic markers such as phenotype or ideologies of blood ties work against eorts to belong. Because of these and other underlying similarities, the historian Karen Balcom has suggested that it would be fruitful to analyze adoption as a form of migration (2010). But these two processes are largely kept separate within scholarly work. Migration is often reported using a wide-angle lens, by economists or sociologists seeking to understand the causes that drive migration. Adoption is more often analyzed on a microscale, by psychologists or social workers who explore the eects of adoption on individual psychological development or family relations.
Comparing Adoption and Migration

International adoption (also referred to as transnational adoption or intercountry adoption) has become a centerpiece of recent writing, mostly anthropological, that explores belonging through a focus on kinship, reproduction, and childhood. This work on international adoption demonstrates how kinship is formed across national borders and between (or excluding) people of widely discrepant means and stations, and reveals persistent ties between nationalism, race, class, gender, kinship, and imperialism. The central comparative frame in most scholarly work on adoption to date has been between adoptive and so-called natural families that is, families formed through biological reproduction. This framing has led to the important nding that the ways in which internationally adoptive families are constructed can shed light on the ways that other forms of kinship we imagine to be natural are constructed. This valuable contribution, however, precludes a close comparison of ways that internationally adoptive families are like, and unlike, specic other kinds of families, such as the migrant families I knew. We also need to examine similarities and dierences between adoptive and other unnatural families, families that draw negative attention or public anxiety, such as migrants who are separated from their children. Books about adoption reside together in the library or bookstore, while studies of transnational families are scattered across the stacks and shelves, each catalogued according to the country under discussion. When brought together, this literature reveals key themes in the eld of kinship under displacement. On one hand, the literature focuses on how kinship is sustained despite distance, and on the other, it elucidates the obstacles to that kinship, and the ways in which it is recongured. These studies are colored by a particularly poignant irony: the often painful separation that children and parents endure is caused by a migration motivated by the parents desire to improve the lives of the children, which rarely unfolds in the way either parent or child had imagined. These studies of transnational families are part of a larger literature on the transnational connections between sending and receiving countries, and between people, ideas, products, and other things that ow between them. The great value of this literature is its emphasis on the ties, rather than the disjunctures, between people in sending countries and receiving countries. Focusing on the ties lets us normalize, rather than pathologize, migration and migrants by showing that labor migration is an understandable response to dicult situations. The downside of emphasizing ties to home is that this focus can come at the expense of discovering how labor


migrants may be similar to, and develop anities with, people and ideas in the host nationsuch as adoptive families. Both perspectives must be held in play to fully capture the reality of contemporary migration. Caroline Bledsoe and Papa Sow have noted, In the eu , as in much of the industrialized world, family life is quietly becoming the battleground of immigration struggles (2011b, 175). Their observation reveals how it is paramount to bring together dierent ways of considering family, migration, and the international order in the same framework. Yet work that places immigration and adoption within the same analytical lens is still rare, with a few notable and insightful exceptions (see Howell and Melhuus 2007; Hbinette and Tigervall 2009, 337; Marre 2009c, 240, Rastas 2009). The comparative literature scholar David L. Eng has labeled transnational adoption one of the most privileged forms of diaspora and immigration in the late twentieth century, and in the same breath he questions the adoptees immigration status when he suggests that the phenomenon raises an interlocking set of gender, racial, national, political, economic, and cultural questions. Is the transnational adoptee an immigrant? (2003, 1). Transnational adoptees are privileged immigrants, a contradiction in terms that begs its own deconstruction, a nebulous status that can always be questioned: They are immigrants. Are they immigrants?
Origin Stories

While the national origin of adopted children in Spain mattered greatly to many who are involved in adoption, I confess that it mattered to me as well. Many scholars who work on international adoption in a receiving country do so from a perspective of interest in and long experience with that country (see Howell 2006; Marre 2007; Yngvesson 2010). I made my way to Spain on an alternate paththe path more often taken by anthropologists who begin their careers in a sending nation and end up working on communities of migrants from that nation. After many years of anthropological eldwork in Peru (20002007), I had developed a deep knowledge of the way that Peruvian adoptions worked. I had a network of contacts in Peruvian adoption oces, childrens homes, and ngo s upon whom I would be able to call as questions arose. I also knew that people in Peru were curious, even anxious, to know what was becoming of the children who left Peru in international adoption. Ruth, the Ayacucho adoption lawyer during my eldwork there, had complained that one reason adoptions take so long is because some judges and attorneys are against adopComparing Adoption and Migration

tion and think it is a method of organ tracking. But, she hastily explained to me, this is not possible because there are four years of postadoption biannual reports, complete with photos of the children. Beyond these formal reports sent to the government adoption oce, the public knows only a few anecdotal cases of adoptees who have returned to Peru to do philanthropic work or meet members of their birth families (Leinaweaver 2011). But I also wanted to nd out how transnational migration had transformed the lives of the Peruvians I knew best. Two months after Zaida departed, her younger brother left too, having obtained a work contract and visa with the help of his Spanish girlfriend, who had also spent many summers volunteering in Ayacucho. In March of the next year, Zaidas husband Jorge left Ayacucho to join her at last, after a long and dicult separation. During the following decade, a few more of their friends and relatives followed. By the time I got to Spain I felt right at home there among my Peruvian friends who welcomed me with plates of ceviche and papa a la huancana. They moved into a neighborhood populated largely by immigrants and Roma, and when I stayed with them we would buy imported Peruvian chilies at small corner shops near their apartment. My friends had suered a terrible loss in the summer of 2006 when Zaidas husband Jorge was killed in Afghanistan; the vehicle he was traveling in was hit by an improvised explosive device. He and Zaidas brother had both joined the Spanish military when they could not nd other work after migrating. As the rst of Spains soldiers to be killed in Afghanistan, his sacrice was solemnly honored by Spanish dignitaries. As a Peruvian migrant, his death was analyzed and criticized in both the Spanish and Peruvian media for what it said about who was ghting this war. Peruvian, Cannon Fodder, read one memorable headline in a Peruvian newspaper. In the damp Lima night, I went to Perus military airport in Callao and waited there to meet the Spanish military plane bearing his con, his widow, and his friends. The next day I followed them northward to his small hometown and accompanied his devastated family members as they laid him to rest. I remember that Zaida couldnt sleep, so as I lay next to her on a crowded single bed in a crowded room at her in-laws small house, she quietly and urgently recounted stories to me about him, about them, and about migrant life in Spain. Over the next year I began making plans to start a new project in Spain, where I could learn what things were like for my friends as migrants in a wholly dierent context, and where I could begin to compare the experiences of adoptees and migrants. Having observed the near-simultaneous


departures of Rebeca and Zaida for Spain, I had already begun to understand the revelatory possibilities of juxtaposing adoption and migration. I think their pairing promises enormous insight to migration scholars and kinship scholars alike. As an anthropologist of kinship, and as someone with several adopted family members and other more distant relatives who placed children for adoption, I am keenly interested in what this juxtaposition means for adoption. And as a result of my long-standing ties to Peru, my account privileges the perspectives of Peruvians within Spain rather than those of Spaniards. Listening to both Peruvians and Spaniards, from the perspective of a U.S. scholar who knows adoption most intimately in its Peruvian form, meant that I could potentially hear features of Spanish adoption discourse that might not have been as apparent to observers more permanently based in Spain. One consequence of this is that my depiction of Spanish society sometimes diers from that which Spanish scholars have produced, particularly in my analysis of racism and xenophobia there. Race is directly relevant to the experiences I record in this book because the implication of transnational adoption between the specic countries of Peru and Spain is that such adoption is also transracial. That is, native Spanish citizens tend to view themselves as white and European (Marre 2009c, 233). Their children from Peru bear brown skin, dark hair and eyes, and indigenous Andean or Amazonian features. Signe Howell has argued in the Norwegian context that young persons of color were assumed to be adoptees (and not discriminated against) until immigration began to increase; consequently, adoptees were suddenly treated with racism. The unremarked-upon implication here is that migrants are visibly dierent and are unsurprisingly treated in racist ways (Howell 2006, 128).
A Contingent Method

As an ethnographer seeking to compare two communities that, at least in theory, are carefully separated, I contribute to the idea that they share key characteristics through the very act of comparison. I am not and I was not a neutral observer: I actively sought points of contact and felicitous coincidences that, when taken together, show the complexity of both adoption and migration as everyday lived experiences. I followed those chance overlaps when I came across them, a strategy that ultimately produced a book that, in essence, groups people who are not supposed to be seen together. The juxtapositions that I encountered gave me a sense of the big
Comparing Adoption and Migration

picture: that although children, parents, professionals, and researchers may consider adoption and migration to be two very separate phenomena, there are many similarities at the level of everyday life. It is, then, a contingent method: I am interested in how migration and adoption have bearing on one another, rather than in what each one can only tell me about itself. This is an unusual but not unique position, and I found it notable that the two colleagues in Spain who most explicitly explore the relationship between adoption and migration are both migrants from Argentina. One of them, Parrondo, the psychologist, directs a support and counseling service for adoptive families that approaches childhood from the point of view of adoption and migration, because they are happening simultaneously in Spain, even in the face of some adoptive parents complaints about this juxtaposition. Meanwhile, the anthropologist Diana Marre was told in no uncertain terms by a teacher in Barcelona that we do not have immigrant children, we have children adopted internationally (2009c, 228). My comparative stance would occasionally bring forth exhortations from adoption professionals to be cautious in approaching adoptive parents, because these professionals believed that adoptive parents would be likely to resist the idea that migration and adoption were similar (compare Dorow 2006, 210). In the end I found that those people who were willing to speak to me were also open to considering the comparisons and more than ready to frankly resist anything they did not agree with. To gure out what bearing migration and adoption have on one another, I conducted ethnographic research in Madrid for eight months spread over four years (200912). Madrid is a key destination both for Latin American migrants and for international adoptions. The director of adoptions in Madrid told me that about 20 percent of Spains total adoptions come to the Community of Madrid. (The Community of Madrid is one of the Spanish political divisions known as Autonomous Communities, and contains the city of Madrid and its environs.) I also draw on research in Peru to complete my analysis, including both the investigation that I conducted between 2000 and 2007 on adoption, and a recent visit in 2012. Over the course of this study, I spoke with a wide range of very disparate sources: Peruvian migrants and their families; Peruvian adoptees and their families; Spanish and Peruvian professionals (such as psychologists, pediatricians, and consular employees) who work with either community; and Spanish researchers and professors investigating migration and adop12


tion. Some of these people I met through my earlier connections, asking migrant friends to introduce me to members of their networks. I met other migrants in the classic settings of migrant researchPeruvian restaurants and bars, national celebrations, and formal settings such as the consulate. I contacted adoptive families with the assistance of adoption professionals, researchers, and listservs. Research participants are referred to by pseudonyms, with the exception of those persons I interviewed in their capacity as experts (for example, lawyers and psychologists). When I rst introduce each research participant, I pause to explain how I met him or her and to give some contextual background. Given my focus on young people, I spoke with as many of them as I could, but, understandably, their parents were protective, and several parents preferred to speak to me alone and not involve their children. The result is that while I report young peoples voices here, those voices are sometimes heavily mediated. In addition, while I spoke with mothers and fathers and sons and daughters alike, I should note that family making in contemporary Western countries is gendered feminine (di Leonardo 1987) and adoption is overwhelmingly the work of women (mothers as well as professional social workers, psychologists, and lawyers), and accordingly, I talked to more women than men. Finally, most of the migrants and adoptive families I spoke to were middle class, although, as might be expected, they did tend to cluster at opposite ends of that category. The anthropological tool kit I used for this study emphasized semistructured interviews, unlike my previous work, which drew more heavily upon participant observation. This was largely a consideration of the issue I was studying. From conversations with scholars, professionals, and reporters interested in adoption, I quickly learned that many adoptive families in Spain are tired of feeling like guinea pigs and being poked and prodded by yet another questioning outsider. Participant observation involves spending signicant amounts of time with research subjects as they carry out their day-to-day activities, and setting up camp in the kitchens of adoptive families or the classrooms of adopted youths would have been both impractical and unwelcome. Contained yet open-ended interviews, where I spent two or three hours chatting with parents or families and followed up in subsequent years for more of the same, were acceptable to family members and yielded a great deal of fascinating material. (All translations from these interviews, as well as from Spanish-language texts, are my own. I follow a loose translation practice, prioritizing the ow and sentiment over literal translations.) A broad cross section of people touched by adopComparing Adoption and Migration

tion and migrationmore than two dozen adoptive parents or families and migrant parents or familieswere ultimately willing to speak with me, and from them I discovered that young people are of interest both for what they tell us directly and for what others believe about them and do on their behalf. I supplemented the insights gained from interviews with sustained observation of public events, such as informational meetings about international adoption and educational presentations to adoptive parents. I collected and analyzed other publicly available materials as well: textual and visual materials drawn from news media and advertisements; ctional or pedagogical representations of adoption found in lms, television shows, and books; national legal documents and international conventions regulating adoption and migration; and the records of an open online adoption forum, where Spanish prospective adoptive parents and those who have already adopted from Peru exchange information and support. My own positionality as an ethnographer in Spain was dierent than it had been ten years earlier in Peru. This was a consequence both of my shift in eld sites and of changes in my own life. In Peru at the start of the twenty-rst century, I had been something of a curious anomaly, childless and unmarried in my mid-twenties, an age when more than half of Peruvian women had already had children. Now married and in my thirties, and on my most recent trips to Madrid accompanied by my infant son, I was less likely to cause consternation among those I interviewed, not least because the average age of rst-time Spanish mothers is over thirty. More interestingly for my research, bringing my son to Spain meant I was promptly exposed to all kinds of madrileo (the name for a Madrid resident) and Peruvian ideas about babies and children with which I had never had an immediate connection before. I heard several aphorisms that were new to me. Numerous madrileos told me that babies are lovely when theyre little, implying that in just a few months they turn into handfuls. Only one such commenter was silenced by her companion, who solemnly insisted that a house without children is like a garden without owers. These attitudes about children reect broader demographic and social trends in the Spanish context.



Adoption and Migration in Spain

This juxtaposition of adoption and migration could be studied in many places where the end points of transnational adoption and transnational migration coincide, like Sweden, Norway, or the United States. Its alter the juxtaposition of absent children and absent migrantscould be studied in many places where the origin points of transnational adoption and transnational migration coincide, such as Guatemala or Russia. In this book I compare adoption and migration through a focus on the relationship of two countries: Spain and Peru. Peru is the sending country in this pairing, an appellation used both in migration research and adoption practice: babies and children are sent from Peru to new families in other countries, and men, women, and families travel from Peru to other countries in search of work, education, personal safety, or to reunite with other family members. Spain is the receiving country, where single people or couples are transformed into family members via adoption, and where migrants are incorporated and, in the optimistic discourse of the Spanish state, integrated into new jobs and new communities. In the past fteen years more than forty thousand children from more than thirty-ve countries have been adopted by Spanish parents and moved to Spain. In the grand scheme of things, these numbers are not vastthe numbers of international adoptions do not even equate to one percent of annual births in Spain. But at the same time, there was a period of great change in these small numbers. I discuss some of the idiosyncrasies of Spanish international adoption practices, and the specics of adoptions from Peru, in chapter 1. Here I note only the sense of great and rapid change in the international adoption scene. The demographer Peter Selman (2010) documents that between 1998 and 2004 global numbers of international adoptions rose by 42 percent and in Spain they rose by a full 273 percent. And the numbers do not fully account for the image and importance that international adoption has had in Spain. As Laura Briggs writes, adoption, while a practice that aects a small and shrinking number of people, has been important to national and international politics out of all proportion to its numerical signicance (2012, 5). The numerical signicance of international migration, on the other hand, is unquestioned. The migrant population was recently estimated at over six million (14.1 percent of Spains total population) (oecd 2010). At the close of 2011, almost 20 percent of the Community of Madrids population was made up of immigrants. Of those foreigners currently residing
Comparing Adoption and Migration

in Madrid, 40 percent are from the Americas, and the top ve nationalities are Romanian, Ecuadorian, Moroccan, Colombian, and Peruvian. I will further discuss the specics of Peruvian migration, and key themes raised by migrant youths and families, in chapter 2. These numbers have begun to decline in the past two years, undoubtedly slowed greatly by the economic crisis but also aected by Spanish naturalization policies that ease migrants out of the category of foreigner. Migrants presence is also perceived by most as a recent and sudden phenomenon. One adoptive family, Diego and Gabriela and their children, agreed to talk with me after an adoption professional they had worked with contacted them about my study. They were incredibly gracious, receiving me cordially in their inviting garden, which was lined with fruit trees and situated in front of their small white bungalow on the outskirts of Madrid. Gabriela brought out a generous and multicultural homemade feast including Spanish tortillas and Peruvian chicha morada. As I leafed through a photo album with them, looking at a picture of the school graduation of one of their children, I remarked, Looking at these photos, I dont see many Peruvians. Diego explained, At rst there werent many. Ten years ago in Spain . . . His son cut in, In our school there were almost no immigrants. Diego continued, The same is true for our neighborhood. Our kids were the rst ones who went to that school. . . . Spain has changed a lot. Four million arrived, out of the blue. The language that scholars use to describe the rise of international adoption in Spain also evokes the surprise and suddenness with which it seemed to appear out of nowhere; for example, irrumpir (bursting onto the scene) is often used (Mgica Flores 2008, 91). Workplaces, schools, streets, public transport, marriages, and families are all more diverse than they were thirty years ago (Gimnez Romero 2008, 108). As one social worker told me, Spain was a third-world country sixty years agoto illustrate this he exclaimed, unicef came here! But over the past two decades, Spain went from being a poor country of out-migration to a top European destination for migrants from South America, North Africa, and Eastern Europe. At the turn of the twenty-rst century in Spain, immigration was on the minds and tongues of scholars, policy makers, politicians, the media, and everyday citizens (Ros-Rojas 2011, 70). This sudden transformation signicantly aects the way that labor migrants, and the adopted youths who resemble them, are incorporated and come to belong or to be excluded. Over and over, Spanish people remarked to me some variation of the sentiment ten years ago there were


no immigrants in Spain, and look how things have changed. This was said ruefully, as a precursor to critiques of a Spanish racism that only became apparent when immigrants arrived to provoke it. As one woman wrote after being robbed by the so-called banda de los peruanos (Peruvian gang), Are we racist or are they making us racist? Diego, the adoptive father, qualied this generalized sentiment: There are people who say we are racists. Spaniards have never been racists. Its just that it is a big change in a short time. Large numbers of international migrants and symbolically meaningful numbers of international adoptees do not arrive to a blank slate. Spain is an aging, low-fertility society, and these demographic features aect the way adoptees and migrants are brought into the national body. For example, labor migrants do many kinds of work, but perhaps one of their most appreciated roles is as caregiver for senior citizens and disabled persons. They also care for children, although there are fewer and fewer children for them to care for, given that Spains fertility rate is well below replacement level (Population Reference Bureau 2012). I heard many explanations for this low fertility rate. Perhaps it is just too expensive to raise children to fulll their class position in a Spain that is falling apart economically and politically. Or perhaps children cut too sharply into the famous Spanish nightlife. Or maybe it is that there are not enough extended family members around and available to shoulder some of the caretaking. Violeta, a twenty-one-year-old Peruvian migrant, told me that after four years in Spain she had observed that Spanish people have kids after age thirty, which seemed delayed to her and which she ascribed to the weight of their mortgages and their desire to travel and enjoy life. While Spaniards may delay childbearing, there are many cultural pressures to have children, as suggested by a saying I heard that one must do three things in life: write a book, plant a tree, and have a child. And eventually some of those who do want to have children turn to adoption until very recently, strongly preferring international adoptionto make their desire a reality. While Spanish parents adopt from many dierent countries, and immigrants bring their children to Spain from many dierent countries, I found that there is something particularly meaningful about raising Latinos in Spain. (The term Latino refers to people of Latin American origin who reside in the United States, but it is also used widely in Spain by migrant youth and others as well.) First, Latin American migrants in Spain are always at least tacitly gured as good migrants in comparison
Comparing Adoption and Migration

to Islamic North Africans (Rogozen-Soltar 2012). Despite a long history of relations and mixing, Spain is often dened in the popular imaginary as that which is not Arabic, from the central historical moment of the Reconquista to the resistance to present-day North African migration. So Latin Americans are often contrasted to Arabs when Spaniards are talking about the probability of migrant integration. Diego had told me that the best evidence for how well integrated Latinos are is that perhaps one-third of Spains forces in Afghanistan are Latino immigrants. By contrast, Spain is viewed as the mother country to Latin American nations, and the similarity that springs from that is felt to be important. Latin Americans are generally thought to hold great symbolic and material importance in Spain because of long-standing, deeply rooted ties to the Americas lasting ve hundred years or more. Of course, the actual variety of relationships between Spaniards and Latin Americans is much more complicated than such a quickly sketched history might suggest, but the past of conquest and colonialism is nonetheless mentioned with surprising frequency given how long ago it occurred. One young man I knew in Peru, who later migrated to Spain, told me in 2001 that he hated Spaniards because of what they did to his Peru. And Diego recounted for me the moment he met Consuelo, one of his daughters, in Peru: I think the kids in the institution had actually never seen anyone with a beard. . . . It was like the Indians, when the Spaniards came to the Americas, they had beards. I arrived and she was frightened; she didnt want to approach me. So he shaved o his beard, and as I turned the pages of their photograph album, the nal picture showed him smiling and clean-shaven. Other scholars have noted that numerous Peruvians associate Spain with the conquistadors, arrogant and racist and believe that the Spanish are better o than the Peruvians today because they robbed them (Tornos and Aparicio 1997, 14, 72). Together these instances gesture to a shared, violent history. The repercussions of the Spanish invasion of Latin America ve hundred years ago continue to echo, if softly, as Peruvians consider migrating to Spain and try to make sense of how they are received there. Spain and Peru have a postcolonial relationship, although not one that is usually described in such terms, as the colonial period is so distant in time. The legacy of colonialism colors Spanish migration policy: legal residents who wish to obtain citizenship may do so more quickly if they come from Latin American countriesin two years rather than ve years for refugees or ten years for citizens of other countries. In addition, certain key former colonial subjectsPeruvians and Moroccans among them


have been privileged in recent years to be able to migrate with a work contract alone, as opposed to rst requiring further paperwork that demonstrates that potential Spanish workers were not available. People I spoke with in Spain ascribed these policies to colonial guilt, glossed originally in the law as cultural anity (Vives-Gonzalez 2011). Indeed, European countries have a very dierent tradition than does the United States when it comes to incorporating migrants as citizens, due to their strong historical links between imagined cultural community and political belonging (Castles and Davidson 2000, 100). For Spaniards, Latin Americans can variously represent undeveloped, needy people to whom they send humanitarian aid (Sinervo and Hill 2011); good migrants, in contrast with North Africans, courteous and kind and ready to assimilate (RogozenSoltar 2007); migrants who are backward and slow (one friend got called Indian by a Spaniard whose meal she was serving); or, worst of all, delinquents, associated with bandas latinas (Latin gangs). Latin gangs is the publics term for gangs made up of youths of Latin American origin, like the Latin Kings and etas. Both groups originated among Latinos in the United States, and their arrival in Spain is a fully transnational aair: migrant youths from Latin American nations rst brought them back to their countries of origin, where they grew and thrived, and some members of those Latin American versions of the gangs then immigrated to Spain (see Aparicio, Tornos, and Cabala 2009, 84; Garca Espaa 2001; Lpez Corral 2008). One social worker I spoke with made an unconventional suggestion that rang true to me. He felt that the idea of Latin gangs is almost entirely a moral panic, an invented crisis. He saw them as simply a way for young people of migrant origin to hang out and they are a convenient trope in the conservative media where stories of migration are all too frequently paired with stories of delinquency. The gangs are also a gure against which young migrants can narrate broader experiences of marginalization and exclusion. For example, Jaime, a young Peruvian migrant I spoke to alongside his mother and aunt, argued that Latin gangs formed in response to racism. (I later asked him where he thought racism came from. Good question. . . . I think Germany.) He recounted an origin story, possibly apocryphal, about how four neo-Nazis went to the Barajas airport in Madrid and beat up a recent arrival from Ecuador, whoangrily and understandablyformed a group to defend himself, which became the Latin Kings. Jaime thought that the Latin Kings are made up of kids whose parents brought them here as teens, they came already rebellious, didnt want to do anything, and joined
Comparing Adoption and Migration

gangs. And they start killing people, which obviously isnt appreciated and so the Nazi groups come in the nights to beat up dark-skinned people. In other words, for Jaime, Latin gangs were originally formed in response to racism, but anti-Latino racism is also motivated by Latin gangs. I discuss the signicance of Latin gangs in more detail in chapter 5. Jaimes words about racism are particularly interesting given another important feature of the Spanish context: despite all the evidence and everyday experience to the contrary (see Barbadillo 1997; Cabral and Faxas 2004; Calavita 2003; Salvatierra 2001; Surez-Navaz, Maci, and Moreno 2007), the dominant discourse emphatically states that Spain is not a racist nation. Diegos words kept echoing in my mind: Spaniards have never been racists. I suggest thatas, famously, is the case for Brazilwhen Spaniards repeatedly insist that they are not racist, they are actually displaying a hyperconsciousness of race (Costa Vargas 2004). I introduce here my rst scholar-as-informant, on the assumption that we must observe both the social scientists observing the social world as well as the eects that this has on this world (Wimmer and Glick Schiller 2002, 302). The migration expert Juan Diez Nicols, cordially receiving me in his shady suburban backyard, expressed the same conclusion Diego had come to in a backhanded fashion and that I would eventually nd to be typical of Spanish discourse on the subject. Diez Nicols remarked that Spain is less racist than most European countries. He based this notentirely-ringing endorsement on data collected by the World Values Survey. For a survey question about what kind of person the respondent would least want to have as a neighbor, he explained, Roma are usually highest ranked in Spain, far above immigrants or people of other races. Not incidentally, the belief that Spain is not racist ts perfectly with adoptive kinship ideology: that racial dierences should be meaningless, and that transracial, international adoption is therefore an unproblematic child welfare practice (Hbinette and Tigervall 2009, 336). Because of this dominant discourse, the Spanish people I spoke to who said that they had observed racism would always preface it by saying, Supposedly Spain isnt racist, but . . . Esteban Beltrn, the director of Amnesty International in Spain, noted that racism is ocially invisible because in Spain, unlike in most European countries, racist acts are not formally documented and catalogued. But migrants do experience racism: being asked for id by white police ocers at metro stations in Latino neighborhoods and being glared at by older white women on subways are the everyday social circumstances that the bandas mean to respond to,


ghting the humiliation of being Latino (Aparicio, Tornos, and Cabala et al. 2009, 92). The Spanish pediatrician Jess Garcia Perez, whose clinic specializes in the care of internationally adopted children (a population more prone to tropical diseases, malnutrition, or interrupted vaccine schedules), provocatively characterized gangs as antibodies when we spoke. He suggested that migrants are not incorporated into a Spanish society that overtly praises diversity but does not successfully promote diverse social interaction. And despite its ocial nonexistence, many adoptive parents do see Spain as racistfor instance, when their children are told by classmates to go back to your country, negro. Furthermore, xenophobic political parties have made gains in recent years, as they have elsewhere in Europe. Carlos Gimnez Romero (2008, 112) argues that most Spaniards have contradictory views about migrationempathizing and recalling Spains history of out-migration (Suarez-Navaz 2005; compare Cole 1997), but resenting cultural relativism or the possibility of Spain being transformed. I met one migrant mother and her Spanish-born son who participated in a commission on migration that formed part of the protests of indignados (indignant ones) that began on May 15, 2011, in Madrids heart, the Puerta del Sol. (Several months later the same anger and frustration would erupt on U.S. soil as Occupy Wall Street.) The son described their actions as part of a migrant civil rights movement: We wrote a manifestohow we are against human rights abuses, like when they round people up in the metro, and we are against the new immigration law, and we want the immigrant detention centers closed. Social and legal equality for everyone. Transnational adoption from Peru to Spain is usually also transracial adoption. Outsiders and family members alike identied adopted childrens phenotypes as dierent from their parentswhat one interviewee called the elephant in the room. Race in Spain is heavily predicated on visible dierence and on other cues such as place of origin and language abilities. Adopted children and migrant youths may dier in their citizenship but they may share a racial ascription, something that causes anxiety among many associated with adoption. Identifying with ones roots is one thing (as I argue in chapter 6), but identifying with ones fellow Peruvianorigin migrants may be seen as a step down (as I argue in chapter 5). This has implications both for labor migrants and their families, whose lives are limited by connections between race and class, and for adoptive migrants, whose parents must navigate those connections and attempt to tease them apart on their childrens behalf. For adoptive parents, these
Comparing Adoption and Migration

encounters and overlaps may lead to an extended conversation about the social meaning of race among racially unmarked, socially powerful people who do not normally engage in the specics of disenfranchisement (Dubinsky 2010, 63). One friend, an Afro-Peruvian musician who has lived in Spain for many years and who volunteers in youth prisons with immigrants, remarked that Spain is like a stir-fry (which is referred to as a wok in Spanish). Such a meal is full of so many dierent things from all over the place, and you begin to eat it, and halfway through your meal it starts to feel heavy in your stomach and you wonder how you will ever digest it. In other words: diversity is a wok that Spain cant digest. This characterization, while apt, downplays two important points. First, Spain is and was already (before the immigrants arrived) a diverse nation culturally, racially, and linguistically (Gimnez 2008, 108). Language dierences have long been crucially important in Spain, a fact that my research setting of Madrid, the national capital, may obscure. Adoptive and labor migrants who land in the Basque Country or Catalonia face a very dierent linguistic and cultural context. Second, the Spanish government and the European Union more generally are strongly committed to ideologies of integration and of interculturalidad (interculturality), despite the apparent diculty of digestion. One young migrant I interviewed, Esteban, told me that he had received instruction on how to think of himself from a teacher steeped in the discourse of interculturality: Uno no es de donde nace sino de donde pase (Youre not from where you are born, but rather from where you live). But as Susana, a Peruvian migrant and psychologist, told me, many Spaniards are against the ideal of interculturality because of Spains internal conict: linguistic and cultural tensions, political separation movements, and the attendant challenges of negotiating powerful regional governments and the imperatives of national unity. And to me the emphasis on integration suggested that the burden is on the migrant to acculturate, not on the Spaniard to learn to understand and value dierence. it is not insignificant that the research for this book was done during a global economic crisis. The good life prior to the global crash led to a construction boom in Spain and a great need for labor. That boom was recent compared to other European locations because of the long dictatorship that Spain endured under Francisco Franco (193675), under which urbanization and industrialization both proceeded at a much slower pace than in the remainder of Europe. Migration policy, while controlled as


necessary in the view of fellow European nations, was nonetheless relatively permissive during the 1990s and early 2000s, and periodic amnesties allowed those who were in Spain without documents to begin on a path to citizenship. Because Spain has a social safety net that the United States lacks, even undocumented migrants have access to health care and education. But as the bottom fell out from the global markets and Spains construction sector was particularly hard hit, it became more dicultand less desirablefor immigrants to come to Spain. The relatives of migrants already in Spain continue to arrive, but it is now nearly impossible to obtain a work contract and migrate as a laborer. In 2011 migrants unemployment rate reached 39.1 percent, more than twice as high as the 18.4 percent rate corresponding to native-born Spaniards (Colectivo Io 2012: 8). Meanwhile, as one Limeo taxi driver told me, unprompted, in 2012, he hoped Perus economy continues to grow so that Peruvians will no longer have to emigrate to make a living, as he had seen news reports of Latinos being treated poorly in Spain. In fact, the number of migrants leaving Peru began to fall in 2008 after a decade of increase (Cooperacin Interinstitucional inei-digemin-oim 2010). Many migrants are also returning to Peruincluding three of the friends I rst met in Peru and later encountered in Spain. During the Peruvian elections in 2011, the candidate Keiko Fujimoris radio ad played up this possibility while exhorting listeners to vote for the country that saw your birth. If I am elected and you decide to return youll come back to the Peru that you long for, with more security and more opportunities. Native Spaniards are departing the country as well, in such vast quantities that they now outnumber immigrants to Spain, and some of them are even moving to Peru. It is amid this context of growing insecurity and economic anxiety that I conducted the research for this book. It is a context that aects international adoption as well. One reason adoptions are stalling in Spain is because of the economic crisis, as Carmela, an adoptive mother, told me during our most recent conversation. People dont have stable jobs, so they are not approved to adopt. The ngo s that assist Spaniards with the process are closing their doors because of nancial problems. But she added a few other reasons: the children of the adoption boom have begun to grow up and have dierent kinds of problems, so adoption no longer seems like such a good idea. Another contributor to the decline, she thought, was the decrease in adoptable children without special needs in sending countries (Selman 2009, 589). Every year, from
Comparing Adoption and Migration

the beginnings of international adoption at midcentury to their 2004 peak, both applicants and actual international adoptions grew steadily. Since 2004, adoption numbers have fallen substantially, a decline not matched by numbers of applicants (Selman 2009, 575; see also Selman 2010). So this book depicts a brief moment in timea moment when both international labor migration and international adoption (to Spain, but also overall), after swelling tremendously, have crested. It is not necessarily the beginning of the end of either phenomenon, but it quite possibly marks a crucial shift in direction for both. The case studies that appear in this book invite reection on larger demographic processes, such as increasing immigration, low fertility, and aging European societies. They also provide insight into larger political processes, such as the rise of antiimmigrant parties currently transforming even those countries that had historically welcomed foreign workers. Adoption oers an intriguing model of how foreign bodies may be integrated, yet the process of adoption and growing up racially dierent from ones own kinwhen one of the many things kinship is thought to mean is the inheritance of racial and ethnic identityis a complicated path. The following chapters trace my own approach to adoption and migration in the way that I inductively arrived at them: from a consideration of each separately to an exploration of their surprising connections, and nally to how those connections can reveal the ways that adoption and migration are meaningfully contingent, and the ideas and ideologies that a unied analysis of migration and adoption can help to explain.