Chóng ér fēi: Cultural Performances of Belonging in Intercountry Adoptive Families

  • Sarah Richards


This chapter scrutinises three ‘canonical’ narratives crucial to the discourse of adoption in general and intercountry adoption in particular, as they are revealed in the ‘performances’ of a group of adoptive families. These specific narratives focus on the primacy of the biological family, birth as a point where ethnicity and culture is fixed; and that the loss of each of these endangers a complete identity. Using performance theory, I illustrate the strategies employed by families who live in the UK and have adopted children from China to address the deficit of these origin narratives for their adopted children. This ethnography explores how these families construct familial and cultural belonging across ethnic, cultural, and biological boundaries. I argue that these families display and perform their belonging narratives whilst finding cultural strategies to connect their daughters to China and an absent biological family. By these means they conform to the expectations of the ‘good adoptive parent’.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sarah Richards
    • 1
  1. 1.University of SuffolkIpswichUK

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