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November 17, 1993

Family Bonds: Adoption and the Politics of Parenting

JAMA. 1993;270(19):2383-2384. doi:10.1001/jama.1993.03510190147046

Stories of Adoption: Loss and Reunion, by Eric Blau, 131 pp, with illus, paper, $16.95, ISBN 0-939165-17-1, Pasadena, Calif, NewSage Press, 1993.

In Family Bonds Elizabeth Bartholet, a professor of law at Harvard, combines personal experience and professional perspective to criticize the state of adoption and assisted reproduction in this country and to offer proposals for the reform of both.

Although adoption has its own history while reproductive technology has proceeded independently apace, Bartholet's social perspective on parenting examines the two both separately and together. In her view, couples expend too much time, energy, and heartache in fertility workups, while adoption remains exclusivist, overregulated, and stigmatized. In light of her own experiences with childbirth, unsuccessful in vitro fertilization (IVF), and international adoption, she writes, "There may be some inborn need to procreate, but there are also inborn needs to nurture. Why does organized society seem to want to encourage its