Accepted Paper:

Connections, reconnections and travels of the imagination in a context of international adoption  

Author:

Giovanna Bacchiddu (Pontificia Universidad Catolica, Chile)

Paper short abstract:

This paper deals with a case of international adoption and it specifically investigates the re-connections established between children adopted in Italy and their Chilean biological families decades after the adoption, and the emotional and practical implications such encounters have for both sides.

Paper long abstract:

A substantial group of Chilean children, adopted in Sardinia three to four decades ago, face the pressing necessity to interact with their natural mothers, asking questions and looking for their motivations behind their abandonment. Decades after their adoption, several individuals managed to locate and contact some members of their biological family in Chile. Whether by email, social networks, Skype or telephone, the contacts grew into a relation, including more individuals and establishing networks of affection. Gifts are sent back and forth via travellers to Chile and Italy, and belongings change owner, embodying and materialising love, and reaffirming ties between family members separated shortly after birth. Distance, and the history of separation, encourage and nourish fantasies and expectations about distant but closely related individuals on both sides.

When some of them manage to return to Chile for a visit, and to meet their biological mothers and families, imagination meets reality and both adoptees and biological families find themselves reworking their emotional world to accommodate unexpected and unimagined discoveries.

This paper explores the dynamics of reconnections and the subsequent emotional and practical readjustments amongst those cases of international adoptions that have been successful in reuniting separated family members (mothers, children, siblings, other relatives).

Panel P100
Exploring change and continuity: readjustment, identity and child mobility in an interconnected world