Accepted Paper:

Learning to adopt on Greece: educating maternal bodies  
Irini Papadaki (University of Aegean)

Paper short abstract:

This paper examines how infertile women become adopted mothers through "technologies of knowledge". Building a maternal body on reading popular phycology and making public their adoption status they contest the normative cultural script that defines a mother as a reproductive being.

Paper long abstract:

This paper examines how infertile women become adopted mothers through "technologies of knowledge". I perceive adoption as a reproductive technology that has to be examined parallel with NRT (Melhuus & Howell 2009) as both of them produce maternal bodies. Based on two years field-work, mostly in Athens, the paper focuses on the gradual entry of these women in the world of adoption's "unnatural procreation". The vast majority of these women have suffered from unsuccessful efforts of assisted conceptions. Through reading and sharing these traumatic experiences via internet forums they are trying, initially, to overcome the "cultural intimacy" of "blood", while placing the social dimension of parenthood as central part of their subjectivity. The more knowledge these women get, the more experience they share, the more "conscious" mothers they become. Gradually, adopted mothers become so well educated about motherhood that they carry with them the appropriate vocabulary and the theory tools to "answer" both to others as well as to their own growing kids. Building a maternal body on reading popular phycology and making public their adoption status they contest the normative cultural script that defines a mother as a reproductive being. This is an emotional difficult, painful and continuous work, that through its constant demands on psychological knowledge proves the earned and nonnegotiable maternal quality.

Panel P094
Alliances, networks, and oppositions: the transnational circulation of medical reproductive technologies