I. Adoption and the Clash of Rights Perspectives Adoption law in the United States, depending on whom you ask, is either at a turning point or hopelessly gridlocked. 1 Many issues seem to defy consensus. Media reports of high profile adoption cases 2 have attracted enormous attention, not only because of their inherent drama, but also because they implicate highly contested definitions of what makes a family. Many of the most volatile adoption issues are couched in terms of rights: the birth mother's right to confidentiality; the adoptive parent's right to be treated equally without regard to race, ethnicity, religion, or sexual orientation; the rights of a racial, ethnic, or national community to custody and control of children born into that community; the adult adoptee's right to information about her origins; the right of unwed fathers to veto the birth mother's adoption decision, and so on, ad infinitum. These clashes of rights highlight the tensions between claims of blood and nurture, biological and social connection, and individual and communal definitions of self. Of all the debates, the furor over racial matching in adoption is perhaps the most problematic for American legal culture. Most recently in the United States, Congress enacted the Multiethnic Placement Act (MPA). 3 Originally designed to avoid delay stemming from reluctance to place children in homes with parents of another race or ethnicity, the MPA has become a battleground for competing visions of individual and group identity and has revived longstanding controversies about ...

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