“Peculiar finalities”: blurring the borders between abduction and adoption?

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The Hague Convention on the Civil Aspects of International Child Abduction is not usually associated with the issue of child adoption: its caselaw is often complex and focused upon such concepts as “habitual residence”and parental consent, neither of which fit comfortably into the various discourses arising out of adoption law jurisprudence. And yet, aspects of Hague’s body of case law arguably hold relevance for adoptees and their estranged birth relatives, in the sense that they touch upon difficult features of familylife: kin contact, access to accurate information, abusive relationships, and the notion of relinquished parenthood. Judicial interpretations of such principles as best interests, the voice of the child, the extent of parental responsibility, and the need for child identity, can offer convoluted rights analyses which in turn touch upon the consequences of suffering certain losses, not least original kinships and natal or sociocultural identities. These discourses highlight the implications of maintaining or severing genetic connections: mention is often made of the need for speedy family reunification, the importance of preserving the child’s ties to their country of origins, and the benefits of having some form of contact with family members. Significant too is the child’s ability—or otherwise—to integrate into new cross-border familial or sociocultural settings. The human rights implications of losing or gaining access to one’s“roots” via geographic dislocation (or indeed through a court-ordered return to a place of origin) are therefore key.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)167-195
JournalAdoption & Culture
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 27 Dec 2023


  • Adoption
  • Hague Convention
  • Parenthood

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


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