Womanhood and motherhood renegotiated through transnational adoption

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Purpose - The purpose of this chapter is to examine the ways in which gender is socially constructed through transnational adoption. Methodology/approach - Feminist methodologies and reflexivity are put into practice. Life histories of women who participate in transnational adoptions are presented. Findings - Life history narratives shed light on how these particular women, through the process of transnational adoption, experience gender differently and in more complex ways. Adoptive mothers' negotiations (and renegotiations) of their own gender contribute to our understandings of how motherhood (and, thereby, womanhood) is constructed in broader society. Research limitations/implications - Life histories provide rich, thick descriptions of social life. However, they are limited in terms of reliability and making generalizations about larger populations. Practical implications - This chapter engages the reader, scholars, students, practitioners, and policy-makers in contemplating the processes of motherhood and womanhood. Social implications - The chapter is a building block for future research on this topic and challenges our understandings of "motherhood" and "womanhood." Originality/value - This chapter is unique in that I include my own life narrative and story of becoming a mother through transnational adoption. Through reflexivity, the researcher becomes the subject and vice versa. These life history narratives offer insight through their expressions of "everyday knowledge" (Hill Collins, 2000) and bring new dimensions to the study of gender as these women's experiences are situated within the intersections of the global economy, specific political systems, and individual identities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)133-150
Number of pages18
JournalAdvances in Gender Research
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015


  • Adoption
  • Feminist methodologies
  • Life histories
  • Motherhood
  • Reflexivity
  • Womanhood


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