The Ethics of International Adoption

When and Where

Monday, January 28, 2019 4:00 pm to 5:00 pm
Jackman Humanities Building
170 St. George Street


Rachel Nolan


Rachel Nolan
Columbia University

Guatemala saw one of the world’s largest adoption booms, with its roots in the most brutal episode of Latin America’s Cold War: a 36-year civil war that escalated into genocide of Mayan peoples from 1981 to 1983. Social workers laundered identities of indigenous children, erasing or changing details about their heritage and birthplaces before placing them in adoption with non-indigenous families. This talk will consider adoptions of indigenous children in the context of genocide, the legal definition of which includes “forcibly transferring children of one group to another group.” This aspect of Guatemalan history has parallels in Canada, the U.S. and Australia, among other countries.