Douglass Drozdow-St.Christian (stchri@MCMAIL.CIS.MCMASTER.CA)
Wed, 13 Jul 1994 09:27:15 -0400

thanks to heather for reminding me of my own experience with adoption...

while in samoa there was, in my family and village, a great deal of
discussion of my adopting the youngest son of one of my 'sisters' and
bringing him back to canada with issue here was not sending heston
out from his natal family but drawing me into the family inexorably...i
was not adopting a child, they were adopting an additional daddy,,,

since coming back to Canada and telling people this story [ the adoptiong
never took place because i was then and remain an impoverished graduate
student, although changes in my status could have dramatic effects on
heston's up bringing] one question my friends all ask is ' how can they
just give up their children that way' and many people, including some
colleagues, have a hard time getting around the idea that in my adopting
heston, his natal family was giving up nothing=, they were acquiring
both by the more formal tie i would then have to them, and in hestons
'enhanced' opportunities for education and so on in Canada.....

de facto adoption within extended families is common in samoa throughout
the samoan kinship ring [ samoa/new zealand/hawaii/california]...formal
adoption outside the aiga is quite rare [ when we discussed with the
secretary to government what would be needed to have the courts issue a
formal adoption order, the clerks at the supreme court in Apia had a very
hard time finding the appropriate regulations] in the case of
Samoa, adoption is not so much a giving away as it is a kind of cementing
exchange within families [ or at least a sharing out of resources [ pai,
my mother told me i needed to adopt heston so i would have someone to
take care of me when i was old] or a levelling of responsibilities
[everyone should help care for members of the aiga]