Finer points

Writer chronicles devastation from cultural misunderstandings on adoption

Congregants at the Faith Full Gospel Marshallese Church during a service in Springdale, Ark., June 17, 2012. Thousands of Marshall Islanders have settled in northwestern Arkansas. Steve Hebert/The New York Times

The New Republic has published an eye-opening report about the devastation that can result from cultural misunderstandings about adoption. In the Marshall Islands, giving a child to someone else to raise is common practice–but the birth parents maintain close relationships with the adoptive families, and children are returned to the original families when he or she comes of age. In the U.S., on the other hand, giving a child up for adoption means birth parents abdicate all rights as a parent. The piece tells the heartbreaking story of one Marshallese couple living in Arkansas who signed their baby over to an adoptive family without quite understanding what was going to happen.

Read the full story at The New Republic.

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