A Legal History of Adoption in Ontario, 1921-2015
Lori Chamber's fascinating study explores the legal history of adoption in Ontario since the passage of the first statute in 1921. This volume explores a wide range of themes and issues in the history of adoption including: the reasons for the creation of statutory adoption, the increasing voice of unmarried fathers in newborn adoption, the reasons for movement away from secrecy in adoption, the evolution of step-parent adoption, the adoption of Indigenous children, and the growth of international adoption.
Unlike other works on adoption, this book focuses explicitly on statutes, statutory debates, and the interpretation of statutes in court. In doing so, she concludes that adoption is an inadequate response to child welfare and on its own cannot solve problems regarding child neglect and abuse. Rather, Chambers argues that in order to reform the area of adoption we must first acknowledge that it is built upon social inequalities within and between nations.
- Series: Osgoode Society for Canadian Legal History
- World Rights
- Page Count: 256 pages
- Dimensions: 6.0in x 0.9in x 9.0in
‘This is a timely and through analysis that will be of interest to scholars of legal and family history.’
The Journal of the History of Childhood and Youth vol 11:01:2018
"Chambers’s scholarship provides needed insights into the origins of adoption law, the dubious tactics of social workers…, the responsibilities of putative fathers, the sordid tale of child apprehension, the debate between closed and open adoptions, and the fight to be legally recognized as parents by step-parents, same-sex parents, and biological fathers."
Debra Nash-Chambers, Wilfred Laurier University
University of Toronto Quarterly, vol 87 3, Summer 2018
"With her usual scholarly rigour, Lori Chambers untangles the interwoven relations of the law, society and the state concerning adoption in Ontario. She brings clarity to a subject not infrequently paradoxical, even as a social construct: adoption, she demonstrates, was not always "in the best interests" of the children at its centre despite the laws developed exactly to that end."
Cynthia Comacchio, Department of History, Wilfrid Laurier University
"With her customary subtlety, alertness to multiple perspectives, and critical scrutiny of received wisdom, Lori Chambers tackles the complexities of an institution that has aided many families while intensifying hierarchies of gender, race, and class."
Robert Leckey, Dean and Samuel Gale Professor, Faculty of Law, McGill University
"Lori Chambers’s excellent study of adoption law situates key Canadian legal cases in their social and political context, illuminating with immense clarity and insight the changing assumptions shaping the experiences of adoptive and adopting parents, children, and families over the twentieth century. Her acute analysis of adoption law exposes the conflicts, contradictions, pain, and well-meaning intentions that shaped the experience of adoption, with particular attention to the inequalities and power imbalances created by gender, race, class, and colonialism. Chambers’s study will remain the definitive look at adoption law for years to come."
Joan I. Sangster, FRSC, Vanier Professor, Trent University
Lori Chambers is a professor in the Department of Women’s Studies at Lakehead University.
Table of contents
Chapter One: “Such a Program of Legislation”: Illegitimacy and Law Reform
Chapter Two: “Doubtful of her Veracity”: Procedures and Judgment under the Children of Unmarried Parents Act
Chapter Three: “I did not bring this child into the world BY MYSELF”: Stories of Pregnancy
Chapter Four: “Best for Our Babies”: The Adoption Mandate
Chapter Five: “Haunted by Bills”: Lone Motherhood and Poverty
Chapter Six: “Known as MRS. S”: Cohabitation and the Children of Unmarried Parents Act
Subjects and Courses