(M)othering loss: Telling adoption stories, telling performativity

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This piece explores how telling adoption stories—to and of birth mothers, adoptive mothers, and their children—perform both the failures of language and the pleasures of repeating and rewriting tales of birth and placement, of the fictions of families. I consider how adoption stories spin not only tales of loss and fractured identities but also open-ended narratives of self and parent-child relationships. I use the languages of adoption, feminist and poststructural theories of subjectivity and performativity, and my own experience of adoption and family to tell and tell on the adoption story. And I wonder an adoption story’s potential to (m)other loss and speak other narratives about adoption, its subject(s), and the force and possibility of storytelling.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)113-135
Number of pages23
JournalText and Performance Quarterly
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2005


  • Adoption stories
  • Performativity
  • Subjectivity

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