The best interests of the child in intercountry adoption: a constructivist and comparative account




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De Montfort University


Thesis or dissertation

Peer reviewed


This thesis examines the motivations for states to become involved in intercountry adoption. This includes both states that send children in intercountry adoption and states that receive children. The thesis explores the dynamic cycle of events that lead states to intercountry adoption participation. It then explores the ramifications of those for the application and interpretation of the ‘best interests of the child’ standard. This thesis includes empirical work through data gathered by interviews and analysed by constructivist grounded theory methodology. It also includes a comparative analysis of seven different states involved in intercountry adoption. The comparative analysis is again undertaken with the use of constructivist grounded theory methodology. The thesis presents a theory that explains state motivation to engage in intercountry adoption and the effects that these have on the normative meaning that is given to the ‘best interests of the child’ legal standard when used in intercountry adoption. This thesis makes an original contribution of knowledge by examining the motivation of states to enter into intercountry adoption and providing a theory that traces the pathways of how states become involved. It makes further original contributions to knowledge by examining how these motivations impact the normative meaning given to the standard in domestic, international and transnational settings. Yet another original contribution to knowledge is in providing a theory and network map of the normative meanings that are ascribed to the standard in an intercountry adoption setting.



intercountry adoption



Research Institute