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Children of Reunion

Vietnamese Adoptions and the Politics of Family Migrations

By Allison Varzally

222 pp., 6.125 x 9.25, 19 halftones, notes, bibl., index

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-1-4696-3091-5
    Published: February 2017
  • Hardcover ISBN: 978-1-4696-3090-8
    Published: February 2017
  • eBook ISBN: 978-1-4696-3092-2
    Published: February 2017

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In 1961, the U.S. government established the first formalized provisions for intercountry adoption just as it was expanding America's involvement with Vietnam. Adoption became an increasingly important portal of entry into American society for Vietnamese and Amerasian children, raising questions about the United States’ obligations to refugees and the nature of the family during an era of heightened anxiety about U.S. global interventions. Whether adopting or favoring the migration of multiracial individuals, Americans believed their norms and material comforts would salve the wounds of a divisive war. However, Vietnamese migrants challenged these efforts of reconciliation.

As Allison Varzally details in this book, a desire to redeem defeat in Vietnam, faith in the nuclear family, and commitment to capitalism guided American efforts on behalf of Vietnamese youths. By tracing the stories of Vietnamese migrants, however, Varzally reveals that while many had accepted separations as a painful strategy for survival in the midst of war, most sought, and some eventually found, reunion with their kin. This book makes clear the role of adult adoptees in Vietnamese and American debates about the forms, privileges, and duties of families, and places Vietnamese children at the center of American and Vietnamese efforts to assign responsibility and find peace in the aftermath of conflict.

About the Author

Allison Varzally is an associate professor of history at California State University, Fullerton.
For more information about Allison Varzally, visit the Author Page.

Reviews

“A painstakingly detailed account of the experiences and representations of Vietnamese refugees and Amerasian children adopted by Americans since 1965. . . . Of interest to historians of childhood, family, and international adoption. Recommended.”--Choice

“Carefully argued and written, Children of Reunion is sure to appeal to anyone interested in the history of the family, immigration, and U.S. foreign relations.”--Pacific Historical Review

Children of Reunion looks beyond the notion of Vietnamese adoptees and Vietnamese American children as unfortunate consequences of the U.S. war. Varzally adeptly combines scholarly analysis and anecdotes about various experiences of children, adoptive families, and birth families, which further enlivens her already compelling and unique study.”--Donna Alvah, author of Unofficial Ambassadors

Children of Reunion is a rich work that examines the lived experiences and cultural representations of transnational and transracial adopted families. Varzally offers affecting and compelling insight into the diverse perspectives and complex politics of adoption.”--Judy Tzu-Chun Wu, University of California, Irvine