- Give me your child: adoption practices in a small Moroccan town
- The Journal of North African Studies
- Volume | Issue number
- 20 | 2
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR)
Despite a legal ban on adoption, derived from Islamic law, various adoption practices are common throughout Morocco. Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork in the Moroccan town of Skhirat, I analyse the intriguing cases of requested adoption, in which parents are asked to give away their own child for good. Comparing adoption requests occurring within patron-client relationships, a partnership of great interest to scholars throughout the Mediterranean, and within parent-child relationships, I argue that it is the intermingling of inequality and dependency in the context of a kinned relationship which makes denying even the gift of one's own child inconceivable. The arrangements of requested adoption in Skhirat show that neither the impact of inequality and dependency between relatives closely connected by blood, nor the weight of kinship ties, forged by marriage and milk, between patrons and clients should be overlooked. Adoption practices offer unique insights into what it means to be related, particularly the intricate meanings of family ties, in the rapidly changing social settings of the Arab world today.
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