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In the Best Interests of the Child

Loss and Suffering in Adoption Proceedings

Mili Mass
Translated from the Hebrew by Jonathan Orr-Stav

336 pages, bibliog., index

ISBN  978-1-78533-802-1 $140.00/£100.00 Hb Not Yet Published (April 2018)

eISBN 978-1-78533-803-8 eBook Not Yet Published

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“This is a brave book, likely to shake our traditional understandings about adoption and treating abused and neglected children out of home. The book gives voice to birth parents and to children in very interesting and painful ways.” · Vered Slonim-Nevo, Ben Gurion University of the Negev

“This is an important book, which examines the practice of adoption from the perspective of an expert who has been exposed to the defective operation of a bureaucratic system. It re-examines critically and rigorously the role of social workers in adoption cases and it does so in a forceful and compelling way.” · Alon Harel, Hebrew University of Jerusalem


Marshalling her experience as an expert witness in court proceedings on non-consensual, confidential adoption in Israel, Mass describes legal proceedings following the Israeli state petition that declares children eligible for adoption because of alleged parental incapability, and explores the politics of state intervention in the parent/child relationship. The selected case studies present the testimonies of the children, the parents, the designated adoptive parents, and the state’s representatives, as well as the author’s own testimony.

Mili Mass is a social worker based in Israel, with an interest in the theoretical, clinical, and legal aspects of child welfare. She has served as an expert witness in non-consensual adoption proceedings, and has held a teaching position at the Paul Baerwald School of Social Work at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.

Subject: Sociology
Area: Middle East & Israel



Introduction: Moses and Oedipus

Chapter 1. 'Parental Capability': The Story of the Ziv Family Children
Chapter 2. 'Belonging' and 'Continuity': Elinor's Story
Chapter 3. From 'The Best Interests of the Child' to the 'Wilderness Generation': The Story of Dalit and her Daughter Tal
Chapter 4. Interlude: Between Secrecy and Privacy: On the Publication of  Dalit and Tal's Story
Chapter 5. 'Sacred Calling': Daniel's Story

Epilogue: Not Blame, but Loss


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