Praise for Global Families

“Writings that focus specifically upon Asian international adoption have multiplied in recent years, evidence of the complexity of the subject, the anniversaries of key events, and the greater visibility of adoptees. . . . Catherine Ceniza Choy’s engaging Global Families is the most comprehensive treatment of Asian international adoption to date.”

—Allison Varzally, Oxford Research Encyclopedias of American History

Global Families is a useful excursion into the history of Asian adoption in the USA through little-used historical documentation; it reveals little-known facts about, and the accomplishments of, numerous individuals and institutions that have worked throughout the years to make international adoption possible and popular.”

—Giovanna Bacchiddu, Social Anthropology/Anthropologie Sociale  


“. . . this study makes a significant contribution to the fields of Asian American studies and adoption studies, demonstrating that the two need to be considered in tandem as well as through a more global lens. ” —Leslie Wang, Contemporary Sociology


. . . meticulously researched but also highly readable.Miliann Kang, The Journal of the History of Childhood and Youth


Global Families is a concise and approachable introduction to the origins of Asian international adoption in the United States. In particular, its geographical focus on East Asia as a whole rather than on a single country, its plentitude of voices and actors, and its commitment to understanding the complexities of international adoption merit its incorporation into future studies and discussions on the history of adoption, Asian American history, and 'global family making.'A. William Bell, The Journal of American Culture


. . . Choy situates international adoption within the ambit of history and Asian American studies and gives a critical space for discussing international adoption beyond the purview of family and social work studies.Katrina Navallo, Social Transformations


“Choy’s ability to capture, passionately and compassionately, the particularities of individual, organizational, and national histories is the main strength of her book. Miliann Kang, Women's Review of Books


“In this engaging book, Choy looks at one aspect of this complex subject. . . . In a gripping final chapter, Choy turns to adoptees—now adults—and charts the ways they have used art to ‘talk back’ to triumphalist adoption narratives. Their art speaks to precisely what these narratives suppress: ambivalence, loss, grief, and racism. This pain does not nullify adoptees’ commitment to their adopted families, but it does remind us that many adoption stories remain to be told. Choy’s book provides a wonderful start.”Natasha Zeretsky, The Journal of American History


. . . the book is a very solid entry into the growing literature on the history of adoption and is particularly skillful in its linking of Asian international adoption to questions of family formation and international relations in the second half of the tweniteth century.Melissa R. Klapper, American Historical Review


Global Families is a rare find: a scholarly work that reads like a novel. The framing story, the little-known but influential work of International Social Service, is fascinating in its own right. What felt even more important was how, without compromising on research or analysis, Global Families makes this history matter on a deeply human level. It includes personal stories of the people who were involved in shaping Asian international adoption in the U.S., as well as those affected by it. It raises hard questions about the current practice and culture of international adoption. And it confronts us with the emerging voices of people adopted through this system, who are now old enough to speak for themselves. I’m hoping Catherine Ceniza Choy will continue to look at adoption through this lens, so we can all see more clearly.Laura Callen, Founder/Director of Adoption Museum Project


Choy's writing is engaging, and the book is a valuable resource for adoptees and families who want to find out how their own stories fit into a larger history.Wendi A. Maloney, Families with Children from China, National Capital Area Newsletter


“An excellent scholarly study, Global Families provides crucial historical frameworks for any reader interested in adoption, race, migration, and 20th-century international relations.”—Richard Fischer, Adoption Today: a resource for domestic and international adoption


Her book's strength is in the stories themselves, which Choy narrates with skill and sympathy. . . . A useful corrective to one-dimensional, romantic portraits of adoption that saturate popular culture today. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All levels/libraries.”—K. Dubinsky, Choice


While Hollywood has made it famous, people have been adopting children from other countries since the end of World War II . . . In this book Catherine Choy brings to life the history of this unique way to create a family.Kevin Winter, San Francisco Book Review


Concise, provocative, and utilizing expert resources, Choy's work greatly assists in the larger discussion of, and questions concerning, global family making and the points of view of the adoptees often left out of this discussion.Stephanie Phillips, Journal of Asian American Studies


The book is written for a general audience and will be of interest for scholars of adoption history and politics, and American social work history, as well as historians and scholars of Asian migration to the United States, American studies, and Asian American history.Eleana Kim, H-Net Reviews in the Humanities & Social Sciences


Global Families is transformative in the strongest sense: it challenges the histories that we conventionally tell about Asian international adoption. Whether by uncovering the crucial role of mixed-race babies in the origins of Asian international adoption or recovering the story of baseball pitcher-adoptive father Jim Bouton, Catherine Ceniza Choy crafts a unique history focusing on organizational practices and non-state actors. Using International Social Services records as a point of departure, this book provides crucial historical frameworks for any reader interested in adoption, race, migration, and 20th century international relations.Mark Jerng, author of Claiming Others: Transracial Adoption and National Belonging


How has the sight of a little Asian girl with a white American family become so commonplace? In Catherine Ceniza Choy’s sensitive and absorbing study, we learn that transnational adoptions reveal the intertwined stories not only of war, race, foreign policy, liberalism, and immigration, but also of intimacy, loss, and reconciliation. Choy highlights the human, non-governmental, and personal ways in which America’s relationships with the world has touched and shaped us.Naoko Shibusawa, Brown University



Journal of Transnational American Studies, Nina Morgan “Reprise Editor's Note for JTAS 8.1,” July 31, 2017.

Korea and the World, “Catherine Ceniza Choy, Podcast Episode 75,” October 14, 2016.

Korean American Data Bank of the Research Center for Korean Community at Queens Collegefeatured book review and summary of “Global Families: A History of Asian International Adoption by Catherine Ceniza Choy,” March 4, 2016.


Pomona College Magazine, “Bookmarks,” by Mark Woods, December 2, 2015.


Adoptee Reading Resource: Books Written & Recommended By Adoptees, “Global Families: A History of Asian International Adoption in America by Catherine Ceniza Choy,” November 29, 2015.


FilipiKnow, “10 Contemporary Filipina Authors You Absolutely Should Be Reading,” by FilipiKnow, September 2, 2015.

APALA (Asian Pacific American Librarians Association) Blog, “Spotlight on Catherine Ceniza Choy,” by Peter Spyers-Duran, June 12, 2015.


APALA (Asian Pacific American Librarians Association) BlogGlobal Roots, Local Identities: Asian International Adoption and Advocacy Resource Guide,” by Sofia Leung, May 16, 2015.


South China Morning Post, international edition, “Adoptees reaching out to Hong Kong birth parents,” by Alice Woodhouse,  October 19, 2014.


ISS-USA News/PressISS-USA featured in new book about history of international adoption,May 8, 2014.

© 2015 by CATHERINE CENIZA CHOY. Proudly Created with


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