Approach and Methodology

 The national story will be told in a substantial monograph, a history of Australian adoption addressing as its central question the changing meanings of adoption in twentieth century Australia, and the varying impact of these changes on the lives of families and individuals involved with adoption.

The central historical account will be informed by the collection of life stories, conversations and debates on the project website. These stories will be vexed and conflictual, raising serious ethical issues in terms of their use as historical sources. The design of the site will address these issues by inviting the story-tellers to become full participants in the project, the subjects of history rather than objects.

Protocols determining levels of access will give the story-tellers control of their material, so they decide at what point edited stories can be opened to public access and academic use. We hope to include all those involved in adoption: adopted children, birth parents, adoptive parents, other family members, social workers and other professionals. Participants will be encouraged to introduce family members to the site, as commentators and contributors, and themselves to comment on other contributions.