From humanitarianism to family building

Olayinka Modupe Onayemi (Department of Sociology, Landmark University, Omu Aran, Nigeria)

International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy

ISSN: 0144-333X

Publication date: 8 April 2019



Adoption practice is originally designed as a live-saving option for some category of children. In recent times, this purpose has been challenged by several social, biological and cultural exigencies. Hence, a notable morphing of the practice to satisfying adopters’ need has been observed, however, requiring further interrogations. The paper aims to discuss these issues.


Data were collected through sessions of interviews with six adoption officials (social workers), four orphanage managers, three legal practitioners and 13 prospective and successful adopters, across three selected states.


The study records contemporary adoption practices as mostly a management strategy for infertility by bringing to fore diverse narratives that reveal adoption as now primarily construed, subconsciously implemented and ultimately serving in many ways as the social security mechanism for adopters than for securing the children who are to be adopted.

Social implications

This by implication results in poor adoptive parent–child bonding, disservice and maltreatments in diverse ways.


This study heralds the “rebranded” security benefits of adoption and enlarges the scope and genres of social security implications of child adoption in the contemporary Nigerian society.



Olayinka Modupe Onayemi (2019) "From humanitarianism to family building", International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, Vol. 39 No. 3/4, pp. 264-275

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