Citation
Child Fosterage in the Dominican Republic: A Comparative Analysis of Child Living Conditions

Material Information

Title:
Child Fosterage in the Dominican Republic: A Comparative Analysis of Child Living Conditions
Creator:
GONZALEZ, TESS MARIE KULSTAD ( Author, Primary )
Copyright Date:
2008

Subjects

Subjects / Keywords:
Child psychology ( jstor )
Children ( jstor )
Daughters ( jstor )
Fathers ( jstor )
Foster children ( jstor )
Foster parents ( jstor )
Living conditions ( jstor )
Mothers ( jstor )
Parenting ( jstor )
Parents ( jstor )

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Source Institution:
University of Florida
Holding Location:
University of Florida
Rights Management:
Copyright Tess Marie Kulstad Gonzalez. Permission granted to University of Florida to digitize and display this item for non-profit research and educational purposes. Any reuse of this item in excess of fair use or other copyright exemptions requires permission of the copyright holder.
Embargo Date:
8/31/2006
Resource Identifier:
649815495 ( OCLC )

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Full Text










CHILD FOSTERAGE INT THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC: A COMPARATIVE
ANALYSIS OF CHILD LIVING CONDITIONS














By

TESS MARIE KULSTAD GONZALEZ


A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL
OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT
OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF
MASTER OF ARTS

UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA


2006

































Copyright 2006

by

Tess Marie Kulstad Gonzalez






























To my Papi, Bob Kulstad, whose life continues to inspire and be the source of
tremendous pride.
















ACKNOWLEDGMENTS

First and foremost, I extend sincere gratitude to the children, mothers, fathers and

grandparents who provided me with their time, voice and story. I have written this work

so that their reality is revealed and understood.

The j ourney of this study has been one of academic and personal development.

Without the guidance of my committee, Dr. Gerald Murray, Dr. Charles H. Wood, Dr.

Efrain Barradas and Dr. Paul Magnarella, this journey would have been less meaningful.

I am indebted to Professor Murray for introducing this proj ect to me and providing me

with the counsel to rediscover and explore the Dominican Republic. Since the beginning

of my studies at the Center for Latin American studies, Dr. Wood has been a significant

contributor to my academic development. His guidance has provided me the challenge to

reach the highest standards and aim to become an academic writer and thinker.

With great appreciation I thank the Center for Latin American Studies for

providing me with the Interdisciplinary Field Research Grant. This funding made this

study possible. I hope this thesis is a positive reflection of the trust granted to pursue

research.

Finally, I would like to thank my family for all they have done to help me reach

this dream. In particular, I would like to thank my parents, Bob and Norma, for teaching

me to love and pursue knowledge. Lastly, I would like to thank my husband, Matthew,

for his patience, companionship, and insight throughout this fabulous, yet challenging

journey.


















TABLE OF CONTENTS


page

ACKNOWLEDGMENT S .............. .................... iv


LI ST OF T ABLE S ............ ...... .___ .............._ viii..

AB STRAC T ................ .............. ix


CHAPTER


1 INTRODUCTION: FROM ORNITHOLOGIST TO ANTHROPOLOGIST, A
PERSONAL JOURNEY .............. ...............1.....


Child Fosterage as a Topic of Inquiry ............__......___ ..... ................4
Why Do Parents Give Up or Take In Children? ....._____ ..... ..___ ..............6
Challenges to Traditional Family Models ....._____ .........__ ........._.....6
Cinderella Effect .............. ...............7.....
Fosterage as Child Labor................ ...............8.
Methodological Approaches............... ...............
Quantitative Approaches .............. ...............9.....
Combined Approaches .............. ...............10....
Qualitative Approaches .............. .......___ .....___ ............1
Research Design and Methodological Choices .............. ...............12....
M ethod s ............... ...... ............... 13....
Participant Selection............... ...............1
Operational Definitions.............. .... ...._ ........ ............... 1
The Realities of Fieldwork- Reconsidering Interview Strategies ............... ..............17
Interviewing Children............... ...............19
Research Sites .............. ...............20....
Data Analysis .............. ...............20....
Conclusion ............ ...... ...............20...

2 "LENDING" CHILDREN VS "GIVING AWAY" CHILDREN: THE
OUTLINES OF DOMINICAN CHILD RELOCATION............... ...............2

Loans vs. Gifts- Child Relocation Modalities .............. .... ...... ..... ............2
"Prestadott~~~~~ttttt~~~~ or "Lent" Children- Temporary Parental Guardianship
Transfers .............. .... ... .. .... ... ..........2
Presttttttttttttttttta do Fosterage in a Global Perspective .................. .... .......... ...........29
Regalado or Given Away- Permanent Parental Guardianship Transfers.....29
Similarities ................. ...............32......__ _.....












Foster Parent Responsibilities .............. ...............32....
Foster Parent/Child Bond .............. ...............38....
The Language of Fosterage .........._...._ ... ......_ ...... ...._..._ .............3
Modes of Incorporation Into Dominican Homes: Trabajadorass Versus
Hifos de crianza ........._..... ........ ._._ .. ...............40..
Analytically Borderline Cases of Labor Exchange. .........._.. ...............45
Conclusion ........._._ ...... __ ...............51....


3 EXCHANGE OF COSTS AND BENEFITS: RIGHTS AND DUTIES INT THE
DOMINICAN CHILD RELOCATION SYSTEM .............. ...............52....


Physical Needs: Food, Clothing, Shoes and an Education ................ ................ ..52
Education............... ...............5
Schooling............... ...............5
Non-Academic Training.................. ..............5
Non-Academic Training for Daughters ................. ................. ........ 57
Non-Academic Training-Sons..................... .... .... ...........5
Exchange of Costs and Benefits: What are the Children Required to Do? ................59
Childrearing Benefits: Labor and Forthcoming Love .............. ....................6
Forthcoming Love ...............__....... ....._ ...... ... ... ..... .... ........6
Prestttttttttttttttttado vs. Regalad: Partitioning Childrearing Rights and Obligations ...............63
Presttttttttttttttttta do Parental R ights ................ ......... ..... .. ..... .......6
Evaluating the Childrearing Process- The Hifo de Crianza Supervisory
Process ...................... .. .. .. ............... .... .......6
Visitation- Child Protection and Links to Biological Roots ........................64
Vi sitati on Protocol ............... .... .. ...._._. ......_.._ .......... .......6
Visitation in Regalad Arrangements- Exceptions to the Rules..................67
Termination- Ending the Fosterage Agreement............._._. ............_._. .....70
Termination in Regalad Agreements?- Exceptions to the Rule .................71
Kinship and Civil Identity- "Papeles"~\` or "Papers" .................. ...............72
Conclusion ......_. ................ ........_.._.........72


4 WHY DO PEOPLE GIVE UP OR TAKE IN CHILDREN? .................. ...............74


Altruism or Self- Interest: Questions About Human Nature .............. ....................77
Crisis Fosterage .............. ...............8 1....
Fam ily Crisis .............. ...............82....
Death of Parent............... ...............82
Divorce or Separation............... ...............8
Domestic Violence .............. ...............89....
Economic Crisis................ .. ...............9
Alliance and Apprentice Fosterage .............. ...............91....
Affective Fostering ........._..... ...._... ...............91.....
Infertility Fosterage .............. ...............92....
Domestic Labor Fostering ................. ....._.._ ...............92......
Social Networks- The Binding Element .........._.._. ......__ ...........__......93
Conclusion ........._._ ...... __ ...............94....












5 CARIBBEAN CINDERELLAS ................. ...............97........... ....


Biological Versus Hifos de Crianza Living Conditions ........._. ...... ..._._..........99
Schooling .........._......... .. .. ._. ........... ............10
Domestic Labor- Work Load and Duties .............. ...............109....

Sleeping Arrangements ........._.. ....___........_. .. ..........1
Affe cti on ........._..... ..... __ ...............116...
Health Care ............. ...... ._ ...............121....
Nourishment ............. ...... __ ...............123...
Sexual Abuse ............. ...... ._ ............... 124...
Conclusion ............... .. ...... ... ...............128.

Why Differential Treatment? ............ ...............133.....

6 BI-ETHNIC FOSTERAGE ............. .....__ ....._ ............3


Life Along the Haitian-Dominican Border ................. ........... ........ .......... .....139
Transnationalism Along the Haitian-Dominican Border? .............. ... .........._..144

Why are Dominican Families Fostering Haitian Children? .......................144
Is Bi-Ethnic Fosterage a Novel Phenomenon? .........._..._ ........._.._. .....146
Haitian Foster Child Living Conditions .............. ...............149....
Papeles .............. ...............151....
Conclusion ........._ ........_. ...............152...


7 CONCLUSION................ ..............15


REFERENCES .............. ...............163....


BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH ........._. ........_. ...............166...

















LIST OF TABLES

Table pg

1-1 Living Conditions Indicator ................ ...._.._ ...............15. ....

4-1 Dominican child fosterage taxonomy. ............. ...............81.....
















Abstract of Thesis Presented to the Graduate School
of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the
Requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts

CHILD FOSTERAGE INT THE DOMINICAN REPUBLIC: A COMPARATIVE
ANALYSIS OF CHILD LIVING CONDITIONS

By

Tess Marie Kulstad Gonzalez

August 2006

Chair: Gerald F. Murray
Maj or Department: Latin American Studies

Child fosterage, the voluntary practice of giving up offspring to be raised by other

families, is a common practice in both Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Parents in

both countries give up and/or take in children in an extra-legal arrangement that requires

that receiving parents provide the child with food, clothing, shelter and, above all,

schooling. In exchange, the child is usually expected to perform varying domestic labor

tasks in the new home. Despite the widespread nature of having hijos or hijas de crianza,

as the practice is commonly referred to in the Dominican Republic, very little is known

about it. Moreover, even less is known of an increasingly frequent modality in which

Haitian children are placed with Dominican families in the Dominican Republic. Given

the historically troubled relationship between Haiti and the Dominican Republic, I

hypothesized that Haitian foster children living in Dominican foster homes would enj oy

less favorable living conditions than Dominican foster children living in Dominican









foster homes. In addition, I examined whether foster children, regardless of their

ethnicity, enjoyed less favorable living conditions than biological children.

I adopted a "systems analysis" approach to study the Dominican child fosterage

system. Fifty-five semi-structured interviews, multiple observations and one focus group

were carried out from June through July 2004 in the towns of Loma de Cabrera, Daj ab6n,

Restauraci6n, San Jose de Ocoa, Yamasa and Santo Domingo. The sample was selected

using the snowball sampling effect. Two comparative axes were used to guide the

analysis. First, the situation of Haitian foster children- their work schedules, living

circumstances, and educational opportunities-were compared to those of Dominican

foster children. Second, the situation of foster children as a group was compared to those

of biological children. Interviews were transcribed and translated into English and

themes and categories identified and analyzed.

Research findings reveal the existence of two distinct child relocation modalities-

prestttttttttttttttttado or lent and regalad or given away. Moreover, data suggest the existence of a

foster child living conditions continuum: (1) foster children and biological children are

treated equally; (2) foster children receive differential, yet adequate and better living

conditions than they would enj oy in their biological home; and (3) foster children are

treated inhumanely. Research findings suggest that (1) and (2) are the most prevalent

scenarios. This is supported by the existence of a strong cultural ideal that foster children

should be treated in the same manner as biological children in the foster home. In

regards to the Haitian foster children, no differences were observed in their living

conditions when compared to those of Dominican foster children.















CHAPTER 1
INTRODUCTION: FROM ORNITHOLOGIST TO ANTHROPOLOGIST, A
PERSONAL JOURNEY

Although I am currently enthralled by the topic of child fosterage practices in the

Dominican Republic, I did not originally intend it to be the subj ect matter of my master' s

thesis research. When I first arrived at the University of Florida in the fall of 2003, I was

a Tropical Conservation and Development student determined to study ethno-

ornithological knowledge in the Dominican Republic, my native country. Both my

husband and I are avid birdwatchers. By gathering data regarding local avian knowledge,

I hoped to contribute to the bird conservation efforts of local environmental

organizations. Yet, despite the fact that my personal commitment to avian conservation

has never waned, my research interests took an unforeseen and radical shift. It was

during my Anthropology of the Caribbean class that my attention was unexpectedly

drawn to what would eventually become my thesis topic.

One day, Dr. Gerald Murray, my Anthropology of the Caribbean professor,

revealed that he had just been commissioned to investigate recent allegations of Haitian

child trafficking across the Haiti-Dominican Republic border. According to these claims,

Haitian children were being smuggled into the Dominican Republic and forced to work

as domestic servants in Dominican homes. It was Dr. Murray's task to determine the

veracity of these appalling claims. As a native of the Dominican Republic, I was, at first,

embarrassed and hurt by these allegations. It was difficult to listen to such statements, as

they were detrimental to my feelings of national pride. In addition, I must admit that I









was angered at what seemed yet another international vilification of Dominicans and

victimization of Haitians. However, as Dr. Murray elaborated on the nature of what was

to be his next research endeavor, I experienced an epiphany of sorts. Haitian children, Dr.

Murray explained, were provided with food, clothing, shelter and schooling while living

in Dominican homes. In exchange, the children were required to carry out multiple

domestic chores. As some of my fellow classmates brought up such controversial issues

as child slavery, it dawned on me that these children were probably hijos or hya~s de

crianza or foster children, something I was very familiar with growing up and living in

the Dominican Republic. These children, I announced to the class, were possibly

involved in an arrangement that is quite common throughout the country. Dominican

parents will often place their children with other families in arrangements very similar to

what these Haitian children were experiencing. My comments elicited a very lively and

rich discussion regarding family systems, Haitian-Dominican relations, the definition of

slavery, among many other related topics.

Once the session drew to an end and I was walking out of the classroom, Dr.

Murray requested that I stay behind for a few minutes. After inquiring about my

Christmas travel plans, he asked whether I would be interested in conducting interviews

for him while I was visiting my family in Santo Domingo. Needless to say, I accepted.

We subsequently met to discuss and prepare my interview questions. Dr. Murray wanted

me to gather information regarding the hijo or hya~ de crianza arrangement I had

mentioned in class, as well as inquire about Haitian child domestic labor use.

Upon my arrival to Santo Domingo, I immediately initiated my inquiries. I

interviewed multiple people, including members of my family, neighbors and friends. I









also interviewed members of my husband's Peace Corps host family in a small mountain

hamlet on the southern part of the island. Before long, I realized that I had stumbled upon

the most fascinating issue possible. Not only did I discover that child relocation is a

common and widespread practice that transcends social class, but I also learned that it

operates systematically, in accordance to defined rules and norms. It requires that parents

provide food, clothing, shelter and schooling in exchange for labor on the part of the

child. The decision to relocate children, I would also leamn, is not a haphazard one.

Parents base their childrearing decisions on diverse motivating factors, with the child's

well-being being the ultimate goal. However, receiving parents, I was told, do not

always provide hijos de crianza with the quality of care they provide their biological

offspring. "Por mas que quieran decir que los tratan iguales, no es verdad,"ord~~~~~ddddd~~~~ "no

matter how much they want to say that they treat them the equally, it is not true," an

informant told me.l

Does differential childrearing occur? Are hijos de crianza in effect child domestic

laborers veiled in kinship terminology? What does this arrangement mean for Haitian

children? At that point, there was no turning back. Trying to answer these and many

other questions became somewhat of an obsession. My research topic had found me.

This thesis is about the Dominican practice of placing offspring outside the biological

home. It is about parenting and childrearing strategies. But most importantly, it is about

parents trying to find better lives for their children.

As I embarked upon a brand- new research topic, I discovered that child relocation

practices are not exclusive to the Dominican Republic. In fact, child fosterage practices


SAll translations are mine unless otherwise noted.









has been studied in various regions of the world and has been approached from several

theoretical perspectives.

Child Fosterage as a Topic of Inquiry

Child fosterage is the topic of several studies conducted in various regions of the

world. Most research efforts have examined the practice of relocating children from the

biological to the foster home as it occurs in West Africa (Alber, 2003, 2004; Bass, 2004;

Bledsoe & Isiugo-Abanihe, 1989; Desai, 1992, 1995; Eloundou-Enyegue & Stokes, 2002;

Goody, 1973; Isiugo-Abanihe, 1985; Page, 1989; Silk, 1987; Zimmerman, 2003) where it

"seems to be more common than in other parts of the world" (Alber, 2003, p. 487).

However, as I reviewed the available literature, I learned that child fosterage is practiced

throughout other areas of the globe and has been the subj ect of direct or indirect inquiry

in areas as diverse as Indonesia, Brazil, sub-Saharan Africa, and the Caribbean (Desai,

1992, 1995; Fog Olwig, 1999; International Labor Organization International Programme

on the Elimination of Child Labour [IPEC] 2003; Schrauwers 1999; Smucker & Murray,

2004). In regards to Hispaniolan practices, only the Haitian modality has received close

attention (Cadet, 1998; International Labor Organization International Programme on the

Elimination of Child Labour [IPEC], 2003; Smucker & Murray, 2004). However, despite

the fact that 14% of children under the age of 15 in the Dominican Republic do not live

with either biological parent (Centro de Estudios Sociales y Demograficos [CESDM],

2003), the practice has only received minimal attention. Only recently has it been the

topic of investigation (International Labor Organization International Programme on the

Elimination of Child Labour 2003; Smucker & Murray, 2004). Thus, much is yet to be

known about Dominican child fosterage.









As I reviewed the available child fosterage literature, several themes stood out.

The first had to do with the perspective author' s adopt in explaining the practice. Most

authors approached child relocation practices from a functionalist perspective. The

underlying assumption is that childrearing activities are universal. Parents throughout the

globe nurture, provide kinship identity, prepare children for an adult role and sponsor

children into the adult community, regardless of whether fosterage is carried out (Goody,

1973). However, in societies where fosterage is prevalent these activities are not

ascribed, that is, they are not tied to biological relationships. Rather, these roles are

bargained, exchanged and transferred to other individuals. Thus, to explain fosterage,

authors deconstruct parental and child roles into functional components in order to

analyze the manner in which parents exchange family or kinship roles. Fosterage, for

authors in this theoretical camp, is transactional in nature. Child relocation arrangements

involve the complete or partial exchange and/or transmission of the universal essentials

of social reproduction between different parties.

In broader terms, functionalist authors have approached fosterage from the

perspective of the various societal functions it fulfills (Desai, 1992; Eloundou-Enyengue

& Stokes, 2002; Zimmerman, 2003). For instance, fosterage is essential for the easement

of child-bearing costs as well as for subsidizing population growth. West African

parents, for instance, distribute childrearing burdens by placing offspring in other homes.

Similarly, fosterage practices diminish the child's risk of not attending school by

relocating children from rural areas with low school availability to more urban locations

with increased schooling opportunities (Desai, 1992; Eloundou-Enyengue & Stokes,

2002).









However, other authors challenge the functionalist approach. Alber (2003), for

instance, asserts that these perspectives assume that individuals carry out fosterage

negotiations with the conscious intent of fulfilling these societal functions when in fact

they are inherent to a particular parenting and family worldview. While the functionalist

approach is useful, fosterage needs to be studied nomothetically in order to understand

the practice as it is conceived by the practitioners themselves, Alber claims.

Consequently, he calls for an etic approach to the study of the practice.

Why Do Parents Give Up or Take In Children?

Another salient theme in the fosterage literature is the focus on understanding why

parents give up or take in other people's children (Isiugo-Abanihe, 1985; Silk, 1987).

Goody (1982) notes that parents in fosterage societies do not give their children to others

simply because they are devoid of emotional ties with biological offspring. In fact, Gonja

fosterage practices are firmly anchored in a kinship system that places great value on

parent and child duties, as well as on kinship. Parents in fosterage societies give up and

take in children for a variety of reasons and respond to many motivating factors. Goody

(1982) and later Page (1989)and Isiugo-Abanihe (1985) identified kinship, crisis,

alliance and apprentice, domestic, companionship, emotional support and educational

fostering as some of the reasons behind the fosterage decision.

Challenges to Traditional Family Models

The need to incorporate and consider child fosterage practices into research and

policy design is another key argument in the literature. Despite its prevalence and

relevance, child fosterage has not received sufficient attention, particularly in

demographic studies. For instance, Desai (1995) questions the traditional underlying

assumptions that claim that "parental resources available for children's consumption are









more or less fixed" (p. 195) and assume that the nuclear family structure is prevalent

throughout the world. Alber (2003) defends fosterage against the "common Euro-

American ideas about kinship" (p. 488). "Family structure must be treated as a social

outcome, as well as a biological one," Page asserts (1989, p. 444).

Cinderella Effect

Another identifiable theme in the fosterage literature is the concern for child

differential treatment or the "Cinderella" effect, as Zimmerman (2003) puts it. Silk

(1987) addresses the issue by placing the kin selection and reciprocal altruism theory to

the test by examining West African fosterage practices. The kin selection and reciprocal

altruism theory are supported by the ample evidence of differential treatment, Silk

concludes. Zimmerman (2003), on the other hand, concludes that differential treatment in

regards to school attendance does not prevail among black South African foster children.

In fact, fosterage reduces "the risk of not attending school by up to 22 percent" (p. 558).

In regards to abusive differential treatment in Haitian fosterage arrangements, Jean-

Robert Cadet' s (1998) autobiographical work Restavek: From Haitian Slave Child to

M~iddle-Cla~ss American contributed significantly in calling attention to this abusive form

of fosterage and child labor. Smucker and Murray (2004) address the fosterage and

restavek2 issue as well in their study of Haitian child trafficking into the Dominican

Republic. They question whether Haitian children are being subjected to similar abusive

living conditions while in Dominican homes. Although differential and abusive

treatment is present in Haitian fosterage, the prevailing pattern in the Dominican

Republic is that of equitable or differential, yet humane treatment.


2 Restavek is the Haitian Creole term used to refer to patently abusive fosterage arrangements. The benign
form is called rete kay moun.









Fosterage as Child Labor

Finally, authors have approached the topic of child fosterage within the context of

child labor. Bass (2004) briefly describes fosterage practices through the child labor lens

in her work Child Labor in Sub-Salharan Afr~ica. Child fosterage is a fundamental

component of Sub-Saharan Africa's family system. Sending and receiving parents, Bass

concludes, do not perceive the work foster children are required to carry out as labor per

se. In fact, it is perceived as an integral component of their upbringing. Smucker and

Murray (2004) adopt a similar approach in their study of Haitian child trafficking. They

examine child fosterage practices and child labor within the context of the Dominican

and Haitian family systems.

The International Labor Organization Programme on the Elimination of Child

Labour' s 2003 study on Dominican child fosterage practices adopts a less nuanced and

more prescriptive approach. Child fosterage in the Dominican Republic is viewed from a

pathological perspective. The ILO claims that parents that take children into their homes

are in fact using kinship terms to disguise child domestic labor arrangements. Amongst

their recommendations is the inclusion of child fosterage in the list of one of the worst

forms of child labor and the creation of an educational campaign to discourage child

relocation.

Methodological Approaches

In regards to methodological approaches, child fosterage has been approached from

several methodological perspectives and in response to diverse research questions.

Authors approach the child fosterage topic from both ends of the qualitative-quantitative

methodological continuum.









Quantitative Approaches

Isiugo-Abanihe (1985), Page (1989), and Zimmerman (2003) selected an

exclusively quantitative research method approach for their works. In "Child fosterage in

West Africa," Isiugo-Abanihe (1985) calls for an inclusion of child fosterage practices

into demographic studies. Using the 1971 Supplementary Enquiry of the 1970 census of

Ghana, Isiugo-Abanihe attempts to provide empirical data to support the available

anthropological literature. Although the data set did not directly inquire about fosterage

practices, Isiugo-Abanihe was able to determine mother-child associations through the

use of multiple statistical methods. In this fashion, Isiugo-Abanihe provides descriptive

data such as a child's sex, age and rural-urban residence to empirically support the

available anthropological literature regarding the motivations to give up or take in

children. Similarly, Isiugo-Abanihe explores several maternal characteristics such as a

woman's age and education that might be influential in the decision to relocate children.

Similarly, Page (1989) relies on quantitative data to highlight the need to

incorporate child fosterage practices into demographic studies, particularly in regards to

those that deal with sub-Saharan African fertility. Page uses the World Fertility Survey

data which included both an Individual as well as a Household questionnaire. Contrary

to the data available to Isiugo-Abanihe (1985), Page's data did not require the complex

statistical measures to perform mother-child linking.

In "Cinderella Goes to School: The Effects of Child Fostering on School

Enrollment in South Africa," Zimmerman (2003) chooses exclusively quantitative

approaches to put previous qualitative studies to an empirical test. Specifically,

Zimmerman uses the 1993 South African Proj ect for Statistics on Living Standards and










Development to test whether or not the Cinderella effect, in effect, occurs among black

children.

Combined Approaches

Other authors selected a combined approach, that is, one that incorporates both

quantitative and qualitative methodologies, to answer fosterage-related research

questions. First, Bledsoe and Isiugo-Abanihe (1989) carried out interviews, participant

observation, as well as a quantitative survey of 154 homes among the Mende in Sierra

Leone. As other fosterage scholars at the time, Bledsoe and Isiugo-Abanihe were

interested in incorporating the child fosterage topic into demographic studies as well as

challenging the prevalent notions regarding parenting and fertility decision-making in

Africa.

In "Will Economic Crises in Africa Weaken Rural-Urban Ties? Insights from Child

Fosterage Trends in Cameroon," Eloundou-Enyengue and Stokes (2002) also employ

quantitative and qualitative data. They were interested in determining how variations in

economic prosperity in Africa affects rural to urban fosterage practices. To test this

hypothesis, the authors administered surveys to 812 randomly selected households in

Cameroon to female heads of households or to a randomly selected wife in polygynous

homes. In their survey, Eloundou-Enyengue and Stokes incorporate "a life-history

calendar" (p. 284) to record informant's "key demographic events" (p. 284). In addition,

they carried out thirteen focus groups to document informant's own perceptions on the

effects economic crises have had on fosterage practices.

In order to document the socio-demographic characteristics and prevalent attitudes

towards fosterage, the International Labor Organization's (2003) study used snowball

sampling to select its informants and carried out seventy in-depth, semi-structured









interviews, one focus group among adult domestic workers and another involving the

biological parents of child domestic laborers.

Alber (2003) relied on both qualitative and quantitative methods in his work

"Denying biological parenthood: Fosterage in Northern Benin" and in "Grandparents as

foster-parents: Transformations in foster relations between grandparents and

grandchildren in Northern Benin" (2004). Alber carried out quantitative surveys among

65 Baatombu people in order to obtain information on "their lives, family structure,

children and other data" (2004, p. 32). In-depth interviews and observations were carried

out in order to gather data to construct an emic perspective of social parenthood in

Northern Benin.

Qualitative Approaches

At the other end of the methodological continuum lie works that exclusively

employ qualitative research methods. Fog Olwig (1999), for instance, elicited life stories

from her informants to document experiences of children left with family members by

migrating parents. In doing so, Fog Olwig obtained "some data on the life courses that

people have lived; the socio-cultural order which they wish to establish in their life

stories, and their own particular understanding of themselves in this order" (p. 269). This

method, Fog Olwig asserts, provided her with "rich qualitative data on particular

individual's perspectives on life and their cultural values and social norms" (p. 269).

Schrauwers (1999), on the other hand, employed ethnographic methods to explore the

political economy of parental negotiation in central Sulawesi, Indonesia.

Finally and perhaps most importantly, is Smucker and Murray's 2004 study of

Haitian child trafficking between Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Although they

acknowledge the need for quantitative approaches, the authors believe their research










goals were best served through qualitative field work. The existing paucity of data

regarding child domestic labor in Haiti and in the Dominican Republic required that they

conduct preliminary qualitative work to establish the pertinent variables that require

quantification. Smucker and Murray undertook a "systems analysis rather than a

hypothesis testing" (p. 5) approach in order to identify the components, as well as the

structures of a system that incorporates Haitian children as domestic laborers. Funding

and timing limitations were also maj or influential factors in Smucker and Murray's

methodological decisions.

Research Design and Methodological Choices

Given my particular situation, I conceptualized my research proj ect as a pilot study

to assess the feasibility of securing cooperation and consent in foster households for

carrying out research on a potentially sensitive topic. As Smucker and Murray (2004)

had done, I chose to adopt "systems analysis" (p. 5) approach to study the Dominican

child fosterage system. I chose to employ qualitative research methods to carry out an in

depth analysis of the operation of the child relocation system in operation. Like these

authors, I chose to focus on the operation of the fosterage system, identifying "the human

actors, material components, and flow circuits that make up the system" (p. 6). In

addition, I chose to pay close attention to the underlying reasons behind the parental

decision making process of giving up or taking in a child.

It was also my aim to determine the appropriate and relevant variables to be probed

in future research projects. Consequently, my study would be comparative in its focus,

yet qualitative in its methodology. I established two comparative axes to guide my

research and analysis:










* Foster children's living conditions as a group were compared to the living
conditions of biological children.

* The living conditions of Haitian foster children were compared to those of
Dominican foster children.

Consequently, I established the following research hypotheses:

* H1. As a group, foster children living with Dominican families will enj oy less
favorable living conditions than those of biological children.

* H2. As a group, Haitian foster children living with Dominican families will enj oy
less favorable living conditions than those of biological children.

Methods

In making my methodological choices, several questions surfaced. First, what was

the best way of gathering data given the delicate nature of my topic? How was I going to

get strangers to speak to me about this matter? What was the best way to minimize my

risk of having incomplete and/ or unreliable data (Bernard, 2002, p. 334)? Additionally,

what was the best way of reducing reactivity, that is, "people changing their behavior

when they know they are being studied" (p. 334)? Ideally, I would have a year at my

chosen sight to develop trust and rapport with informants. Unfortunately, I only had six

weeks.

After considering my limitations as well as the previous literature on the topic, I

selected three qualitative research methods for my project. First, I would conduct semi-

structure interviews using a previously constructed interview guide. This method seemed

best, since I would probably only have one time to interview each informant. Semi-

structured interviewing would allow me to make the most efficient use of my time.

Second, I would carry out focus groups with homogeneous members as a way to

supplement the information I gathered in the interviews (Bernard, 2002). Finally, I









would conduct participant observation in each foster home to gain firsthand knowledge of

child living conditions.

Participant Selection

I would select three types of informants to gather my data. First, I would contact

and interview relevant community members, such as school teachers, school counselors,

Peace Corps volunteers and members of the clergy. These individuals would be my

secondary informants. Although they might not be, at the time, involved in fosterage

arrangements, they might still be able to provide me with significant information

regarding past and current practices in their communities. Additionally, it was my hope

that these informants would connect me to individuals that were currently involved in

fosterage arrangements in one way or the other. Secondly, I hoped to gather information

from retrospective primary informants. These were adults who were formerly involved

in fosterage arrangements, whether they were former children themselves, foster siblings,

or sending or receiving parents. Finally, I intended to interview current primary

informants, that is, foster children, their biological and foster parents and siblings, that

were currently and directly involved in a fosterage arrangement. I would rely on the

snowball sampling effect to gain access to my informants. I would conduct my

interviews in Spanish and I would use an interpreter for interviews in Haitian Creole.

Finally, I would give school supplies to the children as a token of appreciation for their

time.

Operational Definitions

It was of central importance that I operationalize several key concepts prior to

conducting fieldwork. First, I needed to define the basis of my comparative analysis-

child living conditions. Table 1 summarizes the factors that make up this measure. To












construct my child living conditions variable, l used Goody's (as cited in Page, 1989)


universal elements of social reproduction to guide my conceptualization- provision of


civil and kinship identity status, nurturance, training for an adult role and sponsorship


into the adult community. By examining the presence or absence of these universal


components or the degree to which parents fulfilled these roles, I would be able to gauge


the child's living condition, as well as get a sense as to the degree parents fulfilled their


parental responsibilities Nonetheless, given the limited amount of resources and time, I


chose to focus on nurturance and training as the key indicators of my index. The final


component- sponsorship into the adult role- would only be relevant for secondary


primary informants, that is, for former foster children that have already reached


adulthood.


Table 1-1. Living Conditions Indicator
Social Reproduction Element Indicator
A. Nurturance
1. Physical needs
Nourishment Quality as compared to other members of the household;
composition, frequency of meals; quality of ingredients
Clothing Quality of clothing
Sleeping arrangements Physical location of bedroom within the household


Quality of the bed
Sleeps alone or shares a bed
Presence of comfort items mosquito net, fan, air condition
Overall quality of sleeping arrangement
Private vs. public health care- clinic vs. public hospital
Medicine purchases similar to the rest of the household
Overall appearance of child health
Play opportunities; type of play opportunities; presence of toys

Use of kinship terminology
Participates in family activities
Physical displays of affection
Verbal displays of affection- use of affective terms.

Public vs. private
More vs less expensive school
Quality of school
School supplies
Nature of training received

Type of labor required
Quantity (number of hours)


Health care


Recreation
2. Emotional needs
Incorporation into foster household

Affective relationship

B. Training
Academic training-schooling



Non-academic training
C. Child responsibilities
Domestic labor requirements









As Panel A in Table 1 reveals, the nurturance element of social reproduction is

made up of two components, the first of which is the provision of a child' s physical

needs. For this measure, I would look at nourishment levels, clothing, sleeping

arrangements, health care, and recreation. The specific indicators for each category are

provided in panel B. The second component is the satisfaction of a child's emotional

needs. Although there is no substitute for extended periods of time to determine whether

or not a child is getting his or her emotional needs fulfilled, I believe it was important to

notice the nature of the affective relationship between parents and children as well as the

employment of kinship terminology.

The second social reproduction component I would be paying close attention was

that of training into an adult role. In their study, Smucker and Murray (2004) point out

that the provision of schooling is a critical aspect in the Dominican fosterage system.

"There is a strong emphasis on the obligation of receiving households to send relocated

children to school," the authors state (p. 82). Thus, I would pay close attention to this

element. The indicators of this component are also specified in Table 1. In addition, I

would observe whether children received other forms of non-academic training.

Finally, of particular relevance to my living condition variable are the child's work

schedules in the foster home. I would attempt to gather information on the types of work

a child has to perform, as well as the amount that is required.

Who is an Hijo(a) de Crianza?

Of crucial importance to my study was that I designate who I would consider an

hijo de crianza or a foster child. In her work, Goody (1973) does so by establishing that

fosterage does not involve a permanent termination or relinquishing of the "rights or









duties in order to assume a new set, no change in the kinship terms between the people

involved, and no permanent change of status in any sense" (p. 181). Thus, to Goody, a

foster child is a child being raised by another family but that still retains their biological

parent's legal identity. Smucker and Murray (2004), on the other hand, conceptualize the

practice in broader terms, that is, as the placement of children outside the biological

home. The International Labor Organization (2003), however, does not establish a clear-

cut definition. They approach the issue in terms of whether or not children are

performing domestic labor in what they call "hogares de terceros (p. 15) or third party

homes, that is, in homes where neither one of their biological parents reside.

Given the lack of in depth information regarding the Dominican child fosterage

system and the exploratory nature of my proj ect, I decided to start out by defining a foster

child as someone that is not being raised by either one of the biological parents. My

sample would include children from ages 10 to 18 years of age.

The Realities of Fieldwork- Reconsidering Interview Strategies

Despite all my pre-fieldwork preparations, I soon learned that one can never

anticipate the realities of the field. I came to this realization the moment I was getting

ready for my first interview with Jose Luis, a former foster child who I had been told had

experienced particularly difficult times while living in his aunt' s home. As I was

preparing for this interview, I gathered what I thought were the indispensable

ethnographic fieldwork elements. I took multiple pens, in case one of them would run

out, my notebook to take notes during the interview, my interview guide, a tape recorder,

and extra batteries. However, as I was getting ready to interview Jose Luis, I soon

realized that I needed to readjust my research plan. I needed to reassess my interview

approach. The fact that I was about to speak to someone about painful childhood










experiences made me recognize that I could not approach this task as a conventional

question and answer session. I needed to create an environment that would make Jose

Luis and the rest of my informants feel as comfortable as possible. Thus, I adopted an

active approach to my interviews.

In adopting an active interview approach, I focused my attention on making my

interviews not seem like interviews at all. Although I was always explicit about my

research purposes, I adopted measures that made the interview a more relaxed and

informal process. First, I abandoned my pens and notebooks and eliminated note-taking

during the interviews. Having constant eye contact, I felt, was essential in making my

informants feel comfortable and relaxed. What is more, this allowed me to observe facial

gestures, mannerisms and emotional expressions, elements that are crucial in gauging

emotions. However, since I felt that it was important that I capture all that was said

during the interviews, I chose to use my tape recorder, but always with my informant' s

consent. As soon as my interviews ended and I was alone, I wrote down my notes and

impressions.

The second measure I took to promote a relaxed environment was to create what

Holstein and Gubrium (1995) refer to "as an occasion for narrative production" (p. 28).

Thus, I chose not follow my interview guide in the way I had initially planned. I used it

more as a game plan to steer respondents "in characterizing experience, interpretive

incitements and themes for storytelling" (p. 29). I was careful to allow and foster a

natural flow of themes and topics.

In trying to create a relaxed environment for my informants, I used my own cultural

knowledge and experiences. As a native Dominican, I tapped into my own abilities and










upbringing in the Dominican art of conversation. For instance, I engaged in a sort of

small talk before initiating any sort of questioning on fosterage related topics. Also, I

would refrain from commencing the interview until my informants and I had finished

having the traditional cafecito or cup of coffee. Other more intangible factors, such as

maintaining a relaxed posture and demeanor, helped in creating an ambience that

promoted a more conversation-like exchange.

The realities of Hieldwork also made me adjust my living conditions indicator.

Once again, the timing constraints that prevented me from developing trust with my

informants made it difficult to ask questions about certain topics. Quite frankly,

inquiring about certain topics during my first encounter with an informant would be

impolite. As a result, I chose to forego asking questions about components such as

clothing.

Despite these unforeseen changes, I believe that overall, my efforts to create fluid,

comfortable situations were successful. With few exceptions, I believe I was able to

collect high quality data, despite my time and resource limitations. However, this was

not the case with child informants. In that regard, my analyses have a gaping void.

Although I was able to interview seventeen children, I do not believe I was able to gather

quality information on their fosterage experiences.

Interviewing Children

My interviews with children were limited by several factors. The first and most

obvious is the fact that I did not have the adequate time to develop the trusting

relationships required to gather information on a delicate topic such as this. Secondly, I

was not always able to speak to children alone. Parents would sometimes choose to be

present during our conversations. Thus, a child would most likely not reveal abusive









treatment while in the presence of a potential abuser. On other occasions, the spacial

layouts of the homes I visited posed additional obstacles. Many of the houses were quite

small, making privacy virtually impossible. Even if I was allowed to be alone with a

child, others were able to listen to what was being said.

Research Sites

This thesis is based on the fieldwork I conducted during a six week period during

the summer of 2003. My inquiries on child fosterage practices took me to seven towns in

the Dominican Republic. I interviewed informants in Santo Domingo, as well as in the

neighboring towns of Yamasa and Villa Altagracia. As I was concerned with fosterage

arrangements that involved the taking in of Haitian children into Dominican homes, I

traveled to the Haitian-Dominican border towns of Loma de Cabrera, Daj abon and

Restauracion. In addition, I visited San Jose de Ocoa, a mountain town in the

southwestern part of the country, as well as two of its satellite villages. To protect the

identities of the residents, I will refer to these two hamlets as Loma Dura and La Sierra.

Data Analysis

I did a word-for-word transcription of my tape recorded interviews and translated

them into English. As will become clear, analysis of the exact words of people opens the

door to cultural construals and cultural distinctions that might not be obvious to an

outsider. Subsequently, I identified and analyzed the relevant categories and themes.

Due to time and space limitations, I selected excerpts from only a selection of interviews.

Conclusion

My research design is a result of multiple factors. After reviewing the

methodological decisions made by other fosterage researchers and evaluating the

advantages and disadvantages I would face by adopting similar approaches, I concluded









that a qualitative research method approach was the most adequate. The lack of in-depth

research on Dominican fosterage systems and my resource and time constraints made this

the most advisable choice. By choosing a system analysis approach, I was able to better

understand a system that has received little attention in scholarly literature. My initial

methodological choices, however, had to be adapted to the realities of data collection in

the field. The sensitivity of the topic I was inquiring about required that I adopt an active

interview approach. However, although it proved to be effective with my adult

informants, it did not prove sufficient to overcome the obstacles of interviewing children.

The following chapters focus on the results of my fieldwork. In Chapter 1 and 2, I

describe the Dominican hilo de crianza system. Using vivid excerpts from my

interviews, I provide the insights I gained about the child relocation system- its

modalities, actors, rules and norms. As other authors, I frame the practice in terms of the

exchange or transfer of parental and filial rights and responsibilities between the sending

and receiving parents, as well as of the child. The Dominican child fosterage system has

very specific rules and terms that dictate the manner in which parents give up or take in

children. Thus, in Chapter 1, I compare and contrast the two basic modalities that govern

the manner in which children are relocated- prestttttttttttttttttados or regalads. In Chapter 2, I

present the different rights and responsibilities assigned to each one of these actors.

Like other fosterage authors, I was concerned with understanding the reasons that

prompt parents to give up or take in children. During my fieldwork, I observed several

patterns in my informant' s responses. Chapter 3 focuses on this topic. As Goody had

done in regards to Ghanaian fosterage, I conclude that parents are not detached and

unconcerned. In fact, fosterage choices are made in an incessant attempt to find better









living conditions for children. The hijo de crianza system is often the only means by

which parents can achieve this goal.

In Chapters 4 and 5, I address the Cinderella effect, that is, the question of

differential treatment. Chapter 4 focuses on my first research hypothesis. I examine

whether foster children in effect enjoy less favorable living conditions than biological

children in the home. Chapter 5 addresses the Cinderella effect, but does so in bi-ethnic

fosterage arrangements. I compare the living conditions of Haitian foster children living

in Dominican homes with those of Dominican foster children in Dominican homes. This,

as I will later elaborate, was not an easy task. Thus, my conclusions in this regard are

limited. Nonetheless, I am able to draw conclusions that can be of use for future, more

in-depth research endeavors. Finally, in Chapter 7 I attempt to summarize my findings

and place them in a broader theoretical context.















CHAPTER 2
"LENDING" CHILDREN VS "GIVING AWAY" CHILDREN: THE OUTLINES OF
DOMINICAN CHILD RELOCATION

Yo soy su mamad. Ello a quien tienen como su mamad e a mi or I am their mother. I
am whom they consider their mother.

Melania

Growing up as a member of Santo Domingo's middle class, I paid close attention to

women' s hands, one of the many subtle, yet revealing indicators of socioeconomic class.

A woman's hands must be delicate, carefully manicured, and must never reveal a hint of

domestic work. This is why one of the first things I noticed about Doha Melania, a

woman in her late seventies from the small border town of Restauraci6n, were her hands.

Unlike the polished nails of a middle class doha or lady, Doha Melania' s nails were

chafed and ridden with mancha de pla~tano, the residue from peeling plantains. Doha

Melania's hands spoke of a life fraught with cooking, cleaning, laundry and all other

plights of being a wife and mother.

When I spoke with Doha Melania, I found that her personal narrative reinforced the

one I saw in her hands. Doha Melania' s life had indeed been saturated with domestic

chores. Raising fourteen children without spousal support, she revealed, required

nothing less than magic. To support her family, Doha Melania would sell produce at the

local market. What a formidable task, I told her, to bear and raise fourteen children on

her own. "No, pero yo no lo pari a todito, or "No, I did not give birth to all of them,"

she corrected. "Yo pari siete pero lo crid a todito, "or "I gave birth to seven, but I raised

all of them myself," she added.










Understanding Doha Melania's family structure required some thought on my part.

It took Doha Melania reiterations of names and relationships before I could finally

understand the convoluted branches on her family tree. Doha Melania raised her seven

biological offspring. But she raised three of her grandchildren- Belkys, who is in Santo

Domingo attending college, as well as Jonathan and Jeffry, who still live with her.

Manuel, Nidia, Tita and Fior, who were the children of "am''''~~~~~~'''''istadet de cuando yo taba

chiquita" or "friends from when I was a little girl" were raised by Doha Melania. All of

Doha Melania' s children are married and have children of their own.

Doha Melania' s life story of persistent childrearing brought forth several questions.

Why would Doha Melania multiply her childrearing responsibilities when she already

had a heavily burdened life? Why weren't Doha Melania' s grandchildren living with

their own mothers? I posed these and other questions to Doha Melania during our

interview in the living room of her Restauraci6n home. Her response, proved to be

revealing:

"Porque yo soy su mamad. Ello a quien tienen como su mamad e a mi. .. Yo soy la
reponsable de eso do ni~o. Ella [her daughter] lo pario, pero depud yo soy la que
me he encargado de todo de ello. "

"Because I am their mother. I am whom they consider their mother. .. I am
responsible for these children. She [her daughter] gave birth to them but I am the
person that has been in charge of everything related to them."

Situations like Doha Melania' s, where families raise other people' s children, are

commonplace throughout the Dominican Republic. "Cada dominicano conoce a alguien

en estos casos," or "Every Dominican knows someone that is involved in one of these

arrangements," the Undersecretary of Labor revealed in a surprisingly apologetic tone3



3 The Undersecretary of Labor, I learned, had a very active role in the funding of Un studio exploratorio
sobre el trabajo infantil domdstico en hogares de terceros en la Repziblica Dominicana: Esto no es un










during an interview we sustained in Santo Domingo, "Es una culture muy arraigada," or

"It is engrained in our culture." He was right, I concurred. I had witnessed many such

cases, including some that involved members of my own circle of friends and family, as I

grew up and lived in the Dominican Republic. The 2002 Dominican Republic

Demographic and Health Survey results agreed, as well (Centro de Estudios Sociales y

Demograficos [CESDEM], 2003). They indicated that 14.2% of Dominican children

under fifteen years of age do not reside with either one of their biological parents.

As commonplace as situations like Doha Melania' s are, I found that what is known

of this practice that customarily relocates thousands of Dominican children from one

home to another is surprisingly minute. "El ca~so de los hijos de crianza no se consider

en nuestros cddigos," or "Child fosterage is not an issue that is dealt with in our legal

codes," affirmed the Undersecretary of Labor. "El Cddigo de Proteccian de Nihos,

Niha~s y Adolecentes tiene una partecita que lo menciona, or "There is only a small

section in the Codigo de Nihos, Nina~sy Adolescentes that briefly mentions it4," he added.

Needless to say, this information vacuum, particularly in the Dominican child protection

codes, was shocking. How such a pervasive practice was only briefly touched upon in

one of the country's major pieces of legislation was puzzling. If the Dominican legal

system does not address it, what rules if any, regulate this practice and how are they

enforced? Are children randomly relocated from one home to the other?



juego! or An exploratory study of child domestic labor in third party homes in the Dominican Republic:
This is not a game!, which condemned the hijo de crianza practice (International Labor Organization
International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour, 2003).

SAfter nw interview, I bought a copy of the newly enacted Codigo de Nillos, Ninas y 4dolescentes (2003)
or New code for the protection of boys, girls and adolescents to confirm what I had just heard. To nw
surprise, the newly enacted code that had received wide acclaim for being the first set of laws that
exclusively dealt with children' s issues indeed only makes brief mention of the practice.










Fieldwork revealed that in fact, child relocation is not carried out in a haphazard

manner. On the contrary, parents place children in other peoples' homes in a systematic

manner and they follow very specific rules. It is a practice that operates under a complex

set of rules that assigns rights and responsibilities to all parties involved and it possesses

checks and balances to ensure child welfare. As fieldwork progressed it became clear

that this practice appears frequent enough to be classified as a maj or component of

Dominican family organization.

In this opening chapter, I will begin a description of the Dominican hilo de crianza

system by identifying, comparing and contrasting two basic but distinct modalities in

which the child and both sets of parents shift and redirect their rights and responsibilities

as members of a kin group. I start my description with one of my most knowledgeable

informants, Nora.

Nora

Nora, one of my first informants, was crucial to my understanding of the

"institutionalized delegation" (Goody, 1982, p. 23) of parental duties. She was the first

person to spell out the structure and rules of the hijo de crianza system. It was Nora who

clarified a critical distinction. Families can give up children in two basic ways- prestttttttttttttttttado

or regalad. In other words, parents can lend children out or give them away. My visit

with Nora was essential to my understanding of parental guardianship transfers in the

Dominican Republic.

Loans vs. Gifts- Child Relocation Modalities

Nora is a nurse's assistant in Loma Dura, a remote coffee growing hamlet hidden

away in a nook in the mountains east of San Jose de Ocoa. Over three hundred families

from this and other surrounding communities rely on Nora' s limited medical expertise for










all their health care needs. In spite of her official government assignment, she frequently

performs procedures that by far surpass her formal training. Among other things, she

prescribes medication, sutures gaping wounds, and performs pap smears. Hence, Nora

knows everyone and everyone knows her. This, and her exceptionally pragmatic outlook

on life, made Norys one of my most valuable informants.

One night, as we sat in her candle-lit living room, I asked Nora to speak to me

about what criar un niho o una niha was, as the fosterage agreement is commonly

referred to. Her hypothetical response using her son Norbertico, shed light on the two

fundamental ways in which parental guardianship is relinquished in the Dominican

fosterage system.

Tess: Nora, iqud es eso de criar muchachos? Cuando la gente dice "estoy
criando un muchacho ", iqud significa eso?

Nora: Por ejemplo, si yo no tengo recursos para darled~~~~ddddd~~~~dddd a Norbertico [her son]
para yo criarlo, para yo darled~~~~ddddd~~~~dddd su educacidn, para comprarle su ropa y yo veo que
tu puedes, yo te digo, "Llivatelo, pero no es tuyo! Es sin papeles. Es prestttttttttttttttttado "
Es que yo no puedo tenerlo y es para que tu lo eduques y le de su manuntencidn y
le de su ropa y su zapatos. Mayormente, las personas que hacen eso es con ese
propdsito. Que lo eduquen.

Tess: iCdmo es eso de presttttttttttttttttado? iY si tu quieres que yo te lo devuelva?

Nora: Depende de Il. Porque si 41 esta en tu casa y tu lo tienes desde chiquito,
entonces ~I te va cogiendo cariho a ti y me perdid el cariho a mi. Entonces, yo voy
a tu casa y digo, "Norbertico, vdmonos para mi casa que yo soy tu mamd,
depend de Il. Si 41dice: "No, yo estoy mejor aqui Donde Tess, yo me voy a
quedardddddddd~~~~~~~~~ aqui, entonces, la decision es ~I que la toma. "

Tess: Nora, what is the child fosterage thing all about? What does it mean when
people say that they are fostering a child?

Nora: For instance, if I Don't have money to give to Norbertico, to raise him, to
give him an education, to buy him his clothes and I can see that you do, I will tell
you 'Take him, but he's not yours! It's without papers. It's a loan!' It means that I
can't support him and I want you to educate him and support him. I want you to
give him his clothes and his shoes. Mostly, people do it with that purpose in mind-
to get him educated.










Tess: What do you mean a loan? What happens if you want me to give him back to
you?

Nora: It depends on him. Because if he' s at your house and you've had him since
he was very small, then he's going to start loving you and loosing affection towards
me. Then, when I go to your house and say, "Norbertico, come to my home
because I am your mother," it all depends on him. If he says, "No, I am better off
here with Tess. I am going to stay here," then he makes up his own mind.

"Prestado" or "Lent" Children- Temporary Parental Guardianship Transfers

Nora' s concise response articulated the terms and conditions of the prestttttttttttttttttado or lent

fosterage agreement. She described a transaction that involves the exchange of

childrearing duties. Were Nora to entrust me with Norbertico' s care she would be

assigning me specific childrearing responsibilities and relinquishing her parental

authority to me. Were I to accept, I would be pledging to provide him with food,

clothing, shelter, shoes and an education. In other words, I would be responsible of

providing him with what Goody (1982) called nurturance, training and sponsorship.

Despite this parental guardianship transaction, Nora would not be losing her

parental rights and obligations in their entirety. Norbertico, as Nora clarifies, is

"prestttttttttttttttttad" or lent. What' s more, he has been "lent" to me "sin papll es"~\` or without legal

documentation'. Consequently, Nora would still preserve specific parental duties. First,

Nora would provide her son's civil and kinship identity (Goody 1982), that is, he would

retain his biological parents' surnames. Secondly, Nora would still preserve her right to

nurture her relationship with Norbertico. Finally, Nora would retain the right to

supervise and terminate the agreement at any time.



5 The "papeles" Nora mentions refer to the legal process where parents record a child's birth at the
"Oficialia Civil" or the Civil Registry. These papeles, are of critical importance in fosterage arrangements,
particularly for the resolution of custody disputes. These papeles, I would later discover, are of crucial
importance in fosterage arrangements that involve Haitian children.









Prestado Fosterage in a Global Perspective

A review of the literature clearly indicates that that prestttttttttttttttttado fosterage

arrangements, though called by different names, are not unique to the Dominican

Republic. In their study of Cameroonian fosterage practices, Eloundou-Enyengue and

Stokes (2002), describe a similar arrangement. Fosterage in Cameroon, like in the

Dominican Republic, involves "a transfer of guardianship of one's children to another

individual or family" on a "temporary, partial" basis (p. 279). Cameroonian biological

parents retain the right to supervise and terminate the arrangement at any time. In

addition, offspring retain the biological parents' surname.

Nevertheless, despite the similarities, one can see significant differences between

both countries. According to the authors, fosterage arrangements in Cameroon

sometimes involve the sharing of childrearing costs between biological and foster

parents. The Dominican system, on the other hand, does not. On the contrary, biological

parent contributions, I later discovered, are often viewed as conflictive challenges to

parental custody and authority. That is, in the Dominican Republic the hijo de crianza

system clearly delimits the rights and obligations of all the parties involved- the foster

parents, the biological parents and the child.

Regalado or Given Away- Permanent Parental Guardianship Transfers

But a second modality of child relocation quickly surfaced. That night, as I

continued my exchange with Nora, she spoke of another way in which children are

placed in other homes. Families also give up their children in what Nora referred to as

"regalad" or "given away" terms. What are differences between regalad and

prestttttttttttttttttado? In the following excerpt Nora explains the differences between each modality.










La diferencia es que el que lo re gala no tiene derecho. Tod'avia tiene derecho
porque es prestttttttttttttttttado Porque prestadatttt~~~~~~tttttt es para que la eduquen y regalada es cuand'o
unos padres tienen pocos recursos, que tienen cuatro o cinco muchachos que no
trabajan, es que ellos lo regalan.

The difference is that if you give him or her away, you no longer have rights. If
you lend your child, you still have rights. You lend them so that they can get an
education. You give them away when parents have very little resources, when they
have four or five kids and they Don't work. That is when you give them away.

The regalado fosterage arrangement Nora describes constitutes what in effect is an

adoption, albeit an extra-legal one. In regalado agreements, biological parents

permanently transfer all their parental rights and responsibilities. Contrary to the

prestttttttttttttttttado agreement, a child that is given away acquires the receiving family's civil and

kinship identity. Biological parents, in addition, surrender their right to supervise the

childrearing process, rendering foster parents unaccountable for their childrearing

actions. When a biological parent gives a child away, they are supposed to rescind their

right to reclaim their child or terminate the agreement. Under this arrangement, biological

parents must halt any and all relationships with their offspring.

Prestado Versus Regalado

Stated in other terms, what had surfaced in this interview was an explicit lexical

distinction between two modes of giving and taking children. This fascinating lexical

distinction, I hypothesized, may indicate the presence of a cultural "menu" in which not

only is child relocation a prominent child-rearing menu-item, but that this relocation

option had two distinct traj ectories, two contrasting clusters of rules and practices. After

my conversation with Nora, I decided to examine her view of the similarities and

differences between both modalities.

First, it was obvious that both fosterage modalities have multiple similarities.

Both types of agreements involve the physical relocation of children. Children,










regardless of whether they are prestttttttttttttttttado or regalad, must undergo a change of residence.

Second, both types of relocation agreements involve the delegation of essential

childrearing duties. Once a foster parent acquires a child, they must continue with the

task of providing food, clothing, education and shelter. Third, both arrangements entail

an exchange of costs and benefits between all parties involved. Fourth, although these

arrangements can be informal (sin papeles or without papers), both sets of parents

establish which of the modalities is in effect. Finally, foster children in both types of

agreements arrive into their new home as members of the receiving family's intimate kin

group.

Despite similarities, each relocation mode nonetheless has its own peculiarities.

First, the rules of the game in the prestadott~~~~~tttt~~~~ arrangement are, in general, tacit. Although

Nora clearly articulated the rules that regulate prestttttttttttttttttado relocation, they are rarely, if ever,

made explicit. Were I to take Norbertico into my home, Nora and I would not need to

discuss our individual obligations. In contrast, permanent regalad relocation terms are

explicitly laid on the table, particularly by the receiving family. Second, prestttttttttttttttttado

arrangements are extra-legal, that is, they are not legal, but they are not illegal either. In

contrast, the mechanisms employed by families to carry out permanent or regalado

custody transfers are, in theory, punishable under the Nuevo Codigo de Nihos, Niha~s y

Adolescentes (2003) or New code for the protection of boys, girls and adolescents.

Third, prestttttttttttttttttado arrangements, as Nora explained, do not sever the biological and parent

and child relationship. Since sending parents maintain a supervisory role over the

childrearing process, as well as the right to terminate the agreement at any given moment,

prestttttttttttttttttado children will, in effect, possess two sets of parents one biological and another









foster. Regalad children, on the other hand, fail to enjoy the costs and benefits

associated with dual-sided parenting. The final distinction has to do with the child's civil

and kinship identity. Prestttttttttttttttttado children retain their biological family's identity.

Regalad children do not. Regalad children will officially or non-officially acquire

their foster family's kinship identity, that is, with or without papeles.

Similarities

As I continued to ponder the prestttttttttttttttttado and regalad arrangement terms, I decided

to dissect the similarities and differences I had established. I initially focused on what I

considered to be the backbone of the hijo de crianza system. I looked at the childrearing

duties themselves that is, at the contributions which receiving parents are required to

provide to foster children

Foster Parent Responsibilities

The delegation of childrearing obligations has been amply explored in the

worldwide fosterage literature. Goody (1982) addressed the issue she referred to as "the

delegation of the nurturance and/or educational elements of the parental role" (p. 23) in

Northern Ghana. Her accounts of the fosterage practices she encountered, I found,

closely resemble the prestadott~~~~~tttt~~~~ arrangements in the Dominican Republic. Ghanaian

parents also require that foster parents provide children with subsistence essentials like

food, clothing and shelter, as well as training and sponsorship. Foster parents in Ghana,

according to Goody, are required to provide children with schooling or any other form of

instruction that will prepare the child for an adult role.

Isiugo-Abanihe (1985) also addressed the transmission of childrearing duties in his

study of the practice in several West African countries. However, his work frames the

delegation in economic, rational terms. Biological parents, according to the author,










transfer the economic costs of childbearing to the receiving family. In this manner,

families can alleviate and redistribute the burden of raising large families.

Foster Parent Childrearing Duties- The Hijo de Crianza Case

As in other countries, the Dominican hijo de crianza system involves a covenant

that establishes specific obligations. Isabel, a middle-aged woman I interviewed in San

Jose de Ocoa, spoke to me about the profound commitment that foster parents assume

when they take a child under their care.

Isabel

One of the first places I visited during my fieldwork was San Jose de Ocoa. Ocoa,

as it is commonly referred to, is a charming, yet raucous town that requires periods of

sensory decompression. The parque or park, the town' s geographical center, provides

shaded respites from the sun and the town' s swarms of motoconchos or mopeds, the main

source of transportation. The parque also dominates the town's economic, political and

social activities. It is in the park' s perimeter that all the major businesses, government

offices and churches are located. Ocoa's major economic activity, however, is coffee

production, as well as of other crops like beans or pigeon peas and potatoes. Interspersed

against government offices and banks are smaller bars and cafeterias.

Isabel, one of the first people I interviewed in Ocoa, lives very close to the parque,

in Barrio San Joaquin, one of the town' s poorer sections. Isabel and her husband have a

very small colmado or convenience store in what used to be the living room of their

house. A thin, printed curtain is the only item that divides their business from their

private lives. Isabel and her husband live well, according to Barrio San Antonio

standards. Their house is made of cinder block, a sign of certain affluence amongst lower










status homes that are made of wood. However, their home does not have a plato or

cement roof, one of the many architectural indicators of economic prosperity. Isabel's

roof is still made of tin.

I was especially interested in speaking to Isabel for two reasons. First, she had

raised Jose, a young man I interviewed in Santo Domingo and I was eager to obtain her

perspective on his life narrative. Secondly, I had heard that Isabel had another foster

child. I corroborated what I had heard when I arrived at her house. When I met Isabel,

she had a baby boy cradled in her arms.

In typical Dominican fashion, Isabel immediately offered me a seat and some

coffee. We sat towards the back of the house, away from the street noise and from the

colmado or small convenience store. Yet, Isabel strategically placed her own chair where

she could pay attention to me, as well as to any incoming customers. She set a small

blanket on the floor, where she carefully laid the baby down when she had to get up and

tend to customers.

As soon as I was done with my coffee, I told Isabel that I was conducting research

on families that were raising other people's children. Since she had raised Jose and was

currently raising the baby in her arms, I was interested in learning about her experiences.

I started by inquiring about the circumstances surrounding the baby she cradled in her

arms. "The child is going to live with me", she explained. "I brought him here since he

was an itty-bitty baby," she added. "I brought him here immediately after his mother' s

rezos". He was less than seventeen days old." The baby's father, she explained, decided

to have Isabel, his uncle's wife, raise his son instead of doing it himself. "His father tells


6 Rezos are memorial services immediately after a person's death. The child's mother had died.










me that he will never separate him from me because this child is going to feel love for

me. If they separate him from me, he is going to suffer a lot."

I continued by asking Isabel what criar un niho was or what it meant to be raising

someone else's child. Her response, in the following excerpt, exposed the momentous

nature of the arrangement.

Tess: 4 Qud es criar un niho?

Isabel: Oh, para mi la crianza de un niho es una cosa muy important. Porque es
una responsabilidd~~~ddd~~~dddad que uno asume muy grande. La crianza de un niho tiene uno
que asumir bueno, como le digo, las veces de una madre. Por lo menos, el que
tiene un niho tiene que saber de todo lo que necesite un ni~o. Desde alimentacidn,
medicina, cariho, en primer lugar, lo mds important en la crianza de un niho es el
carino, el cuidadoddddddddd~~~~~~~~ porque mire, yo tengo este niho. Pero este niho lo que
verdaderamente~~~ddd~~ddd~~ necesita es cariho y atendencia. Eso es lo mds important.
Porque despues que uno dice voy a criar un niho, tiene que saber que tiene que
asumir la responsabilid~~~ddd~~~dddadd desde que comienza, un studio una educacidn, i usted
ve? Uno tiene que asumir las responsabilid~~~ddd~~~dddades de un padre. Como si fuera su
verddddddddddddddddader pd re Porque si usted se hizo, se comprometid a criarlo, tiene que
saber que va asumir la responsabili~dd~~ddadddddddd deunpadre. .. Pero ya ese niho yo lo
voy a criar igual que los que yo pari. Porque ya ese, yo le voy a ir danddddd~~~~~~~ddddddo la
costumbre mia.

Tess: What is criar un niho?

Isabel: Oh, for me rearing a child is a very important thing. Because it is a very
big responsibility one assumes. One must assume .. How can I say? One must
take on the role of a mother when one is rearing a child. At least, the person that
has a child has to provide everything that child needs, like nourishment, medicine,
affection. The most important thing in rearing a child is affection. But what this
baby needs the most is affection and attention. That is the most important thing.
Because after one says that you are going to raise a child, you have to be aware that
you have to assume the responsibility of an education from early on. You see?
One must assume the responsibilities of a parent, as if you were a real parent. If
you made the commitment to raise the child, you have to assume the
responsibilities of a parent. .. But I am going to raise him the same way as I
raised the ones I gave birth to. I am going to give him my habits.

Isabel's brief response succinctly describes several features of the foster parent

role. First, Isabel's recurrent choice of the word responsibility indicates the existence of

a serious agreement between the baby's father and herself. Second, the "responsibility"









she emphasizes requires that she satisfy the baby's physical and emotional needs. As she

stated, she must feed, love and care for the child, especially during illnesses. In sum,

Isabel said it best when she declared that to be a foster mother, she must act as mother.

And she ends with a rule that would provoke suspiciously raised eyebrows among social

scientists: She insists that she is forbidden from making any distinction between the

adopted child and her own biological children. This latter point is of central importance.

The hypothesis formulation of many outside analysts tends to predict differential

treatment between biological and relocated children. Isabel stated just the opposite.

Does her statement reflect an ideal rule that is broken in practice? Or are we dealing with

a system in which the biological / adopted distinction is really of little importance in

predicting actual behavior? I pursued the matter further.

What does it mean, I wondered, to act as a mother. What did this role involve?

The multi-layered responses to these questions were revealed to me by Altagracia, a

woman in Loma Dura. Acting as a mother, I learned from speaking with her, refers to

several things. As was true with Isabel, for Altagracia it also means that as a mother,

foster parents must incorporate children into the household as if they were biological

children.

Altagracia- "They treated me as a daughter"

A few hours after I arrived in Loma Dura, I had a conversation with Altagracia, the

Doila or owner of the house I was staying at. As one of the most prominent and

respected members of the community, Altagracia knows everyone in the surrounding

areas. Hopefully she would refer me to families that were involved in fosterage

arrangements. As we sat in her dirt-floor living room that day, I brought up the hijo de










crianza topic up. However, Altagracia did not have to refer me to other families. To my

surprise, she revealed that she had been an hiJa de crianza herself. "I was in the Capital

[Santo Domingo] like that. I spent my youth like that," she admitted. Altagracia's uncle,

she explained, had sent her to live with a family in the affluent neighborhood of

Ensanche Pian2tini. Altagracia was eleven years old at the time.

Altagracia and I had a long conversation regarding her fosterage experience in

Santo Domingo, particularly in regards to her foster parents' obligations. "Ellos me

daban todo lo que yo necesitaba. Por ejemplo, la ropa zapato, medicina, medicamentos.

Si me enfermaba, me Ilevaban al medico. M~e daban la oportunidadddddddddd~ddddd de ir a la escuela, "

or "They provided me with everything I needed. For example, clothing, shoes, medicine.

If I got sick, they would take me to the doctor", she explained. "They also gave me the

opportunity to go to school," she added. "Ellos me compraban todo, todo, todo y siempre

me daban algo de cuarto para que yo manejara," or "They would buy me everything,

everything, everything. They also gave me money to spend", she revealed. As we

continued our conversation, Altagracia talked about her relationship with her foster

mother. "Yo y ella conversa~bamnos como madre e hija," or She and I would talk like

mother and daughter", she explained. "Yo le contaba si yo tenia un enamorado, yo se lo

decia a ella y ella me contaba muchas cosas de ella tamtttttttt~~~~~~~~~bidn, or "I would tell her things.

If I had a suitor, I would tell her. And she would tell me many things about herself, too."

But there was a statement that Altagracia, as well as many other informants, repeated

throughout our conversation that was most intriguing. "Ellos me tenian2 igual que una

hija"~ or "They had me just like a daughter," she revealed. Again we see the prominent

cultural rule prohibiting discrimination against adopted children.









What did it mean "to have you like a daughter", I asked myself. To have you like a

daughter, I gathered, requires that foster parents satisfy a child's physical and emotional

needs. In Altagracia's case, she was treated like a daughter by providing her with the

essentials for physical sustenance-food, clothes, shelter and schooling. However, they

treated her like a daughter by establishing an affective, trusting relationship. What was

the nature of this relationship, I wondered. How was it established?

In the case of both Isabela and Altagracia, we are dealing with permanent

relocation. Is this cultural rule of equal treatment equally strong in the other modality,

i.e. in the case of prestttttttttttttttttad or borrowed children? Do foster parents develop this

relationship with both prestado and regalado children, I asked myself. I decided to take a

closer look at the nature of the foster parent-hijo de crianza relationship.

Foster Parent/Child Bond

People do not always practice what they preach. Examining affective relationships

was methodologically quite challenging. First, time and funding constraints limited my

ability to observe intangible issues such as "parent/child bonds" (Smucker and Murray,

2004, p. 78). Ideally, I would have preferred to spend extended time periods with the

families I encountered in order to observe and verify the relationships people described.

In addition, during the brief research that underlies this thesis, I am aware that I did not

have sufficient time to develop the rapport required to prompt a person to reveal the true

nature of their fosterage experience, particularly in regards to their affective relationship.

However, despite these challenges, I believe that I was able to perceive and observe that

foster parents and children can truly experience affective relationships. For instance,

Chichi and Teodoro's body language towards their foster daughter left no doubt in my

mind that a loving relationship existed. As I approached their home, the first thing I










noticed was Elena, their foster daughter, sitting on Teodoro's lap as they shared a tender

conversation. In addition, Chichi's caring tone of voice and choice of words revealed the

genuineness of her subsequent claims that she loved her daughter "como si fuera una

hija" or "as if she were her daughter".

The Language of Fosterage

To have you like a daughter also involves the use of certain terms that indicate the

child's inclusion into the intimate kin group. The "parent/child bond" (Smucker and

Murray, 2004, p. 78) Altagracia made reference to is reflected in the use of kinship

terminology amongst family members involved in the agreement. Careful

anthropological attention to the language that people use, particularly kinship terms, can

reveal subtle distinctions. I encountered three different practices with respect to kinship

terminology. In most homes, foster children were referred to as "hijos de crianza" or

reared children, while parents were referred to as "mama~" or "papa", mother or father.

Conversely, in such households "mi hermano" or "mi hermana", or my brother and my

sister, are used to refer to foster siblings.

But I noted another pattern in which the lineal kin terms (father, mother, brother,

sister) were replaced by somewhat more distant collateral kin terms like "aunt" ,

"uncle." For instance, Stephanie, a foster child living with a family in Santo Domingo,

refers to her foster mother as "Tia Susy"', or Aunt Susy, not as "mama." Zuna, a girl who

is being raised by her aunt in Loma de Cabrera, refers to her foster mother as "tia" or

"aunt." And thirdly, I encountered families that did not employ kinship terms at all.

Fior, a ten-year-old girl in Restauraci6n, refers to her foster mother as Melania, her first

name. Does this mean that Doila Melania did not "have her like a daughter"? What

other ways did she use to express Fior' s inclusion in the intimate kin group if she did not









use fictive kinship terminology? How else did Doila Melania treat her like a daughter?

This led naturally to the question: do these terminological differences along the kin -

non-kin traj ectory correspond to differences in actual treatment of children? If so, is it

the differential terminology that leads to differential treatment, or vice versa? Or are the

two so dynamically intertwined that they cannot be analytically separated? These

questions are easy to pose, but methodologically difficult to answer.

But before passing on to the details of the exchange arrangement --food, clothing,

shelter, and education in exchange for some domestic services I wish to continue with

the discussion of culturally recognized types of arrangements. I will begin by discussing

an arrangement that is distinct from fosterage the domestic employee, the trabajadora,

who is distinct from the foster daughter. I will then discuss two hybrid types of

arrangements on the borderline of fosterage.

Modes of Incorporation Into Dominican Homes: Trabajadoras Versus Hijos de
crianza

In this section, I will deal in more detail with the different types of material

exchanges that occur in houses with relocated children. Of particular importance is the

distinction between the labor Done by paid workers and the labor Done by foster

children.

As I reviewed the transcripts from my interview with Altagracia, I realized that to

have you like a daughter has an additional layer of meaning. Not only does the phrase

indicate that foster parents satisfy a foster child's physical and emotional needs it also

speaks of the different modes of incorporation into Dominican homes. To have you like a

daughter sets the child apart from the other outside members of the household.










In my conversation with Altagracia, we talked about her responsibilities while at

her foster home. During the interview, I asked her to enumerate the specific chores she

had to carry out. "Bueno, la responsabilidadddddddddddd~d mia era limpiar la casa y tender el bebe,"

or "Well, my responsibility was cleaning the house and taking care of the baby," she

responded. I prodded further and asked is she had to cook meals, too. "No, ni lavaba

ttttttttttttttttampoco. Habia otra trabajadora que cocinaba y lavaba, la lavaba la trabajadora," or

"No!" she adamantly responded. "They had a trabajadora7 that cooked and washed

clothes. I didn't even wash my own clothes," she maintained. "The trabajadora would

wash clothes." In other words, a cultural distinction emerged between the work expected

of children and the work assigned to trabajadoras. As I was curious to learn more about

the intensity of her work requirements and her living conditions, I asked if she had dias

libres or days off from cleaning and taking care of the baby. "No, porque yo estaba en la

casa como que no era trabajadora. Yo salia con ellos a pasear," or "No. I wasn't in the

house as a trabajadora", she reaffirmed, "I would go out with the family on rides."

Altagracia's response exposed multiple issues. First, Altagracia brought to light

her awareness that she and the maid had something in common. Neither one of them is

biologically related to the Ensanche Piantini family. In effect, they were both outsiders

in their home. Nonetheless, Altagracia pointed, she was not an employee, like the

trabajadora was. She was "like a daughter". Altagracia's response indicates her need to

emphatically distinguish herself from the trabajadora.

My interview with Nefertiti, a fifteen-year-old girl in Loma de Cabrera helped me

gain further insight into the different modes of incorporation. Nefertiti and I spoke about


Trabajadora is one of the terms used in the Dominican Republic to refer to a maid.










Wilfredo, her nine-year-old Haitian foster brother. Wilfredo, as she explained, lived with

her family for several years. When I asked Nefertiti if her parents paid Wilfredo for his

help with the cattle on the farm, she adamantly clarified, "No! A Fifa se lo regalaron.

Regalao fue que se lo dieron," or "No! He was given to my mother. He was given to her

regalao." When I asked what she meant by this, she responded, "Que se lo dieron pa

ella, que se quedaraddd~~~~~ddddd~~~~ con Il. Aqui le damdddddddd~~~~~~~~~o comida, ropa, camna moquitero, de todo," or

"They gave him to her so she could keep him. We give him food, clothes, a bed, a

mosquito net. Everything."

Both Nefertiti and Altagracia' s responses indicate the existence of two distinct

domains or spheres of exchange. First, Altagracia establishes a marked distinction

between herself and the trabajadora. Altagracia was a member of the intimate kin group.

The maid, on the other hand, was not. Second, Nefertiti pointed to the issue that

establishes membership in either group. Trabajadora~s are compensated for their labor

with a salary. Hifos de crianza are not. Wilfredo is not an employee; he is a member of

the family. Consequently, he cannot receive monetary compensation for his work.

Money exchanges and foster children, I concluded, do not belong in the same domain.

Foster children are obviously benefits of material exchanges food, clothing, shelter,

education as are biological children. But monetary payments for labor do not fit into

the cultural category of what is appropriate to give to one' s children. American child-

rearing rules differ in that sense. Many parents have no qualms about hiring their

children to do certain domestic tasks, whether in exchange for an allowance or a direct

payment. And children certainly have no ideological objection to accepting payment. In

the Dominican Republic, in contrast, the moment foster parents compensate foster










children, with a salary, they are automatically shifted into the employee domain. The

International Labor Organization International Programme on the Elimination of Child

Labour' s study(2003) on child domestic labor had similar findings in this regard.

Biological parents, their study reveals, do not want foster families to pay their hilos de

crianza. The use of money lessens the foster parent' s compromiseo moral" or "moral

commitment" (p. 50).

Trabaladoras and hijos de crianza are distinguished in three other ways. First, as

Smucker and Murray (2004) note, foster parents must provide children with an education,

an element that is central to the fosterage agreement. This responsibility does not apply,

however, for a trabajadora. Although cases of Dominican families that pay for the

schooling of a trabaladora (or of her children) occur, it is not, however, the norm or an

expectation. Second, foster parents are responsible for the child's physical and moral

wellbeing. Amanda, a foster mother in Loma de Cabrera who is raising a twelve-year-old

Haitian girl, explained this to me. In the following excerpt, we are discussing foster

parent responsibilities and challenges.

Amanda: Uno tiene ma~ reponsabilidd.

Tess: jPorque con una trabajadora usted no tiene responsabilidad?

Amanda: No, porque si e una mufer ella puede hacd lo que quiera. Pero yo a esa
niha tengo que sabd qud paso da.

Tess: Y si Dios la libre de mal, por ejemplo, esa niha le sale con una barriga
stand> en sus manos, iqud pasa?

Amanda: Nd~. Tendria yo que ir Donde su familiar, contarle lo que pasa. iPor qud
qud hago?

Tess: M~ire, si eso sucede y el papd no da la cara, iquidn va a pagarle tod> lo de .
? Eso le tocaria a usted?

Amanda: M~e tocaria a mi, porque imaginate.









Tess: Pero si es una trabajadora no. Si sale con una barriga, iqud pasa~?

Amanda: Es su problema. 'Vayase! Asi e que lo hacen aqui.

Amanda: One has more responsibility.

Tess: Do you not have responsibility with a maid?

Amanda: No, because if it' s a woman, she can do what she wants. But I have to
know every step that girl takes.

Tess: And what happens if, God forbid, the girl gets pregnant while she's with
you?

Amanda: It would be my responsibility because, imagine! What else can I do?

Amanda: Nothing. I would have to go to her family and explain to them what is
going on. Because, what else can I do?

Tess: Look, what happens if the baby's father does not assume responsibility for
the problem? Who has to pay for everything? Would that be your responsibility?

Amanda: It would be my responsibility. Because, imagine!.

Tess: But where she a maid, you would not be responsible. What happens if a
maid gets pregnant?

Amanda: It's her problem. 'Leave!' This is how we do it here.

Amanda' s comments indicate that, in effect, a clear difference is made between a

traba-jadora and an hiJa de crianza. In the excerpt, Amanda describes the nature of the

responsibility she assumed the moment she took Sonia into her home even though

Sonia was Haitian and not Dominican. It requires that she supervise and be aware of

every action Sonia takes, making her responsible and accountable for Sonia's physical,

emotional and moral well-being. In the event that Sonia got pregnant, for instance,

Amanda would be accountable. Not only would she have to admit to the biological

parents that she failed to protect the child from harm and did not provide her with an

adequate upbringing, she would have to assume the pregnancy and delivery costs. With a

trabajadora, as she described, none of this would take place.










As my conversation with Amanda progressed, I became conscious of the third

element that differentiates trabajadoras and hijos de crianza. As we discussed the

different alternatives Dominican women have of satisfying their domestic labor needs, I

asked Amanda what the benefits of having a paid trabajadora were. "Ah, que uno tiene

una ayuda," or "Oh, that one has help", she responded in a matter of fact manner. But

Sonia helps too, I stated. "No, porque una trabajadora ta con ma obligacion. Ta

obligada a hacelo, or "But a maid has more of an obligation" she clarified. "She is

obliged to do things." Things with Sonia are quite different. "i Tzi la ve que ella tiene

rato ahi sentadatt~~~~~ttttt~~~~ Si e una trabajadora, 'Bo~~~~~ttttta~m~e esa yerba! Hame eto, hame aquello!' "

or "(You see her over there?" she asked me. "She has been sitting there for a while. If

she were a maid, I would be saying 'Throw those weeds away!' 'Do this! Do that!'" she

revealed. Maids, she continued, do not enjoy free time. Sonia's situation, she explained,

was very different. "Cuando yo toy sentadatt~~~~~ttttt~~~~ hay que deja que ella tamtttttttt~~~~~~~~~bidn decanse, or

"When I am sitting, I have to let her rest, too."

Analytically Borderline Cases of Labor Exchange.

As I have mentioned in the beginning of this chapter, the prestttttttttttttttttado and regalado

fosterage modalities have several similarities. The first and most obvious is that both

types of fosterage require that children be relocated from the biological to the foster

home. The transmission of parental guardianship and of childrearing activities in both

the prestttttttttttttttttado and regalado arrangements, require that children live with their foster

parents. Isabel, for instance, cannot be a mother if the baby is not physically in her care.

However, my experience with Victor, an eight-year-old Haitian boy in Loma Dura, shed

further light on the nuances of a child's physical location and residence. Location, I

would discover, is an important determinant in the Dominican child fosterage system.










Victor

Victor has lived in Loma Dura with his father Luis all his life. Like many Haitians

in the surrounding areas, Luis is an agricultural worker. However, he is not like the rest

of the Haitians in the area. Luis is a permanent resident in Loma Dura, not a migrant

worker. Martin, a Dominican peasant in the area ceded a small portion of his land over to

Luis. In exchange, Luis must give him a portion of his production. Luis grows pigeon

peas, potatoes and coffee in his small piece of land. However, Luis must also work as a

day laborer to make ends meet. His production is not enough to support himself and his

son, Victor.

The first time I met Victor, he was at Martin and Altagracia's home. Every

afternoon, when school got out, Victor headed straight to Martin and Altagracia's home,

where he ate his noon day meal. While at her home, Victor helps Altagracia with small

chores, like running down the hill to the colmado or small convenience store to get

supplies. During summer vacation, when school is out, Victor heads straight to Martin

and Altagracia's. At dusk, Luis will invariably walk up the hill towards Martin's home

to retrieve his son. Victor spends the night with his dad in their small, one-room wooden

shack.

As I thought about Victor' s particular situation, I noticed that it possessed elements

of child fosterage arrangements. To begin with, when Victor is at Altagracia's home,

there is a transmission of childrearing obligations from one family to the other. While at

their home, Altagracia feeds and bathes Victor. She cares for him when he is ill. She

gives "costumbres or "manners" and is teaching him to perform certain duties around

their home. In addition, Martin and Altagracia have had full authorization to reprimand










and punish Victor. Secondly, a physical relocation takes place, albeit partially. Victor

spends most of his time at Bene and Altagracia's home, than with his own father.

Given these similarities, I wondered how the families conceptualized Victor' s

particular situation. Was this fosterage, I wondered. So, one afternoon, I asked

Altagracia if she was fostering Victor. "Como quien dice, si, or "One could say that I

am," she stated. "Pero su papd e quien lo ta criando. El vive con su papd. El lo manda

para acd porque aqui el estd~ ma protegido. Aqui nadie lo maltrata, or "But his father is

the one raising him. He lives with his dad. He sends him here because he is more

protected. He is not mistreated."

Victor' s childrearing experience shed light on the nature of location and residency

in fosterage arrangements. In her explanation, Altagracia revealed that part-time physical

relocation does not constitute fostering, despite the fact that she is performing almost all

of the childrearing duties. To claim that fosterage is taking place, Victor must spend the

night at Bene and Altagracia' s home. Thus, place of residence and parentage is defined

by where a child sleeps. Since Victor sleeps at his father's home, he is the one raising

him. As we see, the real world behavior of people does not necessarily follow neat

conceptual categories. In such borderline cases between employment and fosterage, the

two culturally relevant variables are: payment of a salary and sleeping arrangements. If

a regular salary is paid, the person is a worker. In the case of younger children, a hybrid

arrangement occurs when a young child spends days at someone else's home receiving

food and other non-monetary rewards, but nights at his parents' home. The culturally

defined pathway into full fosterage in such cases entails the act of sleeping at the foster

home.










My visit with Amantina, a grandmother in San Jose de Ocoa, supported my

conclusion that sleeping arrangements are crucial in defining fosterage arrangements.

Amantina, who is raising Yeison and Santica, two of her grandchildren, supported

Altagracia's comments on fosterage and sleeping arrangements. When I asked her to tell

me what "criar n/ijll\` or fostering children meant, she responded, "Atenderlo, atenderlo

con su leche, con la comia la dormia y todo" or "Attend to them. Attend to them with

their milk, with their food, with their sleeping arrangements and everything." This

comment, I now realize, supports Altagracia's statement that she is not raising Victor

because she is not providing him with a place to sleep.

But the matter can become even more complex. As my conversation with

Amantina progressed, I learned much more about hijos de crianza and place of residence.

I learned that children can sometimes be raised in multiple households at the same time.

Amantina and Yeison

Yeison, Amantina' s foster son, is her daughter Xiomara' s only child from her first,

failed marriage. Amantina took her grandson in for the first time, when Xiomara

migrated to Panama after leaving Yeison's father. Xiomara, however, returned to Ocoa,

where she met and married another man. Consequently, Xiomara retrieved her son and

went to live with her new husband.

I met Yeison for the first time during one of my repeated visits to his aunt and

uncle's home, where he often visits and plays with his cousin. I would always see Yeison,

who was twelve-years-old at the time, persistently playing placas with the rest of the



SPlaca, a barrio version of baseball, is played between two teams of two players each. It gets its name
from the placa or license plate that is used to designate bases. In placa, there are only two bases and they
are arranged in a straight line, to accommodate for play in narrow barrio streets or alleys.










boys in the neighborhood. One afternoon, as I was sitting with the entire family in the

galeria or front porch, I learned that things did not go very well for Yeison at his new

home, so he returned to live with his grandmother, Amantina. When I asked why Yeison

had returned to Amantina's home, his uncle Joselo responded, "El e muy gobernativo or

"He is too willful." Consequently, Yeison's mother and stepfather were stern with him,

he explained. But they had good reason to. "Porque un dia sucedio, jttu sabes porqud?

A 41 lo mandarond~~~~dddd~~~~ddd a un mandao. Yo no sd si jite a comprar un aceite pa cocinar. Y lo

mandarond~~~~dddd~~~~ddd como a las die y a la una no habia venido y el comado estaba ahi en la

equina! or "One, day, you know what happened?" he asked. "They sent him on an

errand. I'm not sure if they sent him to buy some cooking oil. They sent him around ten

in the morning and it was one o'clock in the afternoon and he had not come back. And

the colmado [convenience store] was at the corner!" he exclaimed. Needless to say,

Yeison was reprimanded. Consequently, Yeison left his mother' s home on his own

volition and returned to live with his grandmother.

According to Joselo' s explanation, Yeison left his mother' s home in hopes of

escaping his parent's strict discipline. However, a few months into his stay with

Amantina, Yeison left and headed to his paternal grandmother's home, who lives down

the hill. "Si y bajaba paa onde la otra abuela. Cuando se ponia guapo con Amantina,

bajaba pa onde la otra abuela, or "Yes and he would go and stay at his other

grandmother' s house. When he was angry at Amantina, he would go down to his other

grandmother' s," his aunt explained. It seems as if Yeison, a willful child indeed,

conveniently changes his domicile in search of the most lenient parent and apparently,

better food. Once more, Yeison chose to leave his third home and return to Amantina's









because he did not like his other grandmother' s cooking. "El ha vivido en la do casa

pero cuando llegaba a donde Besalina, Ilegaba con una hambre! El pobre, parece que la

papa. .," or "He would stay in both houses but every time he would go to Amantina's

he was always hungry! Poor thing. Looks like the food down there wasn't any good,"

his aunt explained.

Yeison' s childrearing situation reminded me of what I had read in Isiugo-Abanihe's

article regarding a child's place of residence (1985). "The maternal home is but one of

several possible homes for the child" (p. 54). Although Yeison spent most of his time

with Amantina, he was as a matter of fact, being raised in three different homes. Yeison

spends the night in all three homes interchangeably, thus fulfilling the fosterage requisite

of place of residence. This communal upbringing arrangement, however, is only possible

given the fact that all three homes are in very close proximity to one another. But most

importantly, the fact that Yeison is male, not female, grants him the liberty and leniency

to migrate from one home to the other at his will.

How can we handle cases like this analytically? For the moment we can say that

the normal and statistically dominant child relocation mode entails full time residence,

including sleeping at the foster home. Once this cultural "menu item" of relocation is

present as an alternative within a population, some individuals devise hybrid options on

the boundaries of the category. We have seen two examples of such hybrid

arrangements: one in which a boy spends the day at a foster home but sleeps at his

parent' s home, and another in which a young boy strategically shifts sleeping places. But

these are best viewed as idiosyncratic variants on a more widespread pattern of full-time









living in the foster home. But individuals do not feel constrained to adhere to the neat

categories posited either by the ideals of a culture or the categories of a social scientist.

Conclusion

Paying careful attention to the language that surfaced in word-by-word

transcriptions of tape recorded interviews, I have presented the outlines of a child

relocation system whose actors recognize two distinct modes: lending children and

giving children away. While recognizing that interview materials such as these reflect

cultural ideals rather than statistically documented aggregate behavior, it nonetheless

remains impressive that informants emphasize with vigor the notion that foster children

are to be treated as biological children. It would require longer research to verify

whether this ideal is put into practice. But even the cultural expression of the ideal

differs strongly from what is found, for example, in Haiti (Smucker & Murray, 2004),

where there is a culturally recognized category of restavek, relocated children who are

explicitly used as unpaid child servants treated quite differently from pitit kay, children of

the household. Cultural ideals do not totally determine behavior, but this strongly stated

egalitarian norm found in the Dominican fosterage system can be expected to have some

impact on what people actually do. The following chapter will delve more directly into

the realm of rights and duties.















CHAPTER 3
EXCHANGE OF COSTS AND BENEFITS: RIGHTS AND DUTIES INT THE
DOMINICAN CHILD RELOCATION SYSTEM

Physical Needs: Food, Clothing, Shoes and an Education

As I have already mentioned, foster parents are required to satisfy a child's

emotional and physical needs. Emotional needs, on the one hand, are met through the

establishment of affective foster parent/child relationships. This involves the

incorporation of foster children as members of the intimate kin group, the establishment

of trust, and physical displays of affection. The satisfaction of physical needs as

Altagracia, Nora and Isabel mentioned, has different requirements. Smucker and Murray

(2004) state, "primary economic support of the child becomes the responsibility of the

caretaker family" (p. 81). Foster parents provide children with food, clothing, shoes and

an education. However, my conversation with Dofia Ramona, a former foster mother in

the town of Yamasa, helped me understand the many complexities involved in this

apparently straightforward parental obligation. Foster parents, I learned, are responsible

for the child's physical health, appearance and integrity.

Dofia Ramona and Jaqueline

Dofia Ramona, a woman in her fifties, was one of the first women I interviewed in

Yamasa, a town located to the north of Santo Domingo. She was sitting on a chair,

wrapped in a towel, when I approached her home. I noticed a young woman, who I later

learned was Dofia Ramona' s daughter, kneeling on the ground scraping the leftover con-

con or burnt rice from the bottom of an iron pot as she washed the noon meal dishes.










After exchanging greetings, Dofia Ramona apologized for not being dressed. She had a

bad cold, she explained. She could only bathe at noon, the hottest part of the day. After

introductions, I proceeded to explain the purpose of my visit. I told her that I wanted to

learn more about her experience raising Jaquelinee, her foster daughter.

"El taba hata po envenenase con to lo muchacho! or "He was even going to

poison himself with all those kids!" she said of Jaqueline' s biological father. Jaqueline' s

father, whose wife left him for another man, could not take care of their eight small

children and work in the fields at the same time. According to Dofia Ramona, he was in

such dire straits that he thought of poisoning himself. Consequently, he gave some of his

children up to other families. Jaqueline was one and a half years old when Dofia Ramona

agreed to take her in.

Once Dofia Ramona had given me some background on Jaqueline, I asked her what

her responsibilities as a foster parent were. "Everything. Just like a daughter," was her

immediate response. As I wanted to obtain specific childrearing duties, I prodded her

into providing me with particular tasks. At first, I was perplexed by her response. "Yo la

puse de nueve, casi die," or "I got her to be nine years old, almost ten." In her statement,

it seemed as if Dofia Ramona felt that her foster child' s growth was her entire doing. As

our conversation progressed, I came to understand what she meant by this statement.

According to Dofia Ramona, Jaqueline would not be alive if it were it not for her

efforts. In the following interview excerpt, Dofia Ramona is talking about Jaqueline's

condition when she first arrived at her home.

Cuando a mi me dieron esa niha, yo vivia en La Cuaba .. Cuando me la dieron a
mi, ella taba encuera, demzia, sentd debajo de una mate mango, Ilena e tierra y
Ilena de semilla de mango. Ella tenia un pardsito malo. .. Esa niha tenia una
hinchazon que mi papd me dijo, 'Te turajite un baquinin, me dijo mi papd 'Eso e










pa morisete en tu brazo. Le dije, 'Utd vera~ que no. Si Dio quiere. Que no se va a
m or i '

I lived in La Cuaba, when they gave me that girl. .. She was all full of dirt and
soiled with mango seeds. She had a bad parasite. She was sick. She was naked
when I received the girl. She was sitting under a mango tree .. The girl was so
swollen that my father said to me, 'You got yourself a baquinin!i That thing is
going to die in your arms.' I said to him, "No, she won't. You'll see, God willing.
She won't die.

Dofia Ramona' s recollection of her father' s statement was indicative of Jaqueline's

physical state. Jaqueline's condition, as Dofia Ramona explained, was so critical that her

father did not believe the baby would survive. When she took the toddler in, she was a

"thing", not a baby. However, Dofia Ramona's time, resources and nurturance, as the

following excerpt indicates, were able to get Jaqueline back to good health.

Ella taba enfema. Yo gatd much dinero. Bueno y tratamientottt~~~ttt~~~tt con la niha,
tra~~~tttttameto con la ni~t~ta Se hizo una mujer. Un mujeron. Y todo el mundola veia~.
Ah y bonita, un pelo muy bonito. Decia la gente, 'Ah, pue eta mujer tiene mano
con lo muchacho. M~ira. Se puso bonita la muchacha. La puse que ~I que la veia,
no d'ecia que era la niha, limpia y bonita.

She was sick. I spent a lot of money; a lot. So it was treatments and treatments for
the girl. And she became a woman. A big woman. Everybody would see her. Oh,
and she was pretty. She had beautiful hair. People would say, 'Oh, this woman has
a good hand with children. Look at her.' The girl is pretty now. Pretty and clean.

Dofia Ramona' s statement brought forth two other foster parent duties. First,

should a foster child fall ill, foster parents are required to nurse them back to health. This

might involve, as Dofia Ramona noted, medical expenditures. This particular duty, I

noted, is of great relevance. As the previous interview excerpt revealed, Dofia Ramona,

made direct reference to her caregiver activities, as well as in the multiple medical costs

she undertook. Jaqueline would not be here today, she notes, if it weren't for her efforts.

The second duty I identified in Dofia Ramona' s response was the need to keep foster

children "pretty and clean". Dofia Ramona, as well as the other people I spoke to,










mentioned how they successfully cleansed their foster child. This task requires that they

bathe and clothe their foster child. A foster child, I concluded, must always appear clean

and cared for.

As my exchange with Dofia Ramona progressed, she continued to reveal further

childrearing activities. The next duty had to do with clothes, "Porque cuando mi mamad

venia de Nueba Yol, le traia ropa. M~ira, zapato, teni, or "Because my mother would

bring her clothes, shoes, sneakers when she came from New York," she revealed.

Jaqueline, who was "naked" before she arrived to Dofia Ramona' s home, was now

wearing items purchased especially for her in the United States.

Education

Central to foster parent child rearing obligations is that they provide children with

"una educacion or "an education". Regardless of whether a child is prestttttttttttttttttado or

regalado, parents must provide the skills that will allow children to fulfill a productive

adult life. This is achieved through schooling and nonacademic training.

Schooling

El no puede aprendd a trabaja con la yerba. Tiene que aprender con su lapi en la
mano. or He cannot learn to work with weeds. He must learn with a pencil in his
hand.

Luis, Haitian farmer

The above statement was made by Luis, a small-scale Haitian farmer in Loma

Dura, a farming community near San Jose de Ocoa. He is making reference to his wishes

that Victor, his son, go to school. Luis, as well as many other farmers I spoke to in Loma

Dura, want their children to finish school and "hacerse proflt ionles" I~\ or "become

professionals". As Luis so eloquently stated, farmers do not want their children to stay in

the campos or rural areas and live a farmer' s way of life.









As Smucker and Murray (2004) and McPherson (2003) have noted, farming is no

longer a desirable occupation in the Dominican Republic. Parents throughout rural

communities will sacrifice and expend considerable resources to have their children

finish high school and obtain a college degree, instead of helping on the farm. I saw

evidence of this in almost every home I visited in Loma Dura. For instance, Altagracia

and Martin have pictures and diplomas of their children's high school graduations

conspicuously hanging on their living room walls. Although none of them has

accomplished the ultimate parental dream of "hacerse~,lf~ pi~eitnlles "~\ or "becoming

college graduates", they have high hopes for their four children. Altagracia and Martin

believe they will live much better lives in Santo Domingo where they will have access to

salaried jobs, rather than working on the small coffee farm.

Foster parents acquire this educational obligation. In taking a child in, they commit

to providing a child with the skills that will assist them to gain access to an urban job.

Not only must foster parents allow children to take time during the day to attend school

and do homework, but they must also supply school uniforms, supplies and shoes.

Failure to fulfill any one of the elements of this crucial requirement, as I will further note,

can constitute grounds for the agreement' s termination.

Non-Academic Training

At first, when Nora explained that, in the hypothetical situation where she would

give me a child, I would need to provide her son with "una educacion" or "an

education", I thought she meant sending him to school. However, as I continued

examining foster parent obligations, I learned that there was a lot more involved in her

statement. "Thra educacion" also meant providing children with nonacademic instruction









as well. This type of training, which is carried out along gendered lines, is believed to be

equally important for a child's adult life.

Non-Academic Training for Daughters

One of the nonacademic training requirements foster parents must fulfill is to

provide children with moral instruction. Although this requirement applies for both male

and female foster children, I found that this was especially true for hilas de crianza or

foster daughters. "Angelita .. va a la iglesia conmigo y todo, itu ve?" or "Angelita. ..

goes to church with me and everything, you see?" Melania, a foster mother from

Restauraci6n revealed. Every Sunday, Melania and Angelita go to church where Melania

hopes her foster daughter will learn her religious and moral ways. Likewise, Chichi, a

foster mother I met in Loma de Cabrera, makes sure that Elena, her 5-year-old Haitian

foster daughter, learns her family's firmly-held Evangelical religious beliefs. When I

arrived at their home one Sunday afternoon, I noticed that the family, including Elena,

were still wearing their Sunday church garb. During our interview, Chichi instructed her

foster daughter to recite one of the church songs she had taught her. Elena acquiesced

and obediently performed the hymn.

Parents are also required to provide their hilas de crianza with domestic skills. "Si,

la estoy encillrnjollk los quehaceres de la casa, dandole una formacion. Yo la tengo como

una niha, ca~si como una hija. Esa e mi compahera, or "I am teaching her all the

household duties, I am giving her an education. I have her as if she were my daughter,"

Melania explained, implying that she had done the same with her own biological

daughters. My understanding of this particular type of training was further expanded

during my interview with Amanda and Sonia, a foster mother and daughter in Loma de










Cabrera. As Amanda reveals, foster daughters are instructed to perform multiple

domestic duties, as well as many other activities.

Amanda and Sonia

Amanda, a woman in her mid-forties, lives near the Dominican-Haitian border in

the outskirts of Loma de Cabrera in a place called La Seyba. She has three biological

children, all of whom are married and left home. Currently, Amanda lives with Jose and

Sonia, her two foster children. Jose is Amanda' s seven-year-old grandson. Sonia, who

was thirteen-years-old at the time, is from Haiti. Juana makes a living from her sparsely

stocked colmado or convenience store she has set up in a small kiosk located towards the

front of her house to take advantage of the ongoing traffic that goes back and forth

between Haiti and the Dominican Republic along the Carretera Internacional or the

International Highway.

Amanda is preparing Sonia for an adult life in several ways. First, Amanda

carefully teaches Sonia to carry out the domestic tasks she believes are integral to her

upbringing. "Ya yo la enc~l~~il a cocind, que ella no sabia nada. Yo la m~l~~id a cocind, a

limpid, a todo. Yo la enc~l~~ilopa que aprenda," or "I already taught her how to cook

because she did not know a thing.. I taught her how to cook, to clean, to do everything. I

teach her so she will learn how to do these things," Amanda explained. Amanda,

however, also teaches Sonia how to sell at the colmado. When a customer approached

the store in the middle of our conversation, Amanda said, "Sonia ven a ver! Vindele

media botella de aceite. Vindele! or "Sonia, go sell him half a bottle of cooking oil!i

Go ahead!" Amanda has been teaching Sonia colmado operations. When I inquired










whether she always helped her with her business, she replied, "Si, para que se vayav~~~vvv~~~

defendiendo," or "Yes, so she can defend herself."

Non-Academic Training-Sons

Hifos de crianza or male foster children receive careful instruction in the skills

parents believe will be most valuable as adults. Boys in rural areas are taken to the fields

to learn from and help their fathers with agricultural chores. For instance, Wilfredo,

Nefertiti's Haitian foster brother, was taught to tend to his family's goats, cows and pigs.

In urban areas, on the other hand, boys learn to carry out other types of skills. Jose,

Isabel's former foster child, learned to operate her colmado or small convenience store

when he was thirteen-years-old. Tony, a nine-year-old foster son in Loma de Cabrera,

was learning how to provide price quotes and answer phone calls at his uncle's hardware

store.

Exchange of Costs and Benefits: What are the Children Required to Do?

Child fosterage, as I have mentioned, involves the transfer of parental guardianship

from the sending to the receiving family. As Isabel, the woman raising her nephew' s son

articulated, "Es una responsabilidad que uno assume muy grande, or "It is a bi g

responsibility one assumes." The responsibility she makes reference to involves the

fulfillment of a child's physical, emotional and educational needs. Consequently, as

Isiugo-Abanihe (1985) asserts, "biological parents, in effect, transfer the economic costs

of childbearing onto the receiving family" (p. 55). But, is this arrangement unilateral in

regards to the costs and benefits involved? If so, it would seem as if biological parents

receive all the benefits of the hilo de crianza system. What stipulations does the child

fosterage system have in place to compensate foster parents for their investments in time,

resources and most importantly, emotions? Foster parents, I learned, not only acquire










"the responsibility of childrearing but also the rights associated with it" (Page, 1989, p.

402).

Childrearing Benefits: Labor and Forthcoming Love

Pero no es a camnbio de dinero. El niho tiene que ayudarted~~~~dddd~~~~ddd en la casa, porque tui le
vas a darddddd~~~~~~~dddddd pero 41 tiene que darted~~~~ddddd~~~~dddd a ti, or You don't get money in return. The child
has to help you in the home because you are going to give, but he has to give to
you, Nora, Loma Dura

We can begin this discussion by stating that an analysis of the benefits received by

foster parents from foster children does not automatically presuppose some unusually

strong utilitarian dimension that distinguishes the fosterage arrangement from ordinary

childcare. Demographers who analyze cost-benefit calculations of the "value of

children" as a determinant of fertility are searching for utilitarian considerations even

with the biological family. If parents seek value from their biological children, we can

assume the same is true for foster children.

The analytic question concerns the nature of the value. We can identify three

genera of value that children give: ongoing material support, ongoing affection and

emotional support, and future material support in old age and illness.

Nora, the rural nurse in the mountain community in Loma Dura, and I spoke about

the childrearing benefits receiving parents acquire. Using Norbertico, her son, as a

hypothetical example, I asked her how I would be compensated for providing him with

all his needs. "iPero a camnbio de qud, yo lo crio y le doy comida?"or "What do I get in

return for rearing him and giving him food?" I asked. "Pero no es a camnbio de dinero.

El nitieeo tiene que ayudarte en la casa, porque tu le vas a dar, pero 41 tiene que darte a ero~Itiee qe dd~~d~~d~~dd~dd~dd~dd~~d~~d~~

ti, or "You don't get money in exchange. The child has to help you in the home because

you are going to give, but he has to give to you," she clarified.. Labor on the part of the









child is one of the means by which the hijos de crianza system reciprocates the efforts

foster parents invest in the childrearing process. This particular element of the hijo de

crianza system, I would later discover, is the source of much controversy, particularly

among development agencies. To many people, as I will address in subsequent sections,

fosterage looks and sounds like coercive child labor.

Foster children are required to carry out multiple tasks in the receiving household.

Although the types and amount of work required vary widely throughout each home, I

found that, in general, labor is distributed along gender lines and is related to the type of

non-academic instruction received. In other words, children will perform the tasks they

are taught. For instance, Wilfredo, the Haitian boy I mentioned in previous sections,

takes care of the goats, cows, and pigs, as he has been taught to do while at his foster

home. He also sweeps the patios and shines iron pots. Annie, on the other hand, helps

her foster mother with the "o(lki il\`" or housework. She washes the dishes, helps with the

cooking and cleaning. Altagracia, who was fostered in Ensanche Piantini, had to take

care of her foster mother' s baby.

Parents, however, have a distinctive understanding of a child's work in the home.

Foster child labor contributions are not considered labor per se. It is conceptualized and

discussed as an integral component ofa child's education and as exercises for the future.

But, most importantly, they perceive the work that children carry out as a means of

"instilling responsibility and knowledge" (Bass, 2004, p. 22).

Forthcoming Love

El se porta mejor con mi mamad que los mismo hijo que ella engendro or He
behaves better with my mother than the children she gave birth to.










The previous statement was made by Juana, a woman in San Jose de Ocoa who

grew up with a foster brother. At the time, she was talking about how her brother loves

and cares for his foster mother more than her own biological children. Juana's brother is

"agradecido, a grateful person who remembers what you did for her even though you are

not her biological mother" (Smucker & Murray, 2004, p.78).

Juana' s example illustrates an element that is crucial to the hijos de crianza system.

As parents age, they increasingly rely on their children for support, thus they view

childrearing as a retirement investment. Foster children care, love and support their

parents in old age, as a means to return the love and care they themselves received while

they were growing up. Smucker and Murray (2004) had similar findings in this regard,

"Over and over again we heard from Dominican foster parents about long-term

calculations, the tremendous advantage of having additional children who can be counted

on to love and care for you in sickness and old age" (p. 78).

Which of these two calculations is more important the labor that the child gives to

me now, or the support that I will receive later in old age? There are no clear methods for

answering this question; both factors operate, not only with foster children, but also with

biological children. In Haiti, the treatment of restavek children is so cruel that caretakers

know the children will leave as soon as they can (Smucker & Murray 2004). In such a

system, caretakers extract from foster children a maximum of short-term benefits, with no

expectation of payoffs in old age. In the Dominican system, in contrast, there seems to

be a strategy of treating children in such a way that they will develop affection and

provide for you in old age. Am I asserting that Dominicans treat children kindly out of

gross calculations of future benefits rather than out of affection? No. All that is being









said here is that the Dominican system, with the importance given to future payoffs, treats

foster children much more benignly than the Haitian system documented by Smucker and

Murray (2004).

Prestado vs. Regalado: Partitioning Childrearing Rights and Obligations

As I have noted in previous sections, the prestttttttttttttttttado and regalado modalities operate

in similar ways. Both share characteristics that range from the transmission of

childrearing obligations and benefits to physical relocations. However, despite these

collective features, they differ in fundamental ways. The following excerpt from my

conversation with Nora, the nurse from Loma Dura, concisely explains these differences:

La diferencia es que el que lo da con papeles no tiene derecho. Todavia tiene
derecho pore es prestttttttttttttttttado, or The difference is that if you give him or her away,
you no longer have rights. If you lend your child, you still have rights.

As Nora revealed, biological parents in regalado agreements renounce their

parental rights. Prestttttttttttttttttado parents, on the other hand, do not. But, what rights was she

referring to? As I continued my conversation with Nora, as well as with all my other

informants, I gained a better understanding of the intricacies involved with biological and

foster parental rights in the hijo de crianza system.

Prestado Parental Rights

As I have noted, the transfer of parental duties and benefits that occurs in prestttttttttttttttttad

agreements is carried out on a "temporary, partial" basis (Eloundou-Enyengue & Stokes,

2002). Prestttttttttttttttttado sending parents, as Nora stated, relinquish certain rights but retain four

key ones. First, biological parents have the prerogative to supervise and evaluate the

childrearing process. Second, sending parents can choose to create or conserve their

affective relationship with their child. Third, biological parents can choose to terminate










the agreement at any time. Finally, they retain the right to provide the child with their

own civil and kinship identity (Goody, 1982).

Evaluating the Childrearing Process- The Hijo de Crianza Supervisory Process

In essence, the hilo de crianza supervisory process, allows parents to continue

exerting their parentage despite the fact that the child is no longer under their direct care.

Although it might appear from the cases I have just described that there seems to be little

biological parent participation, they retain a voice in the childrearing process. This

process serves several functions. First, it allows biological parents to participate in the

childrearing process, albeit indirectly. It provides parents with the necessary mechanism

to ensure that children are receiving an appropriate upbringing. But more importantly, it

is the principal means through which parents protect children from mistreatment and

abuse. Finally, biological parents can use the supervisory process to create and/or nurture

affective relationships with their child.

How does the supervisory process operate? How exactly do parents exercise this

right? Parents, I discovered, assess childrearing activities through the visitation process

which has clearly established rules and norms.

Visitation- Child Protection and Links to Biological Roots

Ella vino a verla, par a ver como etaba la ni~a. Ella. .. E decir. .. Que dede
que ella la trajo, ella no habia sabido de su ni~a. Entonce, ella vino como a ver y
a informano a nosotro. .. A decir...a ve porque asi somo la mamad.

She came to see her. She came to see how the girl was doing. I mean, she had not
heard from her girl since she brought her here. So, she came to see her and to
inform us, I mean, because that' s how us mothers are.

The previous quote is from my interview with Chichi, one of the foster mothers

from Loma de Cabrera. Chichi, who is fostering Elena, a seven-year-old Haitian girl,

was recounting the time when Tifan, Elena's mother, visited her daughter at her new










home. Chichi's quote, "She came to see how the girl was doing," accurately describes

the main function visitation serves. Biological parents will travel to the foster family

home to witness their child's well-being.

Visitation practices, I noted, have two basic characteristics. First of all, most visits

are unannounced. Foster parents are rarely informed of any upcoming trips. This, I

concluded, is done in order to witness childrearing activities free of deceptions.

Secondly, the visit frequency depends on the distance between both homes, the cost and

time of travel, and transportation availability.

What takes place during these visits? My conversations with Chichi, Nancy and

Amanda facilitated my understanding of the rules and protocol involved in an encounter.

Visitation Protocol

The visitation process has many unspoken rules. The first and most significant is

that foster parents must always welcome biological parents into their home. "Si ello son

lo papd y ello vienen a vela a ella, nosotro no podemo a ello prohibile de que no, or "If

they are her parents, and they come to see her, we cannot forbid them to [come]," Chichi,

the foster mother in Loma de Cabrera admitted. Not only must foster parents allow

biological parents to visit, but they must treat them as guests. For instance, if a biological

parent is present during the noon day meal, it is imperative that they be asked to j oin the

family at the table. Second, biological parents ought to provide biological parents with

the opportunity to be alone with the child. This allows children to candidly express any

sentiments about their current living conditions. Amanda, the foster mother from Loma

de Cabrera, asked Sonia, her foster daughter, to reveal the contents of her conversation.

"Dique la mamnd le dijo que se cuidara.dd~~~~~ddddd~~~~ Le hizo varia pregunta: que si habia varone

aqui, que con quidn ella dormia, que como la trataban," or "Her mom told her to take










care of herself. She asked her various questions. She asked her if there were boys in the

house. She asked her who she slept with and how she was treated," she told me. Finally,

biological parents are allowed to bring gifts for their child. "Le trae su dinerito, le trae

cositals para que coma," or"He brings her a little money. He brings her little things to

eat," is what Diana told me that her foster daughter' s father brings when he visits. "Pa

embullala y cosa" or "So that she becomes fond of him and things," she explained. In

addition, biological parents, as Smucker and Murray (2004) note, will bring gifts for the

foster parent household as a gesture of friendship and appreciation. However, "these are

voluntary gifts, not an obligatory payment or remittance" (p. 79).

The visitation system also establishes rules for biological parent behavior. I

learned of the first rule during my conversation with Nancy, a girl from Loma de

Cabrera. Biological parents must exhibit respectful behavior and acknowledge foster

parental authority. For instance, Nancy's mother, who was raising a Haitian girl, was

offended when the foster child's father failed to acknowledge her parental authority. "El

queria tend cierta autorida~ en la casa," or, "He wanted to have a certain authority in the

house," she explained. When I asked her to elaborate, she replied, "Si mamni le d'ecia a

ella, por ejemplo, que se fuera a baha a la niha, 41le d'ecia 'No. Ven. Sidntate aqui," or

"For instance, if mom would tell her to go take a bath, he would say 'No, Come here. Sit

down.'" Nancy's mother viewed this behavior as an overt challenge to her parental

authority that would eventually lead to disrespectful behavior from the foster child.

Consequently, this rule, I concluded, is established to prevent prest adott~~~~tttt~~~ children from

undermining foster parent authority.










Not only do biological parents visit the foster home, but children will make trips to

visit their families as well. Under the prestttttttttttttttttado agreement, foster parents are obliged to

send their hijos de crianza on family visits. "Yo la he Ilevado donde su mamad do

vece, "or "I have taken her to her mother' s two times," Amanda said referring to the times

she has taken Sonia to visit her family in Haiti. "Yo se la llevo alla. Yo se la llevo pa

que ella la yea," or "I take her to them over there. I take her so that they can see her,"

she added. Children, I found, are usually sent during school holidays such as Semana

Santa or Holy Week and/ or summer vacation. Foster families must arrange as well as

pay for the child's trip. During these visits, it is common for foster parents to give gifts

to biological parents, particularly to the mother. "Yo no le mando a~si si no, cuando voy

de ve en cuando, le Ilevo su compra, le Ilevo su quiniento peso, dependiendo lo que

pueda," "I don't send her money like that. When I go I take her some groceries. I take

her five- hundred pesos or so. I give her what I can afford," Amanda explained.

Although these gifts are expected, they are not required. They are optional and carried

out at the foster parent' s discretion.

Visitation in Regalado Arrangements- Exceptions to the Rules

Despite the fact that biological parents in regalado arrangements relinquish their

visitation privileges, I learned that violations to these rules occur. These unwelcome

visits will most likely create conflicts between families, as well as with the child.

Zuleyka, Chana and Miguel's case, a family in Loma de Cabrera, illustrates such an

instance. Despite the fact that Zuleyka was regalad as an infant, her biological mother

occasionally visits her at her foster home. Zuleyka spoke to me about the tense

encounters. "No me gusta su compaiti" or "I don't like her company," she stated in a

somewhat harsh tone.










What happens during these visits? How are these violations handled? Although

these visits are unwelcome, Chana and Miguel still abide by the visitation norms that

dictate that they must welcome Zuleyka' s biological mother into their home and treat her

as a guest. "Yo soy que le digo a ella: 'Julissa, mira tzi mama~.' Pero ella la trata mal.

Yo le digo que no la trate asi. La madre se pone a llorar, or "I tell her, 'Zuleyka, here

is your mother,' but she treats her badly. I tell her not to treat her like that. Her mother

starts to cry," she said as she revealed her condemnation of her daughter' s behavior.

Zuleyka' s biological mother is entitled to deferential treatment. She is "su madre que la

echo al mundo" or "her mother that brought her to this world." Thus, I concluded, blood

ties are kept in high regard. Zuleyka, according to Chana, should be appreciative of her

biological mother. After all, she would not be here if it were not for her.

As I proceeded with my interviews, I learned that visitations in regalado

arrangements can also foster altercations amongst foster and biological parents.

Unwelcome visitations can cause latent parental authority conflicts to surface, as Dofia

Ramona's experience illustrates:

Tess: iEl la venia a visitar?

Doila RamRRRRRRRR~~~~~~~~~ona: Si. Entonce ~I le traia a ella quesito y bolone, cosa que ~I no
debia de dcisela. Tenia que dasela a lo que ~I tenia. Poque a ella no le hacia falta.

Tess: Did he come and visit her?

Dofia Ramona: Yes. He would bring her cheese and candy, things he should not
give her. He needed to give them to the kids he was raising. She was not in need
of any of that.

Why did Dofia Ramona reject these seemingly innocuous gifts? When similar

conflicts resurfaced in my interview with Chichi and her husband in Loma de Cabrera, I

concluded that Dofia Ramona' s comments were indicative of an issue that is of central










importance in the hilo de crianza system, that is, parentage is also determined by the

expenditures childrearing involves.

Tess: iLos padres de ella les dandddddd~~~~~~~dddddd dinero para Elena?

Foster father: No, nada. Ni nosotro queremo eso ttttttttttttttttampoco.

Tess: iPor qud no?

Foster father: Porque si nosotro vamo a ser, quisimo haceno reponsable a ella,
entonce nosotro no podemo aceta de que ella entonce tenga ch, do papa. .. Yo
no toy de acuedo con eso porque entonce, un tiempo, eh, nosotro vamo a peidd,
vamo a peide el apoyo. g Ve?

Tess: Do Elena's parents give you money for her?

Foster father: No, nothing. We don't want them to, either.

Tess: Why not?

Foster father: Because if we are going to be, if we chose to be responsible for her,
we can't accept that she has um, two fathers. I don't agree with that because then,
in time, we are going to loose, we are going to loose, how can I say, the girl's
support. You see?

The sharing of childrearing obligations in the hijo de crianza system is

discouraged. As Chichi's husband and Dofia Ramona suggested, foster parents view any

contribution towards child sustenance as inherent challenges to parental guardianship and

authority. Foster parents view gifts as incursions into their parental authority since

"primary economic support ... becomes the responsibility of the caretaker family"

(Smucker & Murray, 2004, p. 78). For Elena' s foster father, accepting money from the

biological father undermines his parental authority and role. As Elena's father, it is his

responsibility to bear the financial burden of her upbringing. This responsibility is what,

in essence, makes him a father.










Termination- Ending the Fosterage Agreement

The greatest difference between the prestadott~~~~~tttt~~~~ and regalado fosterage modalities has

to do with the right to annul the agreement. Prestttttttttttttttttado modalities allow biological parents

to terminate the arrangement; regalado ones do not. In prestttttttttttttttttad arrangements, the

transfer of parental guardianship is temporary and partial (Eloundou-Enyengue & Stokes,

2002). Biological parents can reclaim their children at any time. For instance, Dofia

Milagros, a woman from La Seyba raising a Haitian girl said, "Se la devuelvo, or "I

give her back to him," when I inquired about what would happen if her parents reclaimed

her foster daughter. I posed a similar question to Amanda, who is also from La Seyba.

"Tenga. Porque esa hija e de ella. Si ella un dia decide o eta decide que se quiere ir,

pue yo, yo lo que no hago e dique aqui y alli. Yo voy ay se la llevo y 'Tenga!' Donde yo

la encontrd, or "Here, take her. That daughter belongs to her. If one day she decides or

the girl decides she wants to leave, well I, I am not going to be going from here to there.

I will go and take her and say, 'Take her!' I will give her back to them in the same place

where they gave her to me," she explained.

Prestttttttttttttttttado arrangements also allow foster families to end arrangements as well.

Foster parents have the right to end the arrangement at any time. Dofia Ramona and I

also spoke about a time when she exercised this right with a previous hija de crianza.

"Dede que vi que se taba enamorando y a encompinchase con otra ma que venia dique a

buscala, digo, 'Yo lo siento, or "The moment I saw she was having crushes and having

friendships with another girl that would come to get her, I said 'I'm sorry,'" she

explained. "Ella se queria independiza, or "She wanted to become independent."

Consequently, Amanda chose to terminate the arrangement and returned her daughter to

her biological parents.










Termination in Regalado Agreements?- Exceptions to the Rule

Doha RamRRRRRRRR~~~~~~~~~ona: El sabe, 41 sabe que ya ella le cocina, le puede hacei todo porque
yo le enc~l~~i) como si fuera mi hija. Yo le di una crianza como si fuera hija mia de
vedd. Que sufrimuchisimo! Uy, que si Ilord much! Y me dabavoluntd de lord
cuando yo cocinaba, que yo veia que la muchacha no taba aqui. Porque yo sabia
el hamnbre que ello pasa~ban por ahi. Muchisimo yo sufri. Todo ese cariho se
perdio.

Dofia Ramona: He knows that she can cook for him. He knows that she can do
everything because I taught her as though she were my child. I raised her like she
was my real daughter. I suffered so much! Wow, did I cry! I would cry when I
was cooking and I would see that the girl was no longer here. I knew the hunger
they were going through over there. I suffered so much! All that affection was
lost.

Dofia Ramona as well as many other informants claim that biological parents will

often reclaim their children when their offspring are old enough and capable of

contributing to the household economy. Dofia Ramona makes this quite clear at the

beginning of the excerpt and throughout the entire interview. Jaqueline's father relocated

his daughter, Dofia Ramona claims, when she was a liability, that is, when she was an

ailing infant that required constant attention and care. However, he retrieved her the

moment that Jaquelin had grown up and had the knowledge and strength to carry out

household chores.

At that point, multiple questions regarding the regalad arrangement came to my

mind. What mechanisms does the regalad fosterage arrangement use to seal regalad

arrangements? Is there an irreversible way in which parental guardianship and custody is

transferred. Chicha, a foster mother in her forties, shed light on this topic in the interview

we had in La Cienaga, a small settlement north of San Jose de Ocoa. In the following

passage, Chicha is responding to my inquiries about the way in which regalad fosterage

arrangements are terminated.

Tess: Y si la~s mamd~s vienen a pe dir el niho, g tienen que devolverlo?










Chicha: Si, por lo meno, si a ustd se lo dandddddd~~~~~~~dddddd hoy y entire, de aqui al lune vienen y se
lo quitan, y si ustd no hace un papel, si ustd no hace un papel.

Tess: Se lo tengo que devolver.

Chicha: Si, pero si ustd hace un papel, a ustd no se lo quita nadie porque eso no.

Tess: What happens if the mothers return and ask for the child back, do you have
to return them?

Chicha: Yes, at least, if you receive the child today and she comes on Monday and
they take him away; if you haven't made a paper, if you haven't done a paper.

Tess: I have to return him.

Chicha: Yes, but if you have a paper made, no one can take him away.

Kinship and Civil Identity- "Papeles" or "Papers"

The paper Chicha is referring to is of utmost significance in the regalado modality.

When a child is regalado con papeles or given away with papers, biological parents

allow foster parents to register the child at the Registro Civil or Civil Registry. Foster

parents register the child' s birth as if they shared a genetic bond, that is, as if they had

engendered the child themselves. Chicha made sure that Keila, her foster daughter would

not be taken away by specifically negotiating these terms with the biological father and

registering the child as if she herself had given birth to her. In the event that Keila' s

custody was ever contested, Chicha would have a "legal", written document that

legitimizes her claim to parentage.

Conclusion

This chapter has discussed two maj or topics: (1) the multiple benefits which foster

parents derive from foster children and (2) the competition between foster parents and

biological parents. The visitation rights which biological parents remain over "lent"

children can threaten the exclusive emotional bond which it is in the interest of the foster

parent to encourage in the foster child. But even more seriously, we have seen that the









maneuvers on the part of biological parents to terminate fosterage arrangements can

totally sabotage any long term benefits to the foster parent.

As I have mentioned throughout this chapter, child relocation in the Dominican

Republic is carried out systematically and follows a specific set of norms. The hilo de

crianza system allows biological parents to relinquish or transfer their childrearing rights

and obligations to varying degrees by selecting one of two agreements-the prestttttttttttttttttado or

regalad modalities. Although both of these arrangements share similarities in regards to

the rights and obligations surrounding childrearing and offspring responsibilities, they

differ in a fundamental way- the biological parent's right to reclaim child custody. This

menaces the long-term benefits which foster parents expect in the cultural norms of the

Dominican system.

However, a fundamental question still remains unanswered. Why do biological

parents give up children? And why do foster parents take in children? Why do they

make this apparently difficult choice? As will be seen in the next chapter, parents give

up or take in children for a variety of reasons.















CHAPTER 4
WHY DO PEOPLE GIVE UP OR TAKE INT CHILDREN?

The preceding chapter discussed the basic contours of the Dominican child

relocation system and its two modes of operation. We also discussed cost-benefit

calculations that appear to be in existence. In this chapter I will discuss the factors that

motivate people to enter into the arrangement. Lest this be seen as redundant, I wish to

point out that this decision to give up or take in a child is different from the simple

question of the "value of children" that was discussed in the preceding chapter. Recall:

all parental behavior can be construed (or misconstrued) in the language of"cost-benefit

calculations." But not all parents give up their children or take in the children of others.

What is it that motivates a subset of people to do cost-benefit calculations on other

people's children? And what "cost-benefit" factors lead some people to give up their

children?

For societies unfamiliar with the practice, child fosterage might seem appalling.

How can parents voluntarily give up their offspring to be raised by other people? Why

would someone in their right mind assume the responsibility of raising someone else' s

child particularly when there is often no legal documentation to legitimize the

arrangement? An arrangement such as this and its subsequent legal implications are

difficult to imagine in a society as litigious as the United States. An arrangement that

involves the provision of food, clothing, shelter and schooling in exchange for domestic

labor on the part of the child, automatically conjures images of Cinderella and the evil

triad of the stepmother and stepsisters.









Although adoptions are widely accepted and practiced throughout the west, rarely

do they take place in the manner in which it does in the prestttttttttttttttttado or lent and regalad or

given away arrangements. In the event that a child cannot be raised by his or her

biological father or mother, the state must intervene to ensure the child's welfare.

Legally established guardianship is mandatory in order to execute such routine tasks as

signing a child's permission slip to attend a school field trip or to consent to a medical

procedure. Parentage in countries such as the United States can only be legitimized by

the authority of the State.

The notion that children are best raised by their biological parents is not, however,

universal. Parenting is conceptualized differently in many societies (Isiugo-Abanihe,

1985, p. 54). In sub-Saharan Africa, for instance, parents do not think of themselves as

the exclusive owners of offspring (Page, 1989). On the contrary, children are believed to

be the property of the entire lineage. Parentage in other African societies, particularly

those located in the westernmost countries, is not defined by filiation or biological

relationships in its entirety (Isiugo-Abanihe, 1985). Behavioral roles are equally, if not

more important. This is also the case in the Caribbean. Smucker and Murray (2004) state

that nuclear family members throughout the Caribbean often reside in multiple

households. My findings confirm these conclusions, as well.

Parentage in the Dominican Republic is determined by conduct as well as by

biological bonds. Although genetic relationships lie at the core of intimate kin group

membership, behavior can be of equal, if not more relevance. This excerpt from an

interview I conducted with Amantina, a former foster daughter from Loma de Cabrera,

illustrates my point. At the time, I was asking her why her family had given her up.










Tess: iY porqud usted se fue a vivir con ese \Ieilkir?

Larisa: iCon Papd? Porque yo taba nilla y ~I me reconocio y todo como hija del.

Tess: jlPero el no es papd suyo?

Larisaa: Si... no, pero yo lo quise como mi papd. Y si vuelve y resucita, ese e mi
papa.

Tess: And, why did you go live with that gentleman?

Larisa: With Father? Because I was a girl and he registered and legally recognized
me as his daughter.

Tess: But, he isn't your father, right?

Larisa: Yes, no, but I loved him as my father. And if he returns and comes back
from the dead, that's my father.

The manner in which I posed my initial question revealed my own bias that

parentage is exclusively determined by biology. To me, the man who raised Larisa was

not her real father because they did not share a biological bond. The fact that I referred to

Larisa' s father as "ese \Ieiibr" or "that gentleman" baffled her. She immediately

clarified that the "\eilbr I am referring to is in effect, "Papd or "Father", that is, the

person she shared the affective father-child bond with. This \Ieibr,l she proclaimed, was

indeed her "real" father. He even legally recognized her as such, she clarified. However,

at the time, I still did not grasp the true meaning of her words. Once again, I asked

Amantina whether or not her "Papd was her father. Confused, Amantina briefly

hesitated. Although perplexed by my question, she responded. No, "Papd wasn't her

biological father, but she loved him as if he were. Were he to be born again, she would

still love him as her true father.

The fact that behavior, not biology determines parentage is best articulated in the

following statement. In this instance, one of the foster mothers I interviewed in Loma de

Cabrera is explaining her relationship with her foster daughter.










Ella tiene su mamnd y su papd. Su madre que la echo al mundo y su papd que la
engendro. Pero madre es la que cria.

She has her mother and her father. Her mother that brought her to this world and
her father that bore her. But mother is the person that rears you.

The adage "ma~dre es la que cria" or "mother is the person that rears you" is used

throughout the Dominican Republic. I heard it many times as I was growing up,

particularly during Dia de la~s padres or Mother' s Day. In the Dominican Republic,

giving birth does not automatically qualify you as a mother. You must behave as a

mother to be a mother. Mothers feed, clothe, educate, provide schooling and nurture

children. Isiugo Abanihe (1985) had similar findings in his study of West African

fosterage practices. When inquiring about the identity of a child's parents, he would

often have to ask two different sets of questions: "Who bore you?" and "Who reared

you?" to get a clear answer (p. 54). I had to ask similar questions throughout my

fieldwork, as well.

Altruism or Self- Interest: Questions About Human Nature

Why do parents give up or take in children? This question, which at first seemed

straightforward, ended up being a perplexing matter. For instance, each fosterage case I

encountered was the product of a particular combination of forces that challenged

analyses and generalizations. Moreover, I was unable to speak with many of the sending

families, especially Haitian biological parents. Consequently, my analyses, particularly

in regards to the Haitian parent fosterage decision making process, rely heavily on

second-hand information. Finally, in trying to answer this question, I realized that I was,

in essence, making what Wilk (1997) calls "assumptions and ideas about the essential

nature of human beings", (p. 34). I was trying to decide whether parents gave up or took

children in a "self-interested or altruistic" fashion (p. 35).










The following excerpt from my interview with Dofia Ramona, the foster mother

from Yamasa I have mentioned, helps illustrate this dilemma:

Cuando a mi me dieron esa niha, yo vivia en La Cuaba. Ella tenia un pardsito
malo. Tenia una infeccion vaginal. Ella taba enferma. Yo gatd much dinero!
M~ucho! La puse que el que la veia, no decia que era la ni~a. La puse limpia y
bonita. Pero ei papd, cuando la vio limpia, que ya le podia hacei oficio me la
quiso quita.

I lived in La Cuaba when the girl was given to me. She had a bad parasite. She
had a vaginal infection. She was sick. I spent a lot of money! A lot! People did
not recognize the girl when they saw her after I had her. I cleaned her up and made
her pretty. But when her father saw that she was clean and that she could help him
with housework, he wanted to take her from me.

Does Dofia Ramona's mention of her childrearing expenses denote a "self-

interested" (Wilk, 1997, p. 35) motive for taking in her foster daughter? Does the

biological father' s intention of reclaiming his daughter when she was old enough to

perform household duties reveal a concern for his own personal advantage? My

conversation with Chichi, a foster mother from Loma de Cabrera, reveals similar

thinking.

Chichi: Ahora, si ello vienen y me la quieren quitd a la fueza y ella no quiere irse,
y yo entonce yo puedo por lo meno, cobrale a ello el tiempo.

Tess: iComo asi, cobrarle el tiempo?

Chichi: Es decir, si ella tiene, vamo a deci ocho mese conmigo, yo puedo, si yo
quiero, porque yo no lo toy haciendo, yo puedo llevd vamo a decir, como un rd cor
de todo lo que ella consume, porque ttttttttttttttttampoco no e que uno puede Ileva esa cuenta.
Porque imaginese! Pero alguna cosa, uno por lo meno, sabe que si ella se enferma
y uno la lleva al medico, eh, uno no sabe hata donde se va uno gatando en ella.
Que son sacrificio que uno hace, g vedd '?

Chichi: Now, if they come and want to take her away from me by force and she
doesn't want to go, I can then at least, charge them for the time.

Tess: What do you mean charge them for the time?

Chichi: I mean, if she has been, let' s say, eight months with me, I can, if I like, not
that I am doing it, I can keep a record of everything we spend on her. Not that one









can keep such a record. Imagine that! But some things, one can at least, if she is
sick and we take her to the doctor, um, one doesn't know how much we can end up
spending on her. It's a sacrifice we are making, right?

Once again, does Chichi's intention of keeping receipts of her childrearing

expenditures suggest self-interested motives? Dofia Ramona and Chichi's experiences,

as well as excerpts from other interviews stirred up multiple questions. What do parents

consider when deciding to give up or take in a child? Is the hijo or hija de crianza system

governed by market principles of supply and demand? Is the decision to take in or give

up a child based on economic rationale? Are foster children in the Dominican Republic,

in effect, commodified?

The self-interested or altruistic motive has also been addressed in child fosterage

literature. In her book Parenthood~~PPP~~~PP~~~PP and Social Reproduction (1982), Goody examines the

numerous factors that influence the fosterage decision making process of the Gonj a in

Northern Ghana. Goody encountered difficulties while trying to assign a "defining

characteristic" (p. 252) to each arrangement. On the one hand, evidence led her to

support a self-interested, rational explanation. Yet, she also detected explanations that

focused on altruistic motives. "Which interpretation is correct?" (p. 252), Goody

wondered, as did I. Isiugo-Abanihe (1985) engages this issue in Child fosterage in West

Afr~ica. This article, which tries to bring attention to child fosterage practices particularly

in the Hield of demography, confronts similar questions in trying to establish the factors

behind child relocation. Children, Isiugo-Abanihe concludes, are fostered "by both stable

and unstable families, married and single mothers, healthy and handicapped parents, rural

and urban homes, and wealthy and poor parents" (p. 56). Consequently, families respond

to an assortment of motivators, both rational and altruistic.









In their study of the effects of African economic crises on child fosterage practices

between urban and rural families, Eloundou-Enyengue and Stokes (2002) address these

theoretical considerations. Their quantitative study of child relocation in Cameroon

assumes that parents give up or take in children with economic calculations in mind.

However, fosterage practices, the authors admit, are in reality driven by "altruism,

economic rationality, or adherence to social norms" (p. 281). Thus, their study only

addresses one of the three possible motivating factors behind the practice.

In their study of fosterage practices in Haiti and the Dominican Republic, Smucker

and Murray (2004) noted the presence of an economic rationale in the fosterage decision-

making process. In Haiti, fosterage choices are "based on a calculus of costs, benefits,

and household needs" (p. 26). The inability of Haitian parents to provide sustenance for

their children is the principal motivating factor. Dominican foster parents, on the other

hand, are heavily influenced by economic considerations, as well. Dominican parents

emphasize the "long-term calculations .. of having additional children who can be

counted on to love and care for you in sickness and old age" (p. 78).

Although cost-benefit calculations are undoubtedly present in my data, I found

evidence that can lead to alternative explanations. I encountered cases where rational

thought was not applicable. Parents, I found, sometimes base their decisions on "self-

interested" motives and explicitly framed childrearing in economic terms, while at other

times, they were driven by the interests of the social group to which they belonged. Even

more, I found that they were prompted to give up or take in a child as a response to moral

obligations or altruistic motivations. Like Goody (1982), I asked myself "which

interpretation is correct?" (p. 252). After much deliberation and inner debate, I










concluded that the parenting decision making process in the Dominican child fosterage

system needs to be addressed with a basic guiding principle in mind. To examine all

possibilities, it was imperative that I adopt a "combined model" of human nature (Wilk,

1996, p. 39) to thoroughly explain the practice.

With this "combined model" (p. 39) in mind, I attempted, once again, to examine

the decision to give up or take children in. In doing so, I was able to observe practices

that were "not simply occasional statistical anomalies in the otherwise even flow of

nuclear-family life" (Goody, 1982, p. 250). Using my respondent's explanations in

regards to their fosterage decision, as well as Goody (1982) and Isiugo-Abanihe's (1985)

classificatory system as a guiding framework, I arranged the Dominican child fosterage

system in eight categories, as Table 2 indicates. I divided the hijo de crianza system into

two main subdivisions. The first has to do with the reasons to give up a child: family

crisis, economic crisis, educational needs, alliance and apprenticeship. The second has to

do with the decision to take in a child: affective, domestic labor and infertility fosterage.

Table 4-1. Dominican child fosterage taxonomy.
A. Reasons to give up children B. Reasons to take in children
1. Family crisis 1. Affective fosterage
a. Death of a parent 2. Domestic labor
b. Divorce or separation 3. Infertility fosterage
i. Girls
ii. Boys
2. Economic crisis
3. Educational fosterage
4. Alliance and apprentice fosterage


Crisis Fosterage

Child relocation cases that result from "the dissolution of the family of origin by

divorce, separation or death of a spouse" (Isiugo-Abanihe, 1985, p. 57) can be referred to

as crisis fosterage. This particular type of fosterage, which has been cited as being the










most frequent motivator behind the practice in the West Indies and in Latin America, was

the most common modality in my fieldwork. Over and over again, I confronted instances

that involved life-altering circumstances that prompted parents to give up or take in

children. Parents often turned to the hijo de crianza system to unravel their family and/or

economic predicaments.

Family Crisis

The hijo de crianza system is indispensable in the resolution of several catastrophic

family situations. It allows parents to gain access to resources and support through their

kin and non-kin networks. The hijo de crianza system is often the only means through

which parents can rebuild their shattered livelihoods. Children are sent to live with other

families, mostly with members of their kin groups, as a consequence of marriage or union

terminations, remarriages, death of one or both parents and abandonment. As the

following section reveals, fosterage situations are often the most fitting solution to

resolve parental deaths.

Death of Parent

One of the family crisis situations I encountered during my fieldwork involved the

death of parents. Child fosterage is often the course of action adopted in all three

possible parental death scenarios. Isabel's story, which I recounted in Chapter 2,

illustrates the first scenario- the death of a mother. Luisin, Isabel's foster son, does not

have a mother. She died at childbirth. Consequently, Luisin is being raised by his

father' uncle' wife.

Junior' s case, a seven-year-old boy from La Seyba illustrates another of the

possible death scenarios. Junior has lived with his grandmother Amanda from the day he

was born. "Porque el e huerfano de padre. No conoce a su padre," or "He is an orphan










from his father' s side. He did not meet his father," his grandmother explained. "Al1

padre lo mataron que tenia la mamnd tre mese de embarazo, or "His father was killed

when his mother was three months pregnant," she continued. "Ei iba en un motor y lo

chocd un camnidn, or "He was on a motorcycle and was hit by a truck," Amanda

revealed. But why did Junior' s mother choose not to raise Junior herself! It was

inevitable, I was told. Junior's mother had no choice. "Como ella no tiene ninguin

recurs de nada, yo me quedd, el niffo nacid en poder mio, "or Since she does not have

any kind of resources, I kept, the boy was born in my care. He was bomn here and I kept

him here so she could get on her way," she explained. "She does not have a husband to

help her. She does not have a house. She does not have anything."

Wilfredo's child relocation case illustrates the last possible scenario- the death of

both parents. Both of Wilfredo's parents are dead. Wilfredo lived with his uncle in Haiti

prior to living with his current family in the Dominican Republic. Although Nefertiti, his

Dominican foster sister told me his story, she did not know how his parents died.

Divorce or Separation

La ley dice que las hembras son de los padres y los varones son de la mamd. The
law says that girls belong to the fathers and boys belong to the mothers. Nora,
nurse in Loma Dura

The dissolution of marriages or consensual unions was the most frequently quoted

reason behind the fosterage cases I observed. Over and over again, the hijo de crianza

system was relied upon to settle child custody disputes. Maternal or paternal

grandmothers habitually become foster parents to their grandchildren from broken

homes. Nonetheless, I noted the existence of very specific norms that regulate this type

of relocation practice. Although these rules are culturally enforced and are absent from

Dominican family laws, I found that they often permeate and inform official settlements










of child custody disputes. Nora, the nurse from Loma Dura, was the first person to speak

of the norms that dictates that "girls belong to the fathers and the boys belong to the

mothers."

Nora

Nora met and married her first husband, Cespedes, when she was only eighteen.

Although most couples in El Bejucal, where she grew up, do not get married, Nora had a

church wedding. The nuns where Nora worked, she revealed, threatened to fire her if she

did not adhere to their precepts. Consequently, Nora and Cespedes acquiesced. Shortly

after, Nora was pregnant with Sodelys, her first child.

Pregnancies, I thought, were supposed to be joyous occasions. However, Nora' s

recollection of her pregnancy is not entirely pleasant. It was during this time that she

discovered her husband' s long-standing infidelities. "Y yo no lo acetd, or "And I did not

accept it," she asserted. So Nora left her husband and returned to her mother' s home,

where a few months later, Sodelys was born.

Nora and her mother performed and shared all childrearing duties. "La do haciamoiii~~~~~iiiii~~~~

todo or "Both of us would do everything," she explained when I asked her about the

childrearing distribution of labor. Cespedes did not provide any resources for Sodely's

upbringing.

However, Nora' s direct involvement in her daughter' s upbringing ended when she

left for Santo Domingo to attend nursing school and subsequently obtained her current

position as assistant nurse at the Loma Dura rural clinic. Nora left her daughter Sodelys,

behind with her mother. "Que la tenga mi mamna es igual que yo" or "If my mom has her










it' s the same as if it were myself." In effect, Nora' s mother became an extension of

herself in regards to Sodelys' upbringing.

A few months after she arrived at her new j ob, Nora met and fell in love with

Rafelo, one of the local farmers in Loma Dura. Why, I asked, didn't she reclaim her

daughter, I asked. "Porque el papa della era muy egoita, or "Because her father was

very selfish," she said emphatically. "El me d'ecia que si yo me casaba, ~I me quitaba a

Norelys. Que me la quitaba, que me la quitaba y se la llevaba, or "He would tell me

that if I remarried, he would take Sodelys away from me. He said he would snatch her

from me and take her away." Cespedes refused to have Sodelys live with another man.

Despite Cespedes' repeated threats, Nora married Rafelo. How had Nora stymied

her husband's efforts to take his daughter, I wondered. Nora, I learned, turned to the

local district attorney for assistance and advice. ". yo le explique la situaci6n, porque

nada mas que el [Cespedes] la [Sodelys] quiere much, pero no le daba recursos," or "I

explained the situation to him because he [Cespedes] says he loves her [Sodelys] so

much but does not give her any money," she replied. "El me dijo que si 41 no queria que

yo la tuviera con un hombre, 41ttttt~~~~~~tttttampoco la podia tener con una mujer, que mejor se la

dejara a mi mama, or "He told me that if he didn't want me to have Sodelys with

another man, he can't have her with another woman, either," she declared. The district

attorney, I learned, told Nora she could marry whomever she pleased. But, to my

surprise, he did not grant her custody of Sodelys. Her daughter was to stay at her

grandmother' s home.

I was at first, baffled by the district attorney's recommendation. Why had he

failed to grant Nora custody of Sodelys, especially since Cespedes had never contributed









to his daughter' s upbringing? Did Nora' s statement: "Cespedes refused to have Sodelys

with another man" have anything to do with the ruling? When I asked Nora what she had

meant by this statement, she responded "Se han oido mucha~s historia,"or "One has heard

many stories," she responded. "Se han oido mucha~s historians de madres que tienen hijas

con hombres que no son los padres de ella~s y luego viven con ella~s," or"One has heard

many stories of mothers that have daughters with men that are not their parents. They

end up living with them," she confessed. Nora, I concluded, was referring to the

widespread occurrence of sexual abuse and incest in the Dominican Republic.

At that moment, another cultural dichotomy surfaced. In the previous chapter we

emphasized the difference between "lending" children and "giving up" children. That

neat dichotomy was complicated when I was forced to hypothesize yet another

dichotomy: the existence of two distinct child custody systems, one for boys, another for

girls. To explore my hypothesis, I asked Nora what would have happened if Sodelys

were a boy, instead of a girl. Her response corroborated my initial conclusions, "Era mas

facil varon que hembra. El hubiera dicho: 'Si, Ilivatelo. Pero era hembra y la ley dice

que la~s hembra~s son de los padres, or "It would've been easier with a boy than with a

girl. He would've said 'Take him with you'. But she is a girl and the law says that girls

belong to the fathers; boys to the mothers."

Nora' s consultation with the province's district attorney and her certainty of the

content of Dominican family law prompted me to research this particular matter in

further depth. I searched the new Codigo de Nihos, Niha~s, y Adolescentes (2003) for any

such law, as well as consulted with three attorneys. There was no such stipulation. I had










serendipitously stumbled, through ethnographic probing, onto yet another cultural

dichotomy that had no formal basis in the law.

Diana, a foster mother in Loma Dura, also spoke to me about this "law". Josefina,

Diana's daughter, has a story very similar to Nora' s. Once Josefina learned of her

husband's infidelities, she returned to her parents' home with Fior, her two-year-old

daughter. When Juana left her home to work as a maid in nearby San Jose de Ocoa, she

left Fior with her grandmother. A year later, Juana met another man and remarried.

However, she did not take her daughter to her new home. Fior remained with her

grandmother. When I asked why Josefina had not taken her daughter with her, Diana

responded:

Bueno, porque nosotros no lo aceptamos.~~~~tttt~~~~ttt .. Porque yo le explique, 'Bueno, mi
hija, yo quiero que tui comprendas que si tui vas a irte con ese hombre, tui sabes que
~I no es el papa de esa ni~a. Entonces, el papa de ella dice que el puesto de esa
niha se lo tengo yo. Que yo soy quien se de ella. Porque el esposo que ella tiene,
no es su papa. Es un hombre bueno que la quiere como si fuera hija del. i Usted
ve? Y no es un hombre que uno le conozca, que no es capaz de ninguna cosa,
como se ha visto. Pero, uno sabe que no es supapa.

Well, because we didn't accept it. Because I told her, 'Well, daughter, I want you to
understand that if you are going to go away with that man, you know that he is not
that girl's father. The girl's father says that she belongs with me, that I am the one
that knows about that child.' Because the husband that she has is not her father.
He is a good man that loves her like a daughter, you see? And he is a man that we
know is not capable of anything of those things we've heard of. But, one knows he
is not her father.

Like Nora, Diana had also made reference to the impending need to protect girls

from sexual abuse. Although I was troubled by this recurring theme, it was the response

to my following question that reconfirmed Nora' s initial reference to child custody "law".

I asked Diana if Josefina had ever attempted to reclaim her daughter' s custody. "No, ella

no me la ha pedido nunca porque ella sabe que no tiene derecho a pedirmela, or "No,

she has never asked me for her because she knows she doesn't have the right to ask me










for her," she declared. "Porque ella se dejo de ese hombre y ella se fue con ese otro

hombre. Pero ella sabe que ella estd~ con ese otro hombre que no es el papd de la niha,

or "Because she left that other man and went away with another one. She knows she is

with that other man and he is not the girl's father," she explained. "En una comparacion,

ella me quisiera hacer fuerza a mi para que yo se la dd, ella pierde los derechos, or

"Even if she, for example, wanted to force me into giving her up to her, she loses her

rights," she clarified. "La juticia no acuerda eso," she added, "The law does not support

that." "Si la madre tiene otro esposo, que no es su pap, la justicia no va de acuerdo a

que esa mamnd tenga ese niho" or "If the mother has another husband, that is not the

father, the law will not support that the mother has the child," she affirmed.

Page (1989) describes somewhat similar child relocation practices in West Africa.

In the following excerpt she describes child relocation patterns that result from marriage

or union dissolutions in matrilineal societies:

Where they belong to the mother' s lineage, they may stay with her for a while. If
she remarries, however, it may be considered preferable for her to delegate
responsibility to one of her female kin than to take the children with her into the
new marriage. (p. 45)

Page's description undoubtedly shares similarities with the arrangement Diana and

Nora spoke about. The West African practice Page (1989) made reference to was based

on the assumption that spouses or co-wives mistreat children from previous unions (Silk

1989). In both instances, women preferred child relocation over co-residence with the

new spouse. Her description, however, did not make distinctions between make and

female offspring. Perhaps in the African case the driving factor is fear of loss of the

child's labor, which belongs to a particular kin group. Meanwhile, in the Dominican

context, the driving fear is that of sexual abuse, to which girls are more vulnerable than










boys (G. F. Murray, personal communication, November 24, 2005). At that point, it

became imperative that I examine the underlying reasons behind this gender-determined

fosterage practice. My visit to the Casa de la M~ujer Villa Altagraciana, a nonprofit

group that works on multiple women's issues, including domestic violence, shed light on

the gravity of sexual abuse and incest in the Dominican Republic.

Domestic Violence

Amarra tu gallina, que mi gallo anda suelto. Tie up your chickens that my rooster
is loose

One morning while in at Loma Dura, my attention was drawn to where I had heard

frenzied wing flutters and squawks. A few feet away from me, Altagracia' s gallo manilo,

a rooster breed, assaulted one of her chickens. When the gallo manilo closed in on its

victim, copulation eventually occurred. Dominicans refer to this process as "pisar"

which literally means "step on". Unfortunately, this choice of words, as well as the

behavior I had just witnessed, closely resembled actual human sexual behavior.

Unfortunately, chicken and rooster mating behavior is viewed by many Dominicans as

illustrative of male attitudes and behavior towards women.

Rooster mating behavior is used in many Dominican adages. For instance,

"ama''''~~~~~~''''~rra tu gallina que mi gallo anda suelto. or "tie your chickens up that my rooster is

loose" is commonly used to refer to a parents' need to protect daughters from

unrestrained roosters or men. And Dominican roosters are always unrestrained. As an

attorney from the Casa de la Mujer Villaltagraciana, a non-profit group that works

against domestic violence explained, "A2 los varones los crian para la calle, mientras que

a las nila~s las crian para la casa. A las mujeres las crian y las encil~ranll a que obedezcan

a los hombres, or "Boys are raised for the streets, while women are raised for the home.









Women are raised for the home and taught to obey men," she added. Consequently, it is

a parent's, specifically a biological father's burden to ensure that daughters stay at home

where they are protected and guarded from men. The hijo de crianza system is one way

to keep daughters from getting "stepped on" by their stepfathers. This is why Cespedes,

Nora' s husband, and the District Attorney prohibited Sodelys from living with Rafelo,

her stepfather.

Economic Crisis

Fosterage instances that "redistribute the availability of services between

households with many children, where they may be a liability, and those with few, where

they will be an asset" is referred to as economic crisis fosterage (Isiugo Abanihe, 1985, p.

57). Many of the parents I spoke to cited their inability to provide sustenance for their

children to explain fosterage decisions. Dofia Ramona, for instance, claimed that her

foster daughter' s father was near suicide because of his inability to work and care for his

multiple children. Fabiola, a former foster daughter I met in Villa Altagracia, said "el

[papa] no no podia comprar ropa, zapato" or "he [father] could not buy us clothes,

shoes". This is also the case for Haitian parents (Smucker & Murray, 2004). "A ve si la

podian2 \sain F or "to see if they could save her" is what Elena' s foster parents said

prompted her Haitian biological parents to give up their child

Migration is a common motivating factor behind child relocation. Parents often

choose relocation as they migrate to other towns or countries in search of employment

opportunities. "The decline of the viability and attractiveness of agriculture as a way of

life" often prompts parents to migrate to other cities or countries in search of employment

opportunities (Smucker and Murray, 2004, p. 40). This is why Ana, Lourdes and Yoani,

three elementary school-aged girls in Loma de Cabrera, live with their aunt, Zoila. Luisa,




Full Text

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CHILD FOSTERAGE IN THE DOMINI CAN REPUBLIC: A COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS OF CHILD LIVING CONDITIONS By TESS MARIE KULSTAD GONZALEZ A THESIS PRESENTED TO THE GRADUATE SCHOOL OF THE UNIVERSITY OF FLOR IDA IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA 2006

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Copyright 2006 by Tess Marie Kulstad Gonzalez

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To my Papi , Bob Kulstad, whose life continues to inspire and be the source of tremendous pride.

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iv ACKNOWLEDGMENTS First and foremost, I extend sincere gratit ude to the children, mothers, fathers and grandparents who provided me with their time, voice and story. I have written this work so that their reality is revealed and understood. The journey of this study has been one of academic and personal development. Without the guidance of my committee, Dr. Gerald Murray, Dr. Charles H. Wood, Dr. Efraín Barradas and Dr. Paul Ma gnarella, this journey would have been less meaningful. I am indebted to Professor Murray for intr oducing this project to me and providing me with the counsel to rediscover and explore the Dominican Republic. Since the beginning of my studies at the Center for Latin Amer ican studies, Dr. Wood has been a significant contributor to my academic development. Hi s guidance has provided me the challenge to reach the highest standards and aim to become an academic writer and thinker. With great appreciation I thank the Ce nter for Latin American Studies for providing me with the Interdis ciplinary Field Research Gran t. This funding made this study possible. I hope this thesis is a positiv e reflection of the trust granted to pursue research. Finally, I would like to thank my family for all they have done to help me reach this dream. In particular, I would like to thank my parents, Bob and Norma, for teaching me to love and pursue knowledge. Lastly, I would like to thank my husband, Matthew, for his patience, companionship, and insi ght throughout this fa bulous, yet challenging journey.

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v TABLE OF CONTENTS page ACKNOWLEDGMENTS.................................................................................................iv LIST OF TABLES...........................................................................................................viii ABSTRACT....................................................................................................................... ix CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION: FROM ORNITHOLOGIST TO ANTHROPOLOGIST, A PERSONAL JOURNEY..............................................................................................1 Child Fosterage as a Topic of Inquiry..........................................................................4 Why Do Parents Give Up or Take In Children?....................................................6 Challenges to Traditional Family Models......................................................6 Cinderella Effect............................................................................................7 Fosterage as Child Labor................................................................................8 Methodological Approaches.........................................................................................8 Quantitative Approaches.......................................................................................9 Combined Approaches........................................................................................10 Qualitative Approaches.......................................................................................11 Research Design and Methodological Choices..........................................................12 Methods...............................................................................................................13 Participant Selection.....................................................................................14 Operational Definitions................................................................................14 The Realities of FieldworkRec onsidering Interview Strategies...............................17 Interviewing Children..........................................................................................19 Research Sites..............................................................................................20 Data Analysis...............................................................................................20 Conclusion..................................................................................................................20 2 “LENDING” CHILDREN VS “GIVING AWAY” CHILDREN: THE OUTLINES OF DOMINIC AN CHILD RELOCATION...........................................23 Loans vs. GiftsChild Relocation Modalities.....................................................26 “Prestado” or “Lent” ChildrenTemporary Parental Guardianship Transfers.................................................................................................28 Prestado Fosterage in a Gl obal Perspective.................................................29 Regalado or Given AwayPermanent Pa rental Guardianship Transfers.....29 Similarities..................................................................................................................3 2

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vi Foster Parent Responsibilities.............................................................................32 Foster Parent/Child Bond....................................................................................38 The Language of Fosterage..........................................................................39 Modes of Incorporation Into Dominican Homes: Trabajadoras Versus Hijos de crianza ......................................................................................40 Analytically Borderline Cases of Labor Exchange......................................45 Conclusion..................................................................................................................51 3 EXCHANGE OF COSTS AND BENEFITS: RIGHTS AND DUTIES IN THE DOMINICAN CHILD R ELOCATION SYSTEM....................................................52 Physical Needs: Food, Clothi ng, Shoes and an Education........................................52 Education.............................................................................................................55 Schooling......................................................................................................55 Non-Academic Training...............................................................................56 Non-Academic Training for Daughters........................................................57 Non-Academic Training-Sons......................................................................59 Exchange of Costs and Benefits: What are the Children Required to Do?................59 Childrearing Benefits: Labor and Forthcoming Love.........................................60 Forthcoming Love........................................................................................61 Prestado vs. Regalado : Partitioning Childrearin g Rights and Obligations................63 Prestado Parental Rights.....................................................................................63 Evaluating the Childrearing ProcessThe Hijo de Crianza Supervisory Process....................................................................................................64 VisitationChild Protection and Links to Biological Roots........................64 Visitation Protocol........................................................................................65 Visitation in Regalado ArrangementsExceptions to the Rules..................67 TerminationEnding the Fosterage Agreement...........................................70 Termination in Regalado Agreements?Exceptions to the Rule.................71 Kinship and Civil Identity“ Papeles ” or “Papers”......................................72 Conclusion..................................................................................................................72 4 WHY DO PEOPLE GIVE UP OR TAKE IN CHILDREN?.....................................74 Altruism or SelfInterest: Questions About Human Nature......................................77 Crisis Fosterage...................................................................................................81 Family Crisis................................................................................................82 Death of Parent.............................................................................................82 Divorce or Separation...................................................................................83 Domestic Violence.......................................................................................89 Economic Crisis...................................................................................................90 Alliance and Apprentice Fosterage.....................................................................91 Affective Fostering..............................................................................................91 Infertility Fosterage.............................................................................................92 Domestic Labor Fostering...................................................................................92 Social NetworksThe Binding Element..............................................................93 Conclusion..................................................................................................................94

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vii 5 CARIBBEAN CINDERELLAS.................................................................................97 Biological Versus Hijos de Crianza Living Conditions.............................................99 Schooling...........................................................................................................101 Domestic LaborWork Load and Duties..........................................................109 Sleeping Arrangements.....................................................................................114 Affection............................................................................................................116 Health Care........................................................................................................121 Nourishment......................................................................................................123 Sexual Abuse.....................................................................................................124 Conclusion................................................................................................................128 Why Differential Treatment?............................................................................133 6 BI-ETHNIC FOSTERAGE......................................................................................137 Life Along the Haitian-Dominican Border...............................................................139 Transnationalism Along the Haitian-Dominican Border?.................................144 Why are Dominican Families Fostering Haitian Children?.......................144 Is Bi-Ethnic Fosterage a Novel Phenomenon?...........................................146 Haitian Foster Child Living Conditions............................................................149 Papeles ..............................................................................................................151 Conclusion................................................................................................................152 7 CONCLUSION.........................................................................................................155 REFERENCES................................................................................................................163 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH...........................................................................................166

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viii LIST OF TABLES Table page 1-1 Living Conditions Indicator.....................................................................................15 4–1 Dominican child fosterage taxonomy......................................................................81

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ix Abstract of Thesis Presen ted to the Graduate School of the University of Florida in Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree of Master of Arts CHILD FOSTERAGE IN THE DOMINI CAN REPUBLIC: A COMPARATIVE ANALYSIS OF CHILD LIVING CONDITIONS By Tess Marie Kulstad González August 2006 Chair: Gerald F. Murray Major Department: Latin American Studies Child fosterage, the voluntary practice of giving up offspring to be raised by other families, is a common practice in both Ha iti and the Dominican Republic. Parents in both countries give up and/or take in children in an extra-legal arrangement that requires that receiving parents provide the child with food, clot hing, shelter and, above all, schooling. In exchange, the child is usually expected to perform varying domestic labor tasks in the new home. Despite the widespread nature of having hijos or hijas de crianza , as the practice is commonly referred to in the Dominican Republic, very little is known about it. Moreover, even less is known of an increasingly frequent modality in which Haitian children are placed with Dominican families in the Dominican Republic. Given the historically troubled relationship be tween Haiti and the Dominican Republic, I hypothesized that Haitian foster children livi ng in Dominican foster homes would enjoy less favorable living conditions than Dominican foster ch ildren living in Dominican

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x foster homes. In addition, I examined whet her foster children, regardless of their ethnicity, enjoyed less favor able living conditions than biological children. I adopted a “systems analysis” approach to study the Dominican child fosterage system. Fifty-five semi-structured interv iews, multiple observations and one focus group were carried out from June through July 2004 in the towns of Loma de Cabrera, Dajabón, Restauración, San José de Ocoa, Yamasá a nd Santo Domingo. The sample was selected using the snowball sampling effect. Two co mparative axes were used to guide the analysis. First, the situation of Haitian fo ster childrentheir wo rk schedules, living circumstances, and educati onal opportunities-were compared to those of Dominican foster children. Second, the situation of fost er children as a group was compared to those of biological children. Interv iews were transcribed and translated into English and themes and categories identified and analyzed. Research findings reveal the existence of two distinct child relocation modalitiesprestado or lent and regalado or given away. Moreover, da ta suggest the existence of a foster child living conditions continuum: (1) foster children and biological children are treated equally; (2) foster ch ildren receive differential, yet adequate and better living conditions than they would enjoy in their bi ological home; and (3 ) foster children are treated inhumanely. Research findings sugge st that (1) and (2) ar e the most prevalent scenarios. This is supported by the existence of a strong cultural ideal that foster children should be treated in the same manner as biol ogical children in th e foster home. In regards to the Haitian fost er children, no differences we re observed in their living conditions when compared to those of Dominican foster children.

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1 CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION: FROM ORNITHOLOGIST TO ANTHROPOLOGIST, A PERSONAL JOURNEY Although I am currently enthralled by the to pic of child fosterage practices in the Dominican Republic, I did not originally intend it to be the subject matter of my masterÂ’s thesis research. When I first arrived at the University of Florida in the fall of 2003, I was a Tropical Conservation and Developmen t student determined to study ethnoornithological knowledge in the Dominican Republic, my native country. Both my husband and I are avid birdwatchers. By ga thering data regarding local avian knowledge, I hoped to contribute to the bird cons ervation efforts of local environmental organizations. Yet, despite the fact that my personal commitment to avian conservation has never waned, my research interests took an unforeseen and radical shift. It was during my Anthropology of the Caribbean cl ass that my attention was unexpectedly drawn to what would eventually become my thesis topic. One day, Dr. Gerald Murray, my Anthr opology of the Caribbean professor, revealed that he had just been commissioned to investigate recent allegations of Haitian child trafficking across the Haiti-Dominican Re public border. According to these claims, Haitian children were being smuggled into th e Dominican Republic and forced to work as domestic servants in Dominican homes. It was Dr. MurrayÂ’s task to determine the veracity of these appalling claims. As a native of the Dominican Republic, I was, at first, embarrassed and hurt by these allegations. It was difficult to listen to such statements, as they were detrimental to my feelings of nati onal pride. In addition, I must admit that I

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2 was angered at what seemed yet another in ternational vilification of Dominicans and victimization of Haitians. However, as Dr. Murray elaborated on the nature of what was to be his next research end eavor, I experienced an epiphany of sorts. Haitian children, Dr. Murray explained, were provided with food, cl othing, shelter and schooling while living in Dominican homes. In exchange, the children were required to carry out multiple domestic chores. As some of my fellow classmates brought up such controversial issues as child slavery, it dawned on me that these children were probably hijos or hijas de crianza or foster children, something I was very familiar with growing up and living in the Dominican Republic. These children, I announced to the class, were possibly involved in an arrangement th at is quite common throughout the country. Dominican parents will often place their children with othe r families in arrangements very similar to what these Haitian children were experiencing. My comments elicited a very lively and rich discussion regarding family systems, Haitian-Dominican relations, the definition of slavery, among many other related topics. Once the session drew to an end and I was walking out of the classroom, Dr. Murray requested that I stay behind for a few minutes. After inquiring about my Christmas travel plans, he asked whether I would be interested in conducting interviews for him while I was visiting my family in Santo Domingo. Needless to say, I accepted. We subsequently met to discuss and prepare my interview questions. Dr. Murray wanted me to gather information regarding the hijo or hija de crianza arrangement I had mentioned in class, as well as inquire a bout Haitian child domestic labor use. Upon my arrival to Santo Domingo, I imme diately initiated my inquiries. I interviewed multiple people, including member s of my family, neighbors and friends. I

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3 also interviewed memb ers of my husband’s Peace Corps host family in a small mountain hamlet on the southern part of the island. Be fore long, I realized that I had stumbled upon the most fascinating issue possible. Not onl y did I discover that child relocation is a common and widespread practice that transcends social class, but I also learned that it operates systematically, in accordance to define d rules and norms. It requires that parents provide food, clothing, shelter and schooling in exchange fo r labor on the part of the child. The decision to relocate children, I would also learn, is not a haphazard one. Parents base their childrearing decisions on di verse motivating factors, with the child’s well-being being the ultimate goal. Howeve r, receiving parents, I was told, do not always provide hijos de crianza with the quality of care th ey provide their biological offspring. “ Por más que quieran decir que lo s tratan iguales, no es verdad ,”or “no matter how much they want to say that they treat them the equally, it is not true,” an informant told me.1 Does differential childrearing occur? Are hijos de crianza in effect child domestic laborers veiled in kinship terminology? What does this arrangement mean for Haitian children? At that point, there was no turn ing back. Trying to answer these and many other questions became somewhat of an obs ession. My research topic had found me. This thesis is about the Dominican practice of placing offspring out side the biological home. It is about parenting and childrearing strategies. Bu t most importantly, it is about parents trying to find better lives for their children. As I embarked upon a brandnew research topic, I discovered th at child relocation practices are not exclusive to the Dominican Republic. In fact, child fosterage practices 1 All translations are mine unless otherwise noted.

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4 has been studied in various regions of the world and has been approached from several theoretical perspectives. Child Fosterage as a Topic of Inquiry Child fosterage is the topic of several st udies conducted in various regions of the world. Most research efforts have examined the practice of relocating children from the biological to the foster home as it occurs in West Africa (Alber , 2003, 2004; Bass, 2004; Bledsoe & Isiugo-Abanihe, 1989; Desai, 1992, 1995; Eloundou-Enyegue & Stokes, 2002; Goody, 1973; Isiugo-Abanihe, 1985; Page, 1989; Silk, 1987; Zimmerman, 2003) where it "seems to be more common than in other parts of the world” (Alber, 2003, p. 487). However, as I reviewed the available literature, I learned that child fosterage is practiced throughout other areas of the globe and has been the subject of direct or indirect inquiry in areas as diverse as Indonesia, Brazil, sub-Saharan Africa, and the Caribbean (Desai, 1992, 1995; Fog Olwig, 1999; International Labo r Organization International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour [IPEC] 2003; Schrauwers 1999; Smucker & Murray, 2004). In regards to Hispaniolan practices, only the Haitian modality has received close attention (Cadet, 1998; Interna tional Labor Organization Inte rnational Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour [IPEC], 2003; Smucker & Murray, 2004). However, despite the fact that 14% of childr en under the age of 15 in the Dominican Republic do not live with either biological parent (Centro de Es tudios Sociales y De mograficos [CESDM], 2003), the practice has only received minimal attention. Only recently has it been the topic of investigati on (International Labor Organization Internati onal Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour 2003; Smucker & Murray, 2004). Thus, much is yet to be known about Dominican child fosterage.

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5 As I reviewed the available child foster age literature, several themes stood out. The first had to do with the perspective author Â’s adopt in explaining the practice. Most authors approached child relocation practices from a functionalist perspective. The underlying assumption is that childrearing activ ities are universal. Parents throughout the globe nurture, provide kinship identity, prep are children for an adult role and sponsor children into the adul t community, regardless of whethe r fosterage is carried out (Goody, 1973). However, in societies where foster age is prevalent thes e activities are not ascribed, that is, they are not tied to biol ogical relationships. Ra ther, these roles are bargained, exchanged and transferred to other individuals. Thus, to explain fosterage, authors deconstruct parental and child roles into functi onal components in order to analyze the manner in which parents exchange family or kinship roles. Fosterage, for authors in this theoretical camp, is transacti onal in nature. Child relocation arrangements involve the complete or partia l exchange and/or transmission of the universal essentials of social reproduction between different parties. In broader terms, functio nalist authors have approached fosterage from the perspective of the various societal func tions it fulfills (Desai, 1992; Eloundou-Enyengue & Stokes, 2002; Zimmerman, 2003). For instance, fosterage is essential for the easement of child-bearing costs as well as for subs idizing population grow th. West African parents, for instance, distribute childrearing burdens by placing offspring in other homes. Similarly, fosterage practices diminish th e child's risk of not attending school by relocating children from rural areas with low sc hool availability to more urban locations with increased schooling opportunities (D esai, 1992; Eloundou-Enyengue & Stokes, 2002).

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6 However, other authors challenge the f unctionalist approach. Alber (2003), for instance, asserts that these perspectives a ssume that individuals carry out fosterage negotiations with the conscious intent of fulfilling these societal functions when in fact they are inherent to a particular parenting and family worldview. While the functionalist approach is useful, fosterage needs to be st udied nomothetically in order to understand the practice as it is conceived by the pr actitioners themselves, Alber claims. Consequently, he calls for an etic appro ach to the study of the practice. Why Do Parents Give Up or Take In Children? Another salient theme in the fosterage lite rature is the focus on understanding why parents give up or take in other people’s children (Isi ugo-Abanihe, 1985; Silk, 1987). Goody (1982) notes that parents in fosterage societies do not give their children to others simply because they are devoid of emotional ties with biological offspring. In fact, Gonja fosterage practices are firmly anchored in a kinship system that places great value on parent and child duties, as well as on kinshi p. Parents in fosterag e societies give up and take in children for a variety of reasons and respond to many motivating factors. Goody (1982) and later Page (1989)and Isiugo-Aban ihe (1985) identifie d kinship, crisis, alliance and apprentice, domestic, compan ionship, emotional support and educational fostering as some of the reasons behind the fosterage decision. Challenges to Traditional Family Models The need to incorporate and consider child fosterage practices into research and policy design is another key argument in th e literature. Despite its prevalence and relevance, child fosterage has not received sufficient attention, particularly in demographic studies. For instance, Desai (1995) questions the traditional underlying assumptions that claim that “parental resour ces available for children's consumption are

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7 more or less fixed" (p. 195) and assume th at the nuclear family structure is prevalent throughout the world. Alber (2003) defends fosterage against the “common EuroAmerican ideas about kinship” (p. 488). “Fam ily structure must be treated as a social outcome, as well as a biological one ," Page asserts (1989, p. 444). Cinderella Effect Another identifiable theme in the fosterag e literature is the concern for child differential treatment or the “Cinderella” e ffect, as Zimmerman (2003) puts it. Silk (1987) addresses the issue by placing the kin se lection and reciprocal altruism theory to the test by examining West African fosterage practices. The kin sele ction and reciprocal altruism theory are supported by the ample evidence of differential treatment, Silk concludes. Zimmerman (2003), on the other hand , concludes that differential treatment in regards to school attendance doe s not prevail among black Sout h African foster children. In fact, fosterage reduces “the risk of not attending school by up to 22 percent” (p. 558). In regards to abusive differential treatment in Haitian fosterage arrangements, JeanRobert Cadet’s (1998) autobiographical work Rèstavek: From Haitian Slave Child to Middle-Class American contributed significantly in calling attention to this abusive form of fosterage and child labor. Smucker a nd Murray (2004) address the fosterage and restavèk2 issue as well in their study of Haitian child trafficking into the Dominican Republic. They question whether Haitian childr en are being subjected to similar abusive living conditions while in Dominican ho mes. Although differential and abusive treatment is present in Haitian fosterage, the prevailing pattern in the Dominican Republic is that of equitable or di fferential, yet humane treatment. 2 Restavèk is the Haitian Creole term used to refer to pate ntly abusive fosterage arrangements. The benign form is called rete kay moun .

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8 Fosterage as Child Labor Finally, authors have approached the topic of child fosterage within the context of child labor. Bass (2004) briefl y describes fosterage practices through the child labor lens in her work Child Labor in Sub-Saharan Africa . Child fosterage is a fundamental component of Sub-Saharan AfricaÂ’s family sy stem. Sending and receiving parents, Bass concludes, do not perceive the work foster ch ildren are required to carry out as labor per se. In fact, it is perceived as an integr al component of their upbringing. Smucker and Murray (2004) adopt a similar approach in th eir study of Haitian child trafficking. They examine child fosterage practices and child labor within the context of the Dominican and Haitian family systems. The International Labor Or ganization Programme on the Elimination of Child LabourÂ’s 2003 study on Dominican child foster age practices adopts a less nuanced and more prescriptive approach. Child fosterage in the Dominican Republic is viewed from a pathological perspective. The ILO claims that parents that take children into their homes are in fact using kinship terms to disguise child domestic labor arrangements. Amongst their recommendations is the inclusion of child fosterage in the list of one of the worst forms of child labor and the creation of an educational ca mpaign to discourage child relocation. Methodological Approaches In regards to methodological approaches, child fosterage has been approached from several methodological perspectives and in re sponse to diverse research questions. Authors approach the child fosterage topic fr om both ends of the qua litative-quantitative methodological continuum.

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9 Quantitative Approaches Isiugo-Abanihe (1985), Page (1989), a nd Zimmerman (2003) selected an exclusively quantitative research method approach for their works. In “Child fosterage in West Africa,” Isiugo-Abanihe (1985) calls for an inclusion of child fosterage practices into demographic studies. Using the 1971 S upplementary Enquiry of the 1970 census of Ghana, Isiugo-Abanihe attempts to provide empirical data to support the available anthropological literatu re. Although the data set did not directly inquire about fosterage practices, Isiugo-Abanihe was able to determ ine mother-child associations through the use of multiple statisti cal methods. In this fashion, Is iugo-Abanihe provid es descriptive data such as a child’s sex, age and ruralurban residence to em pirically support the available anthropological literat ure regarding the motivations to give up or take in children. Similarly, Isiugo-Aban ihe explores several maternal characteristics such as a woman’s age and education that might be infl uential in the decision to relocate children. Similarly, Page (1989) relies on quantita tive data to highlight the need to incorporate child fosterage practices into dem ographic studies, particularly in regards to those that deal with sub-Saharan African fert ility. Page uses the World Fertility Survey data which included both an Individual as we ll as a Household questionnaire. Contrary to the data available to Isiugo-Abanihe (1985) , Page’s data did not require the complex statistical measures to perf orm mother-child linking. In “Cinderella Goes to School: The Effects of Child Fostering on School Enrollment in South Africa,” Zimmerman (2003) chooses exclus ively quantitative approaches to put previous qualitative studi es to an empirical test. Specifically, Zimmerman uses the 1993 South African Proj ect for Statistics on Living Standards and

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10 Development to test whether or not the Cinde rella effect, in eff ect, occurs among black children. Combined Approaches Other authors selected a combined appro ach, that is, one that incorporates both quantitative and qualitative methodologies, to answer fosterage-related research questions. First, Bledsoe and Isiugo-Abanihe (1989) carried out in terviews, participant observation, as well as a quantitative surv ey of 154 homes among the Mende in Sierra Leone. As other fosterage scholars at th e time, Bledsoe and Isiugo-Abanihe were interested in incorporating th e child fosterage topic into de mographic studies as well as challenging the prevalent notions regarding parenting and fe rtility decision-making in Africa. In “Will Economic Crises in Africa Weaken Rural-Urban Ties? Insights from Child Fosterage Trends in Cameroon,” EloundouEnyengue and Stokes (2002) also employ quantitative and qualitative data. They were in terested in determini ng how variations in economic prosperity in Africa a ffects rural to urban fosterag e practices. To test this hypothesis, the authors administ ered surveys to 812 randomly selected households in Cameroon to female heads of households or to a randomly selected wife in polygynous homes. In their survey, Eloundou-Enyengue and Stokes incorporate “a life-history calendar” (p. 284) to record informant’s “key demographic events” (p. 284). In addition, they carried out thirteen focus groups to document informant’s own perceptions on the effects economic crises have had on fosterage practices. In order to document the socio-demogra phic characteristics and prevalent attitudes towards fosterage, the Inte rnational Labor Organization’ s (2003) study used snowball sampling to select its informants and carri ed out seventy in-depth, semi-structured

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11 interviews, one focus group among adult dom estic workers and another involving the biological parents of child domestic laborers. Alber (2003) relied on both qualitative and quantitative methods in his work “Denying biological parenthood: Fo sterage in Northern Benin” and in “Grandparents as foster-parents: Transformations in fost er relations between grandparents and grandchildren in Northern Benin” (2004). Al ber carried out quantitative surveys among 65 Baatombu people in order to obtain info rmation on “their lives, family structure, children and other data” (2004, p. 32). In-depth interviews and observations were carried out in order to gather data to construct an emic perspective of social parenthood in Northern Benin. Qualitative Approaches At the other end of the methodological continuum lie works that exclusively employ qualitative research methods. Fog Olwi g (1999), for instance, elicited life stories from her informants to document experiences of children left with family members by migrating parents. In doing so, Fog Olwig obtained “some data on the life courses that people have lived; the socio-cu ltural order which they wish to establish in their life stories, and their own particul ar understanding of themselves in this order” (p. 269). This method, Fog Olwig asserts, provided her with “rich qualitative data on particular individual’s perspectives on life and their cultural values and social norms” (p. 269). Schrauwers (1999), on the other hand, empl oyed ethnographic methods to explore the political economy of parental negotia tion in central Sulawesi, Indonesia. Finally and perhaps most importantl y, is Smucker and Murray’s 2004 study of Haitian child trafficking between Haiti a nd the Dominican Republic. Although they acknowledge the need for quantitative appro aches, the authors beli eve their research

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12 goals were best served through qualitative fi eld work. The existing paucity of data regarding child domestic labor in Haiti and in the Dominica n Republic required that they conduct preliminary qualitative work to establ ish the pertinent vari ables that require quantification. Smucker and Murray undertook a “systems analysis rather than a hypothesis testing” (p. 5) approach in order to identify the compone nts, as well as the structures of a system that incorporates Ha itian children as domestic laborers. Funding and timing limitations were also major in fluential factors in Smucker and Murray’s methodological decisions. Research Design and Methodological Choices Given my particular situati on, I conceptualized my resear ch project as a pilot study to assess the feasibility of securing coope ration and consent in foster households for carrying out research on a poten tially sensitive topic. As Smucker and Murray (2004) had done, I chose to adopt “systems analysis ” (p. 5) approach to study the Dominican child fosterage system. I chose to employ qual itative research methods to carry out an in depth analysis of the operation of the child relocation system in operation. Like these authors, I chose to focus on the operation of the fosterage system, identifying “the human actors, material components, and flow circui ts that make up the system” (p. 6). In addition, I chose to pay close attention to the underlying reasons behind the parental decision making process of giving up or taking in a child. It was also my aim to determine the appropr iate and relevant va riables to be probed in future research projects. Consequently, my study would be comparative in its focus, yet qualitative in its methodology. I estab lished two comparative axes to guide my research and analysis:

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13 Foster children’s living conditions as a group were compared to the living conditions of biological children. The living conditions of Haitian foster ch ildren were compared to those of Dominican foster children. Consequently, I established th e following research hypotheses: H1. As a group, foster children living with Dominican families will enjoy less favorable living conditions than those of biological children. H2. As a group, Haitian foster children liv ing with Dominican families will enjoy less favorable living conditions th an those of biological children. Methods In making my methodological choices, severa l questions surfaced. First, what was the best way of gathering data given the delicat e nature of my topic? How was I going to get strangers to speak to me about this matter? What was the best way to minimize my risk of having incomplete and/ or unrelia ble data (Bernard, 20 02, p. 334)? Additionally, what was the best way of reducing reactivit y, that is, “people changing their behavior when they know they are being studied” (p. 334)? Ideally, I would have a year at my chosen sight to develop trust and rapport with informants. Unfortunately, I only had six weeks. After considering my limitations as well as the previous literature on the topic, I selected three qualitative research methods fo r my project. First, I would conduct semistructure interviews using a previously cons tructed interview guide. This method seemed best, since I would probably only have one time to interview each informant. Semistructured interviewing would allow me to make the most efficient use of my time. Second, I would carry out focus groups w ith homogeneous members as a way to supplement the information I gathered in the interviews (Bernard, 2002). Finally, I

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14 would conduct participant observation in each fo ster home to gain firsthand knowledge of child living conditions. Participant Selection I would select three types of informants to gather my data. Fi rst, I would contact and interview relevant community members, such as school teachers, school counselors, Peace Corps volunteers and members of the cl ergy. These individuals would be my secondary informants. Although they might not be, at the time, involved in fosterage arrangements, they might still be able to provide me with significant information regarding past and current practices in their communities. Additionally, it was my hope that these informants would connect me to individuals that were currently involved in fosterage arrangements in one way or the othe r. Secondly, I hoped to gather information from retrospective primary informants. Thes e were adults who were formerly involved in fosterage arrangements, whether they were former children themselves, foster siblings, or sending or receiving parents. Finally, I intended to interview current primary informants, that is, foster children, their biol ogical and foster parents and siblings, that were currently and directly involved in a fo sterage arrangement. I would rely on the snowball sampling effect to gain access to my informants. I would conduct my interviews in Spanish and I would use an interpreter for interviews in Haitian Creole. Finally, I would give school suppl ies to the children as a to ken of appreciation for their time. Operational Definitions It was of central importance that I operationalize several key concepts prior to conducting fieldwork. First, I needed to defi ne the basis of my comparative analysischild living conditions. Table 1 summarizes the factors that make up this measure. To

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15 construct my child living conditions variab le, I used GoodyÂ’s (as cited in Page, 1989) universal elements of social reproduction to guide my con ceptualizationprovision of civil and kinship identity stat us, nurturance, training for an adult role and sponsorship into the adult community. By examining the presence or absence of these universal components or the degree to which parents fulf illed these roles, I would be able to gauge the childÂ’s living condition, as well as get a se nse as to the degree parents fulfilled their parental responsibilities . Nonetheless, give n the limited amount of resources and time, I chose to focus on nurturance and training as th e key indicators of my index. The final componentsponsorship into the adult role would only be relevant for secondary primary informants, that is, for former fo ster children that have already reached adulthood. Table 1-1. Living Conditions Indicator g Social Reproduction ElementIndicator A. Nurturance 1. Physical needs NourishmentQuality as compared to other members of the household; composition, frequency of meals; quality of ingredients ClothingQuality of clothing Sleeping arrangements Physical location of bedroom within the household Quality of the bed Sleeps alone or shares a bed Presence of comfort items mosq uito net, fan, air condition Overall quality of sleeping arrangement Health carePrivate vs. public health careclinic vs. public hospital Medicine purchases similar to the rest of the household Overall appearance of child health RecreationPlay opportunities; type of play opportunities; presence of toys 2. Emotional needs Incorporation into foster householdUse of kinship terminology Participates in family activities Affective relationshipPhysical displays of affection Verbal displays of affectionuse of affective terms. B. Training Academic training-schoolingPublic vs. private More vs less expensive school Quality of school School supplies Non-academic trainingNature of training received C. Child responsibilities Domestic labor requirementsType of labor required Quantity (number of hours)

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16 As Panel A in Table 1 reveals, the nurt urance element of social reproduction is made up of two components, the first of wh ich is the provision of a child’s physical needs. For this measure, I would look at nourishment levels, clothing, sleeping arrangements, health care, and recreation. Th e specific indicators for each category are provided in panel B. The second component is the satisfaction of a child’s emotional needs. Although there is no subs titute for extended periods of time to determine whether or not a child is getting his or her emotional needs fulfilled, I believe it was important to notice the nature of the affec tive relationship between parents and children as well as the employment of kinship terminology. The second social reproduction component I would be paying close attention was that of training into an a dult role. In their study, Smuc ker and Murray (2004) point out that the provision of schooli ng is a critical aspect in th e Dominican fosterage system. “There is a strong emphasis on the obligation of receiving households to send relocated children to school,” the authors state (p. 82). Thus, I would pay close attention to this element. The indicators of this component are also specified in Table 1. In addition, I would observe whether children received other forms of non-academic training. Finally, of particular relevance to my liv ing condition variable are the child’s work schedules in the foster home. I would attemp t to gather information on the types of work a child has to perform, as well as the amount that is required. Who is an Hijo(a) de Crianza? Of crucial importance to my study was that I designate who I would consider an hijo de crianza or a foster child. In her work, Goody (1973) does so by establishing that fosterage does not involve a permanent termin ation or relinquishing of the “rights or

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17 duties in order to assume a new set, no ch ange in the kinship terms between the people involved, and no permanent change of status in any sense” (p. 181). Thus, to Goody, a foster child is a child being raised by anothe r family but that still retains their biological parent's legal identity. Smucker and Murray (2004), on the other ha nd, conceptualize the practice in broader terms, that is, as th e placement of children outside the biological home. The International Labor Organization (2003), however , does not establish a clearcut definition. They approach the issue in terms of whether or not children are performing domestic labor in what they call “hogares de terceros” (p. 15) or third party homes, that is, in homes where neither one of their biological parents reside. Given the lack of in depth information regarding the Dominican child fosterage system and the exploratory nature of my proj ect, I decided to start out by defining a foster child as someone that is not being raised by either one of the biological parents. My sample would include children from ages 10 to 18 years of age. The Realities of FieldworkReconsidering Interview Strategies Despite all my pre-fieldwork preparati ons, I soon learned that one can never anticipate the realities of the field. I came to this realiza tion the moment I was getting ready for my first interview with Jose Luis, a former foster child who I had been told had experienced particularly difficult times while living in his aunt’s home. As I was preparing for this interview, I gathered what I thought were the indispensable ethnographic fieldwork elements. I took multiple pens, in case one of them would run out, my notebook to take notes during the interv iew, my interview guide, a tape recorder, and extra batteries. However, as I was getting ready to interview Jose Luis, I soon realized that I needed to read just my research plan. I n eeded to reassess my interview approach. The fact that I was about to speak to someone about painful childhood

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18 experiences made me recognize that I could not approach this ta sk as a conventional question and answer session. I needed to cr eate an environment that would make Jose Luis and the rest of my informants feel as comfortable as possible. Thus, I adopted an active approach to my interviews. In adopting an active interview approac h, I focused my attention on making my interviews not seem like interviews at all. Although I was always explicit about my research purposes, I adopted measures that made the interview a more relaxed and informal process. First, I abandoned my pe ns and notebooks and eliminated note-taking during the interviews. Having constant eye contact, I felt , was essential in making my informants feel comfortable and relaxed. What is more, this allowed me to observe facial gestures, mannerisms and emotional expressions , elements that are crucial in gauging emotions. However, since I felt that it was important that I capture all that was said during the interviews, I chose to use my tape recorder, but always with my informant’s consent. As soon as my interviews ende d and I was alone, I wrote down my notes and impressions. The second measure I took to promote a re laxed environment was to create what Holstein and Gubrium (1995) refer to “as an occasion for narrative production” (p. 28). Thus, I chose not follow my interview guide in the way I had initially planned. I used it more as a game plan to steer respondents “in characterizing experience, interpretive incitements and themes for storytelling” ( p. 29). I was careful to allow and foster a natural flow of themes and topics. In trying to create a relaxed environment for my informants, I used my own cultural knowledge and experiences. As a native Domi nican, I tapped into my own abilities and

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19 upbringing in the Dominican art of conversation. For instance, I engaged in a sort of small talk before initiating any sort of que stioning on fosterage related topics. Also, I would refrain from commencing the interview until my informants and I had finished having the traditional cafecito or cup of coffee. Other more intangible factors, such as maintaining a relaxed posture and demeanor , helped in creating an ambience that promoted a more conversation-like exchange. The realities of fieldwork also made me adjust my living conditions indicator. Once again, the timing constraints that prev ented me from developing trust with my informants made it difficult to ask questi ons about certain topics. Quite frankly, inquiring about certain topics during my first encounter with an informant would be impolite. As a result, I chose to forego as king questions about components such as clothing. Despite these unforeseen changes, I believe that overall, my efforts to create fluid, comfortable situations were successful. With few exceptions, I believe I was able to collect high quality data, despite my time a nd resource limitations. However, this was not the case with child informants. In th at regard, my analyses have a gaping void. Although I was able to intervie w seventeen children, I do not be lieve I was able to gather quality information on their fosterage experiences. Interviewing Children My interviews with children were limite d by several factors. The first and most obvious is the fact that I did not have the adequate time to develop the trusting relationships required to gather information on a delicate topic such as this. Secondly, I was not always able to speak to children al one. Parents would sometimes choose to be present during our conversations. Thus, a ch ild would most likely not reveal abusive

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20 treatment while in the presence of a potential abuser. On other occasions, the spacial layouts of the homes I visited posed additional obstacles. Many of the houses were quite small, making privacy virtually impossible. Even if I was allowed to be alone with a child, others were able to lis ten to what was being said. Research Sites This thesis is based on the fieldwork I conducted during a six week period during the summer of 2003. My inquiries on child fo sterage practices took me to seven towns in the Dominican Republic. I interviewed inform ants in Santo Domingo, as well as in the neighboring towns of Yamasa and Villa Altagr acia. As I was concerned with fosterage arrangements that involved the taking in of Haitian children into Dominican homes, I traveled to the Haitian-Dominican border towns of Loma de Cabrera, Dajabon and Restauracion. In addition, I visited San Jose de Ocoa, a mountain town in the southwestern part of the countr y, as well as two of its satell ite villages. To protect the identities of the residents, I w ill refer to these two hamlets as Loma Dura and La Sierra. Data Analysis I did a word-for-word transcri ption of my tape recorded interviews and translated them into English. As will become clear, analysis of the exact words of people opens the door to cultural construals and cultural dist inctions that might not be obvious to an outsider. Subsequently, I id entified and analyzed the rele vant categories and themes. Due to time and space limitations, I selected exce rpts from only a selection of interviews. Conclusion My research design is a result of multiple factors. After reviewing the methodological decisions made by other fo sterage researchers and evaluating the advantages and disadvantages I would face by adopting similar approaches, I concluded

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21 that a qualitative research method approach was the most adequate. The lack of in-depth research on Dominican fosterage systems and my resource and time constraints made this the most advisable choice. By choosing a syst em analysis approach, I was able to better understand a system that has rece ived little attention in scholar ly literature. My initial methodological choices, however, had to be adapte d to the realities of data collection in the field. The sensitivity of the topic I was inquiring about required that I adopt an active interview approach. However, although it proved to be effective with my adult informants, it did not prove sufficient to overc ome the obstacles of interviewing children. The following chapters focus on the results of my fieldwork. In Chapter 1 and 2, I describe the Dominican hijo de crianza system. Using vivid excerpts from my interviews, I provide the insights I gained about the child relocation systemits modalities, actors, rules and norms. As other au thors, I frame the practice in terms of the exchange or transfer of parental and filial rights and responsibilitie s between the sending and receiving parents, as well as of the child. The Dominican child fosterage system has very specific rules and terms that dictate the manner in which parents give up or take in children. Thus, in Chapter 1, I compare and co ntrast the two basic modalities that govern the manner in which children are relocatedprestados or regalados . In Chapter 2, I present the different rights a nd responsibilities assigned to each one of these actors. Like other fosterage authors, I was con cerned with understanding the reasons that prompt parents to give up or take in children. During my fieldwork, I observed several patterns in my informantÂ’s responses. Chap ter 3 focuses on this topic. As Goody had done in regards to Ghanaian fosterage, I c onclude that parents are not detached and unconcerned. In fact, fosterage choices are made in an incessant attempt to find better

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22 living conditions for children. The hijo de crianza system is often the only means by which parents can achieve this goal. In Chapters 4 and 5, I address the Cinde rella effect, that is, the question of differential treatment. Chapter 4 focuses on my first research hypothesis. I examine whether foster children in effect enjoy le ss favorable living conditions than biological children in the home. Chapter 5 addresses th e Cinderella effect, but does so in bi-ethnic fosterage arrangements. I compare the living conditions of Haitian foster children living in Dominican homes with those of Dominican foster children in Dominican homes. This, as I will later elaborate, was not an easy ta sk. Thus, my conclusions in this regard are limited. Nonetheless, I am able to draw conc lusions that can be of use for future, more in-depth research endeavors. Finally, in Chapter 7 I attempt to summarize my findings and place them in a broader theoretical context.

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23 CHAPTER 2 “LENDING” CHILDREN VS “GIVING AWAY” CHILDREN: THE OUTLINES OF DOMINICAN CHILD RELOCATION Yo soy su mamá. Ello a quien tienen como su mamá e a mí or I am their mother. I am whom they consider their mother. Melania Growing up as a member of Santo Domingo’s mi ddle class, I paid close attention to women’s hands, one of the many subtle, yet reve aling indicators of socioeconomic class. A woman’s hands must be delicat e, carefully manicured, and mu st never reveal a hint of domestic work. This is why one of the first things I noticed about Doña Melania, a woman in her late seventies from the small border town of Restauración, were her hands. Unlike the polished nails of a middle class doña or lady, Doña Melania’s nails were chafed and ridden with mancha de plátano , the residue from peeling plantains. Doña Melania’s hands spoke of a life fraught w ith cooking, cleaning, laundry and all other plights of being a wife and mother. When I spoke with Doña Melania, I found that her pe rsonal narrative reinforced the one I saw in her hands. Doña Melania’s life had indeed b een saturated with domestic chores. Raising fourteen children wit hout spousal support, she revealed, required nothing less than magic. To support her family, Doña Melania would sell produce at the local market. What a formidable task, I told her, to bear and raise fourteen children on her own. “No, pero yo no lo parí a todito,” or “No, I did not give birth to all of them,” she corrected. “ Yo parí siete pero lo crié a todito,” or “I gave birth to seven, but I raised all of them myself,” she added.

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24 Understanding Doña Melania’s family structure require d some thought on my part. It took Doña Melania reiterations of names and relationships before I could finally understand the convoluted branches on her family tree. Doña Melania raised her seven biological offspring. But she raised three of her grandchildrenBelkys, who is in Santo Domingo attending college, as well as Jonathan and Jeffry, who still live with her. Manuel, Nidia, Tita and Fior , who were the children of “amistade de cuando yo taba chiquita” or “friends from when I was a little girl” were raised by Doña Melania. All of Doña Melania’s children are married a nd have children of their own. Doña Melania’s life story of persistent chil drearing brought forth several questions. Why would Doña Melania multiply her childrearing responsibilities when she already had a heavily burdened life? Why weren’t Doña Melania’s grandchildren living with their own mothers? I posed these and other questions to Doña Melania during our interview in the living room of her Restauración home. Her response, proved to be revealing: “Porque yo soy su mamá. Ello a quien tienen como su mamá e a mí. . . . Yo soy la reponsable de eso do niño. Ella [her daughter] lo parió, pero depué yo soy la que me he encargado de todo de ello.” “Because I am their mother. I am whom they consider their mother. . . . I am responsible for these children. She [her daughter] gave birth to them but I am the person that has been in charge of everything related to them.” Situations like Doña Melania’s, where families raise other people’s children, are commonplace throughout the Dominican Republic. “ Cada dominicano conoce a alguien en estos casos ,” or “Every Dominican knows someone that is involved in one of these arrangements,” the Undersecretary of Labor revealed in a surprisingly apologetic tone3 3 The Undersecretary of Labor, I learned, had a very active role in the funding of Un estudio exploratorio sobre el trabajo infantil doméstico en hogares de ter ceros en la República Dominicana: Esto no es un

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25 during an interview we su stained in Santo Domingo, “Es una cultura muy arraigada ,” or “It is engrained in our culture.” He was ri ght, I concurred. I had witnessed many such cases, including some that involved members of my own circle of friends and family, as I grew up and lived in the Dominican Republic. The 2002 Dominican Republic Demographic and Health Survey results agree d, as well (Centro de Estudios Sociales y Demográficos [CESDEM], 2003). They indi cated that 14.2% of Dominican children under fifteen years of age do not reside with either one of their biological parents. As commonplace as situations like Doña Melania’s are, I f ound that what is known of this practice that customarily relocate s thousands of Domini can children from one home to another is surprisingly minute. “El caso de los hijos de crianza no se considera en nuestros códigos ,” or “Child fosterage is not an i ssue that is dealt with in our legal codes,” affirmed the Undersecretary of Labor. “El Código de Protección de Niños, Niñas y Adolecentes tiene una partecita que lo menciona,” or “There is only a small section in the Codigo de Niños, Ninas y Adolescentes that briefly mentions it4,” he added. Needless to say, this information vacuum, par ticularly in the Dominican child protection codes, was shocking. How such a pervasiv e practice was only briefly touched upon in one of the country’s major pieces of legisl ation was puzzling. If the Dominican legal system does not address it, what rules if any, regulate this pract ice and how are they enforced? Are children randomly relo cated from one home to the other? juego! or An exploratory study of child domestic labor in third party homes in the Dominican Republic: This is not a game!, which condemned the hijo de crianza practice (International Labor Organization International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour, 2003). 4 After my interview, I bought a copy of the newly enacted Codigo de Niños, Ninas y Adolescentes (2003) or New code for the protection of boys, girls and adolescents to confirm what I had just heard. To my surprise, the newly enacted code that had received wide acclaim for being the first set of laws that exclusively dealt with children’s issues indeed only makes brief mention of the practice.

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26 Fieldwork revealed that in fact, child re location is not carried out in a haphazard manner. On the contrary, parents place childr en in other peoples’ homes in a systematic manner and they follow very specific rules. It is a practice that operates under a complex set of rules that assigns rights and responsibil ities to all parties i nvolved and it possesses checks and balances to ensure child welfare. As fieldwork progressed it became clear that this practice appears frequent enough to be classified as a major component of Dominican family organization. In this opening chapter, I will begin a description of the Dominican hijo de crianza system by identifying, comparing and contras ting two basic but dist inct modalities in which the child and both sets of parents shif t and redirect their ri ghts and responsibilities as members of a kin group. I start my desc ription with one of my most knowledgeable informants, Nora. Nora Nora, one of my first informants, wa s crucial to my understanding of the “institutionalized delegation” (Goody, 1982, p. 23) of parental duties. She was the first person to spell out the st ructure and rules of the hijo de crianza system. It was Nora who clarified a critical distinc tion. Families can give up children in two basic waysprestado or regalado . In other words, parents can lend childr en out or give them away. My visit with Nora was essential to my understanding of parental guardianship transfers in the Dominican Republic. Loans vs. GiftsChild Relocation Modalities Nora is a nurse’s assistant in Loma Du ra, a remote coffee growing hamlet hidden away in a nook in the mountains east of San José de Ocoa. Over three hundred families from this and other surrounding communities re ly on Nora’s limited medical expertise for

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27 all their health care need s. In spite of her official government assignment, she frequently performs procedures that by far surpass he r formal training. Among other things, she prescribes medication, sutures gaping wounds, and performs pap smears. Hence, Nora knows everyone and everyone knows her. This , and her exceptionally pragmatic outlook on life, made Norys one of my most valuable informants. One night, as we sat in her candle-lit livi ng room, I asked Nora to speak to me about what criar un niño o una niña was, as the fosterage agreement is commonly referred to. Her hypothetical response using her son Norber tico, shed light on the two fundamental ways in which parental guard ianship is relinquishe d in the Dominican fosterage system. Tess: Nora, ¿qué es eso de criar mu chachos? Cuando la gente dice “estoy criando un muchacho”, ¿qué significa eso? Nora: Por ejemplo, si yo no tengo recurso s para darle a Norbertico [her son] para yo criarlo, para yo darle su educac ión, para comprarle su ropa y yo veo que tu puedes, yo te digo, “Llévatelo, pero no es tuyo! Es sin papeles. Es prestado.” Es que yo no puedo tenerlo y es para que tu lo eduques y le de su manuntención y le de su ropa y su zapatos. Mayormente, las personas que hacen eso es con ese propósito. Que lo eduquen. Tess: ¿Cómo es eso de prestado? ¿Y si tu quieres que yo te lo devuelva? Nora: Depende de él. Porque si él esta en tu casa y tu lo tienes desde chiquito, entonces él te va cogiendo cariño a ti y me perdió el cariño a mí. Entonces, yo voy a tu casa y digo, “Norbertico, vámonos para mi casa que yo soy tu mamá,” depende de él. Si él dice: “No, yo es toy mejor aquí Donde Tess, yo me voy a quedar aquí,” entonces, la deci sión es él que la toma.” Tess: Nora, what is the child fosterage thing all about? What does it mean when people say that they are fostering a child? Nora: For instance, if I Don ’t have money to give to Norbertico, to raise him, to give him an education, to buy him his clothes and I can see that you do, I will tell you ‘Take him, but he’s not yours! It’s without papers. It’s a loan!’ It means that I can’t support him and I want you to edu cate him and support him. I want you to give him his clothes and his shoes. Mostly, people do it with that purpose in mindto get him educated.

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28 Tess: What do you mean a loan? What happens if you want me to give him back to you? Nora: It depends on him. Because if he’s at your house and you’ve had him since he was very small, then he’s going to st art loving you and loosing affection towards me. Then, when I go to your house and say, “Norbertico, come to my home because I am your mother,” it all depends on him. If he says, “No, I am better off here with Tess. I am going to stay here,” then he makes up his own mind. “Prestado” or “Lent” ChildrenTemporary Parental Guardianship Transfers Nora’s concise response articulate d the terms and conditions of the prestado or lent fosterage agreement. She described a tran saction that involves the exchange of childrearing duties. Were No ra to entrust me with Norb ertico’s care she would be assigning me specific childrear ing responsibilities and re linquishing her parental authority to me. Were I to accept, I w ould be pledging to provide him with food, clothing, shelter, shoes and an education. In other words, I would be responsible of providing him with what Goody (1982) called nurturance, training and sponsorship. Despite this parental gua rdianship transaction, Nora would not be losing her parental rights and obligations in their enti rety. Norbertico, as Nora clarifies, is “ prestado ”, or lent. What’s more, he has been “lent” to me “ sin papeles ” or without legal documentation5. Consequently, Nora would still preser ve specific parental duties. First, Nora would provide her son’s civil and kinship identity (G oody 1982), that is, he would retain his biological parents’ surnames. Second ly, Nora would still pr eserve her right to nurture her relationship with Norbertico. Finally, Nora would retain the right to supervise and terminate the agreement at any time. 5 The “ papeles ” Nora mentions refer to the legal process where parents record a child’s birth at the “ Oficialia Civil ” or the Civil Registry. These papeles , are of critical importance in fosterage arrangements, particularly for the resolution of custody disputes. These papeles , I would later discover, are of crucial importance in fosterage arrangements that involve Haitian children.

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29 Prestado Fosterage in a Global Perspective A review of the literature cl early indicates that that p restado fosterage arrangements, though called by different na mes, are not unique to the Dominican Republic. In their study of Cameroonia n fosterage practices, Eloundou-Enyengue and Stokes (2002), describe a similar arrangeme nt. Fosterage in Cameroon, like in the Dominican Republic, involves “a transfer of gua rdianship of one’s children to another individual or family” on a “temporary, partia l” basis (p. 279). Cameroonian biological parents retain the right to supervise and te rminate the arrangement at any time. In addition, offspring retain the bi ological parents’ surname. Nevertheless, despite the similarities, one can see significant differences between both countries. According to the author s, fosterage arrangements in Cameroon sometimes involve the sharing of childrea ring costs between biological and foster parents. The Dominican system, on the othe r hand, does not. On the contrary, biological parent contributions, I later discovered, are often viewed as conflictive challenges to parental custody and authority. That is, in the Dominican Republic the hijo de crianza system clearly delimits the rights and obligations of all the parties involvedthe foster parents, the biological parents and the child. Regalado or Given AwayPermanent Parental Guardianship Transfers But a second modality of child relocati on quickly surfaced. That night, as I continued my exchange with Nora, she s poke of another way in which children are placed in other homes. Families also give up their children in what Nora referred to as “ regalado ” or “given away” terms. What are differences between regalado and prestado ? In the following excerpt Nora explains the differences between each modality.

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30 La diferencia es que el que lo regala no tiene derecho. Todavía tiene derecho porque es prestado. Porque prestada es para que la eduquen y regalada es cuando unos padres tienen pocos recursos, que tie nen cuatro o cinco muchachos que no trabajan, es que ellos lo regalan. The difference is that if you give him or her away, you no longer have rights. If you lend your child, you still ha ve rights. You lend them so that they can get an education. You give them away when parent s have very little resources, when they have four or five kids and they Don ’t work. That is when you give them away. The regalado fosterage arrangement Nora describes constitutes what in effect is an adoption, albeit an extra-legal one. In regalado agreements, biological parents permanently transfer all thei r parental rights and responsibilities. Contrary to the prestado agreement, a child that is given away acquires the receiving family’s civil and kinship identity. Biological pa rents, in addition, surrender th eir right to supervise the childrearing process, rendering foster pa rents unaccountable fo r their childrearing actions. When a biological parent gives a ch ild away, they are supposed to rescind their right to reclaim their child or terminate the agreement. Under this arrangement, biological parents must halt any an d all relationships with their offspring. Prestado Versus Regalado Stated in other terms, what had surfaced in this interview was an explicit lexical distinction between two modes of giving and taking children . This fascinating lexical distinction, I hypothesized, may i ndicate the presence of a cult ural “menu” in which not only is child relocation a prominent child-r earing menu-item, but that this relocation option had two distinct trajectori es, two contrasting clusters of rules and practices. After my conversation with Nora, I decided to ex amine her view of the similarities and differences between both modalities. First, it was obvious that both fosterage m odalities have multiple similarities. Both types of agreements involve the phys ical relocation of children. Children,

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31 regardless of whether they are prestado or regalado , must undergo a change of residence. Second, both types of relocation agreements involve the delegation of essential childrearing duties. Once a foster parent ac quires a child, they must continue with the task of providing food, clothing, education and shelter. Thir d, both arrangements entail an exchange of costs and benefits between all parties involved. Fourth, although these arrangements can be informal ( sin papeles or without papers), both sets of parents establish which of the modalities is in effect . Finally, foster children in both types of agreements arrive into their new home as members of the receiving family’s intimate kin group. Despite similarities, each relocation mode nonetheless has its own peculiarities. First, the rules of the game in the prestado arrangement are, in general, tacit. Although Nora clearly articulated the rules that regulate prestado relocation, they are rarely, if ever, made explicit. Were I to take Norbertico in to my home, Nora and I would not need to discuss our individual obligations. In contrast, permanent regalado relocation terms are explicitly laid on the table, particul arly by the receiving family. Second, prestado arrangements are extra-legal, that is, they are not legal, but they are not illegal either. In contrast, the mechanisms employed by families to carry out permanent or regalado custody transfers are, in theory, punishable under the Nuevo Codigo de Niños, Niñas y Adolescentes (2003) or New code fo r the protection of boys, girls and adolescents. Third, prestado arrangements, as Nora explained, do not sever the biological and parent and child relationship. Since sending parent s maintain a supervisory role over the childrearing process, as well as the right to terminate the agreement at any given moment, prestado children will, in effect, possess two sets of parents one biological and another

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32 foster. Regalado children, on the other hand, fail to enjoy the costs and benefits associated with dual-sided parenting. The fina l distinction has to do with the child’s civil and kinship identity. Prestado children retain their biological family’s identity. Regalado children do not. Regalado children will officially or non-officially acquire their foster family’s kinship id entity, that is, with or without papeles . Similarities As I continued to ponder the prestado and regalado arrangement terms, I decided to dissect the similarities and differences I had established. I initially focused on what I considered to be the backbone of the hijo de crianza system. I looked at the childrearing duties themselves that is, at the contributi ons which receiving parents are required to provide to foster children Foster Parent Responsibilities The delegation of childrear ing obligations has been amply explored in the worldwide fosterage literature. Goody (1982) ad dressed the issue she referred to as “the delegation of the nurturance and/or educational elements of the parental role” (p. 23) in Northern Ghana. Her accounts of the fo sterage practices she encountered, I found, closely resemble the prestado arrangements in the Dominican Republic. Ghanaian parents also require that fost er parents provide children with subsistence essentials like food, clothing and shelter, as well as training and sponsorship. Foster parents in Ghana, according to Goody, are required to provide child ren with schooling or any other form of instruction that will prepare the child for an adult role. Isiugo-Abanihe (1985) also addressed the tr ansmission of childr earing duties in his study of the practice in several West African countries. However, his work frames the delegation in economic, rational terms. Bi ological parents, according to the author,

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33 transfer the economic costs of childbearing to the receivi ng family. In this manner, families can alleviate and redistribute the burden of raising large families. Foster Parent Childrearing DutiesThe Hijo de Crianza Case As in other countries, the Dominican hijo de crianza system involves a covenant that establishes specific obligations. Isabel , a middle-aged woman I interviewed in San José de Ocoa, spoke to me about the prof ound commitment that fo ster parents assume when they take a child under their care. Isabel One of the first places I visited during my fieldwork was San José de Ocoa. Ocoa, as it is commonly referred to, is a charming, yet raucous town that requires periods of sensory decompression. The parque or park, the town’s geog raphical center, provides shaded respites from the sun and the town’s swarms of motoconchos or mopeds, the main source of transportation. The parque also dominates the town’s economic, political and social activities. It is in the park’s peri meter that all the major businesses, government offices and churches are located. Ocoa’s major economic activity, however, is coffee production, as well as of other crops like beans or pigeon peas and potatoes. Interspersed against government offices and banks ar e smaller bars and cafeterias. Isabel, one of the first pe ople I interviewed in Ocoa, lives very close to the parque , in Barrio San Joaquín, one of the town’s poor er sections. Isabel and her husband have a very small colmado or convenience store in what used to be the living room of their house. A thin, printed curtain is the only item that divides thei r business from their private lives. Isabel and her husband liv e well, according to Barrio San Antonio standards. Their house is made of cinder bl ock, a sign of certain affluence amongst lower

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34 status homes that are made of wood. However, their home does not have a plato or cement roof, one of the many architectural indi cators of economic prosperity. Isabel’s roof is still made of tin. I was especially interested in speaking to Isabel for two reasons. First, she had raised Jose, a young man I interviewed in Sa nto Domingo and I was eager to obtain her perspective on his life narrative. Secondly, I had heard that Isabel had another foster child. I corroborated what I ha d heard when I arrived at her house. When I met Isabel, she had a baby boy cradled in her arms. In typical Dominican fashion, Isabel im mediately offered me a seat and some coffee. We sat towards the b ack of the house, away from th e street noise and from the colmado or small convenience store. Yet, Isabel strategically placed her own chair where she could pay attention to me, as well as to any incoming customers. She set a small blanket on the floor, where she carefully laid the baby down when she had to get up and tend to customers. As soon as I was done with my coffee, I to ld Isabel that I was conducting research on families that were raising other people’s children. Since she had raised Jose and was currently raising the baby in her arms, I was in terested in learning a bout her experiences. I started by inquiring about the circumstan ces surrounding the baby she cradled in her arms. “The child is going to live with me”, she explained. “I br ought him here since he was an itty-bitty baby,” she added. “I brought him here immediately after his mother’s rezos6. He was less than seventeen days old.” The baby’s father, she explained, decided to have Isabel, his uncle’s wife, raise his son in stead of doing it himself. “His father tells 6 Rezos are memorial services immediately after a pe rson’s death. The child’s mother had died.

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35 me that he will never separate him from me because this child is going to feel love for me. If they separate him from me, he is going to suffer a lot.” I continued by asking Isabel what criar un niño was or what it meant to be raising someone else’s child. Her response, in th e following excerpt, exposed the momentous nature of the arrangement. Tess: ¿Qué es criar un niño? Isabel: Oh, para mí la crianza de un niño es una cosa muy importante. Porque es una responsabilidad que uno asume muy grande. La crianza de un niño tiene uno que asumir bueno, como le digo, las veces de una madre. Por lo menos, el que tiene un niño tiene que saber de todo lo que necesite un niño. Desde alimentación, medicina, cariño, en primer lugar, lo más impor tante en la crianza de un niño es el carino, el cuidado porque mire, yo tengo es te niño. Pero este niño lo que verdaderamente necesita es cariño y ate ndencia. Eso es lo más importante. Porque despues que uno dice voy a criar un niño, tiene que saber que tiene que asumir la responsabilidad desde que comi enza, un estudio una educación,¿ usted ve? Uno tiene que asumir las responsab ilidades de un padre. Como si fuera su verdadero padre. Porque si usted se hi zo, se comprometió a criarlo, tiene que saber que va asumir la responsabilidad de un padre. . . . . Pero ya ese niño yo lo voy a criar igual que los que yo parí. Porque ya ese, yo le voy a ir dando la costumbre mía. Tess: What is criar un niño ? Isabel: Oh, for me rearing a child is a ve ry important thing. Because it is a very big responsibility one assumes. One must a ssume . . . How can I say? One must take on the role of a mother when one is rearing a child. At l east, the person that has a child has to provide everything that child needs, like nourishment, medicine, affection. The most important thing in rear ing a child is affection. But what this baby needs the most is affection and atten tion. That is the most important thing. Because after one says that you are going to raise a child, you have to be aware that you have to assume the responsibility of an education from early on. You see? One must assume the responsibilities of a pa rent, as if you were a real parent. If you made the commitment to raise the child, you have to assume the responsibilities of a parent. . . . . But I am going to raise him the same way as I raised the ones I gave birth to. I am going to give him my habits. Isabel’s brief response succinc tly describes several featur es of the foster parent role. First, Isabel’s re current choice of the word responsibility indicates the existence of a serious agreement between the baby’s father and herself. Sec ond, the “responsibility”

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36 she emphasizes requires that she satisfy the baby’s physical and emotional needs. As she stated, she must feed, love and care for the ch ild, especially during illnesses. In sum, Isabel said it best when she declared that to be a foster mother, she must act as mother. And she ends with a rule th at would provoke suspiciously raised eyebrows among social scientists: She insists that she is forbi dden from making any di stinction between the adopted child and her own biological children. This latter point is of central importance. The hypothesis formulation of many outside analysts tends to predict differential treatment between biological and relocated children. Isabel stat ed just the opposite. Does her statement reflect an ideal rule that is broken in practice? Or are we dealing with a system in which the biological / adopted distinction is really of little importance in predicting actual behavior? I pursued the matter further. What does it mean, I wondered, to act as a mother. What did this role involve? The multi-layered responses to these questions were revealed to me by Altagracia, a woman in Loma Dura. Acting as a mother, I le arned from speaking w ith her, refers to several things. As was true with Isabel, for Altagracia it also means that as a mother, foster parents must incorporate children into the household as if they were biological children. Altagracia“They treated me as a daughter” A few hours after I arrived in Loma Dura, I had a conversation w ith Altagracia, the Doña or owner of the house I was staying at . As one of the most prominent and respected members of the community, A ltagracia knows everyone in the surrounding areas. Hopefully she would refer me to fa milies that were involved in fosterage arrangements. As we sat in her dirt-f loor living room that day, I brought up the hijo de

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37 crianza topic up. However, Altagracia did not have to refer me to other families. To my surprise, she revealed that she had been an hija de crianza herself. “I was in the Capital [Santo Domingo] like that. I spent my youth lik e that,” she admitted. Altagracia’s uncle, she explained, had sent her to live with a family in the affluent neighborhood of Ensanche Piantini . Altagracia was eleven ye ars old at the time. Altagracia and I had a long conversation regarding her fosterage experience in Santo Domingo, particularly in regards to her foster parents’ obligations. “Ellos me daban todo lo que yo necesitaba. Por ejemplo, la ropa zapato, medicina, medicamentos. Si me enfermaba, me llevaban al médico. Me daban la oportunidad de ir a la escuela,” or “They provided me with everything I needed . For example, clothing, shoes, medicine. If I got sick, they would take me to the docto r”, she explained. “They also gave me the opportunity to go to school,” she added. “ Ellos me compraban todo, todo, todo y siempre me daban algo de cuarto para que yo manejara ,” or “They would buy me everything, everything, everything. They al so gave me money to spe nd”, she revealed. As we continued our conversation, Altagracia talked about her relationship with her foster mother. “ Yo y ella conversábamos como madre e hija ,” or “She and I would talk like mother and daughter”, she explained. “ Yo le contaba si yo tenía un enamorado, yo se lo decía a ella y ella me contaba muchas cosas de ella también ,” or “I would tell her things. If I had a suitor, I would tell her. And she w ould tell me many things about herself, too.” But there was a statement that Altagracia, as well as many other informants, repeated throughout our conversation th at was most intriguing. “Ellos me tenían igual que una hija” or “They had me just like a daughter,” sh e revealed. Again we see the prominent cultural rule prohibiting discrimina tion against adopted children.

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38 What did it mean “to have you like a daughter ”, I asked myself. To have you like a daughter, I gathered, requires th at foster parents satisfy a child’s physical and emotional needs. In Altagracia’s case, she was treat ed like a daughter by providing her with the essentials for physical sustenance-food, clothe s, shelter and schooling. However, they treated her like a daughter by establishing an affective, trusting re lationship. What was the nature of this relationship, I w ondered. How was it established? In the case of both Isabela and Altagr acia, we are dealing with permanent relocation. Is this cultural rule of equal treatment equally strong in the other modality, i.e. in the case of prestado or borrowed children? Do foster parents develop this relationship with both prestado a nd regalado children, I asked my self. I decided to take a closer look at the nature of the foster parenthijo de crianza relationship. Foster Parent/Child Bond People do not always practice what they pr each. Examining affective relationships was methodologically quite challenging. First, time and funding constraints limited my ability to observe intangible issues such as “parent/child bonds” (Smucker and Murray, 2004, p. 78). Ideally, I would have preferred to spend extended time periods with the families I encountered in order to observe and verify the relationships people described. In addition, during the brief res earch that underlies this thesis , I am aware that I did not have sufficient time to develop the rapport requi red to prompt a person to reveal the true nature of their fosterage experience, particular ly in regards to their affective relationship. However, despite these challenges, I believe th at I was able to perc eive and observe that foster parents and children can truly experi ence affective relationships. For instance, Chichi and Teodoro’s body language towards th eir foster daughter le ft no doubt in my mind that a loving relationship existed. As I approached their hom e, the first thing I

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39 noticed was Elena, their foster daughter, sit ting on Teodoro’s lap as they shared a tender conversation. In addition, Chichi’s caring to ne of voice and choice of words revealed the genuineness of her subsequent clai ms that she loved her daughter “ como si fuera una hija ” or “as if she were her daughter”. The Language of Fosterage To have you like a daughter also involves the use of certain terms that indicate the child’s inclusion into the intimate kin gr oup. The “parent/child bond” (Smucker and Murray, 2004, p. 78) Altagracia made reference to is reflected in the use of kinship terminology amongst family members involved in the agreement. Careful anthropological attention to the language that people use, particularly kinship terms, can reveal subtle distinctions. I encountered three different prac tices with respect to kinship terminology. In most homes, fost er children were referred to as “hijos de crianza” or reared children, while pare nts were referred to as “ mamá ” or “ papá ”, mother or father. Conversely, in such households “ mi hermano ” or “ mi hermana ”, or my brother and my sister, are used to refer to foster siblings. But I noted another pattern in which the li neal kin terms (father, mother, brother, sister) were replaced by somewhate more distant collateral kin terms like “aunt” , “uncle.” For instance, Stephanie, a foster child living with a family in Santo Domingo, refers to her foster mother as “ Tia Susy ”, or Aunt Susy, not as “ mamá. ” Zuna, a girl who is being raised by her aunt in Loma de Ca brera, refers to her foster mother as “ tía ” or “aunt.” And thirdly, I encountered families th at did not employ kinship terms at all. Fior, a ten-year-old girl in Re stauración, refers to her foster mother as Melania, her first name. Does this mean that Doña Melania did not “have her like a daughter”? What other ways did she use to expr ess Fior’s inclusion in the in timate kin group if she did not

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40 use fictive kinship terminology? How else did Doña Melania treat her like a daughter ? This led naturally to the question: do th ese terminological differences along the kin – non-kin trajectory correspond to diffe rences in actual treatment of children? If so, is it the differential terminology that leads to differe ntial treatment, or vice versa? Or are the two so dynamically intertwined that they ca nnot be analytically separated? These questions are easy to pose, but met hodologically difficult to answer. But before passing on to the details of the exchange arrangement --food, clothing, shelter, and education in exchange for some do mestic services – I wish to continue with the discussion of culturally recognized types of arrangements. I will begin by discussing an arrangement that is distinct from fosterage – the domestic employee, the trabajadora, who is distinct from the foster da ughter. I will then discuss two hybrid types of arrangements on the borderl ine of fosterage. Modes of Incorporation Into Dominican Homes: Trabajadoras Versus Hijos de crianza In this section, I will deal in more deta il with the different types of material exchanges that occur in houses with relocate d children. Of particul ar importance is the distinction between the labor Don e by paid workers and the labor Don e by foster children. As I reviewed the transcripts from my inte rview with Altagracia, I realized that to have you like a daughter has an additional layer of meaning. Not only does the phrase indicate that foster parents satisfy a foster child’s physical and em otional needs it also speaks of the different modes of in corporation into Dominican homes. To have you like a daughter sets the child apart from the othe r outside members of the household.

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41 In my conversation with Altagracia, we ta lked about her respons ibilities while at her foster home. During the in terview, I asked her to enumerate the specific chores she had to carry out. “ Bueno, la responsabilidad mía era limpiar la casa y atender el bebé ,” or “Well, my responsibility was cleaning the house and taking care of the baby,” she responded. I prodded further and asked is she had to cook meals, too. “ No, ni lavaba tampoco. Había otra trabajadora que co cinaba y lavaba, la lavaba la trabajadora ,” or “No!” she adamantly responded. “They had a trabajadora7 that cooked and washed clothes. I didn’t even wash my ow n clothes,” she maintained. “The trabajadora would wash clothes.” In other words, a cultural distinction emerged between the work expected of children and the work assigned to trabajadoras. As I was curious to learn more about the intensity of her work requirements a nd her living conditions, I asked if she had días libres or days off from cleaning a nd taking care of the baby. “ No, porque yo estaba en la casa como que no era trabajadora. Yo salía con ellos a pasear ,” or “No. I wasn’t in the house as a trabajadora ”, she reaffirmed, “I would go out with the family on rides.” Altagracia’s response exposed multiple issu es. First, Altagracia brought to light her awareness that she and th e maid had something in common. Neither one of them is biologically related to the Ensanche Piantini family. In effect , they were both outsiders in their home. Nonetheless, Altagracia pointed, she was not an employee, like the trabajadora was. She was “like a daughter”. Altagr acia’s response indi cates her need to emphatically distinguish herself from the trabajadora . My interview with Nefertiti, a fifteen-year-o ld girl in Loma de Cabrera helped me gain further insight into the different modes of incorporati on. Nefertiti and I spoke about 7 Trabajadora is one of the terms used in the Dominican Republic to refer to a maid.

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42 Wilfredo, her nine-year-old Haitian foster brot her. Wilfredo, as she explained, lived with her family for several years. When I asked Nefertiti if her parent s paid Wilfredo for his help with the cattle on the fa rm, she adamantly clarified, “ No! A Fifa se lo regalaron. Regalao fue que se lo dieron ,” or “No! He was given to my mother. He was given to her regalao .” When I asked what she meant by this, she responded, “ Que se lo dieron pa ella, que se quedara con él . Aquí le damo comida, ropa, cama moquitero, de todo ,” or “They gave him to her so she could keep him. We give him food, clothes, a bed, a mosquito net. Everything.” Both Nefertiti and Altagracia’s responses indicate the existence of two distinct domains or spheres of exchange. First, A ltagracia establishes a marked distinction between herself and the trabajadora . Altagracia was a member of the intimate kin group. The maid, on the other hand, was not. S econd, Nefertiti pointed to the issue that establishes membership in either group. Trabajadoras are compensated for their labor with a salary. Hijos de crianza are not. Wilfredo is not an employee; he is a member of the family. Consequently, he cannot rece ive monetary compensation for his work. Money exchanges and foster children, I conc luded, do not belong in the same domain. Foster children are obviously benefits of material excha nges – food, clothing, shelter, education – as are biological children. But monetary payments for labor do not fit into the cultural category of what is appropriate to give to one ’s children. American childrearing rules differ in that sense. Many parents have no qualms about hiring their children to do certain domestic tasks, whether in exchange for an allowance or a direct payment. And children certainly have no ideological objection to accepting payment. In the Dominican Republic, in contrast, the mo ment foster parents compensate foster

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43 children, with a salary, they are automatically shifted into the employee domain. The International Labor Organizati on International Programme on the Elimination of Child Labour’s study(2003) on child domestic labor had similar findings in this regard. Biological parents, their st udy reveals, do not want foster families to pay their hijos de crianza . The use of money lessens the foster parent’s “ compromiso moral ” or “moral commitment” (p. 50). Trabajadoras and hijos de crianza are distinguished in thr ee other ways. First, as Smucker and Murray (2004) note, foster parent s must provide children with an education, an element that is central to the fosterage ag reement. This responsibility does not apply, however, for a trabajadora . Although cases of Dominican families that pay for the schooling of a trabajadora (or of her children) occur, it is not, however, the norm or an expectation. Second, foster parents are res ponsible for the child’s physical and moral wellbeing. Amanda, a foster mother in Loma de Cabrera who is rais ing a twelve-year-old Haitian girl, explained this to me. In the following excerpt, we are discussing foster parent responsibiliti es and challenges. Amanda: Uno tiene má reponsabilidá. Tess: ¿Porque con una trabajadora usted no tiene responsabilidad? Amanda: No, porque si e una mujer ella puede hacé lo que quiera. Pero yo a esa niña tengo que sabé qué paso da. Tess: Y si Dios la libre de mal, por ejemplo, esa niña le sale con una barriga estando en sus manos, ¿qué pasa? Amanda: Ná. Tendría yo que ir Donde su familia, contarle lo que pasa. ¿Por qué qué hago? Tess: Mire, si eso sucede y el papá no da la cara, ¿quién va a pagarle todo lo de . . . ? ¿Eso le tocaría a usted? Amanda: Me tocaría a mí, porque imagínate.

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44 Tess: Pero si es una trabajadora no . Si sale con una barriga, ¿qué pasa? Amanda: Es su problema. ‘Váyase!’ Así e que lo hacen aquí. Amanda: One has more responsibility. Tess: Do you not have responsibility with a maid? Amanda: No, because if it’s a woman, she can do what she wants. But I have to know every step that girl takes. Tess: And what happens if, God forbid, th e girl gets pregnant while she’s with you? Amanda: It would be my responsibility because, imagine! What else can I do? Amanda: Nothing. I would have to go to her family and explain to them what is going on. Because, what else can I do? Tess: Look, what happens if the baby’s father does not assume responsibility for the problem? Who has to pay for everyt hing? Would that be your responsibility? Amanda: It would be my responsibility. Because, imagine!. Tess: But where she a maid, you would not be responsible. What happens if a maid gets pregnant? Amanda: It’s her problem. ‘Leave!’ This is how we do it here. Amanda’s comments indicate that, in eff ect, a clear difference is made between a trabajadora and an hija de crianza. In the excerpt, Amanda describes the nature of the responsibility she assumed the moment sh e took Sonia into her home – even though Sonia was Haitian and not Dominican. It requ ires that she superv ise and be aware of every action Sonia takes, making her respons ible and accountable for Sonia’s physical, emotional and moral well-being. In the even t that Sonia got pregnant, for instance, Amanda would be accountable. Not only w ould she have to admit to the biological parents that she failed to protect the child from harm and did not provide her with an adequate upbringing, she would have to assume the pregnancy and delivery costs. With a trabajadora , as she described, none of this would take place.

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45 As my conversation with Amanda progr essed, I became conscious of the third element that differentiates trabajadoras and hijos de crianza . As we discussed the different alternatives Dominican women have of satisfying their domestic labor needs, I asked Amanda what the be nefits of having a paid trabajadora were. “ Ah, que uno tiene una ayuda ,” or “Oh, that one has help”, she resp onded in a matter of fact manner. But Sonia helps too, I stated. “ No, porque una trabajadora ta con ma obligación. Ta obligada a hacelo,” or “But a maid has more of an oblig ation” she clarified. “She is obliged to do things.” Things with Sonia are quite different. “¿Tú la ve que ella tiene rato ahí sentada? Si e una trabajadora, ‘B ótame esa yerba! Hame eto, hame aquello!’ ” or “You see her over there?” she asked me. “She has been sitting there for a while. If she were a maid, I would be saying ‘Throw t hose weeds away!’ ‘Do this! Do that!’” she revealed. Maids, she continued, do not enjoy fr ee time. Sonia’s situation, she explained, was very different. “Cuando yo toy sentada, hay que dejá que ella también decanse , ” or “When I am sitting, I have to let her rest, too.” Analytically Borderline Cases of Labor Exchange. As I have mentioned in the be ginning of this chapter, the prestado and regalado fosterage modalities have several similarities. The first and most obvious is that both types of fosterage require that children be relocated from the biological to the foster home. The transmission of parental guardian ship and of childrear ing activities in both the prestado and regalado arrangements, require that children live with their foster parents. Isabel, for instance, cannot be a moth er if the baby is not physically in her care. However, my experience with Víctor, an ei ght-year-old Haitian boy in Loma Dura, shed further light on the nuances of a child’s phys ical location and residence. Location, I would discover, is an important determinant in the Dominican child fosterage system.

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46 Víctor Víctor has lived in Loma Dura with his father Luís all his life. Like many Haitians in the surrounding areas, Luís is an agricultura l worker. However, he is not like the rest of the Haitians in the area. Luís is a perm anent resident in Loma Dura, not a migrant worker. Martín, a Dominican peasant in the area ceded a small portion of his land over to Luís. In exchange, Luís must give h im a portion of his pr oduction. Luís grows pigeon peas, potatoes and coffee in his small piece of land. However, Luís must also work as a day laborer to make ends meet. His produc tion is not enough to support himself and his son, Víctor. The first time I met Víctor, he was at Martín and Altagracia’s home. Every afternoon, when school got out, Víctor headed straight to Martín and Altagracia’s home, where he ate his noon day meal. While at her home, Víctor helps Altagracia with small chores, like running down the hill to the colmado or small convenience store to get supplies. During summer vacation, when school is out, Víctor heads straight to Martín and Altagracia’s. At dusk, Luís will invari ably walk up the hill towards Martín’s home to retrieve his son. Víctor spends the night with his dad in thei r small, one-room wooden shack. As I thought about Víctor’s particular situ ation, I noticed that it possessed elements of child fosterage arrangements . To begin with, when Víct or is at Altagracia’s home, there is a transmission of childrearing obligations from one family to the other. While at their home, Altagracia feeds and bathes Víctor . She cares for him when he is ill. She gives “costumbres” or “manners” and is teaching hi m to perform certain duties around their home. In addition, Martín and Altagracia have had fu ll authorization to reprimand

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47 and punish Víctor. Secondly, a physical relocation takes place, albeit partially. Víctor spends most of his time at Bene and Altagr acia’s home, than with his own father. Given these similarities, I wondered how the families conceptualized Víctor’s particular situation. Was this fosterag e, I wondered. So, one afternoon, I asked Altagracia if she wa s fostering Víctor. “Como quien dice, sí,” or “One could say that I am,” she stated. “Pero su papá e quien lo ta criando. El vive con su papá. El lo manda para acá porque aquí el está ma pr otegido. Aquí nadie lo maltrata,” or “But his father is the one raising him. He lives with his dad. He sends him here because he is more protected. He is not mistreated.” Víctor’s childrearing experience shed light on the nature of location and residency in fosterage arrangements. In her explanation, Altagracia rev ealed that part-time physical relocation does not constitute fostering, despite the fact that she is performing almost all of the childrearing duties. To claim that fo sterage is taking place, Víctor must spend the night at Bene and Altagracia’s home. Thus, place of residence and parentage is defined by where a child sleeps. Since Víctor sleeps at his father’s home, he is the one raising him. As we see, the real world behavior of people does not necessarily follow neat conceptual categories. In such borderline cases between employment and fosterage, the two culturally relevant variables are: payment of a salary and sleepi ng arrangements. If a regular salary is paid, the person is a wo rker. In the case of younger children, a hybrid arrangement occurs when a young child spends days at someone else’s home receiving food and other non-monetary rewards, but night s at his parents’ home. The culturally defined pathway into full fosterage in such cas es entails the act of sleeping at the foster home.

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48 My visit with Amantina, a grandmother in San Jose de Ocoa, supported my conclusion that sleeping arrangements are cr ucial in defining fosterage arrangements. Amantina, who is raising Yeison and Santi ca, two of her grandchildren, supported Altagracia’s comments on fosterage and sleeping arrangements. When I asked her to tell me what “ criar niños ” or fostering children meant, she responded, “ Atenderlo, atenderlo con su leche, con la comía, la dormía y todo ” or “Attend to them. Attend to them with their milk, with their food, with their sl eeping arrangements and everything.” This comment, I now realize, supports Altagracia’s statement that she is not raising Víctor because she is not providing him with a place to sleep. But the matter can become even more complex. As my conversation with Amantina progressed, I learned much more about hijos de crianza and place of residence. I learned that children can sometimes be raised in multiple households at the same time. Amantina and Yeison Yeison, Amantina’s foster son, is her daughter Xiomara’s only child from her first, failed marriage. Amantina took her grands on in for the first time, when Xiomara migrated to Panama after leaving Yeison’s fa ther. Xiomara, however, returned to Ocoa, where she met and married another man. C onsequently, Xiomara retrieved her son and went to live with her new husband. I met Yeison for the first time during one of my repeated visits to his aunt and uncle’s home, where he often visits and play s with his cousin. I would always see Yeison, who was twelve-years-old at th e time, persistently playing placa8 with the rest of the 8 Placa , a barrio version of baseball, is played between two teams of two players each. It gets its name from the placa or license plate that is used to designate bases. In placa , there are only two bases and they are arranged in a straight line, to accommodate for play in narrow barrio streets or alleys.

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49 boys in the neighborhood. One afternoon, as I wa s sitting with the entire family in the galería or front porch, I learned th at things did not go very well for Yeison at his new home, so he returned to live with his grandmother, Amantina. When I asked why Yeison had returned to Amantina’s home, his uncle Joselo responded, “El e muy gobernativo” or “He is too willful.” Consequently, Yeison’s mo ther and stepfather were stern with him, he explained. But they had good reason to. “Porque un día sucedió, ¿tú sabes porqué? A él lo mandaron a un mandao. Yo no sé si fue a comprar un aceite pa cocinar. Y lo mandaron como a las die y a la una no había venido y el comado estaba ahí en la equina!” or “One, day, you know wh at happened?” he asked. “They sent him on an errand. I’m not sure if they sent him to buy some cooking oil. They sent him around ten in the morning and it was one o’clock in th e afternoon and he had not come back. And the colmado [convenience store] was at the corner!” he excl aimed. Needless to say, Yeison was reprimanded. Consequently, Yeison left his mother’s home on his own volition and returned to li ve with his grandmother. According to Joselo’s explanation, Yeis on left his mother’s home in hopes of escaping his parent’s strict discipline. However, a few months into his stay with Amantina, Yeison left and headed to his paternal grandmother’s home, who lives down the hill. “ Sí y bajaba paa onde la otra abuel a. Cuando se ponía guapo con Amantina, bajaba pa onde la otra abuela,” or “Yes and he would go and stay at his other grandmother’s house. When he was angry at Amantina, he would go down to his other grandmother’s,” his aunt explained. It s eems as if Yeison, a willful child indeed, conveniently changes his domicile in search of the most lenient parent and apparently, better food. Once more, Yeison chose to leave his third hom e and return to Amantina’s

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50 because he did not like his other grandmother’s cooking. “ El ha vivido en la do casa pero cuando llegaba a donde Besalina, llegaba con una hambre! El pobre, parece que la papa. . . , ” or “He would stay in both houses but every time he would go to Amantina’s he was always hungry! Poor thing. Looks like the food down there wasn’t any good,” his aunt explained. Yeison’s childrearing situation reminded me of what I had read in Isiugo-Abanihe’s article regarding a child’s place of residence (1985). “The maternal home is but one of several possible homes for the child” (p. 54). Although Yeison spent most of his time with Amantina, he was as a matter of fact, be ing raised in three di fferent homes. Yeison spends the night in all three homes interchang eably, thus fulfilling th e fosterage requisite of place of residence. This communal upbri nging arrangement, however, is only possible given the fact that all three homes are in very close proximity to one another. But most importantly, the fact that Yeison is male, not female, grants him the liberty and leniency to migrate from one home to the other at his will. How can we handle cases like this analytically? For the moment we can say that the normal and statistically dominant child re location mode entails full time residence, including sleeping at the foster home. On ce this cultural “menu item” of relocation is present as an alternative with in a population, some individua ls devise hybrid options on the boundaries of the category. We have seen two examples of such hybrid arrangements: one in which a boy spends the day at a foster home but sleeps at his parent’s home, and another in which a young boy strategically shifts sleeping places. But these are best viewed as idiosyncratic varian ts on a more widespread pattern of full-time

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51 living in the foster home. But individuals do not feel constrai ned to adhere to the neat categories posited either by the ideals of a cultu re or the categories of a social scientist. Conclusion Paying careful attention to the languag e that surfaced in word-by-word transcriptions of tape recorded interviews , I have presented the outlines of a child relocation system whose actors recognize two di stinct modes: lending children and giving children away. While r ecognizing that interview materials such as these reflect cultural ideals rather than statistically documented aggr egate behavior, it nonetheless remains impressive that informants emphasize with vigor the notion that foster children are to be treated as biological children. It would require longer research to verify whether this ideal is put into practice. But even the cultural expression of the ideal differs strongly from what is found, for example, in Haiti (Smucker & Murray, 2004), where there is a culturall y recognized category of restavèk, relocated children who are explicitly used as unpaid child serv ants treated quite differently from pitit kay, children of the household. Cultural ideals do not totally determine behavi or, but this strongly stated egalitarian norm found in the Dominican foster age system can be expected to have some impact on what people actually do. The follo wing chapter will delve more directly into the realm of rights and duties.

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52 CHAPTER 3 EXCHANGE OF COSTS AND BENEFITS: RIGHTS AND DUTIES IN THE DOMINICAN CHILD RELOCATION SYSTEM Physical Needs: Food, Clothing, Shoes and an Education As I have already mentioned, foster pa rents are required to satisfy a child’s emotional and physical needs. Emotional needs, on the one ha nd, are met through the establishment of affective foster paren t/child relationships. This involves the incorporation of foster children as members of the intimate kin group, the establishment of trust, and physical displays of affec tion. The satisfaction of physical needs as Altagracia, Nora and Isabel mentioned, has different requirements. Smucker and Murray (2004) state, “primary economic support of th e child becomes the re sponsibility of the caretaker family” (p. 81). Foster parents provide children with food, clothing, shoes and an education. However, my conversation with Doña Ramona, a former foster mother in the town of Yamasá, helped me understand the many complexities involved in this apparently straightforward parental obligation. Foster parents, I learned, are responsible for the child’s physical hea lth, appearance and integrity. Doña Ramona and Jaqueline Doña Ramona, a woman in her fifties, was one of the first women I interviewed in Yamasá, a town located to the north of Sa nto Domingo. She was sitting on a chair, wrapped in a towel, when I approached he r home. I noticed a young woman, who I later learned was Doña Ramona’s daughter, kneel ing on the ground scraping the leftover concon or burnt rice from the bottom of an iron pot as she washed the noon meal dishes.

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53 After exchanging greetings, Doña Ramona a pologized for not being dressed. She had a bad cold, she explained. She could only bath e at noon, the hottest part of the day. After introductions, I proceeded to expl ain the purpose of my visit. I told her that I wanted to learn more about her experience raisi ng Jaquelinee, her foster daughter. “El taba hata po envenenase con tó lo muchacho!” or “ He was even going to poison himself with all those kids!” she said of Jaqueline’s biological father. Jaqueline’s father, whose wife left him for another ma n, could not take care of their eight small children and work in the fields at the same time. According to Doña Ramona, he was in such dire straits that he thought of poisoning himself. Conse quently, he gave some of his children up to other families. Jaqueline was one and a half years old when Doña Ramona agreed to take her in. Once Doña Ramona had given me some background on Jaqueline, I asked her what her responsibilities as a foster parent were. “Everything. Just like a daughter,” was her immediate response. As I wanted to obtai n specific childrearing duties, I prodded her into providing me with partic ular tasks. At first, I was perplexed by her response. “ Yo la puse de nueve, casi die ,” or “I got her to be nine years old, almost ten.” In her statement, it seemed as if Doña Ramona felt that her fo ster child’s growth was her entire doing. As our conversation progressed, I came to unders tand what she meant by this statement. According to Doña Ramona, Jaqueline would not be alive if it were it not for her efforts. In the following interview excerpt, Doña Ramona is talking about Jaqueline’s condition when she first arrived at her home. Cuando a mí me dieron esa niña, yo vivía en La Cuaba . . . Cuando me la dieron a mí, ella taba encuera, denúa, sentá debaj o de una mate mango, llena e tierra y llena de semilla de mango. Ella tenía un parásito malo. . . . Esa niña tenía una hinchazón que mi papá me dijo, ‘Te trajite un baquinín,’ me dijo mi papá, ‘Eso e

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54 pa morísete en tu brazo. Le dije, ‘Uté verá que no. Si Dio quiere. Que no se va a morí.’ I lived in La Cuaba , when they gave me that girl. . . . She was all full of dirt and soiled with mango seeds. She had a bad parasite. She was sick. She was naked when I received the girl. She was sitti ng under a mango tree . . . . The girl was so swollen that my father said to me, ‘You got yourself a baquinín ! That thing is going to die in your arms.’ I said to him, “No, she won’t. You’ll see, God willing. She won’t die. Doña Ramona’s recollection of her father’s statement was indicative of Jaqueline’s physical state. Jaqueline’s condition, as Doña Ramona explained, was so critical that her father did not believe the baby would survive. When she took the toddler in, she was a “thing”, not a baby. However, Doña Ramona’s time, resources and nurturance, as the following excerpt indicates, were able to get Jaque line back to good health. Ella taba enfema. Yo gaté mucho dinero. Bueno y tratamiento con la niña, tratamiento con la niña. Se hizo una mujer. Un mujerón. Y todo el mundo la veía. Ah y bonita, un pelo muy bonito. Decía la gente, ‘Ah, pue eta mujer tiene mano con lo muchacho. Mira.’ Se puso bonita la muchacha. La puse que él que la veía, no decía que era la niña, limpia y bonita. She was sick. I spent a lot of money; a lot. So it was treatments and treatments for the girl. And she became a woman. A big woman. Everybody would see her. Oh, and she was pretty. She had beautiful hair . People would say, ‘Oh, this woman has a good hand with children. Look at her.’ The girl is pretty now. Pretty and clean. Doña Ramona’s statement brought forth two other foster parent duties. First, should a foster child fall ill, foster parents are re quired to nurse them back to health. This might involve, as Doña Ramona noted, medical expenditures. This particular duty, I noted, is of great relevance. As the previous interview ex cerpt revealed, Doña Ramona, made direct reference to her caregiver activi ties, as well as in the multiple medical costs she undertook. Jaqueline would not be here today, she notes, if it weren’t for her efforts. The second duty I identified in Doña Ramona ’s response was the need to keep foster children “pretty and clean”. Doña Ramona , as well as the other people I spoke to,

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55 mentioned how they successfully cleansed their foster child. This ta sk requires that they bathe and clothe their foster ch ild. A foster child, I conclu ded, must always appear clean and cared for. As my exchange with Doña Ramona progr essed, she continued to reveal further childrearing activities. The next duty had to do with clothes, “Porque cuando mi mamá venía de Nueba Yol, le traí a ropa. Mira, zapato, teni,” or “Because my mother would bring her clothes, shoes, sneakers when she came from New York,” she revealed. Jaqueline, who was “naked” before she ar rived to Doña Ramona’s home, was now wearing items purchased especially for her in the United States. Education Central to foster parent child rearing oblig ations is that they provide children with “ una educación” or “an education”. Regard less of whether a child is prestado or regalado , parents must provide the skills that wi ll allow children to fulfill a productive adult life. This is achieved through schooling and nonacademic training. Schooling El no puede aprendé a trabajá con la yerba. Tiene que aprender con su lapi en la mano. or He cannot learn to work with weeds. He must learn with a pencil in his hand. Luís, Haitian farmer The above statement was made by Luís, a small-scale Haitian farmer in Loma Dura, a farming community near San José de Oc oa. He is making reference to his wishes that Víctor, his son, go to school. Luís, as we ll as many other farmers I spoke to in Loma Dura, want their children to finish school and “ hacerse profesionales ” or “become professionals”. As Luís so el oquently stated, farmers do not want their children to stay in the campos or rural areas and live a farmer’s way of life.

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56 As Smucker and Murray (2004) and McPher son (2003) have noted, farming is no longer a desirable occupation in the Domi nican Republic. Pare nts throughout rural communities will sacrifice and expend considerable resources to have their children finish high school and obtain a college degr ee, instead of helping on the farm. I saw evidence of this in almost every home I vis ited in Loma Dura. Fo r instance, Altagracia and Martín have pictures and diplomas of their child ren’s high school graduations conspicuously hanging on their living room walls. Although none of them has accomplished the ultimate parental dream of “ hacerse profesionales ” or “becoming college graduates”, they have high hopes for their four children. Altagracia and Martín believe they will live much better lives in Santo Domingo where they will have access to salaried jobs, rather than work ing on the small coffee farm. Foster parents acquire this educational oblig ation. In taking a child in, they commit to providing a child with the skills that will assist them to gain access to an urban job. Not only must foster parents allow children to take time during the day to attend school and do homework, but they must also supply school uniforms, supplies and shoes. Failure to fulfill any one of the elements of this crucial requirement, as I will further note, can constitute grounds for th e agreement’s termination. Non-Academic Training At first, when Nora explained that, in the hypothetical situation where she would give me a child, I would need to provide her son with “una educación ” or “an education”, I thought she meant sending him to school. However, as I continued examining foster parent obligations, I learne d that there was a lot more involved in her statement. “ Una educación ” also meant providing childre n with nonacademic instruction

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57 as well. This type of training, which is carri ed out along gendered line s, is believed to be equally important for a child’s adult life. Non-Academic Training for Daughters One of the nonacademic training requirements foster parents must fulfill is to provide children with moral instruction. Although this requirement applies for both male and female foster children, I found th at this was especially true for hijas de crianza or foster daughters. “Angelita . . . va a la igle sia conmigo y todo, ¿tú ve ?” or “Angelita. . . goes to church with me and everything, you see?” Melania, a foster mother from Restauración revealed. Ever y Sunday, Melania and Angelita go to church where Melania hopes her foster daughter will learn her religi ous and moral ways. Likewise, Chichi, a foster mother I met in Loma de Cabrera, makes sure that Elena, her 5-year-old Haitian foster daughter, learns her family’s firmly -held Evangelical religious beliefs. When I arrived at their home one Sunday afternoon, I noticed that the fam ily, including Elena, were still wearing their Sunday church garb. During our interview, Chichi instructed her foster daughter to recite one of the church songs she had ta ught her. Elena acquiesced and obediently performed the hymn. Parents are also requir ed to provide their hijas de crianza with domestic skills. “Sí, la estoy enseñando los quehaceres de la ca sa, dándole una formación. Yo la tengo como una niña, casi como una hija. Esa e mi compañera,” or “I am teaching her all the household duties, I am giving her an education. I have her as if sh e were my daughter,” Melania explained, implying that she had done the same with her own biological daughters. My understanding of this particul ar type of training was further expanded during my interview with Amanda and Sonia, a foster mother and daughter in Loma de

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58 Cabrera. As Amanda reveals, foster da ughters are instructed to perform multiple domestic duties, as well as many other activities. Amanda and Sonia Amanda, a woman in her mid-forties, lives near the Dominican-Haitian border in the outskirts of Loma de Cabrera in a place called La Seyba. She has three biological children, all of whom are married and left hom e. Currently, Amanda lives with José and Sonia, her two foster children. José is Ama nda’s seven-year-old grandson. Sonia, who was thirteen-years-old at the time, is from Haiti. Juana makes a living from her sparsely stocked colmado or convenience store she has set up in a small kiosk located towards the front of her house to take advantage of the ongoing traffic that goes back and forth between Haiti and the Domi nican Republic along the Carretera Internacional or the International Highway. Amanda is preparing Sonia for an adult life in several ways. First, Amanda carefully teaches Sonia to carry out the domes tic tasks she believes are integral to her upbringing. “Ya yo la enseñé a cociná, que ella no sabía nada. Yo la enseñé a cociná, a limpiá, a todo. Yo la enseño pa que aprenda ,” or “I already taught her how to cook because she did not know a thing.. I taught her how to cook, to clean, to do everything. I teach her so she will learn how to do thes e things,” Amanda explained. Amanda, however, also teaches Sonia how to sell at the colmado . When a customer approached the store in the middle of our conversation, Amanda said, “Sonia ven a ver! Véndele media botella de aceite. Véndele!” or “Sonia, go sell him half a bottle of cooking oil! Go ahead!” Amanda has been teaching Sonia colmado operations. When I inquired

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59 whether she always helped her w ith her business, she replied, “ Sí, para que se vaya defendiendo ,” or “Yes, so she can defend herself.” Non-Academic Training-Sons Hijos de crianza or male foster children receive careful instruction in the skills parents believe will be most valuable as adults. Boys in rural areas are taken to the fields to learn from and help their fathers with agricultural chores. For instance, Wilfredo, Nefertiti’s Haitian foster brothe r, was taught to tend to his family’s goats, cows and pigs. In urban areas, on the other hand, boys learn to carry out other types of skills. José, Isabel’s former foster child, learned to operate her colmado or small convenience store when he was thirteen-years-old. Tony, a nine -year-old foster son in Loma de Cabrera, was learning how to provide price quotes a nd answer phone calls at his uncle’s hardware store. Exchange of Costs and Benefits: Wh at are the Children Required to Do? Child fosterage, as I have mentioned, invol ves the transfer of parental guardianship from the sending to the receiving family. As Isabel, the woman raising her nephew’s son articulated, “E s una responsabilidad que uno asume muy grande,” or “It is a big responsibility one assumes.” The responsibility she make s reference to involves the fulfillment of a child’s physical, emotional and educational needs. Consequently, as Isiugo-Abanihe (1985) asserts, “b iological parents, in effect , transfer the economic costs of childbearing onto the receiving family” (p. 55) . But, is this arrangement unilateral in regards to the costs and benef its involved? If so, it would seem as if biological parents receive all the benefits of the hijo de crianza system. What stipul ations does the child fosterage system have in place to compensate foster parents for their investments in time, resources and most importantl y, emotions? Foster parents, I learned, not only acquire

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60 “the responsibility of childrearing but also the rights associated with it” (Page, 1989, p. 402). Childrearing Benefits: Labor and Forthcoming Love Pero no es a cambio de dinero. El niño ti ene que ayudarte en la casa, porque tú le vas a dar, pero él tie ne que darte a tí, or You don’t get money in return. The child has to help you in the home because you are going to give, but he has to give to you, Nora, Loma Dura We can begin this discussion by stating that an analysis of the benefits received by foster parents from foster children does not automatically presuppose some unusually strong utilitarian dimension that distinguish es the fosterage arrangement from ordinary childcare. Demographers who analyze co st-benefit calculations of the “value of children” as a determinant of fertility are se arching for utilitarian considerations even with the biological family. If parents seek value from their biological children, we can assume the same is true for foster children. The analytic question concerns the nature of the value. We can identify three genera of value that children give: o ngoing material support, ongoing affection and emotional support, and future material support in old age and illness. Nora, the rural nurse in the mountain community in Loma Dura, and I spoke about the childrearing benefits receiving parents acquire. Using Norbertico, her son, as a hypothetical example, I asked her how I would be compensated for providing him with all his needs. “¿ Pero a cambio de qué, yo lo crío y le doy comida? ”or “What do I get in return for rearing him and giving him food?” I asked. “Pero no es a cambio de dinero. El niño tiene que ayudarte en la casa, porque tú le vas a dar, pero él tiene que darte a tí,” or “You don’t get money in exchange. The child has to help you in the home because you are going to give, but he has to give to you,” she clarified.. Labor on the part of the

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61 child is one of the means by which the hijos de crianza system reciprocates the efforts foster parents invest in th e childrearing process. This particular element of the hijo de crianza system, I would later discove r, is the source of much controversy, particularly among development agencies. To many people, as I will address in subsequent sections, fosterage looks and sounds like coercive child labor. Foster children are required to carry out multiple tasks in the receiving household. Although the types and amount of work requi red vary widely throughout each home, I found that, in general, labor is distributed al ong gender lines and is re lated to the type of non-academic instruction received. In other words, children will pe rform the tasks they are taught. For instance, Wilf redo, the Haitian boy I menti oned in previous sections, takes care of the goats, cows, and pigs, as he has been taught to do while at his foster home. He also sweeps the pa tios and shines iron pots. A nnie, on the other hand, helps her foster mother with the “ oficios ” or housework. She washes the dishes, helps with the cooking and cleaning. Altagracia, who was fost ered in Ensanche Piantini, had to take care of her foster mother’s baby. Parents, however, have a distinctive understa nding of a child’s wo rk in the home. Foster child labor contributions are not considered labor per se . It is conceptualized and discussed as an integral component of a child’s education and as exercises for the future. But, most importantly, they perceive the wo rk that children carry out as a means of “instilling responsibility and knowledge” (Bass, 2004, p. 22). Forthcoming Love El se porta mejor con mi mamá que los mismo hijo que ella engendró or He behaves better with my mother than the children she gave birth to.

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62 The previous statement was made by Juana, a woman in San José de Ocoa who grew up with a foster brother. At the time, she was talking about how her brother loves and cares for his foster mother more than he r own biological children. Juana’s brother is “ agradecido, a grateful person who remembers what you did for her even though you are not her biological mother” (Smucker & Murray, 2004, p.78). Juana’s example illustrates an element that is crucial to the hijos de crianza system. As parents age, they increasingly rely on their children for support, thus they view childrearing as a retirement investment. Foster children care, love and support their parents in old age, as a means to return the love and care they themselves received while they were growing up. Smucker and Murray (200 4) had similar findings in this regard, “Over and over again we heard from Do minican foster parents about long-term calculations, the tremendous advantage of ha ving additional children who can be counted on to love and care for you in sickness and old age” (p. 78). Which of these two calculations is more im portant – the labor that the child gives to me now, or the support that I will receive late r in old age? There are no clear methods for answering this question; both factors operate, not only with foster ch ildren, but also with biological children. In Haiti, the treatment of restavèk children is so cruel that caretakers know the children will leave as soon as they can (Smucker & Murray 2004). In such a system, caretakers extract from foster childre n a maximum of short-term benefits, with no expectation of payoffs in old age. In the Dominican system, in contrast, there seems to be a strategy of treating children in such a way that they will develop affection and provide for you in old age. Am I asserting that Dominicans treat ch ildren kindly out of gross calculations of future benefits rather than out of affection? No. All that is being

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63 said here is that the Dominican system, with the importance given to future payoffs, treats foster children much more benignly than the Haitian system documented by Smucker and Murray (2004). Prestado vs. Regalado : Partitioning Childrearing Rights and Obligations As I have noted in previous sections, the prestado and regalado modalities operate in similar ways. Both share characteris tics that range from the transmission of childrearing obligations and be nefits to physical relocations . However, despite these collective features, they diffe r in fundamental ways. The following excerpt from my conversation with Nora, the nurse from Loma Dura, concisely explai ns these differences: La diferencia es que el que lo da con papeles no tiene derecho. Todavía tiene derecho porqe es prestado , or The difference is that if you give him or her away, you no longer have rights. If you lend your child, you still have rights. As Nora revealed, biological parents in regalado agreements renounce their parental rights. Prestado parents, on the other hand, do not. But, what rights was she referring to? As I continued my conversati on with Nora, as well as with all my other informants, I gained a better understanding of the intricacies involve d with biological and foster parental rights in the hijo de crianza system. Prestado Parental Rights As I have noted, the transf er of parental duties and benefits that occurs in prestado agreements is carried out on a “temporary, partial” basis (Elo undou-Enyengue & Stokes, 2002). Prestado sending parents, as Nora stated, relinquish certai n rights but retain four key ones. First, biological parents have th e prerogative to supervise and evaluate the childrearing process. Second, sending parent s can choose to create or conserve their affective relationship with th eir child. Third, biological pa rents can choose to terminate

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64 the agreement at any time. Finally, they retain the right to provide the child with their own civil and kinship identity (Goody, 1982). Evaluating the Childrearing ProcessThe Hijo de Crianza Supervisory Process In essence, the hijo de crianza supervisory process, allo ws parents to continue exerting their parentage despite the fact that the child is no longer under their direct care. Although it might appear from the cases I have ju st described that ther e seems to be little biological parent participation, they retain a voice in the childrearing process. This process serves several functions. First, it al lows biological parents to participate in the childrearing process, albeit indi rectly. It provides parents with the necessary mechanism to ensure that children are receiving an a ppropriate upbringing. But more importantly, it is the principal means through which parent s protect children from mistreatment and abuse. Finally, biological parents can use the supervisory process to create and/or nurture affective relationships with their child. How does the supervisory process operate? How exactly do parents exercise this right? Parents, I discovered, assess childrear ing activities through th e visitation process which has clearly established rules and norms. VisitationChild Protection and Links to Biological Roots Ella vino a verla, par a ver cómo etaba la ni ña. Ella. . . . E decir. . . . Que dede que ella la trajo, ella no había sabido de su niña. Entonce, ella vino como a ver y a informano a nosotro. . . . A d ecir…a ve porque así somo la mamá. She came to see her. She came to see how the girl was doing. I mean, she had not heard from her girl since she brought her here. So, she came to see her and to inform us, I mean, because that’s how us mothers are. The previous quote is from my interview w ith Chichi, one of the foster mothers from Loma de Cabrera. Chichi, who is fo stering Elena, a seven-year-old Haitian girl, was recounting the time when Tifan, Elena’ s mother, visited her daughter at her new

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65 home. Chichi’s quote, “She came to see how the girl was doing,” accurately describes the main function visitation serves. Biologica l parents will travel to the foster family home to witness their child’s well-being. Visitation practices, I noted, have two basic characteristics. First of all, most visits are unannounced. Foster parents are rarely informed of any upcoming trips. This, I concluded, is done in order to witness child rearing activities free of deceptions. Secondly, the visit frequency depends on the distance between both homes, the cost and time of travel, and transp ortation availability. What takes place during these visits? My conversations with Chichi, Nancy and Amanda facilitated my understanding of the rules and protocol involved in an encounter. Visitation Protocol The visitation process has many unspoken ru les. The first and most significant is that foster parents must always welcom e biological parents into their home. “Si ello son lo papá y ello vienen a vela a ella, noso tro no podemo a ello prohibile de que no, ” or “If they are her parents, and they come to see he r, we cannot forbid them to [come],” Chichi, the foster mother in Loma de Cabrera ad mitted. Not only must foster parents allow biological parents to visit, but th ey must treat them as guests. For instance, if a biological parent is present during the noon day meal, it is imperative that they be asked to join the family at the table. Second, biological pare nts ought to provide biological parents with the opportunity to be alone with the child. This allows children to candidly express any sentiments about their current living conditions. Amanda, th e foster mother from Loma de Cabrera, asked Sonia, her foster daughter, to reveal the contents of her conversation. “Dique la mamá le dijo que se cuidara. Le hizo varia pregunta: que si había varone aquí, que con quién ella dormía, que cómo la trataban ,” or “Her mom told her to take

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66 care of herself. She asked her various questio ns. She asked her if there were boys in the house. She asked her who she slept with and how she was treated,” she told me. Finally, biological parents are allowed to bring gifts for their child. “Le trae su dinerito, le trae cositas para que coma,” or“He brings her a lit tle money. He brings her little things to eat,” is what Diana told me that her foster daughter’s father brings when he visits. “ Pa embullala y cosa ” or “So that she becomes fond of hi m and things,” she explained. In addition, biological parents, as Smucker and Mu rray (2004) note, will bring gifts for the foster parent household as a gesture of frie ndship and appreciation. However, “these are voluntary gifts, not an obligatory payment or remittance” (p. 79). The visitation system also establishes rules for biological parent behavior. I learned of the first rule during my convers ation with Nancy, a girl from Loma de Cabrera. Biological parents must exhibit respectful behavior and acknowledge foster parental authority. For in stance, Nancy’s mother, who wa s raising a Haitian girl, was offended when the foster child’s father fa iled to acknowledge her parental authority. “El quería tené cierta autoridá en la casa, ” or, “He wanted to have a certain authority in the house,” she explained. When I aske d her to elaborate, she replied, “Si mami le decía a ella, por ejemplo, que se fuera a bañá, a la niña, él le decía ‘No. Ven. Siéntate aquí, ” or “For instance, if mom would te ll her to go take a bath, he w ould say ‘No, Come here. Sit down.’” Nancy’s mother viewed this behavior as an overt challe nge to her parental authority that would eventually lead to disr espectful behavior from the foster child. Consequently, this rule, I concl uded, is established to prevent prestado children from undermining foster parent authority.

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67 Not only do biological parents visit the foster home, but children will make trips to visit their families as well. Under the prestado agreement, foster parents are obliged to send their hijos de crianza on family visits . “Yo la he llevado donde su mamá do vece,” or “I have taken her to her mother’s two times,” Amanda said re ferring to the times she has taken Sonia to visit her family in Haiti. “Yo se la llevo allá. Yo se la llevo pa que ella la vea ,” or “I take her to them over there. I take her so that they can see her,” she added. Children, I found, are usually sent during school holidays such as Semana Santa or Holy Week and/ or summer vacation. Foster families must arrange as well as pay for the child’s trip. During these visits, it is common for foster parents to give gifts to biological parents, particularly to the mother. “Yo no le mando así si no, cuando voy de ve en cuando, le llevo su compra, le ll evo su quiniento peso, dependiendo lo que pueda, ” “I don’t send her money like that. When I go I take her some groceries. I take her fivehundred pesos or so. I give her what I ca n afford,” Amanda explained. Although these gifts are expecte d, they are not required. Th ey are optional and carried out at the foster pa rent’s discretion. Visitation in Regalado ArrangementsExceptions to the Rules Despite the fact that biological parents in regalado arrangements relinquish their visitation privileges, I learned that violati ons to these rules occur. These unwelcome visits will most likely create conflicts between families, as well as with the child. Zuleyka, Chana and Miguel’s case, a family in Loma de Cabrera, illustrates such an instance. Despite the fact that Zuleyka was regalada as an infant, her biological mother occasionally visits her at her foster home . Zuleyka spoke to me about the tense encounters. “No me gusta su compañía” or “I don’t like her company,” she stated in a somewhat harsh tone.

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68 What happens during these visits? How are these violations handled? Although these visits are unwelcome, Chana and Migue l still abide by the visitation norms that dictate that they must welcom e Zuleyka’s biological mother into their home and treat her as a guest. “Yo soy que le digo a ella: ‘Julissa, mira tú mamá.’ Pero ella la trata mal. Yo le digo que no la trate así. La madre se pone a llorar,” or “I tell her, ‘Zuleyka, here is your mother,’ but she treats her badly. I tell her not to treat her like that. Her mother starts to cry,” she said as she revealed her condemnation of her daughter’s behavior. Zuleyka’s biological mother is entitled to deferential treatment. She is “ su madre que la echó al mundo ” or “her mother that brought her to this world.” Thus, I concluded, blood ties are kept in high regard. Zuleyka, accordi ng to Chana, should be appreciative of her biological mother. After all, she would not be here if it were not for her. As I proceeded with my interviews , I learned that visitations in regalado arrangements can also foster altercations amongst foster and biological parents. Unwelcome visitations can cause latent parental authority conflicts to surface, as Doña Ramona’s experience illustrates: Tess: ¿El la venía a visitar? Doña Ramona: Sí. Entonce él le traía a ella quesito y bolon e, cosa que él no debía de dásela. Tenía que dásela a lo que él tenía. Poque a ella no le hacía falta. Tess: Did he come and visit her? Doña Ramona: Yes. He would bring her cheese and candy, things he should not give her. He needed to give them to th e kids he was raising. She was not in need of any of that. Why did Doña Ramona reject these seem ingly innocuous gifts? When similar conflicts resurfaced in my inte rview with Chichi and her husband in Loma de Cabrera, I concluded that Doña Ramona’s comments were indicative of an issue that is of central

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69 importance in the hijo de crianza system, that is, parentage is also determined by the expenditures childrearing involves. Tess: ¿Los padres de ella les dan dinero para Elena? Foster father: No, nada. Ni nosotro queremo eso tampoco. Tess: ¿Por qué no? Foster father: Porque si nosotro vamo a ser, quisimo haceno reponsable a ella, entonce nosotro no podemo acetá de que e lla entonce tenga eh, do papá. . . . Yo no toy de acuedo con eso porque entonce, un tiempo, eh, nosotro vamo a peidé, vamo a peide el apoyo. ¿Ve? Tess: Do Elena’s parents give you money for her? Foster father: No, nothing. We don’t want them to, either. Tess: Why not? Foster father: Because if we are going to be, if we chose to be responsible for her, we can’t accept that she has um, two father s. I don’t agree with that because then, in time, we are going to loose, we are going to loose, how can I say, the girl’s support. You see? The sharing of childrear ing obligations in the hijo de crianza system is discouraged. As Chichi’s husband and Doña Ramona suggested, foster parents view any contribution towards child sustenance as inhere nt challenges to parental guardianship and authority. Foster parents view gifts as incu rsions into their parental authority since “primary economic support … becomes the re sponsibility of the caretaker family” (Smucker & Murray, 2004, p. 78). For Elena’s foster father, accepting money from the biological father undermines his parental authority and role. As Elena’s father, it is his responsibility to bear the fina ncial burden of her upbringing. This responsibility is what, in essence, makes him a father.

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70 TerminationEnding the Fosterage Agreement The greatest difference between the prestado and regalado fosterage modalities has to do with the right to annul the agreement. Prestado modalities allow biological parents to terminate the arrangement; regalado ones do not. In prestado arrangements, the transfer of parental guardianship is tem porary and partial (Eloundou-Enyengue & Stokes, 2002). Biological parents can reclaim their children at any time. For instance, Doña Milagros, a woman from La Seyba raising a Haitian girl said, “Se la devuelvo,” or “I give her back to him,” when I inquired about what would happen if her parents reclaimed her foster daughter. I posed a similar questi on to Amanda, who is al so from La Seyba. “Tenga. Porque esa hija e de ella. Si ella un día decide o eta decide que se quiere ir, pue yo, yo lo que no hago e dique aquí y allí. Yo voy ay se la llevo y ‘Tenga!’ Donde yo la encontré,” or “Here, take her. That daughter bel ongs to her. If one day she decides or the girl decides she wants to le ave, well I, I am not going to be going from here to there. I will go and take her and say, ‘Take her!’ I will give her back to them in the same place where they gave her to me,” she explained. Prestado arrangements also allow foster families to end arrangements as well. Foster parents have the right to end the arrangement at any time. Doña Ramona and I also spoke about a time when she ex ercised this right with a previous hija de crianza . “Dede que vi que se taba enamorando y a enco mpinchase con otra ma que venía dique a buscala, digo, ‘Yo lo siento,” or “The moment I saw she was having crushes and having friendships with another girl that would come to get her, I said ‘I’m sorry,’” she explained. “Ella se quería independizá,” or “She wanted to become independent.” Consequently, Amanda chose to terminate th e arrangement and returned her daughter to her biological parents.

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71 Termination in Regalado Agreements?Exceptions to the Rule Doña Ramona: El sabe, él s abe que ya ella le cocina, le puede hacei todo porque yo le enseñé como si fuera mi hija. Yo le dí una crianza como si fuera hija mía de vedá. Que sufrí muchísimo! Uy, que si lloré mucho! Y me daba voluntá de llorá cuando yo cocinaba, que yo veía que la muchacha no taba aquí. Porque yo sabía el hambre que ello pasaban por ahí. Much ísimo yo sufrí. Todo ese cariño se perdió. Doña Ramona: He knows that she can cook for him. He knows that she can do everything because I taught her as though sh e were my child. I raised her like she was my real daughter. I suffe red so much! Wow, did I cry! I would cry when I was cooking and I would see that the gi rl was no longer here. I knew the hunger they were going through over there. I su ffered so much! All that affection was lost. Doña Ramona as well as many other inform ants claim that biological parents will often reclaim their children when their offspring are old enough and capable of contributing to the household economy. Doña Ramona makes this quite clear at the beginning of the excerpt and thr oughout the entire interview. Jaqueline’s father relocated his daughter, Doña Ramona claims, when she was a liability, that is, when she was an ailing infant that required cons tant attention and care. Ho wever, he retrieved her the moment that Jaquelín had grown up and had the knowledge and stre ngth to carry out household chores. At that point, multiple questions regarding the regalado arrangement came to my mind. What mechanisms does the regalado fosterage arrangement use to seal regalado arrangements? Is there an irreversible way in which parental guardianship and custody is transferred. Chicha, a foster mother in her forties, shed light on this topic in the interview we had in La Ciénaga, a small settlement north of San José de Ocoa. In the following passage, Chicha is responding to my inquiries about the way in which regalado fosterage arrangements are terminated. Tess: Y si las mamás vienen a pe dir el niño, ¿tienen que devolverlo?

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72 Chicha: Sí, por lo meno, si a usté se lo dan hoy y entre, de aquí al lune vienen y se lo quitan, y si usté no hace un papel, si usté no hace un papel. Tess: Se lo tengo que devolver. Chicha: Sí, pero si usté hace un papel, a usté no se lo quita nadie porque eso no. Tess: What happens if the mothers retu rn and ask for the child back, do you have to return them? Chicha: Yes, at least, if you receive the child today and she comes on Monday and they take him away; if you haven’t made a paper, if you haven’t done a paper. Tess: I have to return him. Chicha: Yes, but if you have a pa per made, no one can take him away. Kinship and Civil Identity“ Papeles ” or “Papers” The paper Chicha is referring to is of utmost significance in the regalado modality. When a child is regalado con papeles or given away with papers, biological parents allow foster parents to register the child at the Registro Civil or Civil Registry. Foster parents register the child’s birt h as if they shared a genetic bond, that is, as if they had engendered the child themselves. Chicha made sure that Keila, her foster daughter would not be taken away by specifically negotiating these terms with the biological father and registering the child as if she herself had give n birth to her. In the event that Keila’s custody was ever contested, Chicha would have a “legal”, written document that legitimizes her claim to parentage. Conclusion This chapter has discussed two major topics : (1) the multiple benefits which foster parents derive from foster children and (2 ) the competition between foster parents and biological parents. The vi sitation rights which biological parents remain over “lent” children can threaten the exclusive emotional bond which it is in the interest of the foster parent to encourage in the foster child. But even more seriously, we have seen that the

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73 maneuvers on the part of biological parent s to terminate fosterage arrangements can totally sabotage any long term be nefits to the foster parent. As I have mentioned throughout this chap ter, child relocation in the Dominican Republic is carried out systematically a nd follows a specific set of norms. The hijo de crianza system allows biological parents to relin quish or transfer thei r childrearing rights and obligations to varying degrees by selecting one of two agreements-the prestado or regalado modalities. Although both of these arrange ments share similarities in regards to the rights and obligations su rrounding childr earing and offspring re sponsibilities, they differ in a fundamental waythe biological pa rentÂ’s right to reclai m child custody. This menaces the long-term benefits which foster pa rents expect in the cultural norms of the Dominican system. However, a fundamental question still remains unanswered. Why do biological parents give up children? And why do foster parents take in children? Why do they make this apparently difficult choice? As w ill be seen in the next chapter, parents give up or take in children for a variety of reasons.

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74 CHAPTER 4 WHY DO PEOPLE GIVE UP OR TAKE IN CHILDREN? The preceding chapter discussed the basi c contours of the Dominican child relocation system and its two modes of ope ration. We also discussed cost-benefit calculations that appear to be in existence. In this chapter I will di scuss the factors that motivate people to enter into th e arrangement. Lest this be seen as redundant, I wish to point out that this decision to give up or take in a child is different from the simple question of the “value of children” that was discussed in the preceding chapter. Recall: all parental behavior can be construed (or misconstrued) in the language of “cost-benefit calculations.” But not all parents give up their children or take in the children of others. What is it that motivates a subset of pe ople to do cost-benefit calculations on other people’s children? And what “cost-benefit” factors lead some people to give up their children? For societies unfamiliar with the practice, child fosterage might seem appalling. How can parents voluntarily give up their offs pring to be raised by other people? Why would someone in their right mind assume th e responsibility of raising someone else’s child particularly when there is often no legal documentation to legitimize the arrangement? An arrangement such as this and its subsequent legal implications are difficult to imagine in a society as litigious as the United States. An arrangement that involves the provision of food, cl othing, shelter and schooling in exchange for domestic labor on the part of the chil d, automatically conjures images of Cinderella and the evil triad of the stepmother and stepsisters.

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75 Although adoptions are widely accepted and practiced throughout the west, rarely do they take place in the manner in which it does in the prestado or lent and regalado or given away arrangements. In the event th at a child cannot be raised by his or her biological father or mother, the state must intervene to ensure the childÂ’s welfare. Legally established guardianship is mandatory in order to execute such routine tasks as signing a childÂ’s permission slip to attend a sc hool field trip or to consent to a medical procedure. Parentage in count ries such as the United Stat es can only be legitimized by the authority of the State. The notion that children are best raised by their biological parents is not, however, universal. Parenting is conceptualized diffe rently in many societies (Isiugo-Abanihe, 1985, p. 54). In sub-Saharan Africa, for instan ce, parents do not think of themselves as the exclusive owners of offspring (Page, 1989). On the contrary, children are believed to be the property of the entire lineage. Parentage in other Af rican societies, particularly those located in the westernmost countries, is not defined by filiation or biological relationships in its entirety (Isiugo-Abanihe,1985). Behavior al roles are equally, if not more important. This is also the case in th e Caribbean. Smucker and Murray (2004) state that nuclear family members throughout the Caribbean often reside in multiple households. My findings confirm th ese conclusions, as well. Parentage in the Dominican Republic is determined by conduct as well as by biological bonds. Although gene tic relationships lie at th e core of intimate kin group membership, behavior can be of equal, if not more relevance. This excerpt from an interview I conducted with Amantina, a former foster daughter from Loma de Cabrera, illustrates my point. At the time, I was asking her why her family had given her up.

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76 Tess: ¿Y porqué usted se fue a vivir con ese señor? Larisa: ¿Con Papá? Porque yo taba niña y él me reconoció y todo como hija del. Tess: ¿Pero el no es papá suyo? Larisaa: Sí…no, pero yo lo quise como mi papá. Y si vuelve y resucita, ese e mi papá. Tess: And, why did you go liv e with that gentleman? Larisa: With Father? Because I was a girl and he registered and legally recognized me as his daughter. Tess: But, he isn’t your father, right? Larisa: Yes, no, but I loved him as my fa ther. And if he returns and comes back from the dead, that’s my father. The manner in which I posed my initial question revealed my own bias that parentage is exclusively determined by biol ogy. To me, the man who raised Larisa was not her real father because they did not share a biological bond. The fact that I referred to Larisa’s father as “ese señor” or “that gentleman” baffled her. She immediately clarified that the “señor” I am referring to is in effect, “Papᔠor “Father”, that is, the person she shared the affective father-child bond with. This señor , she proclaimed, was indeed her “real” father. He even legally r ecognized her as such, she clarified. However, at the time, I still did not grasp the true m eaning of her words. Once again, I asked Amantina whether or not her “Papᔠwas her father. Confused, Amantina briefly hesitated. Although perplexed by my question, she responded. No, “Papᔠwasn’t her biological father, but she loved him as if he were. Were he to be born again, she would still love him as her true father. The fact that behavior, not biology determin es parentage is best articulated in the following statement. In this in stance, one of the foster moth ers I interviewed in Loma de Cabrera is explaining her relationshi p with her foster daughter.

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77 Ella tiene su mamá y su papá. Su madre que la echó al mundo y su papá que la engendró. Pero madre es la que cría. She has her mother and her father. Her mo ther that brought her to this world and her father that bore her. But moth er is the person that rears you. The adage “madre es la que cría” or “mother is the person that rears you” is used throughout the Dominican Republic. I h eard it many times as I was growing up, particularly during Día de las Madres or Mother’s Day. In the Dominican Republic, giving birth does not automatically qualify you as a mother. You must behave as a mother to be a mother. Mothers feed, cl othe, educate, provide schooling and nurture children. Isiugo Abanihe (1985) had simila r findings in his study of West African fosterage practices. When inquiring about the identity of a child’s parents, he would often have to ask two different sets of questions: “Who bore you?” and “Who reared you?” to get a clear answer (p. 54). I ha d to ask similar questions throughout my fieldwork, as well. Altruism or SelfInterest: Questions About Human Nature Why do parents give up or take in children? This ques tion, which at first seemed straightforward, ended up being a perplexing matter. For instance, each fosterage case I encountered was the product of a particular combination of for ces that challenged analyses and generalizations. Moreover, I wa s unable to speak with many of the sending families, especially Haitian biological parent s. Consequently, my analyses, particularly in regards to the Haitian pa rent fosterage decision maki ng process, rely heavily on second-hand information. Finall y, in trying to answer this que stion, I realized that I was, in essence, making what Wilk (1997) calls “assumptions and ideas about the essential nature of human beings”, (p. 34). I was tryi ng to decide whether pa rents gave up or took children in a “self-interested or altruistic” fashion (p. 35).

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78 The following excerpt from my interview with Doña Ramona, the foster mother from Yamasá I have mentioned, helps illustrate this dilemma: Cuando a mi me dieron esa niña, yo vivía en La Cuaba. Ella tenía un parásito malo. Tenía una infección vaginal. Ella taba enferma. Yo gaté mucho dinero! Mucho! La puse que el que la veía, no decía que era la niña. La puse limpia y bonita. Pero ei papá, cuando la vio limpia, que ya le podía hacei oficio me la quiso quitá. I lived in La Cuaba when the girl was gi ven to me. She had a bad parasite. She had a vaginal infection. She was sick. I sp ent a lot of money! A lot! People did not recognize the girl when they saw her after I had her. I cleaned her up and made her pretty. But when her father saw that she was clean and that she could help him with housework, he wanted to take her from me. Does Doña Ramona’s mention of her childrearing expenses denote a “selfinterested” (Wilk, 1997, p. 35) motive for taki ng in her foster daughter? Does the biological father’s intenti on of reclaiming his daughter when she was old enough to perform household duties reveal a concern for his own personal advantage? My conversation with Chichi, a foster mother from Loma de Cabrera, reveals similar thinking. Chichi: Ahora, si ello vienen y me la qui eren quitá a la fueza y ella no quiere irse, y yo entonce yo puedo por lo meno, cobrale a ello el tiempo. Tess: ¿Cómo así, cobrarle el tiempo? Chichi: Es decir, si ella tiene, vamo a decí ocho mese conmigo, yo puedo, si yo quiero, porque yo no lo toy haciendo, yo puedo llevá vamo a decir, como un récor de todo lo que ella consume, porque tampoco no e que uno puede lleva esa cuenta. Porque imaginese! Pero alguna cosa, uno por lo meno, sabe que si ella se enferma y uno la lleva al médico, eh, uno no sabe hata dónde se va uno gatando en ella. Que son sacrificio que uno hace, ¿vedá’? Chichi: Now, if they come and want to take her away from me by force and she doesn’t want to go, I can then at least, charge them for the time. Tess: What do you mean charge them for the time? Chichi: I mean, if she has b een, let’s say, eight months w ith me, I can, if I like, not that I am doing it, I can keep a record of everything we spend on her. Not that one

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79 can keep such a record. Imagine that! But some things, one can at least, if she is sick and we take her to the doctor, um , one doesn’t know how much we can end up spending on her. It’s a s acrifice we are making, right? Once again, does Chichi’s intention of keeping receipts of her childrearing expenditures suggest self-inter ested motives? Doña Ramona and Chichi’s experiences, as well as excerpts from other interviews stirred up multiple questions. What do parents consider when deciding to give up or take in a child? Is the hijo or hija de crianza system governed by market principles of supply and demand? Is the decision to take in or give up a child based on economic rationale? Are fo ster children in the Dominican Republic, in effect, commodified? The self-interested or altruistic motive has also been addressed in child fosterage literature. In her book Parenthood and Social Reproduction (1982), Goody examines the numerous factors that influence the foster age decision making pro cess of the Gonja in Northern Ghana. Goody encountered diffi culties while trying to assign a “defining characteristic” (p. 252) to each arrangement. On the one hand, evidence led her to support a self-interested, rational explanation. Yet, she also detected explanations that focused on altruistic motives. “Which in terpretation is corr ect?” (p. 252), Goody wondered, as did I. Isiugo-Abanih e (1985) engages this issue in Child fosterage in West Africa . This article, which tries to bring attention to child fosterage practices particularly in the field of demography, confronts similar que stions in trying to establish the factors behind child relocation. Children, Isiugo-Abanih e concludes, are fostered “by both stable and unstable families, married and single mothers, healthy and handicapped parents, rural and urban homes, and wealthy and poor pare nts” (p. 56). Consequently, families respond to an assortment of motivators, both rational and altruistic.

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80 In their study of the effects of African economic crises on child fosterage practices between urban and rural families, EloundouEnyengue and Stokes (2002) address these theoretical considerations. Their quantitative st udy of child relocation in Cameroon assumes that parents give up or take in ch ildren with economic calculations in mind. However, fosterage practices, the authors ad mit, are in reality driven by “altruism, economic rationality, or adherence to social norms” (p. 281). Thus, their study only addresses one of the thre e possible motivating factor s behind the practice. In their study of fosterage practices in Haiti and the Dominican Republic, Smucker and Murray (2004) noted the presence of an eco nomic rationale in the fosterage decisionmaking process. In Haiti, fosterage choices are “based on a calculus of costs, benefits, and household needs” (p. 26). The inability of Haitian parents to provide sustenance for their children is the principal motivating fact or. Dominican foster parents, on the other hand, are heavily influenced by economic cons iderations, as well. Dominican parents emphasize the “long-term calculations . . . of having additional children who can be counted on to love and care for you in sickness and old age” (p. 78). Although cost-benefit calcul ations are undoubtedly pres ent in my data, I found evidence that can lead to a lternative explanations. I en countered cases where rational thought was not applicable. Parents, I found, sometimes ba se their decisions on “selfinterested” motives and explicitly framed ch ildrearing in economic terms, while at other times, they were driven by the interests of the social group to which they belonged. Even more, I found that they were prompted to give up or take in a child as a response to moral obligations or altruistic motivations. Like Goody (1982), I asked myself “which interpretation is correct?” (p. 252). Af ter much deliberation and inner debate, I

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81 concluded that the parenting decision making process in the Dominican child fosterage system needs to be addressed with a basic guiding principle in mind. To examine all possibilities, it was imperative that I adopt a “combined model” of human nature (Wilk, 1996, p. 39) to thoroughly e xplain the practice. With this “combined model” (p. 39) in mind, I attempted, once again, to examine the decision to give up or take children in. In doing so, I was able to observe practices that were “not simply occasional statistical anomalies in the othe rwise even flow of nuclear-family life” (Goody, 1982, p. 250). Usin g my respondent’s explanations in regards to their fosterage decision, as well as Goody (1982) and Is iugo-Abanihe’s (1985) classificatory system as a guiding framewor k, I arranged the Dominican child fosterage system in eight categories, as Ta ble 2 indicates. I divided the hijo de crianza system into two main subdivisions. The first has to do w ith the reasons to give up a child: family crisis, economic crisis, educa tional needs, alliance and appr enticeship. The second has to do with the decision to take in a child: affective, domestic labor and infertility fosterage. Table 4–1. Dominican child fosterage taxonomy. gy A. Reasons to give up childrenB. Reasons to take in children 1. Family crisis1. Affective fosterage a. Death of a parent2. Domestic labor b. Divorce or separation3. Infertility fosterage i. Girls ii. Boys 2. Economic crisis 3. Educational fosterage 4. Alliance and apprentice fosterage Crisis Fosterage Child relocation cases that result from “the dissolution of the family of origin by divorce, separation or death of a spouse” (Isi ugo-Abanihe, 1985, p. 57) can be referred to as crisis fosterage. This particular type of fosterage, which has been cited as being the

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82 most frequent motivator behind the practice in the West Indies and in Latin America, was the most common modality in my fieldwork. Over and over again, I confronted instances that involved life-altering circ umstances that prompted parent s to give up or take in children. Parents of ten turned to the hijo de crianza system to unravel their family and/or economic predicaments. Family Crisis The hijo de crianza system is indispensable in the resolution of several catastrophic family situations. It allows parents to ga in access to resources and support through their kin and non-kin networks. The hijo de crianza system is often the only means through which parents can rebuild their shattered liveli hoods. Children are sent to live with other families, mostly with members of their kin groups, as a consequence of marriage or union terminations, remarriages, death of one or both parents and abandonment. As the following section reveals, fosterage situati ons are often the most fitting solution to resolve parental deaths. Death of Parent One of the family crisis situations I en countered during my fieldwork involved the death of parents. Child fosterage is ofte n the course of action adopted in all three possible parental death scenarios. Isabel ’s story, which I recounted in Chapter 2, illustrates the first scenarioth e death of a mother. Luisín, Isabel’s foster son, does not have a mother. She died at childbirth. Consequently, Luisín is being raised by his father’s uncle’s wife. Junior’s case, a seven-year-old boy from La Seyba illustrates another of the possible death scenarios. Juni or has lived with his grandmother Amanda from the day he was born. “ Porque el e huérfano de padre. No conoce a su padre ,” or “He is an orphan

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83 from his father’s side. He did not meet his father,” his grandmother explained. “Al padre lo mataron que tenía la mamá tre mese de embarazo,” or “His father was killed when his mother was three months pregnant,” she continued. “Ei iba en un motor y lo chocó un camión,” or “He was on a motorcycle a nd was hit by a truck,” Amanda revealed. But why did Junior’s mother choos e not to raise Junior herself? It was inevitable, I was told. Junior’s mother had no choice. “Como ella no tiene ningún recurso de nada, yo me quedé, el niño nació en poder mío,” or “Since she does not have any kind of resources, I kept, the boy was bor n in my care. He was born here and I kept him here so she could get on her way,” she explained. “She does not have a husband to help her. She does not have a house. She does not have anything.” Wilfredo’s child relocation case illustrates the last possible scenariothe death of both parents. Both of Wilfredo’s parents are dead. Wilfredo lived wi th his uncle in Haiti prior to living with his current family in the Dominican Republic. Although Nefertiti, his Dominican foster sister told me his story, she did not know how his parents died. Divorce or Separation La ley dice que las hembras son de los padres y los varones son de la mamá. The law says that girls belong to the father s and boys belong to the mothers. Nora, nurse in Loma Dura The dissolution of marriages or consensual unions was the most frequently quoted reason behind the fosterage cases I observed. Over and over again, the hijo de crianza system was relied upon to settle child cu stody disputes. Maternal or paternal grandmothers habitually become foster pa rents to their grandchildren from broken homes. Nonetheless, I noted the existence of very specific norms that regulate this type of relocation practice. Alt hough these rules are culturally en forced and are absent from Dominican family laws, I found that they ofte n permeate and inform official settlements

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84 of child custody disputes. Nora, the nurse fr om Loma Dura, was the first person to speak of the norms that dictates that “girls be long to the fathers and the boys belong to the mothers.” Nora Nora met and married her first husband, Céspedes, when she was only eighteen. Although most couples in El Bejucal, where she grew up, do not get married, Nora had a church wedding. The nuns where Nora worked, she revealed, threatened to fire her if she did not adhere to their precepts. Consequen tly, Nora and Céspedes acquiesced. Shortly after, Nora was pregnant w ith Sodelys, her first child. Pregnancies, I thought, were supposed to be joyous occassions. However, Nora’s recollection of her pregnancy is not entirely pleasant. It was during this time that she discovered her husband’s long-standing infidelities. “ Y yo no lo aceté, ” or “And I did not accept it,” she asserted. So Nora left her hus band and returned to her mother’s home, where a few months later, Sodelys was born. Nora and her mother performed and shared all childrearing duties. “ La do hacíamo todo” or “Both of us would do everything,” sh e explained when I asked her about the childrearing distribution of la bor. Céspedes did not provide any resources for Sodely’s upbringing. However, Nora’s direct involvement in her daughter’s upbringing ended when she left for Santo Domingo to attend nursing school and subsequently ob tained her current position as assistant nurse at the Loma Dura rural clinic. Nora left her daughter Sodelys, behind with her mother. “ Que la tenga mi mama es igual que yo ” or “If my mom has her

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85 it’s the same as if it were myself.” In e ffect, Nora’s mother became an extension of herself in regards to Sodelys’ upbringing. A few months after she arrived at her ne w job, Nora met and fell in love with Rafelo, one of the local farmers in Loma Dura. Why, I asked, didn’t she reclaim her daughter, I asked. “Porque el papá della era muy egoíta,” or “Because her father was very selfish,” she said emphatically. “El me decía que si yo me casaba, él me quitaba a Norelys. Que me la quitaba, que me la quitaba y se la llevaba,” or “He would tell me that if I remarried, he would take Sodelys aw ay from me. He said he would snatch her from me and take her away.” Cespedes refu sed to have Sodelys live with another man. Despite Cespedes’ repeated threats, Nora married Rafelo. How had Nora stymied her husband’s efforts to take his daughter, I wondered. Nora, I learned, turned to the local district attorney for assistance and advi ce. “. . . yo le expliqué la situación, porque nada más que él [Cespedes] la [Sodelys] quier e mucho, pero no le daba recursos,” or “I explained the situation to him because he [C espedes] says he loves her [Sodelys] so much but does not give her any money,” she replied. “El me dijo que si él no quería que yo la tuviera con un hombre, él tampoco la podía tener con una mujer, que mejor se la dejara a mi mamá,” or “He told me that if he didn’t want me to have Sodelys with another man, he can’t have her with another woman, either,” she declared. The district attorney, I learned, told Nora she could marry whomever she pleased. But, to my surprise, he did not grant her custody of S odelys. Her daughter was to stay at her grandmother’s home. I was at first, baffled by the district attorney’s recommendation. Why had he failed to grant Nora custody of Sodelys, esp ecially since Cespedes had never contributed

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86 to his daughter’s upbringing? Did Nora’s statement: “Cespedes refused to have Sodelys with another man” have anything to do with th e ruling? When I asked Nora what she had meant by this statement, she responded “ Se han oído muchas historia ,”or “One has heard many stories,” she responded. “Se han oído muchas historias de madres que tienen hijas con hombres que no son los padres de ellas y luego viven con ellas ,” or“One has heard many stories of mothers that have daughters wi th men that are not their parents. They end up living with them,” sh e confessed. Nora, I concluded, was referring to the widespread occurrence of sexual abuse and incest in the Dominican Republic. At that moment, another cultural dichotomy surfaced. In the previous chapter we emphasized the difference between “lending” ch ildren and “giving up” children. That neat dichotomy was complicated when I was forced to hypothesize yet another dichotomy: the existence of two distinct ch ild custody systems, one for boys, another for girls. To explore my hypothe sis, I asked Nora what would have happened if Sodelys were a boy, instead of a girl. Her res ponse corroborated my initial conclusions, “Era más fácil varón que hembra. El hubiera dicho: ‘Sí, llévatelo.’ Pero era hembra y la ley dice que las hembras son de los padres,” or “It would’ve been easie r with a boy than with a girl. He would’ve said ‘Take him with you’. But she is a girl and the law says that girls belong to the fathers; boys to the mothers.” Nora’s consultation with the province’s district attorney and her certainty of the content of Dominican family law prompted me to research this particular matter in further depth. I searched the new Código de Niños, Niñas, y Adolescentes (2003) for any such law, as well as consulted with three atto rneys. There was no such stipulation. I had

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87 serendipitously stumbled, through ethnogr aphic probing, onto yet another cultural dichotomy that had no formal basis in the law. Diana, a foster mother in Loma Dura, also spoke to me about this “law”. Josefina, Diana’s daughter, has a story very similar to Nora’s. Once Josefina learned of her husband’s infidelities, she retu rned to her parents’ home with Fior, her two-year-old daughter. When Juana left her home to work as a maid in nearby San José de Ocoa, she left Fior with her grandmother. A year later, Juana met another man and remarried. However, she did not take her daughter to her new home. Fior remained with her grandmother. When I asked why Josefina had not taken her daughter with her, Diana responded: Bueno, porque nosotros no lo aceptamos. . . . Porque yo le explique, ‘Bueno, mi hija, yo quiero que tú comprendas que si tú vas a irte con ese hombre, tú sabes que él no es el papa de esa niña. Entonces, el papa de ella dice que el puesto de esa niña se lo tengo yo. Que yo soy quien se de ella.’ Porque el esposo que ella tiene, no es su papá. Es un hombre bueno que la qui ere como si fuera hija del. ¿Usted ve? Y no es un hombre que uno le conozca, que no es capaz de ninguna cosa, como se ha visto. Pero, uno sabe que no es su papá. Well, because we didn’t accept it. Because I told her, ‘Well, daughter, I want you to understand that if you are going to go away with that man, you know that he is not that girl’s father. The girl’s father says that she belongs with me, that I am the one that knows about that child.’ Because the husband that she has is not her father. He is a good man that loves her like a da ughter, you see? And he is a man that we know is not capable of anything of those th ings we’ve heard of. But, one knows he is not her father. Like Nora, Diana had also made referen ce to the impending need to protect girls from sexual abuse. Although I was troubled by this recurring theme, it was the response to my following question that r econfirmed Nora’s init ial reference to child custody “law”. I asked Diana if Josefina had ever atte mpted to reclaim her daughter’s custody. “No, ella no me la ha pedido nunca porque ella sabe que no tiene derecho a pedírmela,” or “No, she has never asked me for her because she knows she doesn’t have the right to ask me

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88 for her,” she declared. “Porque ella se dejó de ese hom bre y ella se fue con ese otro hombre. Pero ella sabe que ella está con ese otro hombre que no es el papá de la niña,” or “Because she left that other man and went away with another one. She knows she is with that other man and he is not the girl’s father,” she explained. “En una comparación, ella me quisiera hacer fuerza a mí para que yo se la dé, ella pierde los derechos,” or “Even if she, for example, wanted to force me into giving her up to her, she loses her rights,” she clarified. “ La juticia no acuerda eso, ” she added, “The law does not support that.” “ Si la madre tiene otro esposo, que no es su papá, la justicia no va de acuerdo a que esa mamá tenga ese niño ” or “If the mother has anot her husband, that is not the father, the law will not support that the mother has the child,” she affirmed. Page (1989) describes somewhat similar chil d relocation practices in West Africa. In the following excerpt she describes child re location patterns that result from marriage or union dissolutions in matrilineal societies: Where they belong to the mother’s lineage, they may stay with her for a while. If she remarries, however, it may be considered preferable for her to delegate responsibility to one of her female kin than to take the childre n with her into the new marriage. (p. 45) Page’s description undoubtedly shares sim ilarities with the arrangement Diana and Nora spoke about. The West African practi ce Page (1989) made reference to was based on the assumption that spouses or co-wives mi streat children from previous unions (Silk 1989). In both instances, women preferred child relocation over co-residence with the new spouse. Her description, however, did not make distinctions between make and female offspring. Perhaps in the African case the driving factor is fear of loss of the child’s labor, which belongs to a particul ar kin group. Meanwhile, in the Dominican context, the driving fear is th at of sexual abuse, to which girls are more vulnerable than

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89 boys (G. F. Murray, personal communication, November 24, 2005). At that point, it became imperative that I examine the underlying reasons behind this gender-determined fosterage practice. My visit to the Casa de la Mujer Villa Altagraciana , a nonprofit group that works on multiple women’s issues, including domestic violence, shed light on the gravity of sexual abuse and incest in the Dominican Republic. Domestic Violence Amarra tu gallina, que mi gallo anda suelto . Tie up your chickens that my rooster is loose One morning while in at Loma Dura, my attention was drawn to where I had heard frenzied wing flutters and squawks. A few feet away from me, Altagracia’s gallo manilo , a rooster breed, assaulted one of her chickens. When the gallo manilo closed in on its victim, copulation eventually occurred. Dominicans refer to this process as “ pisar ” which literally means “step on”. Unfortunate ly, this choice of words, as well as the behavior I had just witne ssed, closely resembled actual human sexual behavior. Unfortunately, chicken and rooster mating be havior is viewed by many Dominicans as illustrative of male attitudes and behavior towards women. Rooster mating behavior is used in many Dominican adages. For instance, “amarra tu gallina que mi gallo anda suelto.” or “tie your chickens up that my rooster is loose” is commonly used to refer to a parents’ need to protect daughters from unrestrained roosters or men. And Dominican roosters are al ways unrestrained. As an attorney from the Casa de la Mujer Villaltagraciana, a non-profit group that works against domestic violence explained, “A los varones los crían para la calle, mientras que a las niñas las crían para la casa. A las mujeres las crían y las enseñan a que obedezcan a los hombres,” or “Boys are raised for the streets, while women are raised for the home.

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90 Women are raised for the home and taught to ob ey men,” she added. Consequently, it is a parent’s, specifically a biological father’s bur den to ensure that da ughters stay at home where they are protected and guarded from men. The hijo de crianza system is one way to keep daughters from getting “stepped on” by their stepfathers. This is why Cespedes, Nora’s husband, and the District Attorney pr ohibited Sodelys from living with Rafelo, her stepfather. Economic Crisis Fosterage instances that “redistribute the availability of services between households with many children, where they may be a liability, and t hose with few, where they will be an asset” is referred to as economic crisis fosterage (Isiugo Abanihe, 1985, p. 57). Many of the parents I spoke to cited th eir inability to provide sustenance for their children to explain fosterage decisions. D oña Ramona, for instance, claimed that her foster daughter’s father was near suicide becaus e of his inability to work and care for his multiple children. Fabiola, a former foster daughter I met in Villa Altagracia, said “ él [papa] no no podia comprar ropa, zapato ” or “he [father] could not buy us clothes, shoes”. This is also the case for Hait ian parents (Smucker & Murray, 2004). “ A ve si la podían saivá ” or “to see if they could save her” is what Elena’s foster parents said prompted her Haitian biological pa rents to give up their child Migration is a common motivating factor behind child relocation. Parents often choose relocation as they migrat e to other towns or countries in search of employment opportunities. “The decline of the viability and attractiveness of agriculture as a way of life” often prompts parents to migrate to other c ities or countries in search of employment opportunities (Smucker and Murray, 2004, p. 40). This is why Ana, Lourdes and Yoani, three elementary school-aged girls in Loma de Cabrera, live with their aunt, Zoila. Luisa,

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91 their mother, lives in Italy, where she works as a maid. “ Aquí no hay vida” or “There’s no life here,” explained the girls’ foster mo ther when I asked why the girls were living with their aunt. Luisa, she told me, pays for and participates in her daughter’s upbringing by meticulously sending remittances and calling them once a week. Alliance and Apprentice Fosterage Alliance and apprentice fosterage occurs when children are placed with other families to create or strengthen social or economic relationships that will hopefully improve the chances of upward social mobility (Goody, 1982; Isiugo-Abanihe, 1985). I encountered one case of alliance fostering during my time in Yamasá, a town located north of the city of Santo Domingo. Carmita , a former foster daughter I spoke to, was raised by her madrina or godmother. When I inquire d about the reasons behind this placement, Carmita replied, “P orque uté sabe que ante cuando bautizaban un muchacho, lo padrino criaban a uno” or “Because you know that before, when a kid was baptized, the godparents would raise you.” Carmita’s pare nts chose fosterage to strengthen their affective bonds with their compadres . Parents will also choose to give up their children so that their children can learn a particular skil l or trade. Andrés, who left Loma Dura to finish high school in San José de Ocoa, was relocated so he could learn to operate his aunt’s colmado or convenience store. Affective Fostering Fosterage cases that involve an affectiv e or emotional motivating component can be referred to as affective fostering. “Emp ty nest” situations often prompt families to take children into their homes. Childre n are placed with older women whose own offspring have left the home. This is th e reason why Xinia, a grandmother of nine children I met in Loma de Cabrera took Paola, a twelve-year-old Ha itian girl, into her

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92 home. “ Porque ya todos se fueron y estaba sola” or “Because everyone has already left and I was alone,” she said when I as ked about the reasons behind the fosterage arrangement. Chichi’s situation al so exemplifies affective fostering. “ Nosotro decíano que queraíno tené una hija hembra porque no tuvimo hembra” or “We always said that we wanted to have a daughter because we ne ver had a girl.” Finally, Doña María, who lives in La Ciénaga, told me “ me gusta criá muchacho ” or “I like raising kids”. Childrearing, I concluded, is viewed as a de sirable task, especially for women, since it fulfills their societal role of nurturers and caretakers. Infertility Fosterage The hijo de crianza system is relied upon by childle ss couples to gain access to children. Although I did not personally encoun ter any cases during my fieldwork, I was repeatedly told of instances of surrogate parenthood arrang ements, particularly between family members. According to one of my in formants in Yamasá, a couple in the town had purposefully conceived a child for the wife’s infertile sister. I did, however, meet a lady in Loma de Cabrera who in her own words told me, “ Como Dió no me dio hijo yo cogí eta muchachita ” or “Since God did not give me a ny children, I took this little girl in.” She acquired Inés, her fourteen-year-o ld foster daughter, through a man that could not raise his daughter after his wife abandoned him. Domestic Labor Fostering Domestic labor fostering occurs when hous eholds give up or take in children for the purpose of performing domestic labor. Isiugo-Abanihe (1985) maintains that domestic fostering “redistributes availability of services between households with many children, where they may be a liability, and thos e with few, where they will be an asset.” Altagracia, the former foster child from Loma Dura I have made re peated reference to,

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93 was taken in by her foster family to help w ith domestic chores. As I have mentioned, Altagracia was responsible of performing all th e child care duties of the baby in the foster home. In exchange, her parents provided her with food, clothing, schooling and shelter, as well as incorporated her as a daughter into the home. This type of fosterage will be addressed in further depth in subsequent chapters. Social NetworksThe Binding Element Despite my categorization of the hijo de crianza system, I was still unable to explain the fosterage decision process in it s entirety. For instance, why would some Loma Dura families with high-school-aged chil dren choose relocate their children while others with identical needs did not? I could not explain the fact that two families, with similar situations, might or might not c hoose to incorporate themselves into the hijo de crianza system. A primal element in the fost erage equation was lacking, I concluded. The availability of fosterage opportunities, as Eloundou Enyengue and Stokes (2002) affirm, anchors the fosterage decision making process. Without opportunity, fosterage is not likely to occur. So, what provides both sets of parents w ith this opportunity? What seals the fosterage arrangement? How does a family in Loma Dura find a receiving family to house their high-school-aged child? How does a family in San José de Ocoa end up with foster child from Loma Dura ? Social networks, I concluded, are the vital binding element of the hijo de crianza system. Social networks connect the biological family with a need to provide schooling for their ch ild with the receiving family in need of domestic help. In Haiti, Smucker a nd Murray (2004) report the existence of buscones networks. Buscones are paid intermediaries that search out children for urban families. However, I did not find any evidence of such practice in the Dominican Republic

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94 Altagracia and Bene, for instance, expe rienced the need to relocate their son. Nonetheless, had Altagracia not had her si ster living in San José de Ocoa, the arrangement would not have taken place. Similarly, Altagracia’s former foster family in Ensanche Piantini relied on thei r own networks to find an hija de crianza to satisfy their childcare needs. This coupl e tapped into a neighbor’s trabajadora or maid network to find someone “ de buena familia ” or “from a good family” that had a daughter they wanted to send to school. Networks, I concluded, are used by both ends of the arrangementthe demand and the supply side. Each and every one of the hijo de crianza cases I encountered was the product of social networks. In some instances, families were members of the same kin group or were trustworthy and reliable friends. For cas es when biological and foster families had not met prior to the arrangement, a trusted fr iend or relative invariably linked these families together. Sending and receiving families knew how to contact and locate their childrearing counterpart. Even in regalado cases, biological families continually knew where their children lived and knew how to contact them. Conclusion The decision to give up or take in a child requires an understanding of multiple factors. First, in order to grasp its comple xities, we must examine the principles that underlie the decision to willingly relinquish child custody rights. As Alber (2003) eloquently notes, we must understand “the meaning of social parenthood within the general norms and ideas about parenthood, chil dhood, and kinship in a pa rticular society” (p. 489). Thus, we must understand the manner in which Dominicans conceptualize kinship relations and parentage. As I have noted, this particular understanding allows and facilitates the separation of the biological parent and child dyad and the creation of

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95 another based on behavioral roles. It is an understanding that consid ers parenting as an achieved role that is not restri cted to biology. Thus, it is a ro le that can be transferred. However, as Goody (1985) noted of Ghanaian fosterage, Dominicans place great value on the biological bonds. We mu st not disregard the great re levance that biological bonds hold in the Dominican worldview. As I have mentioned, parents give up and take in children for varied reasons. The most frequently cited were those related to fa mily and economic crises situations. Family dissolutions, whether by death or by divorce, often leads to the decision to relocate a child. The most salient finding in this regard is the patter n of relocation of daughters of women who wish to remarry. Daughters must be protected from potential sexual abuse, a widespread and distressing problem. Noneth eless, despite the different reasons behind the fosterage decision process, it is crucial th at social networks be incorporated into the analysis. Social networks provide what Eloundou-Enyengue (2002) refers to as the opportunity for relocation to occu r. Without social networks , fosterage would most likely not occur. In broader terms, understanding the hijo de crianza system requires that we address the societal functions the practice serves. Gi ven that parents will often relocate children in response to crisis situations, it is importa nt to note that the Domi nican fosterage system provides invaluable assistance and is ofte n the only support parents can rely upon for child care, protection, and for adoptions. As Ortíz Gómez (2003) notes in her article in the Hoy newspaper, “[Los particulares] llenan un va cio que el Estado no ha podido llenar, ” or “[Individuals] fill a vacuum that the State has not been able to fill”. But most importantly, my findings suggest that biological parents will choose fosterage as a way to

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96 find what are considered to be equal or bett er living conditions for their children. Thus, regardless of how dire a foster child’s livi ng conditions are, it is imperative that the reasons that prompted the fo sterage decision be taken in to account. Unfortunately, a foster child’s unfortunate condi tions might be better than t hose they would receive with their biological parents. In the next two chapters, I put my research hypothesis to the test. Is the Cinderella effect, as Zimmerman (2002) puts it, the pr evailing pattern in Dominican fosterage arrangements? Are foster children, overall, second-class members of the household? Are they really treated “ como si fuera una hija ” or “as if they were a daughter”? Similarly, in Chapter 5, I carry out a similar analys is. I compare Haitian foster child living conditions with those of Domini can foster children. My findi ngs not only revealed a lot about the complexities involved in foster parenting, but of bi ological children as well.

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97 CHAPTER 5 CARIBBEAN CINDERELLAS She employed her in the meanest work of the house. She scoured the dishes, tables, etc., and cleaned her chamber, and those of . . . her daughters. She slept in a sorry garret, on a wretched straw bed, while her sist ers slept in fine rooms, with floors all inlaid, on beds of the very newest fashion . . . . Cinderella, Charles Perrault (n.d.) In an earlier chapter, I alluded to the st rongly formulated cultura l ideal that foster children should receive the same treatment as biological children. I have also quoted informants, however, who told me not to believe that “baloney” – who insisted that there is differential treatment. It is very har d, during rapid research, to gather reliable behavioral data on this sensitive issue. Th is chapter will explore the issue in further depth – to see if Dominican foster children r eally are Cinderellas mistreated by cruel step parents and pampered step siblings. The above Cinderella passage describes a fosterage arrangement characterized by inegalitarian living conditions. It depicts an arrangement that fails to confer equal family membership rights to a foster ch ild. It involves a mother th at fails to treat her foster daughter “ como si fuera una hija” or “as if she were a daug hter”. The above passage describes perhaps the most notorious of all fosterage arrangements. It describes the living conditions of perhaps the most famous hija de crianza Perrault’s Cinderella. Although Cinderella’s living conditions in seventeenth-century France are very different from any circumstance that might involve a foster child in the Dominican Republic, I chose this fairy tale to illustrate many of the issues I was concerned with in my research. Do differential ch ildrearing practices exist in the hijo de crianza system?

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98 Are foster children really treated “ como si fuera una hija ” or as equal family members, as many foster parents claim? Do foster parent s really overlook the fact that these children are not their own? Or does the Dominican ch ild fosterage system conceal real-life cases of Caribbean Cinderellas? This disturbing and painful reality, as I have mentioned, is at the core of my research hypotheses. I focu sed my attention on these and other similar questions during my time in the Dominican Republic. In this chapter I put my initial hypothesis to the testbiologica l children will enjoy better living conditions than foster children. In other words, does the Cinderella effect, as Zimmerman (2002) puts it, prevail in the fosterage cases I obser ved? The answer to this question, I would soon learn, was going to be quite difficult. However, prior to examining each one of the components of my living conditions indicator, it is pertinent that I revisit the topic of my research limitations. Many of the obstacles I faced during th e course of my fieldwork makes the hypothesis testing portio n of my work quite challenging. First of all, my resource and timing constraints hindered my ability to speak with children, the main focus of this study. Thus, my data is lack ing the voices of those whose living conditions I am drawing conclusions from. Similarly, I did not enjoy sufficient time with my adult informants in order to triangulate and confirm what I was being told. Conseque ntly, subterfuges are inevitable and expected. In addition, I was not always able to gather information on all the components of my living conditions indi cator. Finally, the heterogeneity of my participants presented a formidable challeng e in a comparative research design. However, despite these limitations, I believe that valuable insights can still be drawn from my data.

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99 Biological Versus Hijos de Crianza Living Conditions Joaquín One of the first people I interviewed upon my arrival in Sa nto Domingo, my first research site, was Joaquín, one of my mother’s college friends. As is common throughout the Dominican Republic, Joaquí n unexpectedly stopped by my mother’s home for a visit. “ Pero Joaquín ha criado muchachos. Con él es que tu tienes que hablar! ,” or “But Joaquín has fostered children. It is with him that you must speak!” my mother exclaimed. My unanticipated convers ation with Joaquín re vealed that intrahousehold dynamics in foster homes can esta blish differential treatment and hierarchies within the foster homes. Joaquín, a man in his mid-sixties, has made it. He lives in a two-story, meticulously decorated home in one of the nicest, upper-middle class sectors of Santo Domingo. But most importa ntly, Joaquín drives a jeepeta or SUV, the quintessence of affluence and capacity. Despite his humble beginnings in the Southwestern town of Barahona, Joaquín is now a prominent and resp ected member of the city’s professional class. A respected economist, he has held both national and internat ional posts in various governments. Joaquín was an outstanding informant. No t only did I have trus t and rapport with him as a result of many years of acquaintance, but Joaquín had the ability to self-reflect and critically evaluate his ow n participation in fosterage ar rangements. Joaquín adeptly switched from an insider to outsider perspe ctive when talking a bout his own fosterage experiences. But most importantly, Joaquín was an excellent informant because he had been the foster father to two children, as well as raised his own biological offspring.

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100 As I did with all my other informants, I started our conversation by asking Joaquín to talk to me about what criar un niño or foster a child was. “Tú crías un niño con todas las características, aunque no tenga tu apellido, pero con todas las características como si fuera hijo tuyo. O sea, todas las cosas que hace un niño que tenga tu apellido,” or “You raise a child with all the ch aracteristics, as if they we re your own children. Even if they don’t have your last name. You do the same things with the child as if they had your own last name,” he responded. What does it mean, I asked, to treat hijos de crianza as your own children. “Tú lo educas, come contigo, duerme en un sitio que no es un sitio de servicio y así. Incluso, ese niño no es de servicio, es un niño de la casa,” or “You educate him. He eats with you. He sleeps in a pl ace that is not the maid’s quarters. Like that. The child is not a servant. He is a child of the house.” Joaquín, I initially concl uded, did not establish any differences between his biological and foster children. In hi s response, Joaquín indicated that his hijos de crianza were incorporated into his home as full member s of the family. They were not servants, they were part of the family. However, as our conversation progressed, my initial conclusion changed. Did you ever establish a ny differences between your biological and foster children, I bluntly asked. In a surp risingly candid response, Joaquín disclosed his differential parenting practices. Despite the fact that parent s are supposed to incorporate foster children into the home as full a nd equal members of the intimate kin group, differences are in fact established. Sí, hay una diferencia porque por ejem plo, por lo bueno que uno quiera hacer no es verdad, que cuando el niño siguiera crecie ndo yo lo iba a poner, por ejemplo, en el Colegio Loyola. Pero si lo iba a poner en un buen colegio. Al mío, yo lo iba a poner en el Loyola. . . . Con él yo lo que iba a hacer era tenerlo en un colegio bueno. Pero no en el mejor. Por ejemplo, vamos a suponer que yo tenga a un niño. Yo nunca llevaría como está la sit uación, un niño que yo crié, yo no lo

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101 llevaría ni a UTESA, ni a la Universi dad del Caribe, ni a la Autónoma, ni a ninguna de esas viralata. Yo lo pondría en la UNPHU, en INTEC o en la Católica de Santo Domingo. Pero tampoco lo pondría UNIBE o en la Madre y Maestra. Porque son demasiado caros y me ahogaría del pago. Eso es criar. Con criar tú no llegas a menos que sea que tú no tengas hijos. Cuando tú no tienes hijos, ya tú lo puedes poner en el mejor. . . . Mi hijo quiso ir a la Madre y Maestra. Yo lo hubiera puesto en INTEC porque nos queda más cerca. Pero era mi hijo. Yo no le podía decir que no. Yes, there are differences because,for exam ple, as benevolent as one might want to be, I wasn’t going to enroll the chil d, let’s say, in the Colegio Loyola9. But I did enroll him in a good colegio [private school]. I enrolled my own child in Colegio Loyola. . . . I was going to have him in a good colegio , but not in the best one. Let’s say I had a child right now. I would never enroll him in UTESA, nor in the Universidad del Caribe, nor would I enroll him in UASD, nor in any one of those schools of questionable reputation. I would enroll him in UNPHU, in INTEC, or in the Católica of Santo Domingo. But I wouldn’t enroll him in UNIBE or in Madre y Maestra because they are too expensive and I would drown in the payments10. That is criar . With criar , you don’t reach those levels unless you don’t have any children of your own. When you don’t have children of your own, you can enroll them in the best schools. . . . My own son wanted to go to Madre y Maestra . I would have enrolled him in INTEC because it is closer to our house. But he was my son. I could not say no. Schooling Although I had not specifically mentioned schooling in my inquiry, Joaquín chose to use it to illustrate differential childreari ng practices. Not only is schooling one of the most reliable means of upward social mobility (McPherson, 2003; Smucker & Murray, 2004), but it is one of the multiple indicators Dominicans use to tacitly evaluate and establish class and status. 9 Colegio Loyola is an upscale, private school in Santo Domingo. 10 UTESA and Universidad del Caribe are both universities in Santo Domingo considered of lower academic quality and reputation. UASD or the Un iversidad Autónoma de Santo Domingo, the State university, is where students of lower socioeconomic class attend. Middle-class students usually go to UNPHU (Universidad Nacional Pedro Henríquez Ur eña), INTEC (Instituto Tecnológico de Santo Domingo) and the Universidad Católica de Santo Domingo. UNIBE (Universidad Iberoamericana) and the Universidad Católica Madre y Maestra have the highest tuition rates and thus, are frequented by the uppermiddle class and high-class students.

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102 Joaquín used his schooling decisions to re veal the existence of a hierarchical structure within his home. Joaquín feels obliged to send his children to Madre y Maestra , the University that is at the pinnacle of th e higher-education hierarchy. This, on the other hand, was not the case with his foster son. He sent him to a good, but less expensive school. Joaquín’s candid and honest response exposed several issu es that might otherwise be concealed. First and foremost, Joaquín’ s foster and biological children did not enjoy equal levels of rights of ownership over th e available childrearing resources. Joaquín’s biological children were at the top of all his parental priorities. While Joaquín felt he could place limits on his foster child’s demands of resources, he could not do so with his own biological children. When Joaquín’s biological son re quested to attend the most expensive university in the country, he coul d not deny him this request. Had the foster child done the same, Joaquín could have said no. Secondly, foster parents do not experience the same level of obligation with fo ster children as they do with biological children. For instance, Joaquín had to fi nd the means to make the expensive school payments when it concerned his biological son, while he did not have to make the same degree of sacrifices with his foster child. Third, in Joaquín’s ca se, biological or blood ties had more weight than behavioral parentag e. His biological ch ildren had more claim than Joaquín’s social children. However, the situation is quite different, as Joaquín stated, if a couple does not have biological ch ildren of their own. In this case, foster children can, in effect, lay claim to all resources. I also observed similar educational resource partitioning in other fosterage households. Suzy, a foster mother, se nds her foster daughter Jennifer to Colegio Arroyo

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103 Hondo . Although it is a good school, Jennifer does not go to the same school Suzy's biological children attended. They graduated from a prestigious, bilingual school. However, it was in Altagracia’s case that I observed the steepest, most marked educational hierarchy. Altagracia was an hija de crianza in a home in the affluent neighborhood of Ensanche Piantini , where she lived with her foster parents and foster brothers. Contrary to Joa quín’s case, where I had the confianza or trust to address the differential treatment up front, with Altagracia I had to use a lot more tact. One afternoon, between sips of sweet, syrupy coffee, we talked about her years at her foster home. Altagracia Altagracia, the former hija de crianza I spoke to in Loma Dura, has fond memories of her experience growing up with her foster family in an affluent neighborhood of Santo Domingo. “ Ellos me tenían como una hija " or "they had me like a daughter," she reminisced. “Me trataban como una hija. El matrimoni o me lo hicieron allá y todo. El bebé que yo crie fue uno de los pajecitos, ” or, “They treated me like a daughter. They had a wedding for me and all. The baby I raised was a ring-bearer,” she added. “Ellos me daba todo lo que yo necesitaba, ” or “They gave me everything I needed,” she told me. “Yo y ella conversábamos como madre e hija. Yo le contaba, si yo tenía un enamorado, yo se lo decía y ella me c ontaba muchas cosas de ella también,” or “She and I would talk like mother and daughter. I w ould tell her, I would tell her if I had a boyfriend. She would also tell me her things too,” she explained Altagracia’s initial description of her life as an hija de crianza in this upper-middle class home suggested that she was indeed, fully incorporated into her foster family's

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104 household. Not only did Altagracia's pare nts provide her with all the sustenance essentials, but they also established a lovi ng, trusting relationship. Altagracia's foster parents did indeed treat her "as if she were a daughter", I thought. However, as Altagracia continued her remini scence, I learned that this was far from being the case. Despite Altagr acia’s rosy recollection, her na rrative, specially in regards to her schooling experience, turned out to be that of a ten-yea r-old mountain girl raised in a home where parents prorated their parent ing rights and responsibilities according to hierarchical childrearing nor ms. Unfortunately, as an hija de crianza , Altagracia was placed at the bottom of the household’s stratification. Like in Joaquín’s case, Altagracia did not attend the same school as the biological children in her home. “Los muchachos estudiaban en el Colegio La Salle. Pero a él [youngest child], como era más cerca de la casa, lo pusieron en el Colegio Carmelita,” or “They went to Colegio de la Salle . Every morning, I would take the baby to Colegio Carmelita11,” she revealed. These two schools, I noted, were located in exclusive sections of town, where only the children of upper-middle class families were enrolled. Where did Altagracia go to school, I wondered. She was a campesina or country girl. As I did not want to make my questions too ab rupt, I waited a while before asking her. When I did, however, I also uncovered exis tence of an educational hierarchy. “Yo iba a un colegio, a un liceo, Liceo El Mundo. Ello s me daban el transporte a la escuela todos los días. Yo estudiaba de tarde, ” or “I went to the colegio [private school], um, to the El Mundo public school. They would give me a ride to school every day. I was in school in the afternoon,” she disclosed as she stutte red and hesitated when enunciating the words 11 Colegio de la Salle and Colegio Carmelita are both private schools in Santo Domingo.

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105 colegio and escuela, which in the Dominican Republic differentiate between public and private schools. Altagracia’s hesitati on revealed that underneath her gratitude, underneath her assertions that “me tenían igual que una hija ” or “they had me just like a daughter,” she was aware of the intrinsic di fferences between herself and her foster siblings. Unlike Joaquín’s foster children a nd unlike Jennifer, Altagr acia did not receive a good education. The schooling differences be tween Altagracia and he r foster siblings were much more drastic and extreme. Alta gracia was sent to a public school, while they went to a private school. Differential treatment in regards to schoo ling can take on a more subtle form of expression. The time of day a child attends school can be emblematic (International Labor Organization, 2003). I le arned this during my interview with Janet, a woman I met in Santo Domingo. Janet lived with her aunt and six cousinsthree females and three males. At first sight, any differential treatme nt might not be apparent between Janet and her foster siblings. Janet attended the Escuela Santiago Apóstol , as did the rest of her cousins. However, Janet’s cousins went to school in the morning, while Janet went to school in the afternoon. There probably is no difference between Janet and her cousins’ education. However, Janet went to school in the afternoon. In the mornings, she would stay at home and assist her a unt with all the domestic chores . Did your cousins help with housework , I inquired. “A veces era a mi sola que la ayudaba porque tenían que ir a la ecuela en la mañana ,” or, “Sometimes I would be the only one that would help because they had to go to school in the morning,” she explained. Not all of my interviews revealed differential schooling arrangements. Contrary to the trend I observed in Santo Domingo, the es tablishment of differential treatment along

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106 schooling lines was not as evident in the interviews I conducted in the pueblos or smaller towns. This conclusion first became ev ident during my conversation with Keyla, Chicha’s foster daughter. Chicha and Keyla “ Yo quiero la chiquitica ” or “I want the little one,” Chicha said to the man she and her sister ran into approxim ately nineteen years ago. This man, Chicha told me, was carrying a one-year-old in his arms and a ten-year-old girl by the hand. He was on a quest to find “ alguien que criara las muchachita ” or “someone to raise his little girls.” “ Ay, mire, si usté la coge, yo no se la voy a quitá má nunca ,” or “Oh, look. If you take her, I will never take her away from you,” he told Chicha with desperation. Chicha, who was in her mid-to-late forties at the time we spoke, took the younger of the two girls into her care. She renamed her new baby daughter , Keyla. Chicha re gistered her at the Registro Civil or Civil Registry as if she had given birth to Keyla hersel f. Keyla, who is now twenty-years-old, grew up with Chicha's two biological children in La Ciénaga, the small village outside of San José de Ocoa. “ E mejor que los que yo parí, de los que me hicieron ese rajao ahí mira " or “She's better than the one s I gave birth to. She's better than the ones that gave me this scar," Chicha told me as she lifted her shirt and revealed her Cesarean-section scar. Keyla would la ter confirm her mother’s statement. “Ella conmigo no come cuento. Y mira, que yo soy hija de crianza. Mir a, si a mí un día me falta ella, yo no sé ni que haría,” or “She loves me very much. And look, even though I’m an hija de crianza. Look, I don't know what I would do if one day I don't have her with me.”

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107 Chicha and her husband did not establish any differences between Keyla and their biological offspring, particularly in regard s to educational oppor tunities. Quite the contrary. Keyla, I learned, has the most acad emic achievements of all of Chicha's three children. They all went to the same school. “Que ya no había más clase pa ello aquí. Se fueron al pueblo en el lice a etudiá y vivían donde mi mamá,” or "When they finished school here in La Ciénaga , when they did not offer any more grades, they went to the pueblo [town] to live with my mother so they could go to the liceo.” Chicha’s oldest daughter became a nurse's assistant. Her son did not finish high school and is working as a farmer. Keyla, on the other hand, has achieved much more. " Ella es bachiller. Ella es bachiller y está terminando la computadora. Y taba en la Universi dá del Caribe en la capital también,” or “She is a high school graduate. She is a graduate and is finishing computer classes. She went to the Caribbean University in the capital, too," she boasted. Keyla will continue with her studies in Santo Domingo as soon as Chicha and her husband capitalize on their political alliances in the govern ment. They hope to get a scholarship for their daughter . "No pusimo a hacé polític a a ve si carajo, ahora ganamo a vé si Dió me ayuda a conseguí una beca o algo que me salga," or "We started to do politics to see if, damn, now that we won, to see if God can help me get a scholarship for her," she explained. I encountered similar situations while in Loma de Cabrera. Sonia, Juana's Haitian foster daughter, attends the local, public elementary school, the same one Juana’s daughter went to as a little gi rl. It is also the same school Juana’s grandson and foster son attends. " Ella e inteligente! Cuando ella vino, ella no sabía ná ,” or “She is smart!

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108 When she came she did not know a thing,” she boasted. At the time, Sonia had recently been promoted to the fourth grade. Despite the apparent prevalence of equita ble treatment in regards to schooling opportunities throughout the smaller towns, I encountered a more subtle form of academic discrimination. Wanda, a twelve-yearold girl who lives with her uncle in La Ciénaga, is enrolled in the same local public elementary school where her foster brothers attend. However, when I inquired about schoo ling expenses, I discovered that her foster parents placed a limit on their expenditures when it came to this matter. “¿Y quién te compra los libros?” or “Who buys your school books?” I asked Wanda. “ Me lo dan en la ecuela ” or “ They give them to me at school ,” she explained. “Y la macota, yo la cojo fiá en los colmado pa yo ila pagando. or “I get the notebooks in the colmados [small convenience stores] on credit so that I can pay for them in installments,” Wanda explained. Why, I wondered, did Wanda ha ve to buy her school supplies in a local convenience store and her brothers did not? W hy didn't her foster father pay for them? Why didn’t Wanda’s foster family pay for her schooling expenses? Does your uncle give your cousins money, I asked. “Todo lo que ello pidan,” , or "Everything they ask for," she explained in a voice filled with pain and anguish. As Wanda and I continued our conversation, I learned that her a unt and uncle place other impediments on her education. To them, Wanda’s top priority should be housework, not homework. “Anoche me acoté yo a la do de la noche,” or “Last night, I went to bed at two o’clock,” she told me. “No me ayudan a hacé la tarea ni na,” or “They don’t help me with my homework e ither.” Why didn’t you get it done earlier, I inquired, expecting to get a response that involved playing with friends or watching

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109 cartoons. “ Porque yo ahí me manejo hacienda oficio ,”. or “All I do there is housework,” she replied. “ What other choice do I have?,” she aske d as I felt a knot tightening within my throat. Domestic LaborWork Load and Duties […] She employed her in the meanest work of the house. She scoured the dishes, tables, etc., and cleaned her chamber, and those of . . . her daughters. Cinderella, Charles Perrault (n.d.) One of the many ways in which Cinderella’ s stepmother treated her differently was by assigning unequal domestic chores. Cinde rella carried out all the domestic duties, while her foster sisters worried about dresses, balls and princes. I learned that this was also the case in some of the fosterage arra ngements I encountered. This was the case with Altagracia, the former foster daughter I have made repeated mention to. Altagracia was assigned specific duties within her foster home. “Bueno, la responsabilidad mía era el niño. Yo limpiaba la casa. La responsab ilidad mía era limpiar la casa y atender el bebé,” or “Well, my responsibility was the baby boy. I cleaned the house. My responsibility was to clean the house and car e for the baby.” The remaining domestic chores, she clarified, were ca rried out by the hired help. “Yo no cocinaba, ni la ropa mía la lavaba. La lavaba la trabajadora. Yo nada más tenía que lavar la del bebé,” or “I did not cook, nor did I wash clothes either. There was another maid that cooked and cleaned. I didn’t even wash my own clothes. The maid would wash them. I only had to wash the baby’s clothes,” she clarified. Altagracia’s foster siblings, on the other hand, did not have any such responsibilities. In this respect, I thought, Altagracia was indeed, a re al-life Cinderella. Her domestic labor burden was a lot heavier than t hose of her siblings. However, after further thought, I had to dismiss this initial conclusion. Altagracia’s foster siblings were boys.

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110 Domestic labor requirements for males and females are quite different, making such a conclusion difficult to make. Nonetheless, had Altagracia’s foster siblings been female, I still believe the domestic chore allotm ent would not have been equal. Same-sex offspring households, however , had differential and uneven labor distributions. “El fundamentalmente limpia, lava ca rros, limpia la casa, limpia el césped, ” or “He fundamentally cleans, washes ca rs, cleans the house, cleans the grass,” Joaquín explained when I inquired about his fo ster son’s responsibili ties. His two sons, on the contrary, had no such requirements. An alogously, Janet, the former foster child I mentioned in the previous section, was respons ible of carrying out most of the domestic labor requirements in her foster home while her siblings did not. She had to “Limpiar, barrer, buscar el agua y lavá. Y lavá el baño,” or "Clean, sweep, get water and wash clothes. I had to clean the bathrooms," she explained. What about your cousins, I inquired. "A vece era a mí sola que la ayudaba porque tenían que ir a la ecuela en la mañana o las otra iban pa la academia," or “Sometimes I would be the only one that would help her because they had to go to sc hool in the morning or the other ones would go to the academy." However, the scenes I encountered in th e smaller towns and in the rural areas contrasted with those I have previously descri bed. The prevalent trend was that of a more symmetrical apportionment of household labo r amongst the members of the household. For instance, Annie, a Haitian hija de crianza in Loma de Cabrera, was required to wash the dishes, sweep the patios and clean the hous e on a daily basis. Her foster mother, on the other hand, was in charge of prepari ng all three meals, a nd ironing her husband’s

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111 clothes. This division of labor, I was to ld, was also in place when Doña Juana's daughters lived at home. This was also the case with Fabia, a former foster daughter I met in Villa Altagracia, a town located to the northwest of Santo Domingo. Fabia, who went to live with her aunt and cousins when her mother migrated to Santo Domingo to work as a maid, bore the brunt of the domestic chores in her seven-member fost er home. Fabia was only ten when she was already responsible of cari ng for her infant cousins. "I had to care for them. I would bathe, dress and cook fo r them. I would cook for everyone in the home," she explained. "Yo bañaba la niña. La acotaba y si no la entraba en un cartón pa yo podé hacé lo oficio,” or, "I would bathe her. I woul d put her to sleep. If not, I would put her in a cardboard box so I could do the chores," she added. “Y me subía en un bló porque no alcanzaba la mesita de la etuf a. Mi tía me dejaba un bló y ahí yo me subía y le cocinaba a ello. Y fregá, lavá, menos planchar, que lo hacía mi tía,” , or “I would stand on a cinder block because I couldn’t reach the stove. My aunt would leave a cinder block and I would stand on it and woul d cook for them. I would wash the dishes and do laundry, except ironing. My a unt would do that," she continued. What about the rest of Fabi a's foster family? What we re their responsibilities? Why would Fabia have to cook and clean when she couldn’t even reach the stove? Her foster family had no choice, I concluded. Their crammed schedules could not fit any additional tasks. They all st ayed very busy, Fabia explaine d. Every Monday morning, at 5:00 am, Fabia's foster mother would take a guagua or bus to Santo Domingo, where she washed and ironed clothes for “ una familia con cualto ” or "a family with money.” Her foster father, on the other hand, had sporadic jobs. Fabia's older foster sister, worked

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112 long hours in “ la zona” or the local free trade zone. No doubt, Fabia’s workload was excessive, especially for a ten-year-old girl. But what other choice did her foster family have? Although not as dramatic, Nefertiti who lives in La Seyba, near Loma de Cabrera, experienced similar circumstances. Nefertiti, who was fifteen-years-old at the time of our conversation, has a Haitian foster brother, Wilfredo. Wilfredo has to “trancá la vaca porque o sea, es en una cerca que tá para allá ar riba. Pero ello la traen aquí. Y le cotan yeba y vuelven y la llevan pa llá para la seca . Le da agua a lo chivo y lo muda. Ah! Y brilla y barre lo patio," or “Bring the cows in because , I mean,they are in another property, up there. But they bring them here. And he has to cut grass for them and he has to take them back to the dry area. Oh! He also shines pots and sweeps the patios.” Nefertiti, a biological offspring herself, ha s copious tasks and responsibilities she must perform daily. In the following excerpt, Nefe rtiti and I discuss her household obligations. Tess: Entonces, cuando tu te levant as por la mañana, ¿que tú hace? Nefertiti: Yo me lavo y me cepillo. Fr iego, trapeo la cocina. Depue le doy la leche a él [infant brother]. La lavo a e lla y la cepillo [four-year-old sister]. Trapeo. Tess: ¿Antes de irte para la escuela? Nefertiti: No, ante de yo ime pa la ecuela, yo me levanto a la sei de la mañana. Yo friego y trapeo la cocina, me lavo y la lavo a ella y la cepillo también. Y depué me voy. Entonce, depué que vengo de la escuela, yo me pongo a comé. Acotejo, depolvo, barro la casa, la trapeo y la ayudo a fregá a aquella niña, a la que tiene once. Tess: Y después,¿que tú haces? Nefertiti: Me pongo a atendelo a ello. Me siento aquí a ve televisión o a escuchá música. Lo único que yo no hago e cocinᔠTess: ¿Y quien cocina?

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113 Nefertiti: La mamá mía. Y lava. Tess: What do you do when you wake up in the morning? Nefertiti: I wash myself and I brush my teeth. I wash the dishes. I mop the kitchen floor. Then, I give him [infant brother] his milk. I wash her [four-year-old sister] and brush her teeth. I mop. Tess: Before you go to school? Nefertiti: No, before I go to school, I wake up at six in the morning. I wash the dishes and mop the kitchen floor. I wash myself and I wash her [four-year-old sister], too. Then, I leave. After I come home from school, I eat. I straighten things up, dust, sweep and mop the house and help the girl that’s eleven-years-old with the dishes. Tess: What do you do after that? Nefertiti: I take care of them [infant brother and toddler si ster.] I sit down to watch tv and listen to music. The only thing I don’t do is cook. Tess: Who cooks? Nefertiti: My mother. She does the laundry, too. As this excerpt reveals, Nefertiti’s da ily schedule is packed with duties and responsibilities. From early on in life, she has learned to juggle schoolwork and household responsabilities as onerous as caring for two infants. The same was also true for many other children and adolescents I s poke to, regardless of their biological or fosterage status. Children in towns, I c oncluded, are expected to contribute with household duties. It is part of growing up. The division of labor in the fosterage households I visited in towns was carried out along gendere d lines, not by foster or biological status. Sodelys, one of my informants in San José de Ocoa, spoke to me about Viquiana, one of her classmates in the liceo or high school. Her stor y, which holds incredible resemblances with Perrault’s Cinderella fair y tale, became a flagrant exception to this general trend. Viquiana's biol ogical parents are potatato fa rmers in the nearby mountain

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114 hamlet of La Orma. They sent their daughter to live with an aunt in San José de Ocoa so she could go to high school. As in Loma Dura, La Orma does not have a high school. " Ella me decía que a ella esos estudios le salían muy caro ,” or “She told me that her studies were costing her t oo much,” Sodelys said. “Su tía y sus hijas se levantaban a las doce y a la una y ella tenía que levantarse temprano a hacer todos lo quehaceres de esa casa y a cocinar y a todo,” or “. . . her aunt and her cousins would wake up at noon and at one o'clock in the afternoon while she ha d to wake up early to do all the household work and cook and everything." Sleeping Arrangements She slept in a sorry garret, on a wretched straw bed, while her sisters slept in fine rooms, with floors all inlaid, on beds of the very newest fashion . . . . Cinderella, Charles Perrault (n.d.) While in Santo Domingo, I did not observe any other differential treatment in regards to sleeping arrangements. “Duerme en un sitio que no es un sitio de servicio, y así,” or “He sleeps in a place that is not the maid’s quarters. Like that. The child is not a servant. He is a child of the house,” Joaquín told me. Jennifer, Su zy’s foster daughter, slept in an upstairs bedroom, like the rest of her children. Su zy’s bedroom was airconditioned, as were her foster siblings. In similar fashi on, Altagracia shared a bedroom with the baby she had under her care. This room was also air conditioned. Janet was not as. She slept in a small, hot room on an old mattress. However, so did her cousins. So did everybody else in the home. Mariana, one of the women I spoke to in Villa Altagracia, also lived under similar conditions. Mariana I first met Mariana at the Casa de la Mujer Villaltagraciana , a non-governmental organization that provides legal and psychol ogical assistance to battered women in the

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115 town of Villa Altagracia. Mariana, an empl oyee of the local office of an international non-governmental organization, collaborates with Casa de la Mujer on many projects. She has worked with them on the International Labor Organization-sponsored local campaign against child domestic labor. Ma riana plays a very im portant role in the campaign. She gives charlas or talks to women against sending their daughters as hijas de crianza . Although she lacks any formal educati on, she is considered an expert on the topic. She was an hija de crianza herself. Mariana’s father, a small farmer in El Caoba l, a village close to the town of Villa Altagracia, gave up all but one of his twelve children to be hijos de crianza . When Mariana was ten-years-old, her father sent her to live with a middle-aged woman and two foster brothers in the lower middle-class neighborhood of Buenos Aires de Herrera in Santo Domingo, where she was responsible of clean ing her foster mother's beauty parlor. She was there until she was sixteen-years-old. “Yo te la voy a tratá como si fuera hija mía. Yo te la voy a poné en la ecuela,” or “I will treat her as if she we re my daughter. I will enroll he r in school, ”Mariana said as she explained the terms of the agreement carri ed out between her foster mother and her biological father. Regardless of the ple dge, Mariana was not treated accordingly, particularly in regards to her sleeping arrangements. “Ello te dicen que sí, que te van a tratá como un hijo. Pero ello no te pone n en el colegio donde ponen los hijo. Ni tú duerme en una cama como donde duermen, yo dormía en un cuarto que quedaba por el lado de la cocina. En el cuarto de servicio,” , or “They tell you that they will treat you like an offspring. But they won’t enroll you in the same school they enroll their own children. You won’t sleep in a bed like they sleep in, I slept in a room that was by the

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116 kitchen. I slept in the maid's quarters."12 she revealed. “Yo dormía abajo, en el cuarto de servicio. Yo dormía sola en esa habitación. Y qué se yo, cuando uno se ve solo así, encerrao, por ejemplo, entonce mi peore mo mento que yo viví era cuando yo me veía durmiendo sola en una habitación sin nadie. Yo tenía una televisión pero no era mi papá, no era mi mamá que taba ahí, no eran mis hermano,” or “I would sleep downstairs, in the maid’s quarters. I would sleep in that room alone. And, I don’t know, when one sees oneself all alone, confined, so me of my worst expe riences [as a foster daughter] were sleeping alone in a room w ithout anyone. I had a television but the television wasn't my father, it wasn't my moth er, it wasn't my brothers," she confessed. Affection As I have mentioned in previous sec tions, my resource and timing constraints hindered the quality of my data. This is espe cially the case in regards to the affection element of my living conditions indicator. Cl early, informants were not going to exhibit or talk about questionable behavior in my presence. For instance, nobody was going to admit to physical punishment. But, as I have mentioned, I succeeded in obtaining some data in this regard, albeit limited. My convers ations with Altagracia, Jennifer, Elena and Santa allowed me to get a glimpse of th e foster parent-child relationship. Altagracia, the former foster daughter I have made repeated mention to, received the smallest portion of her foster parent’s ch ildrearing expenses. For instance, Altagracia attended a public school, while her foster sibl ings went to a private one. However, as Altagracia and I spoke about her fosterag e experience, I noticed that this stark differentiation was not necessari ly the case in regards to th e conferment of affection. 12 It is standard in Santo Domingo architecture to have a cuarto de servicio or maid’s quarters.

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117 Although it is difficult to make any definite conclusions from her recollections, three elements in our conversation led me to conc lude that they shared an affectionate relationship. As I mentioned in Chapter 2, Altagracia and her foster mother would share intimacies. “ Yo y ella conversábamos como madre e hija. Yo le contaba, si yo tenía un enamorado, yo se lo decía y ella me contaba muchas cosas de ella también ” or “She and I would talk like mother and daughter. I woul d tell her, if I had a suitor. And she would tell me many things about herself, too." Additionally, they used kinship terms of reference between them. "El me dice tía," or “He [her baby foster brother] calls me aunt.” Finally, Altagracia’s foster parents arranged and paid for a wedding celebration when she married her cu rrent husband, Bene. “ El matrimonio me lo hicieron allá y todo. El bebé que yo crie fu e uno de los pajecitos” or “They had a wedding for me over there and everything. The baby I raised wa s in the wedding,” she explained. I was, however, a bit surprised when I lear ned that Altagracia and her foster family have not kept in touch. "Hace mucho que yo no la veo pero yo sé que ella está bien” or " It's been a long time since I've seen her [foster mother], but I know she is fine," she told me. If in effect, a genuine mother-child bond was established, why ha d they not kept in touch? Was affection apportioned disproportionately? Jennifer and Suzy, the foster daughter and mother from Santo Domingo, also enjoyed an affectionate bond. While in Suzy’s home, I personally observed physical displays of affection. For instance, I noticed that Suzy used the term "mi hija" or "my daughter" with Jennifer. She also naturally placed her hand on her daughter’s shoulder and rearranged a strand of her hair in an unque stionably loving manner. At one point in the conversation, Jennifer rest ed her head on her mother’s lap. Although I did not have

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118 the opportunity to witness any such behavi or with Suzy’s own biological children, I believe no significant differences would exist. Similar circumstances occurred between Chichi, Ramón and their Haitian foster daughter, Elena. As I mentioned in previous chapters, Elena was sitting on her father’s lap when I unexpectedly arrived at their hom e. To me, the fact that Elena enjoys a loving, caring relationship with her foster parents is unquestionable. In contrast, Santa’s recollec tions of her experiences as a foster child have few traces, if any, of contentment. Santa’s expe rience growing up with her aunt and uncle was a bitter one. “Mi tía y mi abuela me echaban mucha peste. Y si yo no hacía una cosa rápido, me decían cabeza dura y así ,” or “My aunt and gra ndmother would say a lot of bad things to me. If I wouldn’t do some thing quickly, they would call me hard-headed and things like that,” she told me. “Tenían una vara deso que le dicen hijo de palma y con esa vara que me daban. Y correa,” or “They had a stick made of that thing they call hijo de palma and they would beat me with that stick. And with a belt, too,” she disclosed. In fact, her home environment was so abusive that Santa decided to elope at the young age of fourteen. “ Yo me fuí con el porque me iba a da una pela.. . . Un día iba yo pa onde una amiga mía y me dicen ‘Te va a da una pela’. . . . Y cuando me dijeron así, el muchacho me dijo, ‘Vám ono conmigo’ y yo me fuí con él ,”. “I left with him because they were going to give me a b eating. . . . One day I was going over to my friend’s and they told me ‘They are going to beat you.’. . . And when they told me that, the guy said ‘Come with me’ a nd I went away with him,” she recounted. That boy, I later learned, was eleven years older than Santa. She had three of her se ven children with that man.

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119 As heartbreaking as Santa’s childhoo d circumstances were, Wanda’s case, unfortunately, were even worse. Wanda’s dist ressing story is one of abuse and adversity and one that I wish I had not encountered. Wanda Chicha, the foster mother I have spok en about from La Ciénaga, adamantly maintained that, unlike herself, many foster parents treat hijos de crianza in abusive ways. “ Son abusadores ” or “They are abusers,” she whispered. “E que tu no tiene que i lejo. Eso lo hay en toa parte. En toa parte ,” or “You don’t have to go far. It happens all over. All over,” she said as she turned a nd looked towards her neighbor’s home. “Right over there, in that house, there is a girl,” sh e said as she pointed to her neighbor’s home. “E familia de ello. A esa la maltratan. Má bonita! Le dicen Wanda ”. or “She is their relative. She is mistreated. She is so pretty! Her name is Wanda,” she scornfully whispered. After careful convincing, Chicha and I went to her neighbor’s home to ask Wanda’s foster parents permission to speak with her. Perhaps because I went with Chicha, someone they knew, they acquiesced. Wanda followed us back to Chicha’s home to talk about her experience. As Chicha had noted, Wanda was indeed a beautiful girl. Wanda who was twelveyears-old at the time of our conversation, had smooth, olive-colored skin, long and curly auburn hair and eyes the color of amber. Wanda, I would soon find out, was unusually articulate and mature for her age. Speaking to Wanda about an overly sensit ive topic required that I carry out our conversation with utmost care. Getting a child to speak about deleterious living circumstances required trust and time, thi ngs I lacked. Despite this apparently

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120 insurmountable obstacle, with Chicha’s assi stance, I was able to get Wanda to open up and share her experiences. “ Tú tiene que decile lo que tú me dice a mí ” or “You have to tell her everything you tell me,” Chicha whispered in Wanda’s ear before she left for the kitchen. After chatting with Wanda about innocuous topics such as her school and friends, I gently steered our conversation towards the theme of her foster family’s behavior. Immediately, Wanda brought the t opic of physical punishment. “ Ello me dan maltrato” , or “They mistreat me,” she sorrowfully ad mitted. What do you mean by that, I inquired. “ Que me dan mucho golpe ” or “That they give me many beatings,” she clarified. In fact, just a few days earlier, Wanda had to stop doing her homework and help with household chores to avoid a beating from her aunt. “ Si yo no lo hago, me dan una pela o me dicen algo. Entonce cuando mi tía llegó, me tuve que poné a carga agua,” , or “If I don’t do it, they whip me or yell at me. So when my aunt arrived, I had to start carrying water,” she told me. During our conversation, Wanda made it very obvious that in her home she has the short end of the stick. At her young age, Wanda was cognizant of the power relationships that operate within the house hold. Unfortunately, she also kn ows the painful realities of what it feels like to be su bjugated and oppressed. Tess: ¿Y tú crees que a ello s lo tratan mejor que a tí? Wanda: Claro que sí, porque no e la mi ma sangre que corre por las vena, porque ello, ello se sienten que son poderoso. Pero a verdá de Dió ello no son ninguno poderoso porque ello, si ello despre cian a una niña, ello no son ninguno poderoso por el dinero. Tess: ¿Cómo así, poderosos? ¿Qué ello hacen? Wanda: Ello, un ejemplo, ello se siente n poderoso porque jallan dinero, todo lo que yo no jallo. A ello le dan mucho amor, que a mí no me dan y ello dicen dame

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121 algo, dame un pantalón, lo que sea. A ello se lo dan. A mí no. A mí no me dan nada. Tess: Do you believe that they treat them better than they treat you? Wanda: Of course they do because it is not the same blood that runs through the veins, because they, they feel that they are powerful. But for God’s sake, they are not powerful because if they scorn a girl , they are not powerful because of money. Tess: What do you mean powerful? What do they do? Wanda: For example, they feel powerful because they find money, something I don’t find. They give them lots of love, something they don’t give me. They say give me something, give me so me pants, whatever, and they give it to them. They don’t give me anything. Wanda’s linguistic abilities and unfortunate life experiences gave me what was perhaps the most precise and c oncrete example of power inequa lity I had ever heard. In her tearful explanation, Wanda revealed that she perceives herself as occupying the lowest position of the intra-household hierarc hy. She is denied the resources to satisfy her needs, as well as the love and affecti on she clearly sees bestowed on her foster siblings. To Wanda, this situ ation will never change. Unfo rtunately, she lacks what she considers is the reason behind her foster parents love to their children. Although she is related to her foster family, she does not share the same blood. Thus, she will never receive equal love and affection fr om her foster parents. Sadly, as we continued our conversation, I l earned that Wanda is also discriminated against in regards to her hea lth care, one of the other com ponents of my living condition indicator. Health Care One of the most disturbing details in Wanda's story had to do with the attention her foster parents paid to her health. Although Wanda gets severe nosebleeds, asthma and parasites, they never took her to the doctor or bought her medicine. “Y mira yo boto

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122 sangre de la narí,” or “Look, I get nosebleeds. “ En la semana entera, yo boto casi una lata de sangre” or “When I get them, I fill up a ca n of blood. I fill a can with blood every week," she told me. How do you know it' s a can, I asked in ut ter disbelief. “ No porque mira, un ejemplo verdá, yo boto, allí hay un jarrito y yo lo mido. Yo siempre lo mido,” or “No, because look, for example, I bleed. There is a little pi tcher over there and I measure it. I always measure it,” As she continued with her unset tling disclosures, I learned that she has othe r unattended ailments. “Entonce yo ete, me hata me aprete, porque yo me aprieto. Y gripe y de to de de parásito. Y entonce me enfermé. Y yo dormía ni yo no sé ni cómo,” or “So I would um, I would get asthma, because I have asthma. And I get colds and parasites. So I got sick. And I don’t know how I was able to sleep, ” she revealed. “Y yo hata deseaba, yo deseaba hata tá con mi mamá porque mi mamá me compraba a mí una vitamina,” or “I even wished, I even wished I was with my mother because she would buy vitamins for me ,” she admitted in a tearful and tormented manner. Wanda’s mother, I later learned, is dead. According to Wanda’s revelations, her foster parents never took her to a doctor to treat her illnesses . In fact, it was Wanda’s schoolteach er that finally took her. “Y entonce la doctora me dio una receta y ello no me la compran, ” or “The doctor prescribed some medicine, but they won’t buy it for me,” she disclosed amidst tears.” When I inquired about medical expenses fo r the rest of the family, Wanda replied, “A toíto le compran la receta. Mira mi tía t aba trabajando en un jardín que hay por allá. Y a sus hijo ella le da todo pero a mí, el la no me da ni siquiera pa comeme un pan ,” or “They buy medicine for all of them. Look, my aunt was working in a flower garden they have down there. She gives everything to her sons. But she doesn’t give me anything.

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123 She doesn’t even give me enough so I can have a piece of bread.” Unfortunately, my hope that they did not have enough money to pay for medicines was quickly dispelled. As severely upsetting as Wanda ’s situation was, this was not, I am glad to report, the general trend in regards to foster children health care. Foster pa rents, as a matter of fact, paid more attention to this particular res ponsibility than to all the others. At least, it was the one they were most eager to talk a bout. As I have mentioned in Chapter 2, the provision of health care is one of the fundame ntal childrearing duties that is transferred from the biological to the foster family. H ealth care and medical expenses, it seems, is used as a measure of good parenting. Foster parents keep meticulous records of health expenses as evidence of thei r fulfillment of their acquire d childrearing duties. For instance, Juana and Ramon, Julissa’s foster pa rents whom I mention in Chapter 3, kept a file with all the recetas or prescriptions they purchased for their daughter. In the event that her biological parents ever came to recl aim Julissa, they could use these records as proof that their parental duties were fulfilled. Chichi and her husband did the same. They also kept records of their expenses on El ena, their Haitian foster daughter. Thus, overall, I am glad to conclude, foster childre n receive equitable treatment in regards to health care. Nourishment My resource limitations restricted th e nourishment component of the living conditions indicator. I was only able to obser ve one family during meal times. As a result, I believe that I cannot reach any conclu sions in regards to biological and foster child meal quality. However, despite these shortcomings, I feel it is important to mention one particular fosterage case I was told about. Sodelys, a foster daughter I spoke with in San

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124 José de Ocoa, told me the story of one of her classmates, Viquiana, a foster daughter. According to Sodelys, overt nourishment distin ctions were carried out. Viquiana, would not enjoy the same food or portions as her foster family did. “A vece cocinaban carne y a ella se la daban vacía porque ella era la de menos importancia en la casa, ” or “Sometimes they would cook meat and she w ould get it [her food] without any [meat] because she was the least important in the house,” ,” she told me. Why did Viquiana’s aunt not distribute meals equitably, I wondere d. Unfortunately, Viquiana left her aunt’s home and I could not personally speak to her. Sexual Abuse One of the most notable trends in my data is the omnipresent nature of the sexual abuse theme. Over and over, this theme was brought forth when speaking of child fosterage. In fact, as I have stated, its pr evention seems to be one of the major forces behind the decision to give up girls into fosterage. Sexual abuse, as I have noted, is an al arming dilemma that occurs throughout the Dominican Republic (Molina, 2003). Bu t why did respondents invariably and spontaneously introduce this topic when speakin g of fosterage in par ticular? Is it that foster children are more vulnerable to se xual abuse than biological children? Although a generalizable conclusion cannot be reached without a long-term, quantitative study, it is still possible to obser ve certain patterns. Smucker and Murray (2004) suggest that perhaps fost er children are more vulnerable to this type of abuse. The International Labor Organizati on’s (2003) study also seems to reach similar conclusions. However, I cannot seem to come to any c onclusion that leans to wards any particular direction.

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125 Unfortunately, my findings indi cate the presence of widespr ead abuse, regardless of biological or fosterage status. In fact, according to a statement made by the Santo Domingo office of the Organismo Rector de Protección a Niños, Niñas y Adolescentes, biological parents are often the perpetrators of child sexual abuse (Vazquez, 2003). Unfortunately, I encountered both types of a buses. Wanda and Janet’s cases illustrate such lamentable cases. Wanda “Los otro día, el más chiquito se quis o propasá conmigo. Como que me quería violar,” or, “The other day, the youngest one wanted to go too far with me. It’s like he wanted to rape me,” Wanda admitted as she gazed to the ground. What did he do to you, I asked with tr epidation. “ No, que yo taba durmiendo en un cuarto y se fue acotar conmigo,” or “No, well that I was sleeping in a room and he went to go to bed with me,” she replied without providing any details of th e attempted abuse. What did he do, did he touch you somewhere, I inquired with certain insistence. “Sí, el siempre se ha querido propasá conmigo y siempre me ha dao golpe y de to,” or, “Yes, he has always wanted to go too far with me and he has beaten me t oo,” she explained. What did you do when that happened, I inquired. “Yo me fui pa onde la señora, allí, pa onde la evangélica. Y yo le dije lo que me taba pasando, ” or “I went to the evangeli cal woman’s home. I told her what was happening.” Although sh e did not directly interven e in Wanda’s situation, the evangelical neighbor str ongly cautioned Wanda to leave the house. “ Vete, Wanda, Vete ,” or “Leave, Wanda, leave.” “No, yo no me voy. Lo que pasa e que yo no quiero perdé mi año de clase depué que yo pasé tanto trabajo ,” or “No, I am not leaving. I don’t want to lose my school year after I have gone th rough so much trouble,” she told her.

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126 Janet Contrary to Wanda who tearfu lly recounted her ordeals, Janet, the former foster daughter I met while in Santo Domingo, seem ed unemotional in her narration of sexual abuse. Oddly, I got the sense that this wa s a common occurrence and habitual topic of conversation13. Janet works as a trabajadora or maid in an upper-middle-class home and has a child of her own. As I did with all my informants, I inquire d about her fosterage history. In trying to explai n the reasons behind growing up in her aunt’s home, Janet suddenly revealed that she had been sexua lly abused by her biological father. “Mi papá, sí, mi papá me hizo, me echó a perdé. Me hizo un daño ,” or “My father, yes, my father did, he ruined me. He hurt me,” Janet disclosed in a staccato utterance that revealed her shame. Confused by what seemed, at first, a somewhat vague statement, I asked Janet to clarify what she meant. Tu sabe que mi mamá me dejó abandoná con mi papá. Un borracho. Me hizo un daño. Me llevaron al médico legista. El médico legista, [mi papá ] le decía a la gente que yo me metía lo deo por ahí y yo botaba sangre. Y depué me echó a perdé. Mi papá cayó preso por la gente. Cayo preso. Y yo grité y salién lo vecino . My mother abandoned me and left me w ith my father, you know. A drunk. He hurt me. They took me to the medical examiner. The medical examiner, [my father] told people that I would stick my fingers down there and I would bleed. And afterwards, he ruined me. People sent my father to jail. He went to jail. I was screaming and the neighbors came. Janet’s somewhat disorganized narration reve als the dreadful nature of her ordeal. Janet, who was only nine-years-old when it happened, was repeatedly raped by her biological father. Fortunately, her neighbors in tervened on her behalf and her father was 13 Unfortunately, national statistics (Vázquez Germán, 2003)and my conversations with the Casa de la Mujer Villaltagraciana confirm this as well.

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127 sent to jail. “ To eso yo me lo se de memoria, de chiquitica. A mí nunca se me olvida na de eso de to lo que me pasó,” or “I know all this by memory, from very young. I never forget what happened to me,” she conc luded and changed the subject. An attorney at the Casa de la Mujer Villaltagraciana , a non-governmental organization in the town of Villa Altagracia that supports women and children victims of domestic violence, told me that the problem is of gargantuan proportions. “Los hombres se creen que es su derecho maltratar a las mujeres,” or “Men believe it is their right to mistreat women,” she confessed. “El otro día yo trabajé en un caso donde un hombre violó a una niña de tres meses,” or “The other day, I worked on a case were a man raped a three-month-old baby girl,” she stated. “Lamentablemente esa es la situación de la mujer de este país. De todas las mujeres, no importa la clase social. Yo he visto de todo, de todo en este trabajo ,” or , “Unfortunately, this is the situation of women in this country. Of all women, no matter the social class. I have se en everything, everything in this job,” she explained. Regrettably, most incest and abuse cases in the Dominican Republic go unreported. The topic is considered an “asunto privado, un asunto de la familia, cosas de familia que deben quedar así,” or a “private matter, a family matter, family matters that need to stay that way,” explained Luis Veras Jimén ez, the 2003 Executive Director of the Organismo Rector de Protección a Ni ños, Niñas y Adolescentes when asked by a journalist to explain the spike in reported cases (Vaquez, 2003). It was not until the 2003 promulgation of the Nuevo código para la protecci ón de niños, niñas y adolescentes Ley 136-03 (“ Nuevo código ”,2003) that a judicial framework was put into place to support and protect victims. Despite the existence of this c ode, it does not mean it is effectively and

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128 thoroughly enforced. In fact, judges, police officers and at torneys are still learning how to operate under these new rules, the Casa de la Mujer Villa Altagraciana attorney explained. Perhaps foster children are more vulnera ble to sexual abuse than biological children. Like I have said, I cannot reach any such conclusion. However, the bigger picture indicates a grimmer situation that is deeply concerning. Why is there so much sexual abuse towards children in general? Conclusion My first research hypothesis predicted that overall, biological children would enjoy better living conditions than foster children. By going out in the field in search of “asymmetries in treatment of natural and foster children” (Silk, 1987, p. 43), I was, in essence, doing what Silk had done with West African fosterage ethnographic data. I was putting the kin selection and recipr ocal altruism theory to empi rical test. Silk, as I have noted, concludes that the ethnographic data on West African fosterage supports the kin selection theory. Foster child ren are not treated equally. Ho wever, unlike Silk, I was not able to reach such conclusions. In fact, I was not able to reach a definite, clear-cut conclusion at all. Two basic factors made arriving at a conc lusion a very challenging process. Once again, my several research limitations hindered the data collection pro cess. The lack of baseline data on the Dominican fosterage system required that I approach this project in an exploratory manner, rather than with sp ecific, quantifiable goa ls. Additionally, the nature of the topic itself re quires extended periods of time to develop trust and rapport, something I did not have. But most importan tly, I needed a lot more time to corroborate what respondents told me they did or di d not do. Finally, idea lly, only commensurable

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129 families would have been included in the resear ch sample. For instance, an ideal research scenario would have neatly restricted my sample to families of similar socioeconomic status, that contained both biological and foster children in the home and that only involved prestado fosterage arrangements. Unfortuna tely, this was not the case. In addition, the data itself challenged the hypothesis testing process. As I dissected and examined the information I had gathered on each one of the elements of my living conditions variable, I was not able to arrive at any dete rmination. As this chapter revealed, I encountered cases where differe ntial treatment was undoubtedly present in regards to schooling, domestic labor requireme nts, health care and affection. Indeed, Joaquín enrolled his biological children in th e most expensive, excl usive schools of Santo Domingo, while he did not do so for his foster son. However, as my conversation with Chicha and Keyla revealed, Keyla attended th e same school her sisters did. In fact, Keyla, the hija de crianza , is the only one that has gone to college. This is also the case with domestic labor requirements. The house hold labor allocation in Janet’s home, for instance, was not equally distri buted. She did most of the oficios or duties in her home. However, as Nefertiti’s case illustrates, both biological and foster children are required to perform domestic duties. Thus, where does the answer lie? In trying to arrive at a conclusion, I noticed certain patterns that were worth pointing out. First, as Smucker and Murray (2004) note, I observed “a continuum of three modes of treatment” (p. 80). In co mparing foster and biological child living conditions, I observed three basic scenarios. Th e first one involved parents that conferred equal treatment to both foster and biological children. In other words, not only did foster parents fulfill their end of th e fosterage agreement, that is, provide food, clothing, shelter

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130 and schooling, but they did so in a way that co uld not be distinguished from that of the biological children. This, for example, was the case with Keyla and Chicha, whom I refer to throughout this chapter. The s econd scenario involved the conferment of differential treatment amongst biological and foster children. However, although differences in the allocation of childrearing reso urces or affection exis ted, foster children received proper and adequate treatment. No t only did foster parents fulfill each one of the terms of the fosterage ar rangement, but they did so in a humane way. Jennifer and Joaquín’s cases illustra te this point quite well. Even though they did not attend the same quality schools as the biologi cal children of the home, they were still enrolled in good schools. The third scenario involves parent s that not only fail to confer equitable treatment to the foster child, but they do so in a way that is inhumane . Wanda’s case falls into this category. In regards to the prevalence of each one of these scenarios, once again, my findings corroborate Smucker and Murray’s (2004) conclusi ons. In general, the majority of the cases I observed fell into the first two se ttings. The majority of the fosterage arrangements I observed and was told about i nvolved equal or differential, yet adequate treatment. Why are these tw o types more prevalent? As I reflected on this issue, I revisited my notes on the operation, actors and norms of the hijo de crianza system. What is it about the Dominican fosterage system that promotes humane treatment, I wondered. Wh ile pondering this question, I noticed that the hijo de crianza system is, overall, viewed as a pos itive practice. Like Smucker and Murray (2004) and the Interna tional Labor Organization (2003) , my findings also suggest that the hijo de crianza system is perceived as a compassionate and necessary element of

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131 Dominican society. Giving up a child was, by and large, viewed as a means to provide better living conditions and oppor tunities for children. Taking in a child, on the other hand, was perceived as a way of providing a va luable and commendable social service. Thus, I concluded that the Dominican hijo de crianza system possesses several structural components that encourage bene volent treatment and c ontrols for abusive situations. The first element that I noticed was that most fosterage arrangements are carried out between members of similar kin groups14. As Smucker and Murray (2004) note, the fact that children are usually placed in homes of family members, particularly with grandmothers, makes it more likely that they will receive adequate and equitable treatment. In addition, biological parents are more likely to retain frequent contact with their children, thus ensuring a closer superv ision of the childreari ng process. Wanda’s case, however, challenges this assumption. She was living with her uncle, yet she was repeatedly abused. Although I did encounter cases where childre n were placed with strangers, these were, however, exceptions to the prevailing pattern15. Yet, it is difficult to be a complete stranger in the Dominican Republic , particularly in rural area s. The existence of dense social networks gives the term “strange r” a unique connotation. People might be strangers in the sense that th ey have not formally met or interacted, but individuals will almost invariably know where they live or how to find each other. Additionally, as other fosterage authors note (Isiugo-Abanihe, 1985), parents will, in general, choose better 14 The ILO (2003) has similar findings in regards to the frequencies of children being placed in relative’s homes. 15 Chicha and Julissa’s cases, for example, illustrate this point.

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132 living situations for their child ren, never worse. Thus, biolog ical parents usually have a general idea of the kind of life a prosp ective foster parent can provide. Not only do social networks ensure that ch ildren are treated adequately, but as I have noted in Chapter 2, the hijo de crianza system has its own system of checks and balances. First, prestado fosterage arrangements are temporary. Thus, if a biological parent considers that the ch ildrearing process is not being fulfilled in a satisfactory manner, they can reclaim their child and terminate the agreement. The same is the case with regalado arrangements, if it is sin papeles or without legal documentation. Similarly, as in the West African case (Silk, 1987), the children themselves have an important say in fosterage arrangements. The Dominican fosterage system allows children to express whether they are not being treated adequa tely. As Nora, one of the informants I mention in Chapter 1, noted during our discussion of the terms of the termination of arrangements, Norbertico, her so n, would have to agree to any changes in his living arrangements. “It de pends on him. Because if he’s at your house and you’ve had him since he was very small, then he’s going to start loving you and loosing affection towards me. Then, when I go to your house and say, ‘Norbertico, come to my home because I am your mother,’ it all depends on h im. If he says, ‘No, I am better off here with Tess. I am going to stay here,’ then he makes up his own mind.” The visitation component, in addition, allows parents to personally supervise the childrearing process. The hijo de crianza system allows biological parents to visit their offspring. Conversely, foster parents are e xpected to send children to visit their biological home. Both children and parent s have ample opportunities to discuss the living conditions topic. In addition, news travels fast in the Dominican Republic. The

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133 existence of dense social networks provides an effective way for parents to stay informed of their child’s wellbeing. Perhaps of most weight in this matter ar e foster parent’s "long term calculations" (Smucker & Murray, 2004, p. 82). Children in the Dominican Republic are valued for the potential support they can provide parent s in old age. They are expected and encouraged to reciprocate the love and care they received while they are growing up. As parents age, they increasingly rely on their children for support. Parents, it seemed, view childrearing as a retirement investment and make decisions based on economic calculations. “Over and over ag ain we heard from Dominican foster parents about longterm calculations, the tremendous advantage of having additional children who can be counted on to love an care for you in sic kness and old-age,” Smuc ker and Murray assert (p. 78). Hence, the chances of receiving care in old-age escalate considerably if you provide a child with a loving, caring and adequate environment. However, despite these initial conc lusions, many questions still remain unanswered. Why do some children get treat ed equally and others do not? Why did Wanda’s foster family mistreat her when she was a member of the same kin group? Similarly, what was it about Chicha’s case that made her treat her foster daughter “como si fuera una hija” or “as if she was a daughter” ? Why didn’t Joaquín enroll his foster child in the same school as his son? Why do foster parents establis h different levels or degrees of incorporation? What are the fact ors that determine these differing degrees of parenting? In other words, what factor s determine a child's living conditions? Why Differential Treatment? Description is much easier than explanati on. We can safely make the descriptive statement – because it is by definition obvious – that the above alluded gamut of three

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134 situations exists: (1) equal treatment (of fo ster and biological ch ildren), (2) slightly different treatment and (3) abusively different treatment. We can operationalize situation (2) as a situation in which the foster ch ildren (a) do more domes tic labor and receive different schooling from the biological children (those are the core variables on which informants latch), but (b) are better off than if they had stayed in their biological families. And, we can even venture to say that in a ma jority of fosterage s ituations, condition (2) prevails, and furthermore that situation (1) is more frequent than situation (3) in the Dominican Republic. But at our current stat e of knowledge to predict or explain why a given fostering household will fall in (1), (2), or (3) entails guesswork. The predictors or causes of differential treatmen t entail analysis of convoluted interconnectio ns that are difficult to decipher. Differential treatment involves a multiplicity of factors that range from the psychological, patholog ical, social, cultural, and ec onomic. It involves multiscaled, multi-personal factors and it involves intangi ble variables that are difficult to measure. Nonetheless, despite the explorator y nature and limitations of my work, certain elements stand out as possibl e influential factors in the treatment of children. First of all, in order to understand differential treatment, we must conceptualize child relocation as a transact ion or contract where parent age and child living conditions are “negotiated” (Schrauwers, 1999, p. 310) . This implicit negotiation involves continuous bargaining between tw o distinct partiesthe fost er parent and the biological parent. The results of this complex bargai ning process will, in the end, determine the position the foster child will occupy within th e household power structure and in turn, will determine the degree of claim the fost er child has over the available parenting resources. Under this guiding assumption, a child that is fully incorporated into the foster

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135 home has been the beneficiary of a negotia tion process where both parties enjoyed equal leverage. Conversely, unequal living condi tions indicate an unbalanced bargaining process. Understanding the determining fact ors behind this negotiati on will shed light on the causes behind differential child living conditions. Several factors determine the leverage that biological parents exert in fosterage negotiations. First and foremost, the social status differentials between sending and receiving families are critical to this analysis . This difference or distance, is in turn, determined by elements such as race, ethnic ity, occupation, rural and urban residence and class of the sending parents as compared to those of the receiving household. There is a “degree of difference that separates equal or higher standing receiving families from sending families” (Wood, personal communicati on, October 2005). Of equal relevance to differential treatment are the reasons that prompted a biological parent to choose the fosterage parenting strategy in the first place. Biological parents involved in crises situations are less likely to be selectiv e or demanding about their child’s living conditions. Additionally, if a biological family is in dire economic need, they are less likely to object to differential treatment condi tions if these conditions are, in the end, better than those that the child would receive in the biological home. Thirdly, I believe that the type of arrangementwhether regalado or prestado has significant weight on the nature of child living cond itions. As I have noted, regalado arrangement are in theory, permanent. Thus, childrearing investments under a regalado arrangement are a lot more secure than those in a prestado arrangement. The possibili ty of termination directly affects the amount of resources and affection a fo ster parent might be in clined to invest in a child. Fourth, as Silk’s (1987) work suggest s, the existence of bi ological relationships

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136 between the foster child and the receiving family also plays a role. Despite the fact that I encountered abusive situations involving foster children livin g with relatives, I believe that this is a relevant variable that mu st be examined in further depth. If the preceding analysis is correct, then we could predict that treatment of a foster child is likely to veer toward the positive side (1) if the two sets of parents are close in social status, (2) if the biological parents are experiencing neither emergency crisis nor dire poverty as emergency motives for relocat ion, (3) if the parents have relinquished control over the child (i.e. regalado rather than prestado ), and (4) if the parents are kin. The most vulnerable child, in contrast, would be one in whic h high-status foster parents “borrow” a child from low-status parents outside their kin group experiencing poverty or some other crisis. In these matters, however, the indepe ndent variables would be much easier measured than the more sensitive dependent variables of child treatment. And such a detached “social science” analysis would fail to incorporate manipulable causal variables sensitive to remedial interventions. That is, for those concerned more with combating abuse than with testing hypotheses, the im portant policy question would be: What external sanctions or pressures, whether soci al, economic, or legal, could be applied to maximize the likelihood of positive treatment and minimize the likelihood of abuse? There is one type of fosterage arrangem ent increasingly common in the Dominican Republic where common sense would suggest th at the likelihood of a buse is particularly high: those cases in which a Dominican family brings a Haitian child into their house as an hijo de crianza . To this final question the thesis will now turn.

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137 CHAPTER 6 BI-ETHNIC FOSTERAGE “Yo no sé si uté sabe, porque eto no e un secreto para República Dominicana, que lo haitiano viven aquí,” or “I don’t know if you know this, but Haitians live here. This is no secret for the Dominican Republic,” confided Doña María, a foster mother from Loma de Cabrera. Indeed, Doña Maria’s statemen t was not a secret to me. Even in Santo Domingo, where I grew up, I saw Haitians ev ery single day. Nestor, my apartment building’s sereno or watchman, is a Haitian. The construction industry’s labor force in the sprawling city of Santo Domingo is pre dominantly Haitian. My aunt’s maid is Haitian. However, despite the fact that Haitians are a part of everyday life, in Santo Domingo, a pathological tone permeates disc ussions of everything Haitian. Newspaper headlines and politicians keep the population incessantly aware of the problema haitiano or Haitian problem, as it is commonly referred to. The following excerpt from an article in Hoy , one of the country’s major journals, re flects the prevailing sentiment when it states that “ su presencia crece como una plaga de l angostas a lo largo de la geografía naciona l. . . ” or “their presence grows like a pl ague of grasshoppe rs throughout the national geography. . . .” (Guzmán Molina, 2003 ). As Glick-Schill er (1999) states, “Dominican political leaders built cross-cl ass unity by popularizing a nationalism that distinguished between Haitians and Dominicans, not on the basis of culture, language, or location of birth, but on the basis of descent” (p. 112).

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138 I thought about Doña Maria’s comment on my way to Loma de Cabrera, a town located on the northern portion of the Domi nican-Haitian border, where I hoped to interview families with Haitian foster childre n. Doña Maria’s comments sparked a chainreaction of historical reflections. I th ought about Haiti and the Dominican Republic’s long and turbulent history, one th at is beset with violent c onflicts. I though of the 19th century, 22-year Haitian occupation of the Do minican Republic. I al so reflected on the 1937 government-ordered genocide of 18,000 Haitians in the area I was about to visit. So as I sat in the Caribe Tours bus en route to Loma de Cabrera, I was a bit uneasy about my trip to an area I pictured as ri dden with belligerence and animosity. Given Loma de Cabrera and Dajabon’s proximity to the border and heavy militarization, I expected considerable racial tension. Qu ite frankly, I expected an antagonistic and segregated world. But most importantly, I was nervous about my interviews and what they would reveal. What would foster age arrangements look like?. Why were Dominicans and Haitians coming together in a project as sensitive as childrearing? How can fosterage arrangements, which are base d on cultural, unspoken terms, be conducted between families from such different backgrounds? However, to my astonishment, life on the Haitian-Dominican border was far from what I had imagined. This chapter is about the bi-ethnic foster age arrangements I observed in the border towns of Loma de Cabrera, Restauración a nd Dajabón. In it, I illustrate the unique dynamics that occur when families from two distinct and sometimes antagonistic ethnic groups come together to raise a child. Add itionally, I also explore the reasons behind biethnic fosterage arrangements, that is, w hy Dominican families are taking Haitian children into their homes. However, conduc ting research along th e Haitian-Dominican

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139 border inevitably required th at I address the topic of migration, borders, migrant strategies and citizenships. Thus, this chapter also pr ovides insights into the HaitiDominican Republic border-life experience. Life Along the Haitian-Dominican Border The Loma de Cabrera-Daja bon area was different from what I had envisioned in various ways. Not only was the geogra phical landscape beautifully lush and mountainous as opposed to the arid, desolate plain I imag ined, but I didn’t find the destitute living conditions I e xpected. In fact, I found that its inhabitants enjoy overall better living conditions than those in my other research sites, particularly in San José de Ocoa, Yamasá and Villa Altagracia. Accordi ng to Chaguito, my driver and one of my key informants, most people in the area make a living from agriculture, remittances and small-scale commerce with Haitians. If th ey’re lucky, they will get one of the few available government jobs and receive a meag er, but steady income. As for Chaguito, he supported his family by taking passengers in hi s small, yellow pick-up truck and driving them between Loma de Cabrer a, Dajabón and Restauración. I was also taken aback by the Haitian and Dominican relationships I observed. Haitians and Dominicans do not live starkly separa te lives, as they do in Santo Domingo. Yes, Haitians also work as maids and day laborers on farms. However, I did not perceive that they were viewed as alie ns or strangers. In fact, many of them were close friends, as Argentina and Angela’s story illustrates. Angela Angela, an undocumented Haitian, and Argentina, her Dominican boss, enjoy and share a harmonious relationship that is indicative of most Haitian and Dominican interaction in this part of the c ountry. Angela has been Argentina’s trabajadora or maid

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140 for many years. However, despite their em ployer-employee relationship, they share a very special affective bond. Th is became evident the moment I asked Angela to speak to me about her job and life in the Dominican Re public. When she spoke of Argentina, her boss, Angela’s face was illuminated by her gold-filled smile. “Ella e como mi mamá,” or “She is like my mother,” she affirmed. Arge ntina, Angela stated, has been very kind to her and has protected and assisted her during difficult times. Even though Argentina was Angela’s boss and received payment for her se rvices, I sensed that Angela would work for free, if it was necessary. Angela’s narra tive and her playful and childlike games with Argentina’s ten-year-old foster son also reve aled that she was completely incorporated into the family. The nature of Haitian and Dominican persona l interactions in Loma de Cabrera and Dajabón have also been noted by other auth ors. For instance, Smucker and Murray (2004) state that “Haitians in the border areas do not c onstitute a mysterious and dangerous underclass as they do in the . . . barrios of Santo Domingo” (p. 86). Similarly, Derby (1994) states that alt hough Dominican border residents certainly share and emulate the dominating pathological outl ook of the cities, “their actions [belie] their belief[s]” (p. 490). Turits also notes that “in the Domini can capital Santo Domingo, notions of Haitian alterity have always been more extreme, cat egorical and radical th an in the borderlands, due to the lack of contact be tween groups” (p. 493). The theme of the intimate, personal nature of Haitian and Dominican relations in the town of Loma de Cabrera also surfaced during my interview with Amanda, one of the foster mothers I spoke to. I asked Amanda how she had found Sonia, her Haitian foster

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141 daughter. Amanda’s response revealed that Haitians and Dominicans in this area have also formed bi-ethnic families. Tess: ¿Y cómo él la consiguió a ella? Amanda: Porque él vive con una tía de ella. Tess: ¿Aquí? Amanda: Allá. Tess: Ah, el es dominicano y vive allá. Amanda: Sí, vive allá. Entonce, la eposa del e una tía de ella. Tess: And how did he find her? Amanda: Because he lives with her aunt. Tess: Here? Amanda: Over there. Tess: Oh, he is Dominican and lives over there. Amanda: Yes, he lives over ther e. So, his wife is her aunt. Not only was I surprised that Dominicans live in Haiti, but I was even more astonished to learn of the existence of bi-e thnic families. However, despite my shock, this is a common practice. Not only did I he ar of many other instances, but Smucker and Murray (2004) also make note of the fact that Haitian and Dominican marriages are prevalent along the border region. During my time in the Loma de CabreraDajabon region, I observed another type of inter-ethnic relationship. Haitians and Dominicans carry out intense weekly and even daily commercial exchanges. In fact, ma ny aspects of Haitian-Dominican personal interactions are deep ly-seated in their longstanding co mmercial relationships. Haitian women can be seen walking the Loma de Cabrera and Dajabón streets selling second-

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142 hand clothes in pacas or second-hand donations fro m non-governmental organizations . They also make a living by selling a hodgepodge of items such as used clothes, rice, perfume, and medication in the Dominican Republic. They laboriously construct and develop sales circuits and long-term, commerc ial relationships with residents and small businesses in the area. This is how Luisa, a Haitian woman, and Mireya, an elementary school-teacher in Loma de Cabrera met. Mireya , one of her best customers, consistently buys lace tablecloths and other goods from Luis a, who would walk her sales route along the Loma de Cabrera streets. Mireya paid her fiao or credit on time. After two years of regular commercial exchanges, a trusting, fr iendly relationship surf aced. After a while, Luisa entrusted Mireya with raisi ng her ten-year ol d-daughter. Commercial exchanges in the area are carri ed out on a much grander scale. Every week, the yellow border-gates in the Dajabón aduana or customs are ra ised for a day of frantic buying and selling of goods. Market days are a fundamental component in the lives of the area’s residents. This is why I made sure that Chaguito, my driver and informant, took me to Dajabón to witness the event that defines people’s lives. Border restrictions are temporarily revoked and Ha itians are allowed to enter the Dominican Republic for a day of commercial exchange. Th is experience is inde libly etched in my mind. Thousands upon thousands of Haitian men and women lined the streets surrounding the town park as they stretched out their blankets on the burning asphalt and laid out everything from used clothes, to liquor, to perfume. Dominicans sold agricultural products, mos tly carrots, as well as eggs and meat. The free-market day drew such a multitude that I soon found myself drowning in the midst of an impenetrable human mass with a life of its own. The cacophony of

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143 languages, voices, smells, as well as the involuntary pushing and shoving were disorienting and disturbing. Although Chaguito had forewarned me, I never imagined I would find myself inside a human stampede such as this. Chaguito must have noticed my apprehension because he stood close to me and reassured me that everything was under control. What to me se emed anarchic and almost life-threatening, to him and to almost everyone there was routine. This s eemingly implausible congregation of people is a regular occurrence in Dajabón. In fact, the livelihoods of the people in the area depend on it. The border experiences I had been witness to are nothing new, I would later learn. In fact, the events I have just described have been taking place for extended periods of time. Although life in the towns of Loma de Cabrera and Dajabón were forever transformed by the 1937 massacre, I discovered th at many of the area’s current attributes were also present in the past. Several authors note that Haitian-Dominican trade dominated the area’s economy as well (Baud, 1993; Derby, 1994; Turits, 2002). The livelihoods have consistently hinged upon inte rnational trade and commerce. Borderland commerce involved dense, personal exchanges between Haitians and Dominicans. Like Luisa in Loma de Cabrera, Haitian peddl ers crossed the border to buy and sell their merchandise to Dominican customers (Baud, 1993). Like today, marketplaces were “the center of social and economi c activity in the frontier . . . ” (Derby, 1994, p. 507) where thousands of Haitians and Dominicans flocked to buy and sell merchandise. The personal and intimate relationships I observed were also nothing new. “Haitians and Dominicans were both drawn together and pulled apart through ties of kinship and affinity in the marketplace. . . ” (Derby, 1994, p. 494). Bi-ethnic families

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144 were a common occurrence as well. “Ethnic Ha itians and ethnic Dominicans living in the northern frontier-region had mixed fluidly and often formed families together” (Turits, 2002, p. 596). “Extensive kinship links” (Derby, 1994, p. 496) existed between these groups. Transnationalism Along the Haitian-Dominican Border? Although my research was limited to the Dominican towns of the Loma de Cabrera and Dajabón and did not include to the n earby Haitian towns of Ti-Lori, Capotillo Haitiano or Ouanaminthe to examine life on the other side of the border, it was evident that residents in these locations live transn ational lives. Haitians and Dominicans on both sides of the border have created multi-f aceted relationships “that transcend the territorially-bound jurisdiction of the nation-state” (Levit t, 2001 p. 6). Many Haitians and Dominicans in the area know each other an d are active participants in each other’s lives. Despite language and cultural differen ces, Haitians and Dominicans have managed to establish contact. The border and Dominican government policy certainly pose formidable challenges to these personal relationships, but it does not succeed in preventing their interaction. Does this unique way of life play a role in bi-ethnic fo sterage arrangements?. Did I have to take transnationalism into account in trying to respond to the following key questionWhy are Dominican families taking Haitian foster children into their homes? Why are Dominican Families Fostering Haitian Children? Why would a Dominican family take a Hait ian child into their home? Smucker and Murray (2004) explain the practi ce along four directives. Firs t, Dominican rural to urban migration has significantly reduced the presence of Dominican children in the countryside (p. 84). Thus, the pool of potential foster children from which families can

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145 draw on for labor purposes has significantly dw indled. At the same time, the increasing influx of Haitian adults a nd children opened “a new supply of children” (p. 85) for Dominicans. In addition, schools which were once scarce in remote locations are now available throughout the entire country. This, according to the authors, has eliminated “the once-frequent phenomenon of the rural Do minican families seeking urban homes for placement of school-age children” (p. 84). Thirdly, the signif icant decline of trabajadoras domésticas or maids and the subsequent rise in their wage demands, make household labor unaffordable. As a result, Dominican families seek to satisfy their domestic labor needs by bringing in Haitian fost er children, a more affordable option. “The Haitian presence in the border area has created a much greater sense of familiarity between Dominicans and Haitians” (p. 86). This increased contact between Haitians and Dominicans along border areas mo llifies “the transition from Dominican to Haitian foster children” (p. 84). Certainly, as evidence from my interviews re veals, cost-benefit ca lculations such as Smucker and Murray suggest, permeate the chil d fosterage system. Were this not the case, a bi-directional fosterage flow would exis t, that is, Dominican families would also be placing children with Haitians. However, my data does not suggest this is the case; neither does Smucker and Murray’s (2004). Cons equently, I concluded that both sets of parents respond to cost-benefit ca lculations. Haitian parents want better lives for their children while Dominicans are seeking afford able household help. Haitian parents, it seems, are forced to choose between two ch ildrearing altern atives-abject poverty or child relocation. Haitian parents are using the exis ting child fosterage system as a strategy to prevent their children from living an otherw ise hopeless life. Ho wever, without the

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146 existing transnational social field bi-ethnic arrangements would not be possible or as prevalent. As I have mentioned, fosterag e arrangements are not as likely to occur between strangers. The existing transnationa l social field create s the opportunity and facilitates the connection between both families. Is Bi-Ethnic Fosterage a Novel Phenomenon? The following excerpts from Freddy Prestol Castillo’s El Masacre se pasa a pie (1974) or The Massacre [river] is crosse d on foot, a novel based on the 1937 Haitian massacre in the Dajabón area, made me reconsider Smucker and Murray’s (2004) explanations. . . . han matado todas las negras que había criado la dueña, doña Francina . . (35) . . . sus ahijadas, hijas de peones haitianos , traídas a criarse en casa de doña Francina. (35) Intentaba todavía salvar la vida de unas negras que habían sido como sus hijas . . . (51) . . . they have killed all the black women that Doña Francina, th e owner, had raised. . . (35) . . .her goddaughters, daughters of Haitian peons, were brought to Doña Francina’s house to be fostered. (35) He still tried to save the lives of so me black women that had been like his daughters. . . (51) According to Prestol Castillo’s classic, Dajabón families were already fostering Haitian children back in 1937. Thus were Ha itian children in effect, a “new” (Smucker & Murray, 2004, p. 85) source of children? Like Turits (2002 ), perhaps Prestol-Castillo’s (1974) reference to the practi ce in his classic work suggest s that bi-ethnic fosterage arrangements have been taking place for y ears and are not a recent phenomenon. To answer this question, I decide d to pay closer attention to what Smucker and Murray

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147 (2004) call an increased “familiarity” (p. 86) between Haitians and Dominicans. I decided to explore whether reference of bi ethnic fosterage arrangements was made in other research conducted in this area. Baud (1993), Derby (1994) , and Turits (2002) carried out historical and ethnographical research in th e Dajabón-Loma de CabreraOuanaminthe area in an attempt to document Haitian-Dominican interactions prior to the 1937 government-ordered genocide. These st udies allowed me to briefly compare current border life at my resear ch sites with that of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries. Hopefully, I would be able to determine whether bi-ethnic fosterage arrangements were indeed a new practice. Haitians and Dominicans have always created kinship ties that transcend borders and ethnicities. Bi-ethnic couples were al so a common occurrence. However, several quotes in Turits’ (2002) work s uggest the existence of bi-ethnic fosterage. The following quote, from one of Turits’ Dominican informants that lived in the area , reveals that fictive kinship ties were created among both groups: In those days, we crossed the border wit hout problems. We went over there as much as they came over here. Papá had many friends over there. And he would drop us off with his compadres and they would take care of me (p. 596). Godparenthood, I reflected, is one of the ways that fictive kinship ties are created. Given the fact that godparents often become foster parents to their godchildren, perhaps bi-ethnic hijo de crianza arrangements also took place. Another of Turits’ (2002) informants made reference to fictive kinshi p bonds that also sugge st the existence of fosterage relationships. When asked how life had been before th e massacre, Dona María, a poor elderly Dominican resident of Dajabón, recounted, A Haitian was the midwife for my first child. And we lived close to one another. ‘I treated this woman as if she were my mother. If I cooked, I would give her f ood. And my children really loved her.

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148 This is one of the ones that was kille d [in the massacre]. . . Haitians and Dominicans had treated each other like brothers and sisters, like sons and daughters’. (Turits, 2002, p. 598) Doña María’s use of the phrases I had so frequently heard during my interviews “as if she were my mother”, “like brothers a nd sisters”, “like sons and daughters” also suggested the existence of bi -ethnic fosterage arrangements. However, as I combed through Turits’ work (2002), I found direct reference to hijo de crianza arrangements: The boy that the Haitiana had on her breast, I didn’t want to kill him. So, I grabbed him and I said to the son of Enri que, ‘take this boy and raise him with your other children. He’s not too dark [ es de buen color ].’ “The boy’s ‘good color’ would presumably help him ‘pass’ for Domi nican or offset prejudices against him for possibly being of Haitian descent. The child was raised by the Cerrata family and later became a school teacher (Turits, 2002, p. 620). The cross-border, bi-ethnic re lationships are nothing new, I concluded. In fact, as Baud (1993) states “. . . fuentes históricas aclaran que el desarrollo social y económico de la región estuvo determinado, sobre todo, por los lazos económicos a través de la frontera” (p. 27) or “. . . historical sources clarify that the social and economic development of the region was determined, above all, by the economic ties through the border”. All aspects of present and past life in Loma de Cabrera and Dajabón are bound and interwoven to the activities that occur on the opposite side of the border. Despite the states’ flagrant efforts to segregate and de limit the territory and the population, Haitians and Dominicans in the Loma de Cabrera-DajabónOuanaminthe area have established and nurtured robust social networks. These longstanding ties, both economic and personal, have allowed Dominicans and Ha itians to establish and develop social networks, the binding element of child foster age. Thus, perhaps Smucker and Murray’s (2004) conditioning factors are best viewed as accounting, not for the origin of the

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149 practice, but simply for its apparently increased frequency (G. F. Murray, personal communication, November 25, 2005). I also went back and re-examined my inte rviews and the nature of the relationship between Haitian biological parents and Domi nican families. I found that as in monoethnic cases, none of my fosterage cases involved the placement of children with completely disconnected strangers. Families on both sides of the fosterage system and of the border have established some type of rela tionship, albeit to varying degrees. Both families know each other and most of all trus t each other. In a ddition, Haitian sending families are always able to locate their childre n by relying on their dense social networks. In similar fashion, Dominican foster pare nts can do the same. Thus, the bi-ethnic fosterage system, as the mono-ethnic one, I concluded, operates on a solid foundation of social networks. Haitian Foster Child Living Conditions Does the Cinderella effect occur in bi-e thnic fosterage arrangements? Is the marked alterity that exists between both ethnic groups reflected into fosterage arrangements? Initially, I hypothesized that the belligerence that characterizes the Dominican Republic and HaitiÂ’s relationship would be evident in bi-ethnic fosterage arrangements. However, to my surprise, this was not necessarily the case. Throughout this thesis, I have provided examples of both mono-ethnic and biethnic fosterage arrangements to illustrate different features of the hijo de crianza system. Rather than restricting my analyses of the Dominican fosterage system to the monoethnic cases I encountered, I c hose to incorporate those w ith Haitian foster children because, in essence, I found no ev idence of major differences in their operation. In fact,

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150 to Dominican foster parents involved in bi-ethnic arrangem ents followed the same norms, regardless of the child’s ethni city. Smucker and Murray (2004) reach similar conclusions: Dominicans have their own longstandi ng rules and practices governing child placement. Therefore, Dominican rules, customs and traditions govern their treatment of Haitian children rather than the Haitian rules of the game (p. 84). There’s every indication from fieldwork that the rules operate the same for a Haitian foster child as for a Dominican foster child. (p. 86) The same elements and features present in mono-ethnic arrangements were evident in bi-ethnic fosterage. Do minican foster parents were bound by the same norms and thus provided the same living conditions than they would a Dominican child. Thus, overall, Haitian foster children receive similar condi tions, in regards to the variables I had established. Although Haitian children enjoyed simila r living conditions as Dominicans, I observed certain differences between mono-ethnic and bi-et hnic arrangements. Haitian parents, as Smucker and Murray (2004) state, “negotiate as aliens on Dominican soil, and it is the Dominican rules of the game that prev ail” (p. 84). As “aliens,” Haitians have less leverage in child custody negotiations. I first noticed this with the Haitian parent’s right to terminate the arrangement. A Haitian mother, I was told, tried to reclaim her daughter despite the fact that the arrangement was regalado or given away. The Haitian woman was eventually incarcerated “ pa dale un suto ” or “to scare her” a nd thus discourage any future custody claims. As I have noted in Chapter 2, these exceptions to custody term rules occur in mono-ethn ic cases. However, I did not h ear of a case where such extreme measures were taken against Dominican parents. The presence of an international borde r gives a unique quality to bi-ethnic arrangements. The physical border and the Do minican military present challenges to the

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151 fosterage arrangement. For instance, the supe rvisory and accountability process is much more difficult to carry out. Visita tion, an integral component of the hijo de crianza system, involves the sometimes surreptitious crossing of an inte rnational boundary. Undocumented Haitian biological parents, for in stance, have to travel across the border to visit their children. Foster children must do the same. However, as Juana, a Dominican foster mother who is raising a Haitian girl in Loma de Cabr era, explained, she must make the trip with her foster daughter. If not, her foster daughter might not be let back into the country. The Dominican military mi ght not let her back across. Juana: Yo se la llevo allá. Yo se la llevo pa que ella la vea. Tess: ¿Cómo uté la lleva? Juana: No, yo cojo con ella a pasame un día allá con ella. Juana: I take her to them over there. I take her so that they can see her. Tess: How do you get her there? Juana: No, I go with her and sp end the day with her over there. Papeles Although the papeles or birth registration has gr eat significance in mono-ethnic fosterage arrangements, this feature is of particular relevance in bi-ethnic fosterage arrangements. Like in mono-ethnic cases, the papeles provide foster parents with an “official” validation of parent al custody. However, the papeles acquire additional layers of meaning in bi-ethnic arrangements. Th ey provide foster ch ildren with Dominican citizenship and thus legal mi gratory status, something th at the Dominican government has refused to provide to Haitian childr en born in the Dominican Republic.

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152 Conclusion Dominican-Haitian relationships along the border area are quite different from those in the rest of the count ry. Despite language and cultur al differences and a turbulent historical past, members of both groups have established harmonious, trusting relationships. Bi-ethnic fosterage arrangements are the fruit of this trusting relationship. Furthermore, Haitians and Dominicans collaborate and interact in a way that is crucial for the maintenance of each otherÂ’s livelihoods. Ha itians are an indispensable component of the areaÂ’s agricultural and domestic workforce. Nevertheless, this is not the case in regard s to Haitian-Dominican public lives. The Dominican military exerts brutal force agai nst Haitians and is involved in a covert business of under-the-table immigration taxe s. The government, on the other hand, has adopted an immigration policy th at is contradictor y. It promotes Haitian and Dominican commercial relations, while on the other hand, it warns against the invasion of peoples that are taking over the land. In essence, bi-ethnic fosterage arrangemen ts operate under the same general rules and regulations as mono-ethnic fosterage. I neither observed any differences in Haitian child living conditions, nor was I told about them in interviews . However, the placement of Haitian children in Dominican homes invol ves issues that greatly complicate the arrangement. Families involved in bi-et hnic arrangements must also deal with citizenship, borders, states, and a long histor y of ethnic animosity. For instance, Haitian parents are more likely than Dominican parents to relinquish their parental rights and allow Dominican foster parents to register the children as if they had engendered them. In doing so, Haitian children are automatically granted Dominican citizenship, something that has proven almost impossible for other Haitian children in the Dominican Republic.

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153 Dominican authorities refuse to grant citizensh ip to Haitian children, despite the fact that they are born in Dominican territory. Moreover, visita tion, a basic element in the “lending” mode of the arrangement, becomes a difficult, international ordeal. Whether it is Haitian parents visiting biologi cal children at the foster home or vice versa, the journey often involves illegally crossing the border and dealing with the Dominican military, who on many occasions have been accused of brut al abuses against Haitians (Smucker & Murray, 2004). Furthermore, Haitian parents are at a disadvantage when it comes to parental custody disputes. Dominican foster parents are likely to re sist and prevent the arrangement’s termination. Haitians lack the cultural leverage to enforce their rights in the agreement. The question of why Dominican families are taking Haitian children involves, in reality, a multiplicity of factors. Although f unding and time constraints did not allow me to address the issue with the depth I would have liked, my da ta suggests that cost-benefit calculations are involved in the fosterage deci sion making process. A lifetime in Haiti is nothing a parent desires for their child. Cons equently, Haitian parents use the existing fosterage system as a survival strategy. In placing children with Dominican families, parents automatically provide their children w ith an opportunity for a less miserable life. In addition, they are creating a strong foothold in the Domi nican Republic. By having a child in the country, they improve their own chances of migration and a better life for themselves. In similar fashion, Dominican parents, also respond to cost-benefit calculations when deciding to take Haitian children in. Through bi-ethnic fosterage, Dominican parents satisfy their domestic a nd agricultural labor requirements.

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154 However, as I have noted, explaining bi -ethnic arrangements without taking social networks into account provides a limited pe rspective on the issue. The bi-ethnic relocation cases I encountered involved a pr e-existing biological to foster parent relationship. It is my belief that these a rrangements would not have been carried out, had these trusting bonds not been in place. Both sets of pare nts experience the push and pull circumstances that promote fosterage. Howe ver, without the social network it is not likely that the arrangements would take place.

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155 CHAPTER 7 CONCLUSION In its 2003 study, the International Labor Organization’s Intern ational Programme on the Elimination of Child Labor concluded that the hijo de crianza practice is nothing but child labor veiled in kinship termi nology. Child fosterage is nothing but an “ eufemismo usado en el país para referirse al empleo de un o una menor para trabajo doméstico ” or “fostering a boy or a girl (euphemism used in the country to refer to the employment of a minor in domestic la bor” (p. 31). The practice of having hijos de crianza , the International La bor Organization claims, subjects children to “condiciones de explotación y peligro, carga de responsabi lidades laborales que no corresponden a la edad. . . . o lejanía de los lazos afectivos con su familia de origen, exposición al maltrato físico, sexual o emocional. . . ” or “exploitative and dangerous conditions, excessive labor responsibilities that do not correspond with thei r age. . . or the affective distance with their family of origin, expos ure to physical, sexual or emotional abuse” (International Labor Organization, 2004, p. 78). The International Labor Organization’s distressing findings led to an educational campa ign that targeted pr ograms to discourage the practice of child re location. Amongst their recommendati ons was that the practice be included as one of the “ Peores Formas de Trabajo Infantil ” or one of the “worst forms of child labor” (p. 86). Nevertheless, my findings, as I have not ed throughout this thesis, do not support the International Labor Orga nization’s conclusions. My data does not suggest that fosterage is in truth a pa thological parenting practice carried out by unconcerned,

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156 detached parents. In fact, my findings indicate the existen ce of a highly organized social system that aims to find better living conditions fo r children. First of all, my findings s uggest that child relocation in the Dominican Republic is founded on a distinct conceptu alization of parenting and childrearing that stresses behavior as well as filiation. The common Dominican adage “ madre es la que cria” or “mother is the person that rears you” eloquently expresses the fact th at both social and biological parenthood are equally highlighted. Consequently, th e creation of parent-child bonds and allegiances are based on ascribed as well as achieved roles. Thus, parents have to behave like parents to be loved and considered parents. The Dominican Republic’s family syst em possesses a highly-organized and complex kinship sub-system that places children outside the biological homethe hijo de crianza system. As I described in Chapter 2, it involves an ela borated arrangement carried out between three specific entitiesa biological parent, a foster parent, and a child. The hijo de crianza system carefully regulates th e manner in which children are removed from their biological homes and plac ed in the foster homes, as well as the transfer of parental rights and duties. Fost er parents are entruste d with the childrearing duties, that is, they must pr ovide food, clothing, shelter, nurtu ring, and an education. The child, in turn, must redirect his or her filial re sponsibilities towards the receiving or foster parent. Instead of contributing to the biological parent household economy the child must now do so in the foster home, as well as provide them with affection, companionship and care in old age. Foster children, however, are not to be considered household servants. An hijo de crianza must be treated “ como si fuera una hija ” or “as if they were a daughter.”

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157 Although the child fosterage system in the Dominican Republic is extra-legal, that is, it is not addressed by the Dominican lega l system; it operates under strict cultural norms. It contains stipulati ons that regulate matters such as child custody, guardianship, visitation and termination of the agreement. The hijo de crianza system operates under two basic modalitiesprestado or regalado . Under the prestado arrangement, biological parents relinquish their childr earing rights and duties on a tem porary and partial basis. The prestado arrangement allows both foster and biological parents to terminate the agreement at any time. In addition, biological parents retain a supe rvisory role over the childrearing process through regul ar visits to the foster hom e. Not only does this allow them to maintain and nurture a bond with the child, but it is the best way to ensure their overall wellbeing. Thus, in essence, the child maintains membership in both the biological and foster intimate kin groups, while still keeping their biological family identity. The second modality, the regalado arrangement, involves a child that has been permanently transferred to the foster parent household. Biological parents renounce their childrearing rights and duties and agree to sever all ties with the child. Biological parents are not supposed to visit or attempt to create any ties with their child. Under regalado arrangements, children are incorporated into the foster family as full, permanent members of the intimate kin group. If th e transfer is carried out with papeles , the child undergoes a change in his or her legal status. In other words, regalado arrangements are, in essence, an extra-legal adoption. However, as I have previously noted, fo sterage arrangements do not always operate smoothly. Child custody conflicts often aris e between foster and biological parents,

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158 particularly under the regalado terms. Despite having agreed to permanently relinquish custody, biological parents will visit the foster homes and often reclaim children. Thus, foster parents fear losing the care and resour ces invested in a foster child. To ensure their parenting investments, foster parents will often use papeles or birth certificates to cement the deal and thus prevent the biological parent to reclaim the child. Nonetheless, the biological parentchild bond is never trul y dissolved. Thus, the ascribed parental responsibility is never co mpletely eliminated. My findings also indicate specific, define d patterns underlying the parental decision of giving up or taking in a child. Fosterag e arrangements are not only carried out to fulfill child labor needs. As I have noted in Chapter 4, parents give up and take in children for different reasons. The most frequently mentioned were those involving family and economic crises situations, specifically those related to marriage or union dissolutions. Parents confronting divorce or death of a spouse often turned to the hijo de crianza system as a viable childrearing strategy. This was particularly the case for single mothers who wanted to remarry. The pervas iveness of sexual abuse prompts parents to protect daughters from the risks of sexual abuse by step fathers. Additionally, the desire for children to attend school was also cite d as a reason behind th e fosterage decision. Although this is still one of th e leading reasons behind child re location, it is in decline. The spread of schools throughout the country has diminished the need to relocate children for these purposes, particularly at the level of primary school. Nonetheless, relocation is still commonly done for providi ng access to secondary education in towns and cities. Foster families, on the other hand, took children in as a result of empty nest

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159 situations, obligation to members of the kin gr oup, as well as for the need for labor in the home. My work also suggests that social networks play an important role in the fosterage decision process. Biological parents will rarely give their children to strangers or to families they do not know or they do not sh are a common, trusted acquaintance. Over and over, biological individuals stressed th e importance of entrusting their child to families who are held in high esteem by the community. Also, parents emphasized their need of always being able to find and contac t their child. Thus, social networks connect biological and foster families and thus create the opportunity for the fosterage arrangement to take place. In spite of the existence of a highly organized and nuanced child relocation system and its clear expectations that children be treated and incorpor ated as full members of the household, this is not always the case. In st atistical fact we have seen that in many households this principle is pa rtially softened, as foster children may be given more domestic tasks or sent to less expensive schools. Howeve r, the strongly expressed cultural rule of equal treatment does seem to be accompanied by a higher incidence of benign treatment of foster children th an is found in Haitian families with restavèk children. Does the benign cultu ral rule found in the Dominica n Republic lead to the more benign behavior? Or is the rule itself simp ly an epiphenomenal expression of benign behavior that arose for other reasons? That is a theoretical and philosophical question that cannot be answered here. What seems clear is that the child fosterage system in the Dominican Republic, in many cases, operates to the advantage of the relocated children. As Smucker and Murray (2004) note, the majo rity of fosterage cases that involved

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160 differential treatment still pr ovided humane treatment for these children. Their food, clothing, and housing excel what they would have found in their biological homes and – above all – they have increased access to schooling. The Cinderella effect was not found to be stronger in regards to the treatment of Haitian children. My observations and interv iews did not reveal significant differences between mono-ethnic and bi-et hnic relocations, that is, in Haitian foster child living conditions. Overall, Haitian children were treated in the same way as were Dominican foster children. Contrary to the term restavèks of Haiti, which refers explicitly to an abused, relocated child, the Dominican Repub lic does not have a linguistically-encoded cultural category of enslaved and mistre ated children (Smucker & Murray, 2004). However, as I have mentioned, Haitian biological parents have a fundamental disadvantage as participants in a Dominican fosterage arrangement. They enjoy less leverage in parentage negotiations. Haitian pa rents negotiate as “aliens” and thus face increased difficulty, especially when trying to terminate fosterage arrangements. Although my findings do not support the International Labo r Organization’s pathological views regarding the hijo de crianza system, they did, nonetheless, reveal the existence of at least one epidemic of alar ming proportions that aff licts children in the Dominican Republic. Child sexual abuse, rega rdless of foster or bi ological status, is rampant and overlooked. The fact that specific cultural systems have been put in place to safeguard girls from sexual abuse is indicativ e of the ubiquitous natu re of this problem and that it is, in fact, viewed as an inescapable fact of life. It is here that urgent and immediate attention is needed. But with respec t to sexual abuse, it must be stated that no clear indications exist that th e incidence of sexual abuse of foster children is markedly

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161 higher than that of biologi cal children. Sexual abuse is a problem, but not one engendered by the child relocation component of Dominican family organization. Why does child abuse and differential treatme nt occur? The question is important, but I must again insist: abuse can and does occur with biological children as well. Disentangling the web of underl ying factors is a daunting task that requires much more in-depth research than what I have carried out thus far. However, my findings suggest that certain factors merit partic ular attention. First, the type of fosterage arrangements as well as the reasons behind child relocation are instrumental to the analysis of a childÂ’s living condition. In addition, f actors such as skin color, ethnicity, rural or urban residence also carry significant weight in the quality of a childÂ’s living conditions. Additionally, the fact that childr en are related or non-related to the foster parent needs to be factored in as well. But most importantl y, an analysis of diffe rential treatment needs to consider the socioeconomic differences be tween the sending and the receiving family. The extent of this social gap may play a heavy role in determining the extent of differential treatment. The hijo de crianza system is not flawless, despite my contention that the Dominican variant has widespr ead benign outcomes. Child abuse and deplorable living conditions are indeed present in fosterag e arrangements. But unfortunately, these conditions afflict children living with biological parents, too. The knee-jerk vilification of the very system of child relocation curre ntly found in some human rights reports is based on a paucity of firsthand ethnographic information and a tendency to focus on the gruesome. It is the underlying factors behind diff erential treatment and abuses that need to be addressed, not the child relocation system itself . By demonizing the entire child

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162 relocation system, we ethnocentrically impose external parenting and family views that are not shared by most Dominican s, particularly those in rura l areas. I have attempted to approach the issue of child abuse in a holistic, ethnographica lly informed framework that fully understands the hijo de crianza system and its role within Dominican society. In fact, I strongly argue that the hijo de crianza system, when functioning in its benign modality, is a social mechanism of great va lue and utility to th e country and to the individual Dominican family involved in the arrangement. The hijo de crianza system, in fact, should be protected and m easures be adopted to monitor and direct it into its more benign directions, not to eliminate it.

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163 REFERENCES Alber, E. (2003). Denying biological pa renthood: Fosterage in Northern Benin. Ethnos , 68(4). Retrieved February 20, 2004 from http://search.epnet.com/login.asp x?direct=true&db=aph&an=12255348. Alber, E. (2004). Grandparents as fost er-parents: Transformations in foster relations between grandparents and grandchildren in Northern Benin. Africa , 74(1). Retrieved February 20, 2004 from http://search.epnet.com/login.a spx?direct=true&db=aph&an=14263262 Andrade, M. J.(1948). Folklore de la República Dominicana [Folklore of the Dominican Republic] . Ciudad Trujillo, Repbli ca Dominicana: Editora Montalvo. Bass, L.E. (2004). Child labor in Sub-Saharan Africa . Boulder: Lynne Rienner Publishers. Bernard, H.R. (2002). Research methods in anthropology: Qualitative and quantitative methods. Walnut Creek, Ca: Altamira Press. Bledsoe, C. & Isiugo-Abanihe, U. (1989) . Strategies of child fosterage among Mende grannies in Sierra Leone . In R.J. Lesthaeghe (Ed.), Reproduction and sociol organization in Sub-Saharan Africa . Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press. Cadet, Jean-Robert. (1998). Restavèc : From Haitian slave child to middle-class American. Austin: University of Texas Press. Centro de Estudios Sociales y Demogr áficos, Secretaría de Estado de Salud Pública y Asistencia Social, Comisión Ejecutiva para la Reforma del Sector Salud, Consejo Presidencial del SIDA, Agencia de los Estados Unidos para el Desarrollo In ternacional, Banco Mundial, Banco Interamericano de Desarrollo, et. al. (2002). República Dominicana Encuesta Demografica y de Salud ENDESA 2002 [Dominican Republic Demographic and Health Survey 2002]. Retrieved August 24, 2004, from http://www.measuredhs.com/pubs/ pdf/FR146/00FrontMatter.pdf Desai, S. (1992). Children at riskThe role of family structure in Latin America and West Africa. Population and Development Review , 18(4). Retrieved February 20, 2004 from http:/ /links.jstor.org/sici?sici=00987921%28199212%2918%3A4%3C689%3ACARTRO%3E2.0.CO%3B2-7

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164 Desai, S. (1995). When are children from large families disadvantagedEvidence from cross-national analyses [Electronic version] Population StudiesA Journal of Demography 49(2), 195-210. Eloundou-Enyegue, P.M. & Stokes, C.S. (2002). Will economic crises in Africa weaken rural-ruban ties ? Insights from child fosterage trends in Cameroon. Rural Sociology 67(2). Retrieved February 21, 2004 from http://search.epnet.com/login.asp x?direct=true&db=aph&an=6845665 Fog Olwig, K. (1999). Narratives of the ch ildren left behind: Home and identity in globalised Caribbean families. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies , 25(2). Retrieved February 21, 2004 from . Glick-Schiller, N. (1999) Transmigrant s and nation-states: Something old and something new in the U.S. immigrant experience. In: C. Hirshman et al. (Eds.), The handbook of international migration: The American experience. New York: Russell Sage Foundation. Goody, E.N. (1973). Contexts of kinship: An essay in the family sociology of the Gonja . Cambridge: University Press. Guzmán Molina, U. (2003, April 11). En Busca de la Cifra Perdida, la Cantidad de Haitianos en RD [In search for the lost number, the number of Haitians in the Dominican Republic]. Hoy Isiugo-Abanihe, U.C. (1985). Child fosterage in West Africa. Population and Development Review 11(1). Retrieved February 20, 2004 from http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=00987921%28198503%2911%3A1%3C53%3ACFIWA%3E2.0.CO%3B2-7 Oficina Internacional del Trabajo Programa Internacional para la Erradicación del Trabajo Infantil. (2002). Un estudio exploratorio s obre el trabajo infantil doméstico en hogares de terceros en República Dominicana: Esto no es un juego! [An exploratory study about child domestic labor in third party homes in the Dominican Republic: This is not a game!] San José: Master Litho S.A. Molina, T. (2003, April 17). Unos 3,750 niños fueron víctim as de incesto en el 2002 [Some 3,750 children were vi ctims of incest in 2002]. El Caribe . Nuevo Código de Niños, Niñas y Adolescentes [New code for boys, girls and adolescents]. (2003). Santo Domingo: Libreria Jurídica Virtual y Ediciones Jurídicas Tr ajano Potentini.

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165 Ortíz Gómez, A. (2003, January 20). Debido a falta de refugios, particulares cuidan víctimas [Lack of refuges cause indivi duals to care for victims]. Hoy . Page, H. (1989). Childrearing versus ch ildbearing: Coresidence of mother and child in Sub-Saharan Africa. In R.J. Lesthaeghe (Ed.), Reproduction and sociol organization in Sub-Saharan Africa . Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press. Schrauwers, A. (1999). Negotiating pa rentage: The political economy of “kinship” in central Sulawesi, Indonesia. American Ethnologis t, 26(2). Retrieved February 20, 2004 from http://www.jstor.org/browse /15481425/as100044/10002010?viewContent =citation Silk, J.B. (1987). Adoption and fosterag e in human societies: Adaptations or enigmas?. Cultural Anthropology 2(1). Retrieved February 20, 2004 from http://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=08867356%28198702%292%3A1%3C39%3AAAFIHS%3E2.0.CO%3B2-0. Smucker, G. & Murray, G. (2004) The uses of children: A study of trafficking in Haitian children. USAID/Haiti Mi ssion, Port-au-Prince, Haiti. Vázquez Germán, A. (2003, May 13) Los padres son con frecuencia agresores sexuales de menores [Parents are frequently the sexual agressors of minors]. Listin Diario . Wilk, R. R. (1996). Economies and cultures: Foundations of economic anthropology . Boulder, Colo.: Westview Press. Zimmerman, F.J. (2003). Cinde rella goes to schoolThe effects of child fostering on school enrollment in South Africa. Journal of Human Resources 38(3). Retrieved February 20, 2004 from http ://links.jstor.org/sici?sici=0022166X%28200322%2938%3A3%3C557%3ACGTSTE%3E2.0.CO%3B2L.

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166 BIOGRAPHICAL SKETCH Tess Marie Kulstad González was born in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. She graduated magna cum laude from the Inst ituto Tecnológico de Santo Domingo with a degree in business administration. While at the University of Florida, she received her M. A. in Latin American studies with a concentration in anthropology under the supervision of Professor Gerald F. Mu rray. She continues researching family organization, child labor and migration, particularly in the Caribbean region.