|AAC Established 1978 www.americanadoptioncongress.org May, 2009|
CONFERENCE IN CLEVELAND WAS UNPRECEDENTED IN MANY WAYS
Last month's conference in Cleveland holds several distinctions over the national conferences the AAC has organized in the past 30 years.
Transforming Families, Connecting Lives was co-sponsored by the AAC and Adoption Network Cleveland (ANC). Plans for it began two years ago, when ANC's founder Betsie Norris suggested to Eileen McQuade, the AAC's president, that the two organizations join forces to hold a national conference in Cleveland.
Another way in which last month's conference differs from its predecessors is that Transforming Families, Connecting Lives was blogged by AAC board members Cindy Wolfe Boynton, Roberta MacDonald, and Macy Oosthuizen. The blog can be viewed at http://americanadoptioncongress.blogspot.com.
In addition to attendance that exceeded more than 320 participants, the largest number of attendees in several years, the conference in Cleveland was noteworthy for these reasons as well:
• The AAC's Education Committee, chaired by Wendy Rowney, who also serves as the AAC's Canadian Liaison, debuted two videos that will eventually appear on YouTube. The videos explore adoption from the standpoint of adopted adults and birth mothers. In the near future, these videos will be joined by two others: one on the importance of reunion to adopted adults and birth mothers; and, one on reunions from the viewpoint of adoptive parents.
• Sarah's Adoption Story, an activity book for children growing up in open adoptions, was released at the national conference last month. The book was written by Rowney and Joan Schumack, the AAC's Communications Chair and content editor of the Beacon. It was illustrated by Jodi Tucci Brisebois. Sarah's Adoption Story was a project of the AAC's Education Committee. The book offers 32 pages of activities for children and parents in open adoptions. Both writers and the illustrator of Sarah's Adoption Story are all adopted adults.
• For the first time in the AAC's history, the Board of Directors contains a plurality of adopted adults. Six of the thirteen board members are adopted adults. The AAC's Board of Directors includes two adoptive parents, one of whom is also an adopted adult, a birth father, and five birth mothers.
AROUND THE AMERICAN
Board Re-elects McQuade As President
During the annual meeting of the AAC's Board of Directors in Cleveland April 20-22, 2009, Eileen McQuade was elected to serve a third term as president. Board members also retained Cindy McGuigan as treasurer for a third term.
Paul Schibbelhute, who serves as the AAC's New England Regional Director, was elected Vice President. Schibbelhute succeeded Pat Lubarsky, who completed her term as vice president. Retaining their positions on the Board of Directors are:
• Lynne Banks, Mid-West Regional Director
• Carolyn Hoard, Secretary and Membership Chair
• Mary Martin Mason, Legislative Chair
• Wendy Rowney, Education Chair and Canadian Liaison
• Joan Schumack, Communications Chair
Five new members joined the AAC's Board of Directors at the 2009 annual meeting :
• Donnie Davis, Southwest Regional Director
• Sondi Hill, Southern Regional Director
• Roberta MacDonald, Southern Regional Director
• Macy Oosthuizen, Mid-Atlantic Regional Director
• Katy Perkins, Membership Development
AAC's Conference Plans for 2010 and 2011
For 2010, the AAC is investigating the possibility of holding two weekend conferences, one each in California and in the Mid-Atlantic region. No dates have been confirmed, but one weekend conference would likely be in the spring, and the second in the fall. The next national conference is tentatively planned for 2011 in New Orleans.
Anyone interested in becoming involved with the weekend conference in California should contact board member Donnie Davis at firstname.lastname@example.org. Spearheading the conference in the Mid-Atlantic region is board member Macy Oosthuizen, email@example.com.
A WEBSITE WORTH A VISIT
According to its website, Adoption Knowledge Affiliates in Austin, Texas is
"an educational organization whose purposes are to foster understanding of adoption issues and to serve as a resource to people whose lives are touched by adoption, and the professionals who work with them, and with the general public."
To that end, Adoption Knowledge Affiliates (AKA) holds monthly meetings and an annual weekend conference in November. AKA also
• operates a lending library
• offers an online resource directory
• provides volunteering opportunities
In 2009, the annual weekend conference is scheduled for Friday and Saturday, November 13th and 14th. This year's conference is the 17th annual conference that Adoption Knowledge Affiliates is organizing.
To learn more about Adoption Knowledge Affiliates, please visit its website at
Oklahoma Governor Signs Law
Requiring Attorneys to Report
All Adoption Expenses to a Judge
In late April, Gov. Brad Henry of Oklahoma signed into law House Bill 2174. It will take effect on Nov. 1, 2009.
Provisions in this law:
• Permit only one adoptive family to be billed for the birth mother's expenses.
• Allow adoption petitions to be filed in just one of four venues: the home county of the birth mother or adoptive parents; or, in either Oklahoma or Tulsa counties.
House Bill 2174 was authored by State Rep. Jason Nelson, a Republican from Oklahoma City. Nelson has said the bill was intended to prevent the occurrence of adoptive families bidding against each other for a child.
Submissions for The Beacon may be emailed to: firstname.lastname@example.org. Please send messages to the attention of Joan Schumack, The Beacon's content editor. Schumack also serves as the AAC's Communications Chair, and can be contacted directly at email@example.com.
Portions of The Beacon may be quoted and copied if credit is given to "The AAC Beacon, American Adoption Congress," with the exception of copyrighted articles. Permission to reprint copyrighted articles must be obtained directly from the author. Opinions expressed in the Beacon are not necessarily those of the AAC.
The American Adoption Congress comprises individuals, families and organizations committed to adoption reform. We represent those whose lives are touched by adoption or other loss of family continuity. We promote honesty, openness and respect for family connections in adoption, foster care, and assisted reproduction. We provide education for our members and professional communities about the lifelong process of adoption. We advocate legislation that will grant every individual access to information about his or her family and heritage.
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