The Beacon
December 2008  

Early Bird registration for "Transforming Families, Connecting Lives" begins after Jan. 1, 2009, and continues through Feb. 28, 2009. After those dates, higher rates will prevail .To register, please go to and select national conferences.





     The AAC is proud to announce the 2009 scholarship program to help some of our most active volunteers to attend the conference in Cleveland, Transforming Families, Connecting Lives.

     If you have never attended an AAC conference, please consider this life-changing experience. You will hear some of the most prominent speakers in adoption today, meet AAC state reps and board members in person. Most importantly,you will learn, share, cry, laugh, and make memories you may never forget.

     All AAC members are eligible to complete a scholarship application. Winners will be determined by the AAC Scholarship Committee. These awards will be publicly acknowledged during the conference. They will serve to recognize individuals who have made, and will continue to make, significant contributions to the AAC and adoption reform in the coming year. Board members are not eligible for scholarships, and scholarship winners are not permitted additional presenter discounts.

     The AAC will provide up to four registration subsidies of $200 each. The funds for these scholarships come from our silent auction at the conference. Scholarship winners will need to pay a $125 net registration fee if they register early, instead of the normal $325 early registration fee. Each room at the Hilton Garden Inn is $129 per night – that is only $33 plus tax per night, for quad occupancy, or $66 per night plus tax for double occupancy. For attendees staying at the conference hotel, registration includes full breakfast. Full conference registrations include daily breaks on each day, the awards lunch on Friday, and the receptions on Wednesday and Saturday evening.

     Completed application forms (a link to the form is on the AAC's web site) should be sent to Patricia Lubarsky, AAC Vice President, at, or by postal mail at 12706 Creekview Dr, #155, San Diego, CA 92128-5685 by January 31, 2009. The Scholarship Committee consists of the AAC's president, vice president, and membership chair. Award winners will be notified by February 28, 2009.

     Award winners will register for the conference and pay the registration fee by the end of the early registration period, Feb. 28, 2009. They may register prior to or after announcement of the winners.

     Award winners will be asked to complete volunteer assignments during the conference. The AAC always needs volunteers to help on the registration desk, in the book room, and as workshop monitors. You will be expected to volunteer for eight hours during the conference. Some of that time may be as a monitor in a workshop that you are planning to attend. The AAC's treasurer will provide the $200 rebate within ten days of the end of the conference.

     Donations to the silent auction in Cleveland will be used to fund future conference scholarships. Please consider making a donation to the silent auction, so we can keep this valuable program going. Gift cards make excellent donations for the silent auction, and incur minimal mailing costs. Please contact Eileen McQuade, the AAC's President, at, or by postal mail at 2155 Ocean Blvd. #22, Delray Beach, FL 33483, if you would like to make a donation or request additional information.

     To apply for a scholarship, please click on this link:







     Please welcome Gene Sperring as the AAC’s new Northern California State Representative.

     Sperring learned about the AAC while serving on the board of the Post Adoption Center for Education and Research (PACER). An adoptive parent, he is interested in working on adoption reform, specifically on access-to-information legislation in California. Sperring and his wife, Cathie, adopted two children as infants, a boy and a girl.


     In the past three years, Colleen Buckner, an AAC member and active searcher, found the birth mothers of the Sperrings' son and daughter.

     According to Sperring, “We have a wonderful, loving relationship with a huge family in Denver for my son, and we’re working on a connection for my daughter. It’s been work, it will be work, but with this fine adoption community that we are involved with, it will be good for all.”

      A retired 8th grade science and health education teacher, Sperring missed his classes and students. “As good a teacher as I was, being aware of my students’ needs and individualities and always treating them with respect, I must admit I was a ‘sleeper’ with my own son and daughter, who we adopted as babies.”

     Much has been learned since then, as Sperring observed: “I’m fully aware that I’m joining a wonderful and very responsible group of people in America.”

      Gene and Cathie Sperring live in Sonoma, California, where their hobby is winemaking.





    KAAN, the Korean American Adoptee Adoptive Family Network, is December's featured web site.

     According to KAAN's homepage: "One hundred thousand Korean children have been adopted into the United States. With their extended families, they form a Korean adoption community of over two million."

     KAAN'S mission, as stated on its web site is to "support networking and build understanding among Adoptees, Adoptive Families, Koreans And Korean Americans."

    To that end, KAAN holds an annual conference in a different city each year. In 2008, KAAN's annual conference was held in Chicago. Previous host cities have been Los Angeles; Hasbrouck Heights, New Jersey; Seattle; Minneapolis; Arlington, Virginia; San Francisco; Detroit; Seoul, Korea; and Boston.

     KAAN is run entirely by volunteers. Attendees of its annual conference have come from across the U.S., Canada, Asia, Europe and Australia. KAAN can be contacted at:

P.O. Box 5585
El Dorado Hills, CA 95762
916 - 933-1447

KAAN's web address is






     U.S. Congressman Rodney Frelinghuysen of New Jersey nominated Judy Foster as a 2008 Angel in Adoption™ for her outstanding advocacy of adoption issues. The Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute (CCAI), which administers the Angels in Adoption™ program, honored Foster along with more than 180 Angels at an awards ceremony in Washington, D.C.

      Foster was honored for her commitment to promoting public understanding of the need for truth in adoption. She became involved in adoption reform in 2000, after reuniting with the daughter she had relinquished in 1961. Foster reunited with her daughter 37 years after relinquishment, and found her passion for giving back to the adoption community.

      “If anyone had told me years ago that I would be openly sharing my story and advocating for adoptees’ rights to know their heritage, I would have thought they were crazy,” Foster said. “We were told to go on with our lives and put it behind us, never to speak of it again. Like a good Catholic girl, that’s what I did.”

      Foster earned a bachelor's degree at night, and built a 40-year career in various management positions with Bell Laboratories, AT&T and Lucent Technologies. She waited ten years after their marriage to tell her husband “her deep, dark secret.” In 1998, with her husband's support, Foster and her daughter reunited. “It was absolutely surreal,” Foster said.

      For the past eight years, Foster has been the AAC's New Jersey state representative, and an active member of the New Jersey Coalition for Adoption Reform and Education (NJCARE). She advocates for legislation that would permit adult adoptees to access a copy of their original birth certificate.

      “There’s been a bill in New Jersey for almost 30 years, but some key legislators feel it would be reneging on the alleged promise of confidentiality,” Foster said. “I was never promised confidentiality from my daughter, nor did I ask for it. In fact, her adoptive parents knew my name."

      Foster co-facilitates a post-adoption support group in Morristown, NJ. It has been meeting monthly for more than two decades, and serves adoptees and their parents by birth and adoption. While not a professional searcher, nevertheless Foster has been instrumental in reuniting several birth families.

      “It’s my way of giving back,” Foster explained. “I have been truly blessed.”

      Foster lives with her husband, George Avener, in Randolph, NJ. Her daughter and two granddaughters live in Pennsylvania.