The Beacon
AAC Established 1978                         April, 2009  


The national conference will

be blogged from Cleveland on the AAC's website.

The dates for "Transforming Families, Connecting Lives" are April 22 - 26, 2009.

AAC members Cindy Wolfe Boynton, Macy Oosthuizen, and Roberta MacDonald will blog from the conference.

Please visit the AAC's website for the link to the daily conference blogs.





     In response to frequent questions from members, prospective members, and people with an interest in adoption reform, The Beacon is publishing a list of the various ways in which people can support the AAC.

     The following information is also available on the AAC's website at Now in its fourth decade of service to the adoption community, the AAC continues its efforts through the financial support of its members.

     This website offers a quick and easy way to benefit the AAC with a portion of your online purchases. Signing up takes just a few minutes of your time, and the AAC will benefit from your every purchase. You can register by going to

'Donate Now' Button on AAC's Website

     These credit card donations to the AAC can put your contribution to work immediately on behalf of adoption reform. This link will take you to the Donate Now button on the AAC's website:

Book Purchases Through the AAC's Website

     Any book on the AAC's recommended reading page can be bought through the website, and will contribute a portion of the purchase price to the AAC.

     In addition, will contributeto the AAC a portion of the purchase price from most books bought through the AAC's website. However, the book must be bought through the AAC's link to for the purchase to benefit the AAC.

     Nearly one hundred titles, for all members of the adoption triad, are available for purchase through the AAC's website. Please follow this link to view the recommended list, which includes books that otherwise may be hard to find:

Employer Matching Programs

     Many large employers match their employees' contributions to charitable organizations. Please check your employee benefits documentation to see if your employer offers a matching program. Through employer matching, you can in effect double your personal contribution to the AAC.

United Way

     Many United Way programs allow contributors to direct their contributions to an organization of their own choosing. Please consider making the AAC the beneficiary of your United Way contribution this year. Ask your local United Way
representative about directed giving.

Individual and Business Contributions

     If you would prefer to donate by check, or want to use a credit card but do not wish to use the secure online credit card processing, please send your contributions to:
          The American Adoption Congress
          P.O. Box 42730
          Washington, D.C. 20015

     If your donation is by credit card, please include your card number, expiration date, and billing zip code on your correspondence. Tax receipts are provided on request. Contributions may be designated for the AAC's General Fund, Scholarship Fund, or Legislative Fund. The American Adoption Congress is classified as a not-for-profit corporation, and is exempt from federal taxes, under Section 501 (c) (3) of the IRS code.



     The AAC is hosting a Silent Auction on Friday April 24th, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. during the national conference. All proceeds from this auction will go toward scholarships for future AAC conferences. These awards are publicly acknowledged at conferences, and serve to recognize individuals who have made, and will continue to make, significant contributions to the AAC in the coming year.

     All donated items are considered charitable contributions, and you will receive a tax contribution letter for your item. If you would like to donate an item, or would like our letter to use in soliciting items on behalf of the AAC, please contact Lynne Banks,, or Katy Perkins, Please keep in mind these three considerations when donating or soliciting contributions for the AAC's Silent Auction:

  •  Items need to be easily shipped or carried, as many people arrive and leave by plane.

  •  We can hold and store items for you. Please let us know if you would need a physical address for shipping.

  •  We need items under $150 in value, and we are seeking two items valued at $300-$500 each, such as trips.

For additional information, please contact Lynne Banks at or 605-335-8027, or Katy Perkins, Detailed information is also available on the AAC's website:






    Adoption Network Cleveland, (ANC) is co-sponsoring this year's national conference with the AAC. According to ANC's website:

Our mission is to connect and empower individuals, organizations, and communities impacted by adoption and foster care, and provide a source of healing for those in need.

    Founded in 1988, the impetus for ANC came from Betsie Norris, according to the ANC's website:

Founder and Executive Director Betsie Norris completed a search and reunion for her own birthparents in the mid-1980's and quickly realized that there were many issues in adoption that were going unaddressed by adoption agencies, mental health professionals, and the community in general.  Striving to meet unmet needs continues to be a driving force in the programs and services we offer.

     ANC offers support, education, and advocacy for members of the adoption constellation, and the professionals who serve them:

Our programs are created based on the needs expressed by our membership, our partner agencies, and the community in general. We want everyone touched by adoption to receive the support and services they need. We offer many of our programs free of charge or work with individuals to offer fees on a sliding scale, if needed.

     To learn about the ANC's programs and services, please visit its website at






AAC Publishes Children's Activity Book

     Available during the national conference in Cleveland, Sarah's Adoption Story tells about a girl growing up in an open adoption. With colorful front and back covers, the book offers 32 pages of text and activities for children and their families. Sarah's Adoption Story will sell for $5 per copy in the AAC's Book Room at the national conference.

     This activity book for children in open adoptions was created by the AAC's Education Committee. The concept and text were developed by Wendy Rowney, the AAC's Education Chair and Canadian Liaison, and Joan Schumack, the AAC's Communications Chair and The Beacon's Content Editor. Sarah's Adoption Story was illustrated by Jodi Tucci Brisebois, whose artwork can be viewed at

Upcoming Articles in The Decree

     The spring issue is the first one to be produced under the guidance of Cindy Wolfe Boynton, who became The Decree's editor in early 2009. The spring issue will feature articles on these topics:

  •  Eileen McQuade, the AAC's President, writes about the importance to triad members of the U.S. Surgeon General's initiative on family health history.

  •  International adoption is the focus of three news stories: an abridged reprint of The Lie We Love; an article by Margie Perscheid, who adopted internationally; and, an article by the AAC's Legislative Chair, Mary Martin Mason, on the effects of the dwindling number of international adoptions.

  •  An arts section will showcase poetry by Penny Partridge; photography by Patrick McMahon; and, an excerpt from Swimming Up the Sun, a book by AAC member Nicole Burton.

Become a State Representative for the AAC

     Opportunities exist in many states for members to become state representatives. In this capacity, members serve as liaisons to their states, and to their local communities.

     Membership, legislation and education are the three primary areas where state reps can have an impact on their local and state communities. To view the full description of a state representative's role in the AAC, please go to:






“The dedicated life is the life worth living. You must give with your whole heart.” -Annie Dillard


     It’s always hard when someone you know passes away, and much harder when that someone was young, kind and an inspiration to so many people. Colleen Buckner passed on after a long struggle with cancer February 28, 2009.

     Colleen was an adoptive mother, and helped her daughter successfully find her birth mother in 1994. Since then, Colleen reunited over a thousand other families separated by relinquishment and adoption. Colleen was very involved in the adoption community as a volunteer, including being an activist for open records for adoptees.

     I had never had the pleasure of meeting Colleen in person, but she touched my life in the same way she touched so many other people in the adoption community: with kindness, compassion, understanding and, most importantly, friendship. Colleen found my birth family in 2007. She and I continued to email and talk on the phone, and soon developed a friendship. She was always there for me day and night to support, educate and guide me as I went through my reunion.

     When Colleen became too ill to continue her searches, I casually volunteered to help her return phone calls, emails, and even help to conduct some searches. Before I knew it, we were discussing the opportunity for me to acquire her business, to continue what she had started in 1994. I vowed to keep her passion alive by helping all members of the Triad find their families. It has been an honor for me to help others like the thousands Colleen has helped before me. I have a strong belief that she is my guiding light now, and I will make her proud.

     Colleen, you will be missed by so many people. Your shining light in the stars above will continue to bring all those you’ve touched peace and happiness. God bless your family in this time of sorrow.




The Buckner Family has requested that donations in Colleen's memory be made to the California Adoption Reform Effort (C.A.R.E.), 2443 Fair Oaks Blvd., Suite 340, Sacramento, CA 95825, or through C.A.R.E.'s website:




     Submissions for The Beacon may be emailed to: 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

     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 The AAC Beacon are not necessarily those of the American Adoption Congress.


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.