The Beacon
January, 2009  



The AAC's 30th annual national conference, presented in partnership with Adoption Network Cleveland

Wednesday, April 22 through

Sunday, April 26, 2009,

at the Hilton Garden Inn

Downtown Cleveland

For registration and information, please visit:








Editor's note: The AAC received a copy of this letter, which was sent to supporters the week before Christmas, through Wendy Rowney, the AAC's Canadian Liaison.


Dear Friends:

The purpose of this message is to introduce ourselves to those who have expressed an interest and support of the gamete donor lawsuit. This class action lawsuit was filed in October by Olivia Pratten, on behalf of all people conceived via donated gametes in B.C., Canada.

Here is the original press release:

In an effort to see this suit through, several interested parties have formed an organization called CDCC (Canadian Donor Conception Coalition). The purpose of this organization is to keep interested parties informed and updated as the lawsuit progresses. In the New Year, we will be starting to fundraise for the legal costs of the suit.

Throughout the world, records of sperm and egg donations are frequently left to languish on doctors' shelves, and to gather dust in fertility clinics. Like original birth certificates for adoptees, these files and records are the only link that offspring have to access their health and social histories. Unfortunately, in BC, because these files are recognized as being a regular medical file, it means that they can be destroyed after 6 years from the last point of contact with the physician. In 2008, four years after the federal law governing these practices came into effect, the new Assisted Human Reproductive Agency informed us they had no legal jurisdiction to prevent past gamete donor records from being destroyed. In response, we decided to seek legal advice and the class action lawsuit was filed.


We are represented by Joseph Arvay QC, and Sean Hern. Mr. Arvay has been involved in many constitutional cases of importance in British Columbia and other parts of Canada. He has also recently been named as one of the top 100 best lawyers in Canada in the Canadian Legal Lexpert® Directory for two years in a row. Sean Hern has been specifically chosen by Mr. Arvay to co-counsel with him in this case, as he regards Mr. Hern as one of the very best and brightest of the young lawyers in the Province.


Today, (December 18th), Madame Justice Gerow issued an interlocutory injunction, which extends the order by Chief Justice Brenner to protect all gamete donor records from being destroyed. More information will follow early in the New Year.


At the end of January, the case will go back to court to be certified as a class action, and in 12-18 months from now it is expected to go to trial.

We are in the process of setting up a web site that will provide more information about the case, and further updates as things happen. There will be further notification about the web site in the New Year.

Any ideas and suggestions you might have for us would be very welcome.

Merry Christmas to you all!


Olivia Pratten, spokesperson for the Canadian Donor Conception Coalition (CDCC)







    Founded by adoptees, but for everyone's benefit,

is a unique site, in that its entire focus remains on adoptees. As the website states:

     "We are adoptees from every walk of life, on every step of the journey. All adoptees are invited to join us to talk, listen, rant, support, rave, comfort, scream, cry, whatever you need."

     "This is a site hopefully promoting solutions to our "issues" of adoption, search, reunion, etc. Adoptees are the only members of the triad that did not have any choice or control in the decision making process of their adoption whatsoever. We get empowered by talking with other adoptees about our experiences, in searching, in being courageous just to talk about the secrets."

     In addition to the website, provides a Google support and discussion group for adult adoptees only. Visitors to the website can create an account to submit articles for publication on

     However, an account to submit articles does not automatically grant visitors access to the Google support and discussion group. The Google support and discussion group is moderated.

     To browse the many resources and articles available on its website, please visit this group at



Conference Registration Begins Jan. 15th

   The full conference brochure will be available at:

     It will be mailed to AAC members before the end of January. Nearly 70 workshops are planned. An adoption film festival will be held, with the screening of a different film every night. Keynote speakers include filmmakers Jean Strauss and Joe Eszerthas, former state senator in Maine Paula Benoit, and rap singer Darryl McDaniels.

     Conference dates are Wednesday, April 22nd through Sunday morning, April 26, 2009. This conference is being presented in partnership with Adoption Network Cleveland, at the Hilton Garden Inn Downtown Cleveland.

Six Members to Join the AAC's Board of Directors

     The AAC will add six Directors at the national conference in Cleveland, April 22-26th. New members and their home states are:

     Sondi Hill, Florida; Mari Cochran, North Carolina; Roberta MacDonald, North Carolina; Katy Perkins, Texas; Donnie Davis, Utah; and Macy Oosthuizen, Virginia. With the addition of these Directors, the number of members on the AAC's Board will increase from nine to fifteen Directors.

The Decree Welcomes Cindy Wolfe Boynton As Editor

     An AAC member with a wealth of communications' experience, Cindy Wolfe Boynton has taken the helm of The Decree, the AAC's award-winning quarterly print publication.

     Boynton has worked as a freelance writer since graduating with a Bachelor's degree in English from Southern Connecticut State University in New Haven. Her freelance credits include The New York Times; The Boston Globe;; Connecticut magazine; Globe Pequot Press; and Biography magazine, among other publications and Internet sites.

     As a writing instructor/adjunct journalism and English professor, Boynton has taught at the Yale University School of Medicine, Southern Connecticut State University and Housatonic Community College. She served as the senior editor/writer for the Public Relations and Marketing Division for the Hospital of Saint Raphael and Saint Raphael Healthcare System in New Haven.

     Please visit her website,, to acquaint yourself further with The Decree's new editor. Also feel free to e-mail her at with story ideas on people or issues that you believe The Decree should be covering.

Design Changes Debut with Next Issue of The Decree

     The AAC's award-winning quarterly print publication has undergone a total re-design. Its appearance has become consistent with the AAC's homepage and The Beacon.

     In the next Decree, please look for an article on successful access legislation in Maine written by Bobbi Beavers, the AAC's Maine state representative and co-founder of OBE for ME. The Stork Market, a book by Mirah Riben, is reviewed by AAC member Denise Roessle, a reunited birthmother, writer, blogger, and member of numerous adoption organizations.

Deadline for Conference Scholarships Is Jan. 31st

     AAC members in good standing are invited to apply for one of four $200 scholarships to attend the national conference in Cleveland April 22-26, 2009.

     The Scholarship Committee consists of the AAC's President, Vice President, and Membership Chair. Scholarship winners will be notified by February 28, 2009. To apply for a scholarship, please go to:







By Roberta MacDonald

The AAC's State Representative

for North Carolina


     During the month of November — National Adoption Awareness Month — members of the North Carolina Coalition for Adoption Reform (NCCAR), traversed North Carolina to three support groups and one university with two movies. At each of the showings, an autographed copy of Ann Fessler’s book, The Girls Who Went Away, was given to a member of the audience through a drawing.

     At November's Triangle Adoption Support Group, the movie Loggerheads, (, was shown to members. This story follows three different people — a birthmother, the child she gave up, and the adoptive parents — during the days leading up to Mother’s Day. The story is based upon the life of one of NCCAR’s members, Diana Ricketts, the birthmother who relinquished her son, but found him too late. He had died a year before she started searching.

     At the three other locations — the Greensboro Adoption Triad Dialogue Group, the first meeting of the WNC-Adoption Network in Asheville, and at the University of North Carolina in Wilmington — the video, 10 Things: Adoption Search & Reunion, was viewed, (

     This video presents ten considerations in adoption search and reunion. The process can be an emotional journey that can take many unexpected twists and turns. The moderator, Sharon Roszia, shared her insights and lessons learned during her experiences assisting others through their journeys. In addition, the personal stories of two people touched by adoption, an adult adoptee and a birthmother, were explored to highlight how the 10 Things unfolded in their lives.

     The web address for the North Carolina Coalition for Adoption Reform, (NCCAR) is:

Its website describes NCCAR's purpose:

"The mission of NCCAR is to educate the public regarding adoption and adoption laws, to network with adoption agencies, adoption professionals and all people engaged in the interests of adoption in order to reform North Carolina laws that restrict access to adoption information to adult members of the adoption process.”



To submit ideas or comments to The Beacon, please contact Joan Schumack, content editor, at: