The Beacon
AAC Established 1978          June, 2009  


•   Adoption Day cards website

•   Members encouraged to share Beacon

•   Audio CDs from past conferences

•   AAC member and Episcopal priest on church blog in Albany

•   Law professor and AAC member seeking birth mothers for research on surrender papers




     During the month of June, members are invited to complete a questionnaire for the AAC's 2009 'Perspectives' survey.

     At the start of the questionnaire, participants will read this brief explanation of the survey's purpose:

     "Because the AAC represents such a diverse range of people from across the adoption constellation, it is important to regularly check in with both the membership, as well as people whose interests closely resemble our own, and who we often work alongside. As part of our ongoing efforts to better serve you, now is the perfect time to evaluate your views and opinions that concern your experience with the AAC."

     Board member Katy Perkins, who works on membership development, coordinated the considerable task of developing the questionnaire. As a thank you to participants, people who provides their contact information will be entered into a drawing for two free memberships in the AAC for one year. An individual membership costs $50 annually.

     As the introduction to the survey further states:

"This survey is voluntary and for informational purposes only. Your responses and contact information (should you choose to share it) will remain confidential, will be viewed ONLY by the Board of Directors of the American Adoption Congress, and will NOT be shared, distributed, sold, or used for any other purposes than organizational programming improvement."  

     To participate in the AAC's 2009 'Perspectives' survey, please follow this link:





Adoption Day Cards Available on Website Created and Operated by Two Adoptive Mothers


     The artwork featured on the AAC's homepage, and logo for the Decree, is courtesy of adoptive mothers Kate Cutko and Katie Campbell. Their website can be found at

The website gives a brief history of their individual quests that led to a joint business venture:

Adoption Day Cards is the partnership of Kate Cutko and Katie Campbell. Kate and Katie met in graduate school and bonded over craft projects instead of homework. Eventually each moved to Maine where they now live with their families. By coincidence, both have adopted children. When it came time for Adoption Day there were no cards available that felt right. So… Adoption Day Cards was born to help celebrate adoption for these families. As the cards were shown to other adoptive families and adoption professionals, the resounding cry was “Yes!” and “We want more!”

    Kate and Katie donate a portion of their after-tax profits to relief efforts for children in Ecuador and the Ukraine. Greeting cards are available for families of both domestic and international adoption.






     According to The Globe and Mail in Toronto, only 2,500 people from among 250,000 adoptions in Ontario since 1921 have filed disclosure vetoes.

     The article is entitled Opening adoption records in Ontario prompts few requests for secrecy, and was written by Erin Anderssen. The article was published in the print edition on May 26, 2009, and appeared in the on-line edition two days later.

     "With Ontario about to open up adoption records dating back more than 80 years," according to The Globe and Mail in Toronto, "only a small fraction of birth parents and adult adoptees have taken steps to prevent a future reunion.

     "By the end of April, 2,500 people — a number almost equally split between parents and offspring — had signed disclosure vetoes that would keep their identities secret when the new legislation comes into effect on June 1."

     According to Wendy Rowney, the AAC's Canadian Liaison and Education Chair, "As a result of the law, 99% of adoptees and birth parents will be able to access information. It's time to celebrate in Ontario. June 1st brings access to adoption information for adopted adults and their birth parents."

    Rowney has been active in the adoption community, and in the effort to bring access legislation to Ontario. She is a member of the Coordinating Committee for the Coalition for Open Adoption Records (COAR), Vice President for the Adoption Council of Canada (ACC), and a Director of Adoption Support Kinship and the Infertility Network. Rowney reunited with her mother in 1996.

     The full article in Toronto's The Globe and Mail can be read at:






Members Encouraged to Share Issues of the Beacon     

     In response to frequent inquiries, especially during the conference in Cleveland, the Beacon may be forwarded far and wide, to people and organizations with an interest in adoption. In the near future, past issues of the Beacon will be archived on the AAC's website. Here are the links to every issue of the Beacon since its inception in September of 2008:


Two Corrections to List of Board Members in May Issue of the Beacon

     Two board members were incorrectly identified in last month's issue.

     Donnie Davis was misidentified as the Southwestern Regional Director. She is the Western Regional Director. Roberta MacDonald is not the Southern Regional Director. She is one of two AAC state representatives in North Carolina, and will be involved in the AAC's web development.

     A complete list of board members, and their contact information, is available on the AAC's website at:


Audio CDs Available From Conferences in 2007, 2008, and 2009

     Full sets of audio CDs from the conferences in Boston in 2007, Portland, Oregon in 2008, and Cleveland in 2009 can be purchased through the AAC's website. These sets include the keynote speakers.


Re-live the Cleveland Conference on the AAC's Blog

     Although the 2009 conference has now joined the ranks of AAC's history, it can be revisited at anytime in cyberspace by going to the AAC's blog:

     Through photos and texts, moments from the 2009 conference can be re-lived and recalled. Photos feature keynote speaker Dr. Dorothy Roberts, from the Northwestern University School of Law, and text captures comments from conference attendees.


Episcopal Priest and AAC Member on Church Blog

        Rev. Mark Diebel is featured on the blog of the Episcopal Diocese in Albany, New York for a resolution entitled A Right to Human Identity, which he will introduce at the Diocesan Convention this year.

     According to the blog, "Mark Diebel, a priest in the diocese, has submitted a proposed resolution to our upcoming Diocesan Convention that he hopes will be adopted by Convention and serve as a model for legislation in the National Church."

     Diebel is an adopted adult. In 2009, he celebrates his 21st anniversary in the Episcopal priesthood. The full text of the blog entry on the resolution, and Diebel's background, can be read at:, then click on A Right to Human Identity in the left-hand column.


AAC Member and Law Professor Seeks Birth Mothers

to Participate in Research Project on Surrender Documents

    Prof. Elizabeth Samuels, from the University of Baltimore School of Law, has issued this appeal to birth mothers who relinquished children in non-kinship adoptions during the decades from the 1940s through the 1990s:

     "I am collecting surrender documents that women signed during the period from the 1940s through the 1990s in adoptions in which the birth and adoptive parents did not know one another. So far women have generously shared with me 46 documents from 15 different states. I am planning to write about the language and the legal import of the language that was used in these documents with respect to the rights and obligations of birth mothers. While it would be impossible to define or collect a 'representative sample' of documents, I believe that a paper about the documents I am able to study can help advance our understanding, and correct some misunderstandings, about the nature of the legal agreements into which mothers typically entered. If you have such a document and are willing to share it -- and have not yet shared it with me -- please send a copy, or any questions about the project, or both," to:

Prof. Elizabeth Samuels

University of Baltimore School of Law

1420 North Charles Street

Baltimore, MD 21201



     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 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.