March 2016
The Beacon

Adoption Artist of the Month

Photographer: Katrina Ketring

Katrina Ketring, an amateur photographer, is being featured in this newsletter because of her unique series of adoption themed photography featuring roots and trees.  Katrina's vision started when she took a series of photographs of some roots and trees at a nearby lake in Greensboro, North Carolina.  Katrina showed her photography to her adoption support group leader Francie Portnoy, who said her photography was a direct representation of adoption and how it feels to be adopted.  It was at that point that Katrina started focusing more of her photography on roots and trees and before long she had hundred of photographs that reflected the feelings involved in all parts of the adoption triad as they related to adoption, search and reunion.  

Katrina Ketring named her Photography series “Roots of Adoption:  Lost and Found” and has a Facebook page by the same name, where you can see the images as she has put words with the images of roots and trees and relates them to adoption. Katrina has sold her adoption themed photography at a birthmother’s retreat called BirthMom Buds, an adoption retreat with her support group and has sold images at the AAC conference in Florida. Katrina has also entered her photography in the art shows at the AAC conferences for the past several years and even won the contest for the Boston Logo image for the AAC conference.  Also, one of Katrina’s photographs is the cover photo for the Facebook adoption group called:  Adoptee Central.   Katrina has even taken her photography a step further and used her photography at an adoption retreat with her adoption support group where Katrina led a workshop using her photos and had the group have a discussion on how the images sparked their feelings of adoption.


Upcoming Denver Conference 2016

Susan Friel-Williams

Wow, it’s almost time to stuff the suitcases, pack the tissues and head to the Mile High City for our AAC Annual Conference.  I am so excited to see all my friends again after missing you all last year!

Did you know that Denver is quickly becoming known for High Tech in the Mountain Region?  It certainly is, and that’s what I’d like to share with those of you who will be joining us in Denver.  We have a few High Tech surprises for our conference goers this year that have frankly amazed those of us who were fortunate enough to BETA test them in preparation to announcing  them for your use.  The AAC is headed into the future and we’re thrilled to be able to roll out these new AAC features soon.

One of our members suggested that there had to be an easier way to connect with conference goers from the time they land at the airport, group up for ride sharing and make their way to the conference downtown.  What a great idea and guess what, it’s built and ready for you to use!

If you’re like I am, there are so many great workshops and events at the conference that I can never remember from one hour to the next where I’m supposed to be, or where I’m volunteering at.  I know you’ve seen me running around at past conferences with my conference program in my face and looking confused, well NOT this year.  We have an absolutely FANTASTIC App that will be ready to download that’s going to allow you to put your whole schedule into a mobile device so you can refer to it quickly!

If you’re registered for the conference, keep your eyes out for the official directions on how to access and use these new features coming to you soon in e-mail.  See you soon!

A New Year, A New Month, A New Perspective!

Author: LeAnne Parsons

We often hear references to the importance of building Core strength this time of year. These references usually speak to the physical core. What I am going to chat about today goes beyond that physical core (though certainly that is important), and recognize the importance of core energy. The energy that is at the core of thoughts, emotions, and actions that relate to how people see themselves, those around them, and the world itself. A person’s core energy is where his or her intension is focused at any given time. A persons core energy I propose to you has a tremendous influence on his or her wellbeing. Our ability to grow into a thriving community that sustainably influences change, introduces reform, and raises awareness, is directly affected by our individual and collective CORE Energy, as well as our CORE Well Being. If you are in it for the long haul, like I am. This issue matters greatly!
Self-Fate, our Core- Well being and how we “show up everyday, are oftentimes influenced radically by our past experiences. Because we are making choices based on our past experiences, we cannot change our future unless the control of the past is removed.


PTSD and Adoption

Author: Joe Soll, LCSW, DAPA

In layman's terms, What is PTSD and how does it relate to adoption? 

PTSD or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder occurs after you've seen or experienced a traumatic event that involved the threat of severe injury or death.               
The loss of a mother or child is a severe  trauma causing PTSD.

When a mother and child are separated by adoption, they both experience the death of their other.   The only difference between the experience of losing a mother or child to death or kidnapping or adoption is the way you are treated.  Mommy is here, mommy is gone. Baby is here, Baby is gone. That is a death.  That is a trauma. If there is a real death, one is usually treated with respect.  When it comes to a psychological death as in adoption loss, one rarely gets treated with respect. 

In the words of Anna Freud, The horrors of war pale beside the loss of a mother.  I think that holds true for the loss of a baby.  So our adoption losses are a trauma of the highest order, causing PTSD.

PTSD changes the body's response to stress. It affects the stress hormones and chemicals that carry information between the nerves.

Our adoption loss symptoms of PTSD fall into three main categories: 


A Victory in Victoria

Bill Cordray

Imagine a state like mine, Utah, or any other conservative state, boasting that they have finally recognized that it is self-evident that all adopted people have the inalienable right to their original birth certificates. Suppose they were also believed that past promises of anonymity ought to be honored since it would be an injustice to birth parents, male and female, to lose this protection they presumably desire.

So, in order to resolve this inequity, they decide to abolish anonymity for all future parents who decide to surrender their children for adoption but continue the promises of anonymity for past relinquishments.  Existing adopted people would then have to accept their lack of a right to know. Maybe the state might decide to be a bit more progressive and nullify the prior promises made to all original mothers, but preserve them for all original fathers. Would adoption activists like the AAC spend much of their time, energy and passion to support such legislation?



Pam Sweetser, Founder & Executive Director

Heritage Camps for Adoptive Families (HCAF) is proud to say we will be celebrating our 25th Birthday this year! Back in 1992 we started our first camp, Korean Heritage Camp with about 35 adoptive families. It was just a group of inexperienced adoptive parents who wanted their children to know more about their Korean culture. Little did we know the impact that first camp would have on our kids, us as parents, and the Korean community who came to teach us all about where our kids came from, and essentially who they are.
Now, 25 years later, we have learned so much and have grown so far beyond teaching a few Korean folk songs, doing a craft of the Korean flag, wearing han boks, and eating kimchi. Now we know that identity goes so far beyond that cultural surface. With our 3 year-old campers to 17 year-old campers, and also adult adoptees, we delve deeper into not only what it means to be Korean and adopted, but how it feels, and how it translates into daily life. 

Adoption is a culture of its own, and we know that it is as much a part of someone’s identity as where they were born, or who gave birth to them, or why they were adopted. We have learned that we have to delve into adoption at camp as much as we do culture. We now do that at 11 camps with children adopted from around the world, and right here in the U.S. We also now have an Adult Adoptee Retreat each summer, which is developed by and for and about adoptees. Last year, 990 adoptive families from around the country and the world attended our camps, and 50 adult adoptees attended our first Adult Adoptee Retreat.

Beacon - March 2016