In late January 2016, the U.S. Senate passed a resolution honoring the life of my neighbor and friend, Anita Datar, the American victim in the November 20th terrorist attack in Mali. The resolution acknowledges her many accomplishments: she served as a volunteer in Senegal, where she embraced the Peace Corps’ value of promoting a better understanding of people and their cultures from countries around the world as a tool for promoting peace. She became an international health and development expert focused on reproductive health, family planning, and HIV.
Barker's 22nd Annual Adoption & Foster Care Conference: Connected Lives: A Complex Privilege for the Family of Adoption. The adoption landscape today is in a state of flux. We find striking permutations on the theme of adoptive parenting and on the role of birth parents. Yet no matter how many variations or rearrangements exist, one principle grows ever clearer through the lens of rigorous clinical research and the rich findings of clinical practice: connected lives usually redound to the health of the child of adoption.
I never really thought of my family being *that* different until our son entered elementary school.
In some ways, this seems like a silly thing for me to say. We are, after all, a Caucasian lesbian couple living in Virginia, and we happened to adopt a black-biracial son. To be honest, I don’t know of another family that looks remotely like us in our neighborhood.
Before our son started school, none of that really mattered in our day-to-day existence. Our neighbors and friends have seen us only as a family. Our son sees us as his parents, and we see him as our child. Of course, there were always boxes to check on forms, and forms biased for “mother” and “father” pairings to remind us, but we didn’t spend a lot of time on our difference. We were just another Northern Virginia family.
Last night, Barker had the opportunity to spend the evening at an intimate gathering with the inspirational couple behind the movie “Closure,” a documentary about a transracial adoptee who finds her birth mother, and meets the rest of a family who didn't know she existed. The movie makers, Angela and Bryan Tucker, were in Washington, D.C., for a screening of the film at American University and to gather support for their new venture, The Adopted Life Episodes. Barker joined adoption professionals from around the DC area, including Adoptions Together, PACT, Children’s Home Society, the Lab School, the Commonwealth Academy, and National Children’s Research Center to meet and support the couple and each other in this important work.
Last month, I had the unique opportunity to attend a writing workshop at Kripalu, a wellness center in the Berkshires. It was a blissful few days of yoga, meditation, and memoir writing. I sat in a circle of other writers, each of us anxiously awaiting our turn to openly share the words we had put down to capture our own – often painfully personal – stories. When I shared my own writing, the pain of my infertility struggle was laced throughout the sentences. But so, too, were the words I used to describe the unbounded love I have for the daughter I eventually adopted, and the son I birthed soon thereafter. When I got to the end of my piece, another woman looked up, met my eyes, and said, “That’s my story , too.”
Please join Barker for a provocative and important presentation on a subject too-seldom explored: what black Americans think about transracial adoption. The featured speaker is Rhonda Roorda, a highly regarded national presenter on transracial adoption, who herself was adopted into a white family. On Sunday, November 15, from 3-5 PM at Barker, she will take us through the complex territory of transracial adoption and help us as parents and professionals strive to do a better job of understanding the challenges. After the presentation and Q & A, Rhonda will sign her new book: In Their Voices: Black Americans on Transracial Adoption.
As part of its mission to provide life-long support to all members of the adoption circle, The Barker Adoption Foundation facilitates six ongoing monthly peer support/discussion groups.
Reflecting Upon the News: Navigating the Evolving Complexities of Adoptee Connection with Birth Family
Sunday’s Washington Post Outlook section featured two different stories about evolving adoptee connection with birth family:
The first story focused on a Chinese girl who had been placed for adoption at age 3 by her Chinese birth parents due to the one-child policy; she was later adopted and raised by a family in Seattle. Through a series of unique circumstances she found her birth family, has visited and forged relationships with them, and recently her Chinese birth brother actually moved in with her family in Seattle so he could study in the United States.
Beth Kirby, Barker’s Executive Assistant and Cradle Care Coordinator joined the Barker Adoption Foundation team in 1990. Beth is part of the fabric of Barker. She puts her heart into her work and is integral to the services we provide. We asked her to sit down for a brief moment, between tasks, and tell us a bit about her work.
When making an adoption plan, birth parents have many thoughts running through their minds. They wonder what others will think of them and their decision to place. All birth parents think of the following at some point and want everyone to know: