I’m really not going to write at length about the AAC conference in Cleveland. Conferences wear me out, and I’m tired tonight, even though I haven’t done anything since 5:00 PM but have a Delmonico steak dinner at Otto Moser’s Cafe over on Euclid. I think it’s all the people and all the sitting and talking and listening and more talking and more listening. Is this a normal way to live? It’s now nearly midnight. I had ‘net connection problems and just now get on line after 2 hours of fiddling around. I did, though, want to make a few short remarks about the presentations I attended.
DOROTHY ROBERTS KICKS ASS! I first ran into Prof. Roberts at the ASAIK (now the Alliance for the Study of Adoption and Culture) Conference at Pitt a couple years ago. She blew me away then and continues to do so. Roberts is the author of Shattered Bonds: the Color of Child Welfare and Killing the Black Body: Race, Reproduction and the Meaning of Liberty. The topic of her keynote address was Why Ending Racial Disproportionaly Will Transform Child Welfare. Prof. Roberts says some very important things about how race runs the child welfare system, how the system punishes poor women of color by forcing them to trade custody for aid, and how overall racism keeps the child welfare system from being effective by valuing punishment over services.
MEMOIR ME. Bastardette’s friend Dr. Mariane Novy (r) presented, Memoirs by Adpotees, Commonalities and Contrasts, discussing the work of BJ Lifton (who is here, btw), Sarah Saffian, AM Homes, Catherine McKinley, Jane Jeong Trenka, Emily Hipchen, and Jean Strauss (also here). I found particularly interesting the contrast Novy made between fictional adoptee narratives with their constructed memories and memoirs which jibe with the actually experience of adoptees. The Q&A period included Penny Partridge talking about her new book The People They Brought Me: Poems in the Adoption Community; Jean Strauss discussing the art of writing; and Patrick McMahon with the news that his own memoir is nearly finished. Yay! Dr. Novy also informed us that the Call for Papers for the next ASAC conference is out. The topic of the April 29-May 2, 2010 conference at MIT is “Adoption: Secret Histories, Public Policies. As time goes on I’ll be writing more about this. It looks really good. Marianne is another native Buckeye Bastard.
SIBLING CONNECTIONS: Ohio’s own Lisa Dixon, Grace Hilliard, and Amanda Dunlap facilitated a workshop on how the maintenance of contact between adoptees and their siblings builds trust and how denial of contact works against an adoptee’s ability to “attach” to adoptive parents. (l, Grace and Lisa,), Lisa is a founding member of Foster Care Alumni of America and founded the Ohio Chapter. She is a national speaker and advocate for children in fostercare. I’ve met Lisa a couple times and she is …well…you have to meet her to understand. Grace gave the amazing testimony here in Ohio in support of HB 7 which I wrote about last year, who made me look at evil of sealed records in a whole other way. (As if it couldn’t already by evil enough.) Amanda is a social work major at Ohio State University and the Youth Outreach Coordinator for the Ohio Chapter of the Foster Care Alumni of America. FCA makes “postcards” and some of them were included in the presentation. This one sums up adoption for so many people (I wrote this is a hurry so I may have a couple works wrong, but I think it’s really important:
The said I had Attention Disorder
Really, I had a life disorder
I attached accordingly
All the presentations, particulary 1 and 3 are a reminder of how sealed records is just a small part of the over-arching secrecy and corruption that hallmarks adoption and so-called child welfare.
I’m staying holed up in my room most of tomorrow to work on my presentation which STILL isn’t done (as if 19 pages isn’t enough!) I hauled up about 20 pounds of files to work on while here. In case Mrs. M is reading this, my topic is: Baby Dumping: An Ohio “Safe Haven” Case Study.
(photos by Bastardette)