Triadoption Archives: Adoption History Resource

Good news for adoption researchers and activists!

The Triadoption  Archives–a massive collection of news and magazine articles, adoption reform newsletters, search and reunion materials, maternity home/adoption agency directories, pictures, and audio and video records — is now digitized and online. Much of the material is from the 1970s and 1980s, but some goes back as far as the 1930s.

I admit it. that until  Paul Redmond posted a link to the site this afternoon on the Bastard Nation FB page, I’d never heard of the Triadoption Archives.  My bet is you haven’t  heard of  it either, and it’s a shame for both of us.

From an introduction to the archives page:

TRIADOPTION® was formed as an information center in 1978 to gather and dispense data to assist adoptees, birthparents, siblings and others in locating family members. Based on the belief that adoption adds options and creates extended families, it seemed appropriate to support full disclosure to all involved parties, opening of all sealed records and assistance in acquiring everything pertinent to facilitating reunions and ongoing relationships.

For a decade, adoption reform movement newsletters were collected from over 500 organizations spread across North America and some around the world. Newspaper and magazine articles on search, reunion and related subjects were gathered. These collections were microfilmed. Today’s technology allows each image to be digitized and made available online in a searchable format. In addition, many astounding books came out in the 1970’s and became out-of-print.

A 1979 letter, from Triadoption Archives president Mary Jo Rillera  explains more.

I haven’t had time to examine the archive at length, but one thing that impresses me so far is the large number of state and local adoptee rights and adoption reform organizations  in force 35-40 years ago,and  the intensive legislative work, recorded in their newsletters.  While it is discouraging to see how little has been accomplished since the 1970s, this history should prove helpful (and inspiring) for activists backgrounding adoptee rights history in their own states. 

Dozens of organizational newsletters are collected here including Florence Fisher’s ALMA, Jean Paton’ s Orphan Voyage, CUB, and the more obscure Adoption Birthright Committee (LA), Adoptees in Search (CO), and Origins-NJ which included long-time Mirah Riben and my good friend Maryanne Cohen who occasionally guests blogs here.   The number of groups  and breadth of their  work makes today’s deformist movement look puny.  Most recognized that  rights and “reunion” were intertwined , and that rights could never be sacrificed to privilege. Political action,  not emotional and  sentimental appeals, would win back  our rights.
I’ll post a permanent link to Triadoption Archives on the Daily Bastardette and the Bastard Nation webpage.

Thanks s to Paul Redmond for the heads up on this!

One Reply to “Triadoption Archives: Adoption History Resource”

  1. Thanks Marley! I was aware of Triadoption and Mary Jo, sending them my Origins NJ newsletter for years, but did not really know what became of it all.

    Lee Campbell, founder of CUB, is currently working with the Schlesinger Library at Harvard to curate and preserve CUB history in their Women’s History section, and CUB is working to digitize and put much of it on our new website, a work in progress.

    I am sending Lee this link and hope you will hear from her. It is great that so much is being preserved.

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