AFAAD at United States Social Forum!

AFAAD is collaborating with other adoptees of color and going to the United States Social Forum and presenting! Its very exciting. The workshop title is, “Where have all our children gone? Linking child removal from communities of color to larger social justice movements” and is going to be on Thursday, June 24th, 2010. 10:00am – 12:00pm, at the Westin Book Cadillac Hotel: WB3.

AFAAD member, and MN AFAAD chapter co-founderShannon Gibney will be writing us up a report from the USSF on our activities there

Harlow’s Monkey hipped us to another adoption related panel discussion, “Poverty Is Not Neglect & We Are Not Powerless: Mothers reclaim Our Children Back from the Child Welfare Industry” that will be on Wednesday, June 23rd, 10:00am – 12:00pm.

Adoptees, Foster Care Alumni and Families — We hope you will come out, meet us and spend some time getting to know our work!!

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AFAAD Seeking Volunteers & Intern

Non-Profit Volunteer Support Needed!! Black Adoptee and Foster Care Organization

AFAAD — Adopted and Fostered Adults of the African Diaspora is looking for qualified volunteers to work with our organization. We are looking for one interns and a few volunteers who will work collaboratively with the existing board and founding members, as well as the larger community to assist with our annual projects.

About AFAAD: AFAAD is an adoptee and foster care alumni led organization that connects, supports, and advocates for the needs of the African diasporic adoption and foster care community on a global level through community outreach, legislative advocacy, research, and social gatherings.

AFAAD believes that providing connections for and creating space to make visible the adoption and foster community in Black/ African diasporic cultures worldwide will give support to those who otherwise remain isolated in their experiences. Another of AFAAD objectives is to ensure that conversations around adoption in both academia and in populate culture progress in a way that include contributions by adult adoptees. We support those who are conducting cutting-edge research, restructuring child welfare laws and policies, and creating new artwork, performance and films that reflect our unique experiences and perspectives. We place race, culture and connection at the forefront of our stories. We are committed to voicing a powerful message about kinship, family, race, survival, and global black identities.

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Volunteer Position Commitment
5 -10 hours a week
May 15 – August 15, 2010

What we need:

– Nov 2010 conference planning support
– fundraising campaign support
– marketing and membership communication support (website, twitter, email lists, blog)
– newsletter development and editing
– website development support
– someone with their own laptop / portable
– administrative support (mailing, database entry, editing)

What you will get:
– experience developing a project from beginning to end
– experience with web marketing and communication
– development of professional relationships with a diverse group of adoptees and foster care alumni
– strong programming skills in a environment that respects your contributions
– volunteer appreciation lunch
– support for your future endeavors

Please contact Lisa Marie Rollins with a resume and brief letter of interest, stating your interest in volunteering at afaadinfo@gmail.com DEADLINE May 10, 2010

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Vote to Restore Adult Adoptee Birth Certificates

AFAAD supports this effort! Please vote to Return Adult Adoptees the right to their Original Birth Certificates

VOTE HERE!

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Call for Submissions – AFAAD Newsletter

AFAAD is seeking contributors for our inaugural quarterly e-newsletter to be published in March 2010 and for future e-newsletters (themes to be announced).  This edition will focus on international adoption and foster care as the standard response to war, natural disaster, and poverty.  While we may place much of our attention to the current humanitarian crisis in Haiti, we invite submissions that position Haiti in a larger historical context of global adoption and foster care.  We also hope to identify possibilities for organizing and activism in support of children and families in distress.

We seek submissions that share experiences, thoughts, insights, research and advice on this theme.  Poetry, short stories, narratives, and other creative formats are welcomed and encouraged.  We also invite suggestions for reprints from print and electronic sources.

If you are interested in contributing, please send a short description (200 words max) of your proposed piece to afaadinfo@gmail.com by Wednesday, February 10, 2010[1].

If you have calendar addition for an adoptee or fostercare alumni event that would be of interest to our members, please write up the date, time, place and 2 line description of the event.


Below are a few questions to prompt your submission:

  • What role has adoption and foster care played during times of international crises?  What commonly accepted interventions border on the realm of child trafficking?
  • What role does public policy play to support and/or enforce the displacement and separation of families?  What case studies can we look to for examples of successful family reunification and kinship adoption efforts?
  • What role do the media play in creating an environment that´s lukewarm at best to the concept of family reunification?



[1] We will notify you if we would like to include your piece in the upcoming newsletter by February 15th and the final copy of your piece will be due by Sunday, February 28th.  Our word limit for final products is capped at 1500 words.

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Haiti Statement by Adoptees of Color Roundtable

Please read and share this Statement on Haiti released by the Adoptees of Color Roundtable of which AFAAD is a main collaborator: (Official AFAAD statement Wednesday, January 27th, 2010)

“This statement reflects the position of an international community of adoptees of color who wish to pose a critical intervention in the discourse and actions affecting the child victims of the recent earthquake in Haiti. We are domestic and international adoptees with many years of research and both personal and professional experience in adoption studies and activism. We are a community of scholars, activists, professors, artists, lawyers, social workers and health care workers who speak with the knowledge that North Americans and Europeans are lining up to adopt the “orphaned children” of the Haitian earthquake, and who feel compelled to voice our opinion about what it means to be “saved” or “rescued” through adoption.”

“We understand that in a time of crisis there is a tendency to want to act quickly to support those considered the most vulnerable and directly affected, including children. However, we urge caution in determining how best to help. We have arrived at a time when the licenses of adoption agencies in various countries are being reviewed for the widespread practice of misrepresenting the social histories of children. There is evidence of the production of documents stating that a child is “available for adoption” based on a legal “paper” and not literal orphaning as seen in recent cases of intercountry adoption of children from Malawi, Guatemala, South Korea and China. We bear testimony to the ways in which the intercountry adoption industry has profited from and reinforced neo-liberal structural adjustment policies, aid dependency, population control policies, unsustainable development, corruption, and child trafficking.”

“For more than fifty years “orphaned children” have been shipped from areas of war, natural disasters, and poverty to supposedly better lives in Europe and North America. Our adoptions from Vietnam, South Korea, Guatemala and many other countries are no different from what is happening to the children of Haiti today. Like us, these “disaster orphans” will grow into adulthood and begin to grasp the magnitude of the abuse, fraud, negligence, suffering, and deprivation of human rights involved in their displacements.”

“We uphold that Haitian children have a right to a family and a history that is their own and that Haitians themselves have a right to determine what happens to their own children. We resist the racist, colonialist mentality that positions the Western nuclear family as superior to other conceptions of family, and we seek to challenge those who abuse the phrase “Every child deserves a family”  to rethink how this phrase is used to justify the removal of children from Haiti for the fulfillment of their own needs and desires. Western and Northern desire for ownership of Haitian children directly contributes to the destruction of existing family and community structures in Haiti. This individualistic desire is supported by the historical and global anti-African sentiment which negates the validity of black mothers and fathers and condones the separation of black children from their families, cultures, and countries of origin.”

“As adoptees of color many of us have inherited a history of dubious adoptions. We are dismayed to hear that Haitian adoptions may be “fast-tracked” due to the massive destruction of buildings in Haiti that hold important records and documents. We oppose this plan and argue that the loss of records requires slowing down of the processes of adoption while important information is gathered and re-documented for these children. Removing children from Haiti without proper documentation and without proper reunification efforts is a violation of their basic human rights and leaves any family members who may be searching for them with no recourse. We insist on the absolute necessity of taking the time required to conduct a thorough search, and we support an expanded set of methods for creating these records, including recording oral histories.”

“We urge the international community to remember that the children in question have suffered the overwhelming trauma of the earthquake and separation from their loved ones. We have learned first-hand that adoption (domestic or intercountry) itself as a process forces children to negate their true feelings of grief, anger, pain or loss, and to assimilate to meet the desires and expectations of strangers. Immediate removal of traumatized children for adoption—including children whose adoptions were finalized prior to the quake— compounds their trauma, and denies their right to mourn and heal with the support of their community.”

“We affirm the spirit of Cultural Sovereignty, Sovereignty and Self-determination embodied as rights for all peoples to determine their own economic, social and cultural development included in the Convention on the Rights of the Child; the Charter of the United Nations; the UN Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples; and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. The mobilization of European and North American courts, legislative bodies, and social work practices to implement forced removal through intercountry adoption is a direct challenge to cultural sovereignty. We support the legal and policy application of cultural rights such as rights to language, rights to ways of being/religion, collective existence, and a representation of Haiti’s histories and existence using Haiti’s own terms.”

“We offer this statement in solidarity with the people of Haiti and with all those who are seeking ways to intentionally support the long-term sustainability and self-determination of the Haitian people. As adoptees of color we bear a unique understanding of the trauma, and the sense of loss and abandonment that are part of the adoptee experience, and we demand that our voices be heard. All adoptions from Haiti must be stopped and all efforts to help children be refocused on giving aid to organizations working toward family reunification and caring for children in their own communities. We urge you to join us in supporting Haitian children’s rights to life, survival, and development within their own families and communities.”

Please contact the Adoptees of Color Roundtable by leaving a comment on the statement page if you would like to endorse this statement, and keep checking back as the site will soon be expanded.

Posted in adult adoptees, black adoptee, TRA News, transracial adoption | Tagged , , , , , | 3 Comments

UNICEF’s Focus on Reunification for Haitian Children

UNICEF writes about their focus on keeping Haitian children safe and reuniting them with their families.  (from the UNICEF website)

NEW YORK (January 20, 2010) — The earthquake that struck Haiti a week ago has left many thousands of children orphaned, lost or separated from their families—and vulnerable to abuse and exploitation.

Even as it works to provide for the immediate needs of young survivors of the disaster, UNICEF is focusing on how to protect the most vulnerable among them. The issue is critical, given that nearly half of all Haitians are under 18 years of age, and almost 40 percent are under 14.

Every effort will be made to reunite children with their families,” UNICEF Executive Director Ann M. Veneman said today, expressing the organization’s deep concerns about the plight of unaccompanied children. “Only if that proves impossible, and after proper screening has been carried out, should permanent alternatives like adoption be considered by the relevant authorities,” she added.

Read the rest here.

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Haitian Children and AFAAD

AFAAD will be issuing a formal statement on Tuesday January 26, 2010.

In light of the rising number of adoption organizations and news stories emerging that are beginning to focus on the children of Haiti and their circumstances, AFAAD will be posting news, discussions, and our own political perspective on these issues.

AFAAD will always put the lifelong needs of adoptees and those in and transitioned out of fostercare above the needs and desires of potential adoptive parents and continues to place the movement of black children from their communities of origin in a larger historical context of globalization, colonialism and race.

Our goal and desire is to keep families and communities together, even in times of trauma and disaster.

What can you do to support Haiti and its children? AFAAD asks you to think carefully and issues you a challenge to think outside the existing system of adoption that continues to insist removal is the only option.

DONATE to Haiti:
Haiti Soliel and
Partners in Health

If you are interested in joining AFAAD as a member or as a supporter of our work, please email afaadinfo (at)gmail.com

Posted in black adoptee, Caribbean adoptee, In the Media, transracial adoption | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment