“Best Interests of the Child?”
Race, Religion, and Rescue in Adoption
October 18-20th 2012
(Thursday evening to Saturday afternoon)
We invite you to join an exploration of a set of poignant, fundamental issues inherent in the adoption experience, although they are often not always openly addressed. We are referring to the many preconceived notions of the ideal family unit that prevail in our society and that have made the adoption experience challenging and painful to many; to the unexamined though well-intentioned motivations for adopting that may unwittingly create a complex dynamic between adoptees and their adoptive families, and complicate the development of healthy relationships among members of the adoption triad; to the paucity of accurate information about the unique nature of the adoption journey for each member of the triad and at each level of their experiences. This lifelong adoption journey evolves from when the idea of adoption first emerges and leads to the arrangement of an actual adoption, to the first encounter between strangers, through the various demands that emerge along the developmental progression of adoptees, and through the vicissitudes of their educational experience, the challenges that emerge during the dating experience, and their decision whether or not to establish their own family units, and on through middle and late adulthood. Indeed, research shows that adoption incurs lifelong consequences.
The next conference theme will serve as a logical follow up to our 2010 conference that targeted issues pertaining to ethics in adoption. For our upcoming 2012 conference, we are fortunate to have attracted again a superb group of scholars, researchers and professionals involved in the field of adoption to guide the exploration of our conference theme ‘Best Interests of the Child’: Race, Religion, and Rescue in Adoption.
Given the religious motivations of many adoptive parents and the long-standing history of concerns over morality among the social work professionals that brought us the modern practice of adoption, we (the conference planners) have decided to turn a critical eye towards examining the intersections between religion, race, and the ideology of child saving and child rescue via adoption. This conference will give special consideration to a serious exploration of the connections between race, racism, and the role played by religion in creating public understandings of adopters and children as the “rescuers” and the “rescued” in adoption.
In this context, we hope to examine and explore the implications for the adoptee and other members of the triad of such a motivation for adopting. We are certain that our renowned speakers and presenters will address these connections in creative, thoughtful, and provocative ways, and in so doing, provide us all with much food for thought. We hope you will join us in considering whether such religiously and morality motivated understandings accurately reflect the “best interests” of adopted children—and the adult adoptees they will become.
We hope to see you at what we expect to be another exciting and powerful conference. One of the unique features of this particular biennial conference is that it is organized by a committee comprised of clinicians, researchers, adoption professionals, and others who are also adult adoptees, adoptive parents, and otherwise connected personally and professionally to the topics under discussion. Enjoy your summer and try to register early!