Call for Papers: 2012 AIC




“Best Interests of the Child?”

Race, Religion, and Rescue in Adoption

October 18-20th 2012

(Thursday evening to Saturday afternoon)

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We are pleased to invite professionals, researchers, scholars, practitioners, and graduate students to submit papers and research manuscripts that address issues likely to impact individuals and families touched by adoption for the seventh biennial adoption conference at St. John’s University. In keeping with our goal to present thought-provoking themes relevant to the training of mental health professionals as well as to the personal growth and understanding of adoption triad members, our 2012 conference will consider the implications of the phrase “best interests of the child” as it is commonly applied in child welfare and adoption.

The history of U.S. adoption is rooted in social reform movements to restore the morality of “fallen” women and to protect that of the nation. Now in the 21st century, we are witnessing an emerging religiously motivated movement to promote the “saving” and rescue of so-called orphans from the Third World to the First (or the global South to the global North). This conference will give special consideration to exposing the connections between race, racism, and the role played by religion in creating public understandings of children as needing rescue through adoption. We seek proposals particularly that address these connections, and that ask whether such religiously motivated understandings accurately reflect the “best interests” of adopted children—and the adult adoptees they will become.

The 2012 conference theme highlights both historical and emerging practices of adoption, with a critical eye toward whose interests have been served, are currently being served, and whose interests should be served. Papers and presentations should include some consideration of race and/or religion in adoption. Ideally, proposals will also address creatively the notion of rescue; however, this is not mandatory.

EXAMPLES for possible papers and sessions:

  • Redefining the “best interests” of children in international and/or transracial adoption
  • Identity formation and religious factors in open versus closed adoption
  • Kinship care and the religious beliefs among birth relatives in kinship adoption
  • Maintaining or creating religious and/or racial affiliations when children move from foster care into adoptive families
  • Implications of rescue among sibling sets when one child is adopted and others remain with birth parents or stay in foster care
  • Homophobia, religion, and GLBT adoption issues (e.g., whether the individual is adopted by a gay/lesbian parent or whether the biological parents may be GLBT, or whether the adopted person identifies as GLBT)
  • Racial preferences and differences in “fees for service” in domestic U.S. adoptions
  • Role of religious organizations in “saving” orphans via international adoption
  • Issues of search and reunion and how race or religion influences these issues
  • Nuances of race and religion in clinical adoption issues (e.g., with adoptive families, adoptees, and birth families)
  • How race and religion shape nature vs. nurture perspectives of the adopted person’s identity
  • Race in the context of transracial and transnational adoption
  • Innovations that address race and/or religion in clinical practice, social work, and pre/post adoption practice

We are seeking presentations, papers, research posters, and workshops.

Guidelines on Time Allotted for different formats:

  • Papers/Presentations: 20 to 45 minutes
  • Workshops: 90 minutes

Include the following information in your submission proposal:

1. Primary Author/Presenter and Affiliation(s)

2. Contact Information for Primary Author/Presenter (e.g., address, phone, email)

3. Co-Presenter(s) and Affiliation(s)

4. Contact Information for Co-Presenter(s) (e.g., address, phone, email)

5. Title of Presentation/Paper/Poster/Workshop

6. Format: Presentation, Paper, Research Poster, or Workshop

7. Goals (list 3-4)

8. Content Description of the Presentation (300 words or less)

9. Intended Audience

10. Summary for Brochure (50 words or less)

11. Curriculum Vitae/ Resumes for all presenters

12. Statement on Originality of Presentation (Has this workshop/presentation been presented prior to this conference? If so, when? Where? How many times?)

13. Review of Required Documentation Form (see below)

Please go to for more information.

Submit proposal electronically NO LATER THAN MARCH 15TH, 2012 to




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