Keynote Speakers & Panelists: 2012 AIC

“Best Interests of the Child?”

Race, Religion, and Rescue in Adoption

October 18-20th 2012

(Thursday evening to Saturday afternoon)

This Year’s Keynote Speakers & Panelists are as follows:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ambassador Susan Jacobs

Susan S. Jacobs is the Special Advisor for International Children’s Issues.  She was a Senior Policy Advisor in the Bureau of Consular Affairs and previously served as the Bureau’s liaison to the Department of Homeland Security.  From 2000-2003 she was the United States Ambassador to Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu.  From April 1998 to October 2000 she served as the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Global Issues in the State Department’s Bureau of Legislative Affairs.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Subini Annamma

Subini Annamma is currently a doctoral candidate at the University of Colorado at Boulder. Previously, she had been a special education teacher working with culturally and linguistically diverse students with emotional, behavioral, and learning disabilities in a variety of settings. Subini’s research interests include educational equity, racial identity development, transnational and transracial adoption, and the disproportionate representation of culturally and linguistically diverse students in special education and the School to Prison Pipeline.

 

 

 

 

 

 

JaeRan Kim

JaeRan Kim, MSW, LGSW, is the Stability, Permanency and Adoption Coordinator at the Center for Advanced Studies in Child Welfare in the School of Social Work at the University of Minnesota. Ms. Kim is currently a doctoral candidate. Her research is focused on internationally adopted youth with disabilities.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Melanie Chung-Sherman

Melanie Chung-Sherman, MSSW, LCSW, LCPAA has been working in the field of child welfare since 1999 and has served in a number of roles that range from case management, post adoption services, foster care program director, and state director for an international adoption agency. She is a licensed clinical social worker and licensed child placing administrator with the State of Texas. She is now the founder and owner of a private practice that specializes in adoption-centered counseling in the Dallas/Fort Worth metroplex. She is the contributing columnist for Adoption Today’s Reflections, a national column dedicated to the voices of adoptees. She is also an Adjunct Professor of Social Work at Collin College and co-facilitates an adult adoptee support group through Tapestry’s Adoption and Foster Care Ministry.  She is working on her Ph.D. in Family Studies at Texas Women’s University. She has traveled extensively to advocate for children including involving adoption and mental health issues around the U.S. and the world. Through the years she has assisted Korean adoptees and their families back to visit their birth country. She has testified before members of the Korean Parliament to advocate for children’s rights and permanency through adoption. She and her younger brother were from South Korea in the 1970’s. She currently lives in North Dallas with her husband and two young children.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Susan Harris O’Connor

Susan Harris O’Connor is a graduate of the Boston University School of Social Work.  She has been employed at Children’s Services of Roxbury since 1997 where she has been the director of foster care and adoption, family services and currently, quality assurance.  Susan is also a transracial adoptee who is known throughout the country and internationally for her autobiographical narrative writing.  Since 1996 she has used her narratives as tools to educate people on difficult and complicated subject matter pertaining to being human.

 

Jennifer Satori

Jennifer Sartori is Associate Director of the Jewish Studies program at Northeastern University and Co-Director, with Dr. Jayne Guberman, of the Adoption and Jewish Identity Project.  She received her BA from Haverford College and her MA and Ph.D from Emory University.  Her research has focused on the shaping of modern Jewish identities, from the education of Jewish girls in 19th-century France through her current work on adoption and Jewish identity in the United States today.

 

Darron T. Smith

DARRON T. SMITH, Ph.D., holds the doctoral degree from the University of Utah in the Department Education, Culture & Society. He is an assistant professor at Wichita State University in the Department of Physician Assistant. His research focus includes inequalities that pertain to African Americans and other Americans of color—mainly the impact of discrimination on healthcare practitioners, social determinants of health, and White parents adopting Black children. Dr. Smith’s publications comprise several articles including “These House-Negroes Still Think We’re Cursed: struggling against racism in the classroom” in Cultural Studies 19(4), (2005); and “White on Black: Can White Parents Teach Black Adoptive Children How to Understand and Cope with Racism?” in Journal of Black Studies 42(8), (2011). He is co-editor of Black and Mormon, (University of Illinois Press, 2004). His book, white parents, black children: Experiencing Transracial Adoption, (Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, 2011) was recently released in November of 2011.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


Erin Siegal

Erin Siegal is an Ethics and Justice in Journalism Fellow at the Schuster Institute for Investigative Journalism, and a Redux Pictures photographer. She was a 2008-2009 fellow at the Toni Stabile Center for Investigative Journalism at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Journalism. Siegal is the author of Finding Fernanda, a book-length narrative investigation into international adoption corruption between the U.S and Guatemala. Her book has won a 2011 Overseas Press Club Award Citation for Best Reporting on Latin America, a James Madison Freedom of Information Award, and a 2012 Independent Publisher Book Award Gold Medal for Best Book on Current Affairs. Siegal is currently based in Tijuana, Mexico. To learn more, please visit www.erinsiegal.com or follow her on Twitter @erinsiegal.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Steve Kalb

Steve Kalb is the director of adoptee services in Holt International’s post adoption department. He holds a master’s degree in community-based social work and has taught in the Graduate School of Social Work at Portland State University, where he is currently pursuing his Ph.D. His current research focus is on adoptee empowerment interventions with the hopes of bringing a community organizing philosophy into post-adoption practice.

 

 

 

 

 

Beth Hall

Beth Hall co-founded Pact, An Adoption Alliance, serving adopted children of color. Beth advocates for honesty and authenticity in matters of adoption and as the white adoptive parent to two adults of color, believes it is essential to educate herself and others about the pervasive power of race and racism as they affect children, families and society. Co-author of Inside Transracial Adoption, she received the Outstanding Practitioner in Adoption Award from the Adoption Initiative at St. John’s University in 2010.

Lynn G. Gabbard

Lynn Gabbard has worked in the field of Adoption and Child Welfare for over 30 years and currently serves as Director of Adoption Services for Lutheran Social Services of New England. She founded and directs the LSSNE Post Adoption Resource Center, a statewide resource center designed to meet the ongoing needs of adopted children and their families, as well as provide training for adoption professionals, clinicians, etc.  She is a frequent presenter on topics related to child placement and adjustment issues and has testified before Congressional subcommittees regarding various adoption-related issues.  Ms. Gabbard is Connecticut representative to the North American Council on Adoptable Children (NACAC), past president of the Open Door Society of Connecticut, a statewide adoptive parent support group, and serves on various state and local adoption-focused committees.  She and her husband are parents to seven children, all of whom joined the family through adoption.

 


 

 

 

 

David Smolin

David Smolin is the Harwell G. Davis Professor of Constitutional Law, and Director, Center for Biotechnology, Law, and Ethics, at Cumberland Law School, Samford University. Most of his adoption-related articles are available at http://works.bepress.com/david_smolin/. He has presented on adoption throughout the United States and at the Korean Women’s Development Institute in Seoul, South Korea; the Second International Symposium on Korean Adoption Studies in Seoul, South Korea; the Hague Special Commission on the Practical Operation of the Hague Adoption Convention; the State Supreme Court of Sao Paulo, Brazil; the International Adoption Summit in Stratford, Canada; the Federal/Provincial/Territory Conference on Intercountry Adoption in Ottawa, Canada; and the NALSAR University of Law, in Andhra Pradesh, India.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Michael Monroe

Michael Monroe and his wife, Amy, are the parents of four children, each of whom were adopted.  Together they lead Tapestry, the adoption and foster care ministry at Irving Bible Church in the Dallas, Texas area.  They also partnered with Dr. Karyn Purvis to create Empowered To Connect (empoweredtoconnect.org).  Michael is the co-author of Created To Connect: A Christian’s Guide to The Connected Child, and writes regularly for national adoption and foster care publications.

 

 

 

 

 

 

John Raible

John Raible is an Associate Professor (with tenure) in the Department
of Teaching, Learning, and Teacher Education at the University of
Nebraska-Lincoln, where he conducts research and teaches courses in
Multicultural Education and Family Diversity. John has won several
awards and received numerous honors. The UNL Teaching Council and the
UNL Parents’ Association recognized Dr. Raible for his “contributions
to students.” He was cited for “inspiring critical thinking” and
“conveying a passion for social justice as it relates to teaching.” In
2010, the North American Council on Adoptable Children recognized Dr.
Raible by awarding him the “Friend of the Children Award.” He has
keynoted and presented sessions at numerous conferences, including the
Ethica Adoption conference in Arizona, the Alliance for the Study of
Adoption and Culture conference at MIT in Massachusetts, among others.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tom Brosnan

Born in 1953, Tom Brosnan was adopted by John and Gertrude Brosnan through the Catholic Home Bureau of New York. In 1981 (with dispensation from the impediment of illegitimacy) he was ordained a Roman Catholic priest of the Diocese of Brooklyn and currently serves as pastor of Sacred Heart Church in Bayside, New York. In 1985 Tom searched and found his birthmother, Catherine, and six half-siblings; his birthfather, Erich, still denies paternity. At that time his birthmother revealed she had named him Thomas, after her brother — a Jesuit priest. In 1999 Tom received the Baran & Panor Award for “Outstanding Contributions to Open Adoption” and, in 2001, the Angels in Adoption Congressional Award. His is one of twenty-four adoption stories featured in Sacred Connections by Mary Ann Koenig (Running Press, 2000). Father Brosnan has often presented on the injustice of sealed records in adoption practice, and the inalienable right of all to know the truth of their origins. He believes that the needs of children, not those of adults, should dictate how we seek to practice adoption.

 

Breakout Session Speakers

Carla Goar, Ph.D.

“We are Ethiopian”: How Parents Define Race at Culture Camp

Carla Goar received her PhD in sociology from Texas A&M University in 2000. Her areas of specialization are race and social psychology. Her work examines the way race and racism are negotiated and challenged by groups of people who occupy different positions in the racial hierarchy. Recent studies focus on how race impacts group interaction, how racial stereotypes are activated in classroom settings, and how unacknowledged racialized behavior restricts the formation of relationships across race lines. She and Jane Sell were recently awarded an NSF grant to examine racial inequality in small groups and how such inequality can be decreased, whether decreases last over time, and whether decreases can be transferred to other groups. Another current project examines the racial socialization practices of white parents who adopt children of color. Goar’s work has been published in The Sociology Quarterly, Critical Sociology, and Race and Society.

 

Krista McCoy, M.S.W., LCSW

Historic and Modern Christian Practices of Adoption within the Context of Best Practice

Krista McCoy has worked in the field of foster care, adoption and mental health for the past 20 years. She is the founder of Integrity Clinical Consulting and Training LLC, which provides training to pre and post foster and adoptive parents. She also provides individual and family therapy to all members of the adoption traid. Her specialities in adoption include foster care adoption, transracial adoption and adoption issues throughout the lifespan. She is also a biracial, transracial adoptee.

 

Kimberly D. McKee, PhD Candidate

The Roots of the Transnational Adoption Industrial Complex

Kimberly McKee is a doctoral candidate in the Department of Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies at The Ohio State University. Her research interrogates the concepts of nation, citizenship, family, and identity in the context of Korean transnational adoption. Her doctoral project also foregrounds the voices of adult adoptees as their multiple lived histories cannot be treated as a monolithic, homogenous experience. This project raises new questions concerning the adoption industrial complex and how adult adoptees’ lived experiences disrupt dominant understandings of adoption practices, the family, and Asian American identity. She currently is a member of the Korean American Adoptive Family Network Advisory Council.

 

Molly McCullough, B.A. (with Sayres Rudy)

The Best Interests of the Child: Conceptualizing the Transnational Adoptee as a Biopolitical Subject

Molly McCullough is a transnational/transracial adoptee from Kolkata. She transferred to Hampshire College in Fall 2010 to work with adoption scholar Barbara Yngvesson.

 

Sayres Rudy, Ph.D. (with Molly McCullough)

The Best Interests of the Child: Conceptualizing the Transnational Adoptee as a Biopolitical Subject

 

Jaegoo Lee, M.S.W., Ph.D. Candidate (with M Elizabeth Vonk)

Religion, Religiosity, and Cultural and Racial Socialization Practices Among International Transracial Adoptive Parents

Jaegoo Lee is currently a doctoral candidate at the University of Georgia. She completed her MSW degree at the University of Minnesota in 2006. Her research interests include transracial adoption, in particular transracial adoptive parents’ attitudes, self-efficacy, and practices in cultural and racial socialization, and she has published several articles in this area. She co-teaches a diversity course and is a BSW faculty field liaison at the School of Social Work, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia.

 

M Elizabeth Vonk, M.S.W., Ph.D., L.C.S.W. (with Jaegoo Lee)

Religion, Religiosity, and Cultural and Racial Socialization Practices Among International Transracial Adoptive Parents

M. Elizabeth Vonk completed her MSW degree in 1980 from Florida State University and her doctoral degree in Social Work in 1996 from the University of Georgia. Currently, she is Professor and MSW Program Director at the School of Social Work, University of Georgia, Athens, Georgia. Betsy teaches advanced practice classes in the MSW program. Her research interests include social work practice evaluation and social work practice with transracial adoptive parents. She has published numerous articles and book chapters in these areas. Prior to receiving her doctoral degree, she practiced clinical social work with children, adolescents, and young adults in a variety of settings.

 

Jean Provance, M.S.W. (with John Reid)

Which, Wiccae, Mother Goose?

Jean Provance graduated from the Silver School of Social Work at New York University in 2008. She is currently working in outpatient mental health as well as in a private practice. She has worked with many DYFS cases as well as adult adoptees and birth parents. She is currently working on two books related to adoption issues.

 

John Reid, M.S.W. (with Jean Provance)

Which, Wiccae, Mother Goose?

John Reid is a graduate of the New York University School of Social Work. he has been working in various areas including psychiatric emergency rooms, hospice and outpatient mental health settings.

 

Daniel Drennan

Islamophobia and Adoption: Who Are the Civilized?

Daniel Drennan is an adult adoptee who has definitively returned to his birthplace of Lebanon. He is an assistant professor in the Faculty of Engineering and Architecture of the American University of Beirut. He is co-founder of the transracial adoptee collective, Transracial Eyes, as well as the artists’ collective Jamaa Al-Yad.

 

Wendy Freund M.S.Ed., L.C.S.W.

Adoption Search and Reunion:  An Historical and Personal Journey

Ms. Freund is in full time private practice in New York, working with people who have been impacted by adoption and supervising other clinicians. For 23 years she was Administrative Supervisor of Record Information at New York Foundling. Ms. Freund has appeared on television, film, and been interviewed for radio.

 

Zachary Fried, C.R.M. (with Shannon Whalen)

Implications of Rescue Among Sibling Sets When one Child is Adopted and the Others Remain with the Birth Parents or Stay in Foster Care, or is Placed for Adoption

Zack Fried is Adoption STAR’s CRM (Client Relationship Manager). Zack is often the first person someone will speak to when contacting the agency as he is responsible for taking the intakes of prospective clients. His welcoming persona and his adoption knowledge has enabled many Zack Fried is Adoption STAR’s CRM (Client Relationship Manager). Zack is often the first person someone will speak to when contacting the agency as he is responsible for taking the intakes of prospective clients. His welcoming persona and his adoption knowledge has enabled many seeking adoption information a comfortable atmosphere to ask questions and make plans to begin their adoption journey.
As an adoptee, Zack feels a special connection to adoption and all the processes involved. He greatly enjoys sharing his story. Zack participates as a facilitator in home study classes and adoption orientation sessions. In addition, Zack is the facilitator of ACE (Adoptee Circle of Experience support group) providing support and search information for adult adoptees.

 

Shannon Whalen, M.S.W. (with Zachary Fried)

Implications of Rescue Among Sibling Sets When one Child is Adopted and the Others Remain with the Birth Parents or Stay in Foster Care, or is Placed for Adoption

Ms. Whalen is as an Adoption Social Worker and Family Advocate at a NYS Authorized adoption agency. She works directly with prospective adoptive parents in the traditional domestic adoption program as well as assist clients throughout the process of an international adoption. Shannon received her Master’s in Social Work from the University of Buffalo and her Bachelor’s in Social Work from Buffalo State College. She has experience in the field of foster care and adoption where she has seen first hand how adoption changes lives. Shannon also watched her brother and sister-in-law go through the adoption process and become adoptive parents. In addition to being touched by adoption, Shannon worked at St. Mary’s School for the Deaf providing school-age children with support by way of counseling, planning activities, coaching, and enhancing their communication skills. She is fluent in ASL (American Sign Language).

 

Corie Skolnick, L.M.F.T. (with Karen Vedder)

The Fallacy of Rescue in the Adoption Narrative

Corie Skolnick is the author of ORFAN, a novel about a bi-racial child reared in a racially tense environment by a bigoted adoptive grandparent. A licensed California Marriage and Family Therapist and Psychology Professor, Corie’s introduction to the world of adoption came with an invitation to members from CONCERNED UNITED BIRTHPARENTS to address her Psychology course, The Psychological Aspects of Parenthood at California State University, Northridge. ORFAN was nominated at CSUN for the 2012 Freshman Common Reading Selection and was named to the 2012-2013 HUGH C. HYDE LIVING WRITERS SERIES at San Diego State University.

 

Karen Vedder, M.S.W. (with Corie Skolnick)

The Fallacy of Rescue in the Adoption Narrative

Karen Vedder is a birth mother herself and the past president of the national support organization, Concerned United Birthparents serving all members of the adoption triad. She is also the former editor of the CUB Communicator, CUB’s inter-nationally distributed newsletter and she is currently serving as CUB’s principle co-ordinator of that organization’s annual international conference. She is a frequent speaker and active member of the American Adoption Congress and a triad support group facilitator in Southern California. Karen’s previous appointments include the administration of a home for unwed mothers and administration of a preparatory program for prospective adoptive parents, both programs funded by Catholic Charities of San Diego, CA.

 

Debra Baker, B.A.

Infant Adoption in the U.S. – In Whose Best Interest?

Debra Baker is a filmmaker and writer, whose films aired on PBS and other stations, as well as screened at numerous film festivals. Published in literary magazines, she also writes for adoption publications. A reunited birthmother, she is a frequent presenter at adoption conferences. Ms. Baker is a board member of Origins-USA.

 

Bernadette Wright, Ph.D.

Infant Adoption in the U.S. – In Whose Best Interest?

Dr. Bernadette Wright is President of Origins-USA, a non-profit organization representing mothers who lost children to adoption. Separated from her son by adoption in 1990, she works to raise awareness of the realities of adoption separation. Dr. Wright provides consulting on program evaluation and policy research.

 

John Sobraske

Rescue Inversion Theory as Applied to Asymmetrical Adoption of the ‘Alien Other’

John Sobraske is an Adoption Psychotherapist in Private practice, Independent Adoption Scholar and Activist.

 

Jen Dolan, Ed.D., M.P.H.

White Adoptive Parents Talking about Race with their Asian Born Children

Dr. Dolan serves as the Program Manager for the Rudd Adoption Research Program at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Dr Dolan also worked as the Program Manager for the Health Education, Off-Campus Federal Work Study and Service Learning program at Holyoke Community College for fifteen years prior to her employment at UMass in 2009. Her undergraduate degree is in social work from the University of Delaware and her master’s degree is in public health from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. She completed her doctoral degree from the School of Education at the University of Massachusetts in the fall of 2011. Her research focuses on identifying issues and finding solutions for White parents who are raising Asian born adopted children. The youngest of her three children is an adopted boy of Filipino descent.

 

David Smolin

Identifying, Understanding, and Assisting Victims of Abusive Adoption Practices

David Smolin is the Harwell G. Davis Professor of Constitutional Law, and Director, Center for Biotechnology, Law, and Ethics, at Cumberland Law School, Samford University. Most of his adoption-related articles are available at http://works.bepress.com/david_smolin/. He has presented on adoption throughout the United States and at the Korean Women’s Development Institute in Seoul, South Korea; the Second International Symposium on Korean Adoption Studies in Seoul, South Korea; the Hague Special Commission on the Practical Operation of the Hague Adoption Convention; the State Supreme Court of Sao Paulo, Brazil; the International Adoption Summit in Stratford, Canada; the Federal/Provincial/Territory Conference on Intercountry Adoption in Ottawa, Canada; and the NALSAR University of Law, in Andhra Pradesh, India.

 

Natasha M. Billie

Adoption and adoptive identity formation: Narrative experiences of collegiate women of color

Natasha M. Billie is a doctoral student in the Department of Educational Administration at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. A Connecticut native, Natasha, received her BS in Business Administration from Eastern CT State University, Willimantic, Connecticut. She also completed her Master’s in Educational Leadership/Higher Education at Old Dominion University, Norfolk, Virginia. Natasha has worked at a variety of institutions that afforded her the opportunity to experience diversities both geographically and institutional structurally since 2003. Her background has primarily been in Residential Life, Student Retention/Academic Services and Judicial Affairs. In addition to being a student in EDAD, Natasha, currently is a Judicial Hearing Officer for the Dean of Student’s Office at UNL. Natasha’s research interests include: adoption, substance abuse among college students, HBCUs and college access/preparation for underrepresented students.

 

Dr. Joyce Maguire Pavao

Narratives in Adoption: How The Story Heals

Dr. Joyce Maguire Pavao is the CEO and Founder of PACT at Pavao Consultling.

 

Reginald Finger, Ph.D.

The Bioethics of Embryo Donation and Adoption,” and “The Science, Successes, and Challenges of Embryo Adoption

Reginald Finger, MD, MPH received the Doctor of Medicine degree in 1981 and a Master of Public Health in Epidemiology in 1983 from the University of Washington in Seattle.  From 1985 to 1997 Dr. Finger worked with the Kentucky Department for Public Health, where he directed 13 statewide public health programs including communicable disease prevention and health promotion.  Since 1997, Dr. Finger has lived in Colorado Springs, where his activities have included research, investigation, and publishing at the local health department and at two other nonprofit agencies.  From 2003 to 2006 Dr. Finger served a term on the nation’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP).  Since August 2006 Dr. Finger has worked with the National Embryo Donation Center, researching, writing, publishing, and lecturing in a quest to help solve the medical and bioethical problems associated with embryo donation.  He advocates in a variety of settings among health professionals and the public about this unique and rewarding way to build a family.

 

Bonnie J. Bernard, M.Ed., P.C., N.C.C.

The Assessor/Counselor Component of an Embryo Adoption Program

Bonnie J. Bernard M.Ed. is the founder and executive director of the second oldest embryo adoption agency founded in 2003. She has worked in domestic and international adoption since 2002 and completed hundreds of homestudy’s and post placement reports throughout the states of Ohio and Indiana. Herself an adoptive mother, Bernard didn’t start out in the adoption business.
Bonnie J. Bernard M.Ed. is the founder and executive director of the second oldest embryo adoption agency founded in 2003. She has worked in domestic and international adoption since 2002 and completed hundreds of homestudy’s and post placement reports throughout the states of Ohio and Indiana. Upon graduating from the University of Cincinnati with a degree in Elementary Education, Bernard went on to pursue a Master’s in Agency and Community Counseling at Xavier University and pursued and completed the counseling licensure requirements at Argosy University in Sarasota, Fl at the doctoral level.

 

Josie Crolley Simic

Religion, Religiosity, and Cultural and Racial Socialization Practices Among International Transracial Adoptive Parents

 

Mercedes Naber-Fisher, Ed.D. (with Patrice Fisher)

Growing Up Asian in a White Family

Mercedes Naber-Fisher was born in Thailand, but has been raised in the U.S. She is a foreign language teacher with Toledo Public Schools in Toledo, Ohio. She is also an adjunct professor at Mercy College of Ohio where she teaches sociology and Spanish. As a transracial adoptee, she enjoys sharing her story. She is the proud parent of Thai (19) and Patience (18).

 

Patrice Fisher

Growing Up Asian in a White Family

Patrice Fisher was born in Thailand, but was raised in Ohio. She works for the University of Michigan hospital in geriatrics in Ann Arbor, Michigan. She feels that it is important to share her transracial experiences with others who are thinking of adopting minority children. She is the proud mother to Brayden (2months).

 

Stephanie A. Flores-Koulish, Ph.D.

The ‘Secret’ Minority of the New Latino/a Diaspora

Stephanie Flores-Koulish is an Associate Professor and director of the Curriculum and Instruction program. Her primary area of expertise and research is Critical Media Literacy Education, an emerging education field in the US whereby students learn to become critical viewers, consumers and creators of media, from television to radio to the internet. She also has research interests in identity and adoption, education policy, creativity, spirituality, and critical multicultural education.

Panel with Beth Hall as Moderator:

Nefertiti Austin

Nefertiti Austin adopted a baby boy from the county of Los Angeles in California in 2007. Nefertiti is the published author of two romance novels, Eternity and Abandon (Kensington Publishing Corporation) and numerous articles in the Los Angeles Sentinel newspaper. Nefertiti has a varied professional background which includes being Director of Submissions at the NAACP Image Awards and editor of its souvenir journal; Director of Communications for a community based organization in South Central Los Angeles; Legislative Aide for a member of the California State Assembly; and a refugee of temporary employment hell. Currently, she is an Associate Adjunct Professor, teaching U.S. History and African American Studies, within the Los Angeles Community College district and Administrative Manager of the Jenesse Center, a domestic violence intervention program. A graduate of UCLA (1991) with a Bachelor’s degree in History (honors), she also possesses a Master’s degree in Afro-American Studies (1996), with specializations in U.S. History and Women’s Studies.

Mary Anne Cohen

Mary Anne Cohen is a reunited birthmother of a son born in 1968, a poet , essayist, and former newsletter editor of Origins NJ. She has been active in adoption reform since 1975, is a supporting member of Bastard Nation, former AAC Board member, and current secretary of the Board of Concerned United Birthparents. She has presented at many adoption reform conferences and testified for open records in NJ. Her writings have appeared in many adoption reform publications.

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