The following are three themes that have been on full display here at Land of Gazillion Adoptees. Agencies are not offering post-adoption anything, and so we need to. Agencies and adoptive parents as a whole don’t listen, and so we need to keep hammering away. Lawmakers are not seeking us out, and so we need to knock on their doors.
These themes unfortunately have been around for a very long time. However, I honestly believe that the tides of adoption will start flowing toward adoptees sooner than later because of the efforts of individuals like Beth Daly, organizations like AdopSource, and their partners.
Doubters be warned. It’s our time.
Land of Gazillion Adoptees: Were you a part of the group of Korean adoptee women who started what’s now called the M&M Programs?
Beth: Yes. I noticed a little blurb about a Korean adoptee women’s mentoring group in one of the community papers, and thought what an amazing idea! I had wished that there was something like it when I was younger.
We were a small group of women and teenage girls who had monthly get togethers either as a group or just meeting one-on-on as mentor/mentee. We actually had a naming contest and the collective group chose M&M. (Yes, we did have mini M&M’s to celebrate!) My mentee’s mom, who is a former employee of CHSFS, suggested to the agency and to M&M that we umbrella under the agency and become one of its programs. CHSFS expanded M&M to include males and other adoptees from different countries besides Korea.
I went to a post adoption gathering about 5 years ago where you spoke to adoptive parents, and spent time with the adoptees who attended. It saddened me to learn that CHSFS was not sharing the story of how M&M was created.
(Note: CHSFS has recently started to mention the history on its website.)
(Updated: “I started at CHSFS as the M & M program intern in Jan 2004 and always shared abotu the history of the program and how it came to CHSFS. All new families and mentors receive a history of the program called “The Birth of M & M.” As I continued at CHSFS as a full-time employee I was asked to manage the program. This program was always one of my favorite programs in post-adoption servcies and I worked really hard to expand it to include adoptees from many countries. I always felt that more families should have taken advantage of the program. The information on the website about the history of M & M has always been there – I know, I wrote and edited it for the website when we changed to the new site, as well as when it was on the old site. I admire Beth and the other founders of M & M, as the creators of one of the best (and only!) mentoring programs for our adopted youth. I’m sorry to Beth (and the other founders) that they did not get the recogniztion for the program that they deserved at the event Beth attended a few years back. I think it’s an amazing program and one that I was most proud to manage during my years at CHSFS. I hope they will continue to expand the program and give the recognition to the original Korean Adoptee Women that brought it to CHSFS in the first place.”)
Land of Gazillion Adoptees: You’re the Board President of AdopSource, and you have some exciting stuff coming down the pipeline. Would you mind sharing?
Beth: AdopSource has an amazing project that we are all very excited about it. AdopSource and its partners will be conducting a needs assessment that aims to address issues relating to ethnic and racial identity and adoptee awareness. This needs assessment will engage and research adoptee individuals and their families, and conduct quantitative and qualitative analysis on international adoptees’ experiences and unmet needs. From this data, we can design appropriate community-based services.
Our launch is August 14th from 1-4 pm at Hidden Falls Shelter in St. Paul. Go to Facebook and friend AdopSource and you can get more information about our launch. A Korean lunch is provided. Who wouldn’t want a little bop and kimchi?
Land of Gazillion Adoptees: (I’m there!) I know that you are a proponent of good adoptee/adoptive parent/adoption agency relations. Would you mind elaborating on this topic? There are many who don’t think that good relations is possible between the three groups.
Beth: Yes, I know the view of having good relations between all three groups is not always popular. International adoptions are always going to be a part of our lives, whether you are pro- or anti- adoption. The way I look at this situation is we need to find a way to communicate between all three groups to help adoptees. I do not have the answers on how, but closing the door to communicating isn’t beneficial to anyone.
Now that being said, this does not mean I do not get frustrated with adoptive parents/adoptive parent groups and agencies for not listening to adoptees experiences. I would like to ask agencies and adoptive parents to listen and learn from us. We adult adoptees have had a lifetime of experiences – the good, the bad and the ugly. We are lucky to have so many adult adoptees that are willing to share their life experiences. Why have the younger adoptees re-invent the wheel?
Land of Gazillion Adoptees: Thanks, Beth! And to you, dear reader, I strongly encourage you to attend the picnic. Here is additional information courtesy of AdopSource:
When: Sunday, August 14th, 1:00-4:00 pm
Where: Hidden Falls Shelter, 1415 Mississippi River Blvd South, St. Paul, MN 55116
Admission is FREE, Korean lunch is provided
Please RSVP an accurate count of how many people you will be bringing. Family and friends are welcome to attend but RSVP is required to ensure the correct amount of food is ordered. You can email to email@example.com with your names & number of attendees.
Please RSVP no later than Sunday August 7, 2011
Come join AdopSource for an end of the summer picnic! Learn about AdopSource and its partners that will be conducting a Statewide International Adoptee Needs Assessment.
Come fill out a survey
Become a member and receive a book gift
Sign up for an opportunity to share your unique adoption experience through a one on one interview or a small focus group.
Laura Jane Musser Foundation
Asian Pacific Endowment
Kim Jackson Endowment
Vietnamese Catalyst Foundation
Dr. Karen R. Benally & Lisa Charlie de Morais Teixeria
Mixed Roots Foundation
Korean Quarterly Newspaper