Washington, DC (PRWEB) December 1, 2006
With its official launch confirmed by its first annual conference, the International Adoptee Congress (IAC) came into being in early November 2006 as the first organization of its kind -- a nationwide organization organized by, and populated by, and created for, adult international adoptees. International adoptees are adopted individuals who came to live in the United States from foreign countries. Among the numerous projects and initiatives IAC members are already developing are programs that will support international adoptees of all ages and help them to network on a personal level; a network of research and researchers that will help gather and synthesize the myriad academic and scholarly information available on international adoptees and international adoption issues; programs to link adoptees to their birth cultures in diverse ways; venues for creative expression through the arts and media; and a quarterly online newsletter.
Following the conclusion of the first International Adoptee Congress gathering in Washington, DC (November 3-5), IAC President Bert Ballard said that the Congress's first gathering had fulfilled all his expectations for it. "I was hoping that we would come together as a group, recognizing that we have more similarities than differences, and would unveil a national agenda to help shift the paradigm on how international adoptees are viewed within the international adoption community. We did all that." And, in the process, noted Ballard, 34, who was adopted from Vietnam in 1975 as part of Operation Babylift, and grew up in Colorado, "We brought together a variety of different adopted individuals from different birth countries as well as places of residence, occupations, ages, and experiences, and established common ground to speak with a unified voice."
Forty-seven internationally born adoptees, representing nine different birth countries, are founding members of the IAC, while 32 attended the first gathering in November. The countries represented are South Korea, India, Vietnam, Iran, Colombia, China, the Philippines, Colombia, Russia, and Greece. The Congress gathering itself encompassed formal and personal introductions, the development of broad goals for the organization, and then the creation of committees focused on specific spheres of activity for the organization going forward.
Participants from all backgrounds expressed enthusiasm about the process and the outcome of the November meeting. "I'm proud to be a member of the IAC," said Jared Rehberg, 32, a Vietnamese-born adoptee from New York City. "It has always been a dream of mine to work with other adoptees to help create a voice for our community and empower the younger generation." Rehberg, a professional musician, is involved in the creative expression committee, and is also a co-publisher of In Third Space (http://www.inthirdspace.net), an international adoptee-oriented online publication, which he sees as complementary to the goals of the IAC.
Bert Ballard emphasized that the creation of the IAC will facilitate a new level of dialogue among all the stakeholder groups involved in international adoption--adoptive parents, birth parents, adoption agencies, psychological and counseling professionals, public policy leaders, the news media, the general public--and, most importantly, international adoptees themselves, who until now have largely been the silent voice in public discussions of the policy and personal implications of international adoption.
"The IAC is an opportunity for us to speak out and begin to take responsibility for ourselves and our own community," he concluded. "To members of the other stakeholder groups, our message is, the creation of this new organization represents a shared desire to support, empower and give voice to international adoptees from everywhere. It's all about dialogue and mutual understanding, and we welcome the support from and communication with everyone."
To learn more about the International Adoptee Congress, go to its website at http://www.internationaladopteecongress.org. For media inquiries, e-mail Mark Hagland, Media Committee Member, at call (773) 248-2305.
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