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IAC Press Release

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  • Sunny Jo
    Release date: December 1, 2006 Media contact: Mark Hagland (773) 248-2305 markhagland@yahoo.com www.internationaladopteecongress.org *First international
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 1, 2006
      Release date: December 1, 2006

      Media contact: Mark Hagland

      (773) 248-2305

      markhagland@...

      www.internationaladopteecongress.org





      *First international adoptee organization of its kind is launched at
      Washington conference*



      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 (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 www.internationaladopteecongress.org. For media inquiries, e-mail
      Mark
      Hagland, Media Committee Member, at markhagland@... or call (773)
      248-2305.*
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