December, 2009     Volume 5, Number 29
Highlights in this newsletter:
Please join us for the
IAC Center Holiday Party & Book Swap
Date:    Friday, December 18, 2009                                            
Time:   6:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Place:  IAC Center, 2 Tree Farm Road, Downstairs from Suite A200, Pennington, NJ 08534  
RSVP's by December 8th preferred.  Contact or 609-737-8750.  If you MUST Bring something, consider an ethnic dish that represents your family, whether it is something from China or Texas or wherever! Please check with Emily though as we do not want to end up with too much and it is more than fine to just bring yourselves. Just bringing books for the Book Swap would be great!

This is a fun evening and a chance to meet people at all stages of family building and family life; spend some holiday time with members of your group (if you are in one) and meet some new people and some of the IAC Center Counselors as well!   We have a huge space downstairs at the Pennington office with different party event rooms including a soft play space for the youngest kids, a dance space for tweens, a relaxing room for adults, a book swap room, some art activities and lots of good food and company for all.

Book Swap Details: Bring your old infertility, adoption and kids books, or even a favorite novel and trade them in for some new books for yourself!  If you cannot attend the party and want to drop off some books, you may bring them to your December appointments at any of the IAC Center offices; or drop them off at the Pennington office on any Thursday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.; Monday 12/8 from 6 to 8:30; or Friday 12/11 from 4:30 to 7 p.m.  Leftover books will be donated to public libraries so we can WISE Up the community about infertility and adoption!  Please contact Emily at if you have any questions about the Book Swap. 
A few pre-holiday gifts and articles for you:
The holidays are notoriously both exciting and difficult.  Ultimately you know yourself best and know what you can and cannot handle in terms of social participation.  If you are involved in family building, feeling confused about how to deal with birth families or struggling with issues within your family, you may feel unprepared for or overwhelmed by the heightening of your feelings and needs during the holiday season.  Please contact the IAC Center if you think a counseling session or joining a support group would be helpful to you at this time.  Check out our Support Groups, Locations for Counseling and/or just contact me at: and I will help you find something that feels right to you. 
WE Support Adoption
but we do not support the new reality television show "Find My Family" for at least 10 reasons:
  1. The title is a problem. We have worked so hard to use positive adoption language in communicating with the public and we know that the usage of pronouns is an area requiring great sensitivity to all adoption triad members.  "Find My Birth Family" would be more sensitive to all adoptive triad members. 
  2. A rose is a rose is a rose....but each adopted person is an individual. The stereotyping in this show may be an effort to raise the audience's consciousness about the fact that almost all adopted individuals think about their birth families, but not all of them yearn to meet them and in fact some do not  even opt to search when they have all the information they need to find them. Some adopted individual's are asking: "I don't want to find my birth parents. Is there something wrong with me?"
  3. The reunion is the beginning of a journey not a destination in and of itself.  Many adopted individuals are upset by the show and asking "Are they going to show what happens after the honeymoon?" Finding birth families may have its TV moments, but many adopted individuals, and birth parents that have had reunions need a lot of counseling afterward.  One adoptee who is also a social worker articulated what many feel "Adoptees and birth parents should be aware that you may be opening Pandora's box when you find each other, and prepare themselves for an emotional process that may take years to process and come to terms with."
  4. IAC Center and other counselors specializing in adoption recommend counseling for ALL adoption triad members prior to reunion.  It is important to process expectations and wishes for the meeting, to consider how you might feel in different scenarios, and to consider where you want the relationship to go and how you might feel if the other parties want something different. All of this is subject to change upon meeting but it helps to start from a more centered position.
  5. We get a lot of calls for post-reunion counseling. The emotions that surface for all triad members and especially the adopted individual can be quite difficult and overwhelming. One adoptee said, "I can honestly say that I felt more complete after I searched and was a happier person, but it was not without a cost as I ultimately got a lot of information that was unexpected and difficult to hear."  Even the Hollywood movie "Then She Found Me"  does a better job of acknowledging the surprises and hurts that can come with reunion; and it would be obvious to anyone who took a moment to think about it that the reunion is going to stir up a lot emotions, even when there are not dramatic surprises.
  6. The sweeping statements such as "now I feel whole" are terribly unfair to adoptees.  It is unfair to set adoptees up to believe this is so simple. While finding "missing pieces" is reported by many adoptees, human beings are not inanimate puzzles. Finding a "piece" of new information and experiencing genetic recognition are positive aspects of reunion and can be reassuring and helpful as adoptees travels the journey of self-discovery.  Yet so much more occurs in relation to a reunion that the whole "event" needs to be taken much more seriously.  
  7. In its attempt to raise consciousness about adoptees wanting to know their histories, the show may inadvertently be perpetuating some adoption stereotypes and misinformation about adoption as it is practiced today.  While the voices of adoptees from closed adoptions help enormously to raise consciousness about the "best interests of the child" and need to be heard; contemporary adoption practice has learned from them and promotes open communication with children about their adoptions from the beginning.  Letting the TV audience know about this progress within the adoption world might mitigate some of the stigma related to adoption and the stereotyping of all adoption triad members.
  8. A clarification of closed versus open adoption as it is practiced today might help to clarify the purpose of the search.   Contemporary adoptive parents are being educated to understand that their children will be curious about themselves and not seeking other parents by finding their birth families.  Most adoptive parents today would prefer to help and support their children when they search; and almost all domestic adoptions are semi-open and some families even have open adoptions so that searching is not even an issue.
  9. Birth Parents will be very stirred up by this show for obvious reasons if they have not had a reunion; and if they have had a reunion they too know that the meeting is only the beginning of another journey to self-discovery for them as well. Once again their grief is being underplayed.
  10. I am not sure that "reunion" is positive adoption language and welcome discussion on this. Reunion means to reunite and taken literally it is true that birth families are reunited. That is the physical action that occurs.  But psychologically the search results in what feels more akin to a first "meeting." I think the term "meeting" would help all adoption triad members to put this psychological event into perspective.  Meeting such important family members always comes with hope and the reality that you may or may not be able to communicate, connect or forge a relationship going forward; and that you may learn something that rocks your world.  "Meeting" would seem to be a more neutral expectation and would probably help those who search to put "finding their birth family" into a more manageable perspective. Meeting and getting to know one's birth family is an opportunity to learn more, to have some important questions answered, and hopefully to learn that everyone meant well and that the adoption plan was made in the best interest of the child.  And for some, real relationships with all the realities that most relationships have, will develop as well.
IAC Center is here for you at all points in the life cycle. We understand the complexity of the journey and the rewards.

We are here for you at all points in your journey,

IAC Center Director
Upcoming IAC Center Workshops

To sign up Contact info@iaccenter.comcall 609-737-8750 or use the links provided here for full workshops descriptions and registration. See IAC Center Calendar for: Other workshops, Group with Openings and FYI Special Events.
Preview our Top Gift Picks!
And a big list with lots of choices will be out soon! 
Tee-Shirts are often a kick!  Check out:  
Be sure to check out Adoptive Families Magazine's article on Gifts that Give Back!
Counseling offers a non-biased overview of family building options to facilitate individuals and couples in making timely decisions that are mindful of long term implications. Using a life-long short-term counseling model, counseling is available throughout the adoption life cycle for all adoption triad members.