An interview at American Indian Adoptees

[A memorial commemorating those who went to the Alberni Indian Residential School [link to article: “One town, two worlds: Reconciliation in Port Alberni”]. (Wawmeesh Hamilton/Discourse Media)]

This interview was conducted in 2012 for American Indian Adoptees [link to web site] via email exchange with Trace Hentz [link to blog]. I’ve been going back to this web site a lot this past year, now that I’m living and working on unceded territories of the Musqueam, Skxwú7mesh, Tsleil-Waututh, and Kwantlen bands. “Unceded” means that the land was never surrendered, it was usurped. I add to this land acknowledgment my vow to actively work toward restitution and repossession, not reconciliation nor any other deception from within the structures and systems of occupation and oppression that dominate in North America.
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Research/writing at @academia

I’ve uploaded papers, conference presentations, articles, etc. to Academia.edu [link to Academia.edu]; I hope this will serve as a more central repository of output than various blogs/web sites.

Thanks for reading.

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Resisting Extirpation: Revolutionary Adoption Activism

This is the full text of the presentation I delivered at the ASAC/AI Conference that took place in Oakland in October, 2018.

DDEA_decolonize_adoption-1

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Resisting Extirpation: Revolutionary Adoption Activism

The Alliance for the Study of Adoption and Culture (ASAC) Conference this year will feature sessions of The Adoption Initiative, which is usually a separate conference. I’ve been to both conferences in the past, have worked on the planning committee for the latter, and am greatly looking forward to this combined effort. The conference will take place in Oakland, October 18–20.

My proposal, “Resisting Extirpation: Revolutionary Adoption Activism” has been accepted as a paper presentation. The proposal follows:

ABSTRACT:
Research Paper Proposal • Current adoption activism accedes to dominant liberal conceptions of economic and political value as ascribed to human life. By extension it concedes culturally specific concepts of family creation, kinship, identity, and citizenship. Adopters and adoptees, identifying with the class responsible for displacement and dispossession along a grand spectrum, construct adoption as separate from similar societal disinheritances. When examined through a lens of “social death”, adoption regains its role as a quite successful tool of social cleansing. It is only in admitting adoption’s agency in such practices that an effective resistance concerning survival and healing can be put into place.

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Eulogy: Mary J. Drennan

eulogy-pic

Mary Jo Keiper Drennan: 1933–2017

There’s a story we tell in the family about our mom. One time, when she was living in Magdalena, hours away by car from the nearest cellular tower much less town or city, they were obliged to use a helicopter to take her to Albuquerque’s heart hospital. It was a tense situation, to be sure. The EMTs who were taking her to the airport, in an attempt at levity, told her they were Marines just back from a tour of duty, so they didn’t want any trouble from her. The two of them together easily weighed four times our mom’s weight.

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On Lebanese media and adoption.

Over the years I’ve been contacted by various journalists interested in writing about adoption and trafficking in Lebanon, and their usual starting point is a personal one: How has adoption affected the adoptee personally, and what might reunion mean for him or her? What follows is often intense discussion, focusing on the economic and political reality of such trafficking. Then, the compromise with editors as writers face the reality that they are simply providing a narrative—or a turn on a narrative—of the dominant mode of society. It’s rare to see full-on investigative journalistic endeavors that name names and reveal the reality most of us are aware of. This, however, should be the main goal, if you ask me.
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Excerpt: “Lose Your Mother”.

The following is an excerpt from the painful yet quite compelling and necessary read, Lose Your Mother [link] by Saidiya Hartman.
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Mothers’ Voices: A “Rematriated” Adoptee’s Art Residency

As mentioned in a previous post, I’ve started an artist’s residency at the Newark Print Shop. Thanks to everyone who contributed to the Kickstarter campaign, which was successful.


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Updates/Association of Persons Adopted via Lebanon to the Americas

An extremely kind message from a fellow adoptee the other day reminded me that I have not posted here since returning to New Jersey last June. “Re-entry” has been a bit more difficult than I imagined, and so here, almost a year later, I’m still living in my sister’s house, trying to get regrounded again, and this has taken up most of my energy this past almost-year.

Much of that time has been spent applying for university teaching positions. When I started complaining about this to a dear friend and former colleague who has both Columbia and Brown under her teaching belt, she replied: “I applied to 72 universities before finding my current job”. I promised her I’d wait until application #73 before getting depressed about my own situation, but my patience ran out long before that.

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Digging at “Ground Zero”.

I was on my way to work in New York City on the morning of September 11, 2001. I am grateful to the web site “The Sonic Memorial Project” for its archives on Radio Row, and would be interested in hearing from those of this community. Special thanks as well to CounterPunch who published this prose poem on their web site at the tenth anniversary of that date.

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