Call for Papers 2020/2022

Call For Papers 2020/2022--Virtual Conference 


Friday March 25 to Saturday March26, 2022 

10th Biennial Adoption Initiative Conference

Conference Title:

The Evolution of Adoption Practice: Activist and Community Perspectives

For 20 years, the Adoption Initiative has developed conferences addressing themes of adoption ethics, impact of religion, race, and class on the adoption network, adoptees in adolescence, birth and adoptive family communication, and the need for adoption-responsive mental health practitioners and services. Drawing upon our tradition of using a critical lens to examine and explore adoption practice, policy, and positioning, we are pleased to announce the theme and title of our 10th Biennial Adoption Initiative Conference, "The Evolution of Adoption Practice: Activist and Community Perspectives."

For our 20th-anniversary conference, we will reflect upon the lessons we have learned, as well as the topics we have engaged with, over our past two decades of the Adoption Initiative conferences. The recent sociopolitical and socioeconomic milieu has important implications for the lens through which we view adoption. For this conference, we are interested in papers/presentations that address topics like the growth in focus on how adoption functions within human rights, civil rights, and social justice frameworks. We welcome proposals that focus on emerging adoption practices, research on best adoption practices, critiques of adoption practice, the rise in adoptee activism, efforts to challenge dominant mythologies concerning adoption practice, and changes in pre-adoption preparation. 

Over the past twenty years, the presumption of the "best interest of the child" has been questioned particularly when asking who gets to determine what the best interests of the child is.  First/birth mothers and fathers, adoptees, and adoptees' communities of origin are organizing and challenging dominant structures and institutions that have historically been silenced. 

It is in this light that this conference invites proposal submissions for papers, poster presentations, and research manuscripts for the 20th anniversary Biennial Adoption Initiative Conference. We actively seek proposals which address issues related to how practices have evolved over the past twenty years through the work of activists and communities most impacted by adoption and how this evolution has informed how we understand mental health from these lenses. 

We welcome participation from those whose identities are informed by the impact of adoption on their lives, and whose voices are often overlooked and marginalized by its practice. We especially invite proposals that take a social justice approach to adoption practice, focusing on those whose lives and rights are primarily impacted by the nature and goals of the practice as it applies to them. 

Possible topics Include but are not limited to the following: 

  • In what ways have first/birth families, adoptees, and adoptees' communities of origin advocated for their needs over the past twenty years? 
  • Ways in which intercountry adoptees are changing the conversation around immigration and citizenship.
  • New technologies and their impact on adoption search and reunion.
  • Based on the historical perspectives of "best interests of the child," what exactly does "best interest of the child" mean in 2020?
  • How does adoption relate to or mimic imperialism, colonialism, and nation-state foreign policies? 
  • Aspects of privileges inherent in adoption as they are enacted in adoption practice and as they influence identity, citizenship, and being.
  • Ways current adoption narratives include or leave out notions of land, place, history, ethnicity, and ability to belong and inform identity.
  • Ways in which tools used to "deal with" adoption, including psychiatry and therapy, enforce dominant cultural myths about adoption.
  • In what ways has the demand for "adoption competent" mental health practitioners by adoptees, birth/first families and adoptive parents changed the clinical paradigms and treatment modalities for individuals seeking counseling/therapy? 

Click Here to begin your proposal submission. 

Important Dates



Nov. 15, 2021

Call for Papers Due--Deadline EXTENDED to Nov. 15, 2021

Jan. 1, 2021

Registration Opens

Jan. 15, 2022

Notification of Proposal Acceptances

Feb. 15, 2022

Presenters Must Register by this Date

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