I am SO excited to have been selected by my peers to present my adoption research
this fall at the upcoming International Digital Storytelling Conference in Zakynthos, Greece from September 21-23rd and at The Adoption Initiative Conference in Oakland, California from October 19-21. I am reaching out to my community for support in helping me fundraise to reach my goal of presenting at these conferences!
In case you are wondering––what is your adoption research all about? Let me tell ya!
As an adoptee, I returned in 2006 to my birth country of Ecuador to learn more about my roots. It was during this visit I met a woman named Martha who ran the orphanage el Buen Pastor ("Good Shepherd") where I was born. Martha showed me albums she had made over the years with photos, newspaper clippings, and notes of the 50 adoptees she sent to the U.S. I even found my baby pictures in her album that my adopted parents had sent her! Also, in 2006 I was blessed to reunite with my birth mother & family while visiting Ecuador. I also learned I had family in NJ that I later met. My family grew in such a short time!
In 2009 I returned to Ecuador to digitize Martha’s orphanage albums. The documents I collected from this trip became the starting point years later for my Master's thesis project, 'From the Inside Out: Navigating Transnational and Transracial Adoption' a digital site that curates a non-linear dialogue between the three main caregivers of my adoption story––my North American mother, my South American birth mother, and the orphanage's founder. Composed of oral history interviews, videos, photographs, and documents, the digital site highlights the love, loss, and politics of transnational and transracial adoption and their effects on identity formation.
Orphanage founder, Martha Brunner's personal photo album of Ecuadorian adoptees she sent to the U.S.A (photo).
In 2009 visit digitizing Martha's albums in her kitchen in Ecuador (photo).
In 2009 while working on this project in Ecuador I had the opportunity to introduce my two moms to one another (photo)!
Why this work is so important…
The conference in Greece will be my first time presenting at an international conference. Also, a paper submission of my work will be featured in the conference's academic journal. For the Cali conference, I will be presenting a new body of work and will be the first time sharing my work with the adoption community. This new research builds on my previous site’s more personal narrative to incorporate the larger collective experiences of other adoptees from my orphanage who while sharing a point of origin represent divergent geographies. So these are exciting new opportunities for expanding and sharing my work!
My project provides a space and opportunity for conversations to take place. For example, one of the adoptees from my orphanage wrote to me after viewing the site and said, “It was very meaningful for me to look through your project...Right now, I'm just simply amazed at what it is. I can't even begin to process it. I'm just grateful that it exists. Like, my deepest secret was just unlocked, unfolded for all to see and understand. Thank you!” Reading the adoptee’s message was a solidifying moment for me in that there was confirmation from another adoptee in the orphanage that this research was indeed useful and important.
*My project received the 'Special Recognition for Outstanding Exploration of Mediated Identity' award at The New School of Media Studies - Mixed Messages 2016 Juried Showcase.
-Continue to use my project to find more adoptees from my orphanage to interview and to learn about how being adopted has informed them. Including myself, there are 50 adoptees from the orphanage and I have met 4 of them through my research.
One of the main images from the homepage of my project's site (photo).
Visiting Martha in 2009 to digitize her orphanage albums. We are standing in front of a building on her property which was used as the delivery room and most likely where I was born & delivered by Martha herself (photo).
I am raising $2,000 for conference fees, travel expenses, and accommodations for attending both conferences. I am passionate about my research and your contribution would assist in supporting my vision while also providing the opportunity to share my work internationally. Any donation amount is appreciated in helping me reach my goal!
Project website: http://www.ecuadorianadoptions.com/
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