Is Loss of Family Continuity "Intersectional?"
It's official. In April, Merriam-Webster proclaimed that the word intersectionality, first coined in the 1980s, is probably here to stay.
Hillary Clinton used it in her presidential campaign, while some conservatives describe the term's roots in oppression as bunk. Another scholar says it's a political football, but it doesn't have to be. Accusations of co-opting, colonizing and (wait for it) bastardizing the term, first used in the context of Black feminism and Critical Race Theory, abound. To the extent that someone else can own a word, let me start with an apology and a mea culpa.
But the notion that there are points at which certain issues affecting different groups intersect
is hardly new. Social and political movements have identified common issues and interests for centuries and formed coalitions to address those common interests. And, with a nod to Shakespeare for the way in which many adoptees, donor-conceived, and foster care alumni came to our current places in life, "misery acquaints a man with strange bedfellows."
Much of the effort, sound and fury from the adoption reform movement has focused on the issue of equal access to original birth certificates and adoption records for adult adoptees, and rightly so. But after Governor John Hickenlooper signed multiple landmark bills into law in 2014 - 2015, making Colorado, along with Hawaii and Oregon, one of the states with the nation's most comprehensive records access laws, adoptee Jeff Hannasch (the appellant/hero in the landmark Colorado Court of Appeals ruling that granted unrestricted access to records for 1951-1967 adoptees and set the stage for subsequent legislation) said to me, "You need a new bone to gnaw on. What's next?" My answer: "Rest."
Enter attorney and lobbyist Shayne Madsen, who also happens to be an adoptee and one of the key forces behind the success of the 2014-2015 legislation. Shayne said something we knew, but had struggled to implement, given legal restrictions on lobbying by non-profit organizations: "You will not be able to do all the things you want to do without attracting larger tax-deductible donations." Her former firm, Jackson Kelly, PLLC has graciously provided her services on a pro bono basis, and her final act of good before "retiring" to a new career was to set up a new Colorado non-profit organization called Adoption Search Resource Connection (ASRC). Adoptees in Search - Colorado's Triad Connection continues as the advocacy arm of the group, but our new brand is ASRC. As our home page states, we are dedicated to the well-being of adults impacted by loss of family continuity through relinquishment, adoption, foster care and assisted reproduction. Compared to some other "intersectional" combinations of groups, our national numbers are relatively small -- only in the tens of millions. But we believe that our voices, stories and interests -- though among the most silenced and marginalized -- are essential and powerful together.
Colorado boasts a robust community of like-minded organizations led by dedicated, compassionate people who understand justice, love and the importance of access to family connections whenever possible. The list of names includes Elevating Connections, Family to Family Support Network, Camp To Belong, the Donor Sibling Registry, Colorado Coalition of Adoptive Families, and the Colorado Post Adoption Resource Center, to name a few. We are proud to fill a unique niche in the community and look forward to partnering with other local and national like-minded organizations.
We invite you to join us in celebrating this exciting launch of a new chapter in our history. Here's to a future that continues our positive impact for the cause.