Dear fellow alums,
What a wonderful virtual Mountain Day! We made the best of our unique circumstances and connected with over 30 alums from across the Northern California area on Zoom! Special thanks to Eleanor Chang ’78 for sharing these stunning photos from one of her visits to campus. 🍂It was such a joy to celebrate a virtual Mountain Day together.
As we continue virtual planning for the winter and beyond to 2021, please let us know what types of virtual events, programs, and resources may best support you at this time or any which you may wish to offer.
- What events or programming would you like to see?
- Have a talent you’d like to share? A group you want to start? An M&Cs gathering or any other virtual event you’d like to host? Let us know by emailing us or filling out this form.
This month, we’re thrilled to showcase the work of Pact – an Emeryville based non-profit organization whose mission is to serve adopted children of color and all of their families. We were honored to interview Katie Wynen ‘05 who works at Pact as an adoption social worker and LGBTQ+ advocate.
Check out the Spotlight interview below to learn more!
We’d love to showcase you and/or your organization as well! We’re still welcoming any recommendations of alums who have founded, work for, or volunteer at local Northern California organizations doing anti-racist work or fundraising and will incliude them in upcoming newsletters. Please send any recommendations to the Board at email@example.com.
To hear the latest about our programming in-between our monthly newsletters, we encourage you to follow the Club on Facebook and Instagram. We also invite you to share resources, your virtual events, and more, directly in the Facebook Group.
Our very best wishes,
– The Board
Spotlight on Katie Wynen ‘05 and Pact
Hey, Katie! Tell us a bit about yourself and your time at MHC.
I’m Katie (she.her), class of 2005. I am a Latinx/Colombian adoptee who was raised in Florida by white adoptive parents. I’ve lived in MA, CT and now CA. At MHC I was on the crew team, a writer for J-Show and a DJ for WMHC. I worked in the dining hall (yea! first year), at Tailgate and for student programs. I have my masters in social work and teach fitness (Zumba, Spinning) on the side.
You work for an adoption organization called Pact. Tell us about Pact’s mission and your role.
I’ve been at Pact since May 2013 and I am the adoption social worker and LGBTQ advocate. Pact is a non-profit organization whose mission is to serve adopted children of color and all of their families. My main role is the placement program where I predominately support adoptive parents of color, but I also get to lead webinars, support groups and other trainings.
Could you highlight a few services offered by Pact and their respective impact?
We have placement, education, support and community programs, because adoption is a lifelong journey. Our organization is also run by direct members of the adoption constellation so we come to this work personally and professionally.
In our adoption placement program we focus on supporting adoptive parents of color and this is huge, because the majority of adoption agencies, lawyers, facilitators, etc. cater to white adoptive parents. For many adoptive parents of color they have to enter a program run by white people and featuring only white families; they are not represented. At Pact we support families of color and our staff is majority BIPOC. When families of color contact us, they are represented. They see other families that look like them, a staff that looks like them and they are the majority in our placement program. For expectant parents considering adoption, they have a real choice of finding a family that looks like them, will look like their child, will understand the importance of race and racial identity. I’ve seen how powerful this is for the families of color (birth and adoptive) who have worked with Pact. Having support groups for adopted tweens/teens of color, adult adoptees of color and adoptive parents of color has been really impactful for these communities to have a safe space with other people with similar experiences. Our groups are local and national.
Our education, support and community programs are open to any adoptive or foster family parenting a child of color.
What does Adoption Awareness Month mean to you, and your team at Pact?
National Adoption Awareness Month was established to celebrate families that have grown through adoption and to bring attention to the more than 125,000 children waiting in foster care. Over the last several years there has been a push from adult adoptees (of all races) to shed truth on the adoption experience. To have people question/think about why we celebrate the trauma and lifelong impact of family separation. It even has the tag of #FlipTheScript, because the script is dictated by adoptive parents and other adoption professionals and it needs to be the voices of adoptees and first/birth families who are the most impacted by adoption. As an adoptee and adoption professional I am all about #FlipTheScript and I use my social media throughout the month to highlight all parts of the adoption journey.
For Pact we like to say that we are trying to be interrupters, so Pact fully supports and believes the month should focus primarily on the voices of lived experience from adult adoptees and first/birth parents. We do support bringing awareness to the children in foster care because homes are needed, but we also focus on the adoptee and first/birth parents who bring awareness to the private adoption industry and how it’s problematic.
How can alums support PACT’s mission or get involved?
Spread the word! If someone you know is pregnant, we offer full options counseling (parenting, abortion, adoption). If you know a BIPOC person/family interested in adoption, tell them about us. If you are or know an adoptee of color, adoptive parent of color or first/birth parent we have support groups (all on Zoom).
Donate! As a non-profit, every dollar helps! You can donate to our general fund, or a specific program.
Thank you so much for taking the time to share your work with us!
Thanks to the Club for reaching out to highlight alums working with/for BIPOC communities/individuals. Adoption is a business that likes to focus on cis, het, white and wealthy people. Pact spent many years to reconfigure their adoption placement program to support, exclusively, adoptive parents of color. I’m honored to work for an organization that focuses on the underserved and underrepresented members of the adoption constellation. I get to watch expectant parents of color get real options counseling which includes not having to do an adoption placement and figuring out that they can, and are entitled to parenting their child. I get to lead the support group for adult adoptees of color, like me, who are navigating the lifelong journey of adoption. It is so powerful to watch the healing and support in the group. I could talk about Pact for hours, so thanks for highlighting just a little bit of the work we do.
To learn more about Pact and get involved: