By Naomi Goldman
ACONE (the Adoption Community of New England) was founded in 1967 as the Open Door Society (ODS), by adoptive families who had adopted trans-racially or from the foster care system. These families were conspicuous as adoptive families and the name was intended to promote opening doors to adoption of children of any race or nationality. In 1974, a group of adoptive moms discussed their decisions to adopt and their common journey from infertility to adoption. One of the adoptive moms was Barbara Eck Menning, founder and first director of RESOLVE. In 1992, an executive director was appointed for ODS. Over the next 10 years, ODS began to run popular classes such as “Baby Care” for expecting adoptive parents, “A Look At Adoption” for prospective adoptive parents, and an annual conference and training for adoption professionals. In 2001, the Board of Directors changed the organization’s name to ODS Adoption Community of New England to reflect growth throughout New England, with plans to omit “ODS” by 2006. The primary mission was to support all members of the adoption triad (birth parents, adoptive parents and adoptees) through multiple sources including conferences, support groups, referrals and an extensive lending library. These resources were particularly invaluable in the pre-internet age, for people looking for support and to connect with other people with similar experiences. The Board developed the organization’s first strategic plan and began to develop position statements on important adoption policy issues, including access to original birth certificates and safe haven legislation.
In 2011, after several years of declining conference attendance, the ACONE Board of Directors decided that running ACONE as an independent nonprofit organization was no longer tenable. The Board surveyed all members to see if people still wanted ACONE to exist, and the answer was a resounding yes. In 2014, the Robert F. Kennedy Children’s Action Corps took over the operations of ACONE under their umbrella.
ACONE is not a child placement service, but rather it educates, supports, and advocates on behalf of all members of the adoption triad. It assists members through all stages of their adoption-related experience by means of seminars, workshops, support groups, policy statements, legislative advocacy, and other measures. ACONE also works cooperatively with adoption professionals and agencies to accomplish these goals.
In 2016, after several years of inactivity, ACONE is making a comeback! There is a new website at rfkchildren.org/acone, and ACONE is sponsoring a conference in March on “Adoption, the Internet and Social Media”. For more information or to register visit rfkchildren.org/acone/acone-conference. The organization is also revamping the advisory council and looking for new members (If interested, please email email@example.com).
You can join ACONE at rfkchildren.org/acone/membership-in-acone/. To be added to the general mailing list, or if you have questions, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. We’d love to hear what you would like to see from ACONE!
Naomi Goldman is the Program Coordinator for ACONE and works for RFK Children’s Action Corps in other capacities as well. She has previously worked for the Child Welfare League of America, Prospective Families and RESOLVE New England. Naomi received her MSW from Boston University. She lives in Needham with her husband and 2 daughters, Julia (age 10) and Amanda (age 7).