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Adoption is focus of upcoming panel

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To celebrate National Adoption Month in November, Adoptive Families at MIT will host a panel discussion, "Putting a Positive Face on Adoption," on Friday, Nov. 15 from 7 to 9 p.m. in Room 3-133. The event is free and open to the public.

"We're very excited that this event, which features some of the most renowned personalities in the field of adoption, is being held at MIT," said Diane Betz Tavitian, administrative assistant in the community services office and co-founder of Adoptive Families at MIT (AFMIT).

Panelists will be Adam Pertman, author of "Adoption Nation: How the Adoption Revolution is Transforming America"; Joyce Maguire Pavao, founder and CEO of the Center for Family Connections, an adoption resource center in Cambridge; and Joan Clark, executive director of the Open Door Society Adoption Community of New England, Inc.

"It's our goal to open the eyes of educators, parents, grandparents and friends to the subtle messages we send by the movies we select, the books we read, school projects and the way adoption is and has been represented," said Kristin Gunst, administrative assistant in the Department of Materials Science and Engineering and co-founder of AFMIT.

Pertman's "Adoption Nation" was named Book of the Year by the National Adoption Foundation. A former Boston Globe writer, Pertman is executive director of the Adoption Nation Education Initiative, which aims to accelerate the "normalization" of adoption and helps children who need permanent families.

In addition to founding and directing the Center for Family Connections, Pavao heads the Family Connections Training Center, the Pre/Post Adoption Consulting Team and the Adoption Wellness Center, all in Cambridge. She is author of "The Family of Adoption."

Clark, an adoptive parent, lectures on adoption, birth parents, adoptees and adoptive parents. The Open Door Society annually sponsors the largest conference on adoption in the nation in Massachusetts and is one of the oldest parent support groups in the country.

For more information, contact Gunst (, 452-3499) or Tavitian (, 253-2139).

AFMIT, which is sponsored by the MIT Center for Work, Family and Personal Life, was founded in 2000 by Gunst and Tavitian, both adoptive mothers. The group has since grown to more than 100 members.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on November 6, 2002.

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