One club at Iowa State is focusing on raising awareness when it comes to “everything adoption.”
The Adoption Club is a student-run organization dedicated to educating individuals about adoption, advocating for rights of adoptees and being a source for students to learn and talk freely about adoption.
“We believe in educating ourselves and others about adoption,” according to the club’s student organization page. “We wish to be a voice that calls attention to adoption and a resource for people with an interest or passion for helping in this area of our community.”
Diana Lang, associate teaching professor for human development and family studies, has been the advisor for the club since its beginning in 2014, making the club over six years old.
“It is a place for people to come to learn about adoption and foster care, from the experiences of individuals who have lived that, either as a birth mom who has placed a child for adoption or a parent who has adopted or a person who has been adopted and also an opportunity for people to learn about working in the field,” Lang said.
The idea for the club came in 2016 when Lang and the student who first started the club went on a school trip from Iowa State to South Korea and witnessed a top-tier orphanage there. Inspired by this orphanage, that student went on to create the club.
Lang, Natalie Alleman, senior in child, adult and family services and the vice president for the Adoption Club, and Miranda Keith, junior in child, adult and family services and the social media and outreach chair for the Adoption Club, all agreed that the main focus of the club is education.
“We strive to promote education, advocacy and awareness for all things adoption,” Keith said. “We do not just want to promote stereotypical adoption of a heterosexual couple, usually a white couple, adopting a white baby. We want to promote foster care, international adoption, domestic adoption, untraditional adoption, just everything.”
The group also brings in a lot of speakers to their meetings, which helps educate the group on a variety of topics. International adoption and adoption of children with special needs are two topics being commonly discussed this semester, Alleman said.
Many of the members of the Adoption Club are interested in one day working with people in the foster care system or working in the adoption system.
“We do have a lot of individuals who are involved in the Adoption Club right now who are interested in working with individuals who have been adopted, are thinking about adopting or have worked in the foster care field,” Lang said.
Keith said they bring in many foster care speakers due to the number of members who want to one day work in that field.
The club meets once a month, every second Tuesday. At these meetings, the group brings guest speakers to come in and talk about adoption experiences. The group also discusses upcoming events or volunteering that they plan on doing.
Anyone can join the club, there is no requirement to be a human development and family studies major or anywhere related to being adopted.
“The Adoption Club is a group of very motivated, passionate individuals,” Lang said. “The club is set up to be not just for individuals who have been adopted or in foster care, but for anybody. It is completely campus and communitywide.”