A great woman passed away on July 11, 2010. She was my friend and mentor, a leader and pioneer in the adoption reform movement. I can’t believe Annette Baran is gone.
I first began reading Annette’s works in social work journals in 1975 and 1976 in articles that developed later into the book, The Adoption Triangle: Sealed or Opened Records: How They Affect Adoptees, Birth Parents, and Adoptive Parents, that she co-authored with Dr. Arthur Sorosky and Reuben Pannor, MSW. They were my heroes. From their book, I learned the basics. I attended ALMA meetings in New York City with Florence Fisher and Pam Hasegawa and Adoption Forum of Philadelphia where other pioneers of the movement added to my knowledge. I attended American Adoption Congress Conferences where I met Annette and Reuben. Friendships were formed. The god and goddess became real people.
It hurts now to realize just how much Annette did for me in private talks and our personal correspondences.
Then Annette and Reuben wrote Lethal Secrets: The Shocking Consequences and Unsolved Problems of Artificial Insemination. This book should be mandatory reading for anyone considering creating a child by gamete donation. It was through discussions that followed Lethal Secrets’publication that sparked Dr. Rene Hoksbergen and I to co-present a workshop at an American Adoption Congress Conference on “The Forgotten Ethics of Reproductive Technologies” in Dallas, Texas in 1997. To my surprise, Annette sat in on that workshop. I was honored and humbled to have my mentor in the audience for my co-presentation. I became Annette’s colleague that day as the sharing of knowledge and polite discourse during the The Q & A session at the end was enriched by Annette’s contributions. Ever the gentle lady, Annette sat in the circle and stated her arguments. I had grown that day to realize I had learned from one the greatest minds and hearts in adoption reform and was honored that she joined us.
May your god be with you, Annette, and with your family.
I will miss you.
~ ~ ~ Joan Wheeler