2017 Conference Keynotes & Performances
April 4 - 8, 2017
38th Annual American Adoption Congress International Conference 
Keynote Speakers
Dr. Ruth McRoy
A practitioner, academician, researcher, and lecturer in the field for over 30 years, her research has   focused on such topics as family preservation, open adoptions, post adoption services,
transracial adoptions, and older child adoptions.

McRoy has published numerous articles and books, including:  Special Needs Adoptions:  Practice Issues  and Transracial and Intercountry AdoptionsCulturally Sensitive Guidance for Professionals (with R. Fong).  Her recent adoption awards include:  the St. John’s 2010 Outstanding Scholar in Adoption Award; the 2013 Children’s Bureau Adoption Excellence Award, and the 2014 Child Advocate of the Year Award from the North American Council on Adoptable Children. 
Rob Gent 

Rob Gent MA is one of the founding members of Calo and its Chief Clinical Officer. Mr. Gent has led the Calo organization in clinical development and growth of numerous programs and is the lead developer of the proprietary CASA Developmental Trauma Treatment Model. Through his dedication to the advancement of clinical practice in treating Developmental Trauma and Attachment issues, he has become a nationally recognized expert in the field. Rob remains passionate about neurological, psychological, and physiological development and continues to   focus on the advancement of research and effectiveness of therapeutic interventions.  He resides in  Lake Ozark MO with his wife and two boys.
Blaine Bettinger Ph.D., J.D

Blaine Bettinger, Ph.D., J.D., is an intellectual property attorney at Bond, Schoeneck & King in   Syracuse, New York.  He is the author of the long-running blog The Genetic Genealogist, and   frequently gives presentations and webinars to educate others about the use of DNA to explore their   ancestry.
Dr. Chaitra Wirta-Leiker

Dr. Chaitra Wirta-Leiker is an adoptee, adoptive parent, licensed psychologist, author of “EMPOWRD! Ways to Respond to Adoption Questions” Workbook, and owner of Beyond Words Psychological Services.

The American Adoption Congress is pleased to introduce  Dr. Wirta-Leiker to our 2017 Conference attendees in Atlanta.
Kathy Mackechney, LCSW

Mackechney, LCSW, is an adoptee and therapist who founded Adoptee Therapy, LLC, to specialize  in working with adoptees and their families. Kathy saw a need for therapists who *get it* during her experiences of having to educate her own therapists about the issues adoptees commonly face. Kathy formerly worked as a caseworker and director of adoption services to advocate for adoptees' voices in child placement agencies, and her mission is to increase adoptive and prospective  adoptive parents' understanding of, and compassion for, adopted children's behaviors to be able to provide the nurturing, yet structured, parenting these children need.


Keynote Performances
Alison Larkin

 The Times "Alison Larkin offers hugely entertaining, marvelously light-footed reflections on how we become the kind of people we think we are, nature vs nurtur and the ups and downs of the great Anglo-American love affair... a lesson in the human condition."

Larkin's bestselling novel The English American sprang from her first one woman show which was a hit on both sides of the Atlantic, and tells the story of an adopted Englishwoman who finds her birthmother in Georgia!
A Vogue 'most powerful book of the season' and Redbook Magazine's Book Club pick of the month the novel has an authentic adopted heroine at its center and received rave reviews internationally.  Since the audiobook of The English American won the prestigious AudioFile Earphones award in 2012, Alison has narrated over 140 audiobooks for the major publishers, many of them NY Times bestsellers.

As an actress Larkin has appeared on and off Broadway with the Royal National Theater and the Royal Shakespeare Company.  Since winning an AudioFile Earphones Award for her narration of The English American in 2012, she has narrated over 140 audiobooks, many of them New York bestsellers.

Larkin won AudioFile's Best Non-Fiction of the year award for her narration of Sunday Times columnist Bee Wilson's Consider the Fork and her narration of Jane Austen's Emma was so funny it was covered in a special feature in The New Yorker.  Other recent narration's include Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen, The Secret Adversary by Agatha Christie and the great adoption classic, Peter Pan and The Inconsiderate Waiter for which she recently won her second AudioFile Earphones award.

To learn more about Alison, please visit www.alisonlarkin.com.
Amy Mihyang Ginther

Amy Mihang Ginther is a professor in the Theater Arts Department at UC Santa Cruz and has lived, taught, and performed in the US, UK, Argentina, Czech Republic, Ireland, Vietnam and South Korea. Her first solo show, between, was berformed in New York, Seoul, and at the Edinbugh Fringe.  Amy has also worked with Theatre Amoeba, for which she was featured in a TEDx talk in Cheongju.  She was on the cover of the New York Times Magazine in 2014, is a contributing writer for Transracial Eyes, and has been referenced in Reuters, Al Jazeera, The Wall Street Journal, KoreAm, and The Toast.