2017 Keynotes

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.