2019 Conference At-A-Glance


NOTE:  Please be aware of the times that Registration will be open.  
These times will be strictly adhered to so the volunteers on the Registration Desk may attend workshops


Disclaimer: Please be aware this is the NOT the FINAL schedule of the 2019 AAC Conference.
All events, times and locations may have to change according to late-breaking events during the conference. Little things like, say a tornado, can simply wreak havoc on a
well-planned conference schedule! 
Workshop rooms will be assigned as we get closer to the conference.


Click Here to Register Now
    
Time Workshop
Title
Presenters Workshop Description
Wednesday - April 3, 2019
    11:00 AM
      4:30 PM
REGISTRATION OPEN    
    5:00 PM
    6:30 PM
Opening Reception   Chesapeake View Room top floor of the hotel
    6:30 PM
    8:30 PM    
DJ and Dancing   Regency Ballroom
    9:00 PM
   11:00 PM
Hospitality   Tidewater II
Thursday - April 4, 2019
    6:30 AM
    8:00 AM
Breakfast    
    7:00 AM
    8:30 AM
REGISTRATION OPEN       Along wall by Regency Ballroom A&B
    8:00 AM
    8:30 AM
Official Opening    
    8:30 AM
  10:00 AM
KEYNOTE: Honoring our Past, Creating Our Future: Setting the Agenda as We Evolve   Sharon Kaplan Roszia Adoption practices and policies have significantly changed over time, and it is important to understand
 their evolution, as well as the implications of these changes.  This keynote presentation will highlight
 research findings on outcomes of infant and older child adoptions from foster care, openness in  adoption, inracial, transracial and intercountry adoptions, and adoptions by lesbian and gay families.  Implications and recommendations for birth and adoptive family and recommendations for birth and  adoptive family members, as well as adoption professionals, will be provided.
  10:00 AM
  10:15 AM
Break    
  10:15 AM
  11:15 AM
  Workshop 1  
  RISE: Building a Statewide Collaborative To Transform Adoption Policy and Practice
Erica Curry Van Ee Adoption is a lifelong journey with a multigenerational impact. While policies and practices around the world largely depend on where you live and what year you were born, there are some universal truths. Adult adoptees are rarely consulted about our experience to help shape reform efforts. Access to health history, ancestry and cultural heritage continue to be denied to millions of adoptees. Expectant mothers don’t receive prenatal care that protects informed consent and promotes family preservation. Adoptive parents aren’t prepared for complex trauma, leaving them feeling overwhelmed, frustrated and alone. Dominant cultural narratives oversimplify adoption, losses incurred with international and transracial adoption, and the complexity of the adopted experience. Minimization of the ongoing impact of adoption leaves professionals uninformed and unprepared to have language and tools that promote healing. We need comprehensive approaches that encourage adoptees to rise up, share their stories and lead the way for the next generation.
    Workshop 2  
  Managing Competing Demands, The Life of a Caregiver Kevin Darrow Brown

 
Adoptive and foster caregivers face unique stressors and seemingly daunting challenges. When opening homes and hearts to children, life can feel turned upside down. Demands vie for time, logistics and emotional space.  Identity and self-care suffer. Regain a sense of self and learn to manage life’s competing demands. 
    Workshop 3  
  Who Am I? Where Did I Come From?
 Susan Moyer 
 
A discussion on the importance for all adoptees to have the right to know where we came from. The common thread that all adoptees share regardless of the circumstances surrounding their adoption. Why adoptees should have access to their birth records to be able to put together the missing pieces of their own personal puzzle to answer the questions… Who Am I? Where Did I Come From? Susan, an adoptee of closed adoption will talk about her thirty- year journey to find her biological family from her newly published memoir The Lonely Child. She will share the many obstacles, amazing discoveries and what it was like to find the birth family she so longed for and why she is no longer the Lonely Child. Susan will offer encouragement to those searching, to never give up and why it is important for every State to open up adoptee’s birth records.
  11:15 AM
  11:30 AM
Break    
  11:30 AM
  12:30 AM
  Workshop 4  
  Open Adoption, An Adoptee's Journey Danielle Rector Gorretta Adopted at birth through an open adoption and raised to believe that you can’t have too much family, Danielle shares her journey through to adulthood building memories and relationships with various members of her birth, adoptive, and chosen family. 
    Workshop 5  
  Neurodevelopment In Loss and Trauma John Sobraske This workshop takes a look at how profound loss, trauma, attachment, and neurodevelopment intertwine for children who have been adopted, faced foster care, orphanage life, neglect, or abuse. The presenter will identify how loss, stress and trauma affect the young brain and hormone system, sense of self, and relationships. Practical interventions will be provided.
    Workshop 6  
  Changing the Narrative of Adoption in Media   Gabrielle Glaser For a century, the media and popular culture have presented adoption in North America as a discreet event that’s best for all parties involved. It was, and is, anything but the happily-ever-after package that is relentlessly peddled. This workshop will help explore how adoptees and first mothers can assist journalists and storytellers dispel the powerful mythology perpetuated by glowing (and unquestioned) stories of celebrity adoptions, including those of Angelina Jolie, Sandra Bullock, and Hoda Kotb. It will also examine how to counteract the onscreen stereotypes that vilify first parents and pathologize adoptees, such as those in 2018’s “Instant Family,” “Private Life,” and “Papa,” among others. This workshop will gear to adoptees, birth families, adoptive families and professionals.          
    Workshop 7  
  FASDS: Steps and Solutions for a Life Long Journey
Rebecca Tillou
Come and sit in on a PowerPoint presentation that explains what Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASDs) are, the daily struggles those with FASDs may face, and the speaker’s life story of living with an unknown diagnosis until age 33. Come listen and learn about ideas that stem from the speaker’s life experiences aimed at educators to assist them in teaching those whose brains are easily overstimulated. Learn the importance of different doctors knowing the importance of abstaining from alcohol if you are pregnant or think you may be pregnant.
   12:30 PM
   12:45 PM
Break  
Box Lunch (Regency Foyer)
 
   12:45 PM
     2:15 PM
KEYNOTE: Legal aspects of Donor Insemination
 
 Naomi Kahn  This talk will consider the broad social implications of assisted reproductive technology (ART) and
 the interests of various stakeholders in ART.  It will address the need for further regulation of ART in 
 three areas: fertility markets, parentage determinations, and identity issues for offspring of ART.
    2:15 PM
    2:30 PM
Break    
    2:15 PM
    3:30 PM
Registration Open   Along wall by Regency Ballroom A&B
    2:30 PM
    3:30 PM
  Workshop 8  
  Open Adoption: A Parent’s Journey Thomas Rector We want to see our children flourish and our family dynamic succeed. In this workshop, one adoptive dad shares how his children’s open adoptions revealed new insights on how memories, environment, and human development impact experiences, behavior and decisions, and how to use this knowledge to enhance open adoption dynamics.
    Workshop 9  
    Beyond Birth Country Melanie Chung-Sherman and Karen Doyle Buckwalter  When parents adopt/foster across racial lines there are unique dynamics that must be considered across the life span. Healthy racial identity (distinct and different from culture) is fundamentally integral in building positive self-esteem, healthy interactions, and confidence in order for transracial adoptees and foster youth to navigate the world around them. Increasingly, adult transracial adoptees are voicing the challenges of being unprepared to cope with racism once they leave their adoptive families.  This workshop will examine the impact of the “trauma of racism” has on adopted kids of color throughout the lifespan. Healthy racial identity formation within the transracial adoptee experience is key aspect adoption-competent care. Learning how to address the impacts of race in relation to adoptee’s social and emotional development builds a sense of trust and empowerment. We will examine how to discuss race, address racial bullying, and build trust-based connection through the lens of racial awareness, relationship, and compassion.
     Workshop 10  
  A Birthmother’s Story Kris Landry In 1964 birthmothers were told that once they gave their babies up for adoption, they could go on with their lives as though nothing had happened.  How do birthmothers heal from the impact of such a profound lie?  What do we do with the secrets we hold?  Who are we apart from the shadow of the secret being held? Exploring a birthmother’s story, we will attempt to answer these questions through the power of story – the story of how a heart can awaken from brokenness, be transformed by truth, and freed by love.
“There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you. “  Maja Angelou
    3:45 PM
    4:45 PM
  Workshop 11  
  Supporting Mental Health Needs of Adopted Youth, YES WE CAN! Lisa Maynard and Edith Davis-Brown An engaging and highly interactive workshop presenting a model for implementing a state-wide training initiative in child welfare and mental health settings. The National Adoption Competency Mental Health Training Initiative (NTI) within the Center for Adoption Support and Education (C.A.S.E.) aims to better equip child welfare and mental health professionals to address the complex mental health needs of children along the full-continuum who have been adopted, in guardianship, and in foster care.
    3:30 PM
    3:45 PM
Break    
    3:45 PM
    4:45 PM
  Workshop 12  
  On Adoption and Addiction David Bohl  Drawing from research, as well as using his own professional and personal experience, David B. Bohl will offer a discussion on the link between adoption and substance use disorder. On Adoption and Addiction is geared toward a general audience (birthparents, adoptees, adoptive parents) as well as professionals. It is suitable for both types of audiences as it’s a dialogue based on David B. Bohl’s personal experience—as an adoptee and a person with substance use disorder—that will be supported by his expertise as an Addiction Professional.
    Workshop 13  
  Adoption Forensics, What We Need to Know as Clinicians Dr. Tracy Carlis While only 2-3 % of the population (5-10 million) are adopted people and over 320 million are non-adopted people, adoptees are over represented in the juvenile criminal system, prison system, psychiatric institutional system and in drug and alcohol rehabilitation settings. They are most often the individuals who are serial killers, mass murders and those who commit parricides.  The FBI estimates that of the 500 serial killers in the US, 16% are American born and adopted and that 70% or 2/3rds of all inmates in California’s prisons have spent time in foster care. Statistically adoptees are 15 times more likely to kill one or both of their adoptive parents (parricide) than are biological children. As a profession of adoption specific therapist, we need to know how to treat adoptees and understand the underlying psychopathology and risk factors inherent as it pertains to all adopted individuals.
    Workshop 14  
  You’re Not My Real Mom Julie Falkowski  As a Mom of seven, five of whom are adopted, I have been studying the effects of trauma and how to support my children. I am looking forward to sharing my experiences.With an A.S. in Human Service, B.A. in Asian Studies, and an M.S. in College Student Personnel Administration, plus my life 
experiences, I thought I was ready to handle the rollercoaster of foster care and adoption. I am just 
beginning. 
    4:45 PM
    5:00 PM
Break    
    5:00 PM
    6:00 PM
  Support Groups  
    5:00 PM
    6:00 PM
Adoptees ON Meetup Haley Radke  
    5:00 PM Dinner on Your Own    
 
    6:30 PM
    7:30 PM
 
Author's Round Table    
    9:00 PM
   11:00 PM
Hospitality    
Friday April 5, 2019
    6:30 AM
    8:00 AM
Breakfast    
    7:00 AM
    8:30 AM
Registration Open   Along wall by Regency Ballroom A&B
    8:30 AM
   10:00 AM
KEYNOTE: Diversity, Etymological Review and Analysis   Dr. Cecelia Jackson  In our present world of ubiquitous diversity, there is the responsibility of cultural, ethnic and 
 racial sensitivity in the global adoptive paradigm. Whether a parent, prospective parent, adoptee, or 
 professional; the review and analysis of etymological content and values embracing multi-cultural, 
 multi-ethnicity, and multi-racial differences in adopted children strongly secures bridges of acceptance. 
 Moreover, these educational tools dispel myths, nurture a sense of inclusiveness in adoptees, and 
 provide strategies for endearment and embracing differences in the more broad adoptive community.  
   10:00 AM
   10:15 AM
Break    
   10:15 AM
   11:15 AM
  Workshop 15  
  “Clean” Adoption Reform Tim Monti-Wohlpart and Shawna Hodgson  Tim Monti-Wohlpart (National Legislative Chair / NY State Rep) and Shawna Hodgson (Volunteer Coordinator / Texas activist) will discuss the recent enactment of the American Adoption Congress’ new legislative policy to support the restoration of unrestricted access to original birth certificates for all adult adoptees. Put simply, the days of timidly sticking our toes in the water of adoptee equal rights are officially over! Tim and Shawna will also discuss some of the similar, and dissimilar, challenges they face relative to the political landscape in New York, Texas and beyond. Discussion with attendees will allow for review of 1) how does one start and lobby legislation, 2) suggestions for a media strategy and 3) how to actively debunk the arguments of adoptee rights opponents.
    Workshop 16  
  The Legacy of Attachment     
Karen Buckwalter and Lori Thomas

 
Patterns and states of mind related to attachment are passed down generationally in both biological and adoptive families.  There is a robust correlation between a parent’s attachment classification, as assessed by the Adult Attachment Interview, and their child’s attachment pattern. In addition, parents sometimes unconsciously carry hurts from their own past into the parent child relationship and these “ghosts” in the adoption may challenge attachment security.  This workshop will address various adult and child attachment patterns and the impact of them related to parenting adopted children. Participants will gain an understanding of why awareness of one’s own attachment history is critically   important to successfully parent’s one’s own children toward secure attachment and learn ways to consider this as adoptive parents and professionals.       
    Workshop 17  
  The Challenges and Impact of Adoption and Foster Care Marietta Hummons This workshop will explore the challenges of Adoption placements from perspectives of those impacted. Family relationships/dynamics will be explored, and a discussion held on best practices and ways to bridge the gap between professionals and those impacted exploring a range of situations and emotions, including transracial adoptions.
   11:15 AM
   11:30 AM
Break    
   11:25 AM
    12:30 PM
Registration Open   Along wall by Regency Ballroom A&B
    11:30 AM
    12:30 PM
  Workshop 18  
  Walking the Walk, How to Avoid Pitfalls and Unlock the Keys to Success in Reunions Sarah Burns and Dave Campbell This panel discussion will be comprised of adoptees and birth family members. The focus will be on unlocking the keys to a successful reunion as well as discovering and avoiding the pitfalls. It will include adoptees and birth family members in various stages of reunion, including Sarah Burns and David Campbell. The workshop will be 90 minutes long, including question and answer time. This will be an original presentation and will give voice to the ongoing needs of the adoption community.
    Workshop 19  
  What, a Disability? Autism, You’ve Got to Appreciate It
 
Gail Ward and Ishmael Muhammad  Have you ever noticed how people are different?  As a parent and educator, you would think I would have noticed sooner about my son’s differences compared to others.  Isn’t being successful in life hard, tough and challenging?  We “did it” with my child with autism.  To know someone with Asperger’s syndrome should be appreciated for their uniqueness.  Brain Power Today will take you on a journey in understanding the characteristics that can be strengthened for success.  Autism, you’ve got to appreciate it!
    Workshop 20  
  Adoption Abandonment Disorder, My Journey
 
Buddy Knight When is nothing “good enough”?  Why the dissatisfaction with any accomplishment? What led to a total meltdown?  Raised in a loving and functional family, was I driven, or was I just “broken”?  How did I end up with depression, PTSD, and Adoption Abandonment Disorder?  Come hear the story of my journey through multiple “crashes” and years of struggle 
    12:30 PM
    12:45 PM
Break  
Box Lunch (Regency Foyer)
 
    12:45 PM
      2:15 PM
KEYNOTE:Our Voices are the Tipping Point  Haley Radke Generations of secret-keeping and silence have brought us here. When we keep our stories 
 sugar-coated or “just between us” we are allowing adoption myths to propagate. Speaking out and
 being truly vulnerable has huge risks but without our voices, there will be no change. Haley shares how
 speaking privately with friends and family and opening up publicly about our struggles with the current
 adoption narrative will create the momentum we need to see for adoption reform.
      2:15 PM
      2:30 PM
Break    
      2:30 PM
      3:30 PM
  Workshop 21  
  The Empowered Adoptee Julie Lopez Learn the science behind the adoptee mental health dilemma - what is implicit memory anyway?  And why does it hold the keys for adoptee healing? Walk away with knowledge that will empower any part of the triad to become a positive agent in this healing journey.  (Note: Content applicable for supporting improved performance of any kind but tailored to the adoptee experience.)
    Workshop 22  
  An Ecological System’s View of Reunions Marie Dolfi  Workshop will introduce the ecological systems paradigm (society, culture, communities, home life) and the adverse relinquishment and adoption experiences assessment as tools for understanding the complexities of adoption triad members’ relationships and reunions. With a greater understanding of the influences on adoption triad members lives, adoption triad members can understand the intricacies and emotional intensities of reunions with a new perspective. New perspectives often provide insights to relationships, identification of support systems, and ways to navigate complex relationships.
    Workshop 23  
  Illegitimate Knowledge? Experts & Adoption Rights Claire McGettrick  Despite the rapid growth of genealogical tourism worldwide, many countries maintain closed, secret adoption systems, often imposing draconian policies against adopted people seeking information about themselves and their natural families. Why are non- adopted people enthusiastically supported in the quest for family and personal information, while it is considered ‘illegitimate’ for adopted people to do the same thing? My PhD research seeks to answer questions such as this. This paper will outline preliminary findings, which suggest that expert knowledge on adoption is dominated by the field of psychology. I argue that the psychopathological model espoused by some psychologists serves to intensify prejudices against adopted people, and that a sociological approach to adoption research will avoid psychology’s emphasis on emotional damage. Finally, I propose that transitional justice principles offer an alternative means for adoption activists to demand equal rights as reparation for the human rights abuses perpetrated through closed secret adoption systems.
   3:30 PM
   3:45 PM
Break    
    3:45 PM
    4:45 PM
  Workshop 24  
    Donor Conceptions: Past, Present and Future  Kris Probasco .Donor conceptions began in 1884, with secrets, lies and anonymity, just as our adoption history. There are approximately 100,000 donor offspring’s born in the United States each year. This workshop will discuss the lessons learned from the past, and what current donor conception programs are providing. We will discuss modern eugenics as consumer driven and market based, where children are increasingly regarded as made to order. A look to the future for a national donor conception registry and mandatory limits of children per donor will be discussed. It is important for the adoption community to understand the similarities between donor conceptions and adoption issues. The adoption community understanding these similarities will certainly help with action in preserving genetic connections for donor conceived people.
    Workshop 25  
  Locating Family On the Internet Marilyn Waugh  Searching for family members on the Internet can be difficult if you don’t know on-line sites that can be helpful. Learn how to effectively search with free websites and low cost resources. This workshop is geared toward adoptees, first/birth families, adoptive families as well as agency professionals. Several helpful handouts will be provided to attendees
      Workshop 26  
  “40 Year Chunks: A Brief History of Adoptee Rights and What May Be in the Future” Gregory Luce  
    4:45 PM
    5:00 PM
Break    
    5:00 PM
    6:00 PM
  Support Groups  
    6:00 PM Dinner on your own    
Saturday April 6, 2019
    6:30 AM
    8:00 AM
Breakfast    
    6:45 AM
    8:00 AM
REGISTRATION OPEN   Along wall by Regency Ballroom A&B
    8:00 AM
    9:30 AM
KEYNOTE: Open Records Legislation in New York New York Assemblyman Robert Carroll New York State Assembly member Robert C. Carroll (D-44) will discuss the current state of legislation to restore unrestricted access to original birth certificates for all adult adoptees in the New York State legislature and share why he believes clean adoption reform is so important not only for New York State but for the entire country. 
   9:30 AM
   9:45 AM
Break    
   9:45 AM
 10:45 AM
  Workshop 27  
  Expressing The Primal Wound, Poetry as Healing Liz DeBetta  Poetry has the ability to heal and transform by allowing the writer to emotionally express pain and trauma in a way that not only releases accumulated stress, but also creates a connection to others. In this workshop adoptees will learn the theory behind creative expression and the healing of trauma and put it into practice by generating their own poetry to express grief, loss, and emotional pain. Learn the benefits of using writing as a tool to manage emotions and process them. Join me to explore the therapeutic links between expressive writing and healing of trauma and learn how to build a narrative through poetry that helps integrate the loss of the original family and self to create knowledge and understanding that facilitates psychological growth and can help organize the emotional effects of the primal wound.
    Workshop 28  
  How & When To Discuss Adoption With Your Child
 
Kathy Roth and Audra Coons A common question asked by adoptive parents is, “How and when do I talk to my child about his/her adoption?” This workshop will provide adoptive families as well as professionals who work with adopting/adoptive parents with evidence-based information, helpful tools, and resources to assist in navigating the ongoing discussions related to adoption with their child throughout the various stages of development. Presenters will discuss the importance of open, honest and supportive conversations about the experience of grief/loss in adoption, birth family and history, and family building in order to ensure secure identity formation, strengthen parent-child attachment/bonds and promote healthy relationships.
    Workshop 29  
  Our Disenfranchised Grief, Understanding and Healing
 
Janet Nordine Disenfranchised grief is a loss that cannot be openly acknowledged, publicly mourned, or socially supported. Many in the adoption constellation experience a myriad of emotions at various stages in their lives regarding their part in the adoption process, and all can experience this type of grief that is difficult to explain, confusing, and for some, overwhelming. This workshop will provide support, hope, and practical ideas to help those who experience disenfranchised grief.
  10:45 AM
  11:00 AM
Break    
  11:00 AM
  12:30 PM
The following 3 workshops will be 90 Min Workshop 30  
  Working with Loss and Trauma Related to Forced and Post-Adoption Practices Dr. Sue Green  This training was developed by VANISH following Australian Federal and State Government apologies for past and forced adoption practices. The workshop will provide an overview of the training’s seven learning outcomes and use a sample of activities and resources drawn from two, namely:
   1. Recognize the context and impact of past, forced adoption practices, and 
   2. Identify the effects of loss, and possible effects of grief and trauma in mothers and fathers who lost their child through adoption and individuals who were adopted. 
Activities will include video of the apology and personal experiences, an overview of national impact research into health and well-being and a case conceptualization model which incorporates possible adoption-related presenting difficulties that may bring a person to counseling or seek support in search and contact. 
Time will be allowed for participants to ask questions about past and current adoption practices in Australia. 
    Workshop 31  
  When Adoption Reunion Breaks Down Haley Radke and Caitriona Palmer Caitríona and Haley will share their personal experiences of reunion and subsequent secondary rejection from their first mothers. Learn how they have coped with this second loss, what they would do differently, and how compassion for the trauma that their first parents endured has helped them navigate this new reality.
     Workshop 32  
  Write It Out, Listen In Denise Emanuel Clemen This 90-minute creative writing workshop, requiring no previous writing experience, will promote reflection, interpretation, and understanding of the adoption experience from the perspective of participant birthmothers/first mothers and adoptees. Short excerpts of a variety of prose and poetry presented by the workshop leader will inspire participants to write about their own adoption experiences. Writings from participant birthparents/adoptees will be voluntarily shared within the workshop. The writing itself will not be critiqued.
   12:30 PM
   12:45 PM
BREAK   Boxed Lunch (Regency Foyer)
   12:45 PM
     1:45 PM
Town Hall Meeting All Attendees Our time together is at an end and a beginning. Thank you for being a vital part of the 39th Annual AAC Conference!
      1:45 PM
      2:00 PM
     
      2:00 PM
      3:00 PM
Board Meeting