We kicked off this year’s National Adoption Conference yesterday morning with a special thank you video to our members (thank goodness for interns who can produce a creative video in a nano second). Whitney White with Lifeline Children’s Services was our first presenter and what a wonderful session she delivered! Participants were laser focused on her talk about how to prepare children in orphanages for adoption, as well as creative ways to prepare other siblings at home for the arrival of their newly adopted sibling. Next we received some practical advice from the U.S. Citizen and Immigration Services (USCIS) on how adoption service providers can help prospective adoptive parents avoid common processing delays with their intercountry adoption. And with that, our morning sessions concluded.
Lunch was a delight with Rita Soronen of the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption at the podium. Rita shared with us the enormous success that the Wendy’s Wonderful Kids program is having on foster care adoptions. Learn more about “Unadoptable is Unacceptable” here.
|Rita Soronen delivers her keynote speech, "Unadoptable is Unacceptable"|
|Sixto Cancel talks about growing up in foster care|
The afternoon sessions were both educational and quite enjoyable. Maureen Archibald of Harvest of Hope Family Services Network shared how her agency is working to increase the number of foster care adoptions. Other panelists, including Laura Beauvais-Godwin of Nightlight Christian Adoptions, noted the importance of more people “getting involved in foster care advocacy if we want to see more changes.” Sixto Cancel, who spent his childhood in foster care, endured a failed adoption, and later aged out of the system, shared his heartfelt story and emphasized the impact that his adult mentors had on his life.
Our very own Megan Lindsey delivered a riveting talk on how to reach expectant mothers with the positive option of adoption, while folks from the St. Elizabeth Foundation shared more about the 24/7 birthparent-focused services they provide. And finally, two breakout sessions concluded the first day of the conference: Heidi Cox with the Gladney Center for Adoption focused on how to balance “ethics and the heart” (i.e. is it appropriate to be Facebook friends with clients?), and Kathleen Cleary of the Consortium for Children equipped participants with a new formula for the home study process called the Structured Analysis Family Evaluation (SAFE) model. Handouts and notes from all sessions will be available online soon!
We rounded out day one with a wine and cheese soiree. Our guests were welcomed by our friendly staff and tunes from Ella Fitzgerald, and after a lot of mingling, called it a night around 10:30pm. Was it late? Or was it just Justin Bieber playing that drove them out?
|Jim Savley of Small World Adoptions, Inc. with his daughter, Jennifer Watkins|
|Hollen Frazier of All God's Children International and Kyle Tresch of Buckner International|
|The ladies of NCFA from left to right: Megan Lindsey, Adria Anderson, Janelle Ison, Nicole Callahan, Lauren Simpson, Meagan Henry, Jessica Bodily, Christine Gerhart, Bekah Kitterman, and Lauren Koch|
We’re looking forward to three more days of the National Adoption Conference (by the way, follow the conversation live using #NACDC12 on Twitter)!
Category National Adoption Conference