Day three started a bit earlier than the others. At 8am, NCFA's member agencies convened over breakfast to hear an annual business report from president and CEO Chuck Johnson. More folks joined us this year than ever before! We must be doing something right.
In keeping with the business aspect of adoption agency management and best practice, Frank Garrott of the Gladney Center for Adoption and Kevin Wrege (NCFA's Board Chair) opened the Friday sessions with "Board Governance and Management: Maximizing the Board's Participation in Your Agency." Next, Scott Brown (also with Gladney) and Ryan Hanlon (America World Adoption) discussed best practices for intercountry adoption, and shared with participants a new model for evaluating the future of intercountry adoption in a specific country, as well as recommendations for maintaining strong and ethical adoption relationships with countries of origin.
Just before lunch, Melissa Blauvelt (America World Adoption) gave an educational talk on what challenges some agencies face in providing support to families who adopt, specifically older children or children with special needs. Needless to say, Melissa did a great job keeping everyone focused and engaged as we anticipated a delicious lunch of salad, salmon, and vegetables. Here's a few photos we snapped just before lunch got started:
|Chuck Johnson, Scott Brown, Bill Rosen, Heidi Cox, Marshall Williams |
|Whitney White with a colleague from Lifeline Children's Services |
|Vicki Allgaier, Amy Curtis, Jessica Bodily |
|Whitney Reitz, Chuck Johnson, Larisa Mason |
|Fawn Imboden with the gals from New Beginnings International Children's Services |
|Ambassador Susan Jacobs with her staff member and Susan Cox and Kelly Miller|
Ambassador Susan Jacobs brought a certain "buzz" to the lunch as the Special Advisor to the Secretary of State for Children's Issues. After Ambassador Jacobs delivered her keynote speech on the state of intercountry adoption during 2012, she mingled with participants, and snapped these photos with Chuck:
|Chuck Johnson and Ambassador Susan Jacobs|
Friday afternoon at any conference can be sluggish, but Susan Cox's (Holt International) session on culture and ethnicity in international search was exceptionally compelling. A Korean adult adoptee, Susan is a tremendous advocate for adoption. It was only appropriate that she talk about the nuances of culture, race, language, and geography that are part of the international adoptee's search for their biological family.
Preparing for Hague reaccreditation can be a daunting task for any adoption agency. In the final session of this year's conference, Jayne Schmidt (Council on Accreditation) equipped agency personnel with the information and tools necessary to successfuly navigate the reaccreditation process. With a full room on a Friday afternoon, it was clear that participants valued each and every session offered during this year's conference.
As we conclude the 2012 National Adoption Conference, we just want to say thank you to our sponsors for making this event possible, especially Bethany Christian Services, Gladney Center for Adoption, LDS Family Services, America's Christian Credit Union, Hawley & Associates, Council on Accreditation, and eAdopt. Here's a great photo of John Kirk (eAdopt) visiting with one of our participants:
|John Kirk of eAdopt|
Although the professionals conference was over, we still had Prospective Adoptive Parents Day to prepare for. The ladies of NCFA made it a late night of stuffing conference tote bags, finalizing last minute details, and of course, enjoying some good old fashion time with one another.
On to Saturday!