A HUGE thank you to everyone who attended The Putting Family First Conference and made it such an amazing success! Thank you so much to all of our #PFF15 sponsors, especially our generous Washington Sponsors: Embraced by Grace and Hawley & Associates. This year, we had incredible keynote speakers addressing a wide range of topics from family strengthening to adoption. We’re grateful to Dr. Dana Johnson, LeAnn Thieman, Tara Linh Leaman, and Kathleen Strottman for educating, encouraging, and inspiring us with their expert plenary presentations. It was also an enormous honor to have Representative Vicky Hartzler, an adoptive mom and passionate advocate for adoption, as a special guest speaker on NCFA’s 35th birthday! And finally, we’d like to thank our many amazing exhibitors for sharing their resources and knowledge. Every person who attended #PFF15 played a part in making the conference the best it’s ever been, so thanks to all for showing up and sharing your passion, knowledge, and experiences.
Monday and Tuesday evenings, we got to network with some honored guests. On Monday night Joint Council and NCFA hosted a Welcome Reception and honored adoptee scholarship recipient Kim Campanella and Joint Council’s Emerging Leader Scholarship recipients Andolphe Guillaume, Ian Forber Pratt, Miruk Alemu, Byron Tocheri, and Steffanie Eisenga for their work in the child welfare and adoption communities. Tuesday evening, Hawley & Associates generously hosted a reception honoring our many International Guests from all over the world.
At #PFF15, we all had many amazing opportunities to network, have open discussion about different hot topics within the adoption and child welfare community, and learn from one another. We asked our NCFA interns to share with you some of their memorable experiences at the conference!
Ask the Interns
Meet NCFA's summer interns Maddie Howard, Josh Glover, and Madison Swenson
What was your favorite breakout session that you went to?
Maddie Howard: I loved hearing what Sharon Fox and Heather Finney from Brave Penny had to say in their presentation Birtmother Care: A Fresh Look at Post-Delivery Care. They had such a great perspective on dealing with grief in a healthy way, and I really appreciated hearing a personal story from the birth mother side of the adoption triad.
Madison Swenson: My favorite breakout session was Family Visits: Creating Family For Older Youth by Lauren Reicher-Gordon from Kidsave. It was a unique approach to how we can assist youth who are aging out of the foster care system by allowing them to build valuable personal connections with members of the community who can then advocate for them with an end goal of finding permanency.
Josh Glover: My favorite was Predicting the Future of Intercountry Adoption because there were diverse viewpoints and interesting ideas presented from all members of the panel.
What was your favorite quote from #PFF15?
Josh Glover: “It is only through family that children can become human.” – Dr. Dana Johnson
Madison Swenson: “Everything you do matters in ways you will never know.” – LeAnn Thieman
Maddie Howard: “We are all advocates. Adoption advocacy is the future of international adoption.” – Kim de Blecourt
What were your highlights of #PFF15?
Madison Swenson: The networking, the connections, and getting to talk to people that share my passion for child welfare were definitely my highlights. I learned so much!
Josh Glover: LeAnn Thieman’s keynote address was EXCELLENT. Her speech was so memorable, and she was such a dynamic speaker.
Maddie Howard: The whole conference was so amazing, but I would definitely say that my highlight was meeting so many adoption professionals who are working tirelessly to help children find loving, forever families. I made new friends and connections with these people and learned so much from their presentations and experiences.