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Adoption Awareness Month

Morning Session & Afternoon Session

Evidence-Based Techniques for Management of Post Adoption Preparation, Support and Special Needs Adoption
presented by Dr. Kalyani Gopal

Children adopted from foster care and those with special needs may face significant bonding and attachment issues that impact their behavioral and emotional regulation.  Consequently, post adoption can be very challenging.  Young adopted people and their adoptive parents require unique ways of preparing for adoption.  Specific ongoing support that will be needed will be discussed as well as how to overcome these challenges and optimize successful adoption with emphasis on the context of culturally sensitive adoptions of children from different ethnic and cultural backgrounds.


Morning Session & Afternoon Session

Helping Families Heal: From Surviving to Thriving
presented by Heather Forbes

Children who are continually under stress during their childhood years often accumulate multiple layers of emotional injury.  Trauma impacts the developing brain, compromising a child’s focus, memory, language, speech, problem solving skills, and ability to retain, retrieve, and organize information.   This presentation addresses trauma and adoption along with its impact on the developing child.  Explanations as to why children act out in negative, resistant, defiant, and socially inappropriate ways will be given based off of the science of the developing brain.  Solutions of how to go beyond the behaviors and beyond consequences to help children heal will be discussed.  This session is designed to help participates understand how to integrate this information into their own daily lives.  Examples to demonstrate “how” to move from trauma to recovery will be shown, giving participants a deeper “when the rubber hits the road” understanding.


Morning Session & Afternoon Session

Transforming the Difficult Child: The Nurtured Heart Approach
presented by Howard Glasser

Adoptive parents and professionals often find themselves struggling with the intensity of challenging children. Faced with uncontrolled anger, aggression, defiance and disrespect, most adults react by increasing the severity of normal parenting methods, which regularly make the situation worse.  Join us to be introduced to an approach that helps children to use their intensity successfully and leave with a powerful understanding and skill set to help all children to fully engage life in positive ways, ignite greatness and flourish.


Morning Session & Afternoon Session

What My White Parents Didn't Know...and Why I Turned out OK Anyway
presented by April Dinwoodie
Trans-racially adopted presenter shares first-hand experiences and practical ideas when faced with inevitable race, diversity and identity challenges within adoption and foster care. The workshop content includes: extended family and community dynamics, the importance of caring for hair and skin, navigating relationships/dating and overall perceptions and assumptions faced by trans-racial adoptees. This workshop will be an open discussion guided by a transracially-adopted presenter.


Morning Session & Afternoon Session

Tools for Achieving Permanency With the Youth at the Highest Risk of Aging Out of Foster Care
presented by Bob Lewis

This workshop is for social workers and others whose goal is to ensure that no one ages out of foster care.  For that we need new tools that help with the youth who are still without a sense of belonging to a family safely and securely into the future.  The workshop includes an introduction of three tools: 1)Recasting Our Youth: New Roles and Different Measures, 2)Seeing the Voices of Children and Youth, and 3) Setting the Record Straight: The Video Project. It brings the digital world to the service of healing.


Morning Session

Saving a Generation
presented by Bishop Martin

Bishop Martin shares a roadmap to social transformation by demonstrating how his tiny church adopted and forever changed the destiny of 73 at risk children.  Allow him to share with you how your congregation can assist with solutions-based partnerships with government agencies.


Morning Session

NC Reach and ETV Programs: What You Need to Know to Prepare Foster Youth For College!
presented by Wendy Kiser

Education is the choice, earning a college degree, certificate or diploma is a chance to start building a life full of opportunities and experiences.  College students need to be prepared, it’s much different than high school.  It’s a journey that will take them as far as they want to go.  This workshop will provide you with information regarding eligibility requirements for NC Reach and Educational Training Voucher (ETV) programs, when college students need to complete their FAFSA application, applying for other scholarships, importance of completing a career assessment and setting goals, responsibilities of college students, how you can support former foster youth and resources available on college campuses.  Investing in our young people by promoting academic achievement, providing support and career planning will help college students to be prepared for college, graduate and be ready to enter the workforce.


Morning Session

Molding A Brand
presented by Kevin Brown

Kevin Y. Brown was that kid who straddled the fence, the kid that could go either way, in positive or negative direction. Foster kid, edgy, rebellious, smart, athletic, unreasonable and popular. Written off by foster parents, adults and peers as someone who wouldn’t make it far until a series of mentors and experiences helped him realize that he was the master of his fate and the captain of his soul. Brown focuses on life through the lens of a foster care child, what it’s like to live in homes, go to school, and building self-efficacy in foster care children. 


Morning Session

The Importance of Birthparents in the Lives of Your Children
presented by Leslie Pate-MacKinnon

No matter the circumstances of their separation, each child keeps an emotional bond with their biological mother. A connection to biological parenthood is important to a child’s welfare.  Intense feelings can veer from one extreme to the other or they can become buried.  Our job is to help our children assimilate their heritages into a sense of self, thereby building foundations for strong and long-lasting relationships throughout life.


Afternoon Session

The Church and Communities' Role in Adoption and Foster Care
presented by

CFK Panel and Guest

Learn from church leaders and community partners the importance of assisting government agencies.  Panel members will share specific information regarding their ministries and how to develop ministries/programs to support children and families.  Panel members will be represented from Grace Covenant (Pastor Lemings), Carmel Baptist Church (Mary Jane Postiglione), Wayne St. John’s Photography (Wayne St. John), One Plus (Jennifer Davidson), First Baptist Church West (Rev. Rhedrick) and Bennett Chapel (Bishop Martin). 


Afternoon Session

Untangling the Web: The Internet's Transformative Impact on Adoption
presented by Adam Pertman

The Internet (and social media in particular) is instigating historic changes in adoption practices, challenging current laws and policies, offering unprecedented opportunities and resources, and raising critical ethical, legal and procedural issues.  It is likely bringing an end to “closed” adoptions and accelerating the formation of extended families that include birth and adoptive relatives. Yet there is little reliable information, research or experience to guide professionals, courts or families. This presentation draws from the Donaldson Adoption Institute’s “Untangling the Web” research, which over the last two years has provided the first in-depth examination of the issues involved and their impact on millions of children and families, including recommendations for future law, policy and practice. 


Afternoon Session

Understanding the Identifying Triggers: The Importance of Taking Care of Yourself
presented by Charryse Cooper

Triggers are personal flashbacks that transport an individual back to his/her original trauma.  Triggers are activated through one or more of the five senses: touch, taste, sight, smell and sound.  Attendees will learn the importance of identifying triggers and be provided techniques and tools to utilize before or when a trigger is activated.


Afternoon Session

The Nuts & Bolts of Openness and Why It Is the "ONLY" Option
presented by Leslie Pate MacKinnon

Knowledge and connection has taken the place of secrecy and stigma.  We must be confident and knowledgeable about how to make openness work, in order to help our clients manage the “day to day” challenges.  Just like marriage, no one say it would be easy. Yet it is certainly well worth the effort, in the life-long rewards gained in the lives of children and families.

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