7:30 – 8:20
Breakfast and Registration
8:30 – 8:50
9:00 – 9:50
Debt-Free Adoption with Julie Gumm
The cost of adoption can be overwhelming and many families find themselves taking on debt to bring their kids home. Adoptive mom and author of “Adopt Without Debt: Creative Ways to Cover the Cost of Adoption”, Julie Gumm will share practical ways you can maximize your family budget, apply for grants and use creative fundraising to make your adoption dream come true.
Open International Adoption with Amber from American Family
In the past, many international adoptions were completely “closed” adoptions. In recent years, more adoptive families are searching for and reaching out to birth families while their children are still young. This session will focus on one adoptive family’s experience with opening a previously closed international adoption, the questions one should ask when considering a search or initiating birthparent contact, and as the joys and challenges of open adoption relationships that cross culture and language barriers.
Bulgaria Session with VESTA
10:00 – 10:50
Attaching After Adoption with Robyn Gobbel
We are biologically programmed to attach to our primary caregiver- this is imperative for survival! Adopted children have experienced an attachment wound that may be a barrier for secure attachment in their adoptive family. If we can understand how our child’s earliest experiences have impacted their attachment expectations, we can better understand their behaviors and begin to break through that barrier. This session will look at what types of pre-adoptive experiences typically lead to the four different attachment styles and how parents can mindfully begin to lay the groundwork for a more secure attachment.
Single Parent Adoption Panel
Parenting without a partner, finding support, dating, even co-parenting after a divorce – there can be many complications to single parenthood. Whether you are considering single parenting or already a single parent, this panel can provide comfort, inspiration, and answers to questions you might have.
Politics of Adoption & How That Affects Your Adoption with Aaron Eske
A few years ago, there were more than twice as many international adoptions to the United States than there are today. What is causing the decline? How does it affect your adoption process? And what’s the next frontier for international adoption and caring for orphans and vulnerable children?
11:00 – 11:50
Sensory Play Techniques with Candice Thompson
A review of sensory processing and how it affects us all with the primary emphasis on sensory PLAY techniques to engage with children.
1.) Basic understanding of sensory processing and how it affects us
2.) Basic understanding of the difference between alerting, calming, and “just right” sensory play activities
3.)Knowledge of resources and ideas for Play techniques
4.)Basic understanding of red flags when professional assistance from an Occupational Therapist may be needed with sensory processing issues.
Fathers in Adoption Panel
Join this panel in a discussion led by fathers who have been through or are currently going through the adoption process.
Honduras & Nicaragua Session
Join this session to hear more information about Honduras and Nicaragua, led by Program Director Lydia Tarr along with in-country staff members.
12:00 – 1:20 (Lunch)
Adoption’s Footsteps and Missteps with Aaron Eske
Aaron is the non-adopted brother in his big global family and author of a new memoir. He will share the stories of his family’s own roller-coaster experience and his even wilder ride around the world in search of a better understanding of the roots, thorns, and blossoms of international adoption. With honesty and humor, this session offers an often untold perspective.
1:30 – 2:20
Join this session to hear more information about Congo, led by Program Director Sonja Brown along with an in-country staff member.
Understand Behaviors in Your Adopted Child with Robyn Gobbel
Early childhood trauma is unfortunately something almost all adopted children have experienced. Even children adopted as newborns have likely experienced some prenatal trauma in the form of maternal stress. Science is confirming that early childhood trauma affects a child’s brain and nervous system- but how does this translate to their behaviors? And even more importantly- how do we adjust our parenting in order to help children heal and flourish? This session will look at how our children’s earliest experiences have shaped their nervous system and their beliefs, what kinds of behaviors we can anticipate, and how parents, caregivers, and professionals can help facilitate healing.
Older Children & Special Needs Panel
Join this panel in a discussion on older children and special needs, led by Program Director Amy Moore.
2:30 – 3:20
Successful Advocacy in Schools for Internationally Adoption Children with Dr. Boris Gindis
This workshop is for the actual and prospective parents, particularly with pre-school and elementary school children. It focuses on the unique learning and social needs of internationally adopted children in school. The participants will learn about the most common causes of school difficulties in international adoptees, the necessity of early assessment and identification of their educational needs, the strategies for obtaining proper placement, remedial services, and accommodations, the basics of monitoring of academic progress and social/emotional functioning children in school.
Birth Parent & Adoptee Panel
Join this panel in a discussion led by birth mothers that chose adoption for their child along with those who have been adopted themselves.
Join this session to hear more information about Mexico, led by Program Director Lydia Tarr with an in-country staff member.
3:30 – 4:20
Transracial Adoption from an Adult Adoptee’s Perspective with Christina Romo
Adult adoptee, Christina Romo, will share her story of growing up in a transracial family and how the subsequent loss of her cultural identity has shaped her life. She will also talk about raising her biracial children and the importance of raising your adopted child with cultural pride.
Impact of Nutrition on Behavior with Pamela Reilly
The foods we eat and feed our children directly impact immunity, hormones, brain chemistry, digestive health and more. Many common behavioral issues can be greatly alleviated or even eliminated through simple changes to diet. In this presentation, Pamela Reilly, Naturopathic Practitioner, CNHP, CNC, CPH, explains how foods and toxins affect different body systems and how these affects impact behavior. She will share a simple program you can use to identify if foods are affecting your child’s behavior, how to identify which ones are the worst offenders, and a simple way to begin making changes that will help improve your child’s moods, behavior and health.
Join this session to hear more information about Samoa, led by Program Director Sonja Brown along with an in-country staff member.
4:30 – 5:30
Staying the Course: Persevering in Process & Post-Adoption
with Heidi Weimer
Heidi Weimer has had her fair share of challenges to Staying the Course over the past five years since she and her husband, Kirk, first embarked on the journey to adoption in 2007. Ultimately ending up with 11 kids, including 4 biological children and 7 from Ethiopia, their most recent addition, a 7-year-old girl, joined the family just this summer. The Weimers have witnessed the extremes of adoption, both in-process and post-adoption. Heidi will be sharing some of their story, along with what she and her husband have gleaned through their own experiences. Come and be inspired to persevere in your adoption, even during the most difficult of circumstances, the unknown outcomes, and the sure-to-come head-spinning moments.