Session 1 - Saturday

The Best Of Transracial Adoption: Why Race, Culture, and His-story Matter in Building Dynamic and Engaged Families

Speaker: Rhonda Roorda

This session will provide an overview of the history and current policies of transracial adoption shedding light on the complexities and blessings of Transracial Adoption. Rhonda will discuss why race, culture, and history are relevant to contemporary transracial adoptive families made up of all combinations. She will highlight parenting tools identified in the Simon-Roorda trilogy of books on Transracial Adoption and her latest groundbreaking work, In Their Voices: Black Americans on Transracial Adoption.

Ask A Therapist

Panel: Kurt Ellis, Chandra Criffield & Laurie Nyquist

Do you wish you could have one free session with a panel of therapists trained in helping children with adoption related needs?  Join the staff from Families Forever Counseling services as they offer their knowledge and practical tips for some common behavioral and emotional issues that may have left you scratching your head and looking for advice.  Questions will be pre-submitted by attendees and presented by a moderator.

A Place I Didn’t Belong: Hope for Adoptive Moms

Speaker: Paula Freeman

This session validates the sometimes devastating experiences of adoptive parenthood while offering hope, practical coping strategies, and spiritual renewal for the journey ahead. This gracious invitation to emotional healing and spiritual renewal assures us we can be OK when our kids are not. It’s an encouragement to all adoptive moms, regardless of their story, to help build and support a thriving adoption community.


Session 2 - Saturday

As Real As It Gets

Speaker: Dr. Amanda Barton & Kids

Listen in as Amanda and her children talk about their experiences of being a mixed race family created through adoption 18 years ago. As young adults Kia, Kuyler and Khylin are willing to let you listen in as they tell their story including what their parents did well and what could have/should have been done differently. Topics covered will include everything from hair and skin care, searching for birth family, the rebellious and challenging teen years, dating, attachment and launching into adulthood. Questions from the audience will be welcomed.

Chosen For Him

Speaker: Stephanie Fast

How do we take our past of waiting with seemingly no answers, our hardships, our unmet expectations, the broken lives of the children under our care and love to bring about Christ’s wholeness, identity, purpose and salvation?  Stephanie shares from her background of abuse, neglect, abandonment and how God brought her through everything she encountered.  You will be encouraged and your faith will be strengthened as you hear her story.

Heart To Heart Adoption Talk: Getting Down to the Nitty Gritty of the Issues Impacting Multiracial Families

Speaker: Rhonda Roorda

This session will break out into 4 working groups.  Each group will address a pertinent topic impacting Transracial Adoptive families.  Topics consist of: Building relationships with members in minority communities that share similar ethnic backgrounds with your adopted children; Caring for the hair and skin care needs of your children of color; Developing a rich reservoir of resources  (i.e. books, networks) for your multiracial family; and Advocating for your sons and daughters within your extended family, in school, and in communities. After small group discussion, a representative from each group will share with the overall group talking points and strategies that were discussed. This session will be moderated by Rhonda with the goal of coming up with strategies that will enhance Transracial Adoptive families.


Session 3 - Saturday

Boundaries and Openness: A Conversation About Birth Family Relationships

Panel: Adoptive, Foster & Birth Moms

Birth family relationships can be messy and beautiful, fulfilling and challenging.  We want to help create healthy identities for our adopted and foster children and honor both families that make up their story, but sometimes the “how to” part of this process can be tricky.  This panel will share their personal experiences with different levels of openness and connection.

Supporting Children with Challenging Behaviors: Concepts and Strategies for Adoptive Parents

Speaker: Dr. Nicole Beurkens

Children don’t come with instruction manuals, and managing challenging behaviors can test the patience and resilience of all parents at one point or another! Parents raising adopted children with a history of developmental trauma, neurodevelopmental disorders, attachment difficulties, or other special needs often wonder how best to support their child’s development and reduce problematic behaviors. This session will cover the underlying reasons for many challenging behaviors, and parents will leave with strategies they can implement right away to bring more ease and joy to family life.

Navigating Adoption Realities

Speaker: Paula Freeman

We will explore attachment, what happens in our foster/adoptive children’s hearts when love goes away, and how this compromised beginning impacts our homes and families. It acknowledges the differences of adoptive parenthood, calls for a paradigm of grace and offers practical advice for those supporting adoptive parents.

2017 Speaker Lineup →