Annual Adoption Gathering

Annual Adoption Gathering – Continuing the Journey

A Conference for Adoptees, Birth Families, Adoptive Families, Professionals and Allies


The Ohio adoption community has experienced a transformative year since Ohio’s Opening Day! Please join us Friday, March 18 through Sunday, March 20, 2016 as we continue our journey together, to celebrate, discuss, process, grieve, and commune with others.

Where: DoubleTree in Westlake (1100 Crocker Road, Westlake, OH 44145) Rooms can be booked utilizing our group rate of $99.00 a night by clicking here . Each room has two double beds or one king-sized bed. The special room rate will be available until February 26, 2016 or until the block of rooms sells out – whichever comes first. Breakfast is available each day for $12.95, $5.95 for 5 - 12 year olds, and free for children under 4. 

The hotel has a free shuttle for guests to and from the airport as long as shuttle reservations are made 48 hours in advance. Additionally, they have a free local shuttle that travels within a 5 mile radius, which would include Crocker Park.

When: March 18 – 20, 2016

What: A conference to facilitate conversations about adoption that will be shaped and driven by its participants. After the tremendous outpouring of interest, support, and participation surrounding the implementation of Ohio adoptees right to access their original birth records in March of 2015, Adoption Network Cleveland recognized the enormous need to continue fostering the community that organically developed among Ohio adoptees near and far. This conference is an outcropping and continuation of the conversations that originated in the aftermath of last year’s monumental events. Click here for a flyer.

For adoption professionals, this is an amazing opportunity to interact with adoptees, birth families, and adoptive families affected by the access to records law and learn how this issue impacts their lives. Your participation in this event is an important component to continue fostering the community that organically developed among Ohio adoptees and the professionals who serve them. There are also CEUs available for $40 upon registration for the gathering.

Click here to register! Conference registration for members is $125 and for non-members the cost is $160. (A one year individual membership to Adoption Network Cleveland will be included in the non-member cost of $160.) Six Social Work and Counselor CEU’s will be available for $40. Conference registration includes Friday night reception, Saturday workshops, lunch on Saturday, admission to Biohazard: A Relative Comedy on Saturday evening, Sunday morning workshops, and admission to The Good Adoptee written by Suzanne Bachner and performed by Anna Bridgforth. 

Click here to donate towards conference scholarships. Donations will be used for scholarships to the 2017 conference. If you are interested in receiving a scholarship, please contact Sarah Hastings ( Scholarship recipients will be randomly selected from the assembled group of interested parties and will be notified in early 2016..

Click here for a flyer.

The tentative conference schedule is as follows:


7:30 – 9:00 pm

 Opening Reception with light refreshments and a cash bar



9:00 – 10:30 am

 “Looking Back / Moving Forward” with Jean Strauss and Betsie Norris ***

10:45 am – Noon

12:15 – 1:00 pm

 Open Mic

Lunch (provided)

1:15 – 2:45 pm

 Breakout Sessions A ***

3:05 – 4:35 pm

 Breakout Sessions B ***

7:00 – 9:30 pm

Theatrical production and talk-back discussion with adoptee and playwright - Bio-hazard: A Relative Comedy (live recording) written and performed by New York City based adoptee and playwright Sarah Elizabeth Greer. Tickets are included with conference registration, extra tickets available for $25.



9:00 – 10:30 am

 Breakout Sessions C ***

10:45 am – 1:30 pm

The Good Adoptee, written by Suzanne Bachner and performed by Anna Bridgforth. Talk back session with playwright and actress (play is 80 minutes). Tickets are included with conference registration, extra tickets available for $25.


*** CEUs available

All breakout sessions are open to anyone wanting to attend, although we have made an attempt to define who we consider the target audience for each. Except for the workshop on DNA As a Search Tool, all workshops are designed to be facilitated discussions. Most will have a short panel presentation to help kick-off the discussion. Facilitators have been carefully chosen for their skill, personal experience and depth of knowledge about the topic.

Breakout Session A (choose one of three options) 
  • Extended Birth Family Relationships
When adoptees and birthparents reunite, entire families are affected. This session is an opportunity to connect, to share and discuss the joys and issues that arise as relationships develop within extended families gained through reunion. (1.5 CEUs)
  • DNA as a search tool
Original birth certificates are important, but this piece of paper does not provide answers to all questions. Sometimes a grave is found at the end of a search or questions go unanswered. This session is an introduction session to learning about DNA tools that can help provide answers about genetic heritage. (1.5 CEUs)
  • Significant Others (free for significant others of conference attendees)
Significant others of adoptees or birthparents in the process of search and reunion, can find themselves in a challenging situation when trying to be supportive through the process. Sometimes they have questions about the best way to provide support. This session provides an opportunity for significant others to learn ways to provide positive support and better understand the ups and downs of the search and reunion process. (1.5 CEUs)

Breakout Session B (choose one of three options)

  • Divided Loyalties – Navigating Adoptive and Birth family relationships
When deciding to search or develop relationships with birth family, adoptees often face questions about their loyalties. This session is designed to provide an opportunity for participants to explore together the issue of navigating relationships with both birth and adoptive family members during and after reunion. (1.5 CEUs)
  • Disappointments and Dead Ends in Adoption Search
Sometimes the long-awaited original birth certificate leads to a brick wall, rejection, or a grave. Occasionally a reunion that starts out well will encounter challenges. A searcher can experience a wide range of emotions when they encounter these situations. This session is designed to provide adoption constellation members with an opportunity to learn and receive support from those who have encountered these roadblocks. (1.5 CEUs) 
  • Birthparent Panel
The experiences of birthparents often go unheard. A facilitated panel of birthparents will share their individual experiences to help participants better understand the emotional trauma of placing a child for adoption and the resulting lifelong impact. (1.5 CEUs)

Breakout Session C (choose one of three options)

  • Grieving Losses in Adoption: The Stages of Grief – Getting and Staying Unstuck
Loss through adoption can take on many forms. Birthparents may grieve the loss of raising their child, adoptees may grieve rejection or finding a grave at the end of their search. Even a “good” reunion can bring up grief issues. This session is designed to provide a forum for discussing the stages of grief and ways to move forward. (1.5 CEUs)
  • Living Adoption Reunion
An adoption reunion can offer an incredible opportunity for adoptees, birthparents, adoptive parents, siblings, and extended family members to develop new and life changing relationships. This session will provide further insight on what it is like to be involved in an adoption reunion. (1.5 CEUs)
  • Paying it Forward – What Ohio can do to help Adoption Reform in other States
Access to original birth certificates by adult adoptees is an important issue that many states continue to face. With Ohio’s March 20, 2015 legislation, those impacted by this law are in a unique place to be able to lead by example and share their stories in a way that will help legislators and activists in other states implement good adoption reform legislation. This session is designed to provide a forum for Ohioans to learn the role they can play in helping adoptees in other states gain access to their original birth records. (1.5 CEUs)

“This organization offers a wealth of great services and supports to everyone touched by adoption.”
Maureen S. Heffernan, LISW
thunder::tech :: a marketing agency