Adoption Network Cleveland is pleased to offer a new selection of Monday Evening Speaker Series presentations, which kicked off this week with a beautiful and personal conversation with Zara Phillips on Adoptees as Mothers. The calendar of events offers various topics that will be of interest to a broad audience impacted by adoption, kinship, and foster care. Next up is an interview with Moses Farrow on the link between adoption trauma and generational trauma conducted by Traci Onders on Monday, January 25, 2021, at 8 pm ET.
You can see the current schedule of offerings and register on our website. New offerings for February and beyond are being added often, so check back frequently!
The original Monday Night Speaker Series offerings from April-June 2020 are available on our YouTube channel. Below are short descriptions of each presentation with their respective links. Thank you to our speakers for their generosity in sharing their time and expertise with Adoption Network and our community.
Internationally acknowledged trainer and author Sharon Kaplan Roszia delivered the first presentation in the Monday Night Speaker Series, titled “We’ve Been Robbed! How Does Loss, Grief, and Instability Impact the Adoption Constellation?” She unpacks how the COVID-19 pandemic and its subsequent repercussions have a profound impact on the adoption constellation. Kaplan Roszia also gives advice and suggestions to take care of our mental health during this stressful time, where feelings of grief and loss are heightened.
Writer, podcaster, speaker/trainer, coach, and consultant, April Dinwoodie, shared her lived experience as a transracial adoptee to present “Exploring Family Culture.” Dinwoodie explains how family culture, the unique traditions, values, and habits a family share, can shift in response to significant life events, such as adoption. Now, when people are spending more time at home than ever, she emphasized the importance of examining one’s family culture to address problems and strengthen relationships.
Lesli Johnson, an adoption-competent Marriage and Family Counselor and adoptee, based in Los Angeles, presented “Dealing with Stress and Anxiety” as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic’s emotional and psychological impact on our communities. Understanding that this unprecedented time filled with emotions of grief, anxiety, isolation, and stress can be especially difficult for those who have experienced trauma, Johnson provided practical advice on how to implement self-care into our lives to manage anxiety and build resiliency.
Author and writing instructor Kate Vogl presented “The Ups and Downs of Your Adoption Story: You Should Write A Book,” empowering fellow adoptees to turn their experiences into a storytelling opportunity. Vogl led the audience through her real-life experience writing about her adoption story and gave advice on how to navigate the more difficult and emotional aspects of writing about your own life.
Clinical social worker, assistant professor, and speaker/trainer Dr. Jennifer King presented “Beyond ACEs: Understanding Trauma, the Brain, and Building Resilience,” detailing the realities of adverse childhood experiences. King explained how trauma and adverse childhood experiences affect a child’s brain and can have long-term negative impacts on can have one’s physical and mental well-being; however, healthy experiences can build resiliency and counteract these negative impacts.
Moses Farrow, a marriage and family therapist, mental health advocate, and transracial adoptee, presented “Exploring Racism and How to Prevent It” during a time of heightened racial tension due to police brutality and COVID-19- related xenophobic attacks. Farrow recognizes that it can be hard to talk about racism, but it is an extremely necessary conversation that we need to have. He urged the audience to reflect on their relationship with systemic racism and to “not wait until death and murder to lead our lives with kindness and compassion.”
Therapist, birthmother and author Leslie Pate Mackinnon presented “Welcome to the House of Mirrors: The Importance of Preparing for Reunion,” advising the audience on how to navigate reunions. With the emergence of social media, DNA testing, and access to adoption records, it has become easier to search for birth family members. Pate Mackinnon guided the audience on the do’s and don’ts of reaching out and meeting birth family members, warning them of the unexpected and heightened emotions that may arise during reunion.
David Bynum, a filmmaker, U.S. Army Veteran, Retired Correctional Officer, and High School Football Coach, answered audience questions (not recorded) after a special screening of the documentary, “From a Place of Love.” After 58 years of not knowing where his true roots were or any family history, the need to search became overpowering and prompted him to begin his journey. In “From A Place Of Love” accompanies David on his quest to find the answers to the questions he had been carrying with him his whole life. You can see the film’s trailer here: "From A Place Of Love" Official Trailer.
Graduate student, licensed social worker, adoptee and Adoption Network Cleveland intern Jessica Fisher presented “Practical Techniques for Self-Care,” addressing the importance of practicing self-care. Acknowledging how the idea of self-care is often much simpler than the practice, Fisher gave practical tips and techniques to implement self-care within anyone’s busy schedule. She led the audience through a mindfulness meditation focusing on self-love, something desperately needed during stressful times.
By Olivia Yamamoto, Grants and Donor Engagement VISTA