4614 Prospect Avenue, Ste. 550
Cleveland, OH 44103

Adoption Network Cleveland is pleased to offer a Monday Evening Speaker Series full of topics that are of interest to a broad audience impacted by adoption, kinship, and foster care.

 

Upcoming Presentations

Our Monday Evening Speaker Series returns on September 20. Stay tuned as we add new presentations to Series 3 of this popular program!

 


Monday, January 24, 2022
8:00-9:00 pm ET
Uprooted: Our Right to Know Our Origins presented by Peter J. Boni

Author Peter J. Boni will discuss learning near the age of fifty that he was donor-conceived and the confusing and conflicting emotions he felt about it, his twenty-two-year search for the identity of his biological father and the siblings he discovered in the process, what he learned about the multi-billion-dollar Assisted Reproductive Technology industry along the way, and how all of it led him to advocate for a Donor-Conceived Bill of Rights. There are many parallels between the world of Assisted Reproductive Technology and the world of adoption. This talk will be of interest to all.

About Peter J. Boni
Peter J. Boni credits his disruptive childhood, a state college education from UMass Amherst, decorated on-the-ground service as a US Army Special Operations Team Leader in Vietnam, plus luck-of-the-draw DNA with making him the person he is today. Out of his accomplished business career (high-tech CEO, venture capitalist, board chairman, non-profit leader, award-winning entrepreneur, senior advisor) grew his first book, All Hands on Deck: Navigating Your Team Through Crises, Getting Your Organization Unstuck, and Emerging Victorious. His new book is Uprooted: Family Trauma, Unknown Origins, and the Secretive History of Artificial Insemination (Greenleaf Book Group, January 2022). The father of two and grandfather of three, he lives on Cape Cod, Massachusetts. You can find out more about Peter on his website: peterjboni.com


Monday, February 14, 2022
8:00-9:00 pm ET
Ambiguous Loss and Disenfranchised Grief: Processing the complexities of experience in the adoption constellation presented by Dawn Friedman, MSEd

During this installment of our Monday Evening Speaker Series, participants will have a safe space to learn, share, and process our personal experiences of loss and grief in the context of our adoption stories. Using Betty Jean Lifton's concept of the "ghost kingdom," we will explore the "might have been" that is inherent to adoption for all members of the constellation.

About Dawn Friedman MSEd

Dawn is a therapist in private practice, an adoptive parent in an open adoption, and a member of an extended birth family in reunion. Dawn's writing on adoption has appeared in numerous publications including Adoptive Families, Salon.com, Brain Child Magazine, and Huffington Post. She has presented on adoption for Psych Central's Inside Mental Health podcast as well as Dawn Davenport's Creating a Family and was a consultant on This American Life on an episode about open adoption. You can learn more about her at DawnFriedman.com.


Monday, March 7, 2022

8-9 pm ET
Taking the Show on the Road presented by Jennifer 
Ghoston 

Join us for this Monday Evening with Jennifer Ghoston and hear about her work in the adoption space. Jennifer hosts the podcast series Once Upon a Time in Adopteeland, giving adoptees a platform to share their adoption journeys. Jennifer is a firm believer that storytelling is healing for both the listener and the storyteller. Jennifer has also shared her story in her book The Truth So Far…a detective’s journey to reunite with her birth family (2015), and in Jean Strauss’s film documentary A Simple Piece of Paper (2013). Jennifer will discuss the power of storytelling and host a Q&A.

About Jennifer Dyan Ghoston
Jennifer Dyan Ghoston is an adoptee in reunion with both sides of her birth family. She has been connected to the adoption community for over a decade and in 2015 self-published her book, The Truth So Far...a detective's journey to reunite with her birth family.

Her continued efforts to be open, honest and public with her adoption experience has led to hosting a podcast, Once Upon a Time...In Adopteeland. You can find out more about Jennifer on her website:  jenniferdyanghoston.com


Rescheduled!

Monday, March 28, 2022
8:00-9:00 pm ET
History, My Mother, and Me presented by Kim Heikkila

Kim Heikkila was 26 years old when she learned she had an older sister. Kim’s mother had delivered her first daughter at the Salvation Army Booth Memorial Hospital in St. Paul, Minnesota in 1961. She relinquished the baby for adoption, got married a few years later, had two more children, and enjoyed a long career in marketing…all the while keeping the story of her first pregnancy a secret. Then, in 1994, her eldest daughter found her. For the next 15 years, Kim’s mother had all three of her children in her life, and in 2006, became a loving grandmother to Kim’s adopted son. When she died in 2009, Kim realized that she had missed the opportunity to talk to her mother in detail about her experiences as a “Booth girl.” So she set out to learn more about her mother by drawing on her skills as a historian. The result is Booth Girls: Pregnancy, Adoption, and the Secrets We Kept (Minnesota Historical Society Press), a multigenerational story of contested motherhood, equal parts biography, oral history, history, and memoir.

In this talk, Kim will be joined by her sister (also named Kim) as she shares her research into the history of Booth St. Paul and contemplates the complicated legacy of adoption on her family story.

About Dr. Heikkila
Dr. Kim Heikkila is an independent scholar, oral historian, author, and educator. Her article about “Booth Girls” won the Solon J. Buck Award for best article of 2017 for Minnesota History magazine. Her award-winning personal essays about infertility, grief, and adoption have been published in Broad!, The Grief Diaries, Under the Gum Tree, and elsewhere. Her first book, Sisterhood of War: Minnesota Women in Vietnam (Minnesota Historical Society Press, 2011), was a finalist for a 2012 Minnesota Book Award. She has a Ph.D. in American Studies from the University of Minnesota and taught U.S. history and women’s history courses for more than ten years at St. Catherine University. Kim owns and operates Spotlight Oral History.


 

Completed Presentations

Recordings of previous speakers can be found below for your enjoyment. Thank you to our speakers for their generosity in sharing their time and expertise with Adoption Network and our community.

  • Let's Talk About It - Having difficult conversations around adoption.
    Monday, December 13, 2021

    Hindsight, they say, is 20/20. After my adoption, I grew up in a loving home. Still, I remember the tense times connected to any discussion of my life pre-adoption and birth family. I wish I could go back and help my parents through those difficult talks with me. Even as an adult post-reunion my adoptive mother and I struggled to communicate around these issues. Turned out it was easier for my mom to share details with my wife than with me directly and I for that matter wasn’t sure how to not sound ungrateful or confrontational.

    In the discussion “Let’s Talk About It”, I share my personal experience and perspective on how we might manage the uncomfortable or tough conversations that come up in all stages of the adoption journey.

    About Mark Cardwell
    Mark Cardwell is the founder and principal consultant for Cardwell Communications LLC, a full-service marketing consultancy as well as the founder of the Ohio Marketing Association (OMA). OMA is a nonprofit association dedicated to professional development and networking opportunities for Ohio marketing practitioners. A distinctive mission of OMA is to strengthen nonprofit impact through marketing education. Mark is a board member of the Ohio Association of Nonprofit Organizations and serves as a member of its council of consultants. He has 20 + years of experience in arts marketing, operational leadership, executive level management, media sales, and communications and is also an artist and holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the Columbus College of Art and Design. After being in five foster homes Mark was adopted at the age of 5. After Ohio records were unsealed in 2013, Mark searched for and was reunited with his birth family after 50 years of separation.

  • Monday, November 15, 2021
    8:00-9:00 pm ET
    Adoption Loss: Healing Grief, Building Attachment

    Building a family through adoption can be a loving solution that addresses the needs of all members of the kinship network. The roots of the adoptive family tree, however, germinate from the complex soil of loss. This is true for birth mothers, adoptees and, often, for adoptive moms too. Acknowledging this parallel loss together can be a useful bridge in building a satisfying and trusting bond in the family. It can also light the path for healthy integration of all members of the kinship network into the narrative. This presentation will explore the multi-faceted role of ambiguous loss and disenfranchised grief in adoption and how healing these unresolved feelings can allow pathways of connection to blossom.

    About Amy Geller, LCSW

    Amy Geller is a clinical social worker and family therapist in private practice in Northern New Jersey. She received her BA Psychology from The George Washington University (1992) and her MSW from the New York University School of Social Work (1994). Amy has extensive experience working with grief & loss in various hospice settings over the course of her career. In her private practice, Amy provides psychotherapy to all members of the Adoption Kinship Network (AKN) through a compassionate model of connection and attachment. An adoptee herself, Amy is currently pursuing a Doctorate in Social Work at The Rutgers University School of Social Work where she aims to amplify the voices and lived experience of people touched by adoption. She has a special interest in the impact of ambiguous loss on adoptive relationships.

  • Monday, November 8, 2021
    8:00-9:00 pm ET
    Sibling Connections in Foster Care and Beyond

    For many people siblings are our longest life connections. However, too often for children touched by foster care and adoption these relationships are devalued, damaged and sometimes lost. Danielle and Jasmine, both with families touched by sibling disruptions, will host this conversation about the rules and statistics around sibling connections in foster care, Jasmine’s experiences, and recent policy efforts to promote sibling connections.

    About Danielle Gadomski Littleton
    Danielle is a senior attorney with the Legal Aid Society of Cleveland. As the attorney onsite with the Medical Legal Partnership at University Hospital’s Rainbow Center for Women and Children, Danielle represents and advises patients to eliminate legal barriers to health in areas such as education, housing, and public benefits. Danielle came to the Legal Aid Society of Cleveland in 2013 as an Equal Justice Works Fellow serving youth in and aging out of foster care on a variety of civil legal issues. Danielle and her husband are the parents of three boys — one adopted at age 18 after growing up in foster care — and have been foster parents. Danielle has served on the board and the public policy committee of Adoption Network Cleveland.

    About Jasmine Hardy
    Jasmine Hardy is a former foster youth with a history of involvement in the OHIO Youth Advisory Board, the Mahoning County youth advisory board and ACTION Ohio. She has shared her insights on statewide panels, and served as a mentor for young people transitioning from foster care to adulthood.

  • Monday, October 4, 2021,
    8:00-9:00 pm ET
    "Who will hear me?"
    Ohio's campaign for a Youth Ombudsman to investigate abuse experienced by children and teens.

    Current and former foster youth have been advocating for years for a Youth Ombudsman to investigate abuse experienced by youth in biological, foster, adoptive, kinship, respite, residential and group home placements.

    This presentation will answer:

    How are current safeguards failing to protect youth?
    Why don't youth feel heard when they share their concerns? (i.e. when filing grievances)
    How can a Youth Ombudsman provide a place for them to be heard?
    What is happening in the legislature to establish an ombudsman?
    How could individuals and organizations support the campaign?

    About the presenters Kim Eckhart and Juliana Barton

    Kim Eckhart is the KIDS COUNT Project Manager for the Children's Defense Fund-Ohio, managing the data and research efforts to measure child well-being at the county and district level. Her policy focus is on child welfare and behavioral health, serving as a partner in the Youth Ombudsman Advocacy Campaign and as the Quality Assurance Manager for the Safe Babies Court Teams initiative. Kim graduated from The Ohio State University with a Master's in Economics and previously worked as an analyst for the Ohio Office of Budget and Management and Columbus State Community College, where she still teaches Economics and supports the Scholar Network, a program for students who have been in foster care.

    Juliana Barton is a former foster youth and child abuse survivor who grew up in Toledo, Ohio. She is an aspiring physician and outspoken advocate, passionate about improving outcomes for children involved with the child welfare system. As the governmental liaison for ACTION Ohio, she has led and served on numerous panels, presentations, and advocacy campaigns. Juliana is also a member of Governor DeWine’s Advisory Council on Children Services Transformation and the Ohio Department of Medicaid OhioRISE Advisory Committee.

  • Mark Hagland, author of Extraordinary Journey: The Lifelong Path of the Transracial Adoptee, will share his perspectives on the ongoing discourse around transracial adoption in the transracial adoption world, from the standpoint of an adult transracial and international adoptee. He wrote Extraordinary Journey in order to help all the stakeholders around transracial adoption to sort through many of the key issues facing transracial adoptees, their parents and families, and everyone else. He continues to share his perspectives online and in person, out of a sense of mission around education, especially around race and racism.

  • Monday, June 14, 2021
    8-9 p.m. ET - with Ann Fessler

    The Legacy of The Girls Who Went Away

    Ann Fessler is the author of The Girls Who Went Away which is based on 100 oral history interviews she conducted with women who lost children to adoption during the 28 years that followed WWII when a perfect storm of circumstances led to an unprecedented number of surrenders. The book was followed six years later by her documentary film A Girl Like Her that combined archival film footage with her audio interviews. Ann will discuss the painful legacy of devastating grief left by these adoption practices used on unwed mothers in post-WWII America, and what has happened since the release of the book and film, which gave a generation of birthmothers a voice.About Ann Fessler
    Ann Fessler is an author, filmmaker, visual artist, and educator. Her book The Girls Who Went Away (Penguin Press, 2006) which places the women's stories within the social history of the time and her own story as an adoptee, was called “a remarkably well researched and accomplished book” by the New York Times, and “a blend of deeply moving personal tales, bolstered by solid sociological analysis—journalism of the first order” by the San Francisco Chronicle. The Girls Who Went Away was chosen as one of the top 5 non-fiction books of 2006 by the National Book Critics Circle and was awarded the Ballard Book Prize, given annually to a female author who advances the dialogue about women’s rights.
    Fessler’s documentary film, A Girl Like Her (2012) combines the voices of the mothers she interviewed with footage from the era, including educational films about dating, sex and “illegitimate” pregnancy, and newsreels about adoption—that both reflected and shaped the public’s understanding of unwed pregnancy and surrender. Fessler’s film has been screened at film festivals, colleges, and conferences around the globe and subtitled in five languages. In 2012, Geneva Anderson writing for Art Hound said, “Fessler’s quietly devastating documentary offers a sociologically rich and important deconstruction of a devastating double standard in effect in those days. By revealing the painful legacy that permanently impacted many mothers, Fessler has finally and respectfully given them a voice.” https://agirllikeher.com/https://www.thegirlswhowentaway.com/

  • Monday, June 7, 2021, 8-9 p.m. ET - with Damon Davis

    Some Of What I’ve Learned So Far

    Damon has interviewed close to 200 adoptees for his podcast Who Am I Really? which he launched in 2017. After so many adoption conversations Damon describes coming to feel that we all, adoptees, adoptive families, and birth parents, need to listen more to one another’s stories in the adoption triad. However, we also need to expand the consideration of others' feelings beyond the triad’s three sides to include the whole ecosystem: foster caregivers, social workers, legislators, and many more. Join us in this conversation.

    About Damon Davis

    Damon is an adoptee who was reunited with his biological mother in 2009 in a heartwarming story of coincidental history, a mutual desire to be reunified, and the pure luck to be able to surprise his biological mother, Ann, for our reunion on her birthday! He is a storyteller at heart, who enjoys hearing and sharing the real stories of our lives that make each of us who we are.

    He created the podcast, "Who Am I Really" to help people placed into adoption or who grew up in foster care to explore their own emotions, desires, and questions about reuniting with their biological family by asking others to share their true stories. Damon also wrote a memoir of the same name, published in 2019.

    Find out more about Damon and his podcast on his website at: http://www.whoamireallypodcast.com/.

    Damon's book, "Who Am I Really, An Adoptee Memoir" can be found on Amazon at: https://www.amazon.com/dp/0997948361/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_HDm0Cb18CA2QB

  • Brianne Kirkpatrick
    DNA Family Search and Reunion Viewed Through a Bioethics Lens

    Intuitively, we each have a sense of what’s right and wrong. That sense is influenced by the family, culture, and time period in which we are raised and live. When deciding to search for an adopted child or biological family, there are points of a decision where we ask, “What’s the right thing to do?” It’s not always clear, and this is where discussions around “ethics” come in.

    In this presentation, Brianne Kirkpatrick - a genetic counselor and family member of an adoptee - will offer a perspective based on personal and professional experience. She’ll approach the tricky family situations that arise during family search and reunion using a lens of bioethics. Brianne’s exploration of case examples and practical advice and resources will benefit all of those in the adoption constellation and the professionals who work with them.

    About Brianne Kirkpatrick, MS, LCGC - Genetic Counselor and Founder of Watershed DNA
    Brianne Kirkpatrick is a licensed and certified genetic counselor, consultant, and author of the books ‘The DNA Guide for Adoptees’ and 'Could the DNA Test Be Wrong?' Through her private practice and online support group, Watershed DNA, Brianne offers support and professional guidance with a focus on adoptees, donor-conceived persons, and people with unexpected family matches.

    Brianne is the founder and owner of Watershed DNA (https://www.watersheddna.com/). She is also the author of The DNA Guide for Adoptees and Could the DNA Test Be Wrong?

  • Illusions of Simplicity - Preparing for Contact and Reunion

    This presentation will celebrate the wonderful advancements DNA testing and access to records have brought to the search process while also recognizing that making contact with family after receiving information quickly can be daunting for all involved. It is important to recognize that these yearned for relationships will have complexities. Thus, long-term outcomes will be greatly affected by the preparation we allow ourselves. Patricia will discuss issues that present themselves regularly and some avenues to manage them.

    About Patricia Martinez Dorner, MA, LPC

    Patricia, a pioneer in open adoption and post-adoption services, has been a relentless proponent of adoption reform. Her adoption-focused practice includes education, support, and training to individuals and professionals. She is a frequent conference speaker and author of many adoption-related books. The adoptive mother of two adult daughters, she lives adoption personally and professionally.

  • Not Recorded - Monday, May 3, 2021, featuring Kate Livingston

    Monday, May 3, 2021 (8-9 pm ET) - Kate Livingston

    'Whiteness’ and Adoption

    What is ‘whiteness’? Why is it important for all those involved in adoption (e.g. adoptees, birth parents, adoptive parents, prospective adoptive parents, professionals) to develop an understanding of ‘whiteness’? How might a better understanding of ‘whiteness’ help you examine your own adoption experience? In this session, Dr. Kate Livingston will provide an introduction to the concept of ‘whiteness’ and look at how the term is used in contemporary discussions of racial justice and in the study of race and adoption. Kate’s discussion will be accessible to people who are new to or familiar with the topic and is relevant to participants of all racial identities. This session may be particularly useful to white people who are interested in learning more about the ways that ‘whiteness’ shapes their experiences, as well as white people who wish to act more intentionally in their relationships, within adoption, and beyond.

    About Kate Livingston

    Kate Livingston earned a Ph.D. in Women’s Gender and Sexuality Studies from The Ohio State University, where her research investigated the political debates on adoptee access to original birth certificates in the State of Ohio. She is an award-winning educator who has taught graduate and undergraduate courses on gender, race, sexuality, media, feminism, and the politics of reproduction at Indiana University-Bloomington, The Ohio State University, and the University of Cincinnati. Currently, Dr. Livingston is an Assistant Director at the University of Michigan’s Center for Research on Learning and Teaching, where she consults with faculty and academic units on equity and justice issues in teaching. As a graduate student, she worked with ANC's Betsie Norris as a member of the core team that developed and successfully lobbied for the passage of Ohio’s adoptee access legislation. Dr. Livingston is also the founder of Ohio Birthparent Group (OBG), a birthparent-led community group active from 2010-2017 that provided peer support groups and public advocacy to Ohio birth parents and their allies. She is a birth parent in an open adoption since 2001.

  • The Trouble with Love – Adoptee Style

    The wound of relinquishment may have a great deal of influence on the romantic attraction that adoptees sometimes experience. “Why do we marry the people we marry?” “How is it that romantic attraction leads us to one person and not to another?” Ron Nydam will dive into the topic and discuss whether the injury of relinquishment becomes the guiding point that informs adoptees concerning the way in which their love lives actually play out. This very unconscious process is key to a deeper understanding of why we love the way we love and shines a light on why many adoptees make unconscious choices “falling in love” that reflect an unfinished personal struggle with the impacts of relinquishment. It is precisely what we do not know about ourselves that gets us in the most trouble.

  • Monday, March 29, 2021 (8-9 pm ET)  - Adrian McLemore

    When Personal Becomes Professional

    Adrian McLemore has an intimate and deep understanding of the foster care system. At just six years old, Adrian found himself in a foster home. For the next 12 years, he lived in three states, bouncing between his parents and the system, eventually aging out of foster care. Then at 21, he responded to a call to become a kinship caregiver for his niece and nephew, who were both toddlers at the time. From these experiences, Adrian has become a champion for ensuring young people are part of the foster care conversation. He has taken what is inherently personal for him and made it his life's work. In this Monday Evening presentation, Adrian will share with us his personal journey, how it has led to his current work and how to balance lived experience with professional responsibilities. 

    About Adrian McLemore 
    Adrian has spent over a decade providing professional, progressive, & personal expertise across a broad range of child welfare systems and various institutions. He is an energetic and policy savvy strategic consultant & program officer with the Annie E. Casey Foundation, managing a portfolio of resources that focus on mentoring boys and young men of color and summer youth enrichment programs deployed across Baltimore City. Adrian also partners with child welfare directors, state legislatures, and community stakeholders to improve older youth's permanency outcomes, stimulate family & youth engagement, and implement effective policy strategies that lead to positive system reform and change. Adrian possesses a strong analytical acumen and displays a proven ability to navigate complex political landscapes and advise clients on advancing positive child welfare policy and ensuring long-term sustainability successfully. He has been instrumental in passing child welfare legislation, establishing local and statewide youth advisory boards, creating college readiness programming, successfully advocating for Medicaid expansion & IL services and other local, state, and nationwide initiatives. Adrian holds a BA in political science from Wright State University and is a graduate student at the University of Baltimore.  

    Find out more about Adrian:  https://adrianmclemore.com

  • A Conversation with Eve Wiley
    Fertility Fraud, The Fertility Industry, and Genetic Identity

    Modern-day Erin Brockovich, Eve Wiley, shares her personal story and her journey of purpose lobbying for fertility fraud bills across the U.S. Her presentation will discuss how the current legal landscape of the fertility industry marginalizes genetic identity. She will also discuss the progress that has already been made advocating for genetic identity, and how those without genetic identity and protections against fraud still remain marginalized.

    About Eve Wiley
    Originally from a small rural town in East, Texas, Eve Wiley uncovered a life-changing family secret about her genetic identity – unknowingly exposing a hidden, dark side of the grossly unregulated fertility industry. Becoming a modern-day Erin Brockovich, she found a purpose for her pain by lobbying for fertility fraud bills across the US. and being an advocate on the importance of genetic identity.  Eve is a Licensed Professional Counselor and lives in Dallas, Texas with her husband and three small children. 

    ABC News Coverage

    May 2019: https://abcnews.go.com/US/texas-woman-seeks-change-law-dna-test-reveals/story?id=62809127https://my.firespring.com/website/6952/site-structure/page/3788286/#

    June 2019:  https://abcnews.go.com/US/texas-passes-law-woman-discovers-moms-fertility-doctor/story?id=63516936

  • Kevin Gladish
    Healing through Storytelling: A Late Discovery Adoptee's Narrative

    Kevin will share his personal story as a late discovery adoptee, and how he used creative outlets to promote his own healing.

    About Kevin Gladish
    Kevin is thrilled to be part of the Monday Speaker Series. Kevin has performed as a live storyteller in Chicago at several venues over the years, including on the Steppenwolf stage and in The Moth, where he participated in The Grand Slam. He's written for a number of adoption-related platforms, most recently for Portrait of an Adoption, and was featured on the Bloods Call Podcast. Shortly after Kevin discovered his adoption by asking for his newly-released Ohio birth certificate in 2015, he began writing a blog called A Story With No Beginning which documented his discovery, his search for birth family, and his struggle with his new identity as it all happened. The blog was recently adapted into a solo performance piece which Kevin debuted at the Virtual Filet of Solo with Lifeline Theater in Chicago this year. The show is called A Secret in Plain Sight and just finished its debut run in February.

  • A Conversation with Gabrielle Glaser, author of American Baby.

    New York Times best-selling author Gabrielle Glaser will discuss her new book "American Baby: A Mother, A Child, and the Shadow History of Adoption" which will be released on January 26, 2021.

    In 1961, 16-year-old Margaret Erle became pregnant by her boyfriend, and her parents sent her to a maternity home. After she gave birth to a son, social workers threatened her into signing away her parental rights. For decades, Margaret tried desperately to find her son, but was blocked by the adoption agency that had handled his adoption. Investigative journalist Gabrielle Glaser follows Erle's journey in a wrenching narrative that centers on the secretive, exploitative adoption business in postwar America. In American Baby, she highlights how the adoption industry's practices led to countless forced separations, which she lays out in intense and chilling detail.

    Adoption Network Cleveland is pleased to offer this spectacular opportunity to discuss with the author a book in the spotlight of the nation. "American Baby" is currently listed as one of Time Magazine's "Top 10 New Books to Read in January " 

    Our Bookstore Partner for this event is Mac's Backs Books which can be found online and locally in the Coventry neighborhood. Mac's Backs Books has been a Cleveland staple since its opening in 1978. The book store is able to meet all of your reading needs and is currently offering in-store and curbside pick-up, as well as shipping to any location in the US. We encourage you to support local bookstores, and purchase your copy of American Baby through Mac's Backs, available to the public after January 26!

  • NO Recording: February 2, 2021 featuring our DNA Discovery Panel

    DNA Discovery Panel: Dealing with the Emotional Impact of DNA Testing

    (Please note that this session was not recorded)

    DNA testing has become widely popular through Ancestry, 23 and Me, FTDNA, and My Heritage.  As a result, many people have found new relatives, which has had a huge impact on their lives. Issues related to assisted reproduction, misattributed parentage, and late discovery adoption have arisen. Our new DNA Discoveries Peer Support Group will kick off on Tuesday, Feb. 2 from 8:00 pm – 10:00 pm EST with a panel facilitated by Traci Onders, Adoption Network Cleveland’s Search Specialist, featuring adoptees who found birth family, a person who discovered they have misattributed parentage, and another who discovered they were donor-conceived. We will be focusing on the emotional impacts of this journey.

    This event is being co-sponsored by Adoption Knowledge Affiliates at www.adoptionknowledge.org.

    Starting in March, a special Adoption Network Cleveland General Discussion Meeting will begin, with a focus on individuals who have experienced DNA surprises or discoveries. This group will meet on the first Tuesday of every month from 8-10 pm Eastern Time, starting on Tuesday, March 2, 2021.

    Adoption Knowledge Affiliates also has a DNA Discoveries Peer Support Group, which meets the second Thursday of each month at 7 pm Central Time via Zoom.  Find out more on their website at www.adoptionknowledge.org.

  • The Link Between Adoption Trauma and Generational Trauma - Why We All Need to Come Out of the Fog

    As the country becomes more trauma-informed, the timing is perfect to build awareness about adoption trauma. It’s of paramount importance that we no longer exclude the relinquishment that allows the adoption to occur. We must also examine how we are all affected by generational trauma and how it persists. Moses Farrow shares his perspective in this special Speaker series event about his personal and professional experiences with adoption trauma and how he links it with generational trauma.

    About Moses Farrow, LMFT
    Moses is an Adoption Trauma Therapist with over 20 years in the mental health field. He is on a mission to save adoptee lives, sharing his personal experiences as a survivor of abuse, suicide, and suicide loss. He has also become an outspoken advocate for mental health, suicide prevention and adoption reform. Most recently, he has produced videos and gave his first newspaper interview about his family and work. He has also begun the #truthislouder movement which encourages adoptees to speak their truths and inviting everyone to help save adoptee lives.

  • Monday, January 4, 2021 (8-9 pm ET) - Zara Phillips
    Adoptees as Mothers

    Born and raised in London, Zara is an adoptee, author, performer, singer/songwriter and activist. Her acclaimed works include, "Mother Me (2009)," Somebody's Daughter (2018)," and the song, "I'm Legit," cowritten and performed with Darryl McDaniels (DMC of Run-DMC). She has also written a 30 minute documentary, "Roots Unknown - an Adoption Film" which is the Winner of the Garden State Film Festival 's Best Short Home Grown Documentary, and the one-woman show, "Beneath My Father's Sky," winner of the United Solo Festival's Best Direction award. Zara explores the complexities of relationships, and explores the theme of connection and healing through her music, writing and through facilitating workshops. She has presented across the UK and States on adoption topics.

    "I'm Legit" by Zara Phillips -https://youtu.be/3TuPIC-1Rmo
    Roots Unknown - An Adoption Film - https://youtu.be/-2CBashETD0
    Beneath My Father's Sky - http://www.zaraphillips.net/performing/beneath-my-fathers-sky/

  • Practical Techniques for Self-Care

    Jessica Fisher, LSW, CDCA, is a Treatment Coordinator with the National Youth Advocacy Program. She coordinates treatment and provides therapeutic behavior services for foster care youth. Jessica specializes in mental health and trauma. She graduated from Cleveland State University with a B.A. in social work, and is working towards her Masters of Social Work at the University of Denver Advanced Standing Social Work Program. Jessica is an adoptee, and as part of her graduate studies, she is an intern with the Adoption Network, assisting with child care, youth, and adult programming. Jessica has obtained her Social Work License and Chemical Dependency Counselors Assistant License and is currently working on her Certified Clinical Trauma Professional License. Jessica served as a Chemical Dependency Counselor at the Centers for Families and Children, facilitating intensive outpatient and non-intensive outpatient group therapy, providing individual counseling, and helping train staff on treatment curriculum. She has volunteered at the Diversity Center of Northeast Ohio, Jewish Family Services Association, and as a dialectical behavioral therapy assistant in private practice, working with adolescents. When Jessica was a student at Cleveland State University, she was a peer educator with H.Y.P.E (Helping You Through Peer Education), an on-campus certified peer education group that helps develop leadership, communication, intervention, and referral skills to facilitate healthy decision- making and role-modeling. She was involved in programs that include alcohol, tobacco and drug education, general wellness, sexual violence prevention, sexual health, and suicide prevention education. Jessica is a Certified Reiki Two Practitioner. Jessica enjoys educating individuals on mindfulness techniques to help alleviate stress and anxiety.

  • NOT Recorded: May 25, 2020

    Screening of "From a Place of Love" and Q&A with filmmaker David Bynum

    David Bynum was born and adopted at birth in Columbus, Oh. He began his search two years ago and is currently in reunion with both sides of his biological family. He is a married father of three and grandfather of six. He is a U.S. Army Veteran and Retired Correctional Officer and a High School Football Coach at Reynoldsburg High School. David and his wife Marie own ByDam Multimedia, which is the parent company to Star107fm.com an online radio station that has a global presence. His company recently produced his latest release, “From A Place Of Love” – My Adoption Journey. David enjoys traveling, boating, fishing, and spending time with family.

  • Welcome to the House of Mirrors: The Importance of Preparing for Reunion

    Leslie Pate Mackinnon is a therapist who presents nationally and internationally on issues that impact families conceived through adoption and third-party reproduction. She was led to the field after placing her two firstborn sons for adoption and led to specialty following reunion. Today her passion is educating therapists to this verifiably complex field. She’s served on the board of Catholic Social Services, CUB & Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute. She’s been on GOOD MORNING AMERICA w/ Robin Roberts, and on CNN discussing the impact of the internet on adoption. She was featured in DAN RATHER’s investigative report; ADOPTION OR ABDUCTION and was on the Katie Couric show along with her oldest son Pete. Leslie’s story is included in the book; The Girls Who Went Away, and the documentary A GIRL LIKE HER For more information please visit www.lesliepatemackinnon.com.

  • Exploring Racism and How to Prevent It

    Moses Farrow has led a private life as a Marriage and Family Therapist. However, in recent years, he has become more outspoken about his childhood and advocating for mental health, child abuse prevention, and adoption reform. As a transracial adoptee from Korea, being raised in a family of 14, ten of whom were adopted from countries across the world, Moses draws from his unique perspective to empower adoptees to speak their truth. He believes that we won’t fully understand the impacts of adoption unless we all raise our voices. Along his journey, he has contributed in numerous ways to the mental health field and the field of adoption and had written a personal blog in 2018 that has garnered global attention. Most recently, he co-founded a national movement, IAMNOTAVIRUS.INFO, to elevate the visibility of the Asian American community and inspire kindness and compassion and is now advocating for the prevention of anti-Asian violence and solidarity among all Americans.

  • Beyond ACEs: Understanding Trauma, the Brain, and Building Resilience

    Dr. Jennifer King is an Assistant Professor at the Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences at Case Western Reserve University and the Assistant Director of the Center on Trauma and Adversity at CWRU. A clinical social worker, she has a multitude of clinical practice experience working directly with traumatized individuals, families, and communities with the goal of addressing the impact of trauma across systems in order to help the traumatized move from surviving to thriving. A highly sought after speaker and trainer, Dr. King provides leadership over the trauma-informed curriculum at the Mandel School—developing training opportunities and advanced curriculum in the area of trauma-informed practice for Master’s level social work students as well as community practitioners to become better equipped to promote healing and resilience in individuals and communities.

  • The Ups and Downs of Your Adoption Story: You Should Write A Book 

    Kate St. Vincent Vogl is the author of "Lost & Found: A Memoir of Mothers." National ABC news has featured her story, and The Akron Beacon Journal named it among the best of the year. Her essays appear in Bellingham Review and best-selling anthologies such as "Listen to Your Mother" and "Why We Ride." Vogl has received a Minnesota State Arts Board grant and a residency at the Anderson Center, and her latest work is forthcoming in "Prairie Schooner." Vogl graduated from Cornell University cum laude, from the University of Michigan Law School, and from the Creative Writing Program at Hamline. An adoptee twenty-five years in reunion, she has presented at national writing conferences and international adoption forums. She teaches fiction and memoir writing at The Loft, the country’s largest creative writing center.

  • Dealing with Stress and Anxiety

    Lesli Johnson is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist in Los Angeles, specializing in adoption and related issues. Her clients include all members of the adoption and foster care community: adoptees, adoptive parents, waiting parents, birth/first parents, foster parents and families. An adoptee herself, Lesli’s personal experience allows her to connect with this community in a unique way. Lesli is a certified EMDR therapist and trained in Brainspotting and the Trauma Resiliency Model. In addition to her work in private practice, Lesli provides coaching services both in-office and virtually to adoptees, adoptive parents and birthparents worldwide. She facilitates on-going adoption support groups and conducts adoption awareness and educational workshops in schools, universities and mental health settings to help professionals better understand issues related to adoption. Lesli also consults on film, television and creative projects that have adoption-related themes.  Learn more or connect with Lesli at www.askadoption.com .

  • Exploring Family Culture

    As a transracially adopted person, April Dinwoodie was raised in a predominately white environment and lives a life where it is imperative that she gracefully and safely move through circumstances and situations related to differences of race, class, and culture. While her New England upbringing taught her about labor, and her white family taught her about love, she had to teach herself about life as a woman of color. Through the very poignant and often misunderstood experiences of adoption, she has woven elements of the journey thus far into her work as a writer, podcaster, speaker/trainer, coach, and consultant. April is fiercely dedicated to developing a healthy identity, building stronger relationships, and elevating our collective ability to navigate differences of race, class, and culture. Please see the bottom of the page for resources from April.

  • We’ve Been Robbed! How Does Loss, Grief, and Instability Impact the Adoption Constellation?

    Sharon Kaplan Roszia, M.S., is an internationally known trainer and author who helped pave the way for open adoption practice believing in keeping connections over time. She has been devoted to her work in adoption and foster care since 1963 and is also a parent by birth, adoption, and foster care. She has co-authored two books on open adoption, The Open Adoption Experience, and Cooperative Adoption. She is the recipient of an ‘Angel in Adoption’ award from the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute; ‘Humanitarian Award’ from the American Adoption Congress and awards from The North American Council on Adoptable Children, ATTACh, and the Annette Baran and Rubin Pannor Award for Outstanding Work in Adoption. Sharon’s most recent book is The Seven Core Issues in Adoption and Permanency, co-authored with Allison Maxon and released in 2019.