The University of Massachusetts Amherst
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Marla Allisan

Marla Allisan
Marla Ruth Allisan JD, LICSW is the founder/director of Full Circle Adoptions of Brookline and Northampton, MA. Marla, who is both an attorney and clinical social worker, has helped with drafting and implementation of post-placement communication agreements for private and public adoptions. A graduate of Mount Holyoke College, she earned her law degree at Northeastern University Law School and social work degree from Smith College School for Social Work. Marla is a regularly published writer of articles related to adoption and she is the current president of the Adoption Professionals Association of Massachusetts.

Erica Asselin

Erica Asselin
Erica Asselin is an Outreach Counselor and Medication Assisted Treatment Advocate with Behavioral Health Network Inc and Square One's Fresh Start Program. She is also a Recovery Coach, a facilitator of the Nurturing Program for Families in Substance Abuse Treatment and Recovery, a leader/facilitator of Celebrate Recovery, and a MotherWoman facilitator. Erica has made many public speaking appearances, including /Massachusetts Health Policy Forum on Substance Exposed Newborns/ and /The Road to Recovery National Television Series/. She is a co-creator of "Building the Bond: Substance Exposed Newborns, Their Parents and the Professionals Who Care for Them" and numerous other workshops pertaining to Recovery and Adoption.

Susan Ayers-Lopez

Susan Ayers-Lopez

Susan Ayers-Lopez received a B.S. in Education and a M.Ed. in Educational Psychology from The University of Texas at Austin (UT Austin). She has been a project manager at UT Austin for over 30 years and has managed many different research and evaluation projects, primarily focused on the areas of adoption and foster care.  Other topics of study have included family dynamics, teen pregnancy, peer interactions and peer tutoring, child and elder abuse prevention, and client satisfaction with social services.Included in the projects she has managed are: The Minnesota-Texas Adoption Research project with Ruth McRoy and Harold Grotevant (birth mother site location), 1984-present; two projects conducted for the Texas Department of Family and Protective Services—Study of Adoption Dissolutions in Texas, 1993, and the Texas IV-E Waiver Demonstration Evaluation Project, 2000-2006;and the AdoptUSKids Barriers and Success Factors Study 2002-2007, and the AdoptUSKids Program Evaluation 2007-present. She has co-authored15 articles and 6 book chapters and has been a co-presenter at numerous professional conferences both domestically and abroad. Susan currently holds the title of Senior Research Program Coordinator for Adoption Studies with Dr. Ruth McRoy, P.I. 

Amanda Baden

Amanda Baden
Dr. Baden’s experiences both personally and professionally have led her to focus her research and clinical practice on adoption triad members, transracial/international adoption issues, racial and cultural identity, and multicultural counseling competence. Dr. Baden co- created a model of identity for transracial and international adoptees called the Cultural-Racial Identity Model. She is one of the editors of The Handbook of Adoption: Implications for Researchers, Practitioners, and Families (Sage Publications), and she is on the editorial board for Adoption Quarterly. She also co-chairs the Biennial Adoption Initiative Conferences in New York City held at St. John’s University. She is a regular columnist for Families with Children from China Journals across the US and for Mei Magazine, a publication for Chinese adopted children. Dr. Baden was named an Angel in Adoption by the Congressional Coalition on Adoption and was recently invited to be a Senior Research Fellow of the Donaldson Adoption Institute. Dr. Baden’s clinical specializations include counseling adoption triad members and transracial adoptees. She is a licensed psychologist with a clinical practice in Manhattan.

Mary Beek

Mary Beek
Mary Beek is a Senior Research Associate in the School of Social Work at the University of East Anglia, Norwich England. Mary’s undergraduate degree was in Applied Social Studies and this led her to a social work qualification and a career in social work, mainly in the fields of foster care and adoption practice and management.  In 1998, she completed an MA in social work.  This awakened her interest in research and allowed her to combine her social work career with a series of research roles at the University of East Anglia.  All of Mary’s  research projects have been connected with foster care or adoption and she has been involved in two longitudinal studies – one of children growing up in foster care and currently, the third follow up of adopted young people, adoptive parents and birth relatives in the ‘Contact after Adoption’ study.  Mary has also recently worked as professional advisor to the UK government department responsible for adoption, with responsibility for the dissemination of a series of government funded adoption research studies. Mary is deeply interested in adoption practice and outcomes and especially in the processes within adoptive families that can support children to build security and resilience.

Erin Bigelow

Erin Bigelow
Erin Bigelow is from the suburban town of Burlington, New Jersey and has been pursuing her career of Director of Production since the age of 18. Her parents, Beth and Phil, are celebrating their 30th anniversary this year. Erin attended Northern Arizona University where she began her career at NBC and then followed her dreams to Boston where she worked as a Director at The Comcast Network. She had her son, Jack, at 24 years old. The decision to choose an open adoption plan was a clear option for Erin. After months of searching, she finally found the perfect family for her son. Having Jack changed her life for the better. After surviving the entire adoption process, Erin went on to lose 120lbs and got a job as a Director at ABC Digital. She also started her own production company which was a life-long dream. Erin is profoundly grateful for her many experiences and challenges so far. She's never had a regret about the choice she made for Jack.

 

 Judy Cockerton

Judy Cockerton
Judy Cockerton is the Founder and CEO of the Treehouse Foundation, a non-profit organization based in Easthampton, MA, that aims to restore and strengthen the health and well-being of children and youth placed in foster care. The mission of the Treehouse Foundation is “to inspire, implement, and support innovative practices which ensure that children and youth experiencing foster care find their places in loving, connected family relationships and supportive communities that help them lead fulfilling, productive lives.” She is a nationally recognized social entrepreneur and recipient of the 2010 Congressional Angel in Adoption Award, the 2012 Margaret A. McKenna Community Service Award, and the 2012 Purpose Prize. Her vision is to inspire a Re-Envisioning of Foster Care in America. Under her leadership, the Treehouse Foundation established the Treehouse Community, a multigenerational planned neighborhood where families who have adopted children from foster care, the children, and elders live in an intentional community in which they invest in each others’ lives and support one another. Judy is the the Founder of Sibling Connections - a non-profit organization that provides year-round programming to sisters and brothers who have been separated when placed in foster care through two signature programs:  Camp To Belong MA and Sibling Sundays.

 

Kathleen Cooley
Kat Cooley has been navigating open adoption since she relinquished her son in 2001. She is involved in the online adoption community and is now a social worker in the field of adoption.

Jane Cravens

Janie Cravens, LMSW-ACP Director of Training and Education
Janie Cravens has an MSW (Advanced Clinical Practitioner Status), is a  Licensed Child Placing Administrator,  and owns Adoption Development Resources in Austin, TX. She has worked in the field of child welfare, adoption, birth parent concerns, and attachment for over 33 years.  Janie was one of the pioneers of open adoption practices in this country and continues to advocate for compassionate, ethical services for all triad members.  She serves as an expert witness in disputed cases, a clinical consultant to agencies both in the US and abroad, and teaches seminars on best practices.  Janie has been a vocal advocate for growth and understanding among triad members throughout her professional career. 

Sarah D'Amato

Sarah D'Amato
Sarah was adopted at the age of 13 after many years in therapeutic foster care. She is now 18 years old and looking forward to life after high school. She has had many different experiences with her birth family since being adopted, some were positive and some were not. She is excited to talk about what could have been done differently to support her while navigating communication between her two families.

 

Elizabeth Drake
I am the spouse of a birthfather who is now in reunion with his son. The search for him began 4 years ago and I , ever the reference librarian, was able to help in using print and electronic sources.  Since finding and meeting him, I have become good friends with his adoptive mother (his mom), Phyllis, and his family.  Phyllis and I have discovered that we have a lot in common in raising “our boys”.  I am a retired director of several public libraries with many years of experience in all aspects of public and academic library operations. Co-Founder of the Women’s Center in Brevard County which provided information and referral services to women and men and their children, provided assistance to laid off employees of NASA,  recommended job search training or referral to outside agencies. Also taught in areas such as Women’s Studies, English as a Second Language, Assertiveness Training and Job Search.

 

Marvin Drake
I am a birthfather from 54 years ago and am now in reunion with my birthson, David, for 3 ½ years. The birthmother, myself and my wife began a search four years ago and, with the support of ACONE, found and met David within a few months.  My wife, Elizabeth, and I are also in reunion with David’s adoptive family.  David’s adoptive mother, Phyllis, has spent vacations with our family the past three summers.  We have visited David at his home for long weekends and visit Phyllis frequently at her home.  David and I talk often on the phone about everything, particularly about music since we are both avid musicians.  I am a retired engineer who in my professional career has been a scientist, university professor and consultant.  I have taught and lectured at several universities in Massachusetts and have given seminars and short courses for professional societies and educational organizations in the USA and Europe. Both my wife and I continue on the path of developing a strong and lasting relationship with David, Phyllis and their family as we seek to become an extended family.

Leo Farley

Leo Farley
Leo Farley has worked for the Department of Children and Families (formerly DSS) since 1980, first as a CHINS worker in the Lowell Court and then as an investigator for many years. He was an adoption worker before joining the Foster Care Review Unit in 1996. He has interacted with literally thousands of families served by DCF.

Mr. Farley moved to the Central Office in 1999, shortly after receiving his MSW from Salem State College. He has served briefly as the Subsidy Manager and then as the Director of Adoption Support Services. Working closely with Assistant Commissioner  Mary Gambon and the Director of Adolescent Services, he has been a leader in moving the Department toward Permanency for every child, with a focus on older youth.

Mr. Farley coordinated the Breakthrough Series Collaborative on Youth Permanence that DCF sponsored from 2005 to 2008. This department wide effort involved staff from across the state experimenting with changes in local practice that would expedite permanent connections for older youth. This resulted in a renewed commitment to youth permanency by the entire Department. There are currently 1,674 youth over the age of 18 who have chosen to remain in the care of the Department.

Mr. Farley has designed and presented a number of trainings for DCF staff on the adoption process and adoption related issues. He has been a presenter and has done workshops at several conferences sponsored by the Casey Foundation and the Administration for Children and Families. 

  Rachel Farr

Rachel Farr
Rachel Farr, PhD, is a Research Assistant Professor at UMass Amherst. She received her Ph.D. in Developmental and Community Psychology from the University of Virginia in January 2011. Rachel came to UMass as the Rudd Postdoctoral Research Scholar in February 2011, and has been doing research related to openness in adoption, particularly about how primary tasks of adulthood (e.g., entering long-term romantic partnerships, marriage, establishing a career, having children) are influenced by adoptive and birth family dynamics. In graduate school, Rachel completed a large study about how parental sexual orientation impacts child outcomes, parenting, and family dynamics in adoptive families with young children from across the United States. The results have been informative to policy, practice, and law surrounding ongoing controversy about lesbian and gay parent adoption. The study has received national attention from the New York Times, The Huffington Post, and The Washington Post, as well as in the NBC TV Show, “Outlaw.” With support from the American Psychological Foundation’s Placek Grant, Rachel is now beginning a follow up study with these families.

  Janice Goldwater

Janice Goldwater
Janice Goldwater, LCSW-C is the Founder and Executive Director of Adoptions Together, a Maryland, DC and Virginia licensed child placement agency that creates safety and permanency for children.  A master's level social worker by training, she founded the agency in 1990, in response to serious gaps in the child welfare system.  The agency embraces and strengthens families through educational programs and mental health services.  Since 1990 more than 4000 children have been settled in permanent, stable families and thousands more birth, kinship and adoptive families have benefited by the therapeutic and support services offered by the agency.  Janice was honored with an Angel in Adoption award in 2002 and an Adoption Excellence Award from HHS in 2010.  Janice speaks often on issues relating to attachment, trauma and family stability.  She is a mother by birth and adoption to four children who range in age from 21 to 30

 Harold Grotevant

Harold Grotevant
Harold D. Grotevant, Ph.D., holds the Rudd Family Foundation Chair in Psychology at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. The work of this position connects adoption research with policy and practice through conferences, workshops, graduate and postdoctoral training, and stimulation of research activities. Dr. Grotevant’s research focuses on relationships in adoptive families, and on identity development in adolescents and young adults. His work has resulted in over 100 articles published in professional journals as well as several books, including Openness in Adoption: Exploring Family Connections (with Ruth McRoy, Sage Publications, 1998). He is a Fellow of the American Psychological Association, the Association for Psychological Science, and the National Council on Family Relations; Senior Research Fellow of the Donaldson Adoption Institute; former Board President of Adoptive Families of America; member of the Board of Directors of the North American Council on Adoptable Children; and recipient of research, teaching, and educational leadership awards from the University of Minnesota. In 2009, he received the Outstanding Service and Outreach Award from the College of Natural Sciences, UMass Amherst. In 2012, he was honored as the Outstanding Scholar in Adoption by the Adoption Initiative of St. John’s University and Montclair State University. He directs the Minnesota / Texas Adoption Research Project, which examines outcomes for adopted children whose families vary in terms of contact with their birth relatives. This longitudinal study, begun with Dr. Ruth McRoy in the mid- 1980s, has followed the children into young adulthood.

Rebecca Hawkes

Rebecca Hawkes
Rebecca Hawkes is the author of a popular adoption blog and a two-time recipient of the Best of Open Adoption Blogs awards. Additionally, she is a regular contributor at Adoption Voices Magazine and Lost Daughters, a website co-authored by a team of female adult adoptees. Together with Erica, she has co-led various workshops on open adoption and has appeared on the radio show All Things Adoption with Karla Marie Williams. She has been a frequent panelist at local MAPP foster parent training classes and is a certified Parent Effectiveness Training and Beyond Consequences Institute instructor.

Susan Henney

Susan Henney
Susan M. Henney, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of Houston-Downtown.  She received a BA with Honors with a double major in Psychology and Government from The University of Texas and a MA in Clinical and Counseling Psychology from Southern Methodist University.  She returned to The University of Texas at Austin for her Ph.D. in Child Development and Family Relationships and a post-doctoral fellowship at the UT School of Social Work.  Dr. Henney has been a Policy Intern at the Child Welfare League of America in Washington, D.C., a caseworker for Child Protective Services, and a trainer for the Texas Protective Services Training Institute.  Dr. Henney’s research focuses on adoption, with particular concentration on the experiences of birthmothers, and on parenting, with particular emphasis on public parenting behaviors.  Dr. Henney is the 2012 winner of the UH-Downtown Excellence in Teaching award.

Christopher Langelier
 

Christopher Langelier
Christopher Langelier is the HEROES Leadership Project Coordinator. HEROES is a program of the Re-Envisioning Foster Care in America Initiative, sponsored by the Treehouse Foundation. Chris received his Masters in Counseling from Lesley University and has worked as a Child and Family Support Coordinator for Berkshire Children and Families at the Treehouse Community. Chris began his career as a paramedic where he gained valuable experience working with youth and families in crisis. In addition, he is an Outdoor Educator/Wilderness Instructor who uses his mental health/paramedic/outdoor education expertise to serve children and youth whose lives have been impacted by foster care and adoption.

Jessica Matthews

Jessica Matthews
Jessica is a third year doctoral student in the Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Development at Tufts University, working under the supervision of Professor Ellen E. Pinderhughes. While attending the University of California, Berkeley, Jessica majored in psychology and political science where she became interested in adoption. Jessica has been studying adoption, international adoption in particular, for the past eight years. Now at Tufts University, Jessica is pursuing her PhD in Applied Child Development focusing on early emotion regulation, identity formation and the ethnic-racial socialization of international adoptees. She is currently working on a study, in conjunction of the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute on the experiences of adoptive parents of international adoptees and international adoption professionals. 

Ruth McRoy

Ruth G. McRoy
In September 2009, Ruth G. McRoy became the first holder of the Donahue and DiFelice Endowed Professorship at Boston College Graduate School of Social Work.  From 2005-2009, she served as a Visiting Research Professor and Consultant at Boston College. Prior to joining the Boston College faculty, McRoy was a faculty member at the University of Texas at Austin School of Social Work for 25 years.  While at UT, she served for 12 years as the Director of the Center for Social Work Research, Director of the Diversity Institute and in 2002, became the Associate Dean for Research. A practitioner, academician, researcher, trainer and lecturer in the field for over 30 years, her work has focused on such topics as open adoptions, kinship care, adoptive family recruitment, minority recruitment, racial identity development, transracial adoptions, and post-adoption services. She has served as PI or Co-PI on numerous federal, foundation, state and local research and evaluation projects over the years.   McRoy and her research and evaluation team at the University of Texas at Austin serve as   evaluators (2005-2012 and 2012-2017) of the federally funded AdoptUSKids project, which is operated through a cooperative agreement with the U.S. Children’s Bureau. She is a Senior Research Fellow and a member of the Donaldson Adoption Institute Board and a member of the Rudd Adoption Research Program Advisory Board at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst. McRoy has published numerous articles, book chapters  and ten books, including  Openness in Adoption: Family Connections (with H. Grotevant). Her recent honors include the following:   the 2006 Distinguished Achievement Award from the Society for Social Work and Research and the St. John’s 2010 Outstanding Scholar in Adoption Award.  

Jenae Neiderhiser

Jenae Neiderhiser
Jenae Neiderhiser received her Ph.D. in Human Development and Family Studies from The Pennsylvania State University in 1994. She was at the Center for Family Research at The George Washington University from 1994-2007 before returning to The Pennsylvania State University as a member of the Department of Psychology. Dr. Neiderhiser is interested in understanding the interplay between genes and environment throughout the lifespan. The environmental influences that she has examined most closely are interpersonal relationships – including parent-child, spouse, sibling and peer relationships.

 Elsbeth Neil

Elsbeth Neil
Dr Elsbeth Neil is a Senior Lecturer in Social Work and Director of Research in the School of Social Work at the University of East Anglia, Norwich, England. Her first degree was in psychology and she has an MA and Ph.D. in Social Work and is a registered social worker. She has been undertaking research in the field of adoption for 16 years. She is directing the “Contact after adoption” longitudinal study, following young children placed for adoption and studying the impact of birth family contact on these children and their birth and adoptive parents. She has also recently completed two studies funded by the British government: the ‘Helping Birth Families’ study has examined support services for birth relatives of children adopted from care, and the ‘Supporting Contact’ study has looked at how adoption agencies support face-to-face contact arrangements between adopted children and their birth relatives. She has a number of publications related to her research and has edited two collections of adoption research (E. Neil and D. Howe, 2004,  Contact in Adoption and Permanent Foster Care  published by the British Association for the Adoption and Fostering; and G. Wrobel and E. Neil, International Advances in Adoption Research, published by Wiley in 2009). 

Susan Ogden

Susan Ogden
Susan Ogden has directed the Domestic Infant Program at Adoptions Together, a licensed child placement agency, for 12 years. Ogden has written numerous articles and education guides to adoption in her role as program director and as an adoptive parent in a twenty year old  open adoption. Ogden's staff of licensed social workers have been mediating adoptive birth family relationships as the agency's clients reach their teen years. Ogden has a Master's in Teaching from Trinity College.

  Genevieve Page

Geneviève Pagé
Geneviève Pagé is a professor in social work at the Université du Québec en Outaouais, in Gatineau (Québec), Canada since 2011. She very recently defended her Ph.D. thesis, which consisted of an analysis of  how foster-to-adopt parents in Québec develop the sense of being the parent of the child they foster, in a context where they have no blood tie with the child and where they are not the legal parent either. Her research focuses on different aspects of adoption from care, from all point of views (adoptive parents, birth parents, children, social workers).

Justin Pasquariello

Justin Pasquariello
Justin Pasquariello is Executive Director of Children's HealthWatch, a national research and policy organization that identifies-and informs leaders about-policies that help low-income children to be healthy and developmentally on track.  Justin also serves as Board Chair of Adoption & Foster Care Mentoring (AFC), a Boston-based organization that empowers foster youth to flourish through committed mentoring relationships and the development of life skills.

He was AFC's founding Executive Director, and for his work there, he received an Echoing Green Fellowship, the A. Keith Brodkin Award, the Boston Celtics Heroes Among Us Award, and the Bank of America Local Hero Award.

Justin has been a nonprofit Consultant with the Bridgespan Group, a consultant to the Fish Family Foundation, and a Rappaport Fellow in Legislative Affairs at the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families.  He received his BA from Harvard College, and his MBA and MPA degrees from a concurrent program at Harvard Business School and the Harvard Kennedy School, where he was a Reynolds, George and Goldsmith Fellow.

Justin is an adoptee in an open adoption and a former foster child.  He is proud to live in East Boston with his wonderful wife Vanessa and their cat.

Virginia A Peel

Virginia A. Peel
Virginia A. Peel is the general counsel for the Department of Children and Families (DCF). Ms. Peel graduated in 1982, from Northeastern Law School, Boston, MA. She began her career at the Department in 1983 as a staff attorney in the Southeast legal office. Since that time she has been the Deputy Regional Counsel managing the southeast legal office, the Chief Counsel supervising the legal staff of the general counsel's office, Deputy General Counsel, and in June 1999 appointed as General Counsel. During her time in the General Counsel’s office she has been responsible for overseeing the appellate litigation for DCF.   In that capacity she has argued numerous cases before the Appeals Court and the Supreme Judicial Court.  As General Counsel Ms. Peel is responsible for providing litigation support and guidance to DCF trial attorneys; oversight of the department's fair hearing unit; oversight of MCAD actions involving the agency; assisting in drafting legislative, policy, and regulatory changes; general legal advice to the executive staff at DCF; and coordinating with the Attorney General's office the defense of litigation against the agency.

Adam Pertman

Adam Pertman
Adam Pertman is Executive Director of the Donaldson Adoption Institute, the pre-eminent research, policy and education organization in its field. Pertman – a former Pulitzer-nominated journalist – is the author/editor of two newly published books: Adoption Nation: How the Adoption Revolution is Transforming Our Families – and America (reviewed as “the most important book ever written on the subject”) and Adoption by Lesbians and Gay Men: A New Dimension in Family Diversity. He also is the Associate Editor of the scholarly journal Adoption Quarterly and has written numerous commentaries, book chapters and articles for professional and mass-market publications. As one of the country’s leading experts on adoption, he has delivered hundreds of keynotes, trainings and other presentations in the U.S. and internationally, and is the recipient of many awards for his work. He appears regularly in the media throughout this country and others, and has been a guest on programs including “Oprah,” “The View” and “Today.” He is a member of the Council on Contemporary Families, the Editorial Advisory Board of Adoptive Families magazine, the National Adoption Advisory Committee of the Child Welfare League of America, and the Advisory Board of Orphans International Worldwide

Ellen Pinderhughes

Ellen Pinderhughes
Ellen Pinderhughes is an Associate Professor of Child Development at the Eliot-Pearson Department of Child Development, Tufts University.  A developmental and clinical psychologist, her research interests focus on contextual and cultural influences on parenting and family socialization processes among culturally diverse families, particularly those raising children at-risk for problems in development. She has thirty years of experience in the adoption field as a researcher and clinician, focusing first on readjustment processes among families adopting children from foster care. More recently, she has been examining transracial international adoptive families, their navigation of cultural and racial differences, in particular, ethnic-racial socialization.    As a Senior Research Associate with the Donaldson Adoption Institute (DAI), she is collaborating with the DAI to study practices of adoption professionals and experiences of adoptive parents concerning international adoption and the impact of the Hague Adoption Convention on the Protection of Children and Co-operation in Respect of Intercountry Adoption. 

Dawn Post

Dawn Post
Dawn J. Post is the Co-Borough Director of the Brooklyn, New York office of the Children's Law Center (CLC), a non-profit law firm providing representation to over 10,000 children per year in the busiest Family Court system in the United States in guardianship, custody, visitation, orders of protection and related child protective cases.  Prior to her current position, she was an Assistant Attorney-in-Charge of the Legal Aid Society's Juvenile Right's Practice in the Brooklyn office, providing representation to children in child protective and delinquency cases. Dawn is an expert in children’s rights, advocacy and litigation, and the central theme of her work is that children and adolescents are entitled to have a voice and representation in legal proceedings that have a significant impact on their lives.  To that end, she promotes cultural competence to address the underlying issues of poverty and social exclusion based upon race and socio-economic status in the legal and foster care systems in the United States.  Dawn provides various trainings on family law matters in New York City focusing on trial skills, the role of the attorney for the child, custody and visitation, and child protection.  Nationally, she has led panels and discussions about providing voice to children in high conflict custody and visitation cases and addressing broken adoptions.  Internationally, she has lectured on the role and responsibilities of the attorney for the child.  Dawn works to find new and innovative ways to improve the lives of the children in the legal system and is effective at reflecting upon and examining the issues and policies which impact children and families from various angles and from a global perspective.  She recently oversaw a case study examining broken adoptions in custody and visitation cases and these results have been included in an article co-authored for the Capital University Law Review entitled The Revolving Doors of Family Court: Confronting Broken Adoptions.  Dawn sits on various committees including the NYC Family Court Advisory Council for Child Protection as well as TPRs and Adoptions.  

 

Phyllis Shepard
My time with adoption was 53 years ago, we were handed two of the most perfect babies. They were 2 months old, slept through the night, all feeding needs worked out. It was love at the first passing of them to our arms and hearts. Now at the other end of the cycle I am going through letting them take care of me.  Marvin and Ellie Drake have been holding me in these wonderful years of love, hopes, frustrations, expectations, hate. I could go on spiritually forever and plan on it.

Deborah Siegal

Deborah Siegel
Deborah H. Siegel, Ph.D., LICSW, DCSW, ACSW is Professor, School of Social Work, Rhode Island College where she teaches clinical practice and research.   She is on the Executive Committee of the Adoption and Foster Care Educational Collaborative, provides clinical services to people whose lives are touched by adoption, does legislative advocacy related to adoption, and consultation and training for adoption professionals and agencies.  Her research focuses on the experiences of families and children living with open adoption. She has co-authored two books on how to help families coping with struggling teens, and has published many articles and chapters on an array of clinical issues.  She has also taught at Auburn University,  the University of Missouri-Columbia, and the University of Chicago, where she earned her graduate degrees and served as a teaching and research fellow.

Susan Livingston Smith

Susan Livingston Smith
Susan Livingston Smith, LCSW is Program and Project Director of the Donaldson Adoption Institute and a Professor Emerita of the School of Social Work at Illinois State University. She has been a leading researcher in the field of post-adoption services for the past 25 years. Starting with a ground-breaking study on adoption disruption in 1988, Smith and her colleague, Jeanne Howard, began a scholarly partnership which has continued, resulting in many joint publications, over 60 presentations at professional conferences, and other activities on a national scale. Over the past 10 years, they have co-directed the Center for Adoption Studies at Illinois State University, which has produced several major pieces of research as well as curricula for adoption workers. Susan has co-authored three books on adoption, Promoting Successful Adoptions: Practice with Troubled Families (1999), After Adoption: The Needs of Adopted Youth (2003), and Siblings in Adoption and Foster Care: Traumatic Separations and Honored Connections (2009) as well as over 15 journal articles, several book chapters, and numerous scholarly monographs. Smith and Howard jointly received the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Adoption 2002 Excellence Award for their work in applied scholarship and research. She currently resides in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Justice Stevens

Justice Stevens
Justice (Christine) Stevens is a 27 year-old emerging rap artist and has been speaking and writing about foster care and adoption since age 11. Adopted with her younger sister at 8 years old, she spent the first years of her life in a number of foster homes. Justice¹s adoption was closed, but at age 10, she asked to meet her birth mother. Over the years, she has met a number of birth family relatives; some of those experiences were positive and others were quite challenging ­ all served to make her the person she is today.

Jessica Terkelsen

Jessica Terkelsen
Jessica is fourteen years old, and in the 8th grade. She was adopted last year, while she was in the 7th grade. She is excited about addressing this conference because it makes her a stronger person to know that she can talk about her past in front of so many people who care and want to learn more about adoption and foster care. She feels that her personality has changed along with her style, her life has started to get better. She gets better grades and most of all she has a strong loving family now that she is adopted. She is choosing a new path for high school to see who she really is and what she wants to become. Her life seems much easier without worrying who will take care of her next, because she is now permanently in a home that is safe. Where she feels safe!

Kay Trimberger

Kay Trimberger
Kay Trimberger, a sociologist, is professor emerita of Women's & Gender Studies at Sonoma State University, and an affiliated scholar at the Institute for the Study of Social Issues at U.C., Berkeley. Her most recent book, The New Single Woman, was published by Beacon Press in Fall 2005. Her essay "Adoption and Genetics: Why We Should Pay Attention," was published in PACT'S Point of View, Spring, 2011. She is at work on a memoir tentatively entitled Creole Son: An Adoptive Mother's Story of Nature and Nurture. The memoir will include the use of research in biology, psychology, sociology and adoption studies that helps her understand her experience

Sharon Vandivere

Sharon Vandivere
Ms. Vandivere is a senior research scientist at Child Trends. Her experience includes research specifically on child welfare, as well as child well-being more generally. She has extensive experience analyzing both nationally representative survey data and administrative data. She headed the quantitative analyses for Child Trends' recently completed evaluation of the Wendy's Wonderful Kids adoption recruitment program, funded by the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption. She recently served as the PI of a grant to analyze data from the National Survey of Adoptive Parents (NSAP), the first such nationally representative survey. She holds a master's degree in public policy from Georgetown University.

Julia Vich-Bertran
Julia Vich-Bertran received her PhD in Cultural and Social Anthropology in November 2012 from the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (Spain). Her research interests concern children and childhood, kinship, transnationalism and migration. Her PhD dissertation is an original  case study of the China/Spain Transnational Adoption Program.  It is the first systematic, in-depth ethnographic analysis of the various ways in which Chinese children born outside the One Child Policy–who are mostly unregistered, and thus “hidden” and devoid of legal rights—circulate between households, families, and private and public welfare institutions both inside China and in some cases, abroad.

Emma Ward

Emma Ward
Emma Ward is a Senior Research Associate based in the School of Social Work at the University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK, and is a member of the university’s Centre for Research on the Child and Family.  Emma graduated with an UEA undergraduate degree in Psychosocial Studies in 2003 and completed doctoral research at the university, under the supervision of Beth Neil, in 2009. Emma’s main research areas are the care system, family relationships, and identity.  Projects Emma has been employed on within the Centre include areas such as; children in care and offending, practice and planning in foster care, and parents of children in long-term foster care.  Her PhD thesis explored prospective adoptive parents' decision making and motivations to undertake the adoption process.  Emma is currently part of the Contact after Adoption team with Beth Neil and Mary Beek. 

Gretchen Miller Wroble

Gretchen Miller Wrobel
Gretchen Miller Wrobel, PhD, is currently Professor of Psychology at Bethel University in St. Paul, MN. Dr. Wrobel has published on issues concerning adoption-related information seeking and adoptive family communication, and has been a presenter on those issues at national and international professional conferences. Her research interests include curiosity about adoption, birth and adoptive family connections, and communication about adoption in families. Dr. Wrobel has been the recipient of the Bethel University Faculty Excellence Award in Scholarship and is past editor of the journal Adoption Quarterly. Dr. Wrobel received her doctorate from the University of Minnesota in the department of educational psychology and her bachelor’s degree from Hamline University in psychology. 

Brian Zimmerman

Brian Zimmerman
Brian Zimmerman, Esq. is an attorney in private practice, as well as being a member of the Assigned Counsel/Attorney for the Child Panel, Kings County, and the Attorney for the Child Panel of the First Department. He specializes in Family Law and Domestic Relations issues. He was formally a law guardian with the Juvenile Rights Division for fourteen years. He currently serves as the President of the Assigned Counsel Panel in Kings County. He currently sits on the NYC Executive Committee for Child Welfare Practice, the New York City Child Protection Plan advisory committee and the New York City TPR/Adoption Advisory Committee. He currently is a member of the Children and the Law Committee of the Bar Association of the City of New York. He is also a former chair of the Family Court Committee of the New York County Lawyers Association, as well as a member of the Executive Committee of the Interdisciplinary Forum for Mental Health and Family Law. He is a member of the Founding Steering Committee for the Children’s Pact program in Kings County, and now serves on the Advisory Board for FamilyKind. He was on the 18B Advisory Board for the Center for Family Representation. He is member of the Family Law Committee and Family Court Screening Committees for the Brooklyn Bar Association. He recently co-authored a Law review article with Dawn J. Post entitled, “The Revolving Doors of Family Court: Confronting Broken Adoptions”, 40 Cap. U. L. Rev. 437 (2012). He has lectured on Family Law issues for the New York City Bar Association, the Brooklyn Bar Association, NYCLA, the NYSBA, the New York State Judicial Institute, the Kings County Family Justice Center, New York City Family Court Legal Services Project, The Capital Law School, Wells Conference, American Bar Association Children and the Law Conference, St. Johns Adoption Conference, and the First and Second  Department Law Attorney for the Children’s Office. He is a graduate of Cornell University and Cardozo School of Law.