The University of Massachusetts Amherst
University of Massachusetts Amherst

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Check out the below videos from our 2013 Adoption Conference, or watch all of our videos on YouTube.


"Contact between Adoptive and Birth Families: Diverse Experiences, Multiple Perspectives" | Presenters: Hal Grotevant, Elsbeth Neil, Amanda Baden (PART 1 of session).

The opening plenary panel sets the stage for two days of discussions about contact between adoptive and birth family members,highlighting what is known and gaps in our knowledge about infant adoptions, adoptions from the public child welfare system, and international adoptions.


"Contact between Adoptive and Birth Families: Diverse Experiences, Multiple Perspectives" | Presenters: Hal Grotevant, Elsbeth Neil, Amanda Baden (PART 2 of session).


"Contact between Adoptive and Birth Families: Diverse Experiences, Multiple Perspectives" | Presenters: Hal Grotevant, Elsbeth Neil, Amanda Baden (PART 3 of session).


"Navigating Birth and Adoptive Family Connections: First-Hand Accounts" Chair: Chris Langelier Panelists: Sarah D'Amato, Justin Pasquariello, Justice Stevens & Jessica Terkelsen

Young adults talk about their personal experiences, successes, and challenges with contact in adoption and/or foster care.


"PRACTICAL MATTERS: Clinical Tools For All Open Adoptions" | Presenter: Janie Cravens

This presentation will address the foundational pieces of a properly managed open adoption program, including how agency systems can change, what aspects of open adoption work best for voluntary placements, international and/or CPS cases, and the skills workers need to provide truly ethical help to their clients.


"Evolving Relationships and Contact in Adoptions"
Chair: Ruth G. McRoy
Panelists: Erin Bigelow, Marvin Drake, Elizabeth Drake, Kathleen Cooley
& Phyllis Shepard

This panel, consisting of two birth mothers, a birth father, his wife and his son's adoptive mother, will explore and share their personal experiences with contact in adoption.


"Untangling the Web: The Internet's Transformative Impact on Adoption" | Presenter: Adam Pertman

The Internet (and social media in particular) is instigating historic changes in adoption practices, challenging current laws and policies, offering unprecedented opportunities and resources, and raising critical ethical, legal and procedural issues. It is likely bringing an end to "closed" adoptions and accelerating the formation of extended families that include birth and adoptive relatives. This presentation draws from the Donaldson Adoption Institute's recent report, "Untangling the Web," the first in-depth examination of the issues involved and their impact on millions of children and families, including recommendations for future law, policy and practice.


"Practical Applications of Birth Family Engagement in Public Agency Adoptions" | Presenters: Virginia Peel & Leo Farley

Leo Farley, Director of Adoption Support Services, and Virginia Peel, Esq., General Counsel for the Massachusetts Department of Child and Family Services, will provide a brief overview of the structure and foundations of public agency adoption. Public agency adoption presents unique challenges. They will discuss the advantages and the difficulties of involving birth parents and the larger birth family during foster care, the Care and Protection process, and post-legalization.


"My Birth Mother Friended Me!": Adoptive Family Relationships in the Social Networking Era | Presenter: Susan Ogden

This workshop will explore adoptive and birth family relationships that have opened up through social networking and the accompanying clinical and relationship issues. Several case studies will be discussed to demonstrate the varying needs of the participants and best practice tools such as mediation to manage expectations and conflict.


"Making Open Adoptions Work for You - Preparing Birth and Adoptive Families" | Presenters: Susan Smith & Deborah Siegel

After a brief review of what research tells us about openness in adoptions today, the workshop will focus on a curriculum developed by the Donaldson Adoption Institute for preparing expectant parents considering open adoptions and prospective adoptive parents. We also will hear from parties enjoying open adoptions as to what makes it work well for them.