The Ties That Bind Seminar Is Sponsored By The Following Organizations:








Keynote Speakers


KEYNOTE ADDRESS -- SATURDAY, May 20, 2017 -- 9:00 am during General Session

Shenandoah Chefalo is a child advocate and the author of Garbage Bag Suitcase: A Foster Care Memoir. This is the true story of Shenandoah’s wholly dysfunctional journey through a childhood with neglectful, drug-and alcohol addicted parents. She endured numerous moves in the middle of the night with just minutes to pack, multiple changes in schools, hunger, cruelty, and loneliness. Despite her early trauma and overcoming many adversities, Shen became part of the 3% of all foster care children who get into college and graduate. She became a successful business woman, got married, and had a daughter. Regardless of her numerous achievements in life she still suffers from the long-term effects of neglect, and the coping skills that she adapted in her childhood are not always productive in her adult life. In this Keynote address, she will not only share her journey to overcome her desolate childhood, but will also present grass-root solutions on how to revamp the broken foster care system. Harnessing the power of her story, Shenandoah Chefalo will motivate, educate, and create an open and honest discussion about being in the foster care system and the improvements that could possibly change the lives of children in care and the landscape of the country.

KEYNOTE ADDRESS -- SUNDAY, May 21, 2017 -- 12:15 pm during Closing Luncheon

Wayne Duehn, Ph.D., Professor Emeritus, School of Social Work, The University of Texas at Arlington. Dr. Duehn has considerable experience in working with adoptive and foster care families (and professionals) in both the public and private sectors. He has conducted state-wide training workshops for adoption/foster care families, child welfare personnel and residential treatment staff throughout North America. He serves as ongoing consultant/trainer to adoptive personnel and foster home developers of Casey Family Programs, Neighbor to Family Programs, and the Louisiana and Texas Departments of Child Protective Services. He is a co-author of Beyond Sexual Abuse: The Healing Power of Adoptive Families, which is an outgrowth of an ongoing educational program of The Three Rivers Adoptive Council, Pittsburgh, PA. This federally funded project is designed to develop educational materials to assist foster and adoptive families in parenting the sexually abused child. Most recently, Dr. Duehn has completed a state-wide sexual safety training project for the Iowa State Foster and Adoptive Parents Association. In his Keynote address entitled: Let’s Get It Right: Safety— A Prerequisite For Healing, Dr. Duehn will reexamine current “best practices" and policies in adoption and therapeutic practices that are critical in ensuring the safety of our children in care.


Other Conference Speakers

We have many excellent speakers in our program this year. Please link to our Conference Workshops in order to evaluate our speakers.



Youth/Teen Keynote Speakers

M.K. Durand Farley is a Certified Professional Life & Career Coach, Author, and internationally renowned Motivational Speaker. In his presentation, “Is It Worth It?” Durand will use humor, compassion and insight to present basic drug education, put peer pressure in perspective, and illustrate how to maintain, or even re-claim, an anti-drug existence. Durand will help teens realize that while the majority of teens do not use drugs, many non-users are simply too quiet. Teens will learn to speak up about staying free!

Dalia Kinsey, RD, LD, Nutritionist with the Georgia Department of Public Health, will present "Savor the Flavor of Eating Right" and show how to ditch the diet mentality and develop your unique healthy eating style with the help of evidenced based nutrition guidelines. Dalia will teach teens how to make healthy food choices.


Friday Night Kick-Off


Join us on Friday, May 19th at 7:30 pm in the Grand Ballroom for the Ties That Bind Kick-Off event. This will be a great time for families to mix and mingle during FAMILY FUN NIGHT! Families will be able to participate in a variety of activities including family-friendly “Minute to Win It” games, family challenges, and our 2nd Annual Family Talent Show. This is your family’s chance to re-ally “ham it up” and show off your special talents. Be sure to sign up for this exciting event and let us know if your family or any family members are interested in participating. All “acts” must be appropriate for all ages, less than 3 minutes long, and provide their own props, supplies, instruments, and music. Remember that talent comes in many forms and we would like to celebrate the talent of our families with performances that reflect their accomplishments through hard work and dedication such as read-ing poetry, instrumental performance, dancing, singing, comedy, acting, etc. Refreshments will be served after the show.



After an inspiring day of learning and networking on Saturday, May 20th participants will want to attend our Family Night Dinner Celebration for all ages! This year we will take a dive “under the sea” with Adoptive Families Riding the Waves Together! There will be no troubles because...there will be bubbles! Join us for bubbles of fun presenting BubbleMania: Comedy….with a Drip! Featuring Casey Carle, comic bubble artist who has “burst” onto stages across the world…with a flair for showmanship and an infectious energy for bubbling – from the intricate to the massive. Come SEA beauty, wonder and excitement as Casey presents his amazing one-man show combining spontaneous comedy, jazzy music and brilliant bubbling. Among the many featured skills are fantastic fog-filled bubble sculptures, a cube bubble, funky foam, a bubble vortex cannon, bubble ping-pong, trapping an audience member (or two?) inside a gigantic soap bubble and thousands of bubbles filling the stage.

Teens 14 & up will celebrate together with their own special dinner and program featuring the award-winning research-based video assembly entitled In One Instant. This program has demonstrated the ability to impact teens and their decision making in ways that can prevent tragic driving collisions. In One Instant makes distracted, reckless, and impaired driving personal and relevant. By engag-ing teens on an emotional level, this award-winning safe driving program teaches teens how to make smart choices to stay safe behind the wheel and influence their friends and family to do the same. After the show, families will want to “come out of their shells” and participate together in a variety of activities such as family photos, cooperative games, ocean trivia, arts & crafts, music, dancing and much more! So let the sea set you free and join us!