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







Workshop Schedule


Session 1 - Saturday, May 18th - 10:30 am - 12:00 am

1A Born in June, Raised in April: What Adoption Can Teach the World!

Presented by: April Dinwoodie

Through a rich and personal lens of adoption and foster care Ms. Dinwoodie will expand on her keynote and candidly explore the beauty and complexity of our closest, most powerful relationships with our families and how those relationships impact our identity and place in the world. She will explore the role that race, class, and culture play in adoption and how each impacts not only the child, but the whole family.


1B Communicating With Children and Youth: Parents As The Experts

Presented by: Jackie Hampton, LCSW & Tanya Hampton, Ed.S.

Professional practitioners share their knowledge gained from research, varied experiences and experimentation. This workshop will engage participants as the experts based on their life experiences, to discuss strategies in communicating with young children and older youth. Methods of communication will be presented by the workshop leaders, to solicit the most successful strategies. Participants will be encouraged to share their positive and negative experiences with these techniques with a specific focus on communicating with adoptive and foster children.


1C Whole-Hearted, Whole-Brained Parenting: A Must for Adoptive Families

Presented by: Julie Beem, MBA

Children coming to our families through adoption bring their grief, loss and early childhood trauma along too. Parents must be taught and empowered to use strategies that are Whole-Hearted and Whole-Brained to create a safe place to build relationships and teach self-regulation. In this workshop, caregivers and professionals who support parents will explore the importance of modeling vulnerability and empathy, and strategies that nurture healthy brain development to build resiliency and promote healing in attachment-impaired, traumatized children.

1D Secondary Traumatic Stress in Caregivers

Presented by: Dr. Laklieshia Izzard

As adoptive and foster-to-adopt parents, you have opened your hearts and home to children in need. You may have accepted a child who has many traumatic issues to deal with which means having to hear about their traumatic stories. As a result Caregivers can develop Secondary Traumatic Stress (STS). This presentation will offer a deeper understanding of STS and its treatment.


1E Connecting the Dots: Adoption Issues and Birth Family Connections

Presented by: Chena Blanchard, LPC

The purpose of this workshop is to help adoptive families recognize the importance of maintaining birth family connections. Common myths and fears associated with maintaining birth family contact will be addressed along with understanding the impact of missing connections on identity formation. Adoptive parents will be provided with suggestions and resources for assisting their family and adoptive child(ren) in staying connected


Session 2 - Saturday, May 18th - 1:15 pm - 2:45 pm

2A Adoptive Mothers – Saints or Demons?

Presented by: Janice Turber, M.Ed., LPC

This workshop will dispel the myth that adoptive mothers are controlling, manipulating parents who make up horrible stories about their adoptive children. Ways to heal posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) symptoms acquired due to their child/adolescent’s negative behaviors and attitudes towards them will be discussed. Parents will also learn effective techniques needed to excel at parenting their traumatized and attachment-disorder children and adolescents. Self-care suggestions will also be given.

2B Can Everybody Just Calm Down? Understanding and helping traumatized children

Presented by: Brenda Romanchik, LCSW

The purpose of this workshop is to help adoptive families recognize the importance of maintaining birth family connections. Common myths and fears associated with maintaining birth family contact will be addressed along with understanding the impact of missing connections on identity formation. Adoptive parents will be provided with suggestions and resources for assisting their family and adoptive child(ren) in staying connected.

2C Choosing A Therapist: Dismantling the scientific formula

Presented by: Dr. Fanike-Kiara Olugbala Young, LCSW, MAC & Dale Roberts

Selecting the right therapist can often be compared to solving a difficult scientific equation. There are so many options and after a while, they all begin to sound and look the same. This workshop will explore criteria, matching specialties, understanding theoretical orientation and many other important factors that are important during the process.

2D Raising Children with Medical and Developmental Needs

Presented by: Christina Mahoney, LCSW

Due to systemic barriers leading to life-long challenges for adopted children with medical needs they cannot be served in the same way as other children. This workshop is intended for parents of individuals with intellectual disabilities, Autism, Down Syndrome, Cerebral Palsy, genetic disorders, traumatic brain injuries, shaken baby syndrome, complications of prematurity, and other medical complexities. This workshop provides valuable insight into the services available for this special population


2E Individualized Education Plan (IEP) and 504 Plans: Know Your Rights

Presented by: Kirk Lunde

Knowledge is Power! For the last six years, this adoptive father of two complex boys has tutored, and advocated for all students with disabilities. The more you know about IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act), the better advocate you can be for your child. Parents will learn about 504 and IEP Plans, the differences between them, the rights each provides students and families, and the obligations of school districts to follow them. You will leave this workshop knowledgeable & feeling empowered!


Session 3 - Saturday, May 18th - 3:00 pm - 4:30 pm

3A Advocating For Your Adopted Child at School—Trauma Informed Strategies That Work

Presented by: Julie Beem, MBA

Adoptive parents are often at a loss for how to help their children at school. Trauma is widely not considered when trying to understand a child’s unique behaviors or learning struggles. Yet a significant number of adopted children have experienced Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) that hamper their school success. This workshop will focus on trauma-informed strategies that can be implemented with or without an IEP and will help the child feel safe and connected, get regulated and learn.

3B Building Respectful Relationships

Presented by: Brenda Romanchik, LCSW

Open adoption creates complicated relationships. Navigating and nurturing these relationships, while also understanding each other’s losses and roles can be tricky territory. This workshop will explore the language, losses and ways to build respectful relationships in open adoption. Brenda Romanchik, LCSW, is a birth parent who placed her first child in an open adoption in 1984. Brenda has been an outspoken educator for open adoption and birth parent rights.

3C Planning For The Future: Adopted Children & Youth Issues

Presented by: Dr. Fanike-Kiara Olugbala Young, LCSW, MAC & Dale Roberts

Planning for the future can be difficult at any age, however, adoptive and foster care youth often have other challenges to consider such as aging out of the system and services, developmental diagnoses, history of trauma and lack of support. This workshop will examine options for youth and what their parents can do in an effort to support them with preparing to transition into the workforce or secondary education.

3D The Impact of Maternal Substance Abuse on Child Development

Presented by: Dr. Karen Kuehn Howell

We will discuss the impact that maternal substance abuse (MSA) has on the physical and social/emotional functioning of a young child. We will review the long-term effects of prenatal exposure to alcohol, tobacco, prescription drugs such as opiates, and illicit drugs such as marijuana, on a child’s development. We will discuss conditions of MSA, including disease, prematurity, sub-optimal caretaking, poverty, exposure to violence, neglect and maternal mental illness. Interventions and resources for children impacted by MSA will be discussed.

3E Ten Things Every Parent Should Know About Parenting A Defiant Child

Presented by: Natasha LaMarr, Ph.D.

Children that have experienced trauma due to abuse, abandonment, and or neglect struggle with trusting authorities and expressing their emotions and feelings. A child’s fear can look like anger, aggression or defiance. Understanding how to help a child that is acting out is the first step to not re-traumatizing their child. This interactive workshop will give parents the tools that they will need to parent children experiencing defiant behaviors


Session 4 - Sunday, May 19th - 9:00 am - 11:00 am

4A Addictive Illness in Adolescence & Adolescent Strengths

Presented by: Dr. Michael R. Carpenter

Addiction is a developmental brain disorder that can hijack the brain early in life and rewire it. This workshop will address the latest research on addictive illness and how alcohol, nicotine/vaping, prescription drugs, and marijuana impact the adolescent brain. We will discuss environmental prevention strategies along with best practices and local conditions for decreasing teen drug use. Dr. Carpenter will demonstrate how protective factors such as developmental assets, emotional intelligence, and temperament types can impact teen use of alcohol, tobacco and other drugs.


4B Understanding Teen Anger

Presented by: Dr. Gary Byrd

Tired of power struggles and yelling between you and your teenager? It doesn’t have to be that way. You can change the patterns of dealing with misbehavior and teach your teen a better way to manage anger. One of the greatest gifts a parent can give to their teen is a set of attitudes and skills that will enable them to manage their anger and find solutions to conflict. This workshop will help you assist your teen in developing a mindset that favors peace, not by avoiding anger and conflict nor by winning through intimidation, but by resolving anger and conflict with emotional intelligence.

4C Lying and Other Challenging Behaviors

Presented by: Ryan and Kayla North

There are many challenging behaviors that parents encounter every day. Among them are lying, stealing, and disrespect. These behaviors can be a huge trigger for parents and lead to disconnection in the parent-child relationship. In this session, we will discuss how trauma impacts the brain, and how to look for the need behind the behavior in order to get to the root of the problem. Participants will learn how to help kids find honest alternatives to bending the truth.

4D Mom’s Methods for Managing Madness

Presented by: Rose Stagemeyer, Rachel DeBruce, Tammy Coles, and Heather Colvin

Four moms will share their experiences as adoptive moms who have adopted complex children. They will share how they found success with their children who had sometimes been “doomed” to fail. These Moms have important things to share that will benefit all parents. These resourceful mothers could be what you've been looking for to obtain direction, support, knowledge, and resources to be your BEST self for your family.

4E Men Behaving “Dadly”: A Dad’s Panel

Presented by: Kirk Lunde, Brian Stagemeyer, Roberto Rivera , Jr. and Christopher Matos-Rogers

Dads impact a child's life as much as moms. This panel of adoptive dads will share their wealth of experiences and knowledge including open adoption, foster care, adopting teens, working with school systems, and being involved in your child’s life every day. They will share the joys and challenges of parenting by adoption from a dad's perspective. They are witty, funny, and oh, so serious about being dads. You will leave feeling empowered, inspired, invigorated, and with strategies/tools for being the best dad/parent you can be.