Detailed Agenda



  • Exhibitor setup is 8 – 1 pm

  • Registration is open from 11 – 12:45pm

8:30 - 12:30pm

Pre-Conference Intensive Training

What is Your Problem? An Immersive Workshop on Leadership and Innovation to Solve Your Most Pressing Problems and Drive Your Team Forward

1:00 - 2:00pm

Opening Plenary:  Reignite Your Mission

presented by Carrie Morgridge

2:15 - 3:15pm

Coercion: Where are the pitfalls and how do we

avoid this?

presented by

Christie Mac Segars

Christy Harmon

Sibling Relationships

and Adoption: Creating Belonging

presented by

Andrew Benesh

Kelsey Prezioso

DNA Testing, Adoption

and Pandora's Box

presented by

Joanna Ivey

Intercountry Adoptions Citizenship for Adoptees

presented by

Irene Steffas

3:30 - 4:30pm

Birth Parent Voices:

Lessons Learned from Bravery and Love     

presented by

Julie Kelleher

Fiona Kennedy

Laura Blanco

Zach Miller

Use of Modern Digital Technology to Increase Adoption and Foster Family Recruitment 

presented by

Matthew Straeb

Good Governance: Bylaws, Board Selection & Onboarding Tips

presented by

Heidi Cox

Andrea Vavonese

Preparing for the Experience of Search and Reunion

presented by

Ellen Singer

4:45 - 5:45 pm

Promoting and Partnering with Adoption-Friendly Workplaces     

presented by

Rita Soronen

Ryan Hanlon

The Role of Shame in Adoption Success

presented by

Rick Patterson

Trauma Lens Paradigm Shift: Building a Foundation for Trauma-Infomed Care

presented by

Jeff Mereket

Faye Hall

Intricacies of Matching in International Adoption

presented by

Samantha Moore

Chelsea Guffy

6:00 - 7:30pm

India Roundtable Discussion

Philippines Roundtable Discussion

8:00 - 10:00pm

Welcome Reception in the Garden Courtyard



  • Country caucus roundtable discussions will be sprinkled throughout the conference, starting on Wednesday.

  • Breakfast, lunch and coffee breaks will be provided. Dinner is on your own. Enjoy Atlanta!

7:00 - 8:00am

Domestic Infant

Caucus Discussion


Caucus Discussion

 Foster Care

Caucus Discussion


7:15 - 8:15am

8:00 - 9:00am

Morning Plenary: Achieving Successful Outcomes in Kinship/Relative Adoptions

presented by Dr. Joseph Crumbley

9:15 - 10:15am

Understanding Your Child's Physical and Emotional Health: The Impact of Transitions and Stress

presented by

Dr. Elaine Schulte

10:30 - 11:30am

Demonstrating Accountability: Promoting Change and Impact through COA Accreditation

presented by

Jayne Schmidt

Agency Transformation:

Growing through the

Rough Spots  

presented by

Phyllis Stephenson

Dr. Gerald Nebeker

Championing Best Practices: Effectively and Ethically Working on Behalf of Birth and Adoptive Families

presented by

Christie Mac Segars

Mark Melson

The Missing Ingredient:  Creating Effective

Caregiving Systems for Children in Care

presented by

Michelle Codington

The Tightrope of Expectations for Adoptive Parents 

presented by

Kathleen Whitten

Connecting Families to Families: How International Adoptive Parents  Can Benefit from Those Who Have Walked the Path 

presented by

Jennifer Jones

Melissa Edminston

Is The Hague Convention

the Enemy?

presented by

Chad Turner

11:45 - 1:05pm

Networking Lunch 

1:15 - 2:15pm

Establishing Post-Adoption Support as a Pre-Placement Norm

presented by

Mark Lacava

You and Your Adopted Child: Using Activities and Storytelling to Create Secure Attachment

presented by

Andrea Bushala

2:30 - 3:30pm

The Inclusive Family Support Model: Facilitating Openness for All Post-Adoptive Families

presented by

Angela Tucker

Post-Secondary Access and Success: Family Privilege and Higher Education  

presented by

Bonnie Brown

USCIS Panel on Intercountry Adoption Proces and Protocol

presented by


2 hour session

3:30 - 4:00pm


4:00 - 5:30pm

Life in Limbo. What Does it Feel Like to Be in Foster Care? 

presented by

David White

Sue Orban

Preventing Adoption Disruption: How to Prepare For and Cope With Trauma Issues and Your Adoptive Child

presented by

Bonnie Lockwood

Kristi Lovelace

Intercountry Adoption Accreditation and Approval -  Has Accreditation and Approval Changed?

presented by


5:45 - 6:45pm

Evening Plenary: The Impact of Trauma and Neglect on the Developing Child

presented by Dr. Bruce Perry

7:00 - 9:00pm

Director's Dinner

(Agency Leadership only- attendees must preregister)



  • Breakfast and Lunch will be served.

7:30 - 8:30am

China Caucus


Social Services

Caucus Discussions

Haiti Caucus



7:20 - 8:20am

8:45- 9:45am

Creating and Maintaining an 18-year promise:  The Nuts and Bolts of Post Adoption Contact Agreements

presented by

 Jill Cucullu

Foster Parent Recruitment and Retention: A National Crisis Examined

presented by

Elise Dallimore

Ryan Hanlon

Fundraising Fast-Forward For Child Welfare Agencies   

presented by

Megan Ritter

Lauren Koch

Deferred Closure:  Working with Intercountry Adoptees Struggling with Grief and Ambiguous Loss

presented by

Mark Andrews

Private Infant Adoption Strategies that Work  

presented by

Paula Springer

Nancy Cannon

10:00- 11:00am

Adoption from Foster


presented by

Bob Herne

Supporting All of Our Families

presented by

Robert Lamarche

Christopher Matos-Rogers

Equipping Adoptive Parents with Tools to Build Relationships, Regulation, and Resiliency  

presented by

Julie Beem


11:15 - 12:15pm

12:30 - 1:30pm

The Unicorn in the Room: the Multiracial Adoptive Parent Experience   

presented by

Ligia Cushman

Empowering Adolescents

to Heal Abandonment

and Identity

presented by

Barbara Neiman

Making a Great Succession Plan

presented by

Daniel Nehrbass

Tom Velie

International Adoption: CDC Resources and Activities 

presented by

Gayathri Kumar

Simone Wien

Closing Keynote:  Harnessing Your Passion to Change the World!

presented by Connie Going

1:45 - 2:45pm


National Council For Adoption

225 N. Washington Street

Alexandria, VA 22314


Our vision is a world in which all  children everywhere have nurturing, permanent families.

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© National Council For Adoption 2019