All meetings are held at the Settlement Home, 1607 Colony Creek Dr, Bldg. B, Austin, TX on the third Monday of each month. Meetings begin at 7:00 p.m., followed by discussion groups for birth families, adopted people, and adoptive/prospective adoptive parents. If you have a topic that you would like to see presented at a future meeting, please let us know. To submit a proposal to present at a monthly educational meeting click here. If you are able to volunteer to bring a snack to an educational meeting, sign up here.
June 18, 2018 7pm
Debunking Grief Myths for the Adoption Triad by Candyce Ossefort-Russell, LPC-S
This session is a compassionate exploration of the natural loss and grief that are an ongoing part of the adoption journey for all members of the adoption triad and for those who love them. Cultural fear of difficult feelings tends to exclude this aspect of adoption, which can lead to shame and isolation. Fear of difficult feelings leads to myths about grief in general, and adoption grief specifically. This session will debunk these myths about grief, and replace the myths with realistic and helpful information that gives people permission and tools to turn toward and work with their grief.
– Come to terms with the fact that grief is a normal, ongoing part of adoption
– Describe why grief is a normal response to adoption
– Name five accurate aspects of adoption grief
– Name strategies for approaching and working with adoption grief
Candyce Ossefort-Russell, LPC-S is a psychotherapist, grief advocate, writer, trainer, and speaker in private practice in Austin, TX. She has actively lived, studied, and trained in psychological, spiritual, and scientific perspectives of suffering and transformation for over 25 years. She has extensive experience working with and writing/teaching about individuals and groups from an attachment-based perspective in the areas of trauma, grief, life transition, depression, and parenting. She is known for her warm and emotionally engaged style that creates a safe and connected atmosphere for growth and learning. Learn more at www.candycecounseling.com.
July 16, 2018 7pm
Vulnerability: The Power of Being Seen by Vanessa Flores. LCSW-S, CDWF & Sarah Jones, LCSW, CDWF
An experiential exploration into the physics of vulnerability developed by Dr. Brené Brown and the role it plays as a member within the adoptive triad. Together we’ll gain an understanding of what vulnerability is, what it looks like in our relationships and the barriers we face when we don’t allow ourselves to show up and be seen for who we are.
Vanessa Flores is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Austin, TX. She received her bachelors degree in Social Work from Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, TX and her masters degree in social work from the University of Houston in Houston, TX. She has spent the past 10 years working in the mental health field with a variety of populations to include teens, survivors of trauma, young adults and people of color. Vanessa is the founder and owner of Colors of Austin Counseling, a private practice that offers individual and group counseling to the Central Texas community. Her practice is founded on values of diversity, creativity and courage. She is passionate about working with underserved populations and believes in access for all regardless of race, gender or financial ability.
Sarah Jones is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Certified Daring Way™ Facilitator in private practice in downtown Austin, Texas. Sarah’s experience has span from working with children and their families in a community mental health setting, to the wilderness of Montana where she gained extensive experience working with adolescent girls. In private practice Sarah specializes in working with women, expanding on the knowledge and understanding of the female experience through the life stages. Sarah has a passion for helping girls and women feel empowered, find their voices, and own their authentic stories. Sarah’s approach is nurturing and warm, with a focus on shame.
August 20, 2018 7pm
Those Three Words: A birth mother’s story of choice, chance & motherhood by Chris Bauer
Facing an unplanned pregnancy is one of the most agonizing and difficult situations a woman can face because bringing a child into this world and raising a child has monumental consequences. I’ll share my story about making choices, the beauty and gift of adoption, and the unbreakable bond of maternal love — birth moms and adoptive moms alike!
Chris Bauer is first and foremost a proud and happy mom and grandma. (This applies to both humans and canines.) When Chris was just 18 year old, she was faced with an unplanned pregnancy and she was devastated. She ultimately decided to place her child for adoption, a life-altering experience. She has a wonderful relationship with her daughter and her daughter’s parents and family and has written a book about her amazing journey. “Those Three Words: A birth mother’s story of choice, chance and motherhood” is a memoir about facing difficult choices and the beautiful gift of adoption. Chris will join us via video conferencing.
May 2018 – Five Things I Want My Daughter to Know, by Erin Fitts
April 2018 – Relaxation and Diaphragmatic Breathing by Sandra Bravo, LPC
March 2018 – Book Reviews by Miriam von. Born Storm
February 2018 – The Impact of Adoption on Brain Development, Susan Phariss, Neurodevelopment Consultant
January 2018 – Miss Texas tells her story of the Value of Foster Care & Adoption, Shelby Patrice Jenkins
December 2017 – Annual Holiday Potluck
November 2017 – 25th Annual Conference: “Coming Home to Your Self”
October 2017 – Facilitating Healing and Deepening Our Connection through Prenatal-Birth-Attachment Therapy: Adoption, Birth, and Empowerment by Margery Segal, LPC
September 2017 – Adoptive Parent Panel
August 2017 – Screening of Holding Hands by Jean Strauss – Discussion moderated by Jason Ledlie, LPC-I
July 2017 – “How to Start the Tough Conversations in Open Adoptions” by Traci Pirri, LCSW
June 2017 – AKA Pioneers Panel & 25th Anniversary Celebration
May 2017 – Birth Parent Identity: Fusing the Many Selves Moderated by Erin Smith, MSW; Panel of Birth Parents
April 2017 – DNA & Genetic Genealogy: Testing & Interpreting the Data
March 2017 – “Reality of Foster Care” by Cortney Jones, MSW
February 2017 – 2017 Foster Care and Adoption Legislation: What’s in it for Us? OBC Access and More
January 2017 – Book Reviews
December 2016 – Annual Holiday Potluck
November 2016 – 24th Annual Conference “Changing the Face of Adoption”
October 2016 – Emerging Conversations in International Adoptions: How Adoptees are Leading the Way by Jena Heath & Kathi Thomas
September 2016 – 6 Word Adoption Memoirs – Viewing of Non-fiction short film. Workshop style meeting facilitated by AKA President
August 2016 – Thinking Differently About Foster Care by Julie Kouri & Ryan Parker, LCSW
July 2016 – How to Keep Open Adoptions Open by Traci Pirri, LCSW
June 2016 – Screening of the Documentary, FATHER UNKNOWN
May 2016 – Mother’s Day in Adoption: Birth Mother, Adoptive Mother & the Adoptee in the Middle
April 2016 – Jeffrey Togman documentary “We’re Not Blood”
March 2016 – Navigating the Uncharted Seas of Foster to Adopt
February 2016 – Beyond Love – Supportive Strategies for Building Healthy Bonds of Attachment After Adoptee Trauma
Dr. Carney Soderberg, Neurobehavioral Institute of Austin
January 2016 – What You Need to Know About Adoption Evaluations (Formerly Home Studies) by Laura L. Johnson, ATR-BC, LPC, LCPAA and attorney, Jennifer Cochran
November 2015 – Annual Conference “Finding the We Between You and Me”
October 2015 – Adoptee Sibling Legislation
September 2015 – The “Honeymoon Period” in Open Adoption Relationships by Erin Smith
August 2015 – The Lifelong Impact of Reunions
July 2015 – ‘An Adoptee Roared’ and ‘Four Birthmothers’ Jean Strauss Documentaries
June 2015 – Trauma Doesn’t Tell Time by Robyn Gobbel, LCSW
May 2015- The Nature of Grief and Loss and How We Can Learn from It by Candyce Ossefort-Russell, LPC-S
April 2015 – Supporting Adoptees in Their Journey of Self Acceptance
March 2015 – Genetic Genealogy with Randy Whited
February 2015 – Book Sharing
January 2015 – A Simple Piece of Paper Documentary by Jean Strauss
October 2014 – October 20, 2014 “Making Sense of Sensory Processing Issues-What You Need to Know” Tammy Santoro
September, 2014 – September 15, 2014 “What’s it Like to Have Biological Siblings Who Grow Up in a Separate Home?” Panel of Presenters
August 2014 – August 18, 2014 “Doing Their Best When Out of Your Nest; Helping Adopted and Foster Teens Prepare for Adult Living” with Janet Legler Luft LMSW
July 2014 – July 21, 2014 “What I Thought I Knew About Adoption as a Mental Health Professional of 40 Years And What I Have Come to Learn as an Adoptive Parent of 14 Years ” with Suzi McCoy
June 2014 – June 16, 2014 “Adoptee Rights to Their Records & Access to their Original Birth Certificates” with Shirley Dodson and Connie Gray
May 2014 – May 19, 2014 “Healthy Openness in Adoption” with Michelle Crawford, LPC
April 2014 – March 21, 2014 “Closure Ducumentary”
March 2014 – March 17, 2014 “Let’s Make a Lifebook…A Mini Workshop with Glitter, Glue and Guidance from the Adoption Guru” with Janie Cravens, LCSW
February 2014 – February 20, 2014 “Human Connections: They Power of Play” with Suzette Lamb, LPC-S
January 2014 – January 20, 2014 “Authenticity, Identity and the Adopted Individual” with Doug Feldt
November 2013 – November 8-9, 2013 AKA Conference “Chapters in Adoption: Telling Our Stories” with Keynote Speaker Debra Wesselmann, MS, LIMHP
October 2013 – September 21, 2013 “Birthmother Stories” with Janet Mulcahy and Sheri Williams
September 2013 – September 16, 2013 “Back to the Books” Roundtable Book Review
August 2013 – August 19, 2013 “Race and Adoption” Panel with Families with Children from China
July 2013 – July 15, 2013 Lecture Video – Adoption & Addiction: Remembered not Recalled by Paul Sunderland
June 2013 – June 17, 2013 “The Father’s Perspective” A Panel of Adoptive Fathers
May 2013 – May 20, 2013 Unlocking the Heart of Adoption
April 2013 – April 15, 2013 “Greatest Lessons Learned/Greatest Lessons Needed” (with extended discussion group time)
March 2013 – March 18, 2013 “Trust-Based Relational Intervention: How To Empower, Correct, and Connect With Your Adoptive Child” by Katie Ludtke, MA, LMFT-A
February 2013 – February 18, 2013 “Martha McCutchan’s Adoption Story” by Martha McCutchan and Family
January 2013 – January 21, 2013 “Changed by Adoption: Stories from the Adoption Triad” by Janie McMahan
November 2012 – November 2-3, 2012, AKA Annual Conference with Keynote Speaker, Sherry Eldridge
October 2012 – October 15, 2012 “Openness in Adoption Panel” by Patricia Cody, PhD, MSW and a panel of adoptive parents representing the various paths to adoptions (private adoption, international adoption and adoption of children from foster care)
September 2012 – September 17, 2013 “Openness in Adoption” by Patricia Cody, PhD, MSW
August 2012 – August 20, 2012 “The Myth of the Five Stages of Grief & the New Science of Loss” presented by Suzi McCoy, M.S., LPC
July 2012 – July 16, 2012 “Teenage Adoption” presented by Sally Fussell, LCSW.
June 2012 – June 18, 2012 “A Birth Father’s Story” presented by the birth father (a member).
May 2012 – May 21, 2012 “The Hero’s Journey from the Primal Wound to Wholeness: The Development of the Self in Adoptees” presented by Michelle Bohls, LMFT.
April 2012 – April 16, 2012 “How to Talk about the Hard Truths of Adoption” presented by Robyn Gobbel, LCSW
March 2012 – March 19, 2012 Viewing and discussion of the movie First Person Plural.
February 2012 – February 20, 2012 “Nature vs Nurture” with Kathryn Paige Harden.
January 2012 – January 16, 2012 “20 Years With AKA – How Does AKA Serve the Core Issues of the Triad?” presented by a panel of AKA members