Monthly Meetings

Monthly Meetings 2018-02-19T20:14:52+00:00

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.

Upcoming Meeting

March 19, 2018 7pm
Book Reviews

Calling all bibliophiles! It’s time to clear your bookshelves and nightstands and bring out your “Must Reads”, as AKA members and friends share from our own individual library collections. If you have a favorite adoption book, whether its research based, narrative or even a children’s book that has charmed your child, please bring it to our next meeting, give us a short review, tell us why it’s so special to you and hear what others have on their reading lists. This will be a casual, informal meeting, great for getting to know other members and asking cross-triad questions, too! Time to hit the books…

Discussion will be moderated by Miriam von. Born-Storm, AKA Member. Information about Miriam: Both of my children were adopted in Canada as infants, my son in 1975, and my daughter in 1978. Both were closed adoptions. Although I was working for an agency that handled adoptions the concept of open adoptions came many years later. At the time of the adoption of our first child I was working as an adoption caseworker with the Children’s Aid Society (CAS) of Halifax, Nova Scotia and before that, had worked in Child Protection Services at CAS and in Manitoba. Miriam graduated from the University of Manitoba with a BA in Sociology and Psychology in 1967 and from UT Austin with a Masters in Social Work in 1992.

April 16, 2018 7pm
Relaxation and Diaphragmatic Breathing by Sandra Bravo, LPC

Based on Robert Sapolsky’s, neuroendocrinologist, research and book Why Zebras Don’t Get Ulcers.

This presentation will teach you how the brain and body responds to anticipatory stress and how you can calm a hypervigilant “fight-or-flight” response. You will learn about retraining the brain to be less hypervigilant and more relaxed. You will practice diaphragmatic breathing and learn creative ways (such as blowing bubbles and chewing gum to blow bubbles) to teach children how to calm their “fight-or-flight” response through deep breathing.

Sandra studied psychology and early childhood education as an undergraduate at the University of Central Texas which became affiliated with Tarleton State University. She continued her studies as a graduate student at Tarleton State University, which merged with Texas A&M University, studying psychology from a research-based perspective for the goal of entering into clinical practice. After graduating with a Master of Science in Counseling Psychology from Texas A&M University-Central Texas she earned a Master of Arts in Religion degree from the Episcopal Theological Seminary of the Southwest studying spirituality and ethics. Her research into romantic relationships culminated into a thesis paper titled Human Love: Enriching the Concept of Intimacy.

Sandra has been honored to teach survivors of trauma both mindfulness and biofeedback techniques to deal with Posttraumatic Stress Disorder symptoms, soldier reintegration after deployment, and Trust Based Relational Intervention to family members of foster and foster-to-adopt children. She has enjoyed being a guest lecturer for undergraduate and graduate psychology courses at Texas A&M University-Central Texas and Seminary of the Southwest. You can find her offering continuing education courses on professional boundaries and burnout prevention or workshops on stress reduction through diaphragmatic breathing in the Austin area.

Past Meetings:

January 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

November 2014 – November 7-8, 2014 Annual Conference with Leslie Pate Mackinnon, L.C.S.W.

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