Family Stories: How to talk to Children about Adoption and Donor Origins
Date: Saturday May 1, 2010
Time: 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Lunch will be served
Place: Montclair, NJ
This workshop is for parents, parents-to-be and professionals who would like to learn how to talk to children at the different ages and stages they go through in understanding adoption and donor origins. Three separate tracks will be offered: one covering adoption, another discussing donor origin issues and a third track for kids to touch on these issues as well. You can follow one track or mix and match. This program is approved by the National Association of Social Workers (provider #886509641) for 5 continuing education contact hours. Professionals working with these issues can get CEU credits for attendance.
This workshop program has been developed by Joni S. Mantell, LCSW Director of IAC Center, a psychotherapist specializing in adoption, and a recognized expert on integrating adoption and child developmental issues and Judith Kottick, LCSW, Director of Fertility Counseling and Consulting Services, a psychotherapist and recognized expert in the field of reproductive counseling with a particular emphasis on egg donation and gestational carrier arrangements.
Room 3 & 4
9:00 – 9:30
Welcome Keynote: The Parenting Story: Understanding Your Child and Being Yourself
Children may participate in family stories activities or spend time in a babysitting room
9:30 – 10:30
Talking to kids about Adoption from Infancy to Age 6
Disclosure- Conversations about Donor Conception
Kids Room: Social Games
10:30 – 11:30
Talking to kids about Adoption from Ages 7 to 12
The New Blended Family: Mixed Cultures and Genetics
Kids Room: Art Projects
11:30 – 12:15
12:15 – 1:15
Adoption Triad Panel
Donor Parents’ Panel
Kids Room: WISE Up Tools
1:15 – 2:15
Communication about Adoption Toolkit
Donor Kids Panel
Kids room: Books and Art
2:15 – 3:00
Concluding Remarks, Questions and Discussion
Time: Promptly at 9:00 to 9:30 a.m.
The Parenting Story: Understanding Your Child and Being Yourself
Speakers: Joni S. Mantell, LCSWand Judith Kottick, LCSW
The speakers will discuss some of the simultaneous issues that parents and children experience in relation to the ages and stages that children go through in understanding of their family stories.
For Kids: Throughout the day we offer a choice of a kid’s activity room and a baby sitting room
Adoption Track: Talking to Kids about Adoption from Infancy to Age Six
Speaker: Joni S. Mantell, LCSW
This workshop is for both adoptive parents of young children and pre-adoptive parents who would like to learn how to begin talking about adoption, what your child can understand at these early ages, how to answer your child’s earliest questions about adoption and how to create a safe, open family atmosphere in which adoption can be discussed.
Donor Track: Disclosure—Conversations about Donor Conception
Speaker: Judith Kottick, LCSW
This workshop will provide parents and prospective parents with the tools to create a tailor-made plan to tell your children about their donor origins. We will address the pros and cons of disclosure at different ages, how to develop language to explain the donor and what and when to tell friends and family. The goal is to set the stage for your child to form a positive identity and sense of family connection.
For Kids: Social games or a baby sitting play room. Kids will meet and greet and get comfortable with each other.
Adoption Track: Talking to Kids about Adoption from Ages 7 – 12
Speakers: Lauren Scheiner, MSW and a panel of adoptive parents.
This workshop is for adoptive parents and for any professionals who work with children in this age group. Learn about the 4 Key issues children these ages find difficult to put into words; how to explore these issues with a child; and how to help a child answer questions about adoption, and to deal with peer or school issues.
Adoption and Donor Track: The New Blended Family: Mixed Cultures and Genetics
Speakers: Judith Kottick, LCSW and Joni S. Mantell, LCSW
Families today are often a mix of origins, whether through domestic or international adoption, adoptions from different countries; biological or donor origin children, or gestational carrier births. Join us for a discussion of the issues involved in decision making while family planning and in communicating with children about the varying ways they entered the family.
For Kids: Art Projects or a babysitting play room. Family Story projects will be introduced in a way that offers children the chance to express themselves, but there will be no expectation that they do. The goal is to give them the opportunity and to address questions or concerns that may not be acknowledged in other settings.
Moderator: Lauren Scheiner, MSW and a panel of adoptive parents, birth parents and adults who were adopted.
The panel members will share their personal experiences and perspectives on adoption as they have lived it over the course of the life cycle.
Donor Track: Donor Parents Panel
Moderator: Judith Kottick, LCSW
The real experts on telling and talking, parents of donor conceived children, will describe personal disclosure stories and will talk about their children’s reactions to finding out about their genetic origins.
For Kids: WISE Up tools for general purposes or a babysitting play room.
Moderator: Jane Cramer, MSW
Kids will have a chance to role play responses to any questions, comments or teasing examples that they bring up. The WISE Up tools (Walk away; say It’s private; Share something personal; Educate or use Humor) will be applied to any situations the children in the group want to bring up. This is a good model for any teasing or bullying a child encounters.
Adoption Track: Communicating about Adoption Toolkit
Moderator: Joni Mantell, LCSW and A Panel of Professionals
Talking is only one of the ways to communicate with children about their family stories and identities. At the IAC Center we have found it helps to have a variety of strategies and a full tool kit. In this workshop we will discuss books, life books, play techniques, models for dealing with the schools and with peers; and how to understand the benefits and timing of support groups for both children and parents.
Donor Track: Donor Kids Panel
Moderator: Judith Kottick, LCSW
Through personal appearances and videotape, we will hear from thechildren themselves, what they think and feel about their genetic origins.
For Kids: Book reading and art or a babysitting play room.
Moderators: Joni S. Mantell, LCSWand Judith Kottick, LCSW
This final session gives participants a chance to address the issues raised throughout the day and to leave with information and resources pertinent to their own lives.
The IAC Center offers counseling and education. We do not do adoptions and are not affiliated with any agency or attorney. We offer a safe and professionally guided environment where you can talk and learn about infertility and adoption issues that occur over the course of the life cycle.
Seating is limited. Pre-registration is required and should be completed at least one week prior to the event. Payment must be received in order to confirm your registration. Cancellations must be received at least three days prior to the event.