Session 2 – Conference Speakers

Session 2a: Interstate Adoption – Adopting from the other 49 states
Sheila A. Maloney, Attorney at Law , Law Office of Sheila A. Maloney

This session will focus on the some of the interstate history, requirements and practical considerations for those involved in an interstate adoption.

Sheila graduated from John Marshall Law School in Chicago, Illinois in 1986, having attended DePaul University, Chicago, graduating Summa Cum Laude in 1981. Her work experience includes working as a social worker at the American Red Cross in the disaster relief efforts. After law school, Sheila worked as Assistant State’s Attorney where Sheila handled numerous jury trials and headed the juvenile delinquency division. Sheila is an active member in the nationwide American Academy of Adoption Attorneys, past chair of the Chicago Bar Association Adoption Law Committee, current chair of the Professional Advisory Board of Resolve, and recent publisher of the Illinois Institute for Continuing Legal Education (IICLE) handbook on adoption.


Session 2b: Medical Needs of International Adoptees: A parent panel discussion
Shelly Roy LCSW, Social Worker, University of Chicago Adoption Center
Linda Walsh FNP, Clinical Director University of Chicago Adoption Center, University of Chicago Adoption Center

Internationally adoptive parents discuss meeting the medical needs of their children post adoption. Parent panelists have adopted children ranging from toddler to school aged with a wide array of medical needs. Parents will share their experiences coping with immediate medical concerns such as giardia, latent tuberculosis, scabies, and malnutrition as well as management of more complex special needs including infectious disease concerns, congenital heart disease, pre-natal substance exposure, and more. Families will share challenges faced when considering surgical interventions and navigating multiple sub-specialty care needs in the months and years post adoption. Panelists will welcome questions from the audience and Adoption Center medical staff will be eager to answer questions as well.

Shelly is a licensed clinical social worker and an internationally adoptive parent. Shelly has been working with adoptive families professionally for 10 years providing a variety of services including medical case management, family therapy, parent education, and support group facilitation. Shelly’s professional focus is the impact of early life adversity on child behavior, learning, and development.

Linda is a family nurse practitioner specializing in pediatric infectious disease. Linda has provided medical care to adoptees for the past 12 years utilizing a family centered, trauma informed model of care. Linda manages the complex medical needs of adopted children while being mindful of the impact of early life adversity on attachment and overall development.


Session 2c: How Children are Impacted by Early Trauma
Julianne Neely, MSW, LCSW, Individual And Family Connection

Parents, educators, and other professionals will develop an understanding of how trauma that happens during the pre-verbal stage of a child’s development impacts daily functioning within their homes, schools, and communities. While there is a misconception that children can be “too young to remember trauma” and therefore not effected by it, it is, in fact highly damaging for a child to experience trauma before they have the language skills to create a narrative of their experience. The memory is stored implicitly and can cause children child great distress as they grow older. However, because of the way pre-verbal trauma is encoded in the brain they won’t be able to connect their distress to their previous experience without the help of a trauma informed professional. Attendees will learn how creating trauma informed environments for these children and teaching parents to respond in a therapeutic way can help children begin to thrive.

Julianne is passionate about using an attachment and trauma informed approach to her professional work as a therapist and supervisor at Individual and Family Connection in Chicago, as well as in her personal life as a foster-adopt parent to two medically complex toddlers.


Session 2d: Theraplay: Helping Parents and Children Build Better Relationships Through Attachment Based Play
Sam Bunnyfield, LCSW, The Theraplay Institute

Theraplay® is a play based, attachment focused modality of therapy that focuses on strengthening the connections between parents and their children. When children feel safe in the context of relationship, they experience themselves as lovable, valuable and capable to achieve in all areas of their lives. This workshop will introduce professionals and parents to the underlying principles of Theraplay®, provide an opportunity to experience some of the activities and showcase the positive impact of Theraplay® on an adoptive family through a video case example.

Sam is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with extensive experience working with children and families who have experienced acute and chronic trauma, pre and post adoptive families and with children, teenagers, and adults navigating the child welfare system. She has additional experience providing therapeutic services for children ages 0-5 in a preschool setting. Sam utilizes a variety of therapeutic modalities to best meet the client’s needs including Theraplay, TF-CBT, non-directive play therapy, art therapy and Dyadic Developmental Psychotherapy. Sam earned undergraduate degrees in Women’s Studies and History at the University of Kansas and later earned a Masters degree in Social Welfare, also from the University of Kansas. Prior to entering the field of clinical social work, Sam was an early childhood educator for many years. Sam strives to be an advocate for children and families through her work as a social worker, therapist, and aspiring registered play therapist. She works to create a therapeutic environment in which children, their families, and the important adults in their lives feel free to be themselves, feel empowered to work through their struggles and engage in opportunities to develop healthy attachments.


Session 2e: Making a Match: Choosing the Right College or Post-Secondary Option
Imy Wax, Psychotherapist,Educational Consultant, Author, The Aspire Group

For a student who learns differently than the traditional student, college can seem like a dream. There are many college and post-secondary options available if the parents understand their child’s diagnosis and what to expect after high school.

Imy F. Wax,M.S. LCPC, CEP is a psychotherapist, Educational Consultant, author, and President of The Aspire Group. She has worked with the adolescent population and their families for over 38 years. She is a member of a number of professional and parent organizations. She has presented at both professional and parent conferences on a variety of topics and has published articles in several professional and parent journals. Wax has appeared as a guest on the “NBC Today Show,” has been quoted recently in The Atlantic and has appeared on other TV and radio programs. She is the co-author of the highly acclaimed book The K & W Guide To Colleges For Students with Learning Differences. Imy Wax travels over 80,000 miles around the U.S. visiting traditional and non-traditional schools, programs (including wilderness and therapeutic), colleges and post secondary environments for young children, adolescents, young adults and adults. She believes that there should never be a “closed door” for a beloved family member.


Session 2f: Keep Your Behind in the Past (darn dyslexia: Keep Your Past Behind You)
William (Billy) Kaplan, President & Clinical Director, House Calls Counseling

You know how THOSE words come out of your mouth, or you do THAT thing, which Just. Sounds. Like. Your. Mom. Or. Dad??!!! With a few simple questions, we’ll look at our how we were parented, how that may influence how we do or do not parent our kids, and how it all connects to being therapeutic parents.

Billy Kaplan’s work is being his daughters’ father and his wife’s husband. To support that work he is the President and Clinical Director of House Calls Counseling, Chicagoland’s premier provider of attachment-focused, trauma-informed psychotherapy to individuals, couples and families in the comfort of the home. He is also the Consulting Clinical Director of Kaleidoscope, Inc. He earned a Master of Social Work from Yeshiva University, the Wurzweiler School of Social Work. He has held positions in foster care, residential, and counseling programs. He has presented workshops locally, regionally, nationally and internationally. He is the co-producer of an educational DVD entitled “Chaos to Healing: Therapeutic Parenting 101.”