2015 Conference – Parenting Through Adoption (March 7, 2015)

  • 2014 CAFFA Board Picture
  • 2015 CAFFA Conference Heart Gallery of IL
  • 2015 CAFFA Conference Keynote
  • 2015 CAFFA Nathan Ross
  • 2015 CAFFA Conference Attendance

*This conference is not a function of Wheaton College - all inquiries regarding this event should be directed to CAFFA only - thank you.


We are thrilled to introduce you to our lineup of Keynote Speakers for our event!  This year, we will kick off our day with “Growing Up Adopted”, featuring inspiring, thought provoking real-life stories from Nathan Ross, Amy Kenney & Carmen Knight.

Nathan Ross

120_ross-nathanNathan Ross came into foster care in 1999 after severe abuse and neglect led to the deaths of two of his brothers. Once in care, he spent two years in a Belton foster home and was then adopted in Blue Springs when he was 14. At 18, Nathan began using his story to help effect positive changes within the child welfare system. He has spent the last seven years going across the country, advocating for a system that fights against child abuse and neglect. Nathan works full time as the Project Coordinator of the Community Champions Network for the North American Council on Adoptable Children (http://www.nacac.org/postadopt/ccn.html), an agency that promotes and supports permanent families for children and youth in the U.S. and Canada—especially children and youth who are or have been in foster care and those with special needs.

Amy Kenney


Amy Kenney is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker with over ten years of experience working in adoption. She has worked with adoptive families, adoptees, and birth families in all types of adoption, including: private domestic adoption, international adoption, foster care adoption, and special needs adoption.  In addition to counseling and training pre-adoptive families, she has facilitated support groups for both families and adoptees, and has been a panelist on multiple webinars for Adoption Learning Partners.  Amy’s passion for adoption is rooted in her own experience as an adoptee. She was adopted as a baby in a closed adoption in the 1970’s in South Dakota. Amy met her birth mother 19 years ago and now has a relationship with several members of her biological family. Amy currently lives in Florida with her husband.

Carmen Knight


Carmen Knight is an international transracial adoptee from Peru. Her undergraduate degree is in Social Science Education and Secondary Education, and she has gone on and acquired her Masters in Marriage and Family Therapy. Carmen has been working in the adoption community since 2006 and is currently working as an adoptive parent counselor at The Cradle. She has also worked in collaboration with both Bridge Communications, Inc. and The Ties Program. Some of her past experiences in the adoption field include working at culture camps and adoptee camps, leading classes and seminars on adoption topics at conferences and for various adoption agencies, speaking on adoptee panels, and helping families prepare logistically and emotionally for touring their child’s homeland. She has also provided emotional support to families doing birth searches and reunions, and has worked with adoptive families as a therapist. Her encompassing knowledge aligned with her passion has guided countless families who have come together through adoption.

We believe our Keynotes will offer an educational and moving presentation, not to be missed!


Following the Keynote Address, the day will be broken up into five time slots, during which several workshops will run concurrently in each session.


7:30 am             Conference registration and continental breakfast; exhibits and bookstore open

8:30 am             Opening remarks and keynote presentation  

9:35 am             Session 1  

10:45 am          Session 2

11:55 am           Session 3  

1:00 pm           Lunch and exhibit viewing (in two shifts to accommodate everyone comfortably)

2:20 pm             Session 4

3:30 pm             Session 5

4:30 pm             Adjourn

We are pleased to offer an exciting array of topics, ranging from pre-adoptive and waiting parent information, to parenting concerns for new and “experienced” parents, to topics well suited for Adoption Professionals.   Our Conference showcases speakers from a wide variety of organizations and backgrounds - many local, and others from across state lines - all with impressive credentials. 


CAFFA is pleased to announce that the following organizations will be exhibiting their goods and/or services, which will include agencies and attorneys, as well as services and products for waiting, pre-, and post-adoptive families.

Adoption-Link Adoption Agency

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Family Building Law

Adoption Agency

Adoption Agency

Adoption Agency

Comprehensive Treatment Services

Illinois Adoption Lawyer

African/African American Hair Care

Nonprofit Adoption Advocacy Group

The Adoption Lantern Adoption Consultant Services www.TheAdoptionLantern.com

Anita Alston Ellis  Author, From Abandonment to Abundance www.anitaalstonellis.com

A Support and Educational Network to Provide Tools for Birthmother-Sensitive Care-giving

Adoption Agency

A Law Firm Dedicated to building Families

Non Profit Social Services Agency

Support for Adoptive Families

Maternity Counseling & Adoption Services

Care, Advocacy and Research for Orphaned Children and Their Adopting Families

Adoption and Child Care Agency

Attachment and Trauma-Related Psychotherapy

Adoptions Unlimited, Inc. Heart Gallery of Illinois Display www.adoptinfo-il.org

Pediatric Mental Health

Adoption & Adoption Preservation

Adoption Law Firm

Adoption Agency

Multicultural Girls-Only & Boys-Only Summer Camps


CAFFA is grateful to announce our partnership with the following individuals and organizations in co-sponsoring CAFFA’s 22nd full day conference. Their generous contributions have made this conference possible and have enabled CAFFA to underwrite portions of our conference costs.  A very heartfelt THANK YOU to each of you!

gold_377_theadoptionlanternThe Adoption Lantern

Adoption Consultant Services


gold_185_cradle_logoThe Cradle/Adoption Learning Partners Adoption Services & Support

On-line adoption agency for adoptive families & those touched by adoption



gold_306_kathleenmorrisonKathleen Hogan Morrison

Adoption Law Office


gold_374_LCFS-AdoptionLCFS Family of Adoption Services | Lutheran Child and Family Services of Illinois and Lifelink International Adoption

Adoption Agency



silver_160_uofmAdoption Medicine Clinic, University of Minnesota Masonic Children's Hospital

A global leader meeting the unique medical and developmental needs of adopted children


silver_306_00000_theAdoptionConsultancyThe Adoption Consultancy

Adoption Consultant Services



silver_415_ballardBallard Desai & Miller

Adoption & Reproductive Technology Law Firm


silver_210_geniemillerGenie Miller Gillespie

Adoption Law Firm



Law Office of Denise J. Patton

A Law Firm Dedicated to building Families


silver_280_rg1RG Adoption Consulting

Providing guidance and support throughout your adoption journey


silver_172_00000_wacap_logoWorld Association for Children &Parents (WACAP)

Non-profit adoption agency



Chicago Home Security Judge
Home Security Information



Ravenswood Pediatrics - Dr. Ochs
Pediatric Practice Specializing in Adoption



Chicago Home Security Judge
Home Security Information

  Their generous contributions have made this conference possible and have enabled CAFFA to underwrite portions of our conference costs. A very heartfelt THANK YOU to each of you!


Bon Appétit will cater the event.  A continental breakfast and boxed lunch will be provided to all participants.

Breakfast Will Include:

  • Freshly baked muffins, Danish, and fruit breads
  • Chilled orange and cranberry juices & spring water
  • Freshly brewed regular and decaf coffee, and tea service

 Coffee and water will be available throughout the morning

If you are looking for a bigger breakfast, here are a couple options (please remember to allow enough time to get to Wheaton College and register on time):

Egg'lectic Café

Open at 6am
145 North Hale Street, Wheaton, IL
(630) 690-9001 ‎ · egglecticcafe.net
0.5 mi West of Wheaton College Campus

Egg Harbor Cafe

Open at 6:30am
208 South Hale Street, Wheaton, IL
(630) 221-0206 ‎ · eggharborcafe.com
0.6 mi SW of Wheaton College Campus

Box Lunches Will Be Provided To Each Conference Guest:

Each box lunch includes a fresh apple, individual bag of chips, dessert bar, napkin wrapped utensils, condiments and bottle water.

  • Ham & Swiss:  ham with swiss cheese and mixed greens on a pretzel roll
  • Ryken Roast Beef:  house roast beef, topped with crispy fried onions, sliced tomatoes, green leaf lettuce with horseradish mayo on an onion roll
  • Caprese Ciabatta:  fresh sliced mozzarella, sliced tomatoes, and fresh basil pesto on a ciabatta roll
  • Chopped Salad (Veg or Non-Veg): chopped iceberg and romaine lettuce with blue cheese crumbles, diced hard boiled egg, artichoke hearts, black olives, sliced mushrooms, sliced onions, bacon crumbles, diced tomato and croutons with a lemon basil dressing served on the side
  • Asian Chicken Salad (Veg or Non-Veg):  teriyaki marinated sliced grilled chicken on a bed of baby field greens with julienne peppers, shredded carrots, sugar snap peas, mandarin oranges and crispy rice noodles with sesame soy dressing on the side


We have made arrangements for guests of CAFFA’s Parenting Through Adoption Conference to access special rates at an area hotel.  If you are coming from out of town, consider staying at our block the night before!

We have made arrangements with the Holiday Inn & Suites in Carol Stream to offer guests of the CAFFA conference special rates and complimentary shuttle service to and from the conference.  These block rates are available until February 15, 2015.

627_HolidayInnHoliday Inn & Suites
150 S. Gary Avenue
Carol Stream, IL 60188

Group Code:  CAF

 To make your reservation, either book on line or by phone, and indicate the Group Code to receive your special rate:

Standard Double Bed:                     $ 89
King Feature:                                    $ 99
King 2 Room Suite                           $109
Double Bed 2 Room Suite              $119

Call 630.665.3000 or visit www.holidayinn.com/chi-carol (enter dates staying then enter group code).