Session 2 – 2015 Conference Speakers

10:45 am–11:45 am

2A - Navigating Your Way through a Domestic Adoption (PP)
Denise J. Patton, Attorney at Law
In this workshop you will learn the differences between an agency adoption, an independent adoption, and an identified adoption.  You will get an overview of how parental rights are terminated in the state of Illinois and gain understanding as to what the legal risks of adoption are and what you can do to protect yourself legally and emotionally.  We will briefly discuss interstate adoptions and tips for choosing an adoption agency.  You also will receive information on the adoption tax credit, how to add the child to your insurance, and what steps you need to take care of after the adoption is finalized.

Denise J. Patton (www.GrowYourFamily.Net) is an adoption attorney with over 16 years of experience who devotes her law practice to adoption and infertility law.  Denise is a member of the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys and member and past chair of the Chicago Bar Association’s Adoption Law Committee.  As an adoption attorney, Denise has successfully completed over a thousand adoptions.  Denise and her husband are former foster parents and have adopted through the DCFS foster care program.  Prior to private practice, Denise was regional counsel to DCFS, where she advised and conducted training on the termination of parental rights, the process of freeing children for adoption, and other adoption-related issues.

2B - International Adoption 101 (PP)
Susan Orban, Outreach And Education Coordinator, Children’s Home Society of Minnesota and Lutheran Social Service of Minnesota

Each year, thousands of children join their family through international adoption from Asia, Africa, Latin America, Eastern Europe, and the Caribbean.  Who are these children?  How old are they? What are their needs?  What countries are currently placing?  What is the process?  How much does it cost? 

How long does it take?  How do families qualify?  When you leave this workshop you will know the answers to these questions.  While the landscape of international adoption is constantly changing, children of all ages still need families.

Sue Orban ( has worked in child welfare for 24 years.  She has managed programs and traveled with families to Eastern Europe, Africa, Asia, and Latin American to help them with their adoptions.  Sue received the 2013 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Joint Council on International Children’s Services in recognition of her service to children and families.

2C - Siblings in Foster Care: How You Can Help (AP to all ages, APro, FP, PP, WP)
Katie Friend, Wendy’s Wonderful Kids Adoption Recruiter, Adoptions Unlimited, Inc.
This year, approximately 5,000 children will enter foster care in Illinois.  While many of these children will return home to their parents or be adopted by a relative, a significant number of children will still be waiting for a forever family at the end of the year.  A high percentage of those waiting children will be members of sibling groups who want (and deserve) the chance to remain connected with their brothers and sisters.  Fortunately, you can help!

Katie Friend serves as the Wendy’s Wonderful Kids adoption recruiter for Adoptions Unlimited, Inc. (, where she recruits families for waiting children and suggests potential matches to case managers.  She has worked in child welfare for 20 years as, among other positions, a licensing representative, intake worker, and licensing supervisor.

2D - Zen and the Art of Curiosity: Seeing Under the Surface of Adoption (AP to all ages, APro, FP)
William Kaplan, President and Clinical Director, House Calls Counseling

This workshop will help participants “become one” with curiosity.  It will provide guidelines for practicing the art of curiosity and then use video clips to help participants see examples of curiosity successes and failures in the movies.  We’ll explore those movie-failures to discover how the characters could have responded had they understood SPACE, a therapeutic parenting model which includes safety, structure, supervision, support, playfulness, acceptance, curiosity and empathy.

William Kaplan is a father and husband.  To support that work he is the president and clinical director of House Calls Counseling (, the premier Chicagoland provider of in-home attachment-focused psychotherapy.  He has presented workshops locally, regionally, nationally, and internationally and is co-producer of the DVD Chaos to Healing: Therapeutic Parenting 101.

2E - What the Child’s Heart Longs For/Seeing Beneath the Behavior (AP to all ages, APro, FP)
Kay Holler, Licensed Clinical Social Worker

Am I being played?  What does my child really need?  These are common questions faced by all parents of misbehaving children.  This interactive seminar will explore the fears, needs, and longings of our children, and how they sometimes come out sideways.  We will talk about how to become playful detectives, engaging our children, understanding their feelings and inner lives, and redirecting them.

Come prepared to share your stories and strategies.

Kay Holler ( provides therapy for individuals, couples, and families.  The parent of four young adult/teen children (two by birth and two by adoption), she specializes in working with adopted children and their families.  She has extensive experience with attachment issues and is passionate about building connections between people.

2F - Questions Children Have about Adoption and How Parents Can Help (AP to all ages, PP, WP)
Julia Friesen, LCSW, CADC

“Did I grow in your tummy?” or “Why did they give me up?” Children’s questions about adoption can come in a quiet moment or blindside you at time when it’s difficult to think about how to answer. Here’s a workshop that will present ways to honor your child’s desire for information, understand what is age appropriate, and to maintain your connection through it all.  Though each adoption is unique, there are techniques to help navigate this journey so that children are more equipped to develop, with their parents’ help, a positive sense of self.

Julia Friesen, LCSW, CADC (, is a psychotherapist specializing in adoption and attachment.  With a private practice in Winfield, Illinois, Julia has more than 15 years of experience helping families with a variety of experiences including adoption, attachment, trauma, grief, and loss.  Prior to private practice, she worked at Metropolitan Family Services in the Adoption Preservation program.