The Adoption Summit Experience 2015: Come Climb With Us, An On-line Summit

This post is reprinted from the blog which I wrote for the Long Island Adoption Support Group last week.

Adoption Summit

As an adoptive parent, I know what it is like to feel challenged by the unique and complicated demands of life as an adoptive family. As an adoption coach, I know how other families struggle to locate resources that understand adoption and are attuned to the needs of child and parents–both adoptive and birth parents. Living as an adoptive family has often felt like a trek up the steep slopes of Mt. Everest. I suspect other adoptive families experience similar moments of overwhelm and confusion.

Imagine finding and talking with a knowledgeable guide who’s also walked that path and survived. Imagine feeling heard, understood and supported, with empathy not judgment. Imagine being able to know what will best serve your child, yourself, your partner, and, your child’s birth parents. How might that kind of unified resource help your family? Imagine no more.

On Nov. 10-12, 2015 and Nov. 17, 2015 a collaboration of adult adoptees, birth parents, adoptive parents and adoption professional join together to present “The Adoption Summit Experience.” This free, on-line summit is unique as the three individual perspectives join forces to become one voice—a voice that speaks with respect and compassion for all individuals involved in an option.


Our goal is to create an opportunity for anyone, anywhere who is interested in adoption to lean in and listen to conversations from different perspectives,” says Parsons, creator of the event. “Every presenter volunteers their time and energy to make adoption better in some way. These are people who have transformed their relinquishment and adoption challenges into action for positive change. This event is a first of its kind.”

—LeAnne Parsons

adoption both and.6 Summit presenters will address adoption from all “sides” and will share the insights and learnings that we have acquired along the way.  We want to take our hard-won wisdom and infuse it with purpose to create a more collaborative and mutually supportive understanding of adoption. All presenters are directly living adoption either as first parents, adoptees or adoptive parents.

As listeners hear the “other” viewpoints, we hope to awaken empathy and understanding of how we are inextricably and permanently interconnected. Instead of compartmentalizing adoption into adoptee issues, birth parent issues and adoptive parent issues, we accept this interconnectivity as the reality of adoption. By understanding the needs of each part of the adoption triad, we can work together to make adoption better for all involved.

Are you in an open adoption, trying to determine how to make it work? Do you wish you knew how to enjoy and balance your happiness against a backdrop of the grief and loss of your child’s birth parents? Do you wonder how to handle your own triggers? Do you ever wish you could chat with several birth mothers to ask them questions to help you relate better with “your” birth mother/s? Then this summit is for you!

Are you struggling to handle the challenges of adoption and yearn to speak with parents who have “survived” similar events and whose family remained firmly attached and thrived? Do you wish you knew alternative parenting strategies—ones tested by other adoptive families? Then this summit is for you!

L is for LoveAre you looking for guidance on good resources? How do you evaluate which therapists, coaches, social workers, etc. understand adoption and are properly prepared to guide you? Do you know which books truly serve your family and which perpetuate outdated social myths? Then this summit is for you!

Imagine learning from adult adoptees what worked, didn’t work or what they wished their parents had done for them. How might that knowledge help you be a better parent to your child?

Have you ever wished you could talk honestly about your family struggles with no fear of judgment? Imagine confiding in peers who understand the joy, frustration, fear and commitment that adoptees face? Then this summit is for you

Watch this welcome video from Adoption Summit sponsor and adult adoptee, LeAnne Parsons as she invites you to “Come Climb with Us” at the free, on-line adoption summit. All who are interested in adoption are welcome and urged to participate. Register today:


Your Family’s Adoption Library.v8.10.07.2015Gayle’s presentation at the summit will focus on books as an ideal resource for introducing and sustaining healthy adoption conversations both within and beyond the family. It will include three bibliographies: one for children, one for parents and one of books written by adult adoptees.

Gayle is a co-founder of GIFT Family Services which provides adoption support before, during and after adoption, an adoption coach, adoptive parent, former foster parent and co-author of the multi-award-winning, “ABC, Adoption & Me: A Multicultural Picture Book.” She blogs regularly at “Growing Intentional Families together” She also writes an Adoption-attuned blog titled, “Writing to Connect” which reviews books through a High AQ lens. While some are specifically about adoption, most are not. She strives to help parents notice teachable moments in whatever books they share with their children.

Watch this welcome video from Adoption Summit sponsor and adult adoptee, LeAnne Parsons as she invites you to “Come Climb with Us” at the free, on-line adoption summit. All who are interested in adoption are welcome and urged to participate.

A Child Delights in Seeing “Himself” in ABC, Adoption & Me

ABC, Adoption & Me display

ABC, Adoption & Me, visits Windmill Point Elementary School

When a school invites me to do an author visit, it still thrills me. I love to watch children as they listen to a story, absorb it, and ask questions. Books have such potential to affect lives.  Casey and I wrote ABC, Adoption & Me with the intention of making it that kind of book—one that truly touches children’s hearts and minds.

While reading ABC, Adoption & Me to the audience at a recent school visit, I experienced that connection. I had instructed the children to study the illustrations and listen to the text to find which page reminded them of their own family. Nodding heads and smiling faces indicated that the children had enjoyed the story.

I returned to my display table. Tugging on his Mom’s arm, a young child made a beeline to me. “I know which letter is like my family.” He beamed at me and hastily turned the pages until he came to O is for Open Adoption. Tapping his chest and then tapping the pages, he continued, “Open Adoption. That’s me. I have an Open adoption.” Clearly he was thrilled to see his experience reflected in the pages of a book. Coincidentally, the illustration character was Latino like himself.

I felt like he’d given me a gift—the gift of knowing that we had accomplished our goal of expanding adoption literature to reflect the child’s experience and to do it in a way that validated that experience.

Last week was Children’s Book Week. Much of the focus highlighted the need for more diverse books. The hashtag #weneeddiversebooks skyrocketed across the web gaining momentum and opening the conversation on the value of diversity in literature.  We are pleased to be part of that increased diversity. The right combination of a great story well told can engage a child’s mind and heart. This is how lifelong readers are born.


Harmonizing the Notes of Diversity

Benny Goodman.51+C+5IvLeL._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_Books offer an excellent way to connect, to create community, to promote healing and to educate. As an adoptive parent and an adoption coach, I especially appreciate books that help to improve the lives of adoptive families.

+Alex Baugh recently reviewed Benny Goodman & Teddy Wilson: Taking the Stage as the First Black and White Jazz Band in History by Lesa Cline-Ransome, illustrated by James E. Ransome. (Follow the link to read her entire review.) This story shows how they worked to make beautiful music together–literally and metaphorically.

Music is a language that touches us deeply and communicates  beyond words, cultures and prejudices. But music was (is)  a product of the society from which it grows and even it suffered the constraints of segregation. Until–until these gifted musicians realized they wanted–needed–to play together.

For all of us, music is a powerful force that not only entertains, but also transforms. It helps us to become global citizens that appreciate the glory of diversity and appreciates that we are enriched by our differences not diminished by them. As adoptive families, we have a particular interest in expanding the acceptance of diverse family groups. As we embrace diversity, as we live diversity, we prove that it is not how similar a family looks that bonds them together. It is how they love, respect, and accept one another. Blaze a path and be a shining star for tolerance, diversity and compassion.

What books have you found shrink the globe and that brings us together as members of the Family of Man? Please share your favorite titles, so we all can enjoy them!