Invited Speakers for Discussion Panels
Birth Parent Activist Panel
Carmen joined the Leadership Curriculum in 2001 with the Child Welfare Organizing Project (CWOP) and graduated 2002 becoming a parent organizer. She became the coordinator for Child Safety Conferences working together with ACS. She also received an award from Family Unity Awards. Carmen went to Brazil for world change World social Forum 2003 with Community Voices Heard (CVH). She created a digital story with The National Resource Center for Permanency & Family Connection that can be viewed on CWOP’s website underneath parent’s perspective. Additionally, she has sat on a panel to make a presentation for Lawyers at the Marriott Hotel. She was also trained by ACS to be a Visit Coach, which is an intensive form of visiting where the Visit Coach helps the parent improve their parenting skills and interaction during visits, engaging toward reunification. Carmen currently works for Edwin Gould Services for Children and Families in Brooklyn as the Parent Advocate/Visit Coach
Claudia Corrigan D’Arcy
Claudia Corrigan D’Arcy has been writing about life as a birthmother, Adoptee Rights & the unethical adoption industry since 2005. She originally began independently researching adoption issues early in 2001 in preparation of the successful search and reunion with her own son, Max, whom was placed for adoption in 1987.
Her writings on adoption issue have been published in The New York Times, What to Expect, Chicago Now, BlogHer, Divine Caroline, Adoption Today Magazine, Adoption Constellation Magazine, Adoption Voice Magazine, and many others. She has been interviewed by Dan Rather, Montel Williams and appeared on Huffington Post regarding adoption as well as presented at various adoption conferences. She regularly contributes to Gazillion Voices Magazine as well as helps run various adoption related social media accounts.
She serves on the Board of Directors for the Adoptee Rights Coalition assisting in organizing the annual national Adoptee Rights Demonstration and lobby efforts at the National State Legislators Convention annual summit.
Her website, Musings of the Lame, is a much needed road map for many mothers who relinquished, adoptees who long to be heard, and adoptive parents who seek understanding. For more go to; www.MusingsoftheLame.com
Judy Foster advocates for legislative change and truth in adoption as a Board Member for the American Adoption Congress and as a member of NJCARE – the New Jersey Coalition for Adoption Reform and Education. She co-facilitates the Morristown Post-Adoption Support Group and has presented on panels at conferences, universities and local support groups. In 1961, Foster surrendered her daughter to adoption. She and Donna were reunited in 1998, and they and her two granddaughters continue to enjoy a warm, loving and fulfilling relationship.
Foster retired in 2000 from Lucent Technologies after a 40-year administrative management career with Bell Labs and AT&T. She holds a B.S. in Business Management from Fairleigh Dickinson University, completed Northwestern University’s Kellogg Executive Development Program, and was an executive sponsor/mentor for Lucent’s Information Technology Leadership Development Program with Babson College. She is also a recipient of the 2008 Angel in Adoption™ Award granted by the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute. Foster resides in Randolph, NJ with her husband, George Avener and her granddaughter.
Now one of the ﬁrst birth fathers to speak out about adoption, Darrick Rizzo blogs at two national adoption agencies: www.iheartadoption.org and www.chsfs.org. Thousands of adoptive parents, birth parents and adoptees are reading these blogs and ﬁnding inspiration and answers to their questions. Darrick is excited to share his insights and experience with open adoption and to show the birth father’s perspective in the adoption triad.
As a successful businessman, father, mentor and community leader, Darrick pays it forward by speaking out and motivating others. With Rizzo Productions, he facilitates new connections between parents, high school athletes and college coaches making sure the athletes put their best foot forward with video portfolios.! Slam Magazine called Darrick Rizzo “The Kobe Bryant stopper” holding Kobe to his lowest high school basketball game, a total of 8 points. For the past ten years, Darrick has also worked with programs like My Brothers Keeper and the Big Brother as a drug and alcohol mentor for troubled youth.!
All these experiences have inspired Darrick to become a Motivational and Transformation Speaker and Blogger, empowering others to overcome obstacles and ﬁnd success. Darrick understands the power of positive thinking and is grateful to be able to share this understanding with thousands of students through keynote speeches, as well as his life-lessons in adoption through national adoption agencies. Darrick knows no matter what’s going on, there’s nothing you can’t handle. Everything is possible. You can turn your pain into something positive. Join him in his outspoken and jubilant slogan: YOU GOT THIS.
Adoptive Parent Activist Panel
Martha M. Crawford
Martha Crawford LCSW is a clinical social worker and a psychotherapist, with a generalist private practice in NYC for the past 20 years. She is a graduate of NYU School of Social Work, as well as NYU’s Advanced Certificate Program in Clinical Social Work. She is the grandaughter and a sibling of adoptees, as well as an adoptive parent to two children born in Korea. She and her her husband with the help of several other committed adoptive parents and adult adoptees, founded All Together Now – an adoptee-centered support group for adopted children and their families. Martha and her husband David Amarel, Phd are also adoptive parent columnists at Gazillion Voices magazine. She is also the author of the blog What A Shrink Thinks.
Frank Ligtvoet is the white adoptive co-father of two domestically adopted African American children. He studied literature in Amsterdam, The Netherlands, and was working in the publishing industry, until his move with his partner Nanne Dekking to New York, NY. Here he was for five years responsible at the Dutch Embassy for the promotion of Dutch Culture in the USA. After adopting his kids, he became active in the adoption community and helped start the All Together Now Peer Support Groups (NY), started the group Adoptive Families with Children Of African Heritage and became board member of the NY State Citizen’s Coalition for Children (NYSCCC). As a free lance writer he published on adoption issues in a.o. Pact’s Point of View, The New York Times and the Huffington Post. He presented at the last St. John’s conference and at the NYSCCC conference, 2013, in Albany.
Jane C. Nast, M. Ed is the adoptive mother of a son, David (48) and a daughter, Karen (46). She was President of the American Adoption Congress for 6 years, a member of NJCARE (NJ Coalition for Adoption Reform and Education) since 1981, and she organized a post-adoption support group in Morristown, NJ over 30 years ago. She became involved in all of these reform groups starting in 1980, when a month before David’s 14th birthday, her family received a letter from David’s birthmother. She belonged to CUB (Concerned United Birthparents) a support group in Maine, and paid an “underground” source to find the Nast family. With sealed records in most states, this was not a common occurrence – especially when the child was a minor. It was not an easy decision, but the families met six months later. The result was positive and encouraged the Nasts to search for and meet their daughter’s birthmother.
Margie Perscheid is the adoptive mother of two young adults, both born in Korea and adopted as infants. She is the co-founder and current president of Korean Focus of Metro DC, which provides information, support and programs for adoptive parents and adoptees in Washington’s Korean adoption community, and an active member of the KAAN community. She shared her personal adoption experiences at her blog Third Mom and now writes at Adoption Paradigm Shift. Margie is a former teacher of German and ESOL, and has been a technology project and program manager since the mid 1980s. Her family is bi-coastal, living in the Washington suburbs and Los Angeles.
Adoptee Activist Panel
Pam Hasegawa was an English teacher, editorial photographer and a mother before becoming an adoption reform activist after reading “The Search for Anna Fisher” in 1973. She coordinated ALMA-NJ for several years and then became Public Education Director of ALMA until 1985 when she and her family moved to Japan for four years. Her legislative involvement began in 1980 in NJ and except for 1985-’89, hasn’t stopped.
By the time of this conference, NJ may have enacted an access law. Neither Pam nor her colleagues in NJCARE (NJ Coalition for Adoption Reform and Education) expected this effort to be such a challenge, but they have met it by speaking the truth, providing evidence of their claims, remaining dogged in the face of a relentless misinformation campaign and sharing leadership.
Joy Lieberthal received her B.S. from Union College and her Masters in Social Work from Columbia University. She was a Policy Analyst for the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute where she co-authored the Report on the First Gathering of Adult Korean Adoptees in Washington, DC and has also been published by Child Welfare League of America in their Adoption and Ethics series. Joy was a social worker at Spence-Chapin Services in NYC for nearly six years. She served as a counselor for children and parents, presented at workshops, facilitated Spence-Chapin’s Kids Groups and teen groups, and helped to create the youth Mentorship program. She has created adoption related curricula for agencies and professionals on a wide variety of topics. Joy has spoken in local and national forums, in particular, JCICS, NACAC, APC and FCC. She is currently in private practice and works primarily with kids and young adults who are adopted. She is also a counselor at The Juilliard School in Manhattan. Joy is adopted from South Korea. She was the president for six years of Also-Known-As, a NY based non-profit volunteer organization for internationally adopted people and families. She has been in reunion with her birthmother since 1994.
Kevin Haebeom Vollmers is the founder of Land of Gazillion Adoptees (LGA), a multimedia company based out of Minneapolis, MN. He is also the co-editor of Gazillion Voices magazine. And Kevin is the publisher of: Parenting As Adoptees, The Declassified Adoptee: Essays of an Adoption Activist; Lost Daughters: Writing Adoption From a Place of Empowerment and Peace; Hank Aaron’s Daughter. Much of his work focuses on the intersectionality between adoption, race, culture, identity, performance, art, politics, and social movement. He has been featured in The New York Times, National Public Radio, Minnesota Public Radio, CNN, Colorlines, Racialicious, and the Daily Beast. Kevin lives in Minneapolis with his two kids.
Sandra White Hawk
Sandra White Hawk is a Sicangu Lakota adoptee from the Rosebud Reservation, South Dakota. Sandra is the founder and Director of First Nations Repatriation Institute (formerly First Nations Orphan Association). First Nations Repatriation Institute is the first organization of its kind whose goal it is to create a resource for First Nations people impacted by adoption or foster care to return home, reconnect, and reclaim their identity. The Institute also serves as a resource to enhance the knowledge and skills of practitioners who serve First Nations people.
Sandra organizes Truth Healing Reconciliation Community Forums that bring together adoptees/fostered individuals, their families and professionals with the goal to identify post adoption issues and to identify strategies that will prevent removal of First Nations children. She has also initiated an ongoing support group for adoptees and birth relatives in the Twin Cities, MN.
Sandra is a spokesperson on the issues of the adoption and the foster care system and how it has impacted First Nations people. She has traveled throughout the United States, Canada, Costa Rica, Australia, Japan and Alaska sharing her inspirational story of healing.
More Information To Come!