As the year comes to a close, I am excited to announce that after nearly 11 years of overseeing Hillside Children’s Center’s Adoption Services, I am changing direction. I am expanding my private practice, drawing on my expertise in adoption, trauma, yoga, mind/body/spirit practice and life in transition be it divorce, marriage, new babies or babies leaving the nest, and other significant life changes. I welcome this adventure of my own personal transition, from whence I came and where I am headed.
In 2005, the organization that Cindy Fleischer and I created, Adoption Resource Network (1991) merged with Hillside to revitalize the agency’s adoption program that originated in the early 1800’s.
I am proud of all I accomplished during my tenure as Director of Adoption at Hillside, including updating Domestic Infant Adoption to include non-directive pregnancy counseling honoring a woman’s right to make the decision that she felt right for her, and initiating open adoption our best practice; becoming accredited by the Hague Convention on International Adoption; starting a Waiting Child Adoption program to assist individuals and couples in adopting a child through the U.S. child welfare system; and becoming a Wendy’s Wonderful Kids grant-funded agency, working to find families for our country’s loneliest and vulnerable children, matching nearly 50 youth with adoptive families in less than 5 years.
Under my direction, we provided post adoption services through a state funded grant to families struggling to cope with the challenges of parenting children from hard places –abuse, neglect and complex trauma; and through a federal grant worked to find forever families for 30 youth who had been in out-of-home care from 5 to 18 years.
I initiated an agency-wide initiative to examine the issue of allowing adopted individuals access to their original birth certificates (OBC) to working with our advocacy representatives in drafting legislation for access. Although the legislature has yet to pass a bill, I believe we made great strides both in shifting Hillside leadership attitudes to support OBC as well as making some gains within State government.
Hillside’s Adoption Services has undergone some changes, but still remains an excellent choice for individuals and couples seeking to adopt a child in need of a safe, stable, unconditionally loving family, whether the child is in care in the U.S. or a foreign country. Barb Borick, Marty Cardona, Karen Kelley and Ellen Fazio are among the most compassionate and caring experts in the field of adoption today.
As we head into 2016, I look forward to expanding my work in adoption, writing home studies for those seeking to adopt a baby, working adopted individuals as they seek to find their birth family and their own birth history, and helping families to meet the unique challenges of adoption.
Yoga has been an ever evolving and important aspect of my life for the last ten years. I have had the good fortune of time for regular practice and growth. I am excited about earning a certificate from the Trauma Center of the Justice Resource Institute (Boston) and incorporating the use of Trauma Center Trauma-Sensitive Yoga (TC-TSY) in working with individuals with trauma histories. This innovative approach has empirical evidence behind it to show how becoming more present through attachment, interoception, and attunement helps to create new neuropathways and facilitates healing of body, mind and spirit. I will be facilitating a TC-TSY yoga group beginning mid-January. You will find information about this group at www.sativirya.com.
I have been providing counseling through Strong's Employee Assistance Program, and delivering presentations across Strong's system of care, including Well-U, Sawgrass Medical Center, and other members of Strong's EAP on a variety of health and wellness topics.
I've also been involved with other projects, including Spiral River and Adoption Center of Upstate New York. These projects have been invigorating and meaningful.
Dena Adler, Luna Pink and I invite you to begin a journey with Spiral River on an evolving path toward wholeness and fulfillment. We weave elements of Yoga and Movement, Expressive Creative Arts and Nature and Wilderness Ventures in heart-opening ways for our souls, mind and bodies to intertwine. The experiences are sensory and uplifting. There is time for deep inner work, time to be creative, time for opportunities to reflect, and time to connect with others. Look for our upcoming programs at www.spiralriver.net.
Adoption Center of Upstate New York offers parent groups, parent and professional workshops (including NASW CEUs) and adoption-competent counseling. As a Senior Consultant with National Center on Adoption and Permanency, I also offer consultation and training across the country. Check out our websites, www.adoptioncenterofupstateny.com and www.ncap-us.com.
I am so very excited about this, my own personal and professional transition, new adventures and new ways of serving.