January 2013




Hello All!

We are well into the New Year and people are used to writing '13 instead of '12, President has been inaugurated, children are back in school, snow and cold have come and gone and come again, and we are moving forward here at PACT.

What we've been doing and thinking about since the last newsletter:
  • I was in Dublin for a superb wedding and while there, did a day-long training with Dr. Valerie O'Brien on Search and Reunion at University College Dublin. It was an amazing turnout for the pre holiday season with birth parents, adoptive parents, adopted people and professionals eager to listen, share, learn and discuss challenges and joys of search and reunion.
  • I was able to do a series of consultations with families in NYC and NJ this month and that went very well.
  • While there, I went over to JCC Pallisades to do a training/discussion for a wonderful group of adoptive parents who have young adult adopted children and have been meeting for over twenty years.  Kudos to them for continuing to grow and learn with their children/young adults.
  • Through Harvard Medical School, I led a training of Adult Psychiatry Residents at Cambridge Health Alliance- (CHA) on working with adoption- related cases.  
  • Our New York Course is about half done and it is invigorating and amazing. A great group of clinicians eager to know everything they can in order to provide the best services to people who live in adoption and complex families. We moved to a larger space this month and things are progressing nicely..
Scheduling Consults in New York


After receiving numerous requests for consults in the New York area, Dr. Pavao  has decided to see clients for consults while she is in town. 
The consultation times are
very limited so book fast. 
The following dates are available:

February 7th 
Between 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. 
March 1st 
Between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. 

April  5th
Between 2 p.m. and 4  p.m.  
May 17th
Between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. 
To book any of these dates, contact Mary Limerick by phone 617 547 0909 and or email 
  A phone intake will be done prior to consultation- 
These are THE ONLY times available. 

What kind of consultations and coaching are PACT clients seeking?

Here is an overview of the month: 

  • How to support, educate and 'hold' a family through the search and reunion phase.
  • Behavioral issues in a school setting and how to educate the school so that a child is not pathologized.
  • Navigating the challenges of young adult adopted persons living at home and finding their way.
  • Divorce and remarriage - more loss and transition - how to do it well and in the best interest of the child
  • How to deal with difficult custody issues when one wants to have a true relationship with a child, while having a difficult relationship with other parent
  • Opening an adoption for a minor - how and when
  • How to talk about adoption with internationally adopted children who are just comprehending the language and may not have been told very much by the sending country/agency
  • Adoption, death of an adopted parent, new partner...how to help children negotiate loss and more loss.
  • Coaching people who want to find a professional life in the world of adoption
  • Supervising clinicians who want to be aware of all aspects of complex blended families in their work with individuals, couples and families.

It has come to my attention that some of you may be confused with PACT and Pact: An Adoption Alliance. 


I want to clarify.... There is a great organization with whom we often collaborate that is named Pact:An Adoption Alliance and is located in the Bay Area in California.  Pact was started after PACT and for many years, our PACT was submerged in Center For Family Connections (CFFC).  Since we have re-emerged as PACT once again, some folks may be confused. 


We did mention this at the time that Pact started, but they felt sure it would not matter.  We are like-minded colleagues and Pact does amazing work with transracial adoptions and programs and publications.  They are different from us in that they are an adoption placement agency and we are not and they are not a clinic or clinical center and we are.  Otherwise, we have a great deal in common and a great deal of love and respect for each other. We hope this helps to clarify any confusion.


History Background of PACT  
  • In 1982 Dr. Joyce Maguire Pavao established PACT (Pre/Post Adoption Consulting and Training), which has a commitment to working with families that are blended and complex in nature.  These families include adoptive, foster, kinship-adoption, guardianship, and stepfamilies, as well as single parent, gay and lesbian families, and families formed by donor insemination, surrogacy, and other reproductive technologies.  Each form of complex blended family faces unique challenges and developmental issues.
  • In adoption alone, there are many different issues depending on whether the adoption is domestic, international, infant, older child, sibling set, transracial, kinship (in family) or foster adopt.
  • PACT has been around since 1982 and in 1995 became a program within Center For Family Connections (CFFC).  When CFFC closed in 2012, PACT re-emerged and is currently part of Pavao Consulting and Coaching.
These are usual families with unusual challenges.
  • Dr. Pavao was Founder, CEO, and President of CFFC (Center For Family Connections) 1995 to 2012, a non-profit organization (501c3), which was the first, and later, one of the only, free-standing resources committed to serving the specific population of adoption, foster care, and complex blended families without providing placement services as an adoption agency.  As our nation restructures the welfare system, and as international adoptions increase, there is an ever-increasing need to provide education, training, and clinical resources to families and professionals dealing with these complex families. 
  • Cambridge, Massachusetts has been the home of our network and our work for over thirty-five years, and has also served as the central office, with a presence in NYC.
  • PACT is an inclusive center, which honors diversity so that it reflects the populations that we serve.  As a network, we gain collective strength from the talent and participation of each and every one - clinical and administrative.  We have a magnificent network of dedicated, responsible, and responsive staff.
  • Dr. Pavao has done trainings nationally and internationally, and along with the other senior staff clinicians, has testified in complex court cases, served on task forces, and has helped to craft policy and law regarding adoption in Massachusetts and in others states in this country.
  • Dr. Pavao has been developing models for treatment and training with this population for over thirty- five years.  Her models emphasize that it is important to provide training and larger-system consultation to all who live and work in this world of blended families.  Her models also view adoptive and complex families in a non-pathologizing framework.  Clinical intervention or treatment is based on the theory of Brief Long-Term Therapy™ that meets the needs of families at different developmental stages in a positive and healthy manner.
  • With all of this experience and expertise and a network of trained experts, directed by Dr. Pavao, it is our hope that this work of PACT will expand and be available to even more children, families, and the professionals who serve them.  
  • An example of that is the newest demonstration project through Riverside Community Care.  It is called Riverside AACT (After Adoption Consultation and Training), and the goal is to impact services to children with mental health issues who are adopted and experiencing the normal challenges after their losses and trauma that led to their adoption.  
Foster Youth Internships:

  • CCAI Internship: Don't miss the opportunity to apply (or encourage a young person from foster care to apply) for the one of a kind Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute's Foster Youth Internship. Selected individuals will spend a couple life changing months on Capitol Hill contributing to policy improvements! Please share this opportunity! Applications Due Friday, Jan. 11th!
  • FosterClub Internship: FosterClub's All-Star application for 2013 is now open! Do you know an outstanding young person formally in foster care? Please take a moment to encourage him/her to apply to be an intern with this amazing organization. You just might be the person that changes their life with this neat opportunity. Please share this post!  CLICK HERE


  • As part of Riverside AACT, I did two long consultations with two different programs at The Guidance Center in Cambridge. It was a very eager and astute group of clinicians and interns who were there to consult and further their knowledge about adoption and post adoption.
  • Riverside AACT also began our Consultation program for DCF. The first consults were held in Lawrence regarding complex cases.
  • AACT is doing consultations with DMH. This month the consults were at the Arlington office for a half day. 


The Guidance Center's

10th Annual Celebrating Families Gala


Please consider starting the New Year with a donation 

to Riverside AACT! 


You can designate your tax deductible donation to Riverside After Adoption Consulting and Training! 


For more information, 

please contact:

Heather Hagen 


[email protected]

(Be Sure to designate your funds restricted to Riverside AACT)


Some of you know that ARC (Adoption ReSource Center) presents a Summer Intensive Training each year. Last year would have been the 27th year, but the closing of CFFC and all of the transitions and losses included in that, made it impossible.  


This year we are hoping for magnanimous sponsors to join us in making it happen and continue. 


Save the date and contact us to see how you can collaborate, donate, send attendees and strengthen the learning of many around the challenges and joys of adoption and complex families. More on this will be settled in our next newsletter, but please save the date and save the day! By donating.



Transitions, Trust, Trauma, and Truth

Post Adoption: What we know and what we need to know to strengthen families and children

27th Annual ARCheology Summer Intensives 


June 23,24,25, 2013

How post adoption services and consciousness have changed, and how this change shapes the lives of people who live and work in the world of adoption

Sunday,June 23 and Monday and Tuesday, June 24 & 25 2013
ARC Intensives*: Sunday -setting the scene with film, discussion and panels regarding the importance of dialogue in adoption (For professionals, parents [birth, adoptive, foster, etc], adult adopted people, and extended family) Monday June 24 and Tuesday, June 25, 2013






Crate Escape is opening

on January 28, 2013

at 200 Terminal Street, Charlestown!

Charlestown is a perfect location for city dogs daycare! 



Visit Crate Escape at 200 Terminal on Jan 23rd

PRE OPENING TOURS. 12noon - 7pm


Dog interviews too! Pre Register your dog for daycare!

Check out our website, www.crate-escape.com, for more information and to see some of the FUN! As soon as your visit our facility you will  feel the ambience, care and special service  that is integral in our services.

Highlights from the Creating a Family radio show


Sexual Development in Adopted Children 

While sexual development follows much the same pattern for all children, there are some special issues that adopted children might face. These include precocious puberty, the effects of childhood abuse or neglect on later sexual development, and questions about how the birds and bees applies to them. Our guests are Dr. Bradley Miller, a Pediatric Endocrinologist at the University of Minnesota and Dr. Joyce Maguire Pavao, a therapist specializing in adoption and an adjunct faculty member in Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School.

  • What is precocious puberty?
  • How is precocious puberty defined medically?
  • Does it affect both girls and boys?
  • Why is early puberty a problem?
  • What causes precocious puberty?
  • Are adopted children at higher risk for early onset of puberty?
  • What physical signs should parents look for?
  • Are there specific risk factors for early onset of puberty and can anything be done to decrease that risk?                
  • Are there foods that should be avoided or encouraged to reduce the likelihood of early puberty
  • Are daughters of single mothers at increased risk for early sexual development
  • Does race affect the age puberty begins
  •  Does a child's weight affect the age puberty begins?
  •  How is precocious puberty diagnosed?
  •  How is it treated, or need it be treated?
  •  How much growth can be expected after a girl reaches puberty?
  • Should puberty ever be medically delayed for growth reasons?
  • How can abuse and neglect in early childhood affect a child's later sexual development?
  • How else does early abuse affect the sexual development from the physiological standpoint?
  • Does it matter whether it was abuse or neglect or what kind of abuse the child was exposed to-physical, mental or sexual?
  • The long term psychological impacts of abuse and neglect are legend, but specifically, how does this early life experience alter healthy sexual development?
  • What can we do to help our children with experiences they may have had before they came into our care? Some may not remember specific events, but obviously had exposure to sexual activity at an early age.
  • At what age should parents start talking with their children about sex and human sexuality?
  • How should parents talk to young children about sex?
  • How might the parent's infertility affect the way they handle their child's sexual development?
  • How can adoptive parents help their children to not internalize their birth parents behavior and not feel doomed to repeat their mistakes?
  • How can adoption affect a child's perception of their sexuality?


Cambridge Therapy Office


(Pre/Post Adoption Consulting and Training)

Office Space for Rent

Ideal For Adoption Competent Therapist, or as a Writer's Room

PACT - 220 Concord Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02138 
617 547 0909 [email protected]


Tax Break That Helps Private School Parents Is Made Permanent 

Sex in Cold Climate
Sex in a cold climate
This documentary interviews four women and takes a look at their lives in "Magdalene Asylums". 

Dr. Pavao, and Dr. Valerie O'Brien of UCDublin, are currently working on research involving the Magdalene Asylums and International Adoption.

The Harris Narratives:
An Introspective Study of a Transracial Adoptee 


Parenting Workshop


Dr. Cohen, a licensed psychologist specializing in children's play and play therapy, and the 
author of PLAYFUL PARENTING, will be holding a workshop for parents on 2/7/13 from 630pm-830pm in Belmont, MA.  Click for Details



Interviews begin 

Adoption Therapy Internship/Externship