Spring News
PACT Pre/Post Adoption Consulting and Training
Instant Mom 
Nia Vardalos and her husband had just 14 hours notice before they brought home a preschooler via U.S. foster care. AF is pleased to share this exclusive excerpt from her hilarious, poignant new memoir of her adoption journey. 
Institutionalization found to impair ability to sustain attention
Impact of deprivation continues after adoption
Sensory Processing Disorder and the Adopted Child:
Challenging DOMA


March 15 (The Ides) is the one-year marker for my last day at CFFC.  The year that has followed that day was harsh, hard, harrowing, and horrible in so many ways. 


Luckily, it was also filled with genuine and kind people, friends and family, who truly support me and my work. It was filled with both old and new clients and colleagues and very exciting new projects that can be built upon and continue to help the larger community of adoption.  We are celebrating one year with Riverside Community Cares as well, and it has been exciting!


We move on to an Equinox, a Spring,  a new year,  and a new phase of positive and powerful energies that will continue to  create and build.   We are thrilled with our new projects through Riverside AACT and through PACT and ARC. 

New beginnings are burgeoning!


"There are children to champion, and there are families to strengthen and heal." JMPavao


This last month has been very busy - more projects are growing wildly.

  • April 10 - Dr. Joyce Maguire Pavao will present two workshops at the American Adoption Congress' International Adoption Conference
     in Cleveland, Ohio.
  • We have interviewed interns for our next year and we have chosen Laura Wilson, who is a Marriage and Family Therapy Graduate Student at Antioch and has her own extended family adoption issues that make her passionate to work as an Intern in the world of adoption, 
  • We have taken on an Extern (Externs -are seasoned professionals who want to learn more about adoption in order to serve that population).  Sue Zavaruka is our new extern and is already working hard to learn as much as she can as an Educator in Adoption.  Sue is also taking the year -long course in New York, and travels from the South Shore, MA to NYC each month to expand her repertoire. 
  • The New York course has two more sessions left and we are done with this year and on to the next!  Time has flown by, and the group is amazing and they are earnest learners who will expand the possibilities for so many children and families in adoption.   We plan to repeat the course next year in New York -and perhaps in Boston as well.

PACT (Pre/post Adoption Consulting and Training) 

and Dr. Joyce Maguire Pavao present -

The New York Post Adoption Competency Training


Using lecture, videos, classroom discussion, panel presentations, and consultations, this eight-month program is designed to help therapists develop the clinical sensitivity, and more important, competency needed to treat the mental health problems of children who come from a background of abuse and neglect and who are being raised in a family other than the birth family. The course emphasizes the development of a framework of understanding about the complexity of being a child or adult in a family by adoption and the therapeutic skills that will enable practitioners to work at the individual, couples, group, and family levels of clinical practice. Woven into each class is the impact that trauma, separation and loss-- as well as multiple moves --can have on children's development and wellbeing.


For more information please contact:


Presented by:

Adoption Resource Center (ARC) and Riverside

 Click here For full Course info



The ARC Summer Intensives live on - we will do a shorter version this year and in order to make it excellent and fulfilling, and to provide access to some folks who need scholarships, we need your support and donations!   


We need 7k to 10k more to produce and

expand our ARC Intensive Course

in Provincetown on  June 23/24, 2013.


If you'd like to make a donation towards making this year's Course available for a variety of people to attend, and to support the presenters that are giving their time to be taken care of and honored Please contact Mary Limerick

See brochure and make sure to publicize it widely


I just had a few folks from the west coast, and one from Ireland and one from Italy sign up- and we are hoping it will bring people together from near and far to think deeply and study hard and work together in a lovely and gentle setting.

Transitions, Trust, Trauma, and Truth

Post Adoption: What we know and what we need to know

to strengthen adoptive families and children 




27th Annual ARCheology  

Summer Intensives 

This year's ARC Summer Intensives aims to take a look at the aspects of adoption that involve the awareness of transitions, trust, trauma and the truth for the better education of professionals, as well as parents.


As ever, ARC will use narratives, digital sto­ries, performance and movies, as well as keynotes and panels,  to discuss the many emotional and psychological elements that can make adoption a challenge and a joy for all involved.  We will explore how the hard work of people who have been pioneers and change agents has made a difference for all of the larger Family of Adoption.


These ARC trainings are called "The Intensives" because we work and think very hard about what is needed in families associated with adoption and other complex blended families.

They are intense but in a gentle setting!


June 23-24, 2013

At the Provincetown Inn Provincetown, Cape Cod, MA

For more information please contact:


Presented by:

Adoption Resource Center (ARC) and Riverside


Stay Tuned .... 
Our Google Hangout Monthly Show (with occasional pop-ups in between) is getting worked out, and we are hoping the first round will happen in early April. Thanks to the help of Kevin Haebeom Volmers at Land of a Gazillion Adoptees. 
Our Show will be called
The mission is to keep conversations, debates, and education about what happens before and after adoption alive and in motion toward change.  The first show will feature my discussion with Ada White.
TABLE TALK....About After Adoption - is to keep conversations, debates, and education about what happens before and after adoption alive and in motion toward change.

Ada White (MSW LCSW) bridges both the public and private worlds of Child Welfare.  She worked for the State of Louisiana, from AFDC, through Foster Care, to Adoption Specialist.  She served as the Louisiana State Foster Care Manager for 2 years, and later as their State Adoption Program Manager for 11 years.  She was a founder and first Secretary of the State Foster Care Program Managers Association and was the founder and first president of National Association of State Adoption Programs (NASAP).  She served (2000-2007) as the Director of Adoptions for Child Welfare League of America, working as a consultant with States and private agencies regarding special needs, infant adoption, rural issues and international adoption.  Currently she is employed by Consortium for Children as the Director of the SAFE Program. She has a broad view of adoption, State-wide as well as nationally, with a focus on special needs adoption, rural adoption, Inter-jurisdictional issues and collaboration.  She has 30 years of experience in child welfare.) 


Susan Soon Keum Cox, Vice President of Public Policy and Advocacy at Holt International Children's Service

Susan Soon keum Cox is the Vice President of Public Policy and External Affairs for Holt International Children's Services. She has worked with international adoption and child welfare issues for more than twenty five years. Adopted from Korea in 1956, her life experience as an early international adoptee gives her a unique and personal perspective. Susan is a frequent presenter and trainer and has testified before Congress on issues related to adoption, child welfare and foreign affairs. She is a member of the Hague Special Commission on Intercountry Adoption. We will be talking about old school adoption practice and post adoption for both domestic and international adoption and what has and hasn't changed in the approximately thirty years we have all worked in this field.



You will learn more about that, and you will ultimately receive links to check it out at your leisure. This is an exciting project, but it may take a few tries to get it up and running and right...I see huge potential for it once we get it!!!

I flew off to San Francisco a couple of weeks ago, and had a chance to talk with Adopt International and Adopt Domestic folks, and then I did the wonderful Pact: An Adoption Alliance Conference in Oakland all day on the Saturday along with Brenda Romanchik, who is an amazing and knowledgeable professional who happens to be a birth mother in open adoption. Coincidentally, I stayed at the Harbour Court Hotel and my room had an amazing view of the Bay Bridge, which is currently an art installation of a light show 

Say What? 

Just a few of the many questions, concerns, and challenges we see or hear about daily here at PACT.

  • Families of adolescent adopteds trying to understand what is normal adolescent behavior and what is adoption related... hard to untangle but it is guaranteed that the adopted child has a tougher road in the area of identity and self esteem than his/her non adopted peers.
  • Parents of adolescents feeling like all they ever knew and felt adept at in their  parenting is changing for them. 
    Coaching.  That is what we are doing for that issue.
  • Families that have been split through divorce or kinship placement and who are trying to mend fences and mend hearts and minds
  • Older birthmothers who are trying to make sense of what happened in their lives and how to begin to forgive themselves and open up their voice to others as they learn more about their role and responsibility as birthmother.
  • How to help a child who has gotten involved with the 'wrong crowd' and is doing and selling drugs in a park after school
  • How to guide kids who are searching on Facebook and Google to find lost birthfamily.
  • Parents coming in after talking to 3-5 year olds about adoption...How to keep the conversation open but not 'too much'.
  • Parents of school-aged children coming in with concerns about behaviors and how they might relate to adoption related trends.
  • How to keep talking to children about adoption and how to make simple some concepts that are very complex
Riverside AACT update


We are doing monthly consultations at Riverside and this last month we also did a morning training with the staff. It was very well received and there were wonderful questions and comments.


DMH monthly consultations are very busy and booming now.  We have done both staff consultations and client consultations. Large staff turnout and excellently prepared cases- with us doing the 'intake and genogram' and then training the staff on how this is done in adoption and how it is helpful.


DCF consultations are monthly and are going very well with large staff turnout and excellently prepared cases- with us doing the 'intake and genogram' and then training the staff on how this is done in adoption and how it is helpful.


We asked our generous PACT community for donations to The Guidance Center's Celebrating Families Gala auction (The Guidance Center is a service of Riverside Community Care)and we have had wonderful response and lovely donations galore. 


Thanks to those who donated an Author Brunch at Upstairs on the Square, a Case of Wine, a Weekend in Westport and a Break in the Berkshires!   


The Gala is at the Charles Hotel on April 11, 2013


Again, Anyone interested in helping to build post adoption at Riverside, please write a check and
RESTRICT it to AACT (after adoption consulting and training) at Riverside.   


A few friends have forgotten to add the RESTRICTION and the wonderful donations went to Riverside, but did not get applied to AACT.  We know how the community is begging for post adoption expertise and we can only bring this to all communities with funding. 
Please address your check to Riverside Community Care and put 

It is probably best to send the checks to us at 220 Concord Avenue, Cambridge, MA 02138 and we can log them and then send them to the main office at Riverside.


Thank you so much in advance for promoting awareness about the challenges and joys after adoption for so many children and families.  



"The Effect of Early Deprivation on Executive Attention in Middle Childhood," by Michelle Loman, Anna Johnson, et al., in the January issue of the Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry
 (Volume 54, Issue 1) examines the impact of institutionalization on executive attention abilities of 11-year-old children. CLICK HERE
Researchers at the University of Minnesota followed 76 children adopted from Eastern European orphanages (mean age at adoption=17 months), finding that dysregulation of the hypothalamic-pituitary-
adrenocortical (HPA) axis at six-months after adoption was associated with more behavioral and emotional problems. CLICK HERE
Sensory Processing Disorder and the Adopted Child: Not Just Bad Behavior?
The following is a guest post by an adoptive mom whose young son has Sensory Processing Disorder: 
When my son A was two, he attended a Montessori preschool.  It was during this time that phrases like "overly active" and "difficulty sitting still" emerged in direct reference to him.  A's preschool teacher consistently told me at pickup that he had "had a bad day" and he "didn't listen well." Boys are busy though, right?  It surely wasn't something serious. CLICK HERE
Challenging DOMA: Geraldine and Suzanne Artis
Challenging DOMA: Geraldine and Suzanne 

Suzanne & Geraldine Artis of Connecticut are plaintiffs in Pedersen v. O.P.M., Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders' second circuit challenge to Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA). They have been together for 17 years and married in 2008. They have three school-aged sons. Suzanne is a school librarian. Geraldine, a teacher by profession, has recently undergone three back surgeries and is unable to work. They pay at least $1500 more in income taxes each year because of DOMA, money they could use for their family. For more information, visit http:/www.glad.org/doma
Dr. Joyce Maguire Pavao 

220 Concord Ave. 
Cambridge, MA 02138 
617 547 0909 

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