July Newsletter

(Pre/Post Adoption Consulting and Training)

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2014-2015 Adoption Competency Program

Clinical Consultation Program

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by Margie Perscheid

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Happy midsummer, everyone:


June was busy!  While on the Cape, I got a good deal of writing done and did several consults by phone and by Skype/Google Hangouts.  I snuck in a few movies at the Provincetown Film Festival and can recommend Begin Again, Last Weekend, Love is Strange, Obvious Child, Calvary, Yves St. Lauren, and several others.


The kinds of issues that we are working with midsummer are:

  • Transitions of children to camp and to vacation and some disturbances during those transitions
  • Kids and youth in summer school, and the associated feeling of failure
  • Getting divorced parents on the same page to work together in the best interest of the child/youth
  • Kinship adoptions and the challenges of raising a relative's child
  • Lots of phone calls to providers who have treated children/youth that I am consulting on - getting their perspectives and experience. What leaps out to me is that all of the ones that I spoke with are excellent in their work but know barely anything about adoption and adoption-related issues.
  • In the midst of several searches and reunions.  Phone and Skype calls with adoptive parents and birthparents as a first step to building relationships prior to introducing the child/youth
  • Working with couples who are considering adoption and wondering how to walk through the maze
  • Birth/first parents who are unhappy with the fact that their adoption ended up less open than they were led to believe it would be
  • Young adults who are having a hard time launching and are closing in at home
  • Working with lawyers on expert witness custody cases
  • Supervision/consulting to agencies in Iowa and New Jersey



The conference was a huge success.  Kudos to Emily who ran it beautifully - and it was her first time.  Thanks to Deirdre, our new intern, who helped out a great deal.  Thanks to the wonderful speakers and filmmakers.  And thanks to those who attended and who hopefully left with many questions and answers.


88% of attendees loved the whole conference and were "extremely satisfied," and another 10% were "satisfied".  There were some recommendations for changes and we will take them to heart.  


The incorporation of film, poetry, and expressive workshops makes this a very experiential and involved conference.  The good and bad news is that people wanted to be more involved and to have more discussion time, and so we will revamp for next year!


I ended up with severe back pain at the end of the conference.  I wasn't able to move but, thank goodness, had help getting packed and ready to leave the Cape.  After two weeks of severe pain, I am now on a regime that is working, and I'm feeling much better and working hard to catch up!  It was the first time that I didn't feel totally sad leaving Truro because of the pain!







Now that the conference is wrapped up, we are focusing our attention to our next big project: preparing for our four training tracks, which begin in the fall:



2014-2015 Training Programs




Certificate Program in Adoption Competency

For clinicians and other adoption-related professionals

Using lecture, videos, classroom discussion, and consultations, this seven-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.


Cambridge Location: Class meets 9am-1pm one Friday per month, October 2014 - April 2015 

Click Here for full course outline.    Register online


New York City Location: Class meets 9am-1pm one Saturday per month, October 2014 - April 2015

Click Here for full course outline.    Register online




Advanced Clinical Consultation/Supervision Program

For Therapists and other professionals working with complex blended families

This program offers consultation, supervision and training for mental health professionals in specialized theories and practices for working with all members of the adoptive triad, including birthparents, adoptive parents, and the adopted persons.  The primary objective of this consultation/supervision program is to allow therapists who have taken the courses in adoption therapy and have a clear understanding of the many dimensions of systemic view one must have to work with the entire constellation of adoption to apply, develop, and explore their clinical knowledge. 


Cambridge Location: Class meets 2pm-4pm one Friday per month, October 2014 - April 2015

Click Here for full program outline.    Register online


New York City Location: Class meets 2pm-4pm one Saturday per month, October 2014 - April 2015

Click Here for full program outline.    Register online


From the blog Paradigm Shift:


Acknowledging My Non-adopted Privilege, by Margie Perscheid


Last weekend I attended an absolutely fabulous conference: the St. John's University - Montclair State University Adoption Initiative Conference in Queens, NY. Talk about a meeting of adoption activities! The list of keynote and panel speakers is incredible, as were the workshop participants. To be in an environment that respects adoption reform efforts and knows that they have the interests of children and the adults they become at heart was a real privilege - especially joining David Smolin, J.D.Frank Ligtvoet and Martha Crawford, LCSW on the adoptive parent activist panel. I thank them all for allowing me to join them in sharing our experiences with the conference attendees.

On Saturday, Joy Lieberthal, LCSW moderated an adoptee panel featuring Pam Hasegawa,Kevin Vollmers and April Dinwoodie, who shared their various experiences working for adoption reform. Joy Lieberthal commented at one point that it was perhaps time for the adoption community to stop speaking about "adult adoptees," and instead remember that they are simply adults, no further label needed.

That comment got me thinking about all of the ways in which the world uses adoption to describe, qualify, dismiss and even discriminate against adopted people. It also got me thinking about all of the ways that I, as a non-adopted person, enjoy privileges that are unavailable to or denied those who were adopted into their families. Think of them as the ways in which I, as a person born into her family, am not affected by mainstream society's attitudes toward adoption. There are a couple of things to bear in mind as you read through the list:

  • Some of these privileges are also unavailable to people whose family situations may have been affected by death of a family member, divorce, etc.
  • This is not an indictment of adoption. Jumping to the "losing these privileges is better than growing up in an orphanage" argument means you are thinking in the wrong direction.
  • Instead, think about how we might conduct adoption in ways that preserve as many of these as possible for the adopted individual. That includes thinking about why we are using adoption in situations in which it is in fact unnecessary.
  • Adoption is not the only way these privileges are lost.

I hope you find what's here so far thought-provoking. As they occur to me, more will be posted here.
  • I am not prevented by law from knowing my parents, siblings and extended family members.
  • I am not prevented by social custom from knowing my parents, siblings and extended family members.
  • In the majority of U.S. states, I can obtain my original birth certificate without interference or restriction.
  • I know the identities of my parents, siblings and extended family members.
  • When asked how many siblings I have, I can respond correctly, without further clarification.
  • When asked who my extended family members are, I can respond correctly, without clarification.
  • I am not expected by the mainstream to withdraw my love and loyalty from my family of origin.
  • I share my family's race.
  • Because I share my family's race, I understand how to live in my racial community.
  • I share my family's ethnicity.
  • I share my family's genetic inheritance.
  • I own my family history, genetic history and ethnicity.
  • I am not expected to forget my family history, genetic history and ethnicity.
  • I am not expected to accept someone else's race, ethnicity or genetic history as my own.
  • Even if I do not physically resemble my parents, siblings and extended family members, I know and can prove my birth status and membership in my family.
  • I speak my family's language.
  • I do not need to hide my longing for my identity from the people closest to me.
  • I do not need to protect my parents from my longing for my genetic history or ethnicity.
  • My world is not dominated by an experience over which I had no control.
  • My existence is not hidden by my mother, father, siblings or extended family.
  • My mother is not afraid of my appearance in her life.
  • I know exactly where I was born.
  • I know the exact date and time of my birth.
  • I am not the only genetic relative known to my child(ren).
  • I am not the only genetically unrelated person in my family.
  • When I date, I do not have to consider that my partner may be a sibling or a close genetic relative.
  • My challenges will not immediately be presumed to be a result of my status in my family.
  • I am not pre-judged on the basis of my status in my family.
  • I do not need to repeatedly confirm my positive relationship with my parents, siblings and extended family members.
  • Disagreements with my family are not immediately attributed to ingratitude by my parents or the mainstream.
  • I do not have to explain family photos.
  • My citizenship is not at risk.
  • I can complete school assignments about my family without challenge.
  • When I visit a physician, I know at least some genetic medical history.
  • My family status is generally not used as a punchline in the media.
Margie Perscheid: Adoptive mom of two young adults from Korea. Ardent supporter of adoptee and first family rights and adoption reform. Occasional writer atParadigm Shift. Earlier adoption writing at Third Mom.





Cambridge Therapy Office for Rent


Our funding through Riverside has been reduced, and so we are leasing out a room in our Cambridge office on Mondays to help defray costs.


Anyone interested please call Emily to set up a visit and interview.


Cambridge Therapy Office Space for Rent

For Adoption-Competent Therapist or for use as a Writer's Room


220 Concord Avenue, Cambridge MA 02138

On the bus line, and a brisk walk from Porter or Harvard Squares


The space has a shared bathroom, a full kitchen for employees only (available when not in use for groups), and a small waiting area. 

The office is fully furnished. No phone and no other supplies/materials provided.  We do not provide any administrative, billing, or other services.


To be rented one day per week (Monday is available)

Available July 15, 2014

$375.00 per month, utilities included


Call or email to set up a visit and interview.

Executive Assistant, Emily Adcox: [email protected]


Dr. Joyce Maguire Pavao: [email protected]


Dublin has been coming to work now and then.  He is a huge help!!!




Support cancer research and treatment at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute by sponsoring Team Kevin Fitz in the Pan-Mass Challenge:



Kevin Fitzgerald was my brother, and he was a huge advocate for children and children's rights.



"I believe the only true way to guarantee that children are where they are supposed to be is by doing open adoptions both internationally and domestically. Mediation and education should be done, and clear understanding by sending and receiving parents and countries/states so that ALL adoptions are ethical, legal and in the very best interest of each and every child."

 - Dr. Joyce Maguire Pavao


Pre/Post Adoption Consulting and Training
Dr. Joyce Maguire Pavao
220 Concord Ave.
Cambridge, MA 02138
(617) 547-0909