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International Search & Reunion

Estimated: 1 1/2 Hours

It's a Small World After All

Many parents who built their families through international adoption assume that the ongoing role of their child's birth family would be limited to non-existent. Some may have even thought that was a good thing.

But things change. Not only is being a parent different than almost anyone ever expects, but children grow up. The world changes.

Now you're parenting a teen or tween who is curious about her birth family. She talks about finding them. And she's tech-savvy. There's the Internet, and DNA testing.

Is it even possible for her to find her birth mom from China, Korea, Ethiopia. What are the possible ways to address this curiosity?

Join speakers Susan Soonkeum Cox of Holt International and Joy Lieberthal, LCSW and co-founder of I Am Adoptee, as they discuss:

1. Specific examples about how internationally adopted people can reconnect with their birth families.

2. Ideas for parents on how to maintain connections for the child, should they choose to reconnect later in life.

3. How parents can cope with their own feelings about their child wanting to reconnect.

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Session Leader:

Susan Soonkeum Cox

Susan Soonkeum Cox is Vice President Policy & External Affairs, for Holt International and is an internationally recognized expert and presenter on child welfare and adoption. She testifies regularly before Congress on these issues and has attended numerous White House briefings on public policy regarding adoption and child welfare; was instrumental in passing legislation providing automatic citizenship for children adopted abroad and to ratify the Hague Convention on Intercountry adoption in the U.S.

Ms. Cox has published numerous articles and papers; is editor of the anthologies, Voices from Another Place; More Voices; and founder of the Gathering for Korean Adoptees in 1999 in Washington D.C. and the Reunion of Vietnamese Adoptees.

Ms. Cox is a member of the Hague Special Commission on Intercountry Adoption; and was appointed by President Clinton to the White House Commission on Asian and Pacific Islanders. She was invited as a special guest to attend South Korea's 60th Anniversary Celebration; and was awarded an Honorary Citizen of Seoul in 2005 by President elect Lee Myung-bak.

In 2013, Susan was appointed as Honorary Consul for the State of Oregon in Eugene, by the Republic of Korea Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

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Session Leader:

Joy Lieberthal

Joy Lieberthal received her B.S. from Union College and her Masters in Social Work from Columbia University. She has been working in the field of adoption for the 20 years professionally and through various volunteer organizations. 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. She also worked for Adoptive Families Magazine. Joy was a social worker in international placement for Spence-Chapin Services in NYC, but ultimately worked in their post-adoption department for six years. During that time Joy worked as a counselor for children and parents, presented at workshops related to issues around being adopted, facilitated Spence-Chapin's Kids Groups, ran Teen Forums and helped to create a youth Mentorship program for domestic and international adoptees. She has created curricula for agencies and professionals on a wide variety of topics — such as preparing for birthcountry visits, an overview of clinical issues in adoption — as they relate to helping families and children around adoption issues. Joy has spoken in local and national forums, in particular, at the Joint Council on International Children Services, Adoptive Parents Committee, Families with Children from China and the North American Council on Adoptable Children and the St. John's Adoption Initiative. Joy has worked with local private elementary schools in educating educators about growing up adopted. Joy is currently in private practice and is continuing her work with adoptive families and adopted persons. She also works on the counseling team at the Juilliard School for undergraduate and graduate students.

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