There is a GREAT training opportunity available for you: Michigan Association for Foster, Adoptive, and Kinship Parents (MAFAK). This is where you can get your training hours that are needed for your foster home license training requirement. Along with training hours, you can be immersed in a community that has been working in the foster care system, or is a foster parent themselves. You can get to know others who may be having the same challenges or strengths that you have gone through with your own foster children. I cannot express enough how wonderful this opportunity is. Last year, I have personally attended this conference and I found it very informational and helpful in all areas of foster care and adoption.

Also, Adoption Option, Inc. is proud to offer to cover the registration costs of the first 5 families who sign up and let us know that they did by April 18th, 2014! We will reimburse you after you attend the conference and provide us your certificate signed. Once we have a copy of your certificate, it can be copied right into your file. This will allow your annual or renewal home visit to go more smoothly because you already have your training on record. Unfortunately, Adoption Option, Inc. cannot cover hotel room stays, but again we will cover the registration fee!! That can be up to an $85 reimbursement.

The training is from May 1 to May 3, 2014 in Ypsilanti, MI. Each day is from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Once you sign up, you will get an address to the hotel that is hosting the conference. There are a ton of training opportunities from which you can choose! You must register at www.mafak.co/2014-conference-registration/

Here is a breakdown of what each day and session will be pertaining to:

Thursday, May 1, 2014

  • 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. PRE –CONFERENCE ALL-DAY SESSION
    • Speaker: Dr. Bryan Post 
      • “Adoption, Attachment and Healing: Understanding the Breakthrough Approach That Restores Love to Hearts and Homes.”
        Bryan Post is one of America’s Foremost Adoption Experts and founder of the Post Institute for Family-Centered Therapy. The Post Institute specializes in leading edge education for adults, children and families who struggle with issues related to early life trauma and the impact of trauma on the development of the mind body system. A renowned clinician, lecturer, and author of several books, video, and audio programs, Bryan has traveled throughout the world providing expert treatment and consultation to a variety of groups. An internationally recognized specialist in the treatment of emotional and behavioral disturbance, Bryan specializes in a love-based treatment approach that focuses on developing a deeper understanding of fear and how it rules our lives. He counters this by offering an enlightening perspective on the all-encompassing power of love to bring us peace and healing.   He holds three degrees in the field of social work: a Bachelors of Social Work.  The love-based, family-centered principles and concepts offered by Bryan Post have been taught to more than 100,000 parents and professionals.

 

  • 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m.- LUNCH

 

  • 4:00 p.m. SILENT AUCTION
  • 7:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.- REGISTRATION PACKET PICK UP (Pre-registered only)

 

Friday, May 2

  • 7:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Registration
  • 9:00 a.m. to 9:15 a.m. WELCOME/OPENING SESSION
  • 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. KEYNOTE PRESENTATION
    • Speaker: Ms. Kim Seidel
      • In this keynote, Ms. Seidel will empower adoptive/foster/kinship parents who are dealing with severe behaviors with their children including such actions as; lying, gorging, defiance, stealing, self-mutilation, sexual acting out, aggression, and/or transition issues.  Children with these trying behaviors are often diagnosed with severe mental health disorders such as Reactive Attachment Disorder, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Bi- Polar Disorder, and Intermittent Explosive Disorder. Their actions can often lead to disrupted adoptions and numerous foster placements.  Attendees will learn about The Stress Model (B. Bryan Post, 2009) and how our shared children could be best served by being viewed as children with “attachment challenges” who are at times ruled by their worry and pain.  Parents and caregiver’s will also be supported and encouraged to be aware of their own needs and how to practice self-compassion.  Attendees will leave with a better understanding of self and how their attitudes beliefs and own experience impacts their ability to support their children during times of transition, worry and dysregulation.
      • Current Foster Parents-The training will preserve and maintain foster children currently in placements and promote adoptions by strengthening and supporting the foster parents in altering behaviors in the home while building their relationship.
      • Newly Recruited Foster Parents-The techniques taught will educate foster parents that have completed PRIDE training in how to successfully prepare to be caregivers to children placed in their home that are living with attachment and severe behavior issues.
      • Adoptive Placements-The training will prepare and educate adoptive parents about the attachment and behavior issues that the children in foster care often face and aid in preventing disrupted adoptions by providing adoptive and pre-adoptive parents with the tools to effectively parent children with attachment and severe behavioral issues.
      • Relative Caregivers-The training will provide relatives of children in care, the techniques to create a secure and attached relationship with the child(ren) that reaches beyond the genetically shared connection.

¨      Ms. Seidel specializes in attachment and bonding issues/extreme behaviors in children that have arisen from adoption/fostering/medical conditions and/or additional traumas. Focus is on supporting parents in their own healing process as they learn to understand and support their child in his/her experience. The ultimate outcome and focus is on building connections with peaceful and loving parent/child relationships.

  • 11:30 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.- BREAK/VISIT VENDORS/EXHIBITORS/SILENT AUCTION
  • 12:00 p.m. to 1:00 p.m.- LUNCH
  • 1:00 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. Your choice of 6 different sessions:
    • Becoming Your Foster/Adoptive Child’s EXPERT
      This presentation will empower adoptive/foster/kinship parents who are dealing with severe behaviors with their children including such actions as; lying, gorging, defiance, stealing, self-mutilation, sexual acting out, aggression, and/or transition issues.  Children with these trying behaviors are often diagnosed with severe mental health disorders such as Reactive Attachment Disorder, Oppositional Defiant Disorder, Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder, Bi- Polar Disorder, and Intermittent Explosive Disorder. Their actions can often lead to disrupted adoptions and numerous foster placements.  Attendees will learn about The Stress Model (B. Bryan Post, 2009) and how our shared children could be best served by being viewed as children with “attachment challenges” who are at times ruled by their worry and pain.  Parents and caregiver’s will also be supported and encouraged to be aware of their own needs and how to practice self-compassion.  Attendees will leave with a better understanding of self and how their attitudes beliefs and own experience impacts their ability to support their children during times of transition, worry and dysregulation.

      • Kim Seidel, MA, LPC, NCC is a Nationally Certified Counselor, Post Institute Certified Parent Coach and Certified Great Behavior Breakdown Instructor. She has over 17 years of experience, practicing in private and public mental health agencies, as well as in educational settings. She is a statewide presenter and educator for professionals and families alike.
    • Responding to the Challenges Foster Children Face In School 
      During this presentation, foster parents will come to understand some of the anxieties that children in foster care face when enrolled in school. Foster parents and caseworkers will be equipped with the knowledge and strategies designed to help children while in school. These include how to recognize the anxieties associated with foster care and school; help to ease these anxieties in the child; creating a working relationship and partnership between teachers and school administrators; examining various ways of establishing effective communication networks between parent, school, and caseworker; helping with homework and future career paths; establishing a positive presence in the child’s life; and steps on how to become a strong and effective advocate for the foster child. This session will be presented in lecture and role play format.

      • ·         Dr. John DeGarmo, Author, Trainer, Speaker, Foster Parent
      • ·          different sessions:
      • ·          Your choice of ENDORS/EXHIBITORS/SILENT AUCTION
      • ·         .ter children. I cannot express enough how wonderful t 
    • When Children Have Their First Drink BEFORE They Take Their First Breath
      Every day in our country, over 10,000 babies are born: 1… will be born HIV positive. 4.. will be born with Spinal Bifida. 10…will be born with Down Syndrome. 120… will be born with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder. Children who are prenatally exposed to alcohol have changes in the way their brains develop and function. Therefore, teachers, parents and therapists need to make changes in their expectations, teaching methods and parenting strategies. Signs and symptoms of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome as well as Alcohol Related Neurodevelopmental Disorder will be presented. Michigan resources for diagnosis and intervention will be included as well as contact person for the FASD parent support groups throughout Michigan.

      • Barbara Wybrecht, RN, BSN, is a national and international trainer, FASD clinical nurse specialist and adoptive parent of the first infant diagnosed with FAS in the United States, with over thirty years of experience in this field. She recently retired from Spectrum Health where she coordinated the Prenatal Alcohol Exposure Clinic which is part of the hospital’s Department of Genetics.
    • What The Child Sees & Feels
      This session will take attendees on a journey of abuse from the child’s side and will also let them know what a child loses with each loss and why they have behavioral problems.

      • Jeanne Fowler, Founder of Big Families of Michigan, Child Advocate, Public Speaker, Author and Abused Child.
    • Caring for Sexually Abused Kids
      This workshop will address the special needs of children who have been sexually abused.

      • Karen Liverman, Foster & Adoptive Parent, PRIDE Trainer, MAFAK Board Member.
    • Developing Greater Understanding of the Abandoned Heart
      This session will focus on Attachment Disorder, Abandonment, and Anger issues that often come with adoptive and foster youth. Additionally the clinical side of RAD (Reactive Attachment Disorder) as well as many practical issues and tools to help will be discussed.

      • Lorijo Schepers, Co-founder and current Executive Director of Barnabas Ministries, which reaches out to high-risk youth and families in W. Michigan. Author of “Never Abandoned”, her personal story of growing up within the foster and adoptive system. Mother to four children, Ms. Schepers specializes in adoptive teens and the issues that are unique to them.
  • 6:00 p.m.- BANQUET/AWARDS DINNER
    • SILENT AUCTION ANNOUNCEMENTS/RAFFLE
    • Entertainment: Narrow Road Communications presents: “Who Dunnit?: Till Death Do Us Part” an interactive murder mystery

Saturday, May 3

  • 9:00 – 10:30 a.m.- Your choice of sessions
    • The Spirit of a Child: From Rejection to Connection to Direction
      • Derek Clark
    •  Cross Cultural Parenting Beyond Race
      Every parenting relationship, including foster and adoptive, is a cross cultural relationship, whether the child is of a different “race” or not! In fact, every relationship in life is cross cultural because culture encompasses everything. Parenting cross culturally presents unique challenges, however, cross cultural placements can and do work when those involved understand the needs of others. In cross cultural parenting, parents must cope with discrimination and support their child in developing a positive identity. This workshop will explore the concepts of race, culture and other related terms and assist participants in identifying their strengths as they relate to cultural sensitivity and humility and provide them with the special skills and insight to parent with success cross culturally.

      • Pamela Ferguson, LSW, 26 years of Child Welfare experience, 5 years teaching and currently an Independent Contractor for MSU School of Social Work.
    • Foster Care Review Board/Citizens Review & It’s Benefits to Foster Parents
      This workshop will introduce participants to the Foster Care Review Board Program and process, the statutory basis for citizen review and the role of the review board in providing citizen oversight of the foster care review system.  The presentation will address the benefits of the review to foster parents, the right of the foster parent to request a review and to participate in review of the foster children’s cases.  Special attention will be given to the foster parents appeal statute and process, helping foster parents to understand their right to appeal the move of children from their home, how to request an appeal and most importantly, how to prepare for an appeal.

      • Janette Bridges, Foster Care Review Board Program
    • Food Fight
      Hoarding and food related disorders are very common in children who have not had their basic needs met early in life. As foster/adoptive parents, we need to approach this situation delicately in order to help our child thrive in this area. Learn what works and what does not work when caring for children driven by hard wired fear.

      • Karla M Williams, President, Family by Design-All Things Adoption, is the adoptive mother of six. She also is a very active children’s advocate, international speaker, contributing writer and blogger.
    • Haircare 101: Caring for African American & Biracial Children’s Haircare Needs
      Questions about caring for your African American or biracial child’s hair?  Come learn about basic hair care techniques – shampooing, conditioning and hair styling; differences between naturally textured and chemically treated hairstyles; appropriate hair tools and accessories; how and when to see professional help.

      • Eboni L. Talley, BSW, Owner, Tri-3-Angels Salon.
  • 10:45 a.m. to 12:15 a.m.- Your choice of sessions
    • “HIS”tory of Four Sons & A Father
      This workshop is an overview of the issues, challenges, and opportunities associated with being a parent, a foster par ent, and an adoptive parent to adolescent males who come from abuse and neglectful conditions. This workshop is presented from the viewpoint of four sons and their father. It tells their story of growing up in a system filled with state appointed workers, lawyers, Foster Care Agencies, Mental Health Hospitals, Foster Care Homes, and the Trauma experienced throughout their journey. Their story is delicately woven into an evolution of life lessons, hardships, and rewards. It’s an amazing story of finding unconditional love and acceptance in a place we call home.

      • Cole Williams is the creator of The Evolution of a Son to a Father; a series of workshops and conversations that ex plores his journey from growing up fatherless, becoming a single teenage father, reuniting with his biological father, to fostering and adopting fatherless boys. Cole Williams is a parent, mentor, and community leader in Grand Rapids with over ten years of experience in working with adolescent males from all ages, and backgrounds.
    • Raising Children With Attachment Issues 
      This workshop will look at the role that attachment plays in child development and will examine what secure and inse cure attachments look like at every stage of a child’s life. Participants will explore the types of behaviors that children who have experienced early trauma and loss are likely to exhibit. Tips to facilitate attachment in children and tech niques to parent children with insecure attachments will be the focus of the workshop.

      • Rosemary Jackson, LMSW Child Welfare Specialist, Michigan State University, School of Social Work
    • Surviving Child Abuse: “Why Does This Child Act This Way?”
      Ms. Fowler will take her audience on a journey of child abuse from the side of the child: What does the child lose and what does loss do to the child? There is a “why” to every “what” a child does. Jeanne is a registered speaker with “MAIN” as her focus and has over 12 years of experience speaking with foster parents, youth in foster care, social workers, police and medical personnel and many more.

      • Jeanne Fowler, Founder of Big Families of Michigan, Child Advocate, Public Speaker, Author and Abused Child.
    • Creative Discipline for Foster/Adoptive Families
      Children who have experienced trauma may operate in fear often. Traditional ways of discipline for an abused and ne glected child become counter productive. Learn creative discipline techniques that show compassion and teach chil dren proper behavior. This session is focused on Grace Based Parenting.

      • Karla M Williams, President, Family by Design-All Things Adoption, is the adoptive mother of six. She also is a very ac tive children’s advocate, international speaker, contributing writer and blogger.
    • What Do You Expect From Your Foster Care Worker
      You take a child into your home, and then what? The case worker, child, and court have expectations, but what are your expectations?  Examine what a foster parent should ask for and expect from stakeholders assigned to the child in their home.

      • Laurie Weber, MS, Psychology and Counseling.
  • 12:15 to 1:15p.m.- ON YOUR OWN LUNCH
  • 1:30 to 4:30 p.m.
    • “The Spirit of a Child: From Rejection to Connection to Direction”
    • Speaker: Derek Clark
      • Inspiring motivational speaker, trainer and author, Mr. Derek Clark returns to MAFAK this year! During his keynote, Mr. Clark will provide attendees with tools to assist in connecting with vulnerable and grieving children/youth and help them reach beyond perceived and self-imposed limitations. Attendees will leave with an understanding of why it is imperative that parents believe in their children and disable their label.
      • As a motivational speaker, Derek inspires youth and adults across this nation to never give up and to not let the past limit their incredible future. He shares his message of courage, hope and perseverance to help others find the strength to Never Give Up. When Derek speaks, it is from his passionate soul. He brings along his guitar to sing the journals of his life. He believes that music is one of the purest ways to touch and communicate with the hearts of the audience. His listeners will be ignited with passion and have the courage to take action and fight their fears. He will inspire and teach you to push yourself beyond your perceived limits. He believes it all comes down to a choice and taking responsibility for the direction of your life. He is proof that you don’t have to let adversity hold you down in life; you have a fascinating and inspiring destiny awaiting you.
  • 1:30 to 4:30 p.m.- SPECIAL KINSHIP SESSION
    • Lessons Learned from the Trenches: Negotiating on behalf of Children
    • Speaker: Cate Newbanks, Executive Director, National Kinship Alliance for Children
      • Cate Newbanks has spent her career negotiating public and private systems on behalf of families and children. Her work includes inspecting and negotiating improvements in the living conditions of state hospitals in Illinois; lobbying legislators for passage of kinship care legislation to improve the lives of families and children; and sitting side by side with families and negotiating for the lives of children in and out of the foster care system. This session will use stories from the trenches of her experiences to illuminate strategies for families to use when fighting for the lives of the children they love. Participants should come prepared to practice recommended strategies and fully participate in the role-playing and other didactic learning approaches.

 

If you can only attend Friday or Saturday, please still attend! There are cheaper rates for attending just a single day. Also, Thursday is optional. We will cover single day costs for the first 5 AOI families.

Please contact Adoption Option, Inc. if you want to attend this conference on or before April 18th as spaces are limited! Also, we have a worker from Adoption Option, Inc. attending that would love to connect with you during the conference. Her name is Stephanie Curtis.

If you have any questions about reimbursement or MAFAK, please give Adoption Option, Inc. a call and ask for Alex Copley. If you have registration questions or specific questions, please contact MAFAK directly as they will be able to answer your question more promptly.