This year, four of our staff were able to travel to beautiful Orlando to be a part of the annual Florida Adoption Council Conference.

Gift of Life looks forward to this event every year. It’s a chance to network and reconnect with other adoption professionals.  It’s also a great place to learn new policies, laws, and procedures.

This year was filled with lots of learning, fellowship, fun, and even tears! Some of the highlights of the conference included the Adoptee Panel, the presentation about Compassion Fatigue, and two birth moms who told their brave stories.

The Adoptee Panel gave us great insight into the lives of adult adoptees and how adoption has radically affected and shaped their lives. We were able to hear their perspectives on issues such as reunification, post-adoption communication, adoption language, and self-identity. I think we all took away some valuable information and ideas that we can implement at our agency.

Compassion Fatigue is a real issue in our profession, and it was wonderful to learn new tips to prevent this type of burnout, and also how it can be treated. The presenter taught us ways to lessen anxiety. We learned some great practical ideas and techniques, that we can actually use while working with our clients.

By far, the biggest highlight was the presentations put on by two birth moms, Ashley Mitchell and Laurie Scobe.

Ashley Mitchell placed a child for adoption 10 years ago and is now the owner of Big Tough Girl.  She is a strong community advocate for adoption. Her talk focused on how we as adoption professionals can do a better and more comprehensive job at supporting birth parents. She had incredible ideas for support groups and things birth moms need from us post-placement. It was truly an eye-opening conversation and had all of us talking about this topic all throughout the day.

Laurie Scobe is a birth mother that placed 28 years ago.  She shared with us her incredibly emotional journey. She is now an Adoption Counselor at an agency out of state.  She discussed the importance of post-adoption communication and openness. The entire conference was moved to tears by her story and her passion for adoption.

Overall, it was important for us to be reminded what a powerful role adoption professionals truly play in the lives of our birth parents and adoptive families. We all were rejuvenated to get back to working with our clients!

It was a great conference that helped to refuel our passion for adoption. We are excited to implement some of the new things we learned this year, and we look forward to the next conference in 2017!

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