Workshops for Hopeful Adoptive Parents

We currently offer over a dozen workshops to help families throughout the entire adoption process and beyond when living as a family formed by adoption. Find information on all of our offerings below, check our calendar to find workshops in your area or print a copy of the current schedule.

Living as a Multi-Cultural Family

When we choose to become a multi-cultural family through adoption, we accept the responsibility of opening our hearts and our lives to new ways of being. Join us as we talk about what it means to be a “conspicuous family”, how to talk about race and culture with your children, learn ways to incorporate a wide array of multiculturalism into your family and discuss strategies for helping to educate others in your life about what it means to be a multi-cultural family. This workshop is designed for all families who have or are planning to adopt a child of another culture.

Facilitator: Stefani Moon, Open Arms

The Language of Adoption

Learning to speak a new language is a skill that takes time and practice. When forming our family through adoption, the words we use to talk about it matter. Please join us as we explore ways to improve our fluency in speaking about adoption with acquaintances, child care providers, friends, family, and most importantly, with our children. This workshop is designed for families at all stages in their adoption, pre or post placement. Topics covered will include the use of accurate and positive terms, communication with birth families and techniques on how to initiate developmentally appropriate discussions with children.

Facilitator: Stefani Moon, Open Arms

Bonding & Attachment in Newborn Adoption

Attachment and bonding are critical to the development of secure human beings. A strong and healthy attachment formed early in life can set the stage for all future relationships. Children adopted domestically typically arrive in their adoptive families as infants, sometimes only days old, yet a focus on building strong attachments is very important. In this training we will explore the meaning and importance of bonding and attachment as well as offering simple techniques that will support your bonding and attaching to your child and their bonding and attaching to you. Parents will also learn language to use with friends and family to assist in explaining your attachment-focused parenting.

Facilitator: Stefani Moon, Open Arms

Open Adoption Seminar

Join us for a full day exploration of open adoption. Topics presented include preparing to adopt, the nuts and bolts of the adoption process, and the benefits of maintaining a life-long open adoption for your child. Interwoven throughout the day, birth and adoptive families from Open Arms will share their personal adoption experiences.

Facilitators: Open Arms Staff

Newborn Care 101

This 2 hour class is designed to help build your confidence as a new parent by learning safe and comfortable ways to care for, diaper, swaddle, feed and bathe your baby. We will also learn about newborn appearance and characteristics, choosing a pediatrician, crib and car seat safety, etc.

Facilitator: Susan Slear, RN, CCE, CHBE, IBCLC is an RN, a Certified Childbirth Educator (CCE), Certified Happiest Baby Educator (CHBE) and an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC). In addition nearly 20 years of experience teaching Childbirth, Breastfeeding, Infant Care and now, Happiest Baby On The Block, she also gained valuable experience by raising 6 children.

The "Weight" of the Wait

The journey of growing one’s family through domestic adoption can sometimes be a long process filled with periods of uncertainty and longing. This forum seeks to bring together our ”waiting” Open Arms’ families, who are all often experiencing similar feelings while they wait to be chosen by a potential birthparent. Participants and staff will discuss and share common emotions often felt by those hoping to become a family through adoption and participants will hopefully emerge with new insight and strength to help them through this challenging time.

Facilitators: Stefani Moon & Michele LeMasney, Open Arms

The Hospital Experience

It’s difficult to imagine what your experience at the hospital will be like before you have even been chosen by a potential birthparent. Nonetheless, our work shows that there are several scenarios that we often see and experience together. Join us to discuss and to learn about how Open Arms will support both you and the birth family while in the hospital. Additionally, participants will hear from an adoptive mother who has three hospital experiences from which to reflect upon.

Facilitators: Stefani Moon, Michele LeMasney, Meredith Rose, Open Arms

The Happiest Baby on the Block©

People say that “Kids don’t come with instructions”…but now they do! Sharing his wisdom from 30 years in pediatric practice, Dr. Karp’s mission is to give to ALL parents the simple tools to help them feel smarter, less stressed, more effective…and have lots more fun too! In our The Happiest Baby on the Block class, pre-adoptive parents will learn step-by-step how to help their future newborn sleep better and how to soothe even the fussiest baby in minutes…even seconds! This class is based on the highly effective techniques pioneered by Dr. Harvey Karp in his best-selling book, The Happiest Baby on the Block. Topics include the calming reflex, Dr. Karp’s “five S’s”, colic and ways of recognizing and responding to your baby’s moods.

Facilitator: Susan Slear, RN, CCE, CHBE, IBCLC is an RN, a Certified Childbirth Educator (CCE), Certified Happiest Baby Educator (CHBE) and an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC). In addition to nearly 20 years of experience teaching Childbirth, Breastfeeding, Infant Care and Happiest Baby on the Block, she also gained valuable experience by raising 6 children.

Exploring Children's Developmental Understanding of Adoption

In this workshop, we will anticipate some of your child’s questions about being adopted, what children need to know at different ages and stages about their origins and their stories. We’ll explore how children feel about adoption, what’s on their minds and in their hearts. Our conversation will include building a healthy identity based on honoring your child’s dual heritage (birth and adoptive) and the unique emotional landscape of loss that is a normal part of the adoption experience and integral to the search for self.

Facilitator: Abby Ruder, Marriage & Family Therapist, has been specializing in parenting and adoption for 25 years. She works with all members of the adoption triad pre & post placement. Ms. Ruder is also a mother by adoption in an interracial family.

Opioid Exposed Infants: What Every Parent Should Know

The number of babies who were exposed to heroin or prescription opioids during pregnancy has reached epidemic levels, but what does this really mean for the child and parents? During this presentation we will discuss how a newborn’s opioid withdrawal is assessed and treated. We will also address longer-term developmental and behavioral outcomes that may or may not be associated with opioid exposure during pregnancy.

Facilitator: Dr. Dennis Hand is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Obstetrics & Gynecology at Thomas Jefferson University. He is also the Associate Director of TJU’s Maternal Addiction Treatment, Education, and Research program, which has been developing and providing treatment for substance use disorders to pregnant women since the 1970s. Dr. Hand received his Ph.D in 2012, and completed a postdoctoral fellowship from 2012-2015. Dr. Hand has conducted federally-funded research on the assessment of newborn withdrawal and behavioral and pharmacological interventions to improve health among women with substance use disorders.