HCAF Webinars 2023

Leveling Up!

Explore Launching and Transitioning Adult Adoptees While Continuing to Build Healthy and Strong Family Relationships!

Foster and adoptive families are unique and moving into the adult years with an adoptee is no exception. Dr. Christina Reese and Elaine Shenk have worked with adoptive families for almost 30 combined years and have been parenting adoptees for over 40 combined years. Dr. Christina Reese is an author, presenter and therapist specializing in attachment, adoption and trauma. Elaine Shenk is the director of Bethany Christian Services for Central Pennsylvania and works with families pre and post adoption. They share their experiences and what they have learned along this journey, with humor, compassion and practical take aways.

Adoptees, because of their attachment trauma, have a harder time trusting and resting in supportive relationships. For years, families have been working on building relationships that are strong and steady. Launching into adulthood, those relationships can become shaky and begin to crumble.

Avoid attachment ruptures by learning ways to provide the support that the adoptee needs. Understand how trauma changes the brain and what challenges the adoptee may face in the launching process. TBRI principles that we used in childhood are still relevant in the young adult years-learn how to keep applying them in this developmental stage.

May 11, 12023 @ 7 pm Mountain Time

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER. Reservations close at noon on May 11. 

Mental Health Factors & LGBQT+ Youth


LGBTQ+ youth and young adults are one of the fastest growing demographics nationwide. Increased representation,  along with access to social media as both consumers and creators, are allowing many more young people to explore and assert their identities, and often find community, earlier than in past generations. However, the mental health crisis in our country is impacting LGBTQ+ youth at rates significantly higher than their heterosexual and cisgender peers. We know that even just one affirming adult in an LGBTQ+ youth’s life can significantly reduce the risk of suicide, depression, anxiety, disordered eating, and loneliness/isolation.

This presentation is designed to help participants understand the mental health disparities and overarching risk factors facing LGBTQ+ youth. We will explore mindsets, strategies, and protective factors that can create more LGBTQ-affirming environments in all facets of young people’s lives,  leading to increased mental health and wellbeing, more positive relationships with family and community, and more successful transitions into adulthood. Participants will also be invited to share their own reflections, victories, and challenges associated with mentoring and supporting LGBTQ+ youth. 

Presenter Bio:

Brad Barfield (he/him) is Vice President with Envision:You, and as a queer person in recovery himself, is passionate about creating culturally responsive and affirming resources for the LGBTQ+ community focused on mental health and substance use. At Envision:You, he oversees programming for queer and questioning youth, LGBTQ+ folks living in rural Colorado, DEI initiatives, and all grant efforts. Brad holds a Masters of Business Administration from George Washington University, and a Bachelors of Engineering from Vanderbilt University. 

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER. Deadline will be April 26th at noon.

Resilient Futures Webinar Series for Adoptive Parents

We are very excited about this webinar series with Resilient Futures. Angele Davenport, a Resilient Futures staff member, presenter at our Latin American Heritage Camp this past summer and was so well received. Everyone wanted her back, and suggested a webinar with their whole organization. And here we are, proving that for all of our camp parents.

This is a three-part series, which we are offering in total, not as individual programs. It is strongly recommended that you participate in all three sessions. Of course, we will be recording the session, so if you have to miss an evening, you will have access to the recording when you pay for the series.

The dates are February 8, 15, & 22 at 7:00 pm mountain standard time. We will send you the zoom link a few days before each session.

The three topics are:

  • Understanding the Stress Response
  • Understanding Trauma
  • Trauma-Informed Resilience-Building Parenting

These are topics specifically designed for adoptive, and will be informative and helpful to al parents who have adopted internationally and/or domestically.

Cost: $125 for the three-part series

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER. Deadline will be February 8th at noon.


2022 HCAFWebinar Recordings Available Contact us for Information:

Understanding Adoption and Attachment for Fulfilling Relationships – recording available

This webinar will be a dual approach of a fact-based Ukraine briefing (what is happening and why exactly), followed by a hands-on guide to helping a

We invite you to a conversation about how attachment plays out for families touched by adoption. How does the need for attachment affect an adoptee’s relations with friends, peers, family, life partners, and co-workers?  With a holistic lens we will explore attachment theory in conjunction with lifespan development. Participates are encouraged to deepen their own self-awareness of attachment and learn about the role attachment plays in an adoptive family. It is intended for participants to leave this session with a sense of knowing how to build healthy relationships over time.

 At the end of this webinar, we will give participants the opportunity to voice what areas regarding adoptees and their relationships they want to explore in more depth for the follow-up session.  We look forward to seeing you there!

Presenter Bio:

Laura X. Williams is a Chinese American Adoptee who works as a therapist with couples and families in the Denver area. She graduated from Goucher College with a Masters in Cultural Sustainability and completed a post-masters certificate program in Marriage & Family Therapy at Denver Family Institute. Learning about love and attachment has been a key point in her own healing process as an intercountry, transracial adoptee. Now, Laura embraces the therapy room as a place to encourage and create a new way of being with each other and with ourselves.

November 28, 2022 @ 7:00 p.m. MST via Zoom

Follow-up Discussion – December 7 2022 @ 7:00 p.m. MST via Zoom

Register Here for this Webinar 


Navigating the War in Ukraine for Adopted Children

This webinar will be a dual approach of a fact-based Ukraine briefing (what is happening and why exactly), followed by a hands-on guide to helping adoptees understand and deal with the on-going crisis in Ukraine.

Presenter Bios:

Kelly A. Raftery KellyARaftery@gmail.com 702-845-2056 Kelly A. Raftery is a Russia Area Specialist, Linguist and Author based in Colorado. Kelly worked and lived in the countries of the former Soviet Union and counts among her accomplishments: opening St. Petersburg’s first full-service western style supermarket, Moscow’s first self-service laundromat and facilitating the first international franchise agreement in Central Asia. Kelly provided Cabinet level support for a bilateral (US Russia) commission and won the U.S. Department of Commerce’s Under Secretary’s award for Innovation during her time in Washington, DC. Kelly taught Russian language and pop culture at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and has contributed to several publications, including “A Stone Lives On” from the Denver Museum of Nature and Science. Kelly’s life-long interest with the Soviet Union and its successor states began with Russian classes in high school and has never waned. She crossed the Iron Curtain at Checkpoint Charlie and has many stories of living in post-collapsed Russia and Central Asia. Kelly extensively lectures, teaches, and consults on this area of the world to a wide variety of organizations and companies.

Katie Bell has been an adoptive parent since 2005.  She worked for four years helping families stay together and not enter or reenter foster care.  In that role, she became a TBRI practitioner and trained parents and professionals in a trauma-informed caregiving system.   Katie will be discussing how to talk to children about hard things, how to separate identity from politics, and how to support children as they process the war.  She will also talk about behaviors that may be signs of processing and how to manage big emotions.  Parent-to-parent, Katie will help you navigate these feeling arising in our kids and will also be able to talk with teens/young adults who join the webinar.

April 14, 2022 @ 7:00 p.m. MST via Zoom

Register Here for this Webinar 


“Transracial Parenting: A Refresher for Today on How to Talk about Race & Racism” – recording avilable

Dr. Wirta-Leiker’s Description: Update your parenting toolbox and refresh your skills navigating the tough conversations about race and racism with your transracial adoptee of color. We’ll cover developmentally appropriate language, the do’s and do not’s of being an ally-caregiver, and strategies for responding to racism.

Bio: Dr. Chaitra Wirta-Leiker is a licensed psychologist, international/transracial adoptee & adoptive parent specializing in providing mental health support for adoption, trauma & racial identity work through her private practice in Denver, Colorado. She is a frequent speaker & trainer at adoption agencies, camps, including many for HCAF,  & conferences throughout the U.S. & is the author of “The Adoptee Self-Reflection Journal.”

April 6, 2022 @ 7:00 p.m. MST via Zoom

Register Here for this Webinar 

“Now What ?” What to do when you think your child may need help . . .forever” – recording avilable

It is a common story for some adoptive families.  They knew their child had struggles, maybe even a diagnosis, but thought with enough love, support and time, they’d be “OK”.  As our children hit their teen years, it may become apparent that they will need some sort of assistance throughout their lifetime.  What supports are available? How does one access them? Who will help them when we cannot and what are we in for financially?  What do we do with their 529 college fund now? Is an ABLE Account a good strategy? Learn what is necessary to plan for your child’s lifetime and the impact that may have on your own planning.

Melissa J. Lang, CLU, ChSNC is a financial advisor and Chartered Special Needs Consultant.  She has been helping families plan for their future for over 25 years.  Melissa is an adoptive parent of two young adults adopted at about one year of age from Russia and Ukraine.  Her daughter, now 21, has Fetal Alcohol Syndrome.

March 30, 2022 @ 7:00 p.m. MST via Zoom

Register Here for this Webinar 

Melissa J. Lang is a registered representative of and offers securities, investment advisory and financial planning services through MML Investors Services, LLC. Member SIPC.OSJ 4600 S. Ulster St. #1200,Denver CO 80237. (303)692.8183. Special Needs Planning Partners is not an affiliate or subsidiary of MML Investors Services, LLC, or its affiliated companies.


The Element of Surprise – recording available

Please join us for a webinar with the hosts from Tough Love: Adoptees’ Perspectives on Relationships. This panel will shed light on some of the reasons why it seems out of nowhere your adoptee “turns” on you. We will discuss some subtle cues to look for and how to support your adoptee when dealing with these intense emotions. We love to make these webinars as interactive as possible so please come with questions and curiosity! Lauren, Deontae and Glenna hope to see you there! 

February 23, 2022 @ 7:00 p.m. MST via Zoom 

Contact us at hcaf@heritagecamps.org if you’d like a recording of this webinar