Lean Into the Tough Stuff

May 6, 2017 @ 9:00 am – 2:45 pm
Gloria Dei Lutheran Church
700 Snelling Ave S
St Paul, MN 55116
$35 / person; $65 / couple
Janet Hammer


Saturday, May 6, 2017 from 9 am – 2:45 pm

Who Am I and Where Do I Come From? – How to help families build/navigate through birth family relationships
A workshop on the importance of understanding the role your child’s birth family will have in their life whether they are in it or not.  Discussion and role-plays will be a part of this workshop to have hands-on practice.  Main points will be around the different types of relationships foster and adoptive parents have with birth families, how to navigate through boundaries and roles, the ways modern technology impact the ongoing role of the birth parent, and exploring parent’s own biases and beliefs about birth families and what type of involvement they should have in their child’s life.

Maureen Maslinski, MSW, LICSW is a Licensed Independent Clinical Social Worker who has worked in the social service field for 20 years.  She has worked primarily in Minneapolis and St. Paul in shelter, residential, in-home, school and clinic based services.  Maureen is in private practice with Family Circle Counseling working with individuals of all ages and families.  Maureen has extensive personal and professional experience with adoption and attachment.  In her professional life, she has worked with all members of the adoption triad and has expertise in areas of trauma, attachment, and grief and loss.

Building and Nurturing Our Transracial Families
This session will help families examine how parents can become positive agents of change to create strong, thriving communities and families. We will discuss “intentional” parenting and why it is important for multicultural families. Identify ways you can help your children develop a strong sense of culture and racial identity. Robert will focus on gaining a better understanding of the tools and perspectives shown to be helpful in supporting your multicultural family.

Robert O’Connor, MSW has more than 20 years of formal experience working with children and families who are at-risk for out-of-home placements. As a child, Robert and his siblings experienced multiple failed adoptions and foster care placements before being transracially adopted at the age of four. Today, Robert is Associate Professor of social work at Metropolitan State University, and director of the university’s Multicultural Title IV-E Program. He is a frequent speaker on cultural competency related topics in child welfare and the workplace, transracial adoption and leadership.

Ask, Don’t Tell—Open communication around sexuality and gender
In this training, we will lean into the tough stuff by locating our personal and/or professional areas of discomfort around sexuality and gender.  We will practice applying practical tools for engaging in conversation around sexuality from a more open, non-judgmental and non-reactive place.   Finally, we will explore how sexual orientation and gender identity interact with other identities and experiences, (adoptive, abuse/trauma history, race, etc.) to enrich our understanding of how to interact respectfully with others.

Janet Bystrom, MA, MSW, LICSW has been employed in a variety of settings and has gained a wide range of experience that she continually uses as a resource in her work.  These include street outreach (Streetworks), residential setting (The Bridge), drop in center (SafeZone and District 202), school based clinic (Health Start), and out-patient therapy (Face to Face and RECLAIM).  In 2009, Janet founded and held the role of Executive Director and lead therapist at RECLAIM,  a non-profit whose mission is to increase access to mental health support so that queer and transgender youth might reclaim their lives from oppression in all its forms.

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