Pact Camp
Online Registration Closed

Spring Training: The Heart Of Adoption Is Love

Start time/date: Mar  8, 2014 9:00 AM
End time/date: Mar  8, 2014 5:00 PM
Place: Head Royce School Campus
4315 Lincoln Avenue, Oakland CA 94602

The Heart Of Adoption Is Love


 Registration will open at 8:00 am

Join us for this day-long opportunity to learn more about the experiences of members of the triad as well as learn from expert professionals in the field and others with shared experiences to become more attuned to the needs and issues of adopted children and their family members.


This conference will include keynote presentations/solo performances by birth mother, Deanna Ross, adopted adults, Susan Harris O’Connor and Susan Ito, and adoptive mother, Julia Jackson (see details of keynote presentations below). Workshop sessions include three sessions each in the following tracks:



Preparing to Adopt


International or Transracial Adoption

Schools and School-age Adoption Issues

Older Child Placement - Foster Adoption

Adolescent Adoption Issues

Birth Parent Discussion Lounge

Open Adoption

Professionals Working with the Adoption Community

Mental Health / Support

Hearing From Voices of the Triad

 Family Constellations




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Deanna Ross is an author and birth/first mother who will perform a solo piece entitled “Birthmother”, which weaves her own highly personal memoir with moving and surprising facts about adoption in the United States. Deanna explores her personal experience spanning twenty years – circling back in a way that reminds us that the experience goes beyond the personal to the institutional as she juxtaposes the realities of adoption, firmly setting her own personal experience in the context history and facts. Deanna Ross is a dancer, teacher, writer and proud birthmother. She lives on the Monterey Peninsula where she directs and choreographs for the Monterey Dance Collective, sings and writes songs with her fiancé in the indie folk-pop duo The Jinxes, and is at work on her debut novel.



Susan Harris O’Connor will present her narrative about her personal journey of loss and recovery of the first year of her life, when she was placed in foster care prior to being adopted. This narrative explores the painful and joyous revelations of her search for information regarding the first fourteen months of her life, when her “baby-self” spent a holding period in foster care. Susan, M.S.W., has been employed at Children’s Services of Roxbury since 1997 where she has held various positions including Director of Foster Care, Regional Manager of Post Adoption Services, Director of Family Services and Director of Quality Assurance. She is also a clinical consultant for the Dept. of Children and Families of Mass. Her book, The Harris Naratives, is an important contribution to the literature of adoption.



Julia Jackson is an attorney, lesbian adoptive parent, comedienne and solo-performer. She writes about herself; “My father came from Harlem and my mother came from a dairy farm in Whitewater, Wisconsin. How could I not be funny with that pedigree? You laugh or you cry, folks. I chose humor.” I Didn’t Sign Up for This, relates the story of a female couple trying to adopt a baby, featuring the Jackson playing many characters, including herself, her partner, herself as a small child, people from the adoption agency, the birth mom, the birth mom’s mom, the birth mom’s boy friend, a therapist, a social worker… And what a story, it kicks you in the gut and then makes it all better with a belly laugh. But none of this would be possible without a performance as strong as Julia’s.



Susan Ito served as the director of Pact Camp from 2004 to 2011 and is now the Head of Pact’s Adult Adoptee Advisory Board and is on the leadership team of the Adoption Museum Project.  Susan Ito is a biracial Asian adoptee, teacher, parent and writer.   She is also the co-editor of the anthology A Ghost At Heart’s Edge: Stories & Poems of Adoption. Her work has appeared in many publications, including Growing Up Asian American, CHOICE, Making More Waves, Hip Mama and Literary Mama, where she is creative nonfiction editor. She lives in Oakland with her husband, two daughters and mother. Her solo performance piece on adoption, The Ice Cream Gene chronicles her first meeting with her birth mother over thirty years ago, exploring her feelings then and now about her birth heritage and family.



Pricing Description:

$125/per person at door registration



CEUs (additional $35 fee) available for LCSW/MFTs and Psychologists as well as  adoptive and foster parents looking to fulfill their foster parent and adoption Hague training requirements.



Scholarships are available for birth parents and others in need.  Please contact for more information.


Refund Policy

Please choose carefully when registering for this event. Sponsors are not in a position to refund workshop or event registration fees.

Online Registration Closed