Wisconsin Pre-adoption Education Package

Wisconsin Pre-adoption Education Package


This package of 18 pre-adoption education courses aligns with the education requirements required by the Wisconsin Department of Children and Families ( DCF 51.05 ) covering topics such as the effect of adoption on family dynamics, issues that adoptive children face, loss and grief, attachment issues, resources for adoptive children/families, cultural sensitivity, effects of abuse and neglect, effects of institution care, legal issues to consider, childhood development, educational issues, and trauma. Please confirm with your agency that this package meets their compliance with this regulation.


(18) 1-Hour Online Audio Courses (Certificate of completion will be immediately awarded upon successful completion of each course including passing a 10-question quiz with a grade of 80%.)


Unexpected Stresses on Newly Adoptive Parents

What are the stresses on newly adoptive families regardless whether they adopt an infant or adopt internationally or adopt a child from foster care? What should you expect? In this course, Dawn Davenport, Executive Director of Creating a Family, the national adoption and foster care education and support nonprofit, interviews Jennifer McCallum, Lead Post Adoption Counselor at Buckner Children & Family Services, and Dr. Lark Eshleman, a consultant and educator whose expertise is working with children and families who have experienced early emotional trauma, attachment difficulties, neglect and abuse. (DCF 51.05 (a) Adoption and its impact on parenting and family dynamics) 

How Children Process Adoption at Different Ages

As children grow and mature, their ability to process and comprehend things also changes.  Therefore, parents must continuously change how they discuss adoption with their children.  In this course, Ellen Singer, adoption therapist and educator with The Center for Adoption Support & Education, talks about how children process adoption at different stages of development and what parents can do to help.  (DCF 51.05 (b) The issues for a child in an adoptive placement) 

adoption traumaHelping Adopted Children Heal from Past Loss

Some children come to adoption with the baggage of past loss and trauma, but adoptive and foster parents can help children heal. Attachment and bonding can occur after trauma with the right help. Our guest to guide the way is Carol Lozier, a licensed clinical social worker in private practice in Louisville, Kentucky, with over twenty years experience counseling children and families. She specializes in adoption and foster care issues and is the author of The Adoptive & Foster Parent Guide.  (DCF 51.05 (c) Loss and grief for the adopted child and the adoptive family) 

attachmentCreating Attachment

How do you form attachment and build family connections in adoption?  In this course, Dr. Karyn Purvis, author of The Connected Child: Bring Hope and Healing to Your Adoptive Family and Director of the Institute of Child Development at Texas Christian University, talks about how to establish the bonds of connection with your adopted child.  (DCF 51.05 (d) Attachment issues in adoptive placements)

developing attachment

Developing Attachment in Adoptive Families

Creating healthy attachment within the entire family is a pressing concern for adoptive parents.  What are common attachment issues and how can parents solve them?  In this course, Deborah Gray, author of two of the seminal books on attachment parenting and bonding in adoption, Nurturing Adoptions: Creating Resilience after Neglect and Trauma and Attaching in Adoption: Practical Tools for Today’s Parents, discusses how to form attachment in adoptive families.  (DCF 51.05 (d) Attachment issues in adoptive placements)

Finding an Adoption Competent Therapist

Adoptive families often want to find a therapist with adoption training or understanding of the unique issues presented by adoption.  How do you find an adoption-competent therapist and how important is it to find a therapist with specific training in adoption-related trauma. In this course, Debbie Riley, CEO of The Center for Adoption Support and Education, talks about the importance of adoption therapists.  (DCF 51.05 (e) Support and resources for adopted children and adoptive families)

transracial adopteesHow Transracial Adoptees Navigate Race As They Age

How do children of color adopted by white parents learn about race and their place in our racially aware society?  How do transracial adoptees form their racial identity and what can adoptive parents do to help? In this course, adult transracial adoptee and adoption researcher, Dr. Gina Samuels, talks about how transracial adoptees navigate rage as they age.  Dr. Samuels is an Associate Professor at the University of Chicago’s School of Social Service Administration and a faculty affiliate at The Center for the Study of Race, Politics, and Culture. Her research and publications examine transracial adoption, multiracial identity formation, and family identity and belonging among young adults with foster care and adoption histories.  (DCF 51.05 (f) Cultural sensitivity in adoption)

Instilling Cultural AwarenessCultural Identity

The buzz for the last 15 years has been about the need for instilling cultural identity in internationally adopted kids.  Hollee McGinnis, an adult Korean adoptee and researcher with the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute; and Dr. Heather Jacobson, professor of Sociology & Anthropology and author of Culture Keeping: White Mothers, International Adoption, and the Negotiation of Family Difference, talk about how to best raise healthy, adjusted adopted children.  (DCF 51.05 (f) Cultural sensitivity in adoption)

Healing after Abuse and Neglectparenting abused children 

Children adopted from foster care or from abroad have often experienced abuse, neglect, or trauma. These children require a different form of parenting.  Dr. Karyn Purvis, author of The Connected Child: Bring Hope and Healing to Your Adoptive Family, and the founder and Director of the TCU Institute of Child Development talks about how to help children from hard places heal.  (DCF 51.05 (g) Effects of abuse and neglect in adoption, including sexual abuse)

parenting sexually abused childrenParenting a Child That Has Been Sexually Abused

Children adopted from foster care or from institutions abroad may have experienced sexual abuse prior to adoption. What parenting techniques can help these children attach, feel safe, and heal? Our guest is Dr. Joshua Sparrow, Assistant Professor of Psychiatry at Harvard Medical School and Director of Special Initiatives at the Brazelton Touchpoints Center at Children’s Hospital, Boston. Dr. Sparrow also writes a regular column on parenting for the New York Times.  (DCF 51.05 (g) Effects of abuse and neglect in adoption, including sexual abuse)

domestic infant adoptionLegal & Medical Risks in Domestic Infant Adoption

Before prospective adoptive parents can accept a match, they must weight a variety of medical and legal issues. What risks should parents consider and how do parents know if a match is right for them? In this course, James Fletcher Thompson, an adoption attorney and a fellow of the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys since 1993; and Dr. Lisa Prock, a pediatrician specializing in adoption medicine at Boston Children’s Hospital and an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at Harvard University, discuss the legal and medical risks in domestic infant adoption.  (DCF 51.05 (h) Legal issues relating to adoption) 

parenting neglected childrenParenting after Foster or Orphanage Care

Children adopted from foster care or from an orphanage abroad have likely experienced some level of trauma from abuse, neglect, or malnutrition. What can adoptive parents do to help?  In this course, Dr. Bruce Perry, child psychiatrist, founder of Child Trauma Academy and author of The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog, talks about how to help children heal and thrive after experiencing neglect or abuse.  (DCF 51.05 (i) Issues of children being adopted from an institutionalized care setting)

Effect of Early Life & Prenatal Environment on Adopted ChildrenAdoption: Effect of Early Life Experiences 

How does early childhood neglect, abuse, malnutrition, institutionalization, and prenatal environment affect children? In this course, we interview Dr. Charles Nelson, professor of pediatrics at Harvard Medical School and one of the leading experts on how early childhood trauma affects children.  (DCF 51.05 (i) Issues of children being adopted from an institutionalized care setting)

school issuesWhen School is Not Working for Your Child

What is a parent to do when their child hates school, when homework is a constant battle or when their child has learning disabilities?  What do you do when school is basically not working for your child?  This course is an interview with Heather Forbes, author of Beyond Consequences, Logic, and Control: A Love-Based Approach for Helping Children With Severe Behaviors(DCF 51.05 (j) Educational issues in adoption)

Talking About Adoption at Different Ages and Developmental Stages

Adopted children process adoption differently at different ages and developmental stages. How can parents help their children understand the concept of being adopted? In this course, Debbie Riley, Chief Executive Officer at the Center for Adoption Support and Education, talks about how to talk to your child about being adopted.  (DCF 51.05 (k) Childhood developmental stages)

adopted teensWhat Adopted Teens Want Their Parents to Know

The teenage years are difficult for anyone, but they can be especially hard for adopted children who are questioning who they are and how they fit into their family.  In this course, Bert Ballard, an adult adoptee and editor of Pieces of Me: Who do I Want to Be? a collection of essays written by adopted teens and adults talks about what adopted teens wish their parents knew.  (DCF 51.05 (k) Childhood developmental stages)

Parenting the Hurt Child 

Parenting children who were adopted from traumatic backgrounds can be challenging. In this course, Dr. Gregory Keck, author of Parenting the Hurt Child and renowned expert in attachment and bonding, discusses warning signs of attachment issues and RAD, how to cope with challenging behaviors, and what parents can do to help their adopted children attach and heal.  (DCF 51.05 (L) Trauma issues related to adoption)

harder to parent kidsParenting Toolkit for Harder to Parent Kids

Children adopted from foster care or an orphanage are more likely to have suffered from neglect or abuse, and these children are sometimes more difficult to parent. Host Dawn Davenport, Executive Director of Creating a Family, the national infertility & adoption education and support nonprofit interviews Allison Douglas, family advocate at Harmony Family Center in Knoxville, TN and mother of four children adopted from foster care, and Sue Badeau, President of the North American Council on Adoptable Children and adoptive mother of 22 children, about how to raise adopted children. (DCF 51.05 (L) Trauma issues related to adoption)

Please contact the Education Director for technical assistance.

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Content created by Creating a Family. And remember, there are no guarantees in adoption or infertility treatment. The information provided or referenced on this website should be used only as part of an overall plan to help educate you about the joys and challenges of adopting a child or dealing with infertility. Although the following seems obvious, our attorney insists that we tell you specifically that the information provided on this site may not be appropriate or applicable to you, and despite our best efforts, it may contain errors or important omissions. You should rely only upon the professionals you employ to assist you directly with your individual circumstances. CREATING A FAMILY DOES NOT WARRANT THE INFORMATION OR MATERIALS contained or referenced on this website. CREATING A FAMILY EXPRESSLY DISCLAIMS LIABILITY FOR ERRORS or omissions in this information and materials and PROVIDES NO WARRANTY OF ANY KIND, implied, express or statutory. IN NO EVENT WILL CREATING A FAMILY BE LIABLE FOR ANY DAMAGES, including without limitation direct or indirect, special, incidental, or consequential damages, losses or expenses arising out of or in connection with the use of the information or materials, EVEN IF CREATING A FAMILY OR ITS AGENTS ARE NEGLIGENT AND/OR ARE ADVISED OF THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGES.