Panel Discussion | Race and Identity: A Conversation for Professionals Working with Transracially Adoptive Families

Professionals working with families who have adopted transracially often struggle with making room for the multiple and contradictory needs of family members. White parents who have adopted children of a different race often are unprepared for the complexity of raising a child whose day to day experiences in the world are profoundly different from that of their own. Maintaining a colorblind approach in a racialized world, valuing multiculturalism over a focus on race, and hoping love is enough are some of the coping strategies of parents that limit their capacity to support their children. Children are often left without enough resources to navigate their racial identity development in a family (and frequently a community) whose White privilege is unexamined. 

In this panel conversation Kacy Ames, April Dinwoodie and Zoe Tarrant will discuss their perspectives and experiences around supporting families in navigating challenging conversations about beliefs regarding transracial adoption, privilege, race, racism, and identity development (of parents, children and the family identity). In addition to working professionally with transracially adoptive families, all panelists speak from the experience themselves of being a transracial adoptee or transracially adoptive parent. 

The panel conversation will include active discussion with attendees to support collaboration, sharing and brainstorming in this complex work with families.


Kacy Ames, LCSW, has a private practice in Manhattan where she works with individuals, couples and families touched by adoption.  She is a member of the Foster Care and Adoption Project at the Ackerman Institute for the Family. She did her postgraduate training in couples and family therapy at the Ackerman Institute for the Family, and in adoption therapy at Hunter College School of Social Work. Kacy was a former bimonthly contributor to Adoption Today where she wrote about themes relating to adoption. She has run groups for adopted children, tweens and teenagers through Families with Children from China, All Together Now and Bank Street School. Kacy is a Korean American transracial adoptee

April Dinwoodie, is a transracially adopted person and nationally recognized thought leader on adoption and foster care. She is committed to improving the lives of everyone in the extended family of adoption through research, education, and advocacy. Dinwoodie. April created a specialized mentoring program called Adoptment, where adults who were adopted and/or spent time in foster care serve as mentors to youth navigating foster care and adoption. To raise awareness surrounding the many layers of the adoption experience, Dinwoodie candidly shares her experiences at workshops, conferences, schools and via her iTunes podcast “Born in June, Raised in April.” Before she entered the nonprofit world, Dinwoodie served as a senior level executive within the marketing and communications departments of some of today’s most recognized brands.

Zoe Tarrant, MA, LMFT, maintains a private practice in Westport, CT where she enjoys working with individuals, couples and families. She has extensive experience in infertility, high-risk pregnancy & adoption. Zoe received her A.B. from Stanford University, her M.A. in Marriage, Family and Child Counseling from Santa Clara University, and earned a Post Graduate Certificate in International and Transracial Post Adoption from the Center for Family Connections in Cambridge, MA under the direction of Dr. Joyce Pavao. Zoe is an active member of TEAM (Together Effectively Achieving Multiculturalism) Westport, a town-appointed committee dedicated to diversity and inclusion. She and her husband Tom are parents to two sons, one by birth (age 19) and one (age 13) who joined the family via adoption at the age of 18-months from Ethiopia. Zoe considers her learning on both race and adoption to be a lifelong journey.

Date / Time:

Tuesday, March 3, 2020
5:30 pm–7:30 pm

Continuing Education:

This workshop will not provide Continuing Education hours.

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