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Tuesday, November 2, 2004

Third Annual Voice of Adoption Forum Wednesday, Nov. 3

SALISBURY, MD---The third annual presentation of Voices of Adoption (VOA), an open forum for triad members, is 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, November 3, in the Wicomico Room of the Guerrieri University Center at Salisbury University. Co-sponsored by two SU faculty with personal experience of adoption, Dr. Dennis Leoutsakas and Ann Wilmer, VOA offers triad members from the college and local community the opportunity to share their experiences of adoption with others through informal presentations by adoptees and birth and adoptive parents. "Adoptees in this age group are coming to terms with the implications of being adopted and may need to talk about it,” said Wilmer. “VOA helps them give voice to their feelings and identify receptive listeners. It's also a way of opening the discussion for those who are reluctant to talk about it.” Leoutsakas, who serves as moderator, fields questions at the presentation. Psychologist and child development experts say that individuals finalize their sense of their individual identity as separate from their parents between ages 16 and 19. Sexual orientation is among the developmental issues students, many of whom are in this age group, are beginning to wrestle with. For some students, adoption is another such issue. "Many of the students who attend have no experience of adoption at all but a surprisingly large number of them know someone who is adopted," said Wilmer who, with Leoutskas, has mounted the program each year since 2001. "I know students are interested in the topic and their sense of what is fair and right engaged because of the comments and questions I hear in class the next day." Leoutsakas knows about foster care firsthand. Wilmer is an adoptee and national coordinator of the Green Ribbon Campaign for Open Records. The program is useful for social work students, early education majors, psychology and communication classes as well as triad members. "Of course, we also hope that it helps raise awareness of the need for serious reform," said Wilmer. The event is free and the public is invited. For more information call Leoutsakas or Wilmer at 410-543-6229.

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