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Friday, November 18, 2005

Voices of Adoption Public Forum

class=""MsoNormal"">SALISBURY, MD---The fourth annual presentation of Voices of Adoption (VOA), an open public forum, is 7:30 p.m. Monday, November 21, in the Wicomico Room of the Guerrieri University Center at Salisbury University.

class=""MsoNormal"">The event is scheduled in connection with National Adoption Awareness Month. Co-sponsored by two SU faculty with personal experience of adoption, Dr. Dennis Leoutsakas and Ann Wilmer, VOA allows members of local “triads”—adoptees and birth and adoptive parents—to share their experiences of adoption with others through informal presentations.

class=""MsoNormal"">"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.”

class=""MsoNormal"">Wilmer, a reunited adoptee, has been involved in adoption reform efforts for two decades and founded the Green Ribbon Campaign for Open Records to further these goals. She is a nationally known spokesperson for adoption reform. Leoutsakas was raised in foster care as a child. As an adult, he has served as a foster parent and worked with orphans. He serves as moderator and fields questions at the presentation.

class=""MsoNormal"">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.

class=""MsoNormal"">"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."

class=""MsoNormal"">The event is free and the public is invited. For more information call Leoutsakas or Wilmer at 410-543-6229.

class=""MsoNormal"">In connection with Voices of Adoption, PAC 14 airs Uncloaking the Heart of Adoption, a documentary by Sheila Gantz, throughout November. For times and dates, visit the PAC 14 Web site at www.pac14.org.
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