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Category: General Exploring Complicated Relationships in Foster and Adoptive Families

Exploring Complicated Relationships in Foster and Adoptive Families

July 11, 2024

Foster families claim and then relinquish children they love. Children who are adopted change the families who claim them in permanent ways. Blended families often have foster children, adopted children and birth children. These children all have different experiences of what being part of a family means. Loyalty, loss, anger, trauma and fear create an extremely difficult living situation for everyone in the family home. In addition, parents and children navigate the concept of ongoing contact, wondering who the 'real' parent is, and building a new normal for everyone. Deena will also discuss the July 1, 2024 law change in Minnesota pertaining to birth records and adoption. We will explore the complexities that adoptees, birth/first families, and family members of adoptees might face after accessing original birth records. Time for Q & A will be included.

Deena McMahon, MSW, LICSW is a family and attachment therapist in private practice. Ms. McMahon is often consulted as an expert witness on contentious child welfare cases. She also serves as consultant to numerous state and county child protection agencies, adoption agencies, and parent support groups. Her clinical focus is on adoption dynamics and the trauma of disrupted attachment.  She does forensic parenting assessments, attachment and sibling assessments, and attachment therapy.
Ms. McMahon provides national and regional training and served as a faculty consultant to the Minnesota State Guardian Ad Litem Program for over 12 years. She works with the Prairie Island Indian Community in Minnesota offering consultation and trauma therapy and is often asked to provide short term crisis intervention for families who have experienced traumatic loss and violence. She previously served on the Board of Directors for ATTACH (Association for Training on Trauma and Attachment in Children).
She has been working with families and children for over 40 years and has developed expertise in the areas of childhood trauma, childhood sexual abuse, grief and loss, family violence, transracial placements and ICWA cases.

Virtual meeting, training, or event


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