Beehive Article about the Regional Conference

18 12 2010

Make sure to check out the article in the Beehive newspaper about our most recent FSA SW Regional Conference that was held in Tempe in October.  Special thanks to Valerie Ipson who attended the conference and wrote the article. 


At the conference Josh and Andrea Allen were replaced by Shane and Megan Hilton as the Mesa FSA Co-Chairs after 2+ years of service.  Be on the lookout for more information about FSA Leadership changes and next year’s activities.

Adoption Conference Celebrates the Roles of Birthparents, Adoptive Parents and Adopted Children
By: Valerie Ipson

The recent Families Supporting Adoption (FSA) conference, which was organized with the theme “Linked in Love: Celebrating Adoption Together” brought together people whose lives have been affected by–and blessed–by adoption, including (l-r) Kelsey Stewart, Tamra Hyde and Michelle Masterson. Photo courtesy of Kelsey Stewart.

Organized around the idea that birth families, adoptive families and those adopted have much to offer each other, a recent Families Supporting Adoption (FSA) conference held at the Tempe ASU Institute, recognized the three members of the adoption triad and the significant relationship they share.

“Linked in Love: Celebrating Adoption Together” was the theme of the regional conference.

An adoptive parent of one, Andrea Allen, who co-chaired the event with her husband, Josh, says, “Traditionally, FSA has only been attended by couples currently hoping to adopt or those who have recently adopted, though we recognized that many others are touched by adoption and should be included in our group. We have long sought to include birthparents especially, as well as adoptees, extended family members and couples who are parenting adopted children. There are so many families out there who have experienced the miracle of adoption.”

The conference schedule reflected this desire to support all those touched by adoption. Sessions included a track for birthparents, with classes such as “What to Expect Post-Placement” and “Sharing Your Passion for Adoption.” Multiple classes for adoptive couples included “Parenting the Adopted Child,” “How to Communicate with Your Birthparents,” and “Arizona Adoption Law.”

Adoption options were showcased with trans-racial adoption and international adoption panel discussions, birthparent and birthgrandparent panels, and foster and adult adoptee panels.

FSA, organized nationally with a regional chapter based in Mesa, provides a network of support to those in the adoption community. FSA works closely with LDS Family Services (LDSFS) to build and strengthen families and they support and educate those seeking to adopt through LDSFS. FSA advocates a positive view of adoption in the community, through outreach programs to churches and schools to explain the benefits of adoption and influence birth parents to seek help from LDSFS. They also work to encourage the media to present accurate information about adoption.

Andrea says, “When we started with FSA (or rather the whole adoption process) we felt as if we were entering another world, a taboo world that was rarely talked about. FSA has brought to us an understanding, a knowledge that we are not alone, and that adoption is not a second rate way of building a family.”

Southwest Area Group Manager of LDS Family Services, Matt Watson, said of FSA and the conference, “Many times people feel that they are different or ‘not normal’ because their family has developed in a nontraditional way. This organization helps normalize that experience and helps connect people with others who share in their unique journey. This conference reflects the collective, miraculous love of many wonderful people who have been touched by adoption.”

This year’s conference attracted more than 300 attendees, who were able to share in this community of knowledge, experience, and fellowship.

Andrea says, “[My husband and I] are currently in the ‘finding’ phase of our second adoption. Our daughter is 21/2 and we plan to add to our family soon – in the Lord’s time of course. We add our testimonies to those of countless others who consider adoption to be the perfect plan for their lives. Some hope for the miracle of conception, but we know that adoption IS our miracle.”

Throughout the conference, others expressed similar testimonies and shared stories of their own “miracles,” providing ample evidence that regardless of the part one plays in the process, adoption is worth celebrating.

For more information, visit these related Web sites: FSA: and the LDSFS site at:

Happy National Adoption Month!

8 11 2010

Did you know that November is National Adoption Month? Here are two great calendars with ideas to help you celebrate each day this month…

From Adoptive Families Magazine (PDF) (Thanks to the the r house)

From (Thanks to Megan)

Happy celebrating!

Less than 2 weeks!

27 09 2010

The Southwest Regional Conference begins one week from Friday (on October 8th).  Register today because the fee goes up this Friday (October 1st!)

Visit for more information.  The schedule will be posted soon!

Registration is now open!

27 08 2010

Registration for the Families Supporting Adoption Southwest Regional Conference has begun. Congratulations go to Steve and Angie O. for being the first to register! (They’ll receive a special conference goody at check-in.)

Regular Registration is open from Aug 16-Sept 30 @ 11:59pm (Pacific Time). Costs for the conference are as follows:

  • $22 per single or $40 per couple.
  • Birthmothers/fathers and 1 family member- FREE. (Additional Birthfamily or other guests will be $10 each.)
  • Agency Representatives – $10.
  • LDSFS Staff and Presenters attending the entire conference – FREE. (Presenters only attending for their presentation should not register.)

Late Registration will begin October 1st and run through October 9th.

  • $25 per single and $45 per couple.

Please note that there will be no registration at the door. Registration will be available online until the 2nd day of the conference (Oct. 9th).

You can find more conference info at Be sure to also RSVP to our Facebook event and share the link with your friends and family!

Southwest Regional FSA Conference

24 07 2010

If you won’t be able to make it to the National Families Supporting Adoption Conference at the end of July, don’t worry, the Southwest Regional FSA conference will be here before you know it.  The Mesa FSA chapter will be serving as the host chapter to many other FSA chapters across the Southwest.  The 2-day event will be held conveniently at the ASU Institute Building, located on McAllister in Tempe.  We are very fortunate to be able to use this awesome facility this year.

The theme “Linked in Love: Celebrating Adoption Together” was carefully chosen to reflect the three members of the adoption triad, the Birthparents, Adoptive Parents and the Adopted Child and the relationships formed between them.  No matter which part you play, adoption is worth celebrating!

We hope you will all join us the evening of Friday, October 8th and Saturday, October  9th for two fun-filled days of adoption education, fellowshipping, swag bags, awesome food and entertainment.  

Be on the lookout for more detailed information about this event (the conference will fulfill  your certification or renewal LDSFS education requirement) in our upcoming eNewsletters and in your mailbox.  Please feel free to invite adoptees, parents of adopted children, prospective adoptive parents, birthparents and their families, agency representatives and others who celebrate adoption and may be interested in attending.

We are very excited to hear from and visit with amazing adoption advocates like Lindsey Redfern of  “theRhouse” blog, Kerstin Daynes, author of  Infertility: Help, Hope, and Healing, Attorney Brent Ellsworth and other amazing speakers and entertainers.  Topics will include Parenting the Adopted Child, Trans-racial Adoption issues, Surviving the Adoption Roller Coaster,  Adoption and Schools, Avoiding Adoption Fraud, assorted panels and as a part of our “Adoption Options” segment, adopting through Foster Care, International Adoption, Parent Profiles, Attorneys and others.  There will also be an entire birthparent track, specifically for birthparents and their families. 

Please make this conference a priority and plan to attend with us.  There will be raffles, prizes and a special gift for each attendee.  This will be an incredible experience you won’t want to miss!   We’ll see you there!!

National Conference Registration Still Open!

20 07 2010

There’s still time to register for the National FSA Adoption Conference coming up July 30-31st. Several members from our chapter will be attending so please join us!

Please check out the National FSA Blog for details and a link to the official conference registration page 🙂

National FSA Conference Art Display Info

20 07 2010

Call to Artists and Those who Love Art

We are looking for art to put on display during our annual Families Supporting Adoption Conference this July 30th and 31st. We all have been touched by the miracle of adoption and know how bitter and sweet that journey is. This is an opportunity to share a piece of your journey with others.

Here are some ideas to get your creative juices flowing:

  • All types and mediums of art and crafting
  • Photography
  • Sculpture
  • Poetry
  • Paintings
  • Quilts made for birth parents from adoptive couples or quilts from birth families to children and adoptive couples
  • Children’s depictions of adoption through drawings, painting, clay, etc.
  • Turn a photo into a coloring page and have children color or paint them (befunky offers this options as well as a bunch of other really cool options for photo editing.)

Deadline: July 30th

If you’re planning on displaying some art please email Rebecca with a photo of the art work, and a little about it so that we can best prepare for your piece. However, you won’t be turned away if you bring something the day of. Please remember that all art pieces must be appropriate for all audiences and are subject to refusal if inappropriate.
Children’s art and other submissions can be dropped off before the conference starts on Friday, July 30th at 9 a.m. at the Registration Desk. Please include the artist’s name and phone number on the back of the piece

Please email Rebecca at with any questions.

Birthmother Baskets

15 06 2010

The best way to find yourself
is to lose yourself in the service of others.
~Mohandas Ghandi

This year, Families Supporting Adoption will be hosting a service project at the annual conference. Collection baskets will be set up for conference participants to have the opportunity to serve two great organizations in collecting items that they are in need of. Please bring your donations with you to the conference.

The first organization we will be collecting items for is Birth Mother Baskets.

Birth Mother Baskets is a non-profit organization started by Gina Crotts. Gina is a birth mother and refers to the daughter she placed as her “little butterfly.” In an effort to give back to the adoption community and serve other women who have placed and may need some additional love, Gina created Birth Mother Baskets. Donated items are arranged into beautiful baskets and sent to birth mothers in need. We are honored to be part of her cause this year.

Items that we would love to collect for Birth Mother Baskets include:

  • Journals
  • Lotions
  • Bath Salts
  • Bath Bubbles
  • Movies
  • Jewelry
  • 8 x 10 or 5 x 7 photo frames
  • Music CD’s
  • Inspirational Books
  • Hair Products
  • Make-Up
  • Fingernail Polish
  • Manicure/Pedicure Sets
  • Photo Albums
  • Magazines
  • Small Blankets
  • Slippers
  • Stuffed Animals
  • Gift Certificates (massages, spa treatments, pedicure, manicure, movies or book store, etc.)
  • Large Baskets (Gina recommends laundry sized wicker baskets at Wal-Mart for only $4.00)
  • Tissue Paper
  • Ribbon
  • Candles
We will also be collecting school supplies for The Christmas Box International.
The friendly environment of the Christmas Box Houses are unique. Children are brought into the shelter program after being removed from their homes because of abuse, neglect, or abandonment. Instead of spending the night in less comfortable circumstances, they are able to arrive at the House were the staff is immediately available to talk to children and explain what is happening, what will happen, and why. The House staff provides a sense of caring, warmth and continuity at a very difficult time in a child’s life.

Currently there are three Christmas Box Houses located in the state of Utah in Salt Lake, Ogden and Moab. The Houses all have the basic concept of a child-friendly, calm, home-like atmosphere and have added programs and services to meet the unique needs of the children in the communities they serve.

School supplies that we would love to collect for The Christmas Box House include:

  • #2 Pencils
  • Glue Sticks
  • Backpacks
  • Boxes of Tissue
  • Pink Erasers
  • Broad Tip Markers
  • Scissors
  • Pencil Cases
  • Wide-Ruled Spiral Bound Notebooks
  • Pocket Folders
  • Crayons
  • Packages of Wide Ruled Loose Leaf Paper

We can’t wait to see you at the Conference!
Don’t forget to register HERE.

Art Exhibit at the National Conference

13 06 2010

Call to Artists and Those who Love Art

By Rebecca Staley

We are looking for art to put on display during our annual Families Supporting Adoption Conference this July. We all have been touched by the miracle of adoption and know how bitter and sweet that journey is. This is an opportunity to share a piece of your journey with others. All are invited to share their love for adoption through art, whether by craft, photography, sculpture, poem, or paintings.

Deadline: July 1st

All who want to participate will need to submit a photo of their art through email by the deadline to:

Photos need to be added as an attachment and in jpeg format. Please include artist’s name, title of the work, medium, date completed, and size of the piece.

Art selected will be on display during the FSA conference at the Davis Conference Center July 30-31st.

All art from children will be displayed on a children’s wall.

We hope you will want to join us and share your creative side!

National Conference Registration Is Open!

11 06 2010

Registration for the
2010 FSA National Conference
is up and running.

Simply CLICK HERE to be taken to the registration page.

Registration looks something like this:

The Conference will be held at the Davis Conference Center in Layton Utah on Friday July 30, 2010 from 9:00 AM to 7:00 PM and on Saturday, July 31, 2010 from 9:00 AM to 4:45 PM.

The cost of the conference is $35 per person.

Please contact the Hilton Garden Inn for lodging information. Use the Group/Convention Code located in the “Lodging” tab of the registration link.

This year we will have a myriad of classes for anyone interested in adoption.

Birth Father, Adoption Triad, Adult Adoptee, Adoptive Couple, Transracial Adoption, Ask a Birth Parent and Birth Parent panels will he held throughout the conference and have been a favorite of attendees for years.

Are you new to adoption? No problem! We will have classes on Drug/Alcohol Impacts in Children, Infertility-Spiritual/Gospel Insights, Understanding Birth Parents, Adoption Law, What Birth Parents Wished Adoptive Couples Knew, and FSA-Who, What, Where, When and How.

Are you looking for more resources and information on transracial adoption? We’ve got you covered there too. Classes will be held on Latent Racism & Racism & Racial Socialization and an overview of transracial adoption. We will also have the opportunity to view and discuss the film Living on the Fault Line.

We will also have classes on parenting available to attendees. Classes are scheduled to include topics such as Communicating/Talking About Adoption With Older Children, Openness, Communication Between Adoptive & Birth Families, The Power of Positive Parenting, Ages and Stages and Unequal Adoption Relationships.

We will also have information and classes available on Foster Care, Special Needs Adoption, Children Available for Adoption, Creating Profiles, Intercountry Adoption, Gifts for Birth Parents and Adoption Advocacy.

The FSA National Conference is not just for Adoptive Couples, Adoptive Parents and Hopeful Adoptive Couples. There is an entire track of classes devoted to Birth Parents and Birth Families. For more information on those classes, please see the previous post HERE.

*Conference registration for birth parents is free.

Classes are subject to change without notice.

Save the Date – SW Regional Conference

11 06 2010

Plans are coming together nicely for our Southwest Regional Conference, so make sure you put the dates on your calendar.  The conference will be

October 8-9, 2010

at the LDS Institute Building in Tempe.  We look forward to seeing you there!

Outreach Event: DiamondBacks – June 5!

30 05 2010

The Mesa Chapter of Families Supporting Adoption will be attending the Arizona Diamondbacks game on Saturday, June 5th against the Colorado Rockies. Game time is 5:30pm. Buy your tickets now!

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