Annual Staff Training

On Wednesday November 13th the entire staff at Great Wall China Adoptions and Children of All Nations gathered for our annual training. It was a fantastic day full of knowledge, fellowship, and rejuvenation. Sometimes it is important to take a second to regroup and recharge. At Great Wall/Children of All Nations we are constantly focused on educating our staff and ensuring that we uphold the Hague guidelines to provide quality service to your family and our children.

We began our morning with a fantastic speaker and friend of GWCA, Dr. Rowena Fong. Dr. Fong is a Professor in the school of Social Work at the University of Texas in Austin. She specializes in International Adoption, specifically China. She covered topics regarding Integration and Family Transitions.  It is important as an agency that we are refreshed on all aspects of adoption in order to provide better counseling for our families through the entire process. Dr. Fong walked us through some very important information that she felt was necessary for our agency to share with our families. Dr. Fong also coordinates a Chines Culture Camp, which takes place annually in Austin to help adoptees from China and their siblings with the reacculturation process. We had so much fun listening and participating in Dr. Fong’s lecture.

Following Dr. Fong our VP Leigh-Anne Graf, walked us through how to better handle change in the workplace and in our personal lives. When working in International Adoption change occurs frequently. Countries will change their guidelines on a whim and we have to be ready and able to keep moving forward to help our families.  For some, change can be easy, for others it can be more challenging. During this session, our staff gained useful tools to be better equipped when handling change.

Leigh Anne also reviewed the Hague guidelines with our staff. The Hague guidelines are tedious and extremely important in the world of adoption. Not only do they protect the children but they also protect your family too. As ‘boring’ as the topic can be, it was very informative and I don’t believe anyone fell asleep! (HAHA)

After lunch we were fortunate to have another incredible speaker Caren Arnold from Big Sky Pediatrics. She reviewed a topic with our staff that was very intriguing and new to most of us, Sensory Integration and Adopted Children. Caren is the owner and operator of Big Sky, an occupational therapy clinic that provides various types of therapies.  She broke down Sensory Integration and the various types, signs, and therapies for treatment. Caren gave our staff some tools to use when working with our families to help the adjustment of bringing home a new member of the family.  Although none of us left as a licensed therapist, we definitely found ourselves more knowledgeable on this phenomenon.

Our last special guest was someone that GWCA holds dear to our hearts.  One of our social workers Sylvia Tarver, LMSW spoke with us on adopting the older child.  Sylvia walked us through some important parts of the home study and some helpful tips on how to prepare the home and family for the older child.

Lastly, our China Program Director Diedra Connolly and Marketing Specialist Mary Davis, experts in communication, conducted a workshop on effective communication in the workplace.  We played a fun activity and learned better and more effective ways to communicate with each other and our families.  We ended the day with a fun team building activity that definitely required communication.  We were split into groups of 8 and we were placed on a blanket. The goal was to turn the blanket over onto the other side, without anyone taking a step off the blanket.  We were laughing so hard, and it definitely brought us ‘close’ together!

We want to give a big thanks to all of our speakers and management for making this day possible!

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