2009 CONFERENCE PARTICIPANTS
Keynote Speaker: Michael McLean released his debut album, You’re Not Alone, in 1983 and with every song that followed, his lyrics filled voids, encouraged love, and offered hope. Now, more than 25 albums later, his musical legacy has not only resonated in the hearts of thousands, but continues to be a standard for those seeking meaning and peace.
In addition to his music and films, McLean has also authored four books with accompanying CDs – Distant Serenade, Hold on the Light Will Come: And Other Lessons My Songs Have Taught Me, The Forgotten Carols, and most recently, From God’s Arms to My Arms to Yours.
Perhaps the most requested song from Michael McLean is his beloved adoption-themed song From God’s Arms to My Arms to Yours. Anyone in the adoption process — birth parents and their families as well as adoptive parents and their families — will treasure his heartfelt insights. Ever the engaging performer and master storyteller, Michael will touch our hearts and minds as he brings to us stories from those who were inspired by his music to share their personal adoption experiences.
Jason Barnes is the managing attorney of the Utah Adoption Law Firm, P.C., located in Kaysville, Utah. His practice includes representation of adoptive parents in contested and uncontested adoption cases, Interstate and International adoptions, Stepparent and Kinship adoptions, Special Needs adoptions, Adult adoptions, and all other aspects of adoption law, including the representation of biological parents. He also practices law in the areas of Guardianships, Child Custody, Paternity, Divorce, and other Family Law related cases. He graduated from the University of Wyoming with a J.D. in 2002 and was admitted to the Utah State Bar in 2002. Jason is currently the President of the Utah Adoption Council, a Non-Profit Organization whose members include adoptees, birth parents, adoptive parents, agencies, and community groups. (For more information go to www.UtahAdoptionCouncil.org). Jason has been married for 19 years and is the father of 3 daughters.
Judge Lynn Davis serves as a judge in the Fourth District Court. For more than twenty-two years on the bench, he has been attempting to become a full-time adoption judge, unfortunately without success. However, he claims to have presided over more adoptions than any other judge in the State of Utah. Judge Davis is the recipient of the Utah State Bar Judge of the Year Award and the Excellence in Public Service Award. He was honored to receive the Annual Professional Excellence Award by the Utah Adoption Council (2009), and was selected as the 2007 Honored Alumnus for the College of Family, Home, and Social Sciences at Brigham Young University. Judge Davis and his wife, Lenore, have raised five children in Utah Valley.
Lars Eggertsen has a degree in Family Science from BYU, received his Masters in Social Work from Loma Linda University, and his Ph.D. from the University of Utah. He has worked extensively in child welfare and family-related areas within social work and currently teaches at Utah Valley University.
Luther Ellis was a starter for eight seasons in Detroit and helped lead the Lions to the NFL playoffs in 1995, ’97 and ’99. He was also selected to the Pro Bowl following the 1999 and 2000 seasons. Elliss was voted by his Detroit teammates as the runaway winner of the Mike Utley Spirit Award in each of the first five years of its existence (1997-2001). Elliss has been very active giving back to the communities to which he has ties. Luther and his wife Rebecca were married while they were attended the U. The couple has 11 children, including six have they adopted. The Ellisses sit on the board of an infant adoption agency in Salt Lake City .
Vern & Nanette Garrett are the co founders of Save A Child Foundation. This foundation was established with the intent of being an advocate for orphans between the ages of 6 and 15 years of age. The hope is to help end institutionalization of children, and give every child the opportunity to grow up in a permanent, loving family. Vern & Nanette have adopted three children at the ages of eight, thirteen and fifteen. They are also parents of seven biological children.
Jacob Gibson has worked as a family therapist at West Ridge Academy for 5 years. He facilitates an adoption support group for teenage girls, helping them think about and discuss the issues that arise for them surrounding adoption. He is also a father of five, three biological children and two transracial adopted boys. He and his wife Heather started fostering kids in California in 2001 and in the past few years have provided trainings for the Foster Care Foundation on topics of marriage and adoption.
Jacci Graham graduated from Weber State University with her bachelor’s degree and the University of Utah with her Masters in Social Work. She is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. She has worked for the Division of Child and Family Services, Davis Behavioral Health and Valley Mental Health. She is currently the Director of the Grandfamilies Program at the Children’s Service Society. She has been married for over 40 years; she has four children and seven grandchildren three of which have been adopted.
Kelly Grove is an adoptive mother to seven wonderful children. She has been greatly blessed by the miracle of adoption. Kelly’s heart reaches out to the many precious children who still wait for their families. She often has people come up to her when they see her family, wanting to know more about adoption. As an obsessive researcher and a very experienced adopter, Kelly has been able to learn many adoption secrets that help families have success in adoption.
Ron Hammond earned his Ph.D. in Family Studies from BYU in 1991. He undertook a post-doctoral fellowship at the prestigious Case Western Reserve University, Cleveland Ohio then began his career at UVCC in 1992. He has lead and supported the UVU’s growth from UVCC to UVSC and now UVU. He has also lead in the growth of the Family-centered Behavioral Science Department from a program, to an associates, and now bachelor’s degree department with about 2,400 majors. Ron and His wife Alisa have six children, one daughter-in-law and one grandchild.
Andrea Hardeman is a graduate of Texas A&M University with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology and is currently pursuing a Master of Science in Sociology at Brigham Young University. Her research interests include transracial adoption, international adoption, race, ethnicity, family, and the LDS community. She is currently working as a research assistant for Dr. Cardell K. Jacobson and Dr. Charlie V. Morgan. Following the completion of her Master’s program in August 2010, she plans on seeking employment with an adoption agency.
David Hardy is an attorney in private practice who deals extensively with adoption-related issues. He is a shareholder with the firm of Kirton & McConkie, where he has practiced for eighteen years. He has represented clients in litigation throughout the United States in contested adoption matters. He also regularly advises adoption agencies, adoptive parents and birth parents regarding their rights and adoption practice and procedure. He is the father of six children, none of whom were adopted; he doubts that a home study would find him to be a suitable parent. Through the efforts of his long-suffering wife, however, the children appear to be on suitable life courses.
Sterling and Heidi Hilton both grew up in Orem, often playing in the hollows and sand dunes where UVU now stands. They have four children, two of whom were adopted. Their son David was 2 1/2 years old when he joined the family, while their daughter Chetna was 15 months when she was adopted from India.
Wes D. Hutchins is a partner with the Salt Lake City law firm of SCALLEY, READING, BATES, HANSEN & RASMUSSEN, P.C. He was born in Phoenix, Arizona on September 22, 1965. He received a B.A. in 1990 from Brigham Young University and a J.D. from the University of Utah, graduating in 1993 in the top 10% of his class. He was admitted to the Utah State Bar in 1993. He served as a judicial extern to Chief Justice Michael D. Zimmerman of the Utah Supreme Court. He was a member of the Utah Law Review from 1992 to 1993. Wes is a member of the Utah State Bar, the Federal Bar Association, the U.S. District Court (Utah), and the U.S. Court of Appeals (10th Circuit). He is a member of the Advisory Board for the Utah Adoption Exchange and a Member of the Utah Adoption Council.
Dr. Cardell Jacobson is Professor of Sociology and a Karl G. Maeser General Education Professor at Brigham Young University where he teaches and does research on social psychology, race and ethnic relations and the sociology of religion. His recent research has been focused on inter-group marriage and Transracial adoption. Recent books include (with John P. Hoffmann and Tim B. Heaton)Revisiting Thomas F. O’Dea’s The Mormons: Contemporary Perspectives (University of Utah Press, 2008) and (with Jeffrey C. Chin) Within the Social World: Essays In Social Psychology (Pearson/ABLongman, 2009).
Larry Jenkins manages the adoption practice at Wood Crapo LLC in Salt Lake City, Utah. He is also admitted to practice in Texas, several Federal courts and the United States Supreme Court. At any given time, his firm is involved in between 100 and 150 adoption matters, including contested cases, interstate cases and ICWA matters. His firm represents adoption agencies, adoptive families, and birth parents. Larry is a fellow in the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys where he is a member of the Board of Trustees.
Charles “Chuck” Johnson is Vice President and Chief Operating Officer and Vice President of the National Council For Adoption (NCFA) and the Director of the Infant Adoption Awareness Training Initiative. In his current position with NCFA, Mr. Johnson is responsible for coordinating efforts among member agencies and professionals involved in national and global adoption advocacy. Prior to joining NCFA, Mr. Johnson served 17 years with a licensed child-placing agency, including eight years as its executive director. He has assisted in the licensing and start-up of two adoption agencies and was a consultant and on-camera participant to Hallmark Entertainment’s A Family for Li. His recent citations include CNN International, USA Today, Newsweek, the New York Times, the Associated Press, and Family News in Focus. Mr. Johnson is a graduate of Auburn University with a degree in Social Work and holds a Masters degree from Birmingham Theological Seminary. He has been a licensed practicing social worker since 1986. He is a father by adoption and lives with his wife and three children in Maryland.
Dorothy “Dee” Helen Knell has had a desire to help children since she was one herself. She graduated from UVU with a B.S. in Behavioral Science with an emphasis in Psychology. Since moving to Utah nine years ago, Dee has worked and volunteered with victims of domestic violence, foster children, and troubled teens. Her experience includes five years working in cooperation with the Utah State Courts, over two years with the Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) program, and volunteering at Slate Canyon Youth Center. One of Dee’s dreams has been to open her own group home to care for children.
Laraine Moon has been working in adoption for close to seven years. Prior to that, she worked for many years in Psychiatry at PCMC. As an adoption advocate and social worker for a private agency in Salt Lake, 99% of Laraine’s work is with birth mothers who are experiencing an unplanned pregnancy. She serves on the Utah adoption council, and along with her degree from the University of Utah, has also been trained and certified in adoption education through the National Adoption Council. Laraine is the mother of four, and has been married to a terrific man for 27 years. She loves the outdoors and travel – and her work!
Dr. Charlie V. Morgan is an Assistant Professor in the Sociology Department at Brigham Young University. He received his Ph.D. from the University of California, Irvine. He is currently conducting a qualitative research project on immigration in Utah, which includes international adoptions.
Darron Smith is a Ph.D. Candidate at the University of Utah in the department of Education, Culture & Society. Mr. Smith has taught courses and does research on Whiteness studies, African American issues, race and ethnic relations and Mormon race studies. His dissertation topic is about white parents teaching black and biracial children how to contend with racism and mistreatment-how the most privileged group in North America teach the least privileged group how to confront and cope with racism. Mr. Smith has written and published articles and books on the topic of race. His most recent books are Black and Mormon (University of Illinois Press, 2004) and a forthcoming manuscript on Transracial Adoption.
Kathy Searle has worked in the field of adoption for 20 years, with experience in international, private and special needs adoption. She is currently the Director of Programs for the Utah office of The Adoption Exchange where she has worked in collaboration with Utah’s Division of Child and Family Services to find adoptive homes for children in foster care and also to support families after placement. Kathy serves on the Valley Mental Health Children’s Advisory Board, is past president of the Utah Adoption Council and currently chairs the Education committee, which coordinates the annual adoption celebration and spring conference. Kathy Searle and her husband Ned are the parents of 11 children. Eight of their children joined their family through transracial adoption.
Kelsae Stentzel is an Undergraduate at BYU from Boise, Idaho. She will be graduating in December with a Bachelors degree in Sociology. She is currently working under the direction of Charlie Morgan as a research assistant, for a project studying international adoptions in Utah. She volunteers at the Center for Women and Children in Crisis and is in the process of applying for Graduate school programs in Social Work.
Sereen Walker is an Undergraduate at BYU from South Jordan Utah. She is currently in the program to receive her Bachelors of Science in Sociology. She is working under the direction of Charlie Morgan as a research assistant, for a project studying international adoptions in Utah. She volunteers at For Every Child Adoptions based out of Highland, Utah and hopes to get a permanent job with an adoption agency after graduation.