Full Circle Conference Round-Up

November 10, 2022 | 5 min read

Our first Families Forever Full Circle conference was a huge success! Between the in-person conference at UNO’s Thompson Alumni Center and the virtual livestream, we hosted over 150 people over the course of the day. The topics focused on meeting the needs of adoptees and helping adoptive parents, guardians, and professionals build the skills to provide lifelong post-adoption support.

We were humbled and honored to host 11 separate and comprehensive sessions featuring child development and welfare experts. Let’s take a look at some of the most impactful moments from Full Circle 2022!Blog Images (60)

Pictured from left: Teresa Frazier, Families Forever Program Coordinator, Rebecca Reiter, Families Forever Supervisor,  Mark Bryant, Families Forever Supervisor, Christina Nemec, Pregnancy Parenting and Adoption Program Director, Lisa Kelly, Family and Community Engagement Coordinator.

NCHS’ Full Circle Conference has just wrapped, and we have the perfect recap for you! Take a look at the blog from @NEChildrensHome:Click To Tweet

Speaker Shout Outs

We want to acknowledge that we know this conference would not be possible without the contributions of our valued experts. For those who selflessly shared their time and insights with us on October 27, we cannot thank you enough!

If you’re interested in connecting with these speakers or following their findings in real time, we’ve compiled a list of their social media platforms where you can stay up to date with their research and other speaking engagements.



Dr. Chaitra Wirta-Leiker, Licensed Psychologist


Nathan Ross, North American Council on Adoptable Children (NACAC)


Barb Clark, North American Council on Adoptable Children (NACAC)


Sara Sanson, Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LIMHP, LCSW)


Brenna Poindexter, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Nebraska


Briana Woodside, Licensed Clinical Social Worker


Michelle Westengaard, Director of the Department of Occupational Therapy at the University of Nebraska Medical Center’s Munroe-Meyer Institute


Jody Angel-Trejo, Licensed Independent Mental Health Practitioner



For those who were unable to attend the Full Circle Conference, take a look at the recent blog from @NEChildrensHome to glean insights from expert speakers:Click To Tweet

Dr. Chaitra Wirta-Leiker

Dr. Chaitra Wirta-Leiker was this year’s Welcome Keynote Speaker. She is a licensed psychologist, an international/transracial adoptee of color, and an adoptive parent. She specializes in providing mental health support focused on adoption, trauma, and racial identity work through her private practice in Denver, Colorado. 

In her session From Struggles to Superpowers: Reframing the Seven Core Issues in Adoption, Dr. Wirta-Leiker shed light on some of the most common issues faced by adoptees and adoptive parents. Through this framework, Dr. Wirta-Leiker discussed how characteristics that are often viewed as challenges can actually help adoptees thrive. She challenged adoptive parents, guardians, and professionals alike to reevaluate how they look at certain behaviors to empower adoptees to draw on these inherent strengths.

Nathan Ross

Nathan Ross is a project specialist at the North American Council on Adoptable Children and delivered our Lunch Keynote Address. Nathan entered foster care at the age of ten and was later adopted as a teenager. Upon discovering that his resource-filled foster care experience was not the standard, he decided to center his career around increasing outcomes for future generations of children. Today, he uses his knowledge as a transracial adoptee and child welfare professional to train caregivers, foster care and adoption workers, and system administrators across North America. 

In his keynote Adoption Through the Eyes of an Adoptee, Ross took attendees on a journey through the transition from his family home to his foster parents and finally to his adoptive parents. His one-of-a-kind story focused on finding his identity, his voice, and the path to forgiveness.

From NCHS and Families Forever, we want to thank all contributors and attendees for coming to Full Circle, in person or online! For those who attended, please remember that our sessions are now digitally preserved and have been posted for you to access on the Whova app! Keep these invaluable resources on hand and reference them easily by checking them out online.

If you did not join us this year, we hope to see you at our second Full Circle conference in 2024!

To learn more about the Full Circle conference, please get in touch with the Families Forever team at familiesforever@nchs.org or visit fullcircle.nchs.org.