Cynthia Couch, L.C.S.W
Cynthia is a psychotherapist in private practice with a specialty in post adoption issues. She is also the Supervisor of Post Adoption Services at Spaulding for Children adoption agency. She is the proud parent of an adopted child as well as an adoptive grandparent. She has spoken to AFH on “Talking to Your Kids about Adoption” and “Sibling Relationships.”
Janie Cravens, L.C.S.W.
Janie has more than 35 years of experience in adoption, infertility, orphan care, attachment and birth parent concerns. She is a pioneer of open adoption. Janie resides in Austin where she owns a consulting company, Adoption Development Resources, offering pre and post-placement counseling/consultation for members of the triad, educational workshops on all topics for domestic and international adoptions, home studies, expert testimony for legal cases, and consultation to agencies and orphanages around the world. She has spoken to AFH about “Talking to Your Kids about Adoption”, “Attachment from Infancy to Adulthood” and “Adoption Myths and Realities.”
Jan is the Family Services Director/Administrator for Alternatives in Motion (AIM). She has worked for AIM since 1986 with a goal of educating birth families and adoptive families about the adoption process and to be a source of support as they find comfort in their choices. Jan and her husband Alan are adoptive parents to their six children, Jeremy, Alana, Jennifer, Wade, Westin and Joni. She has spoken to AFH on “Navigating a Successful Semi-Open or Open Adoption.”
Michelle Ellisor, LMFT-A
Michelle is a Licensed Marriage and Family Therapy Associate. She is a member of the Texas Association for Play Therapy and participates in the Hill Country Play Therapy Chapter. She works with families, couples, adults, and children of all ages in Austin, TX. As a graduate student, Michelle conducted research on the rapidly developing realm of social media. Michelle has a Master of Arts in Counseling and a Bachelor’s degree in Film Production. She has incorporated her knowledge of mental health, social media, and technology into her psychotherapy practice. She has spoken to AFH about “Adoption and Social Media.”
Michelle Forrester, Ph.D.
Michelle is a well-known and respected child psychologist and expert in the area of adoption. She has firsthand experience regarding adoption as an adoptive parent in addition to many years’ experience working with families formed by adoption. Dr. Forrester received her Ph.D. from the University of Southern California and completed her post-doctoral training at the Early Childhood Center in the Department of Psychiatry at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center and at the Department of Pediatrics at the University of California, Los Angeles. Dr. Forrester has been in private practice serving young children and families since 2003. She has spoken to AFH about “Adoption and School.”
Deborah Fry, Ph.D.
Deborah is a well-known and respected parenting coach who has offered one-on-one coaching at clients’ homes and taught after-hours parenting classes in Houston since 1990. She also works as a part-time teacher at Westminster Weekday School. Dr. Fry received her Ph.D. in language acquisition and human communication from Southern Illinois University. Her undergraduate work was in elementary education. She is certified by The Gentle Sleep Coaching Program. She has spoken to AFH about parenting in general such as “Effective Parent-Child Communication” and “Consequences that Work”.
Lauretta (Pat) Sims, LMSW-AP
Lauretta is the former Program Manager for Adoption and Post-Adoption Programs at DePelchin Children’s Center. Pat has worked for the state of Texas as a protective service worker, AFDC social service worker and contract worker doing court ordered investigations and studies. She has worked with adoptive families for more than 30 years. She has co-developed training curriculum for professionals and adoptive parents and has conducted training sessions at the state and national level. Pat and her husband have four children who are now adults. Three of the children were adopted as special needs children. She has spoken to AFH about “Meeting the Emotional Needs of an Adopted Child.” Pat is now retired.
Lori Wolfe, M.S., CGC
Lori is a board certified genetic counselor. She is the director of the Texas Teratogen Information Service and lectures at the University of North Texas. In addition to running the service, Wolfe lectures at UNT, presents public talks and workshops, and supervises students working for the teratogen service. She is the president of OTIS, the national Organization of Teratology Information Specialists, and has served on the board of directors for the past 15 years. Wolfe is married to an engineer and they have three children. She has spoken to AFH about “Nature vs. Nurture.”
Continuing Education Units
Adoptive Families of Houston is offering Continuing Education Units (CEUs) for all of our educational programs. The CEUs are approved by the Texas State Board of Social Workers Examiners.