About Our Children: An Education and Empowerment Series
Our Children is a series of programs and events aimed at educating families about the realities and injustices their children may experience in societal interactions. This series addresses topics that are important for all parents, family members and community members. The goal of this series is to learn from parents who are willing to share their experiences and to offer other parents tools they need to successfully communicate about and navigate through these difficult societal dynamics. Our children deserve nothing less.
While the genesis of Our Children was about addressing the needs and concerns of African American and transracial adoptive families, this program has since placed The Cradle into larger conversations happening all across America. Our Children has allowed us to touch so many more individuals through engaging in dialogues around the issues that are most important to them.
As we celebrate The Cradle’s 99th anniversary, we continue to engage families in difficult discussions to help them understand and communicate in positive and productive ways.
Join us at two live Our Children Education and Empowerment Series webinars about diversity, inclusion and belonging. This is your chance to have authentic conversations about how difference, race, and privilege shapes our experience. Let's work together to create a culture of inclusion and acceptance in our communities.
In 2021, we began a conversation about Asian children growing up in transracial households. Now join our panel of Asian-American adults in another thought-provoking conversation around cultural histories, handling Asian discrimination and stereotypes, and whether or not progress has been made will be discussed. NOTE: You do NOT have to have attended the 2021 webinar to attend. 1.5 CEUs available.* Register
Meet the Panel
Ryan B. Whitacre is a Partner and the Chicago Office Lead at Bridge Partners, a minority-owned executive search firm with a mission to diversify organizational leadership teams. Ryan is a strategic advisor and talent-spotter to hiring managers and search committees for leadership roles – Board, C-suite and function heads – across sector and industry. As leader of the firm’s Chicago office, he is dedicated to identifying and recruiting an array of diverse talent for each engagement.
Prior to joining Bridge Partners, Ryan led retained executive search assignments as Managing Director at Major, Lindsey & Africa, where he also served on the Diversity & Inclusion Committee. Previously, Ryan was in legal practice for more than 12 years with the law firms Perkins Coie and Faegre Drinker, as well as corporate counsel for US Foods and Brookfield Retail Properties Group.
Ryan holds a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations, with honor, from James Madison College at Michigan State University, where he was elected Phi Beta Kappa. He earned his Juris Doctor at Cornell Law School.
Ryan is a member of the Economic Club of Chicago and actively engaged in civic endeavors. He chairs the nominating and governance committee for the Board of Directors of The Cradle, the nation’s only adoption agency with an onsite nursery, and he sits on the Board of the Center for Disability and Elder Law, which provides pro bono legal services to vulnerable populations throughout Chicago.
Founder and Cohost of Adoptee Kwento Kwento (AKK), a global platform that centers around amplifying Philippine adoptee voices and promoting adoptee healing. She is a (Philippines) domestic adoptee to an American father and a Filipina mother. Growing up in the USA, she discovered her adoption at age 19. She always felt there was something that differentiated her from the family she had ever known. JD is an advocate who supports connecting intercountry adoptees and their families to ongoing support services and resources, no matter how long past the signed date of the adoption papers.
JD is also an entrepreneur and a manufacturing supply chains professional. She graduated from Old Dominion University with a BA in International Studies focusing on international political economy. Community volunteer positions include refugee citizenship education and family support services, and South Asian Children Literacy fund raising.
You can connect with her on:
or at her business Instagram @lakad.co.
Cosette Eisenhauer is a junior at The University of Texas at Arlington, majoring in social work and hoping to work with families and children and advocate for adoptees. She is the co-founder of @navigating_adoption, which can be found on Instagram, which strives to help people understand the struggles that adoptees might face daily and provide a space for adoptees to share their stories with adoption. Being adopted into a transracial family has fueled her passion for advocacy, and a passion for sharing her story started at a young age. Cosette has been featured by Today.com and KERA. She is also a part of many different Asian-advocacy groups, including being on the core team of Sisters of China.
Jhorna is a Spiritual and Transformational Coach. Her work began with her own journey to live her authentic self. As a transcontinental adoptee, growing up in Eastern Africa and the Indian subcontinent, she grappled with her own identity, sense of belonging, and where her “I” fit into the many collective groups she has had the privilege to be a part of.
Upon her arrival in the United States, without a community of support, she felt ill-equipped to face the challenges of cultural adjustment and the realities of racism both in her community and in her work life. This propelled her to pursue her Master’s degree in Service, Leadership, and Management to gain the tools she needed. Her work in mental health, higher education, and cultural adjustment through the study abroad experience, supported others in their own holistic development. But, at the birth of her daughter, the layers of “othering” and rejection in her own life sent her into a spiritual emergency and it was there that she consciously began to heal her primal wound from the loss of her birth family, transmute her internalized oppression, and increase her self-worth. As a stay at home mother, she entered what she now fondly calls the “Mommastary”, where, in her isolation, she connected with her Divine guides and angels and began to receive downloads on how to effectively grieve, create internal empowerment, and claim her own inner sense of belonging.
Today, she bridges a 20-year professional background in identity development with the art of spiritual connection. She is passionate about supporting other Women of Color, adoptees, parents of transracial adoptees, and other change makers in their journeys to heal individual and societal trauma, connect to their intuitive knowing, and contribute powerfully in making the world an equitable place for all. When she is not connecting deeply with others to co-create their next best version of themselves, she is hiking, cooking and spending intentional time with wonderful husband and her two beautiful kids.
Please follow Jhorna on Facebook, instagram, and through her website site (www.inner-res.com)
Elizabeth Jacobs is a Senior at The University of Massachusetts Amherst triple majoring in Film Studies, Marketing, and Communication. Her passion for film grew in college and she strives to focus on the communities she identifies with, such as the Asian American community, the female filmmaker community, and the LGBTQ+ community. Her work also tries to advocate for mental health awareness as that topic is very important and is very personal to her. She has directed a few short films in her UMass classes and at the UCLA Summer Film Institute, she was the gaffer, colorist, sound op, and graphic designer for a couple of short films. She has had a total of five internships at her university, the Cannes Film Festival, and Echo Lake Entertainment. Learn about The Stolen Children Film.
Join our panel in talking openly about topics affecting LGBTQ families, including parenting children within an LGBTQ family, acknowledging a child's gender identity, and more. There will also be an opportunity to learn how a parent's acceptance of a child's sexual orientation can positively impact the child's growth and future relationships. 1.5 CEUs available.* Register
* Illinois and Indiana Residents: Each of the webinars in this series is eligible for 1.5 CEUs in Cultural Competency for live attendees.
Be a part of the discussion on mainstream beauty standards and its effect on identity and self-esteem and learn more about the movement to embrace more inclusive standards. Join women of color and transracial adoptees as they discuss The Crown Act, colorism, building confidence in girls of color, and diverse representation in media and beyond. 1.5 CEUs available.*
Iisha Scott, NBC Chicago Meteorologist
⬤ Ivey Smith, Owner of My Skin is In
⬤ Dr. Brooke Jackson, Certified Dermatologist, Author and DrBrookeDerm.com
⬤ Kelly Fair, Founder and Executive Director of Polished Pebbles Girls Mentoring Program
⬤ Amanda McKinstry, Transracial Adoptee and Creator of blackgirlwhitefamily.com
Black Children & Mental Health Webinar
There is such a stigma around mental health in the Black community. Partly because of the lack of knowledge and access to resources. There are also fears about the healthcare systems and the mistrust that lives in our community. And if we can be honest, rightfully so.
But those stigmas, fears and doubts blind us to the increasing rates of anxiety, depression and suicide for African American children and teens that have been on the rise for the last few years.
Join us as we discuss Black Children and Mental Health. Our panelists of therapists and parents are going to discuss the stigma that exists around mental health and why the rate of Black families seeking mental health care and treatment is much lower than White families.
We will talk about why mental health services should be designed with cultural and social nuances in mind. And the upward trend in mental health needs as Covid-19 has interrupted the lives of so many kids and limited their social activities.
Finally, we will discuss the myths about suicide in the Black community and why Black Youth are less likely than other youth to disclose thoughts of suicide.
Asian Child | White Parent Webinar
This discussions will touch on the type of conversations parents are having with their Asian children at home around culture, abandonment, homeland visits and more. With a panel of adoptive parents and adult adoptees, we are going to dive into some very real, often uncomfortable issues affecting Asian children with White parents.
We will also talk about the prejudice and significant rise in racism toward Asians since the start of Covid-19. Finally, we will discuss the identity loss that Asian children with White parents may experience.
The 2020 Our Children 6-Webinar Series:
The dates of the Live Webinars have passed. Each webinar is now available on-demand through Adoption Learning Partners
Raising Black Boys Revisited 2020
We are bringing together a panel of African American parents to talk about the challenges of raising a Black boy in 2020. The panelists will discuss the conversations they are having with their sons around the Black Lives Matter Movement and protests happening around the world. We will share how they explain the incidents of violence and racial tension in the news each day and how these conversations shape our young boys as they transition to adulthood. We will talk about everyday fears they have for their sons’ safety and what they tell their sons to ensure that they get home safely.
From Black Boys to Black Men (And the Fear that Brings)
We will bring together a panel of Generation Z and Millennial males to discuss their transition from a young boy to a young man and the fear that brings to many people. The panelists will share experiences from when they first realized that they were viewed differently than their White counterparts. They will share their fears and the things that Black boys and young men must be mindful of as they go through life at school or hanging out with friends.
Can You Hear Me Now? Black Adults Speak!
Panelists will discuss the changing demographics on the front lines of support for the equality of African Americans. Additionally, panelists will share their thoughts on the recent acknowledgment of Juneteenth, the pros and cons of defunding the police, and Black men who are re-considering a career in law enforcement because of what is happening today.
Raising Black Girls 2020
On October 29, 2020, we are bringing together a panel of parents to discuss issues prevalent to Black girls. Many of the challenges faced by Black boys are very similar to those Black girls face but are not often discussed. Following up on the first Raising Black Girls Roundtable and webinar from 2017, we will continue the open and honest dialogue around the realities Black girls face and the added layers in parenting that comes with raising a Black girl today.
The Color of Education 2020
Panelists will share their perspectives regarding some major challenges facing Black children in schools such as: the lack of culturally competent teachers, the disparities in suspension rates for Black students compared to White students, and how our recent shift to remote learning has failed Black students in urban areas. We will also discuss effective strategies parents can use to set their child up for success in school and what parents can do to ensure that teachers are setting appropriate expectations for their children. DOWNLOAD RESOURCES
Black Child | White Parent (What You Need to Know)
We will discuss how White parents’ privilege can extend to their child when they are together, but when alone, the privilege is gone for their child. We will talk about what parents are doing to connect to their child’s culture and community and if they have significant relationships with adults within their child’s racial/ethnic groups. Finally, how parents respond to people who say “race is a non-issue”, “we don’t see color in this house” or “race doesn’t matter and all you need is love”.
PARTNER WITH THE CRADLE | SUPPORT THE
OUR CHILDREN INITIATIVE
The Cradle has developed an exciting range of sponsorship opportunities for this series.
For more information, please contact Simone Wheeler,V.P. of Development
Thank You to Our Generous Donors
Many thanks to our education and outreach sponsors for supporting the Our Children webinar series.
Phyllis S. Thomas and Alan S. Curtis
Rothschild Investment Corporation
Goldman Sachs Chicago Private Wealth Management (PWM)
Talita & Neil Erickson
Our Children in the Media
The Cradle and a Cradle family were featured on CBS Chicago evening news, talking about transracial parenting and the Our Children Initiative. October 5, 2016.