Search and Reunion in Adolescence

The media often presents the dramatic and heartwarming aspects of search and reunion, but the reality is much more complex. These stories often focus on adult adoptees meeting birth family members. Today adolescent adoptees increasingly are seeking birth family contact. The old refrain of “wait till your 18” is a thing of the past. This workshop will address how to assess a teen’s emotional readiness for  search and reunion; preparation for all members of the adoption constellation; and managing the potential relationship challenges that can surface after reunion. In this session, Ms. Riley explores the impact of technology, social media, and DNA testing on search and reunion.

Co-Founder and CEO, Center for Adoption Support and Education (C.A.S.E.)
Over the past 30 years, Debbie Riley has focused her extensive therapy experience around treating adolescents and families dealing with issues of depression, anxiety, attention, and complex learning challenges. Since co-founding C.A.S.E. in 1998, Debbie has specialized in treating the complexities of adoption that surface in adolescence as well as children adopted internationally who are experiencing post-trauma stress and adjustment challenges. Among her many professional accomplishments, Debbie co-authored the widely acclaimed book Beneath the Mask: Understanding Adopted Teens. Debbie is a highly respected and sought-after keynote and workshop presenter both nationally and internationally. She is the proud recipient of the Children’s Bureau 2015 Adoption Excellence Award. She collaborates with community organizations that support at-risk teens and integrate allied support services for teens with complex needs. Debbie and her husband Mike are also proud adoptive parents.

This session was recorded as part of the Virtual National Adoption Conference in June 2020. You may register to take this session as a stand-alone course for $10, or as a bundle of six sessions from the conference for $50.

This course is available for free those with an NCFA Family Membership. If you are have an NCFA Family Membership and are logged in with your NCFA credentials, you can click on the session below to get started (no need to register). If you need help logging in, please contact Amy Wolfe (

Once registered, you will be redirected back to this page and you can click on the course title below to get started.

A training certificate will be issued upon completion of this session.  CEU credits were only awarded to those who joined the webinar live. 

Course Details

Prerecorded Conference Session
Search and Reunion in Adolescence
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