Tara Vanderwoude is a member of our congregation and social worker, advocate, and educator who speaks and presents on a variety of post-adoption topics . Tara has previously worked as a social worker at an adoption agency and is a founding member of a local adoption education group and sits on the Board of Directors for Korean-Focus Indiana. Tara is passionate about educating on the complexities of adoption and advocating for family preservation and ethical adoption practices. Throughout her years in the adoption community, Tara has witnessed the need for lifelong education and support for every member of the adoption constellation in addition to proper comprehensive exploration of prospective adoptive parents' motivations and expectations of adoption and parenting an adopted child. In April, the deacon team sponsored Tara to travel to Nashville, TN to speak at the Christian Alliance for Orphans summit. There, she presented or co-presented at three sessions. The Summit was attended by about 3,000 people from all over the world. The Christian Alliance for Orphans summit draws Pastors, other church leadership, adoptive parents, prospective adoptive parents, adoption advocates, and child welfare professionals.
Tara delivered a session on the complexities of transracial adoption which included urging attendees to examine perspectives on race, privilege, and adoption; advocating for the abandonment of colorblindness in exchange for being color aware; naming and explaining the challenges for transracial adoptees; and offering practical tools and concepts to support the racial identity of transracial adoptees. Additionally, she co-presented a session on the importance of accurate and comprehensive language within the Christian adoption community and the dangers of equating horizontal (earthly) adoption to vertical (spiritual) adoption and how both impact the general narrative of adoption and shape an adopted person's perspectives on faith and God. Finally, she sat on a panel discussing the realities of growing up in multi-ethnic families.
To learn more about Tara's work, visit her website (www.taravanderwoude.com) or her Facebook page (www.facebook.com/taravanderwoude).