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Home » Search » ACO's Toronto Education Day: Identity & Belonging

ACO's Toronto Education Day: Identity & Belonging

Education Day is an excellent opportunity for adoptive and pre-adoptive families, and the professionals who work with them, to learn and connect with one another.


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Keynote: Identity and Belonging
Presented by Dianne Mathes

Identity and Belonging are key concepts to understanding adoption and permanency journeys. Who am I? is a question all of us grapple with, but there can be many more layers to the search for identity in adoption, including questions such as who and where did I come from? Likewise, having a sense of belonging is something all humans need, but this can be more challenging for children and youth on permanency journeys. 
Join us to explore together what adoptive/kinship and customary care families need to know about identity and belonging, and how they can help their children build their identity and create a sense of belonging for them.


About Dianne 

Dianne Mathes has over 35 years of experience providing therapy and education/training for individuals, couples, children and families and professionals. Using attachment therapy, she specializes in adoption and provides therapy and training on the experiences and realities of early separation, adoption, abandonment, trauma, abuse, loss and grief as well as the multi-layered experience of being adopted and being a family in adoption. Dianne is herself an adoptee and has experienced her own personal journey in adoption and reunion. Dianne has a Certificate of Social Work degree from Ryerson University and is a member of the OCSSWSW. 

Special Presentation 

Adopted Persons Panel at 1:00pm

Four adult adoptees will share their thoughts and reflections about identity and belonging from their personal experience and voices as it affected their journeys in adoption and permanency.


  • Registrations & Exhibitors
    8:15AM - 9:00AM
  • Keynote Speaker: Dianne Mathes
    9:00AM - 10:00AM 
  • Break
    10:00AM - 10:30AM
  • Morning Workshops
    10:30AM - 11:45AM
  • Lunch & Connecting
    11:45AM - 1:00PM
  • Special Presentation
    1:00PM - 2:00PM 
  • Break 
    2:00PM - 2:30PM
  • Afternoon Workshops
    2:30PM - 3:45PM


At registration, please choose one workshop for the morning session and one workshop for the afternoon session. 

For a more detailed description of each Workshop and our Speakers' bios, please click here.

Morning (10:30AM - 11:45AM) 

  • Are We There Yet?: Developmental Life Stages for Adoptees
    Kimberley Miller & Cindy Stewart 
  • Supporting Identity & Belonging Through Openness  
    Pat Convery
  • Adopting Children with Special Needs, including Medically Complex children
    Panel of Adoptive Parents

Afternoon (2:30PM - 3:45PM)

  • Workshop on Identity and Belonging
    Dianne Mathes
  • Identity in Inter-racial/Inter-cultural Adoption: Pieces of Me
    Judith Craig
  • Search, Reunion & Social Media
    Bev Nettleton & Jacquie Tjandra


Exhibitor space is available. Contact for more information.

What have people said about Education Day?

"I love it - it's always worth the time and effort."

"Really enjoyed the session - wish it was longer."

"Enjoyed (the speaker's) down-to-earth, straight talk."

"I appreciated that the speaker was both an adoptive parents and a clinician. I learned a lot from her that I can apply to my work as a professional and I learned a lot about empathizing/supporting friends who want to adopt."

“A great presentation from a practitioner's perspective; honest, thoughtful, and allowed for great discussion and information sharing.”

“[The facilitator] has an energy and way of communicating that was informative and engaging.”

“Lots of clear, helpful, useful, and practical examples and strategies. We better understand the concept of attachment, its issues, and enjoyed being able to share our thoughts and questions as a group.”


Get Informed

If you are a pre-adoptive parent, and are not yet familiar with the adoption process, you would benefit from attending our How to Adopt seminar before Education Day to learn more about adopting in Ontario! You can find an upcoming How to Adopt by clicking here.


Saturday, April 27, 2019
9:00AM - 4:00PM (Registration opens at 8:15AM)

Registration Deadline
Wednesday, April 24, 2019; 9:00AM

Early Bird Special availale until March 31 - $65/person
Regular price as of April 1 - $75/person
Light lunch and refreshments included.
**Please contact if affordablity is an issue.

Cardinal Carter Academy for the Arts
36 Greenfield Ave
North York, ON
M2N 3C8

Saturday, April 27th, 2019 | 9:00AM - 4:00PM | Cardinal Carter Academy for the Arts

Categories: Education Events


Starts: 2019-04-27 09:00:00
Ends: 2019-04-27 13:00:00