Karin Peterson and Kathyrn Smith are The Cradle’s Community Outreach and Education team, a truly dynamic duo who travel throughout the greater Chicago metropolitan area and northern Indiana offering training and support to professionals who work with women and men considering the option of adoption. Both hold Master’s degrees and have extensive experience in counseling and adoption services.
In a given year, Kathyrn and Karin will make around 1,600 outreach contacts with medical and social work professionals.
“Wherever in the community there’s an interest in adoption education, we’re happy to go there,” says Karin.
That includes hospitals, clinics, health departments, social service agencies, crisis pregnancy centers and other organizations that serve expectant parents and new moms. While hospital social workers and mother-baby or NICU nurses are their primary audience, they also present to doctors and medical students, offer guest lectures at universities, and represent The Cradle at adoption and social work conferences.
Their most frequently requested presentation is a broad overview of adoption called Debunking the Myths; Knowing the Facts in Adoption, followed by Ethical Considerations in Adoption. A new presentation that has been well-received covers the Safe Haven laws and helps hospital professionals understand the importance adoption plays in the Safe Haven process. For nurses and social workers, Cradle in-service trainings also offer continuing education credits/units (CEs and CEUs).
Karin and Kathryn’s goal is to educate medical and social work professionals so that when they are in a position to make a referral of ethical services to a patient considering adoption, they will think of The Cradle and present us as one of her options. “A little adoption education goes a long way,” Kathyrn observes. “They are going to get a lot out of the small investment of an hour of their time.” Having this knowledge not only boosts professionals’ confidence and competence, but enhances the quality of care they provide to their patients.
“We know that the better prepared, the more insightful and empathic the professionals are, the better experience the expectant mom is going to have in the hospital,” adds Karin.
The Cradle’s Outreach team is also committed to cultivating productive, lasting partnerships in the field. “Just as The Cradle is building, preserving and strengthening families, we are doing that on the professional side,” Karin says. To learn more about Karin and Kathyrn, or to request an Adoption In-Service, please visit: cradle.org/training-education/our-educators