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W.I.S.E. Up!®

W.I.S.E. UP!® is an empowerment program designed to create a safe space for children to express their feelings about being adopted and prepare them for intrusive questions and insensitive remarks from peers and others like:

  • “Why don’t you look like your parents?”
  • “How much did you cost?”
  • “Where are your real parents?”
 
The Cradle is proud to be the only organization in Illinois trained to facilitate this program that empowers adopted and foster children to decide if, when and how to share their stories. Developed by the Center for Adoption Support and Education (C.A.S.E.), W.I.S.E. Up!® gives kids the tools to answer when questions inevitably begin.
 

The Cradle’s sessions are open to all families.

Meet the Facilitators

Expectant Parent Counselor

Arletta Barbel, MA

Director of Post Adoption Support

Nina Friedman, LCSW

Senior Therapist & Clinical Lead

Dori Fujii, LCSW

Supervisor of Expectant Parent Services

Jennifer Rogers, LCSW

Therapist

Deva Suckerman, LCPC

Expectant Parent Counselor

Arletta Barbel, MA

Ever since her experience as a peer mentor in the Big Brother/Big Sister program, Arletta Barbel new she enjoyed mentoring and offering support. Before coming to The Cradle, Arletta worked as a Crisis Counselor at Chicago Youth Centers and as a respite worker at Metropolitan Family Services. She received her Bachelor’s Degree from Southern Illinois University and her Master’s Degree from National Louis University.

Director of Post Adoption Support

Nina Friedman, LCSW

Nina Friedman has extensive experience working with adoptive and foster children and their families, adult adoptees, and birth parents. Prior to joining The Cradle’s staff, she worked with adoptive and foster families at Lutheran Social Services of Illinois and Community Counseling Centers of Chicago. She also had a private social work therapy practice working with individuals, couples, and families.

Nina has a Master of Social Work degree from Washington University in St. Louis with a concentration in Mental Health and a specialization in Family Therapy. As an undergraduate, she majored in Psychology with a minor in Family Relations and Human Development at The Ohio State University. Nina is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in the State of Illinois, has her DCFS Child Welfare Employee Licensure and is a Licensed Direct Child Welfare Services Employee.

She represents The Cradle on the Illinois Adoption Registry-Confidential Intermediary Advisory Council, the Illinois Post Legal Adoption Services Meeting of Agencies, the Original Birth Certificate Access Oversight Committee, and the Stakeholder Advisory Team for the National Quality Improvement Center for Adoption and Guardianship Support and Preservation.

Senior Therapist & Clinical Lead

Dori Fujii, LCSW

Dori Fujii is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker who has worked in the field of public and private child welfare and adoption since receiving her Master of Social Work degree from the University of Illinois at Urbana. She has consulted with DCFS in their pre- and post-adoptive services programs and since 1997 and has worked at The Cradle with families adopting domestically and internationally.

Dori has specialized training in attachment focused, trauma-informed treatment modalities and is a registered Circle of Security® Parent Educator and registered TBRI® Practitioner. She has particular interest in helping parents find effective ways of understanding, communicating and connecting with their children and teens. Her approach is practical and relationship oriented. She stresses the importance of being aware of how past experiences play a role in shaping the thoughts, feelings and actions of all members of the adoption circle.

Supervisor of Expectant Parent Services

Jennifer Rogers, LCSW

Jennifer has extensive experience in a wide variety of areas, from providing clinical advice to attorneys to running parents’ and children’s support groups. She has also worked in private practice as a therapist and supervised child care programs. Jennifer received her Bachelor’s of Psychology and her Master’s of Social Work from University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. She is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker

Therapist

Deva Suckerman, LCPC

Deva Suckerman is a Licensed Clinical Professional Counselor and Certified Clinical Trauma Professional. She received her Masters Degree in Art Therapy and Counseling from the University of Illinois at Chicago and has focused her career on working with children, youth and families in the context of child welfare.

Deva is trained in adoption competent mental health and has extensive experience working with individuals with tough starts and developmental trauma. She is attachment focused and trauma informed in her approach. Her work with families emphasizes therapeutic parenting and helping families build connection, communication, emotional attunement, and an understanding of the impact of their individual and collective histories. Children and youth can benefit from incorporating art into the therapy space as an alternate and sometimes less threatening mode of communication and self-expression. In addition, Deva has particular interest in mindfulness skills for people of all ages as a means of increasing self-awareness, learning to respond rather than react, and building compassion for self and others.

Register for an Upcoming Workshop

The registration for the W.I.S.E. Up!® session on Saturday, March 16 is full. 

If you would like to be notified of future W.I.S.E. Up!® workshops, please sign up for our mailing list.

Watch this video to learn more.

Learn about ways to give

The Cradle’s support for all those touched by adoption is made possible by our community.

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