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Webinars – Intercountry Adoption Community

The Ugly Model: A documentary

Q&A panel discussion featuring adult adoptees and a Child and Family Counsellor

'The Ugly Model' is a documentary about a Korean American adoptee and fitness model Kevin Tae-jin Kreider who seems to have it all; he has a popular Instagram and vlog and has modelled around the world. However, underneath lies a loneliness and insecurity as a Korean adoptee growing up as an Asian male in a white family in America. 

As intercountry adoptees our panel members discuss the issues of racism, identity and micro-aggressions as we look at the impact of transnational adoption.

Panel members:

Shaun Hardwick is a Korean adoptee who primarily grew up in country Victoria. He relocated to Melbourne in 2007 to study and has been working here ever since. He has a background in business development roles across financial services, government and IT, and recently completed an MBA at Victoria University Business School. Recently he has been investing time in adoption-related interests, you may recognise him from a recent SBS Insight program where he shared details of his adoptee experience growing up in Australia.


Ryan S. Gustafsson Ph.D is a queer non-binary Korean adoptee, researcher, teacher, and podcaster. They are currently working on two research projects: on Korean adoptee experiences, and on philosophies of nature. Ryan is co-creator of Adopted Feels, a podcast on anything and everything adoption related, and The Call Me By My Name Project: A Trans Oral History Podcast. They also organize free scholarly events in Melbourne’s CBD as one of the founders of the Philosophies of Difference group.


Jessica Walton Ph.D is a senior researcher at the Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation. She has written extensively on transnational adoption, race, racism and identity with a recent book published by Routledge called, "Korean adoptees and transnational adoption: Embodiment and emotion". Jessica was adopted from South Korea to the United States and has found a home through the Korean adoptee and transnational adoptee communities in Australia.

Meike Zielinski is a mental health credentialed Occupational Therapist with a Masters in Creative Arts Therapy. She has been working with children since 1989 and has been involved with the ICAFSS program for the past 4 years in her role as Child & Family Counsellor. Her work is primarily relational and systemic, through a trauma/attachment lens. She has lived experience of voluntary migration from Europe with her nuclear family in 1972.

The Role of Extended Family in Intercountry Adoption

Susan Gregory & Narelle Nelles

An adopted child enters a family which generally doesn’t consist of just their parents. There may be aunties, uncles, grandparents and even adult siblings who live outside the child’s home. On the journey to adopt, extended family may be aware of what is happening, and they may be involved in conversations along the way. So what is the role of extended family in supporting the child and their parents?

Shame in the Context of Intercountry Adoption

Susan Gregory & Narelle Nelles

Looking at the impact of shame on behaviour and how it prohibits attachment, and some useful ways that adoptive parents can find their way forward.

Recognise and Repair – Addressing the uniqueness of adoptive parenting

Susan Gregory & Narelle Nelles

Parenting children through adoption can be exceptionally rewarding, but it is also a demanding and challenging task which requires great skill and sensitivity.  This workshop is intended to provide adoptive parents with a framework to better understand the behaviour of their children so they can settle and flourish in their family.


Susan Gregory, BA (Psych) M Counselling, Cert.IV Workplace Training and Assessment, has 30 years’ experience working in adoption, fostering and child and family welfare as a counsellor and consultant; running education groups and assessment for alternative carers.  


Narelle Nelles, B Social Work, is a skilled social worker with over 35 years experience working with adoption families and carers providing alternative care for children.  For a number of years Narelle worked intensively with placing children of all ages in permanent families, working therapeutically with children, training the parents and providing ongoing family support.  


Both Susan and Narelle work in their practice with clients and families from an attachment focus. They run parenting courses and staff training for the Department of Child Safety and NGO’s in Queensland

An introduction to Loss and Grief and how this connects to Intercountry Adoption

Helen Lenga

This online seminar offered an introduction to Loss and Grief and how this connects to Intercountry adoption. Areas covered included - What is loss and grief; Some theories on loss and grief; How loss and grief impacts children and young people; Connection between trauma, loss and grief; Specific loss and grief for children who have experienced intercountry adoption; and Key factors to help children with their loss and grief.

Helen Lenga is a psychologist who has specialist training with children and families. Helen practices in Melbourne and has over 30 years’ experience working in the field of trauma as a psychotherapist, trainer, consultant and supervisor. She has a special interest in how cross-cultural issues influence caregiving styles of children and the development of relationships. 

Identity and Belonging – Parenting Intercountry Adopted Teens

George Habib

The 21st century represents new opportunities and challenges for family life and parenting. Parents of intercountry adopted children have additional worries as the tasks of identity formation and belonging have added complexity during the adolescent years.

George Habib, Clinical psychologist and Associate Director Wellbeing Services, University of Melbourne, presents a seminar for parents of intercountry adopted teenagers.

Relationship Matters

At Relationship Matters we provide counselling. mediation and relationship learning programs for couples and individuals and families. We are the relationships people who build connected families, workplaces and communities, by providing professional and affordable relationship services.

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