I am Tara. My bio is below, but in short, I'm a wife, mother, friend, social worker, educator, adopted person, and lifelong learner. If you met me at a coffee shop or in the school pick-up line, I certainly wouldn't launch into conversation about post-adoption topics, but professionally (and here on my blog and on Facebook), I discuss it a lot. When asked to describe adoption with only one word, my go-to answer is COMPLEX. At times I'd rather stick my head in the sand and live a life without considering the complexities, but that does no one (especially our children) much good. My writing attempts to give voice to these complexities -- they are plentiful, nuanced, and multi-dimensional. Like you, I'm still learning... and relearning. It's a tremendous privilege to meet so many and to educate and share; I hope our paths cross soon.
Speaking nationwide at conferences, support groups, culture camps, churches, schools, and beyond, social worker Tara VanderWoude educates and challenges parents and professionals on various adoption and race-related topics. She has experienced and studied the many complexities of adoption and has had countless conversations with other adoption-competent professionals but more importantly with fellow adopted persons and their families. Tara, a Korean-born adopted person and adoptive parent, is able to look at and beyond her own experiences, and teaches with expertise and reality balanced with humor and grace.
For several years, Tara worked as a social worker at a large adoption agency, educating and guiding families throughout the preparation phase to post-adoption period of their adoption processes. It was during these years when she recognized the significant need for lifelong post-adoption education and ongoing support for every member of the adoption community.
Additionally, she is a founding board member of Korean Focus-Indiana, is a founding member of a local adoption education group, has traveled to South Korea multiple times as a volunteer with The Ties Program, and regularly volunteers time with adopted children and their families.
Prior to her professional work in the adoption field, Tara worked as a Medical Social Worker, in-home Family Assessment and Resource Specialist for parents at-risk for child abuse and neglect, and Care Manager Supervisor at a multi-county Area Agency on Aging. Tara holds a Bachelor of Social Work Degree and has attended many professional adoption (and other) conferences and seminars.
Tara lives with her husband and children in an old rehabbed house in a large Midwest city, balancing her various roles. In addition to speaking and consulting, she works as an Assistant Dean of Students at a lower school and believes vulnerability, humor, and grace are lifelong essentials. She enjoys laughing with friends, reading with her children, traveling, and learning, learning, and relearning.