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The Adoption Exchange Association will hold its 2009 European Adoption Symposium in Kaiserslautern, Germany, on May 9 in conjunction with the Kaiserslautern Military Community Adoption Support Group.

The annual symposium, in its 17th year, is a popular and well-attended event with useful and timely information for families in the European community who wish to adopt, according to the group’s Web site, www.usadopteurope.com. It is primarily for Department of Defense personnel stationed in Europe who have or are thinking about adopting while in Europe.

"Most everyone in the adoption support group here has either adopted a child or is looking to adopt a child," Krista Karp, volunteer coordinator for the symposium, said of the Kaiserslautern group sponsoring the symposium.

Karp said the group is not an adoption agency and does not facilitate placements or adoptions. But it and the free symposium do offer advice through seminars and workshops for families who have or are planning to adopt, she said.

There will be 19 seminars and workshops to choose from at the symposium. They will be led by visiting attorneys and doctors, representatives of international adoption agencies and state human services officials, and local volunteers and organization members.

Subjects will include: "How To Get Started With Adoption," covering the basics for beginners; "Adopting From Foster Care," about children in temporary private homes; "The Four Factors in Adoption," including which child can you parent, the child’s age, trans-racial adoption and medical conditions; "How to Keep Your Marriage Alive After Adoption," on re-energizing relationships once the family adds a child; and "Military Resources," on how to get through the maze of military entitlements and programs.

The program also includes three "lunch table" discussions on selected subjects, including "You Can Adopt When You Are Single!" and "Things I Learned From the Adoption Process" featuring a panel of parents who have adopted.

Anyone interested in attending the symposium or with questions about adoption can contact the adoption support group by e-mailing usadopteurope@gmail.com.

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