Speakers, Facilitators and Panelists
Alex Castrodale found his birth/first parents in 2015. After much soul searching, he decided to change his name to incorporate their names. Alex is an architecture graduate student.
Ron Nydam, PhD
Ron Nydam, PhD has spent decades focusing on the issues that arise with regard to relinquishment and adoption. His counseling specialty has to do with adoptees, young and older, who struggle with their relinquishment; birthparents, young and older who continue to mourn their losses; and adoptive parents who sometimes struggle to understand the behavior of their children. Ron is the founder of Pastoral Counseling of Denver and the author of Adoptees Come of Age and his new book, Wise Adoptive Parenting: When Kids Struggle to Adopt Their Parents.
After discovering at age 35 that he was adopted, Ridghaus located and connected with his original parents. A birth-dad in an open adoption and father to five more children, his passion for capturing people's stories impacted by relinquishment and adoption inspired him to employ his skills as an Educator and Filmmaker to co-create with fellow male adoptee Derek Frank the documentary Six Word Adoption Memoirs. In 2017, he was "unadopted" by his birth mother and took his birth families' names. He holds MA and JD degrees.
Rich Uhrlaub, M.Ed.
Rich was born and adopted in Denver, CO and connected with his family of origin in 1995. He spearheaded a 20-year legislative effort culminating in the unanimous passage of multiple bills in 2014-2015, giving Colorado one of the most comprehensive adoption records access laws in the nation. Rich serves as president of Adoption Search Resource Connection and president of the Colorado Adoption Intermediary Commission. He is a contributing author to Finding Our Place: 100 Memorable Adoptees, Fostered Persons and Orphanage Alumni (2010), Adoption and Mothering (2012), and is working on a creative non-fiction about his origins.
Jared Utley is a fourth year Ph.D. student in counseling psychology. Prior to moving to Denver, Jared earned his bachelor's degree in psychology from the University of Maryland Baltimore County. Jared's research interests include: understanding the experiences of people who identify with multiple minority identities, members of at-risk and underserved populations, and the adoptee constellation. Jared has had clinical experiences as a practicum student working with adults in addictions, undergraduate and graduate college students, and in adult outpatient settings. Jared enjoys playing sports, singing, hiking, camping, and indulging in the occasional Korean all you can eat buffet. In the future, Jared wants to be a psychologist that consults and works with adoptees, their families, and adoption organizations.