Meet The Team - Judy

adoption learning partners staff noreen

Our Meet the Team posts will give you some info on who we are and what we do. Now, when you get emails from us or read our social media posts, you'll know who you're hearing from!

Meet Judy Stigger, LCSW
With Adoption Learning Partners since its inception 11 years ago, Judy remains involved in its development. As Clinical Director, she has the least “technical” job in the organization. Because she is also a therapist serving exclusively adoptive and birth families, she works to keep ALP content practical and to recruit the best informed experts to contribute.

Judy is a featured Subject Matter Expert in Adoption Learning Partners’ Tough Starts Matter series. She is also a frequent webinar expert and writes some curriculum for ALP.

The best part about her job…
“There are a whole lot of things I wish someone had told me before I became an adoptive parent. My kids claim they have the scars to prove that they had to teach me much of it. I really enjoy offering a body of expertise that people can make sense of even before adopting, and go back to after adopting when they need it. It excites me that ALP provides that place where one can learn from the voices of adoptive parents, professionals and adopted persons.”

“I honed my teaching skills doing live training. But online is a different medium, and making the information engaging on a screen is a different challenge. As a live presenter, I strive to continuously improve my presentations. In contrast, ALP requires a finished product ready for online release.”

Before joining the ALP team…
Judy has 40 years of experience in adoption and child welfare. She spent a few years working at a special needs school in Chicago. After adopting and being a full-time mom and part-time author, she joined an adoption agency, where she worked in domestic and ran the international program. At her current agency, she helped develop the international program and openness policy for domestic adoption and is currently serving adoptive families as a therapist. She counsels anyone touched by adoption or assisted reproduction.

Judy is a licensed clinical social worker in Illinois. She received her master’s degree in social work from the University of Chicago. She grew “her wings” as an “Angel in Adoption” recipient from Congress in 2000. More recently, Judy earned a post-graduate certificate in counseling adoptive and foster families from Portland State University.

Out of the office…
Judy and her husband are adoptive parents of two, now-grown, trans-racially placed children-one with special needs- and are now co-parenting two lovely granddaughters. She has been known to test the effectiveness of ALP-parenting suggestions by trying them at home. The grandchildren are quick to offer feedback.

Fun facts…
Judy served as a Peace Core volunteer in Afghanistan after college. She continues to love traveling to places she has not experienced to observe customs around child rearing and family rituals, and trying new cuisine.

Beyond ALP...
Judy is an Adoption Therapist working with adoptive parents, adopted individuals, adoptive families and birth parents. She has offices in Evanston and Oak Park in Illinois. Connect with Judy.

Add Your Comment

All comments subject to review
No HTML, please.
Type in the text from the image into the field above


Posted by Adoption Learning Partners on September 22, 2016 at 11:00 AM
We're very sorry to hear about the trauma you experienced as a child, Rainstorm. There are many books on healing after trauma, although they may not be specific to your situation. You could try "Journey of the Self" or another similar book. A support group or adoption-competent counseling may help in the healing and could recommend other resources.
Posted by Rainstorm Red-Smith on September 22, 2016 at 12:00 AM
I am seeking articles, essays and studies about adopted children that suffer abuse and maltreatment (as I have experienced) perpetrated by their adoptive mother. I was a replacement baby so my adoptive mother could avoid grieving and the social stigma of stillbirth loss. Studies from the 1960's by psychologists protest against such placements citing psychological damage to the adopted child, which I still experience now at 48 years old. Any written work on the subject of adoptive parent abuse would help me greatly to heal.
Thank You, Best Regards.
Posted by Judy on December 30, 2013 at 2:46 PM
We find teenagers are open to counseling, but the counselor needs to understand how adoption runs through the fabric of teen identity. Please feel free to contact The Cradle helpline: to schedule a parent - counselor consultation to discuss if an adoption-competent counselor might help. We "see" teens in person but also on Skype to accommodate busy schedules.
Other resources: "Behind the Mask" by Debbie Riley, "20 Things Adopted Kids Wish Their Adoptive Parents Knew" by Eldridge, and Adoption: the Identity Project" an course that is voiced exclusively by adopted persons and traces their development throughout childhood, teen years and emerging adulthood. It is a great course to let your teen watch also.
Hope this helps.
Judy Stigger: adoption counselor and adoptive mom who survived adolescence--twice!
Posted by Sharon on December 30, 2013 at 4:34 AM
I am so glad to find this resource.
I actually signed on months ago but don't have much time to check back.
I have a 16 year old adopted son and I am wishing I could find a counselor that could help him come "out of his shell". The last person I consulted said most teenagers are not open to counseling. Do you have any suggestions?
We were very close before he was a teen but he has pretty much shut me out so I'm at a loss as to how to help him.
I am open to suggestions as to how to be a better parent. I just really want to help my child.
Discussion, advice and a few of our favorite experts. All for families formed through adoption.