CAFO2017 Workshops

All Workshops

10 Things Adoptees Want Parents to Know

Adopted and foster children see adoption much differently than their parents.  Author and adoptee, Sherrie Eldridge, will reveal ten things to help you see adoption through their eyes – thus deepening connections.

(Sherrie Eldridge, Author)

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5 Ways Your Family Can Engage in Orphan Care Ministry Today

For most of us here at the conference, the question isn’t whether or not to be involved in care of orphans and vulnerable children, but how–especially in a season of life when we are already crazy busy. This session is jam packed with practical tools and ideas you can take home with you to impact children and families while raising your own. Engaging our kids in the task of obeying James 1:27 could be one of the greatest gifts we ever give them. Let’s talk!

(Rich Metcalfe, Lifesong for Orphans)

Adoption Fundraising Super Panel

We’re gathering the top experts on adoption fundraising to show you how to make the costs of adoption manageable. Bring your questions and get ready for practical ideas from grant organizations, fundraising partners and adoptive parents who have raised thousands of dollars for their adoptions.

(Facilitator: Jeremy Resmer, Fund Your Adoption – Panel: JT Olson, Both Hands; Kathy McKinney, Show Hope; Dwain Gullion, ABBA Fund; Rich Metcalfe, Lifesong for Orphans; Sandy Fuglaar, Pathways for Little Feet)


You Can Adopt Without Debt

Faith and Fundraising – personal testimony



Adoptive Family Conversation Hour

You’re not alone in this journey! Join seasoned parents, adoptees, and former foster youth for warm conversation and Q&A. “Have you ever… How do you… Listen to this….” Bring your questions, stories, or just your weary mind & feet! (Refreshments provided)

(Trisha Priebe, Lifesong for Orphans; Vanita Thomas, Adoptive Parent; Ruth Thomas, Adult Adoptee; Mandy Litzke, Former Foster Youth, Adoptive Mom, Ministry Leader; Tony Mitchell, Transformation Strategist; Kenneth Camp, Author, Adoptive Parent, and Fostering Hope Austin; Brooke and Renaut van der Riet, MosaicChurch; Lisa Hennessey, CAFO)

Adoptive Parents Who Struggle with Depression: A Conversation Q&A

Following the initial workshop, join this gathering for specific questions and answers. This smaller group will be able discuss specific questions they have about depressive symptoms before and after placement of the child.

(Dr. Karen Foli, Purdue University)

Adoptive Parents Who Struggle with Depression: Understanding and Supporting

In this one-hour workshop, Karen Foli will discuss how expectations of adoptive parents, their child(ren), their family and friends, and society and others may impact families as they transition after placement. Common feelings and adjustments are contrasted with depressive symptoms. New research will presented as well as an overview of how society and the adoption community has historically viewed “post-adoption depression.”

A second session, for specific questions and answers, will also be held after the larger workshop. This smaller group will be able discuss specific questions they have about depressive symptoms before and after placement of the child.

(Dr. Karen Foli, Purdue University)

Learning Objectives:

  1. Verbalize two key findings in the current science related to parental post-adoption depression (PAD) with insight into the strengths and weaknesses of the data.
  2. Describe at least two trajectories of parental depressive symptoms across time, from pre-to post-placement.
  3. List three types of expectations held by parents who adopt children and how, when unmet, may lead to depression.
  4. Identify four ways to address feelings of sadness after the child comes home.
  5. Articulate how strengthening parents’ functioning, supports children and other family members as well.


The Post-Adoption Blues: Overcoming the Unforeseen Challenges of Adoption (Rodale, 2004)

Adult Attachment Styles: How Yesterday’s Childhood Impacts Today’s Parenting

Parenting is a tough job and parenting kids from hard places can be especially tough. Understanding how our adult attachment style impacts our parenting can help. A consideration of current data related to adult attachment styles among adoptive/foster parents will examine how those styles affect parenting. Parent figures will gain insight into their own personal attachment style through discussion and consider the barriers it could create. Practical strategies will be offered to empower participants to utilize increased insight into their own attachment style to influence their ability to become more attuned to their child’s needs.

(Rod Marshall, Alabama Baptist Children’s Homes; Kristin Lowrey & Lisa Keane, Pathways Professional Counseling)


“Parenting From the Inside Out” by Dr. Dan Seigel

“Parenting is Your Highest Calling: And Eight Other Myths that Trap Us in Guilt and Worry” by Leslie Feilds

Asking Questions That Engage the Internal Parts of Yourself

Having questions may actually be a sign of flourishing or maturity instead of always be certain or right. Join us for a guided conversation leaving us with spacious permission to rest in the tension of having more questions than answers.

(Russell Courtney & Hayne Steen, The SoulCare Project)

Attachment: Parenting with Your Brain in Mind

How can we create relational environments in which secure attachments are the more likely outcomes for those for whom we care, especially as we engage children in adoptive/foster settings?  This workshop will explore these and other related questions as we seek to care for the orphan and love God with all our mind in the process.

(Curt Thompson, Being Known)

Big Ideas for Adoption

Join fellow attendees to wrestle with some of the most pressing issues and fresh ideas that are on the minds of leading adoption voices today. Hear from an adoptee, biological mother, adoption professional and more — each presenting “oneBIGidea” they believe every adoption advocate should consider — and then process the ideas with others at your table.

Big Ideas: Church Orphan Ministry

There’s so many things to consider, resources that are needed and ideas about what to do and how to do it floating around out there.  How do you make sense of it all?  What are some of the “main” things you need to know about starting, leading, and growing an orphan care ministry in your church?  Whether you’re a pastor, ministry leader, or passionate church member, this session will narrow the scope a little bit and give you four to five “big idea” TED-Talk style topics to take with you.  We’ll discuss things like how to integrate orphan care into the entire church, how to motivate out of vision not guilt, how to build wrap around and support teams, establishing healthy relationships with birth families, and developing a strategic ministry calendar for the entire year.  Come ready to grab onto some big ideas!  We’ll end our time with some Q&A with our panel of presenters.

(Jen Decker, Steve Gillis, Kari Stewart, Andrew Holland, Toni Steere)

Big Ideas: Foster Care

What are some of the most pressing issues and innovative ideas on the minds of foster care leaders today? Come hear a series of short presentations that will introduce you to some of the most promising practices in foster care today. Come ready to grab onto some big ideas of your own!

(Bishop Aaron Blake, Greater Faith Community Church; Chelsea Geyer, DC127; Jason Weber, CAFO; Rob Geen, Annie E. Casey Foundation; Steve Snyder and Scott Moeshburger, Taylor University)

Big Ideas: One Thing That Makes a Difference for OVC

Leading OVC researchers will share their thoughts on one thing that makes a difference for orphans and vulnerable children.  This interactive workshop will provide plenty of opportunity for audience discussion and application of ideas.

(Facilitated by: Phil Darke, Providence World Panel: Dr. Johanna Greeson, Dr. Karen Hutcheson, Dr. Beverly Nyberg, Dr. Alfred Perez)


Think Orphan Podcast (
In Pursuit of Orphan Excellence: My Kids, Your Kids, Our Kids
Orphanage Entrepreneurs: The Trafficking of Haiti’s Invisible Children (’s-invisible-children)

Building Church Ministries 101: Launching and Leading Well

Start right here!  You’re here at Summit and you’re ready to get something going at your church.  You’ve been looking through the program at all of the workshops and you realize just how many amazing things you could do – but it has left you a little overwhelmed.  Look no further.  This workshop is the perfect place to start.  This very practical session will walk you through the basics including how to approach your church leadership, how to gather a team, and how to focus your efforts and build a plan.

(Jason Johnson, CAFO)

Building Church Ministries 201: Church Adoption Ministry

Building on the more general insights offered in “Church Ministries 101,” this advanced workshop will expand your ministry toolbox with useful nuts-and-bolts for growing an effective foster care and adoption ministry in your church that can care for children and parents for years to come!  This session will be incredibly practical for those who are ready to go but not sure where to begin, are already going but need to revisit some missed steps along the way, or somewhere in between.  Discussion will revolve around crucial components and issues of any adoption ministry as well as the basic building blocks for administration, leadership, finances, and potential growth of the ministry in the future.  This session is ideal for new and growing church foster care and adoption ministries and anyone interested in starting a church foster care and adoption ministry.

(Ryan and Kayla North, Tapestry & Empowered to Connect)

Building Church Ministries 201: Church Foster Care Ministry

Building on the more general insights offered in “Church Ministries 101,” this advanced workshop will expand your ministry toolbox with useful nuts-and-bolts for growing an effective foster care and adoption ministry in your church that can care for children and parents for years to come!  This session will be incredibly practical for those who are ready to go but not sure where to begin, are already going but need to revisit some missed steps along the way, or somewhere in between.  Discussion will revolve around crucial components and issues of any foster care and adoption ministry, as well as the basic building blocks for administration, leadership, finances, and potential growth of the ministry in the future.  This session is ideal for new and growing church foster care and adoption ministries and anyone interested in starting a church foster care and adoption ministry.

(Kari Stewart, Timberline Church & Northern Colorado Christian Alliance for Orphans and Andrew Holland, Highridge Church & Hope Forth Worth)

Building Church Ministries 201: Engaging in Effective Global Orphan Care

Building on the more general insights offered in “Church Ministries 101,” this workshop will focus on critical issues to consider when developing orphan care programs—whether in the field or as a U.S. church partner.  Participants will receive practical and helpful implementable tools.  Topics include essential administrative and management structures to provide transparency, prevent abuse, provide quality care, and financial accountability.  It will also address how to work effectively with foreign and Quasi-governmental agencies and national Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO) partners.  Key elements of strategic planning and outcome evaluation will be addressed, as well as various approaches to caring for orphans, such as the debate on residential care vs. community-based solutions and discussion regarding the value of mission trips.

(Wil Crooks, Children’s HopeChest; Jason Johnson, CAFO)


When Helping Hurts by Brian Fikkert and Steve Corbett

Helping Without Hurting in Short Term Missions

Poverty Cure


Building Church Ministries 301: Creating a Culture of Orphan Care from the Pulpit to the Pews

Building on the more advanced insights and principles offered in the “Church Ministries 201” track, this workshop will focus on critical issues to consider when developing a holistic orphan care ministry program—from prevention, to intervention, to restoration.  Topics include identifying how foster care, adoption, and orphan care fit into the overall mission of a church and how different ministries such as global child sponsorship programs, sex trafficking recovery, and foster care or adoption are all intricately connected along the same ministry continuum.  Key elements of strategic planning will be addressed and valuable tools will be put into the hands of church leaders to help them identify how caring for the orphaned and vulnerable fits into the overall strategic mission of their church.  Come prepared for an interactive “white board” strategic ministry.

(Pastor Renaut van der Riet and Gabe Forsythe, MosaicChurch)

Caring for Children in Countries Where Deinstitutionalization is a Major Focus (CAFO Members Only)

Governments in many countries are increasingly promoting a shift from traditional residential care to family, kinship, or community care. These shifts can create real tension among competing priorities, such as swift implementation and child safety. This session will not focus on the merits of these policies, but rather on how to maximize the good we can do for children amidst the opportunities and challenges these policies present. Brief presentations and collaborative discussion will explore key issues, including positive relations with government, the local church, and expanding one’s continuum of care – as well as other solution-oriented themes.

(Trace Thurlby, GO Project; Matt Parker, Kids Alive; Mike Douris, Orphan Outreach; Eugene Stutzman, Watoto Ministries)

China Member Collaborative: Working Together to Improve the Lives of Children, Families and Communities (CAFO Members Only)

Come join a deep-dive conversation of  CAFO member organizations discussing their work in China and investigating avenues for collaboration.

Church and State: Understanding the Perspective of Child Welfare Workers

When one kind of institution tries to work with another, it can be much like traveling in a different country where language and customs are completely different.  This can certainly be true when the Church engages with state agencies.  In this session you will have the privilege of hearing from veterans who are bilingual when it comes to the church and state.  Prepare to walk away with tremendous insight into the goals, passions and needs of child welfare workers and how your church can come along side of them.

(Sharri Black, Kansas Department for Children and Families; Rhonda Littleton, A Home for Me; Trisha Weber, CAFO, and Felicia Mason-Edwards, DFPS)


Love Does – Goff


Church Leadership Networking Lunch with Dr. Russell Moore

All leaders and ministry advocates from CAFO Supporter and Champion Member churches are invited to a private networking gathering during lunch on Thursday with Dr. Russell Moore. Please click the link below to register. Lunch will be provided for you at the gathering so there’s no need to stand in the general lunch lines. You’ll have the opportunity to hear from Dr. Moore, meet and interact with other Supporter and Champion church members as well as get exclusive previews of some exciting things coming up in the National Church Ministry Initiative for churches around the country.


If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact [email protected]

Church Ministry: Helping Foster and Adoptive Families Thrive – Part 1

At the foundation of any meaningful foster care and adoption ministry is effective support.  In this TED-talk format session we will identify ways to develop needed programs to holistically support foster and adoptive families in your church.  From respite programs, to support groups, to educating your church’s childcare staff and volunteers, we’ll cover it in this “can’t miss” session for both new and existing ministry leaders.  This workshop is ideal for church orphan ministries and for families.

(Michele Scheidler, Refresh Conference & Overlake Christian Church; Jami Kaeb, The Forgotten Initiative; Toni Steere, Houston’s First Baptist Church; Angela Gonzalez, Love Made Visible)


The Forgotten Initiative
The Forgotten Podcast

Church Ministry: Helping Foster and Adoptive Families Thrive – Part 2 (Round Table Discussions)

This session is designed to provide an opportunity for attendees to ask speakers specific questions and come away with tangible action steps for getting started when they return home.  Each speaker will sit at a table and attendees will have the opportunity to circulate between tables at 10-minute intervals.  These “working groups” are designed to help you apply key concepts discussed and actionable items specifically to your ministry context.

Church-Based Foster Family Recruitment and Support in Developing Countries

In many parts of the world, formal foster care is a new concept.  What is required to help families and churches catch a vision that includes caring for children in one’s own home?  Just as important, how can we cultivate both formal and informal supports for the families that embrace this call?  We’ll examine what works (and what doesn’t) with leaders who are implementing innovative foster care programs, from Costa Rica to Zambia.

(Facilitated by: Cari Armbruster, Alliance for Children Everywhere – Joined by: Antonio Garcia, Back2Back Ministries; and Arturo Barrientos, Casa Viva)

Community Based Living for Children with Special Needs

The current reality in many countries across the world is that children with disabilities and their families remain one of the most vulnerable population groups. Too many children with special needs continue to face serious barriers to participating as equal members of society. They are significantly more at risk than the general population for a very wide range of health problems and have significantly lower life expectancy overall while tending to enjoy less than equal access to health care and a family living. Approaches to the special problems and needs of children with disabilities vary enormously from country to country and between the various parts of the world.

In general, the existing approaches lie between two extremes: nearly absolute reliance on segregation and institutionalization versus maximal integration in the community. This workshop will review promising practices proved to be successful for the transition of children with special needs from institutional care into community and family care. We will explore key factors mitigating the risks throughout the transition, will identify key community services dedicated to support children with special needs and their families and discuss the alternatives to institutional care.

(Delia Pop, Hope and Homes for Children)

Comprehensive Transition Programming

Unless the children placed in our care age out with the tools to build successful lives as adults, we have failed them. Getting them ready for that transition to independent living requires intentional programming and well-defined steps throughout their time in our care. This workshop will focus on strategies to help children—especially adolescents—prepare for life as adults, with a specific focus on successful re-integration into their communities.

(David Nowell, Hope Unlimited for Children)

Conflict, Critique, and Civility: A Public Conversation with Kathryn Joyce and Jedd Medefind

Like every realm of deep human need, the work of caring for orphaned and vulnerable children is laden with complex questions and difficult dilemmas.  To listen well and seek to learn from those with whom we disagree helps us see our own blind spots and reflects the character of Jesus.  Kathryn Joyce, author of The Child Catchers, has been one of the strongest critics of the Christian orphan care movement.  Join Joyce, and CAFO President Jedd Medefind, for a frank discussion of Joyce’s critiques and some of the thorniest issues in orphan care, adoption, and foster care today.

(Kathryn Joyce, The Child Catchers and Jedd Medefind, CAFO)


A Frank Analysis of the Child Catchers

Connecting to the Heart of a Caregiver: Nurture Group Suite (Part Two)

Caregivers need care, too.  Participants will share in a nurture(care) group for adults and experience why this is so important.  Each participant will leave the workshop with 10 lessons plans to care for his/her ministry’s caregivers and a real understanding of why we need to nurture our caregivers.

(Jayne Schooler, Julie Cooper, and Diane Siemer, Back2Back Ministries)

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Connecting to the Heart of a Child or Teen: Nurture Group Suite (Part One)

Connecting to the heart of a wounded child is paramount if healing is to come.  Nurture Group Suite (Part One) will give participants experiential knowledge and resources to conduct groups for children and teens with scriptural lessons integrated into a 12-month-plan.

(Caroline Burns and Samantha Mathews, Back2Back Ministries)


TCU Karyn Purvis Institute of Child Development Camp Training –
The Alert Program – Self Regulation Made Easy! –
Theraplay Institute – Resources and Trainings –

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Connecting While Correcting

This session will apply Trust-Based Relational Intervention (TBRI) to explore strategies for creating a safe, healing environment in which children can learn new successful behavioral skills. By exploring times of misbehavior in the context of a holistic environment, it is possible to actually enhance the parent-child relationship even during “discipline.” This session will explore specific insights and strategies for building a joyful connection while correcting behavior.

(Daren Jones, TCU)


– The Connected Child: Bring hope and healing to your adoptive family by Karyn Purvis and David Cross
– Trust-Based Parenting (DVD) (Karyn Purvis Institute of Child Development Website)

Creating Foster Care and Adoption Awareness in Your Church

This workshop will focus on the nuts and bolts of utilizing a variety of awareness events to get the word out to the church congregation about the church’s orphan care ministry and opportunities where people can serve within that ministry.  This will be a session to discover fresh ideas to expand the ministry and message.  Two big mistakes we’ve seen churches make over and over is (1) create a lot of awareness and then not have the next concrete steps ready for their volunteers and (2) assume that their pastor has to endorse their ministry from the pulpit for it to thrive.  Attendees will leave revitalized with a variety of ways to create awareness and the tools they need.

(Johnna Stein, Promise686)

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Creating Trauma-Informed Children’s Ministry

Children with a history of trauma need a sense of felt safety.  Will your children’s ministry be a trauma-informed ministry where children will feel safe?  Will they be able to experience Jesus in ways they have never experienced Him before?  Jesus was filled with compassion for the people He encountered.  Come learn six key risk factors and how they impact the whole child.  We will introduce tools and strategies to help you connect with the kids in your ministry, so your church can move from managing behaviors to teaching kids about the love of Jesus.

(Ryan and Kayla North, Tapestry & Empowered to Connect)

Creative Ways to Connect & Heal with your Foster and Adopted Teens/Preteens with Trauma Histories

Is your teen pushing you away? Do you feel like nothing you do is working? Are you worried about the outcome for your preteen or teen? Is your Hope fading away each and everyday? Or do you simply need some new ideas? Come and learn creative ways to reconnect, regain Hope, and rekindle a healing process with your teen and with yourself.

(Linda Sheppard, Adoption and Family Counseling Services, LLC)


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Creativity & Constraints: A Peer Strategy Conversation (CAFO Member Organizations Only)

Amidst the joys of non-profit work, constraints are always an issue…. not enough money, time, staff, you name it. How do you work around limitations to create something beautiful and compelling. Creative and communication staff are encouraged to bring their best solutions to this interactive roundtable. Come ready to share ideas, discover solutions, and connect with others like you.

(Ashley Otani and Karl Dinkler, CAFO)

Cultivating Vibrant Teams and Places of Work

The strongest ministries inevitably place a high priority on a positive and vibrant team culture.  Learn practical yet insightful steps to cultivating authentic and positive  environment that magnifies individual strengths while building team excellence.

(Todd Guckenberger, Back2Back Ministries)

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Effective Strategies for Transitioning to Family-Based Care

This workshop will share strategies and free resources for transitioning to family-based care. Both Scripture and social science affirm that the ideal environment for a child is a loving family; and many faith-based organizations serving orphans and vulnerable children today desire to shift from residential care toward family-centered care. Topics covered include: key considerations for transition planning, how to work in partnership with staff, partners, and donors to support the transition; a shift in a business model, such as cultivating resources that fund the cost of the transition and reallocating current assets; child-centered case management, including gatekeeping mechanisms to ensure appropriate family placements, key steps in determining placements, and preparing children and families for the transition, and tools for monitoring and evaluation to ensure children are safe and cared for in their family placements.

(Sarah Gesiriech, Faith to Action Initiative; Tara Garcia, Identity Mission; Delia Pop, Hope and Homes for Children)


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Empowering Single Mothers: Keeping Families Together Before Foster Care is Necessary

Explore how your ministry can proactively serve single mothers to provide them the support, resources and skills necessary to establish a path to self-sufficiency.

(Jerry Haag and Pam Whitaker, Florida Baptist Children’s Homes/The Porch Light/Orphan’s Heart)

Engaging Churches with Birth Families and Supporting Reunification

For many in the foster care system, birth family engagement can be an obscure idea, when in reality, it is an exciting opportunity for the Body of Christ to provide hope, connection and community to struggling parents.  Supporting and engaging with birth parents towards reunification can result in powerful transformation for the family. This workshop seeks to educate participants about the need for Christian community for reunifying families and practical ways to show the love of Christ to this untapped population within the foster care system.

(Christie Mac Segars and Traci Newell, Lifeline Children’s Services)

Engaging the African American Faith Community

Are you leading or serving an orphan care, adoption or foster care ministry that engages local churches in your community? This panel discussion will discuss barriers, solutions and tools when intentionally engaging predominantly African American and racially-diverse churches.

(Facilitated by: Carla Hendricks, New Hope Academy/Church of the City – Panel: Darrell “DJ” Jordan, U.S. Senate Congressional Aide and VA State Board of Social Services; Bishop Aaron Blake, Greater Faith Community Church; Merita Hawk, Impact Church; Chris Brooks, Stadia; Tony Mitchell,Transformation Strategist)

Entering Into Suffering: A Look at Suffering With and On Behalf of Children and Families

Though it may be one of the greatest challenges of a person’s life, entering into suffering alongside children and families who have experienced tremendous amounts of pain is an incredible God glorifying act of obedience. God uses our temporary suffering for the sake of someone else to bring about healing and transformation in the lives of His people and children. Whether you’re a parent, caregiver, or professional, come receive a fresh perspective that will help equip and empower you to “enter in” with confidence that the Lord will work in and through you.

(Whitney White, Lifeline Children’s Services)

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Equipping Local Networks: Strategic Thinking for Global Missions

At the core of effective and sustainable global ministry is the work of equipping local Christians to serve orphans and vulnerable families within their communities with excellence. Learn from and interact with several CAFO member organizations who are thinking strategically to build capacity within local networks and churches in nations around the world.

(Facilitator: Belay Gebru/Ethiopia – Panel: Alex Sam/India; Todd Guckenberger-Back2Back; Juan Porto/Mexico; David Hennessey-CAFO; Daniel Kaggwa/Uganda)

Expanding Your Continuum of Care – Consultation Sessions (Part 2)

Receive personalized guidance on expanding your continuum of care from leaders who have incorporated family strengthening and family care practices into the programs they offer.

(Facilitated by Mike Douris, Orphan Outreach)

Expanding Your Continuum of Care (Part 1)

In order to respond to the broad needs of vulnerable children and families in any community, it’s necessary to have access to a variety of services and care situations. Learn from leaders who have expanded their care options through transition and partnership, and learn how you can use your currently available resources to expand opportunities for vulnerable children and families.
(Facilitated by: Mike Douris, Orphan Outreach Panel: Corbey Dukes, Kids Alive; Kyla Alexander, International China Concern; Todd Guckenberger, Back2Back Ministries; Kory Kaeb, Lifesong for Orphans)

Expressive Therapy Techniques for War-affected Children: An Interactive Experience

When children experience trauma, words are often too difficult to use when telling their story or expressing their emotion. The use of expressive arts in the healing journey has been found to be helpful and, in the situation of surviving war, it helps them to be children again. Come and hear as well as experience some of those expressive therapy techniques yourself.

(Bethany Haley Williams, LCSW PhD, Jessica Beard, and Shelby Henson, Exile International)


For Activities and Exercises:
Creative Interventions with Traumatized Children, Second Edition (Creative Arts and Play Therapy)

Recommended Reading:
Trauma and Recover, by Judith Herman

Trainings & Resources:
The Empower Trauma and Rehabilitative Care Program —

Recommended Articles:
The Empower Trauma and Rehabilitative Care Program —

Families Considering Adoption & Foster Care

Bring your questions on how to get started in and maneuver the worlds of adoption and foster care. Meet professionals from adoption agencies and foster ministries.

(Nichole Tamburstuen, Arizona Baptist Children and Family Services; Pam Giardina, Christian Family Care; Elaine Pierce, Open Door; Alison Foster Davis, Family Connections Christian Adoption; and Cathy Sawyer, Open Door)

Farmer Herman and the Flooding Barn – A Live Interactive Summit Experience

The kids are getting ready to have a blast and they don’t want you to get left out in the wet soggy barn!  The amazing young people from Kids Summit are going to be participating in an interactive live reading of the brand new children’s book from the CAFO National Foster Care Initiative and Broadstreet publishing entitled Farmer Herman and the Flooding Barn.  Farmer Herman has a big problem and every possible way he can think to solve it is JUST PLAIN SILLY.  Come and see for yourself how Farmer Herman solves his big problem and what in the world that has to do with kids who need families.

(Jason Weber, CAFO)

Finding Creativity with Constraints

Amidst the joys of non-profit work, constraints are always an issue…. not enough money, time, staff, you name it. How do you see this as an opportunity to work around limitations to create something beautiful and compelling.

(Ashley Otani and Karl Dinkler, CAFO)

Finding Your Piece in the Foster Care Puzzle

When people think about getting involved in foster care, the first things that often come to mind are foster parenting and adoption. To be sure, these are 2 important pieces of the foster care puzzle. But, what are some of the other pieces and how can God use your unique gifts and experiences in some of these vital areas? This workshop is designed to help you and others in your church understand multiple pieces of the foster care puzzle and evaluate exactly where you fit.

(Jason Weber, CAFO)

For Students Only – Glimpses of the Orphan Crisis and Our Response

This student only workshop will be comprised of four distinct sessions, all addressing unique aspects of the orphan crisis and our response as the Church.  We’ll discover:  1)The spiritual and theological issues at hand and a motivation that will energize us for the long haul, 2)Wisdom and best practices for overseas engagement from several international pastors and partners, 3)Significant lessons learned from dynamic and successful founders of non-profits and social businesses, and 4)Practical, creative, and meaningful ways to engage right now.  This relevant and interactive workshop will leave you with great wisdom to inform your passionate action as you are either getting started or continuing on your journey in following Christ to care for His children.

(Facilitator: Leah St. Pierre, CAFO – Panel: Jason Johnson, CAFO; Chelsea Geyer, DC127; Brittany Underwood, Akola Project)

Hard Times in Adoption: The light at the end of the tunnel is not necessarily a train!

Hard times in adoption: The light at the end of the tunnel is not necessarily a train! Ever feel alone in a painful adoption? At the end of your rope? Join three couples who’ve been through the fires, too, for a forthright discussion of very hard times in their journey as adoptive parents…providing both honest expression of the pain involved and also wisdom gained along the way, offering reason for hope amidst dark times.

(Facilitator: Kenneth Camp, Author, Adoptive Parent, and Fostering Hope Austin – Panel: David & Lisa Hennessey, CAFO and Renaut & Brooke van der Riet, MosaicChurch)

Helping Without Hurting: Conversations

Immediately following the “Helping Without Hurting: Key Principles” workshop, this session provides the opportunity for a deeper conversation with the speaker and participants about the most effective ways to alleviate poverty. Extensive time for question and answer will be provided.

(Brian Fikkert, Chalmers Center)

Helping Without Hurting: Key Principles

Poverty alleviation is a central component of both orphan prevention and care.  Unfortunately, good intentions are not enough.  It is possible to hurt poor people in the very process of trying to help them.  Based on the best-selling book When Helping Hurts, this workshop explores key principles that lay the foundation for successful poverty alleviation strategies at home and abroad.

(Brian Fikkert, Chalmers Center)

How is it with Your Soul? Assessing the State of Your Life in Ministry

How do we know how our souls are doing in the context of our service to God and others?  In this workshop experience, Ruth will guide us in reflecting on questions related to using a practical tool for assessing the state of our lives in ministry; she will encourage us to establish sacred rhythms that will sustain us for the long haul of our lives in leadership

(Ruth Haley Barton, Transforming Center)


1–Strengthening the Soul of Your Leadership: Seeking God in the Crucible of Ministry {}

2–Sacred Rhythms: Arranging Our Lives for Spiritual Transformation {}

3–Transforming Community: A two-year experience of spiritual formation for leaders {}

How to Advocate for your Children while Partnering with Schools

Navigating IEP meetings, and parent teacher conferences can be tricky when you’re parenting children from traumatic places. In this workshop we will walk you through 5 key steps you can take to successfully advocate for your children, but also build healthy relationships with teachers and school administrators.

(Mike and Kristin Berry, Bloggers/Authors)

How to Care for Yourself While Caring for Children from Traumatic Places

You spend so much time running to therapy appointments, visitations, IEP meetings, and court hearings. You do this because you’re committed to taking care of your children. But, who takes care of you? In this workshop we will take a look at the importance of self-care especially when the journey becomes exhausting.

(Mike and Kristin Berry, Bloggers/Authors)

How to Focus on the Most Important Goals

The battles you choose must win the war. This workshop will explore the discipline of focusing on completing the most important goals. As Steve Jobs often said, “I’m as proud of what we don’t do – as I am of what we do.”

(Brandie Smith, CAFO; Kory Kaeb, Lifesong for Orphans)

How to Meaningfully Enter Into and Navigate your Child’s Desire to Meet their Biological Families and How to Move Forward

Come along to this panel discussion hosted by Show Hope in conjunction with parents who have navigated this road with their children. We’ll talk through the realities, blessings, and challenges that come along with closed or semi-closed adoptions when you hit that point where the child wants to meet their biological parents. No two situations are the same, but come and get encouragement, strategies, and ideas from families who have walked this path.

(Dan and Terri Coley, Show Hope; Arlin Troyer, LMFT; Cathy Troyer, Show Hope; Sandy Ivey, America World Adoption)

How to Spread Your Message in an 8-Second World

Attention spans are short these days. As communication professionals, how do we spread the message of our organization in the world of constant media bombardment? Join a panel of non-profit and marketing professionals on this lively topic.

(Moderator: Jared DeLong, BothHands – Panel: Shannon Litton, 5by5 Agency; Reed Yackley, Lifesong for Orphans; Ronne Rock, Orphan Outreach; Courtney Baker, Show Hope)

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Human Trafficking & Foster Care

Human trafficking is a very real evil all around the world and within the United States as well. The overwhelming majority of victims rescued from trafficking in the United States are children and youth from our foster care system. This session will explore the nexus between human trafficking and foster care, and will discuss the strategies and resources church and ministry leaders will need to combat human trafficking and prevent it from happening in the first place.

(Ashleigh Chapman & Karissa Tillotson, Alliance for Freedom, Restoration, and Justice, Inc.)


Engage Together Church Toolkit & Teaching Series

Hymns, Kids, & Family Worship

For modern hymn writers, Keith & Kristyn Getty, helping kids grow in their faith through what they sing is important to them, both as songwriters and as parents. In difficult and often scary times, the temptation is to shield and distract our children. But as Christians, we all must instead disciple them and instill in them a genuine confidence grounded in truth and faith in God. C.S. Lewis described the spiritual growth of children as a tree growing one ring at time. In much the same way, sowing into our little ones theologically-rich songs at a young age plants seeds which will continue to blossom in their lives as they get older. Join Keith Getty as he unpacks the implications of this for the church, for the home and for the next generations.

(Keith Getty)


India Member Collaborative: Working Together to Improve the Lives of Children, Families and Communities (CAFO Members Only)

Come join a deep-dive conversation of  CAFO member organizations discussing their work in India and investigating avenues for collaboration.

(Sean Whiting, India Christian Ministries)

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Keys to Creating a Successful Development Strategy

Ready to start a major gifts strategy for your organization or ready to take your development efforts to the next level? Come hear from Show Hope’s Executive Director and former University of Tennessee Athletic Director, Mike Hamilton, on practical keys to success, from vision casting to closing.

(Mike Hamilton, Show Hope)

Knowing You Made a Difference: Using M&E Basics Part 1

How do we know if our actions, fueled by deep passion and vision to make a difference in the lives of orphans and vulnerable children and their families, are effectively doing that? Monitoring and evaluation (M&E) is a process by which we track our progress, measure our effectiveness, and assess whether the results of our ministries are on track to reaching our goals.

Part 1 will provide an overview of the purpose and basic components of M&E that serve as the basis for all organizations, large or small, new or seasoned, to ensure good intentions are leading to intended results. By the end of this session, participants will be able to understand their position in the M&E implementation process and start planning their next steps. Part 2 will be a closer examination of the next steps your organization needs to take to improve your M&E processes. All participants should bring with them (if available) their organization’s M&E plan, logic model or log frame, and all relevant indicators.

(Beverly Nyberg, Consultant)

Knowing You Made a Difference: Using M&E Basics Part 2

This is a continuation of Knowing you made a difference: Using M&E Basics Part 1. While participation in Part 1 is not required for attendance in Part 2, it is highly recommended.

Part 1 will have provided an overview of the purpose of M&E and the basic components that serve as the basis for all organizations, large or small, new or seasoned, to ensure good intentions are leading to positive results. Part 2 will be a closer examination of the next steps your organization needs to take to improve your M&E processes, including using data gained through M&E efforts to provide feedback into the program, helpful for decision making and program improvement. All participants should bring with them (if available) their organization’s M&E plan, logic model or log frame, and all relevant indicators.

(Beverly Nyberg, Consultant)

Leaders in Crisis: Lifting up the Arms of Your Co-Laborers (CAFO Member Organizations Only)

To care deeply about children who’ve known great hurt guarantees we’ll taste some of that hurt, too. And for the leader of an organization or church, the pain and struggles involved can be exponentially intense. With whom can I share my ache and questions? Will I let others down if I just collapse? Join fellow leaders in this closed-door conversation to share, lament, encourage and pray together.

(Kelly Rosati, Focus on the Family and Mary Beth Chapman, Show Hope)

Leaders’ Self-Care

With so many demands on a leader’s time, it can be easy to fall into a frenzied life while having a famished soul. This erodes joy, creativity, and productivity while eroding long-term health. Come to this workshop for a discussion around the guardrails you can create to make sure you lead and serve well over for the long-term.

(Peter Greer, HOPE International)

Leadership Principles & Strategies for Ministry Growth: From Start-Up to Mid-Size

As opportunities for growth come from a start-up into an mid-size organization, strategies need to be employed to create the necessary infrastructure, ensuring program success. Passion is not enough for sustainable growth. A honest look at leadership principles and strategic planning tools that help take any size organization be not only a strong ministry, but a healthy organization.

(Todd and Beth Guckenberger, Back2Back Ministries)


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Craig Groeschel Leadership Podcast

The Advantage by Patrick Lencioni
The Choice by Gary Hoag, R. Scott Rodin, Wesley Willmer
Good to Great and the Social Sectors Jim Collins



Leading a Church Orphan Ministry as a Non-Staff Leader

Are you leading your church’s orphan care ministry as a volunteer, non-staff leader? Want to connect with and learn from others that are doing the same in their churches? This breakout is for you. In it you will hear from some experienced non-staff orphan care ministry leaders and have the opportunity to ask questions and engage in an interactive environment. We’ll discuss the unique nuasances, difficulties and advantages of leading a ministry as a volunteer, explore how to most effectively engage with senior level leadership and share practical ideas for how to expand and grow your ministry in healthy and effective ways.

(Ray Moore)


Crucial Conversations by Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny, Ron McMillan, and Al Switzler

Thriving in the Second Chair: Ten Practices for Robust Ministry (When You’re Not in Charge) by Mike Bonem

Learn about Development from Two Really Cool Dudes

As ministry leaders, it is easy to see fundraising and planned giving as a necessary evil. We all wish we could just have the money somehow appear so we could focus on what we care about most — the ministry. But rightly understood, fundraising is in fact a vital part of our ministry.  Combining a sincere love for those who give with a state of the art development program can not only expand our current work while also strengthening givers as disciples of Jesus.  This session is designed for leaders with fundraising responsibilities for small- and mid-sized organizations, especially those who may desire to delegate part of this work to outsourced development experts.  Topics to be highlighted include marketing & donor communications, donor identification, wealth screening & segmentation strategies, donor metrics & gift mapping strategies, as well as estate and gift design services for your donors.

(Jeff Rogers, Stewardship Legacy Coaching and Joseph Padilla, The Orchard Foundation)


The Orchard Foundation–Resources for Planned Giving:

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Locked Up and Abandoned: Reaching Incarcerated Children and Youth

This session is for global orphan advocates, leaders of orphan ministries and churches and those wanting to know more about a vitally important but neglected part of the world orphan crisis. This workshop will cast vision for reaching this largely ignored and under served population, of which a huge percentage are victims of being orphaned, abandoned and abused.

The workshop is a collaborative presentation by two mission organizations, Sixty Feet, Inc., ministering in Uganda and Orphan Helpers, Inc. based in El Salvador and Honduras. These organizations are primarily focused on reaching incarcerated children and youth but in totally different social contexts with diverse types of youth from young children off the streets to violent gang members. The desire is to not only raise awareness and share methodology, but to network collaboratively within CAFO with any mission currently involved or desiring to engage with incarcerated children and youth.

Participants will learn about practical principles, guidelines and methods for effective mission with incarcerated children and youth. There will be information on effectively working with government authorities who are responsible for juvenile detention centers and the right ways to assist with often deplorable living conditions. A major focus will be on ministry methods for reaching and mentoring incarcerated youth, and possibilities for follow-up with families, education, job training and spiritual support.

(John Houchens, Sixty Feet and Greg Harris, Orphan Helpers)


Information on Presenters: and


Loving a child with special needs doesn’t require super heroes!

Come hear ordinary parents discuss joys, challenges and supports needed in special needs adoptions. Bring your questions and prepare to become inspired to embark on this journey or to become part of a family’s circle of support within your church or community.

(Facilitated by: Sue Badeau, Speaker, Author, & Adoptive Parent – Panel: Brian Carpenter, Ting Ministries & Adoptive Parent; and Ryan and Kayla North, Tapestry, Empowered to Connect, & Adoptive Parents)


  1. Are We There Yet? The Ultimate Road Trip Adopting and Raising 22 Kids, and Building Bridges of Hope (a workbook for adults caring for children who have experienced trauma) by Sue, Hector and Chelsea Badeau
  2. Ting Ministries
  3. Orphan Ministries


Loving Deeply While Holding Loosely

You believe God is calling you to be a foster parent, but you’re hesitant because you know how painful it will be if you fall in love with a child only to see the child reunified or placed in another home. You consider moving forward and taking children into your home, but holding back emotionally in order to minimize the pain. Still, you know that the child needs to be loved deeply, so you find yourself doing just that. This workshop will explore the delicate dance we as foster parents must perform — loving children deeply, while holding onto them loosely.

(Johnston Moore, Home Forever; Sharen Ford, Focus on the Family)

Making the Most of the First Ninety Days – Practical helps for families welcoming children home

A panel of Show Hope staff, leadership, and special guests will address keys to successfully navigating the attachment and transitional needs of a child following placement. Learn ways to prepare yourself, your family, and friends prior to placement in order to make the first 90 days the most profitable for attachment and meaningful connection for your child. From foods to basic attachment needs, join us for a discussion that considers the experience of the child first in their journey home.

(Melody Aguayo, Parenting Consultant; Jayne Schooler, Back2Back Ministries; Sandy Ivey, America World Adoption; Dan & Terri Coley, Show Hope)


Marriage As A Deep Breath

As parents of four adopted children, three biological children and a host of foster kids, Beth and Todd have fought for two and a half decades to stay connected in their marriage relationship. Willing to share vulnerably their cautionary tales, and best practices, the Guckenbergers will address the unique pressures of large families and bi-cultural families, as well as talk about their fifteen years living internationally. This is not for a PG audience, and they will be frank about issues relating to conflict resolution, intimacy and missional marriage.

(Todd and Beth Guckenberger, Back2Back Ministries)

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Men, Calling, and the Fatherless

Defending the cause of the fatherless isn’t for sissies. And what men uniquely bring isn’t dispensable. Living this out — whether as protector or provider, mentor or advocate — requires a strength even many WWF wrestlers don’t have. But while you don’t need a handlebar mustache or big biceps, you do need vision. Come join a rowdy roomful of good fellows to grow your own vision for why men are indeed indispensable and — most importantly — for specific ways that YOU can play that indispensable role.

(Facilitator: JT Olson, Both Hands – Panel: Darrell “DJ” Jordan, U.S. Senate Congressional Aide and VA State Board of Social Services; Juan Porto, Back2Back Ministries; Scott Lundy, Arrow Child & Family Ministries; Mark Stuart, Hands & Feet Project)

Microfinance and Orphan Care

Microfinance is a powerful tool that can improve the economic well-being of households and individuals in the Majority World. As such, microfinance has the potential to prevent children from becoming orphans, to contribute to reuniting children with their birth parents, to strengthen foster or adoptive families, and to better the lives of former orphans. Although microfinance can be quite complicated, this workshop introduces simple, high-impact strategies and tools that virtually any ministry can use.

(Brian Fikkert, Chalmers Center)

Ministry is a Family Thing

In years past, Mary Beth and her daughter, Emily, have shared about what it is like to be involved in orphan care and adoption ministry together. This year, a new voice is joining the conversation— Shaoey.  Shaoey is the fourth Chapman, the first to come home through adoption, and offers a unique perspective to the Chapmans’ journey to Show Hope. For the Chapmans, their involvement with adoption advocacy and orphan care efforts has become more than a ministry they are passionate about— – it is part of their family’s DNA and integral to the legacy Mary Beth and Steven are passing on to their children. This breakout session will explore various facets of multi-generational ministry, including the good and the hard, and how it can all work together to further cultivate orphan care endeavors within the context of family.

(Mary Beth Chapman, Shaoey Chapman, and Emily Richards, Show Hope)

Mobilizing Community to Support Youth Engagement

Young people need to know that they have a voice. They also need opportunities and preparation that will help them transition towards interdependence. The goal of this session is to discuss the unique opportunities to utilize authentic youth engagement to connect young people to their futures.

(Crystal Williams, FaithBridge Foster Care)

Obstacles and Roadblocks That Inhibit Self Care & Self Compassion

In a world that is screaming for our attention and care, we are far too easily drawn away from sustainable rhythms. Often we are last in line (or maybe not in line at all) to benefit from the nourishment and benefit of self care. Join us as we explore a handful of the roadblocks that inhibit self care and self compassion.

(Russell Courtney and Hayne Steen, The SoulCare Project)

Orphans are the Result of Relational Poverty

Broken relationships create orphans – they destroy staff teams and divide families. Come for an informative hour on Biblical reconciliation techniques that will give you immediate steps to apply in your community and relationships.

(Beth Guckenberger, Back2Back Ministries)

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Partnering with Elected Officials and Government Leaders on Behalf of Kids

The Bible tells us to “speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves” (Proverbs 31:8). So what happens when we get the chance to speak up for kids with government leaders at the county, state or federal level. What do we need to know to use that opportunity effectively for the greatest impact. Come hear from those who have been on both sides of that equation to learn practical suggestions and ideas for ways you can work with these leaders to make an enormous difference for kids.

(Darrell “DJ” Jordan, U.S. Senate Congressional Aide and VA State Board of Social Services; Rob Geen, Annie E. Casey Foundation; Sharri Black, Public Child Welfare Administrator; and Becky Weichhand, Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute)

Planning for the Medical, Developmental and Mental Health Needs of Foster and Adopted Children

Concerns about conditions that affect the health and well-being of a child are often at the forefront for foster and adoptive families. Understanding what care may entail for a specific child is critical in aligning expectations with reality, a primary factor in determining placement success. Specialists in adoption medicine will discuss the importance of identifying and planning for the medical needs of children who have disabilities and/or have experienced adversity prior to placement. Discussion will center on obtaining and interpreting important medical and developmental information and the short- and long term effects of early social and nutritional adversity and medical neglect. Specific medical conditions commonly encountered will also be addressed.

(Judith K. Eckerle, MD and Dana E. Johnson, MD, PhD, Adoption Medicine Clinic, University of Minnesota)

Practices that Sustain for the Long Journey

True ministry is essentially a pouring out — of our energy, our emotions and our very selves. Little wonder that we sometimes feel exhausted and dry. This session will explore age old practices — as relevant today as ever — that renew and nurture the health of our life in Christ inwardly so that we can continue to nurture the lives of others outwardly. We’ll focus especially on specific choices and habits that can sustain us for a life-long commitment to justice and mercy.

(Jedd and Rachel Medefind, CAFO)


Here’s the best thing you can do for your life in 2017 (Washington Post)

Seven Vital Gift Habits

Praise & Petition: Focus on Adoptive and Foster Parents and the Children They Love

Amidst the whir of our lives, perhaps nothing is more refreshing than the chance to raise praise and petition to God, together with others who share our hurts and hopes. Join talented Nashville musicians and Summit attendees with similar hearts for one hour of simple music, thanksgiving and prayer. While this time will touch on needs and hopes of all kinds, we’ll focus especially on adoptive and foster parents and the children they love.

(Worship Leader: Allie Cottrell, Grace Center with Prayer Leaders: Jeff and Jacqui Jackson, Ignite Hope)

Praise & Petition: Focus on Global Church Rising for the Vulnerable in Every Nation

Amidst the whir of our lives, perhaps nothing is more refreshing than the chance to raise praise and petition to God, together with others who share our hurts and hopes. Join talented Nashville musicians and Summit attendees with similar hearts for one hour of simple music, thanksgiving and prayer. While this time will touch on needs and hopes of all kinds, we’ll focus especially on God’s work throughout the world, stirring the global church to rise for the vulnerable in every nation.

(Worship Leader:  Shaylee Simeone O’Neill, Indie-Pop Artist with Prayer Leader: Sundy Goodnight, Florida Baptist Children’s Homes/The Porch Light/Orphan’s Heart)

Praise & Petition: Focus on Children and Families in U.S. Foster Care and All Who Serve Them

Amidst the whir of our lives, perhaps nothing is more refreshing than the chance to raise praise and petition to God, together with others who share our hurts and hopes. Join talented Nashville musicians and Summit attendees with similar hearts for one hour of simple music, thanksgiving and prayer. While this time will touch on needs and hopes of all kinds, we’ll focus especially on children and families in the US foster system and the foster parents, mentors, social worker, churches and organizations that seek to serve them.

(Kristin Orphan, Finally Home)

Praise & Petition: Orphans Around the Globe

Amidst the whir of our lives, perhaps nothing is more refreshing than the chance to raise praise and petition to God, together with others who share our hurts and hopes.

Join talented Nashville musicians and Summit attendees with similar hearts for one hour of simple music, thanksgiving and prayer. While this time will touch on needs and hopes of all kinds, we’ll focus especially on the vulnerability of orphans and struggling families on every continent, and the faithful organizations, churches and individuals working for their good.

(Worship Leader: Emily Wyant with Prayer Leader: Steve Hogue)


Prayer for You from the Global Church

Each part of the church around the world has unique gifts both to give and to receive.  During this hour, Christians from Africa, Latin America, Asia, and Europe will be present especially to pray for you, whether specific requests you have or unspoken needs.  Stop by for a few minutes or join in prayer for the full hour.

Preparing Prospective Adoptive Families for the Inevitable Challenges (CAFO Members Only)

For many of us, warnings about what might happen is promptly responded to with ‘but not to me.’ Similarly, adoptive service providers are sometimes accused of being ‘so negative’ about what could happen that families may even tune us out. This workshop will discuss tips and tools to help prospective adoptive families plan for the inevitable challenges that will come after their new child joins the family, even as they believe that it would never happen to them.

(Kris Faasse, Bethany Christian Services)

Principles and Implementation of Trauma Competent Care – Part I

What are key principles that guide us as we plan care for our OVC children? This interactive session will address 6 key principles of trauma competent caring that will guide us as we create an environment that is conducive for healing and hope whether it is a foster home, adoptive home or international children’s home.

(David and Jayne Schooler, Julie Cooper, Back2Back Ministries)

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Principles and Implementation of Trauma Competent Care – Part II

Knowing what principles are part of trauma competent care is only one step. Implementing them into a home, agency or ministry is another. This interactive session will offer ideas, strategies and tools to do just that.

(Diane Siemer, Caroline Burns, Juan Porto, Back2Back Ministries)

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Pursuing Excellence in Family Style Group Homes

Every child needs to be part of a family – a key reason why foster care and adoption are such critical, and preferred, interventions in orphan care. Yet the scale of the need is huge, with many orphaned, abandoned, and vulnerable children living in small group homes around the world.

This workshop explores:
• The key components required in creating a family-style environment for children in small-group homes – including the value of community and church engagement, the need for stable and consistent caregiving, and the holistic scope and quality of care that is essential.

• Best-practices that should be foundational to every small-group home – including the safety and care of the children, having clear transition plans (including family reunification wherever possible), and the need for capable leadership and management.

• Important questions that potential donors, church leaders and orphan advocates should address – about the needs of the children being cared for, the style and quality of care provided, and the ministry’s longer-term goals and objectives – before engaging in supporting any formal residential care program. The audience for this session will be practitioners and leaders of small group homes, and funders and supporters of such ministries. The format will be interactive, with opportunities to share ideas, case studies and experiences. Each participant will come away with some practical resources that will assist them in identifying and pursuing best practices in small group homes.

(Matt Parker, Kids Alive International)

Raising Orphans Without Stigma

In the third world, being an orphan is too often the source of ridicule and isolation from the community. Orphans are stigmatized by adults and other children alike as “not normal.” They are “stupid” or “filthy” or are “hooligans and troublemakers.”

Many orphan care organizations take children into specialized homes or compounds which may provide quality care and an education without ridicule but in the process separates the children from their village culture. It is possible, however, to institutionally raise orphans without stigma. By enlisting grandmother “guardians” to care for children, by sending orphans to schools alongside other village children, by including them in all village/cultural activities especially church, stigma becomes insignificant.

An orphan child will always miss his or her parents but it is psychologically damaging for a society to punish a child for a condition they did not cause or cannot change. In this session, we will share our experience as indigenous operators to show how any orphan care organization may raise children without stigma in order to yield strong, productive adults.

(Herbert Ainamani, Juna Amagara Ministries)

Refreshing Power Hour for Parents

Calling all parents who feel they are the end of their rope!  You’re not the only one.  The best encouragement comes in community.  Join this informal renewal hour and get ready to be both encouraged and encourage.

(Facilitator: Michele Schneidler, Refresh Conference & Overlake Christian Church – Joined by: Angelina Denver & Jyoti Jacob, Refresh Conference)


Refugee Care: Local and Global – Learn and Engage

Refugees are some of the most vulnerable families in today’s world. Come discover practical ways churches and individuals can get involved in caring for refugees both locally and globally.

(Scott Vair, World Orphans)

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Replacing Shame with Empowerment: Encouraging Women in the Adoption Conversation

The shame and stigmas surrounding unplanned pregnancies, combined with the history of adoption practices, have made adoption the most unpopular option for women facing unplanned pregnancies. Society’s focus on immediate solutions and instant gratification make adoption the option rarely-considered by pregnant teens. As a result, less than 2% of women in unplanned pregnancies choose adoption. Yet it can be one of the most courageous and loving decisions a woman can make for her child, for herself and for the adoptive family. Join this panel discussion on how to better advocate for both adoption and birth moms. We’ll review facts, dispel myths, share stories, and provide resources on ways to talk about the empowering option of adoption.

Inform yourself about how the entire triad can benefit from the decision to place for adoption. Imagine yourself providing a compelling response to a friend, neighbor, co-worker or family member the next time you hear about someone facing an unplanned pregnancy. Write down responses and read them aloud at the end so people can hear all the ideas and be inspired.

(Terri Marcroft, Unplanned Good; Mary Beth Bragg, Lifeline Children’s Services; Laura Bruder & Leigh Liebmann, BraveLove; Ali Watson, Kirkpatrick Creative)


Reunifying Children in Families that Have Broken

Rejoining children with their parents or other relatives is considered the first objective for unparented children whenever reunification is safely possible. But this work carries great complexity and real risks, with serious consequences for children if done poorly. Learn from experts who have drawn principles and practical advice from both the challenges and rewards of more than a decade of successful reunification work with street children in Kenya.

Shame: Healing the Story of Our Lives (Part 1)

Each of us tells a story, whether we know we are doing so or not. And in the way we tell our stories, so also we tell the stories of those we parent. From the beginning of creation, shame has played the role of spoiler. It reaches into every nook and cranny of our experience tainting our sensations, images, feelings, thoughts, and behaviors. Evil would have it author our stories and those for whom we are responsible. But the Gospel seeks to reverse all that. Seeks to undo that. Seeks to put shame to death in order to author new stories. This two-part workshop will explore how shame seeks to infect the care we offer to the orphan by first infecting us, and how the healing of shame leads to a story of redemption of the orphan by first redeeming us.

(Curt Thompson, Being Known)

Shame: Healing the Story of Our Lives (Part 2—Including Q&A from Part 1 and Workshop on Attachment)

What does the healing of shame look like in real life, not just in theory? How does its healing lead not merely our “feeling better about ourselves” but the transformation of every vocational domain that we occupy, not least being that of parents and caretakers of orphans? How does intentional, vulnerable community become the crucible in which God not only heals us as adults, but also enables us to pass that regeneration on to the children in our care? And how does secure attachment practically inform this process? This Part 2 workshop will address these questions and provide a robust opportunity for the participants to engage in discussion about these topics.

(Curt Thompson, Being Known)

Short Term Mission Trips: Principles and Practices for Doing Right by Vulnerable Children

Short term missions trips (STM) done well can transform lives.  Done poorly, they can expend immense resources with little result and even work harm.  Stakes are particularly high when vulnerable children are among the intended beneficiaries.  This workshop will include brief presentations on key principles and replicable examples for healthy STM that seek to benefit vulnerable children.  The bulk of our time will involve guided table discussion among participants — including organization leaders and STM-facilitators, missions pastors and STM participants.  We will focus especially on how to apply principles of good practice in actual STM programs, including high-quality examples and overcoming barriers to ideal practices.  Come ready both to share and to learn!

(Facilitated by Nicole Wilke, CAFO with Katherine Cheng, Orphan Outreach; Sandy Spengler, Lifesong for Orphans; Cheryl Ruckman, VisionTrust; and Jenn Holden, Back2BackMinistries )

Snapshot Monologues – What every foster parent needs to know

The Snapshot Monologues offers a unique opportunity for foster parents and advocates to peek into the minds of teens and foster care. Written and directed by foster care alumna, Crystal L. Williams, this session tells the story of teens who have been impacted by a foster parent. The session allows participants to interact directly with young actors as they play the part of very unique teens with unique needs and desires. The session includes guided discussion and role play.

(Written & Facilitated by Crystal Williams, FaithBridge)

Spiritual Development: Practices that Nurture the Spiritual Life of our Team (CAFO Members Only)

Often times when we feel isolated and empty – the evil one seeks to disrupt our work. As fellow servants, how can we maintain vigilance in the faith and empower our teams to do the same? After all, at the end of the day, we’re in this together!

(Jeff Jones, Buckner)

Starting a Foster Care Movement 1.0

A healthy faith-based state foster care movement involves a lot of different individuals and organizations with a wide variety of backgrounds and expertise.  This session will introduce you to a team of experts from these various entities who have seen thriving foster care movements start and grow in their own states.   This session will introduce you to the most important lessons they’ve learned in starting and growing a faith-based state foster care movement. This workshop is ideal for child welfare professionals, non-profit leaders and church ministries.

(Sharen Ford, Focus on the Family; Bishop Aaron Blake, Greater Faith Community Church; Shelly Radic, Project 1.27; Thomas L. Lukasik, 4KIDS of South Florida; Jason Weber, CAFO)

Starting a Foster Care Movement 2.0

You have a vision for churches working together where you live to help provide more than enough for kids and families in foster care. Maybe that vision has started to become a reality or maybe you are feeling stuck. Either way this interactive workshop will help you to process some of these obstacles and next steps at a table with other leaders who have been there. Whether your local foster care movement is staggering or struggling, you will find the way forward with a little help from some new friends.

(Sharen Ford, Focus on the Family; Bishop Aaron Blake, Greater Faith Community Church; Shelly Radic, Project 1.27; Thomas L. Lukasik, 4KIDS of South Florida; Jason Weber, CAFO)

Strategy Session: CAFO Aging Out Initiative (International Orphan Care)

The CAFO Aging Out Initiative ( shares successful models for creating healthy life transitions for those aging out of international orphan care. The challenges facing aging out youth are daunting, but we believe that Christians can help create a bridge to a successful future for orphans aging out of care. In this interactive strategy session you will hear from frontline practitioners, and take part in robust idea sharing around the five core areas of the Alliance Aging Out initiative: life skills training, spiritual care and mentoring, transitional housing, career development and building lifelong community/church support networks.

(W. Scott Brown, CAFO/Christian Leadership Alliance; Trace Thurlby, GO Project; Eric Scheberl, Vision Trust)

Strategy Session: CAFO Aging Out Initiative (U.S. Foster Care)

The Alliance Aging Out Initiative ( shares successful models for creating healthy life transitions for those aging out of the U.S. Foster Care system. The challenges facing aging out youth are daunting, but we believe that Christians can help create a bridge to a successful future for aging out Foster Youth. In this interactive strategy session you will hear from frontline practitioners, and take part in robust idea sharing around the five core areas of the Alliance Aging Out initiative: life skills training, spiritual care and mentoring, transitional housing, career development and building lifelong community/church support networks.

(W. Scott Brown, CAFO/Christian Leadership Alliance; Dorie Alcaro, The Bair Foundation Child & Family Ministries; Thomas L. Lukasik, 4KIDS of South Florida)

Sustainable Social Enterprises: Hands-On Working Session on How to Get Started (or Accelerate!)

Learn from experienced practitioners HOW TO start and grow a Sustainable Social Enterprise in the US or in developing countries to create jobs, provide job training, generate income and/or create other opportunities for widows, caretakers, aging out youth, and other vulnerable people.   This will be a two hour interactive session (covering two workshop blocks), allowing in-depth collaboration as attendees develop their own written plan for a new and/or accelerated Sustainable Social Enterprise that is well-integrated with their current ministry.  You will develop your ideas in a roundtable format where you will receive feedback and guidance from experienced practitioners — ultimately walking out with an action plan and clear next steps!

To attend part 2, please plan on participating in part 1 as well.

(Facilitated by Vivienne Bechtold, CAFO Sustainable Social Enterprise Director; Joined by Jeff Greer, SSE; Andy Lehman, Lifesong for Orphans; Justin Beene, Grand Rapids Center for Community Transformation; Justin Carabello, Carabello Coffee; and Ryan Hudnall, The Global Orphan Project)

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The Church as an Alternative to Foster Care

Learn how churches nationwide are implementing an award-winning alternative to state run foster care. At this workshop you will learn about the child welfare crisis, outcomes of foster care and why prevention is critical for struggling families. Come find out how you can join those replicating the Safe Families model across the United States and internationally and become part of this vital safety net for kids at risk of abuse and neglect.

(Tammie Haveman, Safe Families for Children)

The Current Landscape of Adoption

Explore key trends, challenges and opportunities in adoption today, from inter-country adoption to U.S. foster-to-adopt.  The conversation will include a bird’s eye view from top Washington, DC policy experts as well insight from agency leaders serving in the trenches daily.  We’ll pay special attention to challenges and positive responses to constrictions of international adoption and the updated Department of State regulations, as well as significant trends in the foster system.
(Facilitator: Daniel Nehrbass, Nightlight Christian Adoptions – Panel: Chuck Johnson, National Council For Adoption and Becky Weichhand, Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute; Kerri Dunkelberger, Olive Crest)

The Gifts We Receive in Loving the Uniquely Gifted

What is it like to grow up deaf or with other special needs? And what might a deaf child want to tell you if they could pour out their heart — both the unique hopes and hurts they feel and experiences they share with all people? Come hear stories, observations and insights from Dr. Steven Farmer — who administers the Western Pennsylvania School for the Deaf, is an adoptive parent to Deaf children, and is also Deaf himself. Ultimately, we’ll not only learn more about what’s on the minds and hearts of children with special needs — we’ll celebrate the special gifts received when we open our lives and hearts to uniquely-gifted kids.

(Steven Farmer, The Programs of the Western Pennsylvania School for the Deaf)

The Journey toward Emotional and Spiritual Health

Research and common knowledge both suggest that the most influential relationship in a child’s life is with his or her parent or caregiver. A strong parent-child relationship can limit the effects of trauma, increase a child’s confidence and independence, and empower a child to explore life from a safe base. However, working with or caring for a child full-time with a traumatic history can come at great costs to the worker, parent or caregiver if that adult is not in a good place emotionally and spiritually himself. During this time together we will explore the dynamic connection of emotional and spiritual health. We will discuss what the journey of becoming both emotionally and spiritually healthy looks and how to grow in that journey. Participants will leave the workshop with deeper insight and tools to use to evaluate their own emotional and spiritual health. This is intended for all three levels of participants.

(David Schooler, Back2Back Ministries)

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The Mind of a Giver

Not all givers are the same. This workshop will define the different types of givers and how to engage them to support your mission. It is critically important that giver and getter alike be aware how wealth is distributed and how it is given in the nonprofit sector. How money actually flows has a huge impact on the strategy we employ to accumulate needed resources. It also helps the thoughtful Christian steward rise to their responsibility to adequately fund the project they are called to invest in. This workshop will focus on growing givers in discipleship generosity, soliciting major gifts and building long-term financial partners.

(R. Mark Dillon, Generis)


Giving and Getting in the Kingdom: A Field Guide R. Mark Dillon

The Power of Orphan Sunday

Do you desire to grow a heart for orphans in your church or community? Orphan Sunday has produced countless testimonies over the last 15 years. This workshop will prepare you to harness Orphan Sunday fully along with believers across the globe. Hear from church leaders who have discovered practical, easy ways to get started. Find event ideas, ready-to-use resources, practical advice, and amazing stories from around the world.

(The Orphan Sunday Leadership Team Panel: Jodi Jackson Tucker, CAFO; Pastor David Kwadwo Ofosuhene, Orphan Sunday Coordinator, Ghana; Pastor Sparjan Geddada, Orphan Sunday Coordinator, India;  Kody Krady, Orphan Sunday Coordinator, North Carolina)

The Power of Together: Building Networks of Local Churches in Your Nation that Can Make a Difference for Children

Local networks around the world are engaging and equipping local churches to effectively care for orphans and vulnerable families in their communities. Join this group of alliance leaders to learn how they overcame cultural challenges to build the capacity of local churches and how you can do the same in your country.

(Alex Ilie, Romania Without Orphans/Romania; Robby De Luzuriaga, Philippines Without Orphans/Philippines; Faith Kembabazi, CRANE/Uganda)

Trauma Competent Care Consultation Room

Do you have a question about what implementing Trauma Competent Care (TCC) might look like in your ministry? Stop by the TCC consultation room to dialogue with Back2Back Ministries staff about your specific situation.

(Julie Cooper, Back2Back Ministries)

Understanding and Embracing the Inherent Loss and Grief in Adoption

While adoption is widely celebrated and brings joy to so many, it is also a response to an initial tragedy and subsequent loss. Learn how an adopted child is often faced with making sense of this loss. Hear how parents can acknowledge, understand, and give words to the losses – allowing their children to make sense of their full histories, express grief, and feel understood and supported.  As an adopted person and adoptive parent, Tara VanderWoude offers unique insight into this topic.

(Tara VanderWoude, Educator and Social Worker)

Unlocking the Potential of a Successful Partnership with Local and National Governments

Most countries in the world ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC), whose Preamble is clear in recognising that children should grow up in a safe and caring family environment. The United Nations General Assembly endorsed the Guidelines for the Alternative Care of Children in 2009, which set the overall objective to gradually eliminate institutional care and recommend governments to develop deinstitutionalisation strategies and national action plans.
Governments are critical partners in realising the best interest of children, as parties responsible and accountable for the wellbeing of all children. Working with governments affords us the opportunity to ensure our work leaves a lasting and positive legacy but it also brings significant challenges. This session will explore common myths and pitfalls in setting up partnerships with governments and provide the participants key strategies to develop successful partnership with local and national governments in countries where they operate. Be prepared for an interactive hour, for sharing experience and finding innovative solutions to unlocking the potential of a successful partnership with the government.
(Delia Pop, Hope and Homes for Children)

Voices of Adoption & Foster Care

Come join this down-to-earth panel of adult adoptees and foster care alum speaking about their unique perspectives on everyday joys and challenges. Discover how each leader has used challenges of the past to become the place of God’s active work through them in ministry. Hear answers to the most frequently asked and challenging questions on hard issues. Bring your own questions and settle in for rich discussion and insight!

(Facilitator: Trisha Priebe, Lifesong for Orphans Panel: Tony Mitchell,Transformation Strategist; Mandy Litzke, Former Foster Youth, Adoptive Mom, Ministry Leader; Ruth Thomas, Adult Adoptee)

We’re a Transracial Family

If you are considering adopting a child of color, want to know more about navigating some of the nuances, or are looking for how you can support a family who embarks on this journey – this session is for you. Among other things, the Berrys and the Moores will discuss how to talk to family and friends and how to be your child’s advocate. You will be equipped with grace-filled parenting tips that can help you and your children navigate a challenging world.

(Sharen Ford, Focus on the Family; Mike and Kristin Berry, Bloggers/Authors; Johnston Moore, Home Forever)

Welcoming Vulnerable Kids in Children’s Ministry

Build a children’s ministry team that supports and welcomes families of vulnerable and challenging kids. Kids who display inappropriate behaviors are often kids who are hurting and need empathy, firm direction and coaching in how to regulate themselves. The goal of the breakout is for participants to learn strategies to build and train teams to see kids, especially the sometimes hard to love kids, through Jesus’ eyes and have practical ideas on different ways to discipline and connect with all kids, even the most challenging.

(Kim Botto, Crossroads Church)

What Are Foundations, and How Do They Help Me Accomplish My Mission?

Attendees will learn how to interact with Foundations, and what questions to ask. This workshop is for anyone interested in learning more about engaging with Private Foundations.

(Matt Zappasodi, Fortress Foundation; Cole Costanzo, Dickerson, Bakker & Associates)

What I Wish I’d Known Then

Adoption taught me what I thought I knew from the beginning: that adoption brings you into “real” family. Not only that, but there are all sorts of lessons, both about parenting and the gospel that I’ve learned along the way, in addition to the unique challenges and blessings of adoption.

(Russell Moore, ERLC)

What Now? Leading a 3+ Year Old Church Ministry

There are a lot of inspiring models for what a great orphan care ministry can or should look like. But what do you do when yours looks nothing like you thought it would 5 years ago. This workshop is for pastors or ministry leaders who have an established orphan care ministry (2+ years) and want to dive into the challenges and complexities of leading and sustaining a ministry and caring for children and families in the midst of it.

We will spend the majority of our time in discussion and collaboration with the goal of addressing topics such as: (1) how can we respond when families are struggling without delegating or referring them outside the church –> what is the role of the church leadership/ministry leadership, (2) how can we partner well with outside resources, (3) should we keep encouraging families to adopt & foster given how challenging it is and how complex the issues are? (4) how do we respond to failure? ie. “We are 5-7 years into a ministry and it doesn’t feel like we are doing much! In fact, we are seeing less families step up to adopt or foster than we did 5 years ago and our adoptive and foster families feel disconnected. What do we do with that?”, (5) how can we pray for one another and encourage one another, and (5) end with the hope that we have in Christ!

(Jason Kovacs, Austin Stone Community Church & Together for Adoption

Women, Calling and Ministry

Women bring special gifts and bear unique burdens in any field of action.  This is nowhere more true than in work to protect and care for children in need.   From nonprofit leaders and volunteers to foster and adoptive moms, women are transforming the lives of vulnerable children and struggling families both near and far.  But the road is often costly, and exhausting!  How do we use our gifts fully…decide where to focus finite energy…hold ministry in tension with other priorities…and lead well right where we are — all with both grace and strength?  Join this conversation with wise women who live in the thick of these questions to explore the blessings and challenges for women in ministry.
(Facilitated by Tami Heim, Christian Leadership Alliance; joined by Rachel Medefind, Becky Weichhand, Emily Richards, and Darlene Irwin)

Working with Integrity When You Encounter Corruption Regularly in Your Setting

If you are working internationally your ministry has or will encounter corruption. Many of the countries where we do orphan care have cleptoeconomies, standard practice of bribery, government corruption, police and legal intimidation. Non Governmental corruption is also a significant issue and though most adoption procedures are transparent there is still significant corruption that exist. How does an ministry or individual address these very real issues? What are the cost that need to be considered of exposing corruption? What are some guidelines to consider when faced with difficult ethical issues in foreign countries? How can we be wise as a serpent but gentle as a dove as we work within a spiritually hostile environment? These questions and more will be addressed in this members only session. There will be significant time for questions and discussion as we have experienced leaders in international ministry discuss this very important topic in a world that is getting much more volatile and difficult to navigate. (Open to CAFO Organization Membership only)

(Facilitated by Mike Douris, Orphan Outreach)

Writing Your Way Clear: Contemplative Writing as a Spiritual Exercise

Learn a method of creative writing and reflection that gives fresh eyes to how you interpret your life narrative. It is a tool for the weary. The practice of Creative Lectio weaves your story with Scripture, offering glimpses of what the good God is doing beneath the surface, even in very difficult seasons. Instructor Nita Andrews will incorporate poetry, film, and visual art as an invitation to prayer, beauty, and meaning.

Writing is a container for the confusion that we all face when dealing with long lasting hopes and struggles for justice while surrounded by broken systems. Listening to the arts is a truly powerful way to combat day to day anxiety and stress. It is a contemplative path to wellness.

(Nita Andrews, Creative Lectio)