Help for Adoptive & Foster Families

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? Moreover, how does knowing more about how our brains and relationships work together make this more likely? And lastly, how does our awareness of beauty—that of ourselves and of our children—create a smoother path toward secure attachment? 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 and author of Anatomy of the Soul and The Soul of Shame)

Biblical Support Groups for Adoptive Moms (Coaching Table)

Foster and Adoptive mothers need support from each other. Learn how you can lean on the Bible for encouragement in the journey. You will get a leaders guide and scriptures reflections to launch a Bible-based support group for mamas like you.

Coach: Jodi Jackson Tucker, Pharaoh’s Daughters

(Pre-sign up required to reserve a spot at this coaching table.  Coaching table sign-ups available soon!)

Both Sides of the Story: Perspectives on Foster and Adoptive Parenting from Parents and their Kids

Much effort is spent on recruiting more foster and adoptive parents. But what are the characteristics of great parenting and how do we help ourselves and others aspire to this greatness? Come engage in a discussion with former foster youth and their foster/adoptive parents to glean the most important lessons they’ve learned.

(Facilitated by: Johnston Moore, Writer, Speaker, & Advocate.  Joined by: Cecil & Boone Stokes, Fost/Adopt Father & Son; Pam & Trent Taylor, Fost/Adopt Mother & Son; Bishop Aaron Blake & Diego Fuller, Fost/Adopt Father & Son.)

Caring for Children with a History of Sexual Abuse: Eight Skills Caregivers and Parents Need to Know

This workshop will examine nine skills needed by parents, caregivers – anyone who touches the life of a child with a history of sexual abuse.

(Jayne Schooler, Back2Back Ministries)

Compassion Fatigue: How to Incorporate Fun into Your Workplace Culture

Child Welfare workers are at risk for compassion fatigue. This training will explore how we can incorporate fun into our office culture, amid the stress of the work. In this workshop, we will share our own journey through compassion fatigue and how play and fun have retained our staff and lifted spirits. Come and be entertained – as well as experience how fun can bring balance to the work! Think “Jimmy Fallon” but on a non-profit budget.

(Anna Thompson & Katie Bass, Olive Crest)

Discipleship and Foster Care

Even though foster care is not mentioned directly in the Bible, it is one of the greatest opportunities for churches to direct a discipleship making movement. Come learn how a Biblical effort in your church, intentionally targeted at child welfare, can produce those who depend more on Jesus. Intentional experiential pathways of deepening opportunities can help put faith into action – while also seeing a transformation of a community. For child welfare practitioners, come learn from experts in faith engagement on how your desire to get more families from churches can lead to the detriment of what is best for the Church.

(Chris Campbell, 111Project)

Fostering Teenagers, Learned Lessons

Come discover our learned lessons during the process of raising 23 teenagers in a 13 year period.  Hear what we learned about trauma, attachment, and the reality of practicing TBRI. We’ll share how we learned to make sense of our past in order to better parent and to love with freedom. Trust us – this will help you to save precious time and energy!

(Juan Porto, Back2Back Ministries)

Funding Your Adoption

Covering the cost of adoption can be overwhelming, but this session will give you invaluable practical tools to help make a plan. Join this interactive session to learn easy to manage fundraising and creative income ideas. Interact with representatives from grant organizations and fundraising partners ready to help you navigate grants and other funding opportunities. Bring your questions and come ready to map out plans!

(JT Olson, Both Hands; Rich Metcalf, Lifesong for Orphans; Becky Wilmoth, Bills Tax Service; Kate Johnson, Pathways for Little Feet; Tami Burkett, ABBA Fund; Kathy McKinney, Show Hope)


Helping Your Child with Technology Addiction (Coaching Table)

(Pre-sign up required to reserve a spot at this coaching table.  Coaching table sign-ups available soon!)

How Stress Can Actually Make Your Marriage Stronger

The strains that any parenting puts on marriage can be multiplied tenfold by the complexity that often comes in caring for children who have known deep hurt. Join Dennis and Barbara Rainey as they discuss the struggles, rewards, and real life messiness of keeping a marriage strong amidst difficult adoption and foster care journeys.

(Dennis & Barbara Rainey, FamilyLife)

How to Love Well When Love Isn’t Returned

All who have loved children from hard places know that sometimes we may feel that they do not love us back. How can we persevere in love in such times? And what small daily choices can help us continue to express commitment and care along the way? Listen in on a conversation of parents and adult adoptees who’ve been on both sides of that equation – and have come out on the other side.

(Facilitated by: Tony Mitchell, tmLeadership, LLC.  Joined by: Sherrie Eldridge, Author & Susan Hillis.)

Nurturing Care

Connecting in relationship with our kids is vital. In this workshop, parents and ministry leaders will understand why nurture is important, experience an interactive nurture group, and leave with a plan to do one within their own family or organization.

(Ryan North, One Big Happy Home & Kayla North, Tapestry)

Parenting Your Child Who May Have an FASD (Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder)

Many moms and dads who are parenting an adopted or foster child from backgrounds of early trauma and multiple risk factors are struggling with a child who has a disability that falls under the umbrella term of Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder (FASD). In this session, both parents and professionals will learn characteristics of the four diagnoses within FASD, as well as practical application strategies and resources to have a more productive and peaceful home. Parents will be encouraged with ways to maintain the health of their family in the midst of chaotic behavior and how they can develop the stamina for the long haul – meeting their child’s needs well into the adult years.

(Alan & Debra Jones, Parent Invention & Training)

Promoting and Experiencing Joy and Laughter in the Midst of Trauma

Working with children and families from hard places takes a toll. Too often we become so emotionally spent, burned-out, or drained of the hope that first brought us to serve. We need to recognize that we must experience joy ourselves, hold onto it, and then bring that hope to others. Laugh today as you learn the practical, measurable, and tangible value of joy and laughter. See the value personally and recognize the impact on every relationship in your life. Learn how laughter can dramatically and positively influence your family, ministry, workplace, and church. Experiencing joy, celebrating life, and even smiling in the midst of pain and hardship is absolutely essential. It is not a hopeful byproduct of circumstance. It is a necessary and healthy expression of the joy that comes from the hope we have in a God who loves His children. Learn how to avoid being a mirror of the culture – reflecting back the hurt, pain, discouragement, and defeat that you see every day. Instead, identify how to experience joy and strive to bring a smile, warmth, and a spirit of laughter to the world around you.

(Bill Williams & Ryan Stanton, Compass)

Raising Black Children in a Multi-Racial Family

How can you equip your family to battle against the stereotypes and negative impact of society? How can you prepare them for challenges they’ll face beyond your home? How can you help them form a secure racial identity alongside a Godly identity that is larger than race alone? Join this interactive conversation with mothers and fathers and leave empowered with specific guidance and wisdom for your family’s needs.

(Faciliated by: Clarkston Morgan, Our Daily Bread Ministries & Ambassador Consultants. Joined by: LaKendra Morgan; Julian Goodson, Bethany Christian Services & Thoughts of a Foster Dad, LLC; Stacey Goodson, Child Welfare Professional & Foster/Adoptive Mom.)

ReFraming the Struggle: Finding Strength When Things Are Hard

Foster and adoptive parents face a unique set of challenges and circumstances that are most meaningfully understood and experienced through the lens of God’s truth. This session will help you “reframe” some thinking through those experiences along your journey in a helpful and sustaining way. We’ll explore how to handle our own perceived weaknesses, what to do when you feel like quitting, and how to more deeply understand the spiritual nature of the work we are doing. If you’ve ever found yourself alone with your own thoughts, fears, hopes, concerns, and anxieties along this journey of fostering and adopting, then this workshop is for you. You’ll be encouraged, inspired, and reinvigorated to take your next best steps forward.

(Jason Johnson, CAFO)

Restoring Hope to Children with Disabilities

This workshop is for anyone that is slightly interested in adopting a child with a disability, to a current parent, or any international ministry worker or leader. I will use my personal story of living 38 years with cerebral palsy, and other physical difficulties, to highlight God’s goodness – and the profound worldwide needs of children with disabilities. Children with disabilities’ needs extend beyond their physical needs. Therefore, caregivers need to be aware of each life area affected by disability – and seek to bring restoration to the whole child.

(Natalie Flickner, Crisis Care Training International)

Shame, Beauty and the Healing Power of Community

Beauty lies in wait for us around every corner. Who would guess that it is God’s invitation to vulnerability and one of His most profound resources for the healing from shame that we so deeply long for? Who knew that—if we would only open our eyes to it—beauty is the wellspring that God uses to nourish who we are such that we can flourish as we care for the orphan and draw them into doing the same? The good and the hard news is that beauty will find us in an infinite manner of forms and places—but never more profoundly than in the context of deeply connected interpersonal relationships. For indeed, beauty is not merely something that we seek, but something we are becoming. This two-hour workshop will explore the nature of shame and the necessary place of being deeply known in community as the way home to the goodness and beauty that God imagines for us and the orphans for who are in our care.

(Curt Thompson, Being Known and author of Anatomy of the Soul and The Soul of Shame)

Shifting the Story

Let’s start at the very beginning, because it’s always a very good place to start. Join the adoption triad as they name the pieces, parts, and people in the collective adoption story – all of its brokenness, all of its beauty, all of its pain, all of its possibility. Wherever you are in your adoption journey, this session is for you. You will walk away understanding how each part of the triad contributes to, impacts, and needs the other two parts of the triad – and what your specific role and responsibility GETS TO be as we work towards healing, wholeness, and a shared, redemptive story to write and tell together.

(Carissa Woodwyk, Ashley Mitchell, Tona Ottinger)

Spiritual Formation Practices for Support Groups

What if your support group could offer more than just support for the difficult journey of foster care and adoption? What if you could pursue health and healing for your souls together? In this workshop, we will look at various spiritual formation practices that can help you understand where God is in the pain and what He may be doing in you through the journey.

(Duane and Amy Sherman, Vulnerable Children Support Group Leaders)

Teaching Kids to Bounce Back!

Resilience can be learned – and research shows that it is the key to healing from hard times and for facing future challenges. Join us for “Helping Kids Bounce Back!” – an interactive workshop to learn practical skills and tools for providing childcare programs to kids with emotional and behavioral challenges. You will learn important safety considerations, scheduling do’s and don’ts, and fun activities that teach kids that they can “bounce back” from hard times.

(Deb Lukasiewicz, Finally Home)

The Beauty of Relational Transformation

What, if anything, does beauty have to do with orphan care? So much of life is automatically framed in terms of answering the question, “What is the problem and how do we solve it?” Wired through our experiences, our brains tend to pay attention to the world in this way. This is not unhelpful insofar as it provides one way of interpreting the world as it is, especially when it comes to caring for the orphan. But there is an additional way that the brain longs to attune to the minds of our children that asks instead the question, “What is the next new beautiful thing that you want to create?” This query directs our minds with curiosity to beauty, opening our imaginations toward that which we most deeply long for ourselves and our children. In this workshop, we will explore how, as Dostoevsky wrote, beauty will save the world—transforming our relationships along the way.

(Curt Thompson, Being Known and author of Anatomy of the Soul and The Soul of Shame)

The Keystone of Fathering

The role of the father is critical in the lives of his children. This interactive workshop examines relationship – the keystone of fathering. Come learn how to apply the prerequisites for father-child relationships – which is making sense of one’s own father history, healing father wounds, and examining beliefs about fathering.

(David Schooler, Back2Back Ministries)

The Teaching-Family Model: An Introduction and Overview of Applications

This workshop will introduce the Teaching-Family Model, its origin and history, as well as current uses – throughout many different settings and levels of care. The basic components of the Model will be explained including goals, systems, and elements. Within the presentation, the key concepts used to implement the Model will be discussed and some significant questions about accreditation answered such as:

How does the Model address trauma?
How does the Model ensure a positive approach to treatment?
Who is using this Model and where?
How is accreditation by TFA different from other accrediting bodies?
How is TFA accreditation complimentary to other accrediting bodies?
What makes TFA accreditation unique?

While the length of the workshop limits the amount of detail, the goal is to provide an understanding of the framework and benefits of the Teaching-Family Model, along with available resources that can provide additional information.

(Craig Gammon, Methodist Children’s Home)

Trauma & Mental Health: Understanding and Application

Come learn common mental health diagnoses our kiddos experience in relation to trauma related symptoms. We will dive deep into practical applications to use in your home or office to improve your child’s mental health outcomes.

(Jenn Hook, Replanted)

Trauma-Informed Education – Empowering Your Child’s Teacher to be Trust-Based

The focus of this workshop is to provide practical tools and brain-integrating strategies for parents to share with teachers, administrators, and paraprofessionals to implement trauma-informed care in the school setting.

(Angie Proctor, Trust-Based Counseling Services)

Tripe Threat: Teenagers, Trauma, and Talking

Triple Threat will explore the difference between trauma teenager behaviors and normal teenager behaviors. The workshop will provide tangible and practical behavior management methods to take home and implement right away! (CAFO2019 Encore!)

(Julian Goodson, Bethany Christian Services & Thoughts of a Foster Dad, LLC & Stacey Goodson, Child Welfare Professional & Foster/Adoptive Mom)


Understanding & Overcoming Childhood Trauma

By better understanding how childhood trauma affects children who have been trafficked, as well as those in our foster care system, we can better instill resilience in our children and teens. This presentation will be geared towards the growing ministry population – including foster parents, mentors, churches, ministry leaders, and missionaries involved in direct care. It is also highly applicable to the advanced population of attendees. We will cover the basics of what childhood trauma entails, what the ACE score is and why it is important to assess, how childhood trauma exponentially increases the vulnerabilities traffickers and exploiters look for, and how resilience can be built in the lives of foster children to greatly decrease the likelihood of exploitation and/or help children and teens heal from past traumas.

(Christa Lynn, One More Child)

Vulnerable Children in a Digital Age: How Technology is Impacting Your Child and What You Can Do About It

Children from hard places are more susceptible to harm from technology. Adoptive and foster parents, and leaders serving these children, need to be educated and thoughtful about the impact being seen on the children we love. We will address difficult issues like pornography and social media addiction – and how these uniquely impact children who have experienced trauma. Hear from experts, parents, and an adopted youth who has overcome pornography addiction. Materials and new publications will be shared with the audience. This session will not be recorded so that participants may openly share their journeys.

(Facilitated by: Jodi Jackson Tucker, CAFO. Joined by: Aszia Pearson, pureHOPE & Pam & Trent Taylor, Fost/Adopt Mother & Son.)

What We Should Know About Loving and Serving Birthmoms Well

Adoption talk tends to focus on pre-placement considerations – matching birthmothers with adoptive families and helping adoptive couples to navigate the requirements, paperwork, and funding involved. But once the baby is placed with the adoptive couple, what happens to that birthmom? How does she deal with her emotions? What services does she need? What services are available? What can the adoption agency, or her church, or others do to help? Our panel of birthmothers will share their experiences, and their hearts, as we get a picture of their experience – what support they were offered and what they really needed. We’ll hear from them about how we, as a community, can understand and be more helpful in this delicate transition.  Our recent survey of ~120 birthmoms uncovered the status of birthmom support today and provides a look into what they say their needs are. Our panel of birthmoms will discuss these findings and share their own experiences. Adoption professionals will glean some great ideas and insights in the area of birthparent support, post-adoption, including: (1) Get a first-hand glimpse into the mind, heart, and emotions of a woman after she places her baby with an adoptive family, (2) An updated approach to offering a variety of support options and methods, including how to take advantage of technology as seen in other industries such as healthcare, and (3) An understanding that the needs are different for every woman.

(Theresa Marcroft, Unplanned)

Where to Start in Adoption

Calling all families, organizations, or leaders who are considering adoption – or who are wanting to learn more about the adoption world to counsel others on their journey! Learn important and current information on the scope of adoption, where you can go for good information and how to pray through each step. Walk with an educated look at what to expect on the road to adoption – both internationally, domestically, or through foster care.

(Joe Gerber, Loving Shepherd Ministries)