Friday 11:30am-12:30pm

Technology And Equipping Our Kids – Chuck Hagele   <Gym>

Before joining our families, many kids have seen pornography, played inappropriate video games, were not taught boundaries on how to interact with social media. This session explores how to help kids regain hope and use technology safely.

Attachment 101 – Deborah Gray   <Worship Center>

What is attachment? What’s a bond? How do I do more of the right things to build a healthy attachment relationship? What should I avoid? This workshop provides a basic understanding of what attachment is and how to promote these healthy connections in your day-to-day lives.

Ministering To Families In Crisis – Mike and Kristin Berry   <Lobby Room South>

Whether you’re in the trenches of foster care and adoption or not, there are opportunities to be light and hope in someone else’s difficult season. In this session we will walk through key steps anyone can take to care for families in crisis, or in the middle of a difficult season on the foster care or adoption journey.

Navigating Race Conversations With Our Kids – Spring Hecht   <Room 3>

This workshop will provide parents and adoption professionals guidance on how to help transracially adopted children develop a strong racial identity. Learn how to talk to children and youth of different ages about race and racism, and equip them with tools they need to identify and handle racial bias, stereotypes and discrimination.

Soul Care: Personal Need For Healing – Brandi Lea   <Lobby Room North>

We cannot lead our children to places we are not, ourselves, willing to go. If we desire healing in the deepest places of our children’s souls, we must first seek it for ourselves. In this session we will discuss the importance of personal healing and of living in our own belovedness, so that we can speak healing over our children.

Navigating CPS Allegations – Ruth Graham   <Blue 3>

Allegations are difficult to navigate under any circumstance. It is helpful to know how to best traverse the murky waters and how to best represent yourself. This class will outline ways to handle the emotional upheaval of an allegation of child abuse or neglect.

Play Therapy Open House – Carrie Blaske   <Room 2>

The play therapy room is designed for you to touch and feel and even play with items that you may have seen on websites for regulation but did not buy due to unknown hassles. Explore at your own pace and meet educated professionals as well as seasoned parents, who are armed with helpful tips. 

Addressing Harmful Behavior (both for themselves and others) – Jenn Ranter   <Chapel>

Join us as for a conversation about preventing self-harm, suicide, and harm to others. How does one parent a child who has been exposed to, and influenced by domestic violence? How do we keep everyone safe? Join Jenn, a therapist who specializes in trauma, as she dives into the hard questions, and walk away with practical tools.

Sexual Exploitation and Foster Care – Letty Vendrell   <Red 7/8>

Is it possible to foster a vulnerable child affected by sex exploitation and trafficking? Join Letty for a comprehensive understanding of the externalities and environmental conditions affecting our children and how you can help children in your care impacted by the sex trade and exploitation.

Understanding and Loving Our Kids With Mental Illness – Randy Doleman   <Student Room>

Many children who come into our homes bring along with them a litany of special needs, developmental hindrances, and social setbacks. Regardless if your child has been labeled with a mental illness/developmental condition or not, there are many ways you can steer them toward success and growth. Randy discusses ways to meet your child where they are and love them well.


Friday 2:00-3:00pm

Helping Children Understand The Hard Parts Of Their Story – Dr. David and Jayne Schooler   <Worship Center>

“I don’t want to talk about it” is a common response from kids who have experienced trauma.  Talking about it brings healing but our child’s narrative has been broken, fragmented and disconnected.  This workshop discusses the “whys and hows” of helping a child talk about their history.  Walk away with strategies on how to share the difficult truth knowing that truth is what sets us free to heal and grow.

Bonding Is A Bonus – Ed McDowell   <Lobby Room North>

The issues of “bonding” are often a point of pressure for adoptive families. The truth is, bonding is the result of a lot of other things being done faithfully over time. It is a bonus, not a prerequisite, to effective relationships. Explore living with this perspective that “Bonding is a Bonus” and how it will provide hope for the long haul.

Supporting Your Wife During Times Of Chaos – Jason Johnson   <Chapel>

As husbands, how we can best serve and support our wives through the journey of foster care or adoption? Especially through the emotional ups and downs of it all. This session is open to ALL husbands wanting to grow in their leadership and service towards their wives. We’ll share practical insights in a discussion oriented time together.

Parenting The Child With ADHD or Impulsivity – Paulette Caswell   <Gym>

Understanding a child’s need to move can help to plan wiggle room. ADHD may be misdiagnosed for what actually are trauma symptoms. Learn about the most common behaviors that you will see from a child with a trauma history and walk away with helpful parenting tools.

Let’s Talk About Executive Functioning – Yvonne Swinth   <Room 2>

Does your child struggle with self-regulation, mental control, follow through, and self-management? Many of our kids do. Join Yvonne and gain strategies to support children with sensory and executive functioning difficulties will be discussed.

Addressing the Caregiver’s Emotional Pain – Minhee Cho   <Room 3>

Struggling with persistent depressive, hopeless feelings and emotions? Minhee will help us learn to pause and listen to what happens within when we feel hurt, stressed, vulnerable and doubtful. Learn how to work on emotional pain and peace with self, God and others.

Equipping Your Family For Foster Care – Jenn Ranter   <Student Room>

The ministry of foster care is nothing short of an emotional roller coaster. This workshop will draw on Scripture to encourage and equip you and your family for foster care ministry and sustain you through the unique emotions, experiences, and situations in which you find yourself.

Avoiding the 3D Trap: Disruption, Displacement, and Disaster – Brian and Gwen   <North Lobby Room South>

Parenting can be so trying – whether it is your own biological kids, foster kids, or adopted kids. This seminar will help you to build a positive environment for you and your family, setting you up to steer away from disruption, displacement, and disaster.


Friday 3:15-4:15pm

Navigating Sibling Dynamics – Chuck Hagele   <Student Room>

Sibling relationships are complicated. Fostering and adoption make it harder. One child may need more parent time due to physical or emotional needs. Now add age order, arguments about “real” and vying for the attention of exhausted parents. This session explores steps parents can take to form sibling identity and unity while serving the uniqueness needs of each child.

Attaching to Children Who Avoid Touch, Eye Contact, or Shut Down – Deborah Gray   <Worship Center>

When children are easily over stimulated by touch or eye contact, forming attachment can be complicated. Similarly, attaching to children who shut down or tantrum can be tricky. This workshop includes techniques based on new brain research that help parents connect with children. Deborah includes methods to meet the needs of children who have prenatal exposure to alcohol or meth, autism diagnoses, or histories of sexual and physical abuse.

Detox And Refresh – Tina Carter   <Lobby Room North>

As a caregiver, we tend to focus on the needs of the children in our care, but fail to nurture ourselves. Nurturing yourself is one of the most important and often forgotten things for caregivers. In this workshop, you will learn why self-care is necessary and practical self-care strategies.

Reframing Our Weakness – Jason Johnson   <Chapel>

Foster Care is spiritual warfare, fought with no more powerful of a weapon than the truth of the Word of God. Our journeys through foster care – all the unique experiences, emotions and situations – must be filtered through the lens of scripture. It provides context and hope and sustains us in a healthy way. This session is designed to do just that.

Food Fear/ Food Issues – Maria Hansen-Quine   <Gym>

Putting theory to practice; understanding the function of food behaviors and how to respond. This workshop will provide practical and innovative ideas for supporting your child to be regulated and calm to build a healing environment.

Building Healthy Relationships
And Boundaries With Biological Relatives – Ryan North   <Lobby Room South>

Healthy boundaries are an important part of any relationship, especially for adoptive and foster families. We need to protect our kids stories in order to build healthy attachment with them. Come learn how to appropriately invite your biological relatives into the story of your family.

Building Sanity Into Times Of Transition – Carrie Blaske   <Room 2>

Caring for kids who have experienced trauma can often lead to chaos in times of daily transitions. It can leave parents/caregivers weary and worn out! Join Carrie in this session for some real life practical ideas and tools on how to help your kids and yourself stay regulated during the often dreaded transition times! You are not alone!

Hope For The Really, Really Hard Kids – Kathleen and Dan Hamer   <Room 3>

You have read the books, seen all the therapists, and spent all your money, but the violence, abuse, suspensions, or destruction of property is still happening (or even worse). Now what? In this breakout, you will join others who understand your journey, and walk away with some clarity as you think about the safety and future of your family. The Hamers will host a panel on this important topic.


Saturday 11:30am-12:30pm

Adapting Parenting to the Brains of Today’s Adopted and Fostered Children – Deborah Gray   <Worship Center>

Many children/teens have classic brain-based differences after neglect or trauma. Deborah covers 10 common differences in processing with practical methods that best fit learning styles. This workshop is filled with many suggestions and examples to revamp parenting and learning so that children can thrive. Professionals working with children will also gain tools that assist in making necessary accommodations.

Speaking Life Over Your Child – Tina Carter   <Red 7/8>

A parent or caregiver can set the course for a child’s life by choosing words wisely. This workshop will teach practiced and inspiring methods of rearing children to have happy, productive, and full lives even if the circumstance may look impossible.

My Kid Lies, Cheats and Steals: What Will I Do? – Ruth Graham   <Room 3>

Do you feel exasperated with behaviors that appear calculated and manipulative? Learn how to look deeper to the unmet needs that create behaviors in our children. Leave with tools and encouragement on how to manage these behaviors and your sanity.

Calling All Dads – Andrew Schneidler   <Student Room>

Hey guys- Do you ever see the ladies at foster/adoption conferences and think to yourself, “Why isn’t there something for the guys?” Hang out with dads and learn from a panel of men who have seen it all and lived to tell about it. Bring your questions and arrive early. This session is always packed!

Play Therapy Open House – Carrie Blaske   <Room 2>

The play therapy room is designed for you to come in ,touch and feel and even play with items that you may have seen on websites for regulation but didnot buy due to unknown hassles. Come and explore at your own pace and manned by educated volunteers who will answer your questions.

Giving Voice to Siblings – Ashlie Blaske   <Lobby Room South>

When new children join a family, siblings are significantly impacted. Hear from a panel of siblings of all ages as they discuss the impact of having children join their family. Gain practical ideas/tools on how to better support the process before and after children enter the family.

Raising Kids With Violent Behaviors And Histories – Zia Freeman   <Lobby Room North>

Many foster and adoptive families find themselves at a loss as to how to address violent behaviors from children, especially those who were placed at an older age. Please join us to learn how and why this can happen, some practical tools of de-escalation and the importance of having a safety plan to protect your whole family”

What Adoptees Wish You Knew – Dr.Lynne Ellis-Gray and Sandeep Thomas   <Chapel>

Struggling to connect with your adoptive or foster child? Learn from adult adoptees about what your child wishes they could tell you, but because of their rejection wound, they don’t know how.


Saturday 2:00-3:00pm

Out of Home Care For Hurting Kids – Chuck Hagele   <Lobby Room South>

Your child has a history of trauma. You’ve sought therapeutic services to meet their needs. But your child’s behavior is escalating and nothing is working. What’s next? Is a short term placement needed? This workshop will address: 1. How do you know it’s time? 2. What’s important as you go through? 3. Transitioning your child home.

Impact of Adoption and Fostering on Birth and Permanent Children – Dr. David and Jayne Schooler   <Worship Center>

“Our biological and adopted children will love this new child and embrace him as a sibling.” That is often the expectations we have for our children and those expectations can blind us to that fact that they are experiencing challenges that need to be processed on a regular basis. This workshop will discuss five major impacts of adoption and fostering on the children already in the home and strategies to navigate those challenges.

Pursuing The Heart Of Your Child: Going Beyond Diagnosis – Sophie Hartman   <Chapel>

As parents it can be easy to get lost in the hard diagnoses of our children. Stress, uncertainty, and fear over their health and futures can be paralyzing. In this session we will take time to allow the Lord to change our perspective on our children’s diagnoses, and dive into His heart of pursuit over their precious lives and hearts.

Special Challenges For Waiting Parents – Lindsey Eklund   <Lobby Room North>

In the world of foster care and adoption, there is a lot of “Hurry Up And Wait.” You now reside in the lands of “Not Yet” and “In His Time.” During this breakout we’ll name the challenges for waiting parents, make connections with others who share in those challenges, as well as brainstorm some practical things to do while you wait.

Caring For Drug Exposed Babies and Toddlers – Yvonne Swinth   <Room 2>

Many babies and toddlers exposed to drugs in utero can have sensory and developmental challenges. Strategies addressing these challenges in the home and community will be discussed.

Leading a Me Too Group for Foster and Adoptive Caregivers – Jenn Ranter   <Red 7/8>

Be a part of the initial launch of small group leaders throughout the nation and help bring refreshment to families year round. We are looking for seasoned, empathetic, foster and adoptive parents who have a passion in their hearts to connect with other Me Too families on a monthly basis.

Birth Parent Reflections: Offering Perspective and Hope for the Journey – Kelli Hall   <Room 3>

It is normal to have questions and concerns about your child’s birth family. Whether you already have contact with your child’s birth family or never will, hearing from this panel of birth parents and grandparents, will help you navigate the complexity of relationships that are part of your family’s story. 

A Field Guide To Fathering Foster And Adoptive children – Randy Doleman   <Student Room>

We all know the role of a father is crucial in the development of our children, even more so with children brought into our families through foster care and adoption. Join us for a facilitated discussion on practical ways we, as fathers, can intervene and love our foster and adoptive children fiercely and uniquely.


Saturday 3:15-4:15pm

Wounded Children, Healing Homes – Dr. David and Jayne Schooler   <Worship Center>

“I didn’t know I could get so angry.” “My marriage is suffering.” This workshop helps us understand the family’s impact of living with a child who has a history of trauma. The Schooler’s guide parents into assessing their own specific effects of this parenting challenge within their home, extended family and community and will offer insight on how to navigate through difficult moments.

Raising A Child With FAS – Mike Berry   <Lobby Room South>

It’s not an easy road. In fact, it’s defeating and frustrating. But, it’s not hopeless. Join another parent in the trenches and talk through the reality of raising children with FAS or FASD. Find hope in the middle of this difficult journey.

Our Kids and School – Maria Hansen-Quine   <Room 3>

As a school counselor and adoptive mom, Maria will share how to be an effective educational advocate for your child. She will cover essential interventions needed, distinguish between 504’s and IEP’s/Special Education, and will talk about school anxiety, ADHD, what to say/not to say to your child’s teacher, and more.

Finding A Therapist Who Gets It – Paulette Caswell   <Gym>

Finding the right therapist can impact the functioning of the whole family. Paulette addresses the challenges of locating a quality therapist who understands complex issues our children face. She shares knowledge of quality therapeutic models, as well as her own experience in identifying a quality therapist for her child.

Calm Down Skills For The Whole Family – Carrie Blaske   <Room 2>

Ever seen your child go from 0-100 MPH in a millisecond? Have you spent countless hours trying to help your very dysregulated child, only to feel wrung out and hopeless? Join Carrie as she explains the escalation cycle, how to identify where your child is in the cycle, and how to step in and apply specific strategies to get everyone reset.

Oppositional Defiance – Jenn Ranter   <Chapel>

Are you caring for a child with extreme defiance behaviors? Join Jenn, a therapist for children and adolescents in foster care, for a discussion of what oppositional defiance is, how to differentiate it from trauma behaviors, and receive tips that help you continue loving your child through the hard parts of their journey.

Helping Kids Tell Their Story – Karly Leib   <Red 7/8>

Children need adults to help process the trauma, grief, and loss that comes from being separated from birth families. In this session we will explore how to use therapeutic stories and life books to help our kids heal, attach and change negative beliefs about themselves.

Embracing Open Adoption – Melissa Kugler, Isaac and Michele Schneidler   <Lobby Room North>

Join Isaac along with his birth mom and adoptive mom to gain the perspectives of all members of the triad. Learn tips on how to live in a way that honors everyone involved. Walk away with vital tools to help foster a successful relationship with your child’s birth family.

Transracial Adoption: What We Wish We Would Have Known – Kathleen and Derek Hamer   <Student Room>

Adopting children from different cultures, countries and ethnicities comes with challenging issues. In Kathleen’s multiracial family she has faced many such issues. Join Kathleen and her 18 year old son Derek, as they share what they wish they had known in the beginning and what they are still learning.