Breakout 1
Friday, 11 am

Calling all Dads • Andrew Schneidler

Hey guys - do you ever see the ladies at foster/adoption conference sand 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 will be packed!

Encouragement for Single Parents • Katie Page

Join Katie in the single parent break out session for a deeper discussion about the struggles and joy associated with being a single foster parent. She will share some of her tips for managing the chaos and trusting God along the journey. Take the opportunity to laugh and engage with other single parents who took a leap of faith like you on this crazy adventure.

Encouragement for Kinship Caregivers • Alicia Dentler, LMFT

Millions of children live with grandparents and relatives in kinship placements, and this type of care comes with unique needs and challenges that are often difficult to address. Join this discussion with other kinship parents to make connections, get new tools and know you are not alone!

Healing Roadmap: How do I Help My Children Get Here? • Cindy R. Lee, LMSW, LADC

Families work hard every day on addressing behavior but what is the goal?  This session talks about what healing looks like and the steps needed to get there. Prepare yourself for an in depth look at the “why” behind the sacrifices you make every day and what types of sacrifices you may have left to make. This session is grounded in truth and hope.

Play Matters: The Neurobiology of Having Fun! • Joe & Kay Heikes, LMSW

Have fun learning some new ways to play with your kids and explore how play supports neurological growth and development and helps the brain become more flexible, responsive, and socially capable. 

How to Form a Healthy Partnership with Your Child’s School • Kristin Berry

Some parents are well versed in IEP’s and on-going formal communication plans with teachers. But what about the parent of a child who came from a place of trauma, needs support, but may not need a formal IEP? How do we build a bridge of understanding with teachers? This session will walk through key steps to doing just that.

Empowering Our Kids to Succeed • Daren Jones, LMSW & Amanda Purvis

The TBRI Empowering Principles set the stage for positive change by ensuring healthy conditions for children that help develop felt-safety, self-regulation, and physical and emotional well-being.  This session will discuss the Physiological and ecological strategies as a means to equip participants with practical methods for supporting children. 


Breakout 2
Friday 1 pm

Creating Healing Connections • Daren Jones, LMSW & Amanda Purvis

This session lays a foundation for understanding the effects of trauma on the attachment relationship with vulnerable children.  Tragically, children who have experienced harm or neglect are at a significantly increased risk of attachment challenges, which can result in confusing behaviors. Participants learn specific skills on how to disarm fear responses driven by attachment disruptions.

Sensory Smart:  Is it Sensory or Behavior? • Deana Lesher, OTR

Join us to learn about sensory processing difficulties, behaviors and self-regulation. We will also discuss the attachment and bonding process and techniques to facilitate feelings of safety.

Transracial Families • Sharen Ford, PhD

Be equipped to wisely care for and raise a child of another race or ethnic group. Sharen will discuss the special challenges of being a transracial family, the role of cultural navigators and mentors in life stages, ways to promote healthy identity and the important topic of raising black boys to be black men. 

CINC 101: Foster Care System - Navigating the Legal Process as a Foster Parent • Shanelle Dupree, JD

Foster Care can be a confusing and multilayered system which may tempt us to throw up our hands up in defeat.  Resist the urge! Come hear firsthand from Attorney Shanelle Dupree, an experienced child welfare advocate, how all the players in the child welfare system MUST work together towards the goal of “best interest of the child.” Additionally, understanding how you fit in as a foster parent. It all starts with understanding the process.  

This Hurts: Vicarious Trauma • Elizabeth Miranda, LCMFT, RPT-S
Vicarious Trauma occurs when we love someone who is hurting, hurts us back, repeatedly rejects us, or even abuses us.  This workshop will help unveil the deep feelings that come with loving those who hurt us, it’s impact on marriages and families, and identify ways it can trigger even the oldest of our own childhood traumas. You are not alone. Understanding is a first step in alleviating the guilt and shame that comes from vicarious trauma.  

Maintaining a Healthy Marriage in the Midst of Hard • Dan & Leslie Chaverin

This breakout will help you prioritize your marriage relationship amidst life’s demands and hard places.  Come for some fresh insight from a couple who has “been there”.  Leave encouraged with some new tools to support you in your relationship.

Internet Safety: Practical Tips and Tools • Helen Parks, MPA’

Between phones, tablets, apps and the internet it’s hard to keep tabs on all that kids have access to and while it can be a positive tool, it can have risks. Add the element of foster care or adoption to the situation and technology takes on a whole new area of concern.  This session will provide practical tools and steps you can take to safeguard technology for your home and family.


Breakout 3
Friday 2:15 pm

How to Create and Maintain a Safety Plan in Your Home • Mike Berry

It’s something we all dread but may face at one point or another – instituting a safety plan in your home. But how do you do this with success?  In this session we will walk through key components of a safety plan that works and also protects your children. 

Trust Based Parenting Ironies • Stephanie Dulin

 Has your perspective on parenting been flipped upside down through the eyes of foster care and adoption? Are you trying to parent your child with a traditional style and are feeling like you are riding on an emotional roller coaster? Come hear some personal stories and practical tips from a Mom who has been learning how to embrace the highs and lows.

Healing the Brain: EMDR • Elizabeth Miranda, LCMFT, RPT-S
Understanding the brain, trauma, and why our littles do the things they do can also help guide what parenting approaches and therapies help them heal.  This breakout will cover EMDR and how the brain heals from trauma.  Participants will leave understanding the brain in a way that makes sense to how it impacts your day to day parenting and life with a traumatized child.  

Tales from the Trenches • Todd & Tiffany Blansit
Foster care is full of challenges and battles that we sometimes don’t anticipate. It can feel like living a life deep in the trenches of pain and heartache. We will discuss ways we have learned to help balance work, marriage, family, and your own well-being so that you can thrive while fighting a battle for these children and their families who need you most. 

Attachment Styles: Mine, My Children’s and How to Change it • Cindy R. Lee, LMSW, LADC

Attachment styles provide individuals with a blueprint for how they interact in ALL relationships! That’s pretty powerful stuff.  This session will focus on the traits of each style, the type of caregiving contributing to the creation of each style, and most importantly how to change your child’s style and/or your own.

How to Handle CPS Allegations • Sharen Ford, PhD
You signed up to be a resource, to care for children during their time of distress. Now you’re facing a child protection investigation.  Did you hear wrong?  Why is this happening to me and my family?  You’re faced with an allegation of abuse/neglect.  Come hear what steps you can take when it’s your time to face this situation. 

Sensory Smart:  Is it Sensory or Behavior? • Deana Lesher, OTR

Join us to learn about sensory processing difficulties, behaviors and self-regulation. We will also discuss the attachment and bonding process and techniques to facilitate feelings of safety.


Breakout 4
Saturday 11 am

Talking to Our Kids About the Hard Parts of Their Story • Mike Berry

A sign of healing is someone who can articulate the traumatic events of the past. Honesty is the best policy, but how do we help our children process the hard parts of their story? The Berry’s walk through key steps to respond with compassion and build connection while helping kids make sense of past hurts. 

Understanding and Embracing the Inherent Loss and Grief in Adoption • Tara VanderWoude, BSW

While adoption is wildly celebrated and brings joy to many, the truth is that adoption is a response to a tragedy or breakdown in a family's life and/or community and culture. With tragedy comes loss, and as an adopted child develops, he or she is faced with making sense of the loss that must have occurred in order for adoption to be necessary. It is imperative that parents understand, acknowledge, and give voice to the various losses, allowing their children to express grief and to feel understood, known, and supported. Also learn how to talk with children about loss and some activities that may be helpful in supporting children in integrating their complex feelings about adoption.  

TBRI: Introduction to the Correcting Principles Part 1 • Daren Jones, LMSW & Amanda Purvis

We will spend time understanding how the TBRI® PROACTIVE strategies help us to deal with behaviors and create an environment of connection and safety.

Strategic Stewardship for Foster & Adoptive Families • Matt Syverson, CFP, CAP

This workshop will unpack the principles you need to become more confident with your financial decisions and make meaningful progress.  Taught by professionals who understand the demands of raising a family, and the special situations that arise when adopting or fostering children.  Money matters can be messy, but you will enjoy hearing financial insights that will help you get on sound footing.    

Both Sides of the Story • Stephanie Dulin & Molly Nash

A reflective, insightful and inspirational journey between a birth mom and an adoptive mom. Learn all about how their open adoption has brought hope and healing and how they make their relationship work for the whole family. 

Tools for Addressing Behavior Challenges: a Rapid-Fire Countdown • Cindy R. Lee, LMSW, LADC

This session focuses on providing the steps necessary to address a variety of survival behaviors such as sleep difficulties, lying melt-downs, and transitions. We must be proactive in establishing connection and addressing past trauma hurts, but what do we do in the heat of the moment when we are face-to-face with survival behavior? Come and find out!

Finding Hope for Our Story in the Narrative of HIS-Story • Cynthia Lewis
Caring for children from hard places is hard. Our brokenness collides with their brokenness. Healing seems to take a small step forward and two giant steps backward. The demands on our lives might keep us from tending the soil of our own hearts leading to doubt, disillusionment, and despair. In this breakout session Cynthia will share how time and time again God has used the narrative of HIS-Story to bring hope to her story.


Breakout 5
Saturday 1 pm

Embracing Your Unique Family • Randy and Tina Kacirek

Meeting the expectations of friends, family and community can feel daunting.  It often leaves us with guilt or a sense of failing. In this time together, we will have a heartfelt conversation about releasing burdens and the active steps we can take to walking joyfully in God's call.

How to Talk with Your Children (& Curious Others) about Adoption • Tara VanderWoude, BSW

Adopted children must be able to inquire and talk with their parents about their adoption, birth parents, ethnicity, and race at any time. Creating this lifelong comfortable and safe atmosphere is a paramount adoption parenting task -- yet one that leaves most parents feeling nervous or unequipped.  Throw in curious questions and comments from well-meaning (and not-so-well-meaning) friends, family members, teachers, and strangers alike, and the conversations about adoption twist and turn into surprising and often uncomfortable territory. Learn about why it's vital you talk with your children about adoption while they're still young and on a regular basis, how to share all of a child's information with him, how to handle curious questions and assumptions from others, and how to prepare your children for the inevitable questions from their peers, teachers, and others.

African American Hair Care 101 • Keisha Haliburton

Learn the basics of caring for black hair so that your child will have healthy, manageable curls with a step-by-step plan for caring and protecting your child's hair.  We will talk texture, products, routine, styles, tools, etc.  

How to Form a Healthy Partnership With Your Child’s School • Kristin Berry

Some parents are well versed in IEP’s and on-going formal communication plans with teachers. But what about the parent of a child who came from a place of trauma, needs support, but may not need a formal IEP? How do we build a bridge of understanding with teachers? This session will walk through key steps to doing just that.

TBRI: Introduction to the Correcting Principles Part 2 • Daren Jones, LMSW & Amanda Purvis

We will spend time understanding how the TBRI® RESPONSIVE strategies help us to deal with behaviors and create an environment of connection and safety.

Shame Free Parenting • Jason Regier
Shame would like us to believe some version of I am not enough and I do not have what it takes to tolerate this moment or circumstance. Sound familiar? Yes...like everyday as a parent. Curt Thomson says that shame is not simply an unfortunate, random, emotional event, but rather a source and result of evil's active assault on God's creation. In our time together we will learn how to recognize shame and how to take active steps to live in our redemptive stories.

Finding Hope for Our Story in the Narrative of HIS-Story • Cynthia Lewis
Caring for children from hard places is hard. Our brokenness collides with their brokenness. Healing seems to take a small step forward and two giant steps backward. The demands on our lives might keep us from tending the soil of our own hearts leading to doubt, disillusionment, and despair. In this breakout session Cynthia will share how time and time again God has used the narrative of HIS-Story to bring hope to her story.


Breakout 6
Saturday 2:15 PM

Maintaining a Healthy Marriage in the Midst of Hard • Dan & Leslie Chaverin

This breakout will help you prioritize your marriage relationship amidst life’s demands and hard places.  Come for some fresh insight from a couple who has “been there”.  Leave encouraged with some new tools to support you in your relationship.

Play Matters: The Neurobiology of Having Fun! • Joe & Kay Heikes, LMSW

Have fun learning some new ways to play with your kids and explore how play supports neurological growth and development and helps the brain become more flexible, responsive, and socially capable. 

What Transracially Adopted Children Need From Their Parents • Tara VanderWoude, BSW
Attendees will quickly learn what transracially adopted children need from their parents. Additionally, this session will prepare parents for experiences and conversations their children will encounter, provide practical tools and concepts to support a child’s racial identity, and leave attendees more knowledgeable and acutely aware of their important role as parents and allies of transracially-adopted children.

Attachment and FASD Overview and Strategies for Connection • Kristin Berry

In this breakout we will touch on risk factors to attachment including pre-natal exposure to drugs and alcohol. We will explore new understandings to healing connection as well as practice some hands-on ways to help our children co-regulate and heal. 

Maintaining Family Connection in a High Needs Home • Randy and Tina Kacirek

In a grace-filled discussion of the realities in a high needs home, we share practical ways to build a framework for maintaining relationship growth. 

African American Hair Care 201 • Keisha Haliburton

Beyond the basics. Learn the next steps in caring for your child's hair. You will learn some tips & tricks to keeping natural hair in protective styles, how to find a stylist, & more. We want you to feel confident in the hair decisions you are making so that your child can grow with a healthy sense of confidence and have a positive hair experience.

Why Do We Do What We Do? Intro to the Enneagram • Jason Regier
Have you ever felt stuck? It sucks to feel stuck. And most of the time we don't know why. If we stay ignorant to what we don’t know, we will stay stuck and unable to grow. So what’s the answer? Self-awareness is the first step toward growth and the best tool I've found is the Enneagram. Join us for a fun conversations about the basics of the Enneagram and how it can help you find your path to growth.