Join us on Saturday, November 14 as we gather with area churches and organizations for a day of worship and equipping, lifting up vulnerable children in prayer and love. We will be hosting informational and practical workshops to explore and respond to God's heart for the orphan in adoption, foster care, safe families, and global ministry. Whether you are a parent, professional, support system, or just want to learn more, all are welcome to attend!
November is National Adoption Month and many churches will be hosting Orphan Sundays to celebrate the love of the God who defends the cause of the fatherless and calls us to do the same (Isaiah 1:17). Replanted is hosting this event on Saturday so that people from a variety of churches and organizations can attend this day of equipping together.
Free childcare will be provided during the workshops (donations for childcare accepted). Additionally, the workshops will count towards DCFS training hours. The welcome/plenary session will begin at 9am with a lunch break at 12:30pm (Lunch available for purchase). A variety of agencies will be represented at the conference to provide more information, so be sure to visit their tables!
Please register by November 13 for the workshops, lunch, and any childcare needs. We look forward to seeing you on November 14.
8:15am Doors Open
9:00am Welcome and Plenary Session
10:00am Workshop 1
11:30am Workshop 2
1:15pm Workshop 3
2:45pm Workshop 4
Trauma and Attachment – Jenn Ranter, MA/QMHP
This session will explore the effects of trauma on the attachment relationship. Participants will learn research-based insights on trauma and be equipped with practical tools to promote healing and disarm fear responses in children. This workshop is ideal for parents who have adopted, are fostering, or are a safe family, in addition to professionals, those supporting families, or those seeking to learn more.
Living Open Adoption – Rebecca MacDougall, MSW
Open adoption is essentially about the relationship between birth families, adoptive families and they children they share. The MacDougall family have lived open adoption for over 25 years. Rebecca shares the benefits and challenges of open adoption from her personal perspective and from her professional perspective, having facilitated hundreds of adoptions from closed to open. Every adoption is different but there are similar characteristics she has observed in healthy open adoptions.
Biblical Hospitality & Safe Families for Children – April McAboy
This seminar will provide an introduction to biblical hospitality and its scriptural foundations, as well as how it relates to the ministry of Safe Families for Children. An overview of Safe Families will be presented as well as commonly asked questions.
Creating a Lifebook – Jenn Ranter, MA/QMHP
Lifebooks celebrate children's strengths and plans for the future, while also helping children make sense of loss, trauma or change. Lifebooks are of particular benefit for children in foster care and those who have been adopted. A Lifebook helps children make sense of their stories by providing journaling pages with questions and prompts that allow children to express thoughts, feelings, and ask questions about their lives. Photos are added to Lifebooks so children can retain connections to people who have been important in their lives and may help the children integrate past experiences with their present circumstances in a healthy, constructive manner.
The Other Four Letter F Word... Fear – Lisa Jarrot
The path to your greatest potential is often straight through your greatest fear." Craig Groeschel
What if we can't afford to adopt? What if we have to wait for years to be matched? What if we can't handle the needs of our new child? What if the birthparents change their minds? What if the child doesn't "feel" like ours? What if others don't accept us/them? What if open adoption is not what I want? What if I don't have the support network to parent kids from hard places?
Do you feel called to adoption, foster care, or Safe Families, but fear has you crippled in your pursuit of caring for orphans? My journey has taken me down several paths I never wanted to travel and I have come out on the other end a different person, I would argue, a better person. However, it hasn't been without the conscious choice to get uncomfortable and step out in faith many, many times. My husband and I waited four years to adopt our first son Carter. We experienced two failed international adoptions, and one failed domestic adoption. We have come face to face with some of our greatest fears and lived to tell about it! If you are like me, and fear has you living in the "what if's" join us as we share stories of finding our way through the fear.
Transracial Parenting – Allison Lamsma and Luke Mitchell
Parenting across racial and cultural lines involves unique topics which are often not addressed such as cultural/racial identity, racism, white privilege, etc. This workshop will help you better understand the dynamics of becoming a multicultural/racial family through adoption. We will also view and discuss a DVD that features interviews of transracial adoptees and their families discussing their thoughts, experiences, and resources.
Sensory Processing and it's Impact on Behavior and Learning – Laura McElwee, MA, OTR/L
This workshop will explain sensory processing and it's impact on daily life. As an occupational therapist, Laura will present how and why sensory insufficiency can impact a child's daily life. There will be video presentations on what sensory dysfunction is and what it may look like. Laura will present practical tips on how to create a sensory rich environment for your child at home and in the community.
African-American Hair Care Seminar 1 – Tamekia Swint
An introduction to the care and maintenance of African-American hair. Learn the types and textures of hair, and simple styling techniques.
The Unique Tasks of Adoptive Parenting – Rebecca MacDougall, MSW
While adoptive parents share all of the joys and responsibilities that all parents experience, they have some unique tasks in raising their children . Some of these unique tasks and responsibilities will be discussed including negotiating relationships and communicating with children about adoption, fostering positive racial identity and dealing with society's attitudes about adoption. Rebecca often shares touching and humorous stories to illustrate her points.
"The Least Bad Choice": An Adoption Journey – Jennifer Pedley, MJ
Being a birthmother is no one's first choice. It is a bitter-sweet and life-long journey. This workshop is a story of one birthmother's journey through open adoption, tips from a professional on how to incorporate and care for your child's birthfamily (no matter what your situation), and practical information on why this is even important!
Join us as we openly discuss questions related to adoption from the perspective of adoptees who were adopted both internationally and domestically. Adult adoptees will share their experience of adoption throughout their life and respond to questions from the audience. Please email questions ahead of time to
email@example.com with subject line "Adoptees Panel Question."
African-American Hair Care Seminar 2 – Tamekia Swint
Hands on course with live models. Learn how to style African and African-American hair. Q/A session on hair care maintenance and styling.
Life in Limbo – Jenn Ranter
What's it like to live in foster care? How does it feel when your child is taken from you? How do foster parents cope? Explore these and other questions as a participant of Life in Limbo. Engage in a unique experience that will allow you to "walk in their shoes."
As a participant, choose to be a foster child, foster parent, or birth parent. You will deal with the anxiety, anger, and hope that the children experience, feel the struggle a foster parent must go through to provide a stable environment, or decide as a birth parent whether you will do whatever it takes to get your children back.
This simulation is dynamic and moving. It will increase your understanding of the foster care system and motivate you to get involved. Whether you are currently involved in foster care or want to walk alongside those who are, this experience is for you!
The simulation experience will be led by Jenn Ranter (Ministry Leader for Replanted and therapist in the foster care system) and Rachel Pruess (foster parent and therapist). Life in Limbo was designed by David White (Fostering Great Ideas).
Avoiding Nutritional Pitfalls: How to Use Food to Regulate Emotions and Behaviors – Julie Logan
Did you know that certain foods aggravate symptoms of ADHD, depression, anxiety, Autism, and other conditions? Balancing the autonomic nervous system diminishes symptoms of these conditions. We will address both of these topics in this presentation We will discuss key foods that trigger negative responses as well as foods that are beneficial. We will also focus on balancing nervous system function to break the chronic stress response.
Fr. Keith Hartsell has been married to his wife Dawn for 14 years and they have six children, Alyana (10), Xander (7), Justin (5), Stephen (3), Christopher (2) and Michael (4 months). Fr. Keith serves as the Rector of the Redeemer Anglican Parish made up of 7 congregations on the north side of Chicago. Redeemer Anglican Parish is one of many parishes in the Greenhouse Movement which is one church in 15 locations in Chicagoland and many more around North America. Fr. Keith and Dawn previously served at Church of the Resurrection in Wheaton, IL for 13 years. Fr. Keith has a Masters Degree in Bible & Theology from Northern Seminary in Lombard, IL and Dawn is a Registered Nurse with a focus in Labor and Delivery. She spends most of her time homeschooling their six children in their home in West Chicago. Fr. Keith and Dawn also serve as foster parents.
Alex Lyons is a foster care alumnus. Since leaving state care, he has launched a video production startup, developed an event production startup, led cross-cultural international media production teams in Asia, directed international Telly Award winning documentaries based on non-profits in Asia and Africa, and has produced and directed media teams to execute events at venues with over 12,000 in attendance. He currently serves as the Communication Chair of the Illinois Chapter of the Foster Care Alumni Association.
Lisa Jarot and her husband Nathan knew they were called to adopt after a visit to Cambodia in the first two years of their marriage. They began our adoption journey in 2007, but they walked through four years of intense grief and loss before they finally met their son Carter. Three years later, and another failed adoption, they welcomed Isaiah into their family. They have come to learn that we cannot control anything in the journey of adoption. They have also learned that the story God is writing for you and your family is way better than anything you could ever dream of writing for yourself, because he is an extravagant God of awe and wonder. Lisa wears a lot of hats between family and church and career, but she knows she was put on this planet to advocate for orphans. She is happy to share her story to encourage others in their journeys.
Alison Lamsma has worked at Bethany Christian Services since 1997. She was born in West Africa and spent the first 18 years of her life there. Alison received her Bachelor's Degree in Social Work from Calvin College in Grand Rapids, Michigan in 1997. She then began working at Bethany Christian Services. She has had several different positions at Bethany and each one has taught her a lot about the families and children that she is privileged to serve. She received her Masters in Social Service Administration from the University of Chicago in 2003. Alison has worked with birth parents, foster families, and adoptive families. She is a frequent speaker on Transracial adoption and International adoption. She and her husband Darren have two sons. Alison is currently is the International Adoption Coordinator for the Chicago area Bethany Christian Services office.
Dr. Julie Logan practices in a family chiropractic practice an in a pediatric practice for children with special needs and chronic illnesses. She has successfully recovered one son from autism and the other from ADHD, along with others in her practices, using the principles she will be be teaching about on Orphan Saturday.
Rebecca Stahr MacDougall has been working with Birth and Adoptive families for over 30 years and has personally facilitated more than 400 adoptions. She played a key role in developing education and mediation in open adoption, in an adoption agency and in the community. Rebecca has handled many types of adoption cases: domestic, international, interstate, and special needs. She is a frequent speaker on issues of adoption including infertility, openness, Transracial adoption, and Seeing God in Adoption. Rebecca received her B.A. degree from Bethel University in 1978 and her Master of Social Work from Jane Addams College of Social Work in 1983. She and her husband Wayne are the parents of three children, who joined their family through adoption and the grandparents of two adorable children. Their family has had experience as foster parents and with open adoption, transracial adoption, and sibling adoption. Rebecca was the Director of Domestic Adoption and Pregnancy Counseling at Sunny Ridge Family Center before coming to Bethany Christian Services as Director in 2010.
April McAboy has a Master of Divinity from Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, KY, and worked for 10 years in local church ministry in areas of assimilation, biblical hospitality and discipleship. She has also taught high school English, and currently serve as the Host Family Coordinator for Safe Families in DuPage County.
Laura McElwee graduated from the University of Southern California with a Master of Arts in Occupational Therapy. She received an intensive four-month training in Sensory Integration during that time, and has since received advanced level training in sensory integration. She has practiced as a pediatric OT for the past 18 years in the school setting, early intervention and private clinics. She works with children with a variety of diagnoses ranging from autism to learning disabilities. She and her husband adopted a 6 year old boy from Uganda in December 2014, and have three biological children. Laura has the opportunity to implement many of these sensory principles at home. She is an advocate for creating a sensory rich environment for children so that they can reach their highest potential.
Jenn Ranter has an Honors BA Degree in Kinesiology (Redeemer University College, Ancaster, ON, Canada) and an Honors BA Degree in Psychology (McMaster University, Hamilton, ON, Canada). She received her Masters Degree in Clinical Psychology from Wheaton College in 2011. She is a therapist at Youth Service Bureau of Illinois Valley for the precious children in foster care, specializing in expressive therapy modalities to promote healing from trauma. She is also a Trust-Based Relational Intervention (TBRI) practitioner. She is the ministry leader for Replanted: Adoption/Foster Care/Safe Families ministry at Church of the Resurrection. She has been published in the Journal of Adolescence and has been a speaker on topics including foster care and forgiveness as a coping response in children.
Tamekia Swint is the Executive Director of Styles For Girlz, NFP and has a passion for hair care and styling. After seeing a need in the trans-racial adoptive and foster care communities for quality hair care education and services, Ms. Swint began to serve families all over the Chicagoland area. Ms. Swint, along with the Styles For Girlz team of stylists, is passionate about serving adoptive families and assisting them with learning how to care for and manage African and African-American hair. Ms. Swint has her MBA and is a licensed hair braider with over 19 years experience in the hair braiding industry.
Jennifer Pedley found her "life's work" after placing her son, at birth, in an open adoption twenty-five years ago. She is the author of the book "Secrets to Your Successful Domestic Adoption", is a founding board member of the On Your Feet Foundation and has facilitated weekend retreats for birthmothers for the last 11 years. Recently, Jennifer rejoined the staff at Adoption Center For Family Building, when she returned to Illinois after ten years of living in Michigan. Jennifer has a Masters Degree in Child Law from Loyola Law School and lives in Naperville with her husband and two teenage boys.
Luke Mitchell is a 29 year old transracial adoptee from Wheaton. For the past 10 years, Luke has dedicated his knowledge to prospective adoptive families, adopted families, and adopted children. He is often speaking for local panels and conferences. He is married to his amazing wife Sarah (who is also adopted).