MAY 18-20, 2023 | Summit Church-Apex Campus | Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina


Keynote Speakers


Jedd Medefind serves as President of the Christian Alliance for Orphans (CAFO). Through CAFO, more than 225 respected organizations and a global network of churches unite in coordinated action to better the lives of vulnerable children worldwide – from foster care and adoption to family restoration. Prior to this role, Jedd served in the White House as a Special Assistant to President George W. Bush, leading the Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives. Jedd has written many articles and four books, including Upended and Four Souls. His most recent book, Becoming Home, offers an exploration of how families and communities can embrace vulnerable children with wisdom and love through adoption, foster care, mentoring and more. Jedd is frequently interviewed for insight on effective care for vulnerable children, as well as other national and global issues. He and his wife, Rachel, live near Washington, DC. They’ve welcomed children through birth, foster care and adoption.


Jamie is the author of bestselling book, Foster the Family, the founder and executive director of Foster the Family, the host of the Real Mom podcast, the founder and owner of Goods and Better, and a sought-after speaker for retreats, conferences, and events for foster and adoptive parents. Her popular social media accounts offer a glimpse into the real life of a foster parent and provide encouragement to thousands of foster parents. At any given moment, Jamie is a mother to five children, including her two biological children and three children adopted through foster care She lives in Sicklerville, New Jersey, with her husband, Alan.


Peter Mutabazi is an entrepreneur, an international advocate for children, and the founder of Now I Am Known, a corporation that supplies resources to encourage and affirm children. A single father and foster dad, Mutabazi is a former street kid who has worked for World Vision, Compassion International, and the Red Cross. He has appeared on media outlets such as the BBC and The TODAY Show and continues to be a passionate speaker. He is the author of Now I Am Known: How A Street Kid Turned Foster Dad Found Acceptance and True Worth. He currently lives in Charlotte, North Carolina.


Betsy Kylstra was born to an unwed teenager in Durham, NC, and adopted several months later by wonderful parents.  Growing up, Betsy always had a deep care for people and noticed that people often shared life’s difficulties with her. She went on to get her Master’s and Specialist Degrees in Counselor Education, as well as her masters in Biblical Studies and also serves as a life coach.  As a counselor, and later, ordained minister, Betsy worked in many capacities with vulnerable individuals.  Along with her husband, Chester, they co-founded Restoring The Foundations International ministries and together established faith-based counseling and counselor training centers in 19 nations. Betsy and her teammates specialize in working with broken families and children.  Her greatest desire is to see broken lives transformed so people can find their purpose and fulfill their destiny.

Workshop Leaders


Andrew Sawyer and his wife Christina are adoptive and former foster parents. Over the past decade, they’ve worked extensively with children experiencing complex mental health issues including inpatient and outpatient therapy, short- and long-term psychiatric facilities and group homes. Recently, they’ve begun working to support other families with similar experiences. Andrew is from Fuquay-Varina, NC and attends The Summit Church.

Julie Forrest

Julie lives in Raleigh, NC with her husband, James, and their 4 children. Her 2 youngest children were born in Ethiopia and China, respectively, and joined their family through adoption in 2011 and 2015. Julie’s youngest son was born with multiple medical conditions and had a kidney transplant in August 2022 at just 8 years old. When she is not hanging out with her best friends at Duke Children’s Hospital, you will likely find her on the phone with a health insurance company or the local pharmacy because she knows how to have a good time! She loves to laugh and is passionate about supporting adoptive parents who are caring for children with medical needs. It is an amazing calling that the Lord uses daily to point her and her family to Christ.

Jza-Quera Thompson

Jza-Quera and her husband keep their foster care home open and are frequently called upon to receive children of all ages with short notice. The journey has been filled with many surprises and Jza-Quera has managed to do it all, while working outside the home, by using planning tips, home hacks and a support community that makes it all work. Her videos about her journey as a working foster mom have evolved into a large online following of those who gain wisdom from her practical advice. She and her husband have one forever son who came to them through foster care, and they are expecting a biological addition to the family soon

Sharen Ford

Dr. Sharen Ford is the director for Focus on the Family’s foster care and adoption program, raising awareness of the need for foster and adoptive families. She previously spent thirty years in Child Welfare Services for the State of Colorado and has been honored for her tenacious advocacy on behalf of foster children by numerous organizations including the Congressional Coalition for Adoption Institute. She loves spending time with her daughter and watching her grandson play football. She is a highly sought after speaker and expert on the child welfare system in the U.S.

Patricia Lonadier

Patricia Lonadier is a mental health therapist, wife, and mother of three sons. Patricia has been working with youth for the past ten years through youth ministry, inpatient and outpatient mental health settings, and being a foster parent. Patricia has made plenty of mistakes and is constantly learning still! Her two oldest sons were adopted from foster care at the ages of 13 and 9. Patricia and her husband Brett have a passion for children, teens, and caring for those in the trenches. Patricia co-hosts a podcast all about foster care and adoption called “What They’re Worth.” She loves hearing the stories of those who have experienced foster care and adoption from all angles and considers it sacred to walk along such people professionally and personally. 

Sandra Flach

Sandra Flach is mom of 8 children, 5 through adoption—2 diagnosed with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome. She encourages and equips foster and adoptive parents through her weekly Adoption & Foster Care Journey Podcast and blogs at Sandra is co-founder of Justice For Orphans and author of Orphans No More—A Journey Back to the Father. She is also a trained facilitator of the FASCETS Neurobehavioral Model. Sandra and her husband Wayne have been married 36 years. They reside in upstate NY where they love to spend time with family, especially their 7 grand children.

Stan & Angie Grant

Pastor Stan Grant and his wife Angie lead Cloverhill Church in Midlothian, Virginia.. They have a passion to reach people through the life changing message of the Gospel, and have given their lives to the mission of the local church and have a vision to see all people know God, find freedom, discover their purpose and make a difference, including in the area of foster care and adoption ministy. As adoptive parents and Empowered to Connect trainers, they understand this unique calling as ministry within the home.

Trent Taylor

Trent experienced sexual abuse, neglect, and domestic violence during the first half of his childhood. He traveled a horrific journey through the foster care system until he was adopted at the age of 9. After healing from his traumatic past, Trent began sharing his inspiring story of triumph to provide hope and healing for others. Trent is the founder of “Watch Me Rise,” a ministry to foster and adopted children. He has mentored hundreds of children, is an accomplished public speaker and has been recognized for his efforts through various awards. He is the author of two books.

SunDY Goodnight

Originally from Central Oklahoma, Sundy Goodnight has dedicated her life’s work to helping hurting and vulnerable children. She has served missions in the Philippines, South Africa, Ukraine, Colombia, Guatemala, and the Dominican Republic, as well as worked for numerous humanitarian organizations. Currently she serves as Director of Church Engagement at One More Child in Jacksonville, FL where she enjoys traveling and speaking and encouraging others to care for children in need. Sundy is passionate about Jesus and loves sharing His restorative heart for children everywhere she goes. She is an active, single foster parent and mommy to her three adopted daughters.


Tara is an associate licensed clinical social worker currently working as an outpatient therapist in Raleigh, NC. Tara has a background in education, earning a bachelor’s degree in English Secondary English before readjusting her passion to the mental health of young people outside the classroom and achieving a master’s degree in Social Work. Tara has worked with children and teenagers from pre-k to high school seniors for multiple years in a therapy setting and focuses on how the support network of a child can make an immense difference in their confidence, their ability to achieve goals, and their capacity to connect with and trust their community. Tara lives with her husband and two rescue dogs in their fixer-upper house in Cary, NC. 


Derek is the manager of Focus on the Family’s foster care and adoption program.  He has led worship for over 25 years as a music and worship pastor in both Prescott, Arizona and Wichita Falls, Texas.  He has also had a dual role in establishing a foster care and adoption ministry while on staff in Texas.  Derek understands the vital role that the church can play in supporting foster and adopt families, while also wrapping around the child welfare workers in their community.  Over the past 15 years, Derek and his wife, Holly, have been foster parents and have welcomed six children into their family – four of them adopted through foster care.  Derek and his family reside in Colorado Springs, Colorado. 

tony mitchell

Tony Mitchell has served in leadership roles including President, COO, CFO, and CIO of several corporations. Today, he applies these experiences as Chief Operations Officer for the Christian Alliance for Orphans. After being placed in foster care as newborn, Tony lived in the foster care system for two years before being adopted by a caring family. Raised in a loving but impoverished home, he became the first and only person in his family to attend and graduate from college, with honors. He went on to navigate a successful 30-year business career serving. Tony has served as a nonprofit board member, an independent corporate board member, a national speaker, and a strategic advisor. He and his wife, Venita, serve as speakers at FamilyLife’s Weekend to Remember® marriage conferences.  Tony and Venita have two adult children and reside in Atlanta, Georgia.


Pastor Chris serves as the VP of Church Partnerships and Government Affairs for Lifeline Children’s Services. He previously served as a pastor for 24 years and as the Executive Director of the Kentucky Governor’s Office of Faith and Community Based Initiatives. Chris has also served as a consultant and has been a frequent speaker at local, state, and national conferences, churches, and community gatherings, sharing his family’s story and challenging others to answer the gospel call to care for vulnerable children and families. He and his amazing wife, Alicia, have 10 children (7 adopted from foster care) and 3 grandchildren (2 adopted from foster care). They have also served as foster parents to more than 40 children. 



Jodi and Jerry have a family that has been blended in all possible ways. Presently, nine young adults call them Mom and Pop, along with a growing army of spouses and grandchildren. Their family includes bio kids as well as domestic and international adoptees.

Jodi is the author of two books, including Second Mother:  A Bible Study Experience for Foster and Adoptive Mothers.  She is the founder of Pharaoh’s Daughters, a ministry for women who serve vulnerable children.  Jerry is the CEO of Treasured Property, a real estate company that gives back to help every child have a home.

Johnston Moore

Johnston has been married to Terri since 1988, and together they have seven children (5 girls, 2 boys), all of whom were adopted through the Los Angeles County foster care system. John enjoyed a career in Hollywood in film & TV production before becoming fully immersed in adoption and foster care ministry. He is a freelance writer and consultant, and speaks regularly including at Focus on the Family’s Wait No More. Currently, John, Terri, and their youngest three daughters live in the Richmond, Virginia area, where they are members of Redeemer Anglican Church. 

Ann Maura Hinton

Ann Maura serves Lifeline Children’s Services as an Education Specialist. She brings with her over 25 years teaching experiences in a variety of different settings and with a variety of different disabilities. She loves to learn and is constantly looking for new ways to help build a bridge from frustration to hope alongside families in need. She is a certified Cognitive Developmental Therapist and has earned her master’s and undergraduate degree in Special Education. Originally from Madisonville, TN, she headed to the University of Tennessee and earned her master’s degree in special education. Ann Maura is a wife and mom of three, and she loves spending time with them.

Linda Stone

Linda believes that prayer is the most important thing we can do and it is the greatest weapon we have. She has served in leadership roles for National Day of Prayer, Promisekeepers, Men at the Cross and others, including a ministry for at-risk, fatherless teens of Chicago. She is also a volunteer to teens at Western Guilford High School. She leads several prayer groups including for Prodigals, Youth and those battling thoughts of suicide.


Jodi serves as the Embrace Adoption and Foster Care Ministry leader for the Summit Church. Summit Church strives to be a church that offers radical hospitality to the fatherless as a sign of the kingdom of God. The Foster Care and Adoption ministry includes Adoption Information Fairs, Respite events, Coffee nights and collaborating with local agencies around International Adoption, Domestic Adoption and Foster Care.

Natalie Giduz

Natalie will be graduating with her Masters in Social Work from UNC-Chapel Hill this May. The Lord gave her a passion for foster care and adoption, informing both her future career and ministry. Natalie interned at Lifeline Children’s Services, Chatham County DSS, and is currently interning as a school social worker in Chatham County Schools. A dedicated member of Chapel Hill Bible Church, she leads their foster care and adoption ministry. In her free time, she practices Spanish, plays with her dogs, and hosts game nights.

Paula Droege

Paula is mother of three adult biological children as well as “second mother” to three young men she and husband Tom adopted as older teens and young adults. Paula also has seven grandchildren. Early in her Christian journey Paula spent two years in Mexico and Honduras doing mission work where the Lord impressed on her heart a burden for the poor and the orphaned. For the past 10 years Paula has volunteered as a Guardian ad Litem for children in foster care. Paula brings to our team thirty-five years of accounting experience in the private sector working in a small business. She is treasurer for the nonprofit organization, Second Mothers, as well as for Child Evangelism Fellowship.