2021 Speakers

2021 Speakers

Keynote Speakers

  Willie Moore Jr.

As a nationally syndicated radio host, speaker, and best selling author, Willie  Moore Jr. has proven that innate charisma, abundant creativity, and a passion for empowerment can translate in the faith-based community and the general market. Whether you know him as the Grammy recognized R&B artist “Pretty Willie” or the Stellar Nominated Inspirational artist Willie Mo. Jr., Willie is hands down a fan-favorite amongst today’s generation. As the host of the top rated “Willie Moore Jr. Show,” Willie reaches over 1.7 million people weekly. The ground-breaking inspriational show has featured top entertainers and celebrities including Barack and Michelle Obama, Tyler Perry, Bishop T.D. Jakes, Hilary Clinton, and many more.
Outside of entertainment, Willie Moore Jr. is an advocate for adoption and foster care. As the President of the WILFLO Foundation Inc. (named after his forever family Willie and Flora Moore,) Willie brings awareness to the adoption and foster care system. Each year thousands of African American families sign up to be foster parents and/or adoptive parents through these efforts. Willie continues to tour the world bringing inspiration through his innovative storytelling and comedic approach to speaking and music that’s transforming lives throughout all generations.

 

  Stephanie Fast

Abandoned at a young age, Stephanie wandered the war-torn countryside of Korea. Due to her bi-racial ethnicity, she was abused and violated in every way. Finally, she was discarded and left to die in a garbage dump. A World Vision nurse miraculously rescued Stephanie and placed her in an orphanage. Around the age of nine, a missionary couple came to her orphanage. Overlooking her physical and emotional state, they listened to the voice that spoke to their hearts. David & Judy Merwin, setting aside their desire to adopt a baby boy, obeyed that voice and adopted Stephanie. Despite the lavish healing love her adoptive parents poured into her, Stephanie's past tormented her throughout her teens. A profound personal encounter with Jesus Christ enabled her to exchange her pain with Him at the cross and see her identity and purpose in the light of God's love. This message, Stephanie has had the privilege to share with anyone who will listen. God has honored her with very diverse audiences. Over the past 30 years, her story and teaching have been on TV, radio, in magazines and other people's books. She recently wrote her first book; She Is Mine. Stephanie and her husband reside in Portland, Oregon, surrounded by their children and grandchildren; her childhood dream lived out in reality.

 

  Jason Johnson

Jason is a writer and speaker who encourages families and equips churches in their foster care and adoption journeys. Jason currently serves as the Director of Church Ministry Initiatives with Christian Alliance for Orphans. In his work he speaks and teaches at churches, conferences, forums and workshops on church-based ministry strategies and best practices as well as encouraging families that are in the trenches and those that are considering getting involved. Jason and his wife, Emily live in Texas with their daughters. He has authored 3 books: Reframing Foster Care, Everyone Can do Something, and ALL IN Orphan Care and he blogs regularly at www.jasonjohnsonblog.com.


 

  Kristin Ballard

Kristin Ballard, a native of Yoakum, Texas, is a dedicated mother, wife, and philanthropist. A passionate and tireless volunteer, she regularly supports the Indiana Department of Child Services, Hands of Hope, Books For Youth, and the Indianapolis Colts Women’s Organization. A champion for children, when she’s not supporting her own family, Kristin spends time advocating for children and families in the foster care system. While Kristin and her husband, Chris, were raising their three children, they also began caring for two cousins of their family who they eventually adopted through foster care. Kristin graduated with a degree in business administration from Texas A&M University – Kingsville and was a decorated athlete in women’s basketball and track. Among other honors, she holds the school record for points scored in a game, was an All-Lone Star Conference choice both athletically and academically and was inducted into the Javelina Hall of Fame in 2005. Following her graduation, Kristin worked in advertising sales before transitioning into pharmaceutical sales. During her 13-year career with Takeda Pharmaceuticals, she was regularly recognized as the top salesperson in the company. Kristin and her family reside in Westfield, Indiana.
 

Breakout Session Speakers

Chad Bedwell

Chad Bedwell is the Northeast Regional Manager for Hands of Hope where he motivates and empowers churches, individuals, and businesses to care for children in foster care. He is a foster and adoptive dad and has experience with both ministry and business leadership.

Mike Berry

Mike Berry is an author, blogger, speaker, parent coach, adoptive parent, and former foster parent. He is passionate about reaching adoptive and foster parents around the globe with a message of hope and transformation. Along with his wife, Kristin, they are the creators of the award-winning blog www.confessionsofanadoptiveparent.com and the award-winning podcast The Honestly Adoption Podcast.  Mike is the author of 4 books and has been featured on Yahoo Parenting, Disney, The Huffington Post, Buzz Feed, and Moody Radio. He & Kristin have been married for 20 years, have 8 children, all of whom are adopted, and live on a farm in Indiana.

Kathy & Mariah Boger

Growing up in an adoptive family, and being an adoptive parent for 20 years, Kathy has a genuine passion for adoptive and foster families. She is an adoption coach and founder of Embracing Adoption, which provides tools and encouragement for forever families. Mariah Boger is a Family Support Specialist, working with foster youth. She coaches alongside her mother, talking with teenage siblings of adopted or foster children.

April Bordeau

April Bordeau is the CEO of Care to Change counseling centers. She is a TBRI practitioner and educator with more than 25 years of experience working with families, managing a youth treatment facility, a domestic violence shelter, and leading volunteers overseas to learn about adoption.

Natalie Chavis, Esquire

Natalie Chavis has practiced foster care adoption law for twenty years. She has helped thousands of children solidify their forever homes. Natalie was awarded the Congressional "Angels In Adoption" for her work in child welfare.

Kate Creason, LCSW

Kate is an experienced attachment therapist who is passionate about helping families heal through trauma and loss. She utilizes TBRI and Theraplay in her work. Kate's philosophy is that all children want to attach, but some don't know how yet.

Anthony Dumas

Anthony is a life-long resident of Indianapolis and graduate of Warren Central High School and Ball State University. He has worked at Outreach Inc for 8 years and is currently the Director of Young Adult Services. Prior to that, Anthony was a Correctional Counselor at Marion County Jail and Discipline Dean at IPS Wendell Phillips #63. He is married to Sonna with 6 children.

Nancy Fisher, MSW, LCSW

Nancy has worked primarily with children who have experienced trauma. Nancy and her husband were foster parents for 23 years and adopted four teen boys during their time as foster parents. She is a TBRI Practitioner/Educator and works as Director of Adoption Services at Children's Bureau.

Attorney Mellisica Flippen and Attorney Danielle Gregory

Attorney Flippen currently serves as Director of the Domestic Relations Counseling Bureau with the Marion County Superior Courts. She has 20 plus years experience working with kinship care families. Attorney Gregory is a family law solo practitioner with the Law Office of Danielle Gregory.

Amy Jo Fox

Amy Jo is the Care Community Director at Hands of Hope where she equips and develops church leaders to engage in caring for vulnerable children and their families. She also helps lead the Foster & Adoption Ministry leadership team at Emmanuel Church. She is wife to Brent, as well as mom to two teenagers and two toddlers through birth, adoption and foster care.

Jason Johnson

Jason is a foster and adoptive dad, former church planter and the Director of Church Ministry Initiatives with The Christian Alliance for Orphans. He is the author of "ReFraming Foster Care", "Everyone Can Do Something", "ALL IN Orphan Care" and blogs regularly at www.jasonjohnsonblog.com.

Grant Kirsh

Growing up as the son of an adoption attorney, Grant Kirsh has been surrounded by adoption his entire life. As a second generation adoption attorney, he enjoys continuing his family's legacy in Indiana. Grant handles all types of adoption around Indiana. Please visit www.IndianaAdoption.com to find out more.

Dr. Kim McElroy-Jones

Dr. Kim McElroy-Jones is the Central Indiana Regional Manager for Hands of Hope, motivating individuals, churches, and businesses to get involved in caring for children & families in need. She has a B.S. and a Ph.D. in Organizational Leadership, Masters Degrees in both Adult Education and Health Administration, and a Doctor of Ministry degree from United Theological Seminary. She also has experience in both ministry and healthcare leadership. Additionally, she is the Director of Community Partnerships for Community Health at Eskenazi Health. She is very passionate about serving and helping those in need.

Laura Mobley

Laura is the former Foster & Adoption Ministry Director at Traders Point Christian Church. There she educated, equipped, and supported the church to defend the cause of the fatherless. She created ways for everyone to be involved, as well as fought to make foster care & adoption as normal as possible. Laura is married to Jason and has 3 kids, one who was adopted from China.

Sherri Moore

Sherri spent 12 years as a foster parent, cared for over 50 children and has 3 adopted boys. She currently works as a Parent Liaison at About Special Kids (ASK) and is also a CASA volunteer.

Clarkston Morgan

Clarkston serves as the Chairman for the African American Leadership Council for the Christian Alliance For Orphans (CAFO). It is through CAFO he empowers African American families to adopt. But also, as an Assistant Pastor, Worship Pastor and the COO of W4 Construction group, he sows into the "God-vision of emerging and established leaders and families across the nation. He and his wife, LaKendra Morgan, have taken up the call to adopt two children after fostering 9 kids.

David Reed

David Reed, MSW, LCSW, CSAYC is the Deputy Director of Child Welfare Services for Indiana Department of Child Services. He has over 20 years’ experience in a range of settings including residential and acute treatment centers, group homes, outpatient counseling centers, and private practice. He has trained foster parents, social workers & clinicians, is a nationally-certified Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy therapist and a Credentialed Sexually Abusive Youth Clinician.

Tamara Timm and Lorraine Conwell

Tamara and Lorraine have both served on the Every Child planning team. Tamara has worked with families and children at Bethany Christian Services since 2006. She currently works to recruit & license families for the transitional foster care program- a program that serves unaccompanied children from Central America. Lorraine is the Director of Kinship Care at The Villages, working passionately to advocate, sustain, and stabilize children placed with relative caregivers. She has a B.S in Psychology and a Master's in Leadership Development with a concentration of Non-Profit Leadership. She has over 17 years of experience working with children and families.

Tara VanderWoude

Tara VanderWoude, Social Worker, Educator, and Advocate, is a Korean adoptee and an adoptive mother who speaks and consults nationwide on the complexities of adoption, identity, and race. She has experience in a variety of social work areas and currently also works in a school setting.

Vanessa Wilkins

Vanessa is the Foster Care Network Director for Hands of Hope where she motivates and empowers the faith community in Indiana to get involved in caring for vulnerable children. She has experience as a high school teacher, coach, and youth ministry director. She also helps lead the Family Advocacy Ministry at her church. Vanessa and her husband Andy have three children, one of whom they adopted out of foster care in 2019.