Tori Hope Petersen
Tori Hope Petersen is a former foster youth letting her Abba Father be known through her stories. Tori is a wife, biological mom and adoptive mom.
She is a national speaker, writer, and advocate who was recently crowned Mrs. Universe. Last year she founded Beloved Initiative, a nonprofit inspiring foster youth to change the narrative for youth in foster care. Through this ministry she grants children who are often unseen and unheard opportunities to see that the worst parts of their lives can be used for Good – to glorify God. In the fall of 2022 her memoir “Fostered” will be released with B&H publishing.
Claudia currently serves as Chief Program Officer at Patrick Henry Family Services, a really cool non-profit in Lynchburg, Virginia that is committed to serving children and families. She has been speaking across the country for decades, sharing hope and humor with adoptive, foster and other kinds of parents. She is the proud author of five books that currently nobody is buying and are now collecting dust on several shelves in her home. Even though she may be viewed as “past her prime” she shows up at conferences to give younger parents evidence that you can raise kids to adulthood and survive.
Alyssa Van Vactor
Amy Jo Fox
Beth Booram is the co-founder and director of Fall Creek Abbey, an urban retreat house in Indianapolis. She is also a trained spiritual director, facilitates the School of Spiritual Director, and is the author of five books, including Starting Something New and When Faith Becomes Sight.
Brandy Baumann & Sarah Norris
Brandy and Sarah lead a thriving Family Advocacy Ministry at their church in Fort Wayne. Brandy is passionate about loving others well and working with others to serve vulnerable children and families. Sarah loves her family and reading. Both Brandy and Sarah are moms through birth and adoption, and they share the Northeast Regional Manager role for Hands of Hope.
Cindy Neal is a licensed social worker and has worked for Bethany Christian Services for 19 years. She currently works with foster families in Bethany’s Transitional Foster Care Program. Cindy and her husband live near downtown Indianapolis and have 5 children through birth and adoption, ranging in age from 7-16. Understanding that adoption is a lifelong journey, Cindy has enjoyed serving as adjunct staff with The Adoption Ties program, helping lead homeland trips for adoptees and their families. As a transracial family through adoption, Cindy is committed to continuing to learn about issues surrounding race and adoption and enjoys meaningful dialogues on these topics.
David Reed has been the Deputy Director of Child Welfare Services for DCS since Sept 2017. He is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and has worked in the social work field since 1995. He has presented at numerous conferences on the topics of trauma, attachment, childhood mental health, and parenting.
Erika leads the CarePortal strategy to reverse racial disproportionality in child welfare by empowering local churches in low-income neighborhoods to be the heroes to children and families in crisis in their own communities. Along with her husband, Bishop Terry Glenn, Erika has co-led a small community church in one of the lowest income neighborhoods of Kansas City, a community still crippled by the impacts of Jim Crow and redlining. The little community church that could barely afford to pay its own utilities has become a powerful force in family preservation, now meeting more CarePortal needs than almost any other church in America. The relational connections made in the process have been unifying in the bigger Body of Christ in ways that far transcend CarePortal. Erika’s passion is to empower 1,000 community churches in Black and Brown neighborhoods, like her own church, to become CarePortal Connecting Churches, lead churches that break our nation’s orphan cycle through the power of a unified Church. Ultimately, Erika is a grateful child from the southside of Chicago submitting her breath and body to her King for His use.
Dr. Evan Burns
Gaelin Elmore is a husband, father, keynote speaker, child advocate, and former NFL and College football player. Gaelin also spent 10 years of his childhood in the foster care system. Gaelin now works closely with the foster care space and speaks professionally as an adversity expert and revisionist. He uses what he learned through his life to educate others about the lasting impacts of trauma, adversity, and the power of empathy on the lives of vulnerable youth.
Dr. Kim McElroy-Jones
Krista Petty, foster & adoptive mom, is the Faith Sphere Manager for America’s Kids Belong. For 20 years, she has equipped leaders to more compassionately and effectively serve vulnerable people. She is National Adoption Mental Health Competency certified and a Results Based Conversations Facilitator.
Mike & Kristin Berry
Mike and Kristin Berry are sought after parent trainers and coaches, the authors of 7 books, and the co-founders of The Honestly Adoption Company, which exists to help foster and adoptive parents become the best caregivers possible. They have been married for over 20 years, have 8 children, all of whom are adopted, and live on a farm in Indiana.
Learn more at www.honestlyadoption.com.
Sara Coggins is a current foster and adoptive mom. As a mom, she has experience with both IEP’s and 504 plans. Previously, she was a special education teacher and was a finalist for Indiana Teacher of the Year in 2018. As a result, she brings both the school and parent perspective.
Tamara has held many roles at Bethany Christian Services and is currently the Transitional Foster Care Licensing Supervisor. She spent time as a foster parent and loves encouraging others to care for families and children. She is mom to two boys, enjoys being a wife, and does her best to keep her dogs from barking during calls while working from home.