Saturday, September 3, 2011


I can't tell you how often I have gained practical wisdom, and emotional and spiritual strength,  from talking and praying with parents who have "been there" or who have a perspective that I so desperately need, but has slipped from my grip. The HOPE AT HOME 2011 breakouts will be like a river of refreshing water for fathers and mothers, buoying you up and carrying you along in the Father's HOPE-- hope for you, and hope for you children.
We are SO excited about these breakout topics and speakers! God is setting us up for a wonderful time of connecting--with our Father in Heaven, with each other, and with practical and helpful wisdom. Register HERE. Only one more week to get the Early Bird Registration price, so don't put it off!

Answering the Tough Questions
Many of us are unsure how to wisely answer some of the questions our children ask us. Questions like, “Why did you adopt me,” or “Why do I look different than you?” or “Why didn’t my ‘real’ parents keep me?” And then there are the questions posed by others—“Do you love him as much as your ‘real’ children?” and “What happened to their parents?” for instance. Dr. Ron Braund will share insightful, healthy and healing responses to these and other tough questions. Bring a few of your own.

Dr. Ron Braund is experienced as a family business consultant, behavioral health professional, mission leader and author. His clients include the owners of Chick-fil-A, Hobby Lobby, family foundations, corporate executives and professional athletes. In 2008, he assisted the U.S. Ryder Cup Captain & golf professional, Paul Azinger, to implement a winning team-building strategy in America's victory over the European Ryder Cup team at Valhalla.
As a marriage & family therapist, Dr. Braund has over 25 years experience as a systems counselor integrating psychological perspectives with biblical truth. For 14 years he hosted a daily radio program, Marriage & Family Today, produced in association with Moody Broadcasting in Atlanta. He is the author or co-author of five books including Understanding How Others Misunderstand You, a book and workbook describing behavioral principles to improve relationships with others; The Strong-Willed Child or Dreamer?, a book for parents to discern the crucial differences between a strong-willed child and a creative-sensitive child; and Cracking the Code: The Winning Ryder Cup Strategy.

Dr. Braund is the founder of Mission Specialties, Inc. MSI facilitates leaders serving neglected and abused children in the U.S. and around the world. He is the chairman of the CoMission for Children at Risk (, a network of mission organizations dedicated to serving orphans and street children in Eastern Europe. He has been instrumental in developing Foster Care and Orphan Transition Programs that assist churches, foster families and orphan “graduates” seeking to pursue independent living and life skills training.


Fathering Your Adopted Child
In this session Dionne van Zyl and Stephen Templeton will be discussing some foundational principals of fathering, including the biblical authority of a father and the practical outworking of this spiritual mantle God has put on our lives. As such we will address the problem of passivity and the need to parent forward rather than backward. We will discuss some of the unique challenges of fathering adopted children with an emphasis on practical application. Finally there will be opportunity for prayer and ministry at the end of the session. Fathers are encouraged to attend.

Dionne van Zyl is an ordained minister, elder at Northlands church and father of four children (ages 12 to 22), all of whom are serving the Lord. He has a deep interest and expertise in business and financial markets and is president of a private equity fund, Doron Capital.

Stephen Templeton is the father of seven children, ages 16 to 22. Eleven years ago, after having had three biological children, the Lord called him and his wife Beth to adopt four children from Russia. He is an elder and worship leader at Northlands church. He is also a physician and practices dermatopathology in Atlanta.
From the Outside Looking In: Transracial Adoption
As parents of children of a different race, we fall in love with our children and eventually--we insist we do not even see our outside differences. We see more deeply into their hearts, sometimes overlooking and forgetting the differences the outside world sees. Richard and Andrea Young will take a look at the complex issues that arise for every transracial family, exploring the countless opportunities and environments parents can create from the very beginning to help their child and entire family navigate through some of the challenges as they seek to nurture children confident in how God created them, how God made their families, and ultimately helping them find their identity in Christ.

Richard and Andrea Young are the parents of 4 children--soon to be 5 with the last two being brought to them through the miracle of adoption. They have been married for 8 years. They have served on the board for Wiphan Care Ministries since it's beginning in 2007 and make regular trips to Zambia (Africa) where the two schools serve 450 orphans and 150 widows. In 2010, Andrea saw the need for adoption moms to receive rest, Biblical encouragement and fellowship with one another and started the non-profit ministry Created for Care, which holds yearly retreats for adoptive mothers. They live in the Atlanta area where Richard works as an insurance broker for Charter Energy and Andrea homeschools their children. 


Life Giving Speech: Being Deliberate with our Authority
As parents we carry God-given authority which we should use wisely. We form world views and set boundaries by our speech. We create expectations and fashion dreams by what we say to our children. In this session Greg Haswell will lead a discussion on some practical ways in which we can harness our speech to build into our children's lives.

"He Restores My Soul": God's Plan for Restoration
We are often very conscious of the price we have paid to adopt, and of the toll it has taken on us. In this session Michelle Haswell will investigate what God promised to restore to us, and have a time of ministry and prayer. God is by nature a redeemer and loves to restore our souls.

Greg and Michelle Haswell
Greg Haswell has been in ministry alongside his wife Michelle for 25 years. Twelve years ago God called them from South Africa to start a church in Atlanta. He is a Bible teacher and church planter who builds into churches and church leaderships around the world. Greg and Michelle currently live in Atlanta, GA where Greg is the pastor of Northlands church.

Michelle Haswell has been married to Greg for 25 years. They have one married daughter, Nicole. Michelle has spent a number of years in education as an elementary school teacher and as head of faculty. She enjoys ministry to women, prophetic ministry and seeing lives restored to wholeness. Michelle travels with her husband Greg, ministering with him in churches around the world. 

Special Needs Adoptive Parenting
Have you ever considered that of the 37 miracles Jesus performed, twenty were performed on adults and children with special needs?  This would certainly indicate that our Creator has a special heart and concern for those with physical and mental challenges.  In this session, Randy and Teresa Grimes, along with Christie Ingram, will share their personal experiences as adoptive parents of special needs children.  You’ll gain support and insight for responding to your child’s special needs, including both those that were known and unknown prior to the adoption process.

Randy and Teresa Grimes have been married for almost 28 years.  They are the parents of six children, four of whom have joined their family through adoption.  Their children range in ages from 26 years to 19 months.  They view their family as a unique tapestry that only God could have had the vision to create.  Randy and Teresa have been involved in adoption, foster care and children's issues for almost 23 years.  In 2005, Randy and Teresa developed a non-profit ministry called Jochebed's Hope to focus on the Biblical foundation for adoption and provide adoption education, information and support. Randy is currently the lead pastor of Family by Faith Worship Center in Forsyth County.  The chuch's unique focus and ministry is to share Christ and bring people into the family of God through the spiritual process of adoption. 

Christie Ingram has been married to her husband David for 9 years. They began their adoption journey in late 2004. In June of 2005 they welcomed home their daughter, Carly. In January of 2006 they welched their second daughter, Olivia, home from Guatemala. In June of 2006 Christie gave birth to their son joshua. Needless to say, the past 6 years have been busy but full of joy! Christie works as a special education teacher for Forsyth County Schools. She also works part time as the special needs adoption coordinator for One World Adoption Services in Buford, Georgia. Christie's passion for special needs adoption was ignited with the adoption of Carly, who has Down Syndrome. Christie is involved in the children's ministry of her church.

Interrupting the Orphan and HIV Cycle
In this session Dr. Susan Hillis will provide a systematic overview of the global orphan and HIV emergencies, along with the role of the church as an instrument of love and life.  Practical considerations for those considering adoption of an HIV positve child will be discussed.

Loving Through the Life Cycle
Susan and Brian Hillis will lead a panel composed of parents of preschoolers, elementary age, teens, and young adults will share briefly about lessons learned in loving children at various ages.  Most of the session will be interactive question and answer.

Susan Hillis, PhD, MS has been a believer for 38 years, married to a godly servant for 35, a mother for 26, a US government federal official for 20, and a university professor for 10 years. She is the mother of 11 children, 8 of whom were adopted from Russia after the tragic death of her first-born son on the day before his tenth birthday. It is her deep joy and privilege to have received untold personal blessings from the living God. She has worked and ministered in countries in South America, Africa, and Eastern Europe. She participates widely as an invited speaker at scientific and Christian conferences. She has published more than 80 articles in scientific medical journals and is considered one of the leading infectious diseases experts on the HIV risk among vulnerable youth around the world. Dr. Hillis is a recent recipient of the Outstanding Service Medal as a Captain in the U.S. Public Health Service.
During her married life she has worn many hats, including stay-at-home mom, graduate student, missionary, government official, nurse, scientist, and university professor. She has experienced infertility, caring for a son with a fatal heart condition, loss of her son through a fatal biking accident, and 8 international adoptions of older children from Russian orphanages. She, her husband, and their 10 children recently lost their home in the 2009 Atlanta floods, which were declared a presidential disaster.
Her experience suggests that God’s goodness is bigger than all the storms of life.

Parenting Your Adopted Child as a Single Mother
This session will take a personal look at multiple strategies for not only surviving, but also thriving as a single adoptive mom. Renee Johnson will explore these practical topics; studying your child, identifying and prioritizing needs, eliminating the unnecessary, matching resources with needs, survival tips, finding fellowship, and defining our family.

Connecting with Your Child; Helping Your Child Connect with You
In this session Renee Johnson will take a practical, experiential based and hands-on look at several aspects of bonding.  Included in the discussion will be the basic areas of connection, tools and strategies that have easy implementation, setting bonding goals, measuring one’s success and finding encouragement in the small steps.

The Johnson Family
Renee L. Johnson and her three Russian daughters have been blessed to become a family through adoption. First in 1999, again in 2001 and for a final time in 2003 the Lord added a daughter to her family.  Today two of the girls are seniors in high school and one is a sophomore in college.  The parenting journey has caused her to grow, stretch and reach into the many arenas that come with the challenges set before her.   In addition to being a mom, Renee holds degrees in Physical Therapy and Public Health.  She balances her home life with her responsibilities as a Senior Scientist for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Lessons for Fathers from Exodus
Encouragement will be drawn from the book of Exodus for dads who have adopted children.  Moses led a journey through the desert towards the promised land, similar to the journey many of us are living.  Brian Hillis will take a look at the book of Exodus to draw encouragement and see evidence of God's active  hand in the life of Moses, as well as in our own lives.

Brian Hillis is a father of 11 kids, 8 adopted from Russia at older ages.  By training he is both an educator and a CPA.  During the first 15 years of marriage, he worked outside the home as a missionary in Latin America, an educator, and a CPA.  During the next 20 years, his work was primarily in the home, serving God by loving his wife and all those children.

Hearing the Voice of God: A Key to Breakthrough
for You and Your Child
“HE who belongs to God hears what God says” John 8:47
Scripture declares that God's children, of all ages, can know and hear God's voice.  Jenni Means will teach about the many ways God speaks to us and  equip us to help position our children to hear the loving voice of their Heavenly Father.  Hearing God is a powerful tool in bringing revelation to parents, and healing and God-given identity to our children.

Jenni Means has been leading in children's ministry for 25 years and is currently on staff at Northlands Church. With a Bachelors Degree in Early Childhood and Elementary Education and many years of teaching in both public and private Christian schools, Jenni is highly qualified to speak to parents. She has come alongside many adopted children and their families as through her ministry. Jenni has partnered with No More Crumbs Ministries in training children, youth and adults in Georgia, Holland, Ukraine, UK and Malaysia. She has been married to Scott for 29 years; they have three daughters.


Build Your Marriage, Bless Your Children
You are giving so much to your children: your time, your energy, your emotions, and your finances.  But did you know that the best thing you can give them is the gift of a strong marriage?!  If you are struggling with the competing demands of spouse and kids and everything else life throws at you, come to this breakout session led by Scott and Jenni Means to learn some simple, practical ideas for strengthening your marriage in the midst of the mayhem.

Scott Means runs a popular marriage blog called Journey to Surrender. He is passionate about renewing and strengthening marriages in the church through the exploration of biblical marriage principles.  He sums up his blog with the phrase: "Marriage was God's idea, so let's do it His way!" Scott is also one of the worship leaders at Northlands Church in Atlanta. He and his wife, Jenni, have been married for 29 years and have three wonderful daughters. Their ministry to adoptive families has touched many lives for eternity. They are ones God has called to come alongside, and they have done that well, and have learned much about the needs that arise from loving adopted children.

Fostering Unity Among Siblings in Your Adoptive Family
How can we establish and nurture a culture of honor in our homes amidst the sometimes competing needs and demands of our growing families? Both adopted and biological siblings have much to face as they adjust to the changing relationships and family position that is a part of adoption. Beth Templeton will look at ways we parents can create an atmosphere of unity and peace in our adoptive families.

Parenting into Our Child's God-Given Identity
Who is this child, really? As important and helpful as it is to have understanding of our child’s past as we parent, it is of the most vital importance to have revelation of who God says our child is. In this session Beth Templeton will talk about how we can parent our child in the Spirit, responding and parenting forward, into their true identity in Christ.

Beth Templeton has been married to her husband, Stephen, for 25 years. They have seven children, aging from 16 to 22. Several years after giving birth to three girls, God called their family into the adventure and blessing of adoption. In 2000, they brought home a brother and sister from Russia, ages 5 and 10. Then they returned to the same orphanage 18 months later and brought home two more brothers, ages 7 and 10. Currently, three of their children are in college and four are in high school.
Stephen and Beth serve as leaders in their local church. Beth leads a ministry to mothers; and both have a passion for communicating the joy, peace, and victory available to us as parents.


1 comment:

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