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David Barnett Adoption Summit Speaker
David Barnett
David Michael Barnett’s mission is to build strong families through life coaching, speaking, and writing. He was a foster child and has an ACE score of 10. David also has a BA and MA. David is the President of CORE Family Resources and has been married for 37 years. David has three grown children, two children-in-law, and three wonderful grandchildren. He found healing through building a loving, 
strong family.
Christine Bauer Adoption Summit Speaker
Christine Bauer
Christine (Chris) Bauer is first and foremost a proud birth mother, mother and grandmother. She is also a published author, writer and communication professional living in Minneapolis. “Those Three Words: A birth mother’s story of choice, chance & motherhood” is her first book. Chris has been a guest speaker at adoption conferences, high schools and book clubs and is
happy to share her story and 
talk with groups of all sizes 
about adoption.
Laura Jean Beauvais Adoption Summit Speaker
Laura Jean Beauvais, MPH, MA, LPC,
Laura Jean, the adoptive mother of two grown daughters and two grandchildren, has been involved with adoptions for more than 25 years. She directed the SC office of Nightlight Christian Adoptions for over 20 years. She has worked in nearly all facets of adoption, and for
several years, she specialized in placing children from dissolved adoptions into new families. She
is a licensed professional counselor, an attachment specialist, and provides trauma-focused therapy for her clients. In addition, she serves as president of the South Carolina Association of Licensed Adoption Agencies. Laura Jean wrote The Complete Adoption Book. In 2005, the SC legislature awarded her the South Carolina Woman of Achievement Award for her work in adoption.

Laura loves spending time with her family and friends, is a voracious reader, and enjoys cooking, walking, weight lifting, gardening, and playing bridge.
Laura Belk Adoption Summit Speaker
Laura Belk
Laura is the mother of a Panda Family. Black, White and Asian. Laura and her husband Mark have nine children. Four who joined their family through the miracle of adoption and four children with special needs. Laura is passionate about adoption and the value of every human life. Laura is the Founder and CEO of a non-profit organization called Nurturing Nations where Laura is saving lives, one child at a time.
Kristopher Bennett Adoption Summit Speaker
Kristopher Bennett
Kris manages public relations and marketing for and aids in team communication, workflow, and revenue growth. He loves cooking gourmet meals with his family and reading
action-packed fiction.
Elizabeth Berkowitz Adoption Summit Speaker
Elizabeth Berkowitz
Elizabeth R. Berkowitz is an attorney with an extensive and exclusive practice in the area of adoption law based in Florida. She is a member of the Florida Adoption Council and serves on the Board of the Directors for the Florida Adoption Council. Also, she is head of the Mentoring Committee for adoption professionals and is a member of the Grievance Committee. 

She owns her own practice and provides representation to adoptive families in domestic private placement adoptions. Her practice is dedicated to adoption of children of all ages. She provides representation in stepparent and relative adoptions as well. 

Ms. Berkowitz prides herself on the community service that she provides to our community with her family. She also is a NICU cuddler and is a member of 100+ Women Who Care. Ms. Berkowitz is married and has two sons. She considers her family her greatest accomplishment. 
Tasha Blaine Adoption Summit Speaker
Tasha Blaine, LMSW
Tasha Blaine is a Manager of Spence-Chapin’s Pre and Post-Adoption Services Department. She received her Master’s in Social Work from Columbia University and trained at The Payne Whitney Psychiatric Clinic at New York Presbyterian Hospital. Tasha has worked extensively with all members of the adoption community, offering counseling and support to those who are struggling in their relationships, facing behavioral challenges and experiencing grief and loss. She also has significant experience counseling birth parents.

John R. Brooks Adoption Summit Speaker
John R. Brooks
John had been a senior financial executive in the media finance industry living in Tiburon, California with his wife, Erika, and daughter, Casey. That life went up in a fireball on January 29, 2008 when Casey leapt from the Golden Gate Bridge and disappeared. Since then, John has devoted himself to advocacy around suicide awareness and prevention, with particular focus on a suicide deterrent system on the Golden Gate Bridge. As important, he has written and spoken extensively on the challenges faced by adoptees and their families, something he’d only learned about after Casey’s death. His search for answers to Casey’s suicide, and lessons learned, became an award winning memoir, The Girl Behind The Door, published by Scribner in 2016.
Birney Bull Adoption Summit Speaker
Birney Bull
Mr. Bull served as President of the Board of Savannah Care Center, a crisis pregnancy center, from 1994 to 2009. He was on the Board for two years prior to that and was again a regular member of the Board in 2010 and 2011. This, and his adoption work, has been very fulfilling.

His wife is a professor of Fibers at the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD), and he has two home-grown daughters, one who recently graduated from SCAD, and a special needs daughter who attends Islands High School.

He enjoys running and music (playing and listening), and used to play golf and tennis when time was easier to find.
Michelle-Madrid Branch Adoption Summit Speaker
Michelle-Madrid Branch
Michelle Madrid-Branch is an author, speaker, international adoptee, and global advocate for women and children and specializes in the areas of adoption, foster care, abandonment recovery, and identity reconciliation. She is the author of Adoption Means Love: Triumph of the Heart, and two children’s books: The Tummy Mummy and her recently released children’s book, Coco & Olive: The Color of Love. She is the host of The Greater Than Podcast which shares real stories of resilience to inspire those within the adoption and foster care community. She speaks with individuals who have risen up over challenge and asks: What inspires a person to move beyond struggle? And, how can we motivate and inspire each other to stand Greater Than the obstacles that have tried to keep us down?

Michelle's mission is to ensure that the adoption community is 
heard, seen, valued, respected, 
and understood.
Denalee Chapman Adoption Summit Speaker
Denalee Chapman
Denalee Chapman is an adoptive mom who is passionate about family and life. She shares this passion through speaking and writing. The author of six published books and numerous articles, Denalee’s artistry is found in her written words. She believes that the quality of life is not determined by circumstances, but rather by attitude. Denalee shouts through word and action that life is meant to be joyful!


Books available on Amazon – search Denalee Chapman
Diane Dewey Adoption Summit Speaker
Diane Dewey
Diane holds her BA from Villanova University, the Honors Program in Liberal Arts. She later completed a certificate program from The Art Institute of Philadelphia, working for the Solomon. R. Guggenheim Museum and the National Academy, before founding her own art appraisal firm. Diane earned a Master of Science in Mental Health Counseling from Capella University in 2015. She lives in St. Petersburg, Florida and near Schaffhausen, Switzerland with her husband and their rescue dog. Fixing the Fates is her first book. For more information about Diane, visit her website: 
Liz Butler Duren Adoption Summit Speaker
Liz Butler Duren
Liz Butler Duren is the author of the award-winning memoir All About You in which she shares the story of the 29 years she spent looking for her birth mother. In January of 2019, she adapted her book into a one-woman show that Premiered at the Woolfe Street Playhouse in Charleston SC to sold-out audiences. 
Kelly Ellison Adoption Summit Speaker
Kelly Ellison
A graduate of the Rockhurst Executive Fellows Program, Kelly holds her master’s degree in business administration. She has worked in the nonprofit sector for over 25 years in development and management for national and local organizations such as Camp Fire USA and the Arts Council of Metropolitan Kansas City. She is an experienced speaker and certified trainer and has a wealth of experience working with groups or individuals. She is an alumni of SparkLabs KC, a startup incubator which helped to launch her company Your Adoption Finance Coach in 2013. She is formerly the producer and host of her own national radio show, Your Adoption Coach radio on the Voice America network which ran for three years. Ms. Ellison serves as the Treasure and board member for FTEN, helping foster teens with employment opportunities. 

Angie Elliston Adoption Summit Speaker
Angie Elliston
Angie K. Elliston and her husband have been married over twenty years and have adopted thirteen children: seven from the foster care system, two private adoptions, two adoption disruptions, and two adopted internationally from Africa. At just eight years old, Angie vowed to protect and love children who did not have anyone to love them. She went to college for Sociology for the expressed desire to be a social worker but chose not to go that route. Instead, she chose to be at home with her children. Soon after marrying, she and her husband began their arduous adoption journey chronicled in her book, Phoenix Bound.
Alison England Adoption Summit Speaker
Alison England, LMSW
Alison England, LMSW, is an adoptive mom and best-selling author in Christian adoption. Her book, Tandem: A Devotional for Adopting with God in the Lead won the Royal Dragonfly Award for best parenting book. She co-founded Momentum Adoptions, a licensed adoption agency in Arizona. Alison is also a professor at Arizona State University and regularly speaks 
at adoption workshops 
and conferences.
Beth Friedberg Adoption Summit Speaker
Beth Friedberg, LCSW
Beth Friedberg is an Associate Director of Spence-Chapin’s Pre and Post-Adoption Services Department. She received a Master’s in Social Work from Columbia University and has more than 20 years of experience as a therapist, parent educator, and coach. Her areas of expertise include exploring and strengthening adoption identity, including transracial and multicultural adoption issues, navigating open adoptions, coping with anxiety and depression, and understanding and managing emotional regulation for children, teens, and adults.


Tricia Goyer Adoption Summit Speaker
 Tricia Goyer
Tricia Goyer is author of more than 70 books. She writes both fiction and nonfiction related to family and parenting. This USA Today Best-selling Author has also won a two Carol Awards and a Retailer’s Best Award. She was also an ECPA Gold-Medallion Nominee and a Christy Award Nominee and won Writer of the Year from the Mt. Hermon Christian Writers Conference. A beloved author of Amish fiction, as well, Tricia has written the Big Sky and Seven Brides for Seven Bachelors series. She has spoken at events such as MomCon, Raising Generations, and Teach Them Diligently conferences and is host of the podcast, Walk It Out. Tricia is a homeschooling mom of ten, including seven by adoption, Tricia is also a grandmother of four and wife to John. With a busy life, she understands the importance of making every word count.
Karen Greenberg Adoption Summit Speaker
 Karen Greenberg
Karen K. Greenberg, a partner at Konowitz & Greenberg, Wellesley Hills, MA, practices with her brother, Steven S. Konowitz. Law is Karen’s second career. In her first life, Karen, a graduate of Boston University, SED, taught elementary school in Quincy, MA, and received her Master of Education at from Wheelock College. In 1983, Karen graduated Suffolk Law School, cum laude, 1983. Karen’s family law practice focuses on complex, high-conflict family law matters, adoption, divorce, custody, and paternity issues.
Rebecca Gruenspan Adoption Summit Speaker
Rebecca Gruenspan
Founder of RG Adoption Consulting, Rebecca Gruenspan is a single adoptive mama who, like millions of women, had a dream of becoming a mother. After a short marriage and struggling with infertility, Becca embraced the idea of domestic adoption. She made herself a promise that if there was a way to make the process easier after everything she had been through, she would. In her previous careers, Becca was a family therapist and nonprofit fundraiser. However, after adopting her son in 2011, she found so much joy in helping others down their path that she decided to make a career of it. Becca and her team at RG Adoption Consulting are dedicated to helping individuals and couples navigate the domestic adoption process as smoothly as possible with the hopes of bringing their babies home in less than 
a year.
Deb Guston Adoption Summit Speaker
 Deb Guston
Debra E. Guston is a New Jersey attorney and past president of the Academy of Adoption & Assisted Reproduction Attorneys. Deb’s practice focuses on adoption and assisted reproduction, estate planning and administration and guardianships for seniors and special needs children. She was named an Angel in Adoption by CCAI in 2017 and as an Angel by CASA of Bergen County.
Nathan Gwilliam Adoption Summit Speaker
Nathan Gwilliam
Nathan started 22+ years ago. He loves spending time with his wife and daughters. He received the U.S. Congressional Coalition Angels in Adoption award, was inducted into the Adoption Hall of Fame by Families Supporting Adoption, and serves on the National Council for Adoption Board of Directors.
Anne Gyemant Paris Adoption Summit Speaker
 Anne Gyemant Paris
Anne Gyemant Paris (pronounced Jay-Mont) is the founder and managing attorney of Gyemant Paris Law, a law practice based in San Francisco, California. Gyemant Paris Law is focused on helping individuals and couples form their families by walking their family formation journey with them. Anne represents families who are creating their families through assisted reproduction, surrogacy, alternative parentage, and adoption. She also works with clients in creating parenting agreements, pre-nuptial and post-nuptial agreements, and guardianships. Anne is the third–generation woman attorney in her family, following the footsteps of her mother and grandmother. She is a graduate of U.C. Berkeley and U.C. Hastings College of Law. She served as President of the Queen’s Bench Women’s Bar Association and President of the Queen’ Bench Foundation and previously created a pro bono program for volunteer attorneys to represent victims of domestic violence in restraining order hearings.
Susan Devan Harness Adoption Summit Speaker
Susan Devan Harness
Susan Devan Harness, author of Bitterroot: A Salish Memoir of Transracial Adoption (University of Nebraska Press, 2019), is a member of the Salish-Kootenai Confederated Tribes and an American Indian transracial adoptee. She has written and presented extensively about American Indian issues, including child placement. Ms. Harness has an M.A. in Cultural Anthropology and Creative Nonfiction, both from Colorado 
State University.
Caroline Hibbard Adoption Summit Speaker
Caroline Hibbard
Caroline worked for as their content manager and editor and loved every minute of it. She managed a team of about 70 writers and organized the content of,,, and 75+ other adoption-related websites. Her skills are in editing, grammar, writing, SEO optimization, and ClickFunnels copywriting. Additionally, Caroline worked for two university presidents as an editor and ghostwriter where she learned the art of voice and crafting language. One of her many passions is creating content that is evergreen and useful to the world. 

On most weekends, or any day where she has a few hours for that matter, you can find Caroline hoofing it in the mountains with her furry German Shepherd companion, Beren. Traveling, playing the guitar, and spending time with her friends and family are just a few of the things Caroline likes to do.
Michael Hill Adoption Summit Speaker
Michael Hill
Michael Hill is the Associate Director at Adoption STAR, located in Buffalo, New York. Michael holds a Master of Science degree in Human Services Administration from Buffalo State College and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Social Work from Luther College. Michael is a strong and passionate speaker, and an enthusiastic advocate of permanency planning. As an adoptive father he treasures the fact that he can be a part of the adoption process. 
Richard Hill Adoption Summit Speaker
 Richard Hill
Richard Hill was the first adoptee known to have identified his birth family through geneticgenealogy DNA testing. He is the author of Finding Family: My Search for Roots and the Secrets in My DNA and Guide to DNA Testing. His website is DNA Testing He frequently speaks on DNA testing and has written articles for Adoption Today magazine.
Tamra Hyde Adoption Summit Speaker
 Tamra Hyde
Tamra Hyde placed her baby with his family in 1996. Within a couple of years, Tamra had found a calling in adoption advocacy. She discovered healing, purpose, and community as she spoke, wrote, organized, educated, and mentored to audiences of birth parents, prospective adoptive parents, high school, university students, and the general public. Six years ago, Tamra and her son's family miraculously found each other! Though wonderful people, the family has experienced tragedy and trauma. And as a result, while a blessing, reunion has also come with much heartache. 

Besides her work with adoption, Tamra is a primitive living wilderness survival instructor and has worked with adolescents in crisis for many years in a wilderness therapy setting. Her current lifestyle is somewhat unconventional as a minimalist and a nomad. She lives and travels in a school bus converted into a tiny home.
Lauren Jiang Adoption Summit Speaker
Lauren Jiang, MSW
Lauren Jiang is the Director of Pre and Post-Adoption Services at Spence-Chapin. She received a Master’s in Social Work from New York University and joined Spence-Chapin in 2014 with prior experience interning with the Gladney Center for Adoption. Lauren's experience has focused on working with adoptive parents through 
training, home study and 
post-adoption services.

Laura Johnson Adoption Summit Speaker
Laura Johnson
LPC LCPAA is the Director of Texas Adoption Home Studies. She is a Licensed Professional Counselor with the Texas State Board of Professional Counselors. She also holds a license in Texas as a Child-Placing Agency Administrator.

Laura obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Studio Art from the University of Texas at Austin and holds a Master of Arts in Expressive Therapies from the University of Louisville. She has over 19 years of experience in working with families and children in the adoption field. Laura and her associates have completed well over 600 adoption studies to evaluate the placement of children into loving adoptive homes.  
Deanna Kahler Adoption Summit Speaker
Deanna Kahler
Profile Photo Credit: Steven Jon Horner Photography

Deanna Kahler is a proud mom and freelance writer with more than 20 years of professional experience. She is passionate about adoption and seeks to inspire others and make a difference in their lives. She has written for several adoption websites and is the author of the award-winning book, From Pain to Parenthood: A Journey Through Miscarriage to Adoption

Website URL:
Author Facebook Page:

Relevant Published Work:
Websites: Articles for, Adoptimist and America Adopts!
(Links to these articles can be found on my website under the Adoption /
Infertility link at top of page.)
Adoption Books (available on 1. From Pain to Parenthood: A Journey Through Miscarriage to Adoption
2. Your Adoption Guidebook
Mark Lacava Adoption Summit Speaker
Mark Lacava, LCSW-R
Mark Lacava is the Executive Vice President of Spence-Chapin’s Pre and Post-Adoption Services Department. He received a Master’s in Social Work from Columbia University and trained at the Ackerman Institute for the Family. Mark has also studied trauma-focused and relational theory modalities to better understand the effects of trauma on families and the repercussions on brain development, behavior, and self-regulation. Mark has worked extensively with Individuals, adolescents, and families. His expertise is in LGBTQ issues, trauma, behavioral problems, and adoption-related issue.  


Sandra Harper Lamgo  Adoption Summit Speaker
Sandra Harper Lamgo 
Sandra Harper Lamgo is an author/writer in Texas, venturing through life in the country as the wife of a cowboy and mom to eight. Her experiences with infertility, child loss, and growing a family through adoption has fueled her passions of God, all things adoption and family.
Coleen Lahr Adoption Summit Speaker
 Coleen Lahr
Coleen Lahr loves writing, running, the Jersey shore, daisies, and bread. She adopted her daughter in 2009 (domestic infant adoption) and her son in 2015 (international adoption).

When she’s not writing, she can be found making sandwiches in her family's restaurant, running (and sometimes walking) Disney races, and playing with her adorable kids.

Her young adult novel Accepted was published in 2014, and she is currently writing a memoir about infertility and adoption. She lives in New Jersey with her husband, two children, three dogs, cat, and lizard. 
Tiffany Layne Adoption Summit Speaker
Tiffany Layne
This mom-blogger started out with three children and decided to adopt four more through CPS after they were removed from their biological mom's care. Over the past 20 years, she's tackled ADD, ADHD, OCD, ODD, PTSD, mood order, depression, potty training and curfew violations. She learned to navigate the system and spends each day helping her kids become contributing members of society. Her latest role is that of 
Fairy Godmother, or as some 
would say-grandma. 
James W. Miskowski Adoption Summit Speaker
James W. Miskowski
James W. Miskowski has been practicing law in New York and New Jersey for over 42 years. During 28 of those years, his firm has specialized in representing prospective adoptive parents in building their family through adoption. HIs firm has had the privilege of building more than two thousand adoptive families.
Anne Moody Adoption Summit Speaker
Anne Moody
Anne Moody is the co-director of an infant adoption agency and the author of The Children Money Can Buy:Stories from the Frontlines of Foster Care and Adoption. Her work has focused on the U.S. foster care system and both international and domestic adoption. Anne is also an adoptive parent.
Meldie Moore Adoption Summit Speaker
Meldie Moore
Meldie Moore, a former prosecutor, in Orange County, California, uses her expertise in trial and negotiation to help grow and strengthen families. Meldie practices family formation law, including domestic adoptions (independent, relative, step-parent, and adult) and assisted reproduction technology (ART) agreements (egg donor, sperm donor, surrogacy); juvenile defense in criminal courts; school discipline cases (expulsions and suspensions and Title IX sexual assault investigations in higher ed. institutions); and special education advocacy on behalf of families with children with special needs in public schools. Meldie’s clients include families seeking to grow through adoption or assisted reproduction, and families with children needing legal counsel and advocacy in the juvenile courts and at school. Meldie is the mother of two boys ages 18 and 10 through adoption and assisted reproduction. She lives in Laguna Beach, California.
Samantha Morgan Adoption Summit Speaker
Samantha Morgan
Samantha is a two-time adoptive mom and infertility survivor. Experienced in both international and domestic adoption, she loves sharing her motherhood story and experiences of infertility and adoption to help others find hope in their own journey. Founder of Rush to Hope Ministries, Samantha strives to build connections between people with similar paths so no one has to walk alone.     

You can find published articles from Samantha on,, and as guest writer for various other blogs. She has shared her story and encouragement at women’s meetings, conferences, and church services across southern Missouri. Videos of Samantha can also be found on Rush to Hope Ministries Facebook page.

Brian Murphy Adoption Summit Speaker
Brian Murphy
Brian joined the Gift of Adoption (GOA) staff as the Director of Programs and Marketing in 2007. Prior to joining the GOA staff, Brian served in a variety of positions at the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Illinois. Most recently he served as the Director of Program Services for five years. Brian also served as Treasurer for the Gift of Adoption of Illinois Board of Directors for two years prior to joining the staff team.
Alice Murray Adoption Summit Speaker
Alice Murray
Alice H. Murray is a Florida adoption attorney with 30 years experience handling domestic nonrelative infant adoptions. She’s a staff writer for and the author of pieces which have appeared in compilation books such as Chicken Soup For The Soul

Alice writes a weekly blog and has had numerous articles and devotionals published online.
Herbie Newell Adoption Summit Speaker
Herbie Newell
Herbie Newell is the President/Executive Director of Lifeline Children’s Services and it’s ministry arms including (un)adopted, Crossings, Families Count and Lifeline Village. Herbie holds a Master’s degree in Business/Accounting from Samford University. He joined the Lifeline team in 2003 as Executive Director. Under Herbie’s leadership, Lifeline has increased the international outreach to 25 countries, grown into 14 states, attained membership with ECFA (Evangelical Council for Financial
Accountability), begun an extensive foster care ministry, achieved accreditation Internationally under The Hague Treaty, and started its (un)adopted strategic orphan care ministries in over 10 countries. Herbie speaks nationally at conferences and events, and regularly preaches throughout the world on Gospel driven justice. Herbie is the author of the book “Image Bearers.” He and his wife, Ashley, live in Birmingham, Alabama and are parents to a son, Caleb, and daughters Adelynn and Emily.
Daniel Nehrbass Adoption Summit Speaker
Daniel Nehrbass
Daniel is the President of Nightlight Christian Adoptions, home of the Snowflakes® Embryo Adoption program. He has worked as a pastor, professional counselor, and adjunct professor of biblical studies at Biola University. He is also a published author of four books and numerous articles in adoption and religious magazines. Dan is a board member of Every Child Has a Name, the National Christian Adoption Fellowship, A Helping Hand, and on the organizing committee of Adopted for Good. Daniel earned a PhD in Practical Theology (emphasis in pastoral counseling) at Fuller Seminary. He completed his ThM from Talbot School of Theology, MDiv at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and his MA at Indiana Wesleyan University in Ministerial Education. He received his B.A. in Classical Civilization from UC Irvine.
Barbara Neiman Adoption Summit Speaker
Barbara Neiman
Barbara Neiman is an Integrative Occupational Therapist who trains teachers and mental health professionals in mindfulness classroom strategies, sensory processing, and trauma informed yoga, and adoption support. She is a Yoga Teacher 200RYT. She was a National Seminar Presenter with Barbara created Health Discovery in 1988, to provide services for infants through school age children. Certified in Body Mind Centering, she has worked for 40 years with children and families in Early Intervention, school age and preschool services. Barbara is the author of 3 books for therapists, teachers, and families. In 1996, she adopted from Russia and in 2016 joined her daughter on a birth search to Russia.

“The Adopted Teen Workbook: Strategies for teens in Foster care, Guardianship and Adopted families.” 4/1/19 New Harbinger Publications, Instant Help Series
Pediatric Habilitation online course: Relias Learning 10/17
“My Calm Place” Card Deck Yoga, Mindfulness and Meditation Strategies for Children Pesi Pub. 7/16
Mindfulness & Yoga Skills for Children and Adolescents: Pesi Press 3/14 Center for a Healthy You Magazine. Brain Body Tools: 12/14
KelLee Parr Adoption Summit Speaker
KelLee Parr
Author KelLee Parr, a native Kansan, has been an agriculture missionary in Guatemala, county extension
agent, third grade teacher and science curriculum writer for elementary school students. His first book My Little Valentine tells of his mother’s search for her birth mother. Mansion on a Hill, his second book, is about The Willows Maternity Sanitarium where his mother was born.


Books published:
My Little Valentine: The Story of a Mother and Daughter’s Lost Love
Mansion on a Hill: The Story of The Willows Maternity Sanitarium and the Adoption Hub of America
My Teaching Memories
Jules Phelps Adoption Summit Speaker
Jules Phelps
Jules started her career after graduating from school with an AAS in Graphic Design and a BS in Visual Communication. She gained experience through being a Productions Manager at Benchmark Graphics, a Designer at Van Etten Studios, and Office Manager at Josh Peterson Photograph. Jules currently runs the Creative Team as the Creative Director at She also teaches Visual Media at Brigham Young University-Idaho. 

Jules embraces every moment to the fullest and her ideal day is an adventure. She loves Idaho and wouldn't live anywhere else.
 Fact: Jules is a regular at the Emergency Room.

Marcy Pusey Adoption Summit Speaker
 Marcy Pusey
Marcy Pusey loves her family, exploring the world, reading, the ocean, and looking for castles to visit. She also loves sharing stories that encourage and inspire others.

Marcy is a certified rehabilitation counselor, speaker, coach, and the best-selling author of books for adults and for children. Learn more about her work, writing, and other resources at

Books published: 
Reclaiming Hope: Overcoming the Challenges of Parenting Foster and Adopted Children, Parenting Children of Trauma: The Foster-Adoption Guide to Attachment Disorder; Speranza's Sweater (English and Spanish versions available). 
Christy Reppe Adoption Summit Speaker
 Christy Reppe
Christy Reppe serves as the Post-Adoption Coordinator for the Post-Adoption Resource Center of Wisconsin. She serves the adoption triad throughout the northern and western regions of the state. She has been working in post adoption for over ten years and is an adoptive parent of three. Christy trained with Dr.Karyn Purvis and Texas Christian University to become a Trust-Based Relational Intervention® Practitioner and Educator. In 2014, Christy was honored by the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute (CCAI) as an honoree for their Angels in Adoption Awards. Most recently, she was selected to participate in the Wisconsin Hawthorn Project, an initiative designed to support child and family-focused organizations in their development of trauma-informed policy and practice. Christy has also done extensive volunteering and served on the board of a non-profit organization working in women’s education and empowerment 
in Ethiopia.
Marianne Richmond Adoption Summit Speaker
 Marianne Richmond
Bestselling author and artist Marianne Richmond has touched the lives of millions over the past two decades through her books that help people share their heart and connect with those they love. With more than 50 books and 6 million copies sold, Marianne writes for the "unique everybody." We are all different and yet our feelings are a lot the same," she says. One of her books is especially beloved by the adoption community: I Wished for You, an adoption story which tells the story of Barley Bear who is his family's wish come true. She speaks at schools and education conferences about her books, creative process and the art of self-expression as well as her own personal journey growing up with epilepsy and 
how that led to her successful 
writing career.
Jill Robbins Adoption Summit Speaker
 Jill Robbins
Jill Robbins is a mom and Air Force veteran who fell into writing by accident when she started a blog that she thought no one except her mom would read. She writes about travel, adoption, and being the oldest mom with the youngest kids on her award-winning blog, Ripped Jeans and Bifocals. 

Jill has one biological daughter who is 27 and two 9-year-old sons who are adopted from China. People like to point out that there's a large gap between her kids, but she's already figured that out. 

Jill's writing has been published in various print and web magazines and newspapers and in three parenting anthologies. She producers a storytelling show in San Antonio called Listen to Your Mother that helps bring stories of motherhood to the stage. She lives with her husband and two youngest kids in Cibolo, although she’s usually somewhere else.
Kathy Roth Adoption Summit Speaker
Kathy Roth
Kathy is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Adoption Competent Certified in the state of Florida.
Currently, Kathy is the co-founder of Foundations for Growth a professional practice specializing in
education, support, and counseling services to expectant, birth, adopting, and adoptive families. Kathy has over 10 years of clinical experience working with women, children, and families in the fields of child welfare, foster-care, domestic adoption and private counseling practice. Kathy has participated in
curriculum development and training facilitation for adopting parents and professionals. Through her work and community involvement, Kathy strives to empower, guide, and strengthen birth and adoptive families at all stages of the adoption journey to create and maintain healthy families and children.
Jennifer Schneider Adoption Summit Speaker
Jennifer Schneider
Jennifer Schneider is Executive Director of For His Children, a Christian children’s home in Ecuador which cares for children with normal needs and special needs. She graduated from Gordon College with degrees in Elementary Education and Spanish and from Lee University in 2019 with a Master’s in Holistic Child Development.
Lisa Simpson Adoption Summit Speaker
Lisa Simpson
Lisa Simpson is the owner and managing attorney of Simpson Law Firm. She represents two large adoption agencies, represents her own birthmothers and adopting families, holds a contract with Maricopa County Attorney’s office and serves as a Judge Pro Tem for the Maricopa County Superior Court Juvenile Division. She has worked in the field of adoptions since 1993. 


Authored Publications: 
Adoption Law: It May Take a Village to Raise a Child, but It Takes National Uniformity to Adopt One, 3 Phoenix L. Rev. 575 (2010).

Adoption and Termination of Parental Rights, in Catherine A. Creighton, Arizona Legal Forms Domestic Relations (3d ed. 2008).

Adoption Law: Reform the Statues to Reform the Lives, 8 Ariz. Summit L. Rev. 1 (2014)
Lucy Shaw Adoption Summit Speaker
Lucy Shaw, LMSW
Lucy Shaw, LMSW, has over 15 years of experience providing counseling, outreach and case management services to a diverse clientele in New York City. She is an adoptive mother, in an open adoption, and has worked in adoption since 2015. Currently, she is the Outreach and Engagement Specialist for Adoption STAR and enjoys sharing best practices informed by her own personal experiences in adoption.
Nichole Skellenger Adoption Summit Speaker
 Nicole Skellenger
Nicole Skellenger has worked in the field of intercountry adoption since 2008. She is an attorney licensed in Florida and Indiana. Ms. Skellenger led a team of adoption professionals as an Executive Director of an Indiana adoption agency for several years. Now, a resident of Florida, she continues to focus her work on supporting adoptive families, birth families, and agencies.
Shelly Skuster Adoption Summit Speaker
Shelley Skuster
Shelley Skuster is the writer behind She's an award-winning television news reporter who--after years of infertility, two adoptions and two pregnancies--decided to leave the news business and stay home with her four young children.When she's not picking dried oatmeal flakes off her yoga pants or breaking up squabbles over yellow Mega Blocs, she's hunched over her laptop cranking out stories for places like TODAY Parents, Huffington Post, Her View From Home, and has been nationally recognized for her influential voice in the infertility community and is the proud recipient of the HOPE Award. She has spoken about her family’s journey through infertility and adoption at various forums and seminars across the country.
Chrystal Smith Adoption Summit Speaker
Chrystal Smith
Chrystal Smith is the Founder and CEO of Foster Village Inc., a nonprofit organization that provides support to children in foster care and those caring for them. Chrystal's educational and professional background are in Child Development, Parent Education, and Child Welfare Advocacy. She and her husband of 17 years have 4 children and have experience as a foster and adoptive family.
Kimberly Surratt  Adoption Summit Speaker
Kimberly Surratt 
Kim Surratt began her legal career in 2002 and opened her firm in 2007. She continues her role as principal of Surratt Law Practice, a full-service reproductive, adoption, family and estate law firm, along with acting as an Appeal Hearing Officer for Social Services for abuse and Neglect. Kim is a Fellow with the Academy of Adoption and Assisted Reproductive Attorneys, the Chair for the Family Law Section of the State Bar of Nevada, and Vice-President of the Nevada Justice Association. Kim is the chair of the domestic lobbying committee for the Nevada Justice Association and assists the Family Law Section of the State Bar with their lobbying efforts. Kim drafted and lobbied the passage of all of the current reproductive family law statutes in Nevada along with many adoption statutes over the years.
Kanisha Tillman Adoption Summit Speaker
 Kanisha Tillman
Kanisha Tillman is the owner of Tutus & Tennis Shoes LLC (TTS). TTS has been designed to be a community enterprise that celebrates everything about the beauty and health of naturally curly hair and black girls. TTS is dedicated to making sure that everyone has access to the proper education and support in taking care of their child’s naturally curly hair. What started as a brick and mortar children’s salon in Des Moines, Iowa, now has grown into a global community of fellow natural hair lovers. 

Kanisha realized early in her 11-year career as a cosmetologist that children and children in nontraditional families needed her services the most. She has presented her hair care information to audiences brought together by Iowa Foster and Adoptive Parents Association, Des Moines Public School District, Children and Family Urban Movement, Drinks With Friends Podcast, and many other organizations.
Ashley Hill Trotter Adoption Summit Speaker
Ashley Hill Trotter, MSW
Ashley M. Hill Trotter is a licensed social worker in the state of New Jersey where she earned an MSW from Rutgers University. As a child welfare advocate, Ashley firmly believes that all children can thrive in the context of a safe, loving, and caring family, and she has dedicated her career to identifying the needs of children, and how families, churches, and communities can best meet those needs. Ashley currently serves as the Executive Director of Harvest of Hope Family Services Network, Inc. a faith-based organization with a mission to mobilize communities to address the needs of children in foster care. Ashley has co-authored a 75-page publication designed to orient churches and communities toward vulnerable children which includes foster care facts and statistics, biblical references to foster care and adoption, encouraging testimonies, and a methodology for recruiting and supporting foster / adoptive parents in the church and community. Ashley also serves as an active co-leader of the Foster Care Ministry at the First Baptist Church of Lincoln Gardens with her husband, Leon Hill, a former foster youth and adoptee from Jersey 
City turned college graduate 
and professional user 
experience designer.
Lindsy Wallace Adoption Summit Speaker
Lindsy Wallace
Lindsy Wallace believes in the power of solidarity. Alongside her husband, she is raising five kids who joined their family via birth, foster care, and international adoption. She is co-founder of Upside Down Podcast, an ecumenical conversation-turned-community about faith, justice, and the upside-down kingdom of God. Lindsy writes about these topics and more
Sara Ward Adoption Summit Speaker
 Sara Ward
Sara R. Ward is a writer, adoption advocate, and mom to three children through adoption. Her passion is helping adoptive parents and those who struggle with infertility and grief on her blog at Sara writes about parenting, marriage, and faith and has a book coming out in 2019. 

 Sara is a Staff Storyteller for and and has also been published on the Today Show Parenting team and Focus on the Family Magazine. She speaks to women across the country at retreats and conferences and was a featured storyteller on the Listen to Your Mother Show.
Tracy Whitt Adoption Summit Speaker
Tracy Whitt
Tracy Whitt has a passion for helping adopted, foster, and autistic children. She speaks to incoming nurses at her local hospital on how to help individuals with autism in the hospital setting. She’s published articles and writes for her website, Tracy lives in Colorado with her husband and her two children whom she adopted from foster care. She brings personal experience to everything she speaks and writes about. 

Tracy’s work has been published in the U.S. and abroad. She speaks on autism to all incoming nurses at St. Mary’s Hospital.Tracy’s been interviewed and published by Adoption Perspectives Radio Show, ICANZ magazine, Adoption Today magazine, The Adoption Exchange, Rainbow Kids, The Orphan Alliance, and various newsletters. 

Tracy’s website:
Amanda Winsor Adoption Summit Speaker
Amanda Winsor
Amanda manages's Parent Profiles. When she's not working, she can be found playing with her kids, cooking healthy meals for her family and reading anything she can.
Nichole Witt Adoption Summit Speaker
Nicole Witt
Nicole Witt is Executive Director of The Adoption Consultancy as well as a frequent speaker on adoption and infertility. The Adoption Consultancy is an unbiased resource serving preadoptive families by providing them with the education, information, and guidance they need to safely adopt a newborn, usually within 3 to 12 months. Nicole has helped hundreds of people to realize their dream of becoming parents.
David White Adoption Summit Speaker
David White, MBA, MSW
David White developed Fostering Great Ideas in 2010 and has found new ways to help children in foster care. At every point, he looks at the child's journey, their pain, and potential, community-led solutions. David holds a MBA and MSW in child welfare and also teaches social impact at the university level.
Katie Zimmerman Adoption Summit Speaker
 Katie Zimmerman
Katie Zimmerman is the Chief Executive Officer/Founder of Purl Adoption Advisory. Purl helps families across the country grow through domestic infant adoption. 
Ms. Zimmerman was an experienced corporate attorney who left the active practice of law to help families navigate the often difficult process of domestic infant adoption. Ms. Zimmerman holds a B.A. from Trinity University, a M.A. from University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a J.D. from Arizona State University. 

Ms. Zimmerman and her husband are parents to two daughters, one through adoption and one through a surprise pregnancy. Ms. Zimmerman is President of the Arizona Chapter of Gift of Adoption and a board member for Families for Private Adoption (“FPA”). Ms. Zimmerman is a speaker for the FPA in person and online workshops and has contributed to Adopt Connect’s Christian Guide to Adoption
Sharlie Zinnegar Adoption Summit Speaker
 Sharlie Zinniger
Sharlie Zinniger is the author of, Yes, I’m Adopted! and Do You Ever Feel... She has a bachelor’s degree in English Literature from UVU. She fosters an enthusiasm for adoption and has been blessed to be able to adopt two of her four children. Sharlie enjoys celebrating random holidays and spending time with her family.
Joseph Yarrington Adoption Summit Speaker
Joseph Yarrington
Joseph Yarrington is a young and passionate digital marketer and educator. Over the years, he has been a business tutor for higher ed students, a ballroom, swing, and latin dance instructor, a music teacher for children and adults, and ran a Facebook group specifically designed to teach high school business and marketing teachers how to teach digital marketing and social media marketing to the next generation of marketers. He has participated in local professional leadership and public speaking clubs, worked in various marketing roles, and loves working for as the Project and 
Marketing Manager.
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