Beth and her husband, Todd, live with their family in Cincinnati, Ohio where they serve as Co-Executive Directors of Back2Back Ministries. After graduating from Indiana University, the Guckenbergers moved to Monterrey, Mexico where they lived for 15 years. Between biological, foster, and adopted children, they have raised ten children.
Beth is the author of eight books including adult and children’s titles. She travels and speaks regularly at conferences, youth gatherings and church services. Her style is based in story-telling and she draws from her vast field experience as a missionary, Bible teacher and parent for illustrations of biblical concepts.
Robyn Afrik is sought after practitioner, thought leader, speaker and advisor on topics of diversity, inclusion, adoption and race relations. In 2018 she became a contributing author to, Becoming Like Creoles: Living and Leading at the Intersections of Injustice, Culture and Religion (Minneapolis: Fortress Press). When she’s not out traveling to speak, she is at home raising her three almost adult like kids and finding her next series of passion projects.
Alicia Bruxvoort is a writer, speaker and abundant life seeker who is passionate about helping women encounter Jesus wherever they are. A member of the Proverbs 31 Ministries writing team, Alicia’s monthly devotions reach over a million women across the globe with Biblical encouragement and friend-to-friend inspiration. Alicia loves Jesus, dark chocolate and a good story. But her favorite tale is the one she lives daily in Holland, Michigan, with her 5 kids and her husband of 25 years. Together, they are walking out a messy and miraculous adoption journey and learning to become warriors in the waiting.
Rahni Bryant has been an educator of young children for years. She is a wife and mother to 3 amazing children. One who joined her family through the gift of adoption. Throughout her career God has allowed her to be an advocate for numerous families. Partnering with them to create routines of structure to implement so that each family can thrive. In her free time, Rahni enjoys traveling, reading a good book, and listening to music.
Yes, I’m Adopted. Don’t Make It Weird… is Brett and Dave-O, two South Korean adoptees who consider themselves well-adjusted adults. Through their various online media shows and podcasts, they set out to normalize the adoption experience through humor and honesty. Many, from all sides of adoption, have found Yes, I’m Adopted’s perspectives as adults, adoptees, and parents to be educational, enlightening, and entertaining.
Robyn Gobbel, LCSW, RPT-S is a therapist specializing in complex trauma and adoption. Located in Grand Rapids, MI, Robyn consults, teaches, and trains therapists, professionals, and parents around the world in creating an attachment-rich, sensory sensitive, and neuroscience supported healing environment for children with complex trauma (and their families). Robyn’s clinical practice is focused on children under age 9.
Laugh-out-loud funny, practical, and life-changing. That is how 600,000 parents have described CelebrateCalm.com Founder Kirk Martin’s presentations. Based on work with 1,500 of the most challenging children right in his own home—many adopted with special needs—Kirk’s strategies will eliminate the power struggles, yelling and arguing. Kirk’s humor, gut-wrenching honesty, and transformation as a father enable parents to relate to his practical examples.
Dr. Maxwell is a native of Baltimore, MD, the youngest of three children, raised by a single mother, and a first generation college graduate. Dr. Maxwell completed her Bachelor’s degree at Morgan State University and, her Master’s and Doctoral degrees in Counseling Psychology at Howard University in Washington, DC. She’s served as a mentor to several Black females over the years. Dr. Maxwell currently works at Pine Rest as a licensed psychologist and Founder/CEO of Sagacity Global Psych & Associates.
Ashley Mitchell, owner of Lifetime Healing and Big Tough Girl set out to seek increased care, understanding, and resources for birth mothers. For almost a decade, Ashley has been one of the most consistent and sought after birth mother voices in the nation. Well known for her vulnerability and transparency in adoption, her story has touched the hearts of countless members of the adoption community and beyond.
LaKendra currently works as a Respiratory Therapist for Metro Health. She and her husband Clarkston were foster parents from 2009-2016. During this time they have fostered 9 children total all with diverse backgrounds and ethnicities. On their journey as foster parents, LaKendra and Clarkston were privileged to adopt their two beautiful children Gabryella and Juston. LaKendra is very active in her church and enjoys praise singing and ministering through various volunteer capacities.
As a wife, with beautiful brown boys, Dr. Bernice Patterson works towards removing barriers that negatively impact mental, emotional, and cultural health. Through personalized workshops/seminars she brings the worlds of psychology and spirituality together to educate people on the importance of holistic health. Dr. Patterson motivates individuals to honestly look at themselves and ask the questions, “Who do I want to be in this world? Am I doing the work to be that person?” If not, “What is holding me back?”
Carissa Woodwyk is a Korean-born adoptee, writer, speaker, therapist, and advocate for the human heart. In each of these roles, she offers her story and voice and heart in ways that invite people to connect with themselves, with others, with God. She is co-author of the book Before You Were Mine: Discovering Your Adopted Child’s Lifestory. She and her husband have two children and live in Hudsonville, MI.