Sara Hagerty is a lover of God, a wife to Nate, and a mother of six – four adopted from Africa and two through miracle pregnancies.
As a lifelong lover of words, Sara has experienced their power to revive. Words prayed during the long years it took to bring her six children into her fold. Raw words written in tearful honesty and shared with her readers. Words spoken in hidden places as whispers and worship to God. Today Sara’s words offer God’s hope to readers facing unwanted circumstances in life.
In Sara’s first book, Every Bitter Thing Is Sweet (2014), she chronicles how her life expectations did not become reality – how the bitterness of loss and infertility was no match for God’s nearness to her in her pain. Sara’s second book, Unseen: The Gift of Being Hidden in a World that Loves to be Noticed (2017), explores the tension of our craving to be noticed as we live within the middle minutes, the unwitnessed parts of life, and how we can find God’s gently-searching eyes on us there. Sara writes and speaks on many topics, including adoration, the beauty of hiddenness, marriage and adoption.
Sara and her family live in Kansas City where she loves long runs on back country roads, reading through her overly ambitious book stack, and an early morning mug of chai tea. www.SaraHagerty.net
Julian and Stacey Goodson
Julian and Stacey Goodson have been foster parents of teenagers for more than six years and have adopted three of their teens from MARE. Each of them works in child welfare with teenagers and coach sports for teens as well. Julian is the author of Thoughts of a Foster Dad. Julian and Stacey are passionate about educating foster and adoptive parents and supporting them in their journey. They believe that every child deserves an opportunity to be the best versions of themselves!
Originally from Detroit, Kyle Ray earned a Master’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering and formerly worked in the automotive industry as a mechanical engineer. Upon sensing a call to seminary in 2003, he left his engineering job to earn his Masters of Divinity degree at Asbury Theological Seminary.
Kyle joined the staff of Kentwood Community Church as the Outreach Pastor in 2006 and then as Lead Pastor in 2010. Kyle is passionate about Christ-centered leadership development and continues to look for ways to equip congregants to live out the vision that God has for them.
Married to Petra since 1999, Kyle and Petra have adopted two boys, Malik (20) and Matthew (18) and are legal guardians to Mimi (5).
Stephanie Grant is trained as a Developmental Psychologist and is licensed as a Professional Counselor. She currently works as the Director of the Reach Parent-Child Program at Developmental Enhancement Behavioral Health in Holland, MI. She has separate masters degrees in Marriage and Family Therapy and Psychology and a PhD in Lifespan Developmental Psychology. Her clinical and research interests focus on working with infants and children with attachment concerns and trauma histories, specifically those who have adoption or foster care backgrounds. She has worked as a clinician, professor, and researcher. She is also a foster and adoptive parent herself.
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.
Andrea Lehman has worked with children, teens, and families specializing in trauma, attachment, and family challenges since 2004. She’s worked as an in-home behavioral aid, private practice clinician, and a county wide clinician and trainer on attachment.
She has provided attachment and trauma based treatment across all ages and settings from infants in-home to teens in residential. Andrea is a strong advocate for children and families engaged in the foster care, adoption, and court systems and strives to be a voice for the unheard needs of traumatized children and their families.
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.
Clarkston Morgan and his wife, LaKendra, have a passion for working with children. Together they have fostered 9 children and adopted two: daughter, Gabryella, and son, Juston. Clarkston has served as a youth pastor, a non-profit youth director, a counselor at Summer Upward Bound, a mentor for Big Brother Big Sister, and a volunteer in local public schools.
Tim and Allie Nelson
Tim and Allie make their home in Holland, MI along with their 3 children (Elias, Hadley, and Abram). Their oldest son was adopted from Ghana in 2013; not only changing their lives as a family but also transforming the ways in which they engage justice, reconciliation, and faith in their community. Allie is an elementary school teacher and also a consultant, helping teachers and administrators create trauma-informed schools and classrooms. Tim is a pastor at Mars Hill Bible Church.
Lynnae Guffie is an adult adoptee working as a therapist with children, teens, and families who are experiencing attachment and trauma-related issues. Having an adoption history, Lynnae is particularly focused on facilitating healing for children who have lived through trauma as a result of chronic maltreatment.
Additionally, Lynnae honors the difficult role of being a caregiver, offering grace, and understanding of the struggles associated with holding space for children from hard places. Lynnae has been working as a therapist with adoptive families since 2014. In addition to her experience as a therapist, Lynnae has eight years of experience in crisis intervention, working with families impacted by abuse and neglect. Lynnae is married and has two children.
Barbara Lubic is a single parent of three energetic children adopted from the Michigan Foster Care System. She has been a foster parent for more than 13 years. Knowing the struggles that can come with parenting children who have experienced trauma, Barbara has a passion for supporting fellow foster and adoptive families. She is a personal and professional champion of Adoptive Family Support Network, an organization that strives to encourage all those touched by adoption to thrive.
Cole Williams is the CEO and Founder of “Son To A Father” and “Cole Speaks”. Both are organizations that work to empower and restore relationships between teens and their parents. Cole has developed curricula and workshops that explore the journey of Family-hood. He is a motivational speaker, trainer, facilitator, mentor, community leader and most importantly – father. His most recent work has been dedicated to providing fatherhood training, support, and resources for the Michigan Adolescent Pregnancy and Prevention Program. Cole is also active in providing leadership development and life skills to incarcerated youth and teaches a Father and Son Parenting Enrichment workshop with the help of his sons.
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 Before You Were Mine: Discovering Your Adopted Child’s Lifestory. She and her husband have two children and live in Hudsonville, MI.