Tapestry Conference 2021 Speakers

By: - October 16, 2021

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We are so excited to introduce you to the 2021 Tapestry Conference speakers. They will cover a wide array of topics, including foster care, adoption, and struggles with sensory issues, challenging behaviors, rejection, and FASD. In addition, we have breakout sessions and coaching tables about depression, grief, multiracial families, blocked care, relationships with biological family, mental health, empathy, puberty, trauma, marriage, and more!

Lisa Qualls: Lisa Qualls is the co-author of The Connected Parent which she wrote with the late Dr. Karyn Purvis and co-founder of The Adoption Connection (with Melissa Corkum). She is the mom of 12 kids by birth and adoption, and sometimes more through foster care. She is also a TBRI practitioner, Enneagram coach, and foster and adoptive parent coach. You can hear more from Lisa in a main stage session on Saturday!

Jason Johnson: Jason is a writer and speaker who encourages families and equips churches in their foster care and adoption journeys. He is the author of Reframing Foster Care. You can hear more from him at the following sessions:

  • Thursday Virtual Breakout Session (2:45 – 4:00 PM) Flipping the Script: Finding Hope on the Journey of Moving Towards the Hard. Join us as we see how the Truth of God flips the script on the way we navigate the foster care and adoption journey and ultimately find hope through it all.
  • Saturday Main Stage Session: The Scandal of Grace: A God Who Delights in the Most Broken
  • Saturday Breakout Session: Flipping the Script: Finding Hope on the Journey of Moving Towards the Hard. Join us as we see how the Truth of God flips the script on the way we navigate the foster care and adoption journey and ultimately find hope through it all.
  • Saturday Coaching Table: Want to see your church more involved in caring for vulnerable children and families in your community? What to see more support systems in place for foster, bio, kinship and adoptive families? Come ask your questions to Jason and get your church on board.

Ryan and Kayla North: Kayla and her husband Ryan have 6 children, 4 adopted from foster care. They spent 10 years as foster parents and have learned many of the things they share with families, churches, and schools in the trenches. Kayla and Ryan are co-founders of One Big Happy Home and are considered experts on childhood trauma. You can hear more from Kayla & Ryan at the following sessions:

  • Ryan – Thursday Virtual Breakout Session (1:15-2:30): Parenting with Trauma in Mind. When we have compassion for the trauma they have experienced and set realistic expectations we can be successful and thrive in relationship with our kids. In this session Ryan will walk through to practical ways to stay connected, set boundaries, and discipline our kid while keeping their trauma in mind.
  • Ryan & Kayla – Friday Workshop (1:45-5:00): Lying and Other Challenging Behaviors. In this workshop, Ryan and Kayla will touch on lying, stealing, and disrespect, big behaviors that can be a huge trigger for parents. They will remind caregivers how trauma impacts the brain, how to look for the need behind the behavior, and will give parents and caregivers a practical problem-solving checklist to work through challenging behaviors in a way that builds connection and trust.

Melissa Corkum: Melissa is the co-founder of The Adoption Connection, an adoptee, an adoptive mother, and a parent coach. She’s helped dozens of parents shift to a brain-based view of behaviors so they can find more effective solutions besides threatening and punishing and become confident parents. You can hear more from Melissa at the following sessions:

  • Friday Workshop (9:00-12:15): Overcoming Blocked Care. If you’ve ever felt a wall growing between you and your child, this breakout session is for you.
  • Saturday Main Stage Session 1: Redefining Success. Melissa will teach us how to change our expectations in order to radically redefine success and strengthen the connection with your child, regardless of their behaviors.
  • Saturday Breakout Session (1:15 PM-2:15 PM): Exploring Grief, Trauma, and Rejection with the Enneagram. In this breakout session, Melissa will show us how The Enneagram is a powerful tool that helps us understand how we experience loss and rejection.

Le Shepard: Le is an adoptive mother and therapist who specializes in working with adults and couples who are on difficult parenting journeys. Le often trains counselors to work with parenting trauma, has had numerous articles published and has been recognized for her advocacy efforts with the PCDH19 Alliance on behalf of her daughter.

  • Thursday Virtual Breakout Session (11 AM – 12:15 PM): Coping with Your Own Hard Emotions as an Adoptive Parent. In this session, you’ll learn how to identify, acknowledge and cope with your own emotions. We’ll talk about emotional red flags, realistic ways to find peace in the middle of chaotic situations and how to find professional support if needed. 
  • Saturday Breakout Session (1:15-2:15): Weathering the Storm Together: Tools for Building a Relationship that Withstands the Challenges of Adoptive Parenting. We’ll look at how the attachment styles that influence your parenting, also show up in your relationship and make it difficult to connect. We’ll also discuss proven strategies for managing the challenges like triangulation and trauma as a team. You’ll learn practical tips that you can use to better understand and support your partner today and you’ll walk away ready for a conversation designed to bring you closer together.
  • Saturday Coaching Table: Navigating Mental Health Concerns. Coaching Table – Mental health concerns for us and our children can be scary. Come ask your tough questions and talk through how to navigate mental health concerns and while staying connected to your kids.

Joanna Torres: Joanna is the Director of Community Engagement at the Teen Leadership Foundation, as well as a former foster youth. Because of her personal life experiences, Joanna has been able to make a difference in the lives of many foster youth through sharing her story and the work she has done through the non-profit organizations she’s been employed with. Joanna also has a passion to help potential and current foster and adopted families find meaning and purpose in their journeys of caring for foster children. You can hear more from Joanna at the following sessions:

  • Thursday Virtual Breakout (1:15-2:30 PM): Supporting Our Kids in their Search for Biological Family. In this breakout session Joanna will share openly about her story of finding her biological father and biological siblings and will share candidly the joy and pain of this experience. She will offer candid advice on how to best support your child in this desire to know their biological family and how to prepare them.
  • Saturday Breakout Session (1:15-2:15): The Search for Biological Family (Exclusive session for foster adopted youth and young adults ages 16-25). In this breakout session she will share openly about her story of finding her biological father, her biological siblings and other biological family. She will talk about the positive aspects and the negative aspects of taking this step in your journey and how you can best prepare to take this journey. (This session is geared specifically for youth and young adults ages 16-25. Parents are welcome to join with their children, but please leave space during Q & A for the youth and young adults present.)
  • Saturday Coaching Table: Supporting your Teen/Young Adult in the Search for Biological Family. Supporting your child on his search to find biological family can seem daunting. Whether you are currently there, or preparing for the future, come ask your questions to help you best support your child.

Kristin Mathis: Kristin is a pediatric occupational therapist, adoptive mother, and TBRI practitioner, specializing in Sensory Processing and Self-Regulation and frequently presents on these subjects. You can hear more from Kristin at the following sessions:

  • Friday Workshop (1:45-5:00 PM): Exploring Sensory Strategies: Help for Anxiety and Dysregulation. In this session, Kristin will explore sensory strategies that will help you find what is causing dysregulation, how to manage anxiety, and ways you can help your child grow and heal.
  • Saturday Breakout Session (2:30-3:30): Empathy: Why is My Kid so Mean? Join Kristin as she explores how to develop empathy in our kids, no matter their age, and teach them some prosocial skills that will help them with friendships, sibling, and caregivers.

Melody Aguayo: Dr. Melody Aguayo has a Master’s in Marriage and Family Therapy and a Ph.D. in Psychology. She is the founder of Real Child Consulting, LLC that specializes in providing coaching and training to parents and organizations that caretake “at-risk” children. You can hear more from Melody at the following sessions:

  • Friday Workshop (9:00 AM-12:15 PM): Attachment: the most important factor in achieving our potential. This session will include how trauma affects the developing brain and how it affects our ability to give and receive care. Understanding this is key to knowing how to address your child’s misbehaviors as well as your own parenting triggers. The attachment process will be discussed as well as what types of trauma can interrupt this process. Practical parenting tools will also be discussed.
  • Saturday Breakout Session (11:15 AM -12:15 PM): When Puberty and Trauma Meet. This session will discuss both what happens in the body and brain of kids going through puberty. It will help parents identify “normal sexual acting ” out verses “deviant behaviors.” Puberty in children who have undergone trauma looks different, but it doesn’t have to be alarming. Parents will be given some practical tools.
  • Saturday Coaching Table: Finding Balance When One Child Has Big Needs Do you have one kiddo who has really big needs that seem to consume the family? Ask Melody your questions about how to bring balance to your family.

Scott and Sarah Watters: Scott and Sarah are adoptive parents and TBRI practitioners. Scott is also a licensed counselor, and Sarah is currently studying neuropsychology. You can hear more from them at the following sessions:

  • Saturday Breakout Session (11:15-12:15): Nurture Group Experience. Nurture groups are a tool for families and professionals to empower self-regulation, nurture behavioral change, build social skills, and create space for secure attachment. Scott & Sarah Watters will lead you in this fun, interactive experience to empower you to lead nurture groups with your family or clients.
  • Saturday Breakout Session (2:30-3:30): Ready to Launch? For most young people, beginning life as an adult can be challenging, terrifying, and exciting. Add a history of trauma and a global pandemic to the mix, and the big emotions just get bigger. Drawing from their experiences of helping young adults from hard places launch into adulthood (including their 3 adopted kiddos), Scott & Sarah Watters will discuss ways to empower young adults to successfully navigate life beyond adolescence.

Christian Hancock: Christian is the owner of Heart & Soul Speech and a Speech-Language Pathologist, specialized in FASD and challenging behaviors. Christian presents caregiver workshops and continuing education seminars and webinars for therapists on trauma-informed care, FASD, feeding disorders, and language learning. You can learn from Christian at the following session:

  • Thursday Breakout Session (9:30-10:45): Why Can’t They Do It, and How Do I Help? Building Executive Function Skills in Children with FASD. In children with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) or those struggling with the demands of daily tasks, the skills of flexible thinking, working memory, and self-regulation can be difficult to identify and support. This presentation will help by offering practical solutions for families to support children,  increase attention, reflect and manage emotions, and improve independence in daily activities

Sherrie Eldridge: Sherrie is an adoptee and adoption author. Her message is that adoptees can heal from a painful past and adoptive parents can heal from their painful selves. She is the author of the best-selling book Twenty Things Adopted Kids Wish Their Adoptive Parents Knew. You can hear more from Sherrie at the following session:

  • Thursday Breakout Session (11 AM – 12:15 PM): What Adoptive Parents Can Do When Kids Push Back. Sherrie Eldridge will share practical ways to deal with pushback and rejection from your kids (including highlights from her upcoming book). Parents will come away assured that their love for their adopted child will never be lost.

Jackie Womack: Jackie is a licensed family and marriage therapist, as well as a foster, adoptive, and biological mother. You can hear more from Jackie at the following session:

  • Thursday Virtual Breakout (9:30 AM – 10:45 AM) Navigating Conflict with Your Spouse. In this session, Jackie shares her “greatest hits” of conversations she has with couples about conflict and argumentative communication patterns. Using metaphors and word pictures, Jackie breaks down the repetitive cycles of miscommunication and offers effective ways to stay connected in the midst of conflict.

Melanie McCracken: Melanie is an empowered parent trainer, a TCC affiliate trainer, and adoptive mother. You can hear more from Melanie at the following sessions:

  • Saturday Breakout Session (2:30-3:30): Delight in God’s Steadfast Love: Resting in the Reality that My Love Isn’t Enough.  In this session, we will dive into 1 Corinthians 13 in a way you never have before! Come learn what it means to delight in the steadfast love of God. It is only then that we can be free to love our kids in the way they need to be loved.
  • Saturday Coaching Table: Talking to Your Kids About Their Story Do you have questions about how much to tell you child about his story? When should you start the conversations about biological family? What if my child never asks questions? Melanie will answer questions about talking to your kids about their story.

Jeannette Willis, Sheri Abbey, and Lois Miller: You can hear from them at the following session:

  • Thursday Virtual Breakout Session (2:45 – 4:00 PM): Multiracial Families that Thrive. Parenting kids who don’t share the same skin color can be a challenge on many levels. From teaching kids about their culture (and learning about it yourself), to navigating the questions that arise from friends, family, and even strangers, we all need support in how to navigate this journey. Join Jeanette, Sheri, and Lois as they share honestly about how we can all do better.

Ross and Staci King: You can hear from them in the following session:

  • Saturday Breakout Session (1:15-2:15 PM): Depression, Anxiety and Jesus. Join Ross and Staci King as they share candidly about their journey through depression, anxiety, trauma and grief and offer insight on how to navigate this journey as adoptive parents.

If you haven’t registered for the conference, you can register here. We are excited to offer you both virtual and in-person options! When you register for the in-person option, you gain access to the coaching tables on Saturday as well as the virtual breakout sessions on Thursday. You can download the schedule here.

Also Found In: Tapestry Blog