Sneak Peek at Together Called 2017 Breakout Sessions

In addition to hearing from Nate and Sara Hagerty during the keynote sessions, Together Called 2017 attending couples have the opportunity to hear from others who have been prayerfully preparing to share Saturday afternoon during two different breakout times. Here’s a sneak peek at what will be shared this year and who is sharing.

HIS: Bringing Out the Best in Her – Jeff Nitz
Whether she is Super Mom or is running on fumes, you play a critical role as your wife’s parenting partner. What should that look like? Unwavering support? Gentle challenge? How do we address concerns? And, where does the priority of our marriage versus our parenting fit in? Come and hear as Jeff leads in a discussion about how we can help our wives to be all that God intends for them to be–for her sake, for our sake, for our children’s sake.

About the speaker:
Jeff has spent the past 30 years working in the field of child welfare social work with experience in foster care, residential treatment, foster care adoption, international and domestic infant adoption as well as Safe Families For Children. For the past 21 years, he has served in various capacities for Bethany Christian Services, currently as the Sr. Vice-President of Adoption and Family Services where he helps to lead the U.S. based service and marketing teams. Jeff has been married for over 30 years to his college sweetheart, Cheryl, and counts her as his very best friend. Together, they are the parents of four adult children ages 24 to 38, two of whom were adopted. Jeff and Cheryl attend New Life Presbyterian Church in Dresher, PA where Jeff serves as an elder and together he and Cheryl are involved in marriage ministry. As a licensed clinical social worker, he also enjoys serving with his wife in providing counsel to couples who are struggling in their marriage.

HERS: Bringing Out the Best in Him – Cheryl Nitz
Whether he is Super Dad or is running on fumes, you play a critical role as your husband’s parenting partner. What should that look like? Unwavering support? Gentle challenge? How do we address concerns? And where does the priority of our marriage versus our parenting fit in? Come and hear as Cheryl leads us in a discussion about how we can help our husbands to be all that God intends for them to be–for his sake, for our sake, for our children’s sake.

About the speaker:
Cheryl Nitz, ACSW, LCSW has worked in the field of adoption and foster care for over 30 years. In 1997, she began specializing in working with families impacted by adoption, trauma, and attachment challenges and is now a therapist and the Director of the Attachment & Bonding Center of PA where she and her staff are committed to joining with parents to help their children find hope and healing through the love and security their families provide. In addition to her professional experience, Cheryl often says her best education has come from being a parent with her husband to their four kids (two of whom came to the family through adoption) and grandparent to four. She presents as a fellow sojourner, sharing with other adoptive parents joys and challenges and lessons learned both in the trenches at the Nitz home and from the families with whom she has had the privilege of working.

Building a Circle of Security – Amy Brady
Imagine what it might feel like if you were able to make sense of what your child was really asking from you. The Circle of Security® Parenting™ program is based on decades of research about how secure parent–child relationships can be supported and strengthened. It strives to work with parents to help them (a) understand their child’s emotional world by learning to read emotional needs, (b) support their child’s ability to successfully manage emotions, (c) enhance the development of their child’s self esteem, and (d) honor the innate wisdom and desire for their child to be secure. As a registered Circle of Security® parent facilitator, Amy will share a brief overview of the program and ways to build security into the attachment you are developing and deepening with your child.

About the speaker:
After being a national conference speaker, Bible teacher, and Bible study author for over a decade, God began to reveal His greatest journey for Amy and the Brady family yet by steering them down the adoption road. From years of waiting for her daughters to arrive to years waiting for God to send a reprieve from the most difficult places on the adoption road, Amy has journeyed with God into places, hidden and sometimes dark, or beautiful and filled with light to find one thing in them all: He is there. Amy and her husband John just celebrated 25 years of marriage. They have 4 children and a beloved daughter-in-law. Amy is cofounder of PAUSE, a postadoption support network, and is a registered Circle of Security parent facilitator.

Tuning Into God – Anna Balfour
What if when you “tuned into God,” you sometimes, just sometimes, felt He spoke back to you? Maybe not in an audible voice but perhaps an impression, a sense of someone you should reach out to or pray for, or something you felt you needed to do or check out? And then later, you discover you were spot on. What might happen to us in our walk with God, in our relationship with Him, if we expected Him to speak personally to us? Come to this session, listen to stories, and learn how to do that and practice it, believing that God will show up!

About the speaker:
Anna and her husband Doug, two Brits, have done a few wacky things over the last 30 odd years including working with street children in Columbia, working in Liberia between the civil wars in the early 90s, living by faith and living in community with young children. They moved 10 years ago to the USA to live in the ‘burbs with their their three teenagers. In every circumstance, they have had to rely on God, expecting Him to speak and lead. He always showed up! Anna is a clinical psychologist specializing in schema therapy. She is also a motivational speaker who is passionate about helping men and women be all God created them to be and do all He has laid out for them.

How We Can Love the Wounded and Protect Our Children – Carolyn Ruch
We’re all in the trenches with a mission to love deeply and protect fiercely. Maybe there are children in your home who have been wounded by sexual abuse. Maybe you were wounded yourself and want to make sure you are doing all you can to protect your children. Maybe you have a heart to fight the fight for the most vulnerable. Come to this session ready to learn as Carolyn reminds you of your call to love and encourages you in ways to do that well and teaches four simple and specific relational action steps that will build trust and increase prevention against sexual abuse.

About the speaker:
Carolyn is an author, speaker, child advocate, survivor support group leader, and founder of the Rise and Shine Movement. But, her role as mother to seven children (three biological, one adopted, and three foster) is where she’s had her most joyous successes . . . and her most painful failures. Carolyn has protected and won, protected and lost. She joins you in the trenches as we fight for our children’s safety and bring healing to the wounded.

Connecting as Husbands and Wives Together Called – Mark and Kelly Raudenbush
Parenting is no easy thing. It’s a task that requires a large part of our personal resources, especially as we seek to meet the needs of our children with hard starts. As we pour ourselves out to connect with our kids, so often even the best partners in parenting find that we can fall away from the practice of connecting with each other. Come to this session to be reminded of how nurturing our foundational relationships individually with Christ and with our spouse can help us best nurture our children and to learn one new way that we as husbands and wives and fathers and mothers can do it in the midst of our inevitable busyness.

About the speakers:
Married over 18 years, Mark and Kelly Raudenbush are passionate about serving together as a team. They founded The Sparrow Fund in 2011, having been changed by the adoption of their youngest child and desiring to meet what they saw as a need among adoptive families. While Kelly serves families as a therapist through the Attachment & Bonding Center of PA, they work side-by-side as Mark is the Director of Operations for a large nonprofit’s efforts serving students in Asia. They consider it a joy to pour into mothers and fathers who are eager to do the right thing for their families, encouraging parents to understand their own hearts more clearly as they seek to care for the hearts of their children. Mark and Kelly have 4 children, their youngest joining the family through adoption from China.

Same-Page Discipline and Correction – Jeff and Cheryl Nitz
God definitely made us different. Each of us has our own childhood history, personality, and life experiences that contribute to making us the kind of parent that we are. Even more than in marriage, parenting can really highlight those differences. Discipline and correction specifically can be challenging, even though ultimately we want the same thing! Join Jeff and Cheryl as they share some of their own journey as adoptive parents and offer thoughts on how to work through differences and become an even more powerful parenting team.

About the speakers:
Jeff and Cheryl Nitz bring both professional and personal experience as they offer insights, challenges, and encouragement to families whom God has brought together through adoption. Jeff is the Sr. Vice President of Adoption & Family Services for Bethany Christian Services. Cheryl is a therapist and the Director of the Attachment & Bonding Center of PA, specializing in working with families impacted by adoption, trauma, and attachment challenges. But, Jeff and Cheryl often say their best education has come from being parents to their four kids (two of whom came to the family through adoption) and grandparents to four. Most importantly, Jeff and Cheryl are presenting as fellow sojourners—sharing with other adoptive parents the joys and challenges and lessons learned and deeply committed to fostering a fun, growing, supportive marriage in the midst of chaos!

Where Are My Green Pastures? – Stephanie Smit
If the Lord is our shepherd, shouldn’t we be enjoying some green pastures? Perhaps your adoption journey has felt much more like the valley of the shadow of death than green pastures. Maybe His leading was clear and easy to follow early on in your adoption process; but, now that you are home, the new reality feels as if you’ve been left without a shepherd. Sometimes it’s just the day-to-day living that leaves us longing for some refreshment and green pastures. Whatever your circumstance, if you want to know more of the green pastures Psalm 23 promises for you specifically, come to dig deeper into the “what” and the “how” of green pastures. Using Biblical truth and practical applications, you will walk away with encouragement that you can embrace now and bring home with you.

About the speaker:
After 18 years as an elementary teacher, Stephanie transitioned to home as she and her husband Matt grew grew their family. Through struggles with infertility, joys of an unexpected pregnancy, stress of one adoption, challenges of an another independent international adoption, navigating the many surgeries of her cleft affected daughters, and simply raising three girls so close in age, she has seen God’s mighty hand and clear leading. Stephanie and her husband serve as board members of The Sparrow Fund and on the leadership team for Together Called. This past January, she joined The Sparrow Fund’s team as the primary teacher to serve in an orphanage in South China. Stephanie counts it a privilege to connect with and encourage those called to adopt.

The Nuts and Bolts of Family Worship – Philip and Jessica Morlan
Teaching our children to trust and follow Jesus is a great privilege and responsibility. In this breakout session, Philip and Jessica Morlan, our weekend worship leaders, will give encouragement on how to impress God’s Word on the hearts of your children. They’ll share from their personal journey and give ideas on how to shepherd your children to Jesus as you go through life.

About the speakers:
Philip and Jessica Morlan are worship leaders and teachers for Seeds Family Worship. They partner with churches around the country leading multigenerational worship events that equip families to seek God together. They are blessed with five amazing kids (two through adoption) and love to encourage families to live out their faith at home.