Keynote Speakers

Jodi Jackson Tucker

Jodi Jackson Tucker is the wife and partner in life of her husband Jerry and the mama of nine world changers. Her adoption experience includes domestic, international and foster care. Jodi serves as the International Director of Orphan Sunday, which reaches families for children in over 80 nations. She is also the founder of Pharaoh's Daughters, an online marketplace serving widows and orphans. Jodi and her daughter Agnes are the authors of "Fasten Your Sweet Belt: 10 Things You Need to Know About Older Child Adoption." Jodi believes adoptive mamas are the most powerful group known to man and loves to flow in that power!

Rebecca Peeler

Rebecca Peeler met her husband as he was completing a single-parent adoption of a 15 year old girl. Since then, together, they adopted a 10 year old son. Last year, they completed the adoptopn of a 5 year old girl with a rare chromosome disorder and Rebecca adopted Mikel's daughter who is now 25. In those short 10 years, they have also fostered over 25 children and have had numerous emergency short term placements. Rebecca has been particularly blessed to have many newborns to mother and they are currently loving on two foster sweeties ages 2 and 3. In addition to raising an active, ever-changing family, Rebecca volunteers helping other foster families and children's groups in the York County Area. She is very involved in the York County Foster Parent, having served as president and board member.

Breakout Speakers

Crystal Simpson

Crystal Simpson has over 20 years of Child Welfare Experience, 16 of those with Mecklenburg County Department of Social Services. Ms. Simpson has been employed in the areas of Work First Employment Services, Permanency Planning, and currently she is a Licensing and Placement Social Worker. In her current position she recruits and licenses foster/adoptive homes. Crystal has a BA from Hampton University.

Paula Curtin

Paula Curtin is employed with the South Carolina Department of Social Services in York County. She has her BS from The University of Georgia and her MS from Georgia State University. Mrs. Curtin has been employed in the social services field for over fifteen years. Her first position was at The Division of Family and Children Services in Atlanta, Georgia as an Adoption Specialist. Upon moving to Charlotte, North Carolina, she worked at Mecklenburg County Department of Social Services in Permanency Planning. In her current position at SCDSS, Mrs. Curtin works with prospective foster families as an Initial Foster Home Licensing Specialist. She works closely with the applicants while conducting extensive background investigations and completes detailed home studies in order to make professional determinations regarding licensure. Mrs. Curtin currently lives in Charlotte with her husband and three rescue dogs.

Nichole Gause

Nichole Gause, MSW, LCSW has served in child welfare for the past 15 years. She earned her Bachelors of Arts degree from Winthrop University and her Masters of Social Work from University of South Carolina. Her professional experience includes providing counseling and case management services for clients who are either at-risk youth, chronically ill, developmentally disabled, dealing with depression, and experiencing relationship issues. Gause is a North Carolina certified trainer and has provided workshops for professionals, parents and caregivers.

Sabrina Clark

Sabrina Clark, LAPSW is a Policy & Practice Model Supervisor with Mecklenburg County DSS, where her primary responsibilities include providing direct supervision to a team of social workers responsible for bringing county-level child welfare policy and practice into alignment, as well as providing training to agency staff and stakeholders around this endeavor. Sabrina is certified to teach several curricula designed to meet the needs of foster and adoptive parents including Trauma Informed Partnering for Safety and Permanence - Model Approach to Partnerships in Parenting (TIPS-MAPP), and Caring for Children Who Have Experienced Trauma. Since 2001, Sabrina has worked with children and families in a variety of programs at county and state-level government agencies and non-profit mental health organizations. Since obtaining her MSW in 2010, she has been employed in roles that have allowed her to develop and present training tools and curricula for various members of the child-serving community including, but not limited to, the following: child welfare workers and supervisors, school social workers, law enforcement, juvenile probation officers, attorneys, mental health professionals, early childhood professionals, emergency shelter staff, Bachelor and Masters-level students from programs leading to child-serving professions, and both staff and volunteers representing the Guardian ad Litem (GAL) and Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) programs.

Leslie Jurado

Leslie Jurado is wife to Jimmy and mother to their four children Isabel, Jay, Sara and Natalie. Jimmy and Leslie have been married for 17 years and met at Winthrop University where she received a Bachelor’s degree in Biology in 1997. Leslie received her Masters degree in Occupational Therapy from the Medical University of South Carolina in 2000. Her primary area of practice has been pediatrics. Even as child, God lit a fire in her heart to care about orphans and “the least of these.” It wasn’t until the terminal diagnosis and the long illness of their oldest child Isabel that Leslie truly became a devoted Christ follower. The Jurados adopted from Colombia, South America in 2005 and 2009 respectively. Eight years after first adopting, Leslie stumbled upon the answer to her children’s behavioral and academic struggles: Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders. Once receiving a diagnosis, Leslie realized that she had been parenting her children with inappropriate expectations and the assumption that their brains worked like hers. She is now passionate about advocating for individuals living with the effects of prenatal alcohol exposure, as well as educating parents and teachers on compassionate and effective strategies based on the neurobehavioral approach. On April 4, 2017 Isabel Jurado was healed of Sanfilippo Syndrome. She continues to be Leslie’s inspiration to live for Christ.

Megan Clark

Megan Clark is a Licensed Professional Counselor Associate (LPCA) working part-time at Hope Garden Counseling Center in Charlotte. She is a TBRI (Trust-Based Relational Intervention) trained practitioner and enjoys specializing in adoptive families and special needs families. She and her husband, Billy, are parents to three children, one through adoption. Megan is passionate about helping individuals and families thrive. She knows firsthand just how drastically adoption can change a family, for better or for worse. It is her deepest desire that adoptive families would learn how to thrive despite the unique challenges they often face. She believes there is always hope - for every family and for every child.

Kristina Franklin

Kristina Franklin, MACC, LPC, LMFT is a licensed Marriage and Family Therapist as well as a Licensed Professional Counselor. She specializes in working with couples to improve communication skills, resolve conflict and rebuild marriages after an affair. Her unique and extensive experience is in working with law-enforcement officers, rescue workers, military personnel and their families. Kristina works with anxiety and panic disorders as well as grief and loss. She is also comfortable helping people work through cancer. She has degrees in both counseling and theology.

Susan Habbick

Susan has been married to her husband, Dave, for 26 years and God has blessed them with 3 children. They have 2 biological, David (23), Jonathan (20) and one adopted daughter, Jessica (7.) Susan also was adopted domestically at one month of age.

In 2004, Susan experienced great tragedy, the day after her adoptive father passed away, she had a devastating miscarriage and stroke. BUT GOD provided emotional and spiritual healing by bringing joyful Jessica into their family. The long adoption process was definitely worth it when God brought Jessica halfway around the world from India to join her forever family in Fort Mill, SC.

An adoptee herself, God has shown Susan adoption from both sides. Using adoption research and her own personal experiences as an adoptee, Susan’s session will equip adoptive parents with the tools to more effectively understand and nurture adoptive children along their life journeys. This breakout session will help parents recognize adoptive children’s grief, loss and shame and share strategies for transitioning towards confidence, hope and love. Susan’s personal testimony parallels many of the findings from the adoption literature, especially from one of her favorites, Twenty Things Adopted Kids Wish Their Adoptive Parents Knew, by Sherrie Eldridge. Attend this session to come away better equipped to guide and nurture your adopted child in love through the challenges unique to adopted children.