Keynote Speakers

We are so excited to have Carly and Jon Durham joining us again for Choose Joy – this time as our keynote speakers!

“Our world got wonderfully turned upside down with the adoptions of the two cutest kids, who also happen to have Down syndrome. Carter was adopted from the Ukraine and Niyah was adopted from foster care. We also recently welcomed our rainbow baby, Audie Joy, to our family.

“We are crazy passionate about orphan/foster care, orphan prevention and encouraging women struggling with infertility. Carly works part-time as a Family Nurse Practitioner and is an adjunct faculty at a university. We both love to share stories about how our family navigates the waters of infertility, adoption, miscarriage and our frequently encountered awkward moments of life.

“After many years of infertility, we recently walked through a roller-coaster pregnancy and are now a family of 5, with our newest addition, Audie Joy, born Christmas 2017.

“Time and time again, God has shown us how He redeems the mess, turns it upside down in an incredible way and offers better than we can ask or imagine.

“We are so excited to gather with a tribe of people who can share in our journey at Choose Joy. We are all walking a unique path and it so encouraging to gather together to inspire and encourage one another.”

Blog : www.jovialstateofmind.com
IG: @nurseicarly and @jon.durham

Session Speakers

McCall Aldridge

In 2008, the Lord used, of all things, a YouTube video to open McCall’s eyes to the needs of those without families in the United States and beyond. Since then, she’s traveled to Africa six times, fundraised close to $50,000 to bring her daughter home for the Democratic Republic of the Congo, and traded in her job as a high school English teacher for one that allows her to help people fundraise full-time for things like adoptions, mission trips, and non-profits. She’s very passionate about the idea that money should never be a reason to say no to your calling.

Although McCall hasn’t directly struggled with infertility, the desperate longing for a child and loss of a child are both pains she knows well, having lost her daughter, Emily, after almost two years due to a failed adoption.

She lives just outside of Memphis with her football coaching husband and three daughters (two biological and one who grew in her heart) and currently serves as the storyteller for Fund the Nations, one of the country’s largest fundraising companies. She loves road trips, 80’s movies, and birthdays, and believes that stories are meant to be shared—preferably with good friends over good food.

Jason Clayton

Hello! I’m Jason Clayton (@mradoptshoppe), husband to the talented Kate (@theadoptshoppe). I’m an Adoptive Parent Coordinator for Faithful Adoption Consultants (FAC). Kate and I endured the tragedy of two infant losses that changed me . . . eventually for good. We have 2 baby boys in heaven, 2 biological children, and 2 adopted children from Taiwan. I’m an advocate for the fulfillment of the James 1:27 call by ministering to orphans around the globe. I’ve ministered directly to orphans in Dominican Republic, Haiti, and Taiwan, and indirectly to orphans in Pakistan, Ghana, and Cameroon.

I believe adoption is the perfect portrayal of the love God lavishes upon us. Adoption is the Gospel in action! I’m passionate about educating about the orphan crisis and advocating for assisting others in allowing the Holy Spirit to lead them in orphan care in whatever capacity He deems appropriate for them.

With my experiences, my heart aches for and is drawn to families who have endured infant loss and/or infertility. I can’t wait to see you at Choose Joy and I continue to pray that it will be earth moving for you and your family.

Beth Forbus

Beth is the founder and president of Sarah’s Laughter – Christian Support for Infertility & Child Loss. A life of full time infertility ministry is a dream Beth cannot believe she gets to live. She’s also written a few books, hosts an amazing infertility support group in Baton Rouge as well as a faith-based infertility podcast heard around the world. Her favorite day of the whole year is the day Sarah’s Laughter hosts Baby Steps Fun Run and she is able to present free IVFs and Family Building Grants to couples struggling with baby hunger.

Beth is probably, at this moment, helping someone launch an infertility support group in their own community. She loves spending time with her three fur babies, as well as her human daughter and husband. She enjoys bubble baths and fervently believes that there will be Coca-Cola in Heaven.

Elisha Kearns

Elisha Kearns is the author behind the nationally known faith-based blog, Waiting for Baby Bird. She and her husband have been married for 11 amazing years and yearn to have a household full of children; however due to PCOS, they have been challenged in the fertility department. Despite the facts, together they continue to put their faith in the Lord for a miracle.

Elisha’s mission in life is to share her story and the lessons she has learned in order to inspire and breathe hope into the lives of other women facing similar circumstances. Whether it is through her writing, standing behind the podium at infertility conferences, or leading her own support group in her small town of Southern Illinois, she inspires other women to never give up on their dreams and to believe for the impossible. She is witty, down to earth and transparent, always making every woman feel as though she is speaking directly to their heart. Aside from sharing her passion and love for Jesus, she is also a stay-at- home mom to their 7-year-old daughter who was recently adopted through foster care.

For more of her story or to find hope and encouragement, visit her blog at waitingforbabybird.com, or connect with her and thousands of others @waitingforbabybird on Facebook or Instagram.

Sarah Schafer

Sarah’s journey as a birth mom began 5 1/2 years ago when she placed her son for adoption at birth. She continues to be a part of his life through an open adoption and is grateful to be able to share her story with others, in hopes that it may shine some light through the brokenness. 

She lives in Colorado with her husband, Rob, and their two small children, Charlotte and Oliver. 

She has worked alongside several non-profits and created a short video documentary through BraveLove featuring her open adoption. She is currently training to be a nurse educator with Family to Family Support Network.

Jordan + Chris Tate

Chris and Jordan Tate reside in South Carolina with their adopted son, Shepherd. The Tates are infant loss parents who lost their first two children due to a genetic abnormality that results in infant death shortly after birth. Because of this, they are unable to pursue biological parenthood.

Jordan Tate is a writer for the adoption blog, Kindred + Co, as well as author of her book Just Keep Breathing: Unfiltered thoughts on life after loss, the struggle of grief, and learning to hope again. The Tates found out about Choose Joy shortly after the passing of their second daughter and they have been both attendees and speakers in past years. They are incredibly grateful for this event and the way it touches lives!

Rachel Von Stein

Rachel Von Stein was adopted at six weeks old. She belongs to a transracial family and is delighted to be sharing her personal experience at Choose Joy this year.

A southern belle since 2011, she makes her home in Alabama with her husband, Greg, and three small children. She is a nurse and a writer.