Welcome to the Choose Joy event website!

Thank you so much for stopping by our website.  I am so excited to be planning the Second Annual Choose Joy conference, which will once again be hosted at my home church, Crossline Church in Laguna Hills, California at our beautiful lakeside campus.

If you are walking the painful and often lonely road of infertility, or even if you have never experienced infertility but still have a desire to grow your family through adoption, I would love for you to attend this event!  Earlybird Registration is now open, and will continue through December 31st.  After that the price will go up significantly, so be sure to buy your tickets before the new year!

Who should attend Choose Joy?  So glad you asked!
  • Anyone that is infertile or has experienced infant loss or miscarriage
  • Anyone that is interested in adoption or foster care
  • Friends or family members wishing to offer support to those going through infertility or considering adoption
Last year we had about 80% women and 20% men attend, but I am expecting more couples to come together this year.  The men have a time where they have the option to meet together and chat about their experiences, which we got great feedback about last year.  I highly encourage you to bring your husband if he is willing to come.  One of the most difficult parts of infertility and adoption is that couples are often not on the same page about their experiences.  This will be a wonderful opportunity to open up conversation and explore your options as a couple and a family.  My husband will be there... yours should feel welcome!

If you have a story that you would like to share and are interested in being a session leader, or if you have an organization that would like to offer informational services to our attendees, please email me.

If you would like to help plan this event, I would love to have you on my team.  Please email me and let me know how you would like to serve, and I will put you to work!  I am looking for help in the following forms:
  • Set-up and clean-up for the day of the event
  • Coordinating food donations for the dessert bar
  • Crafty-types that would be willing to help with the decoration preparations and putting together materials for the event
  • Donations for our Choose Joy Shop including pdf tutorials, printables, and advertising space on blogs/websites
  • Volunteers for the day of the event to help with check-in, session coordinating, setting up the dessert and coffee bar, and greeting attendees
  • Providing baked goods for the dessert bar
  • Prayer team members
If you own a business and would like to sponsor this event with goods, services, or advertisement, please email me.

If you have a heart for this topic, and would like to offer financial support to this event, you can make a donation by clicking on the Donate Now button in the right sidebar.

To receive updates via email, subscribe to our website by entering your email address in the box in the right sidebar.  You will receive a confirmation email from Feedburner.  Be sure to click on the link in the email to confirm your registration or you will not receive our emails.

Breakaway Sessions

There will be two Breakaway Sessions during Choose Joy, and you will have sixteen session topics to choose from.  Below is a description of each session so that you can start thinking about which two you would like to attend.

Ethics + Infertility: Facing Infertility from a Biblical Perspective {Emmy}
The bible talks a lot about infertility, but not at all about IVF. So how can we make biblically-minded decisions about fertility treatments? In this breakout session, we will discuss the following topics: Right or wrong - who decides? Respecting the sanctity of life. Fertility treatments – where do you draw the line? And many other questions you may be struggling with as a Christian facing Infertility.

Breadcrumbs from God {Kristi}
Navigating the road of adoption can have its bright sunny days and extremely cold, dark and lonely ones too. However the wonderful thing about Jesus is that he promises he will never leave us or forsake us. Even in the midst of our pain, He leaves breadcrumbs to lead us out of our valley and into the light. But in order to find the next breadcrumb you must keep walking. The purpose of this session is to encourage any person on this road that whatever you are feeling or going through, good and bad, you are not alone and your breadcrumbs are there, you just have to keep moving.

Grieving the Loss of a Dream {Lisa}
Perhaps the most difficult thing to face on the road of infertility is the possibility that you may never have biological children.  While adoption is an amazing option that can complete your family in a way that you may not have expected, there is still a loss to be grieved... the dream of a pregnancy and biological child. In this session we will discuss facing this difficult reality and learning to heal from the loss.

Infant Loss + Miscarriage {Julie}
Sometimes getting pregnant is not the problem.  Sometimes staying pregnant or delivering healthy babies are the problems we face with infertility.  In this session Julie will share her story of hope, delivering four healthy babies after losing many.  

Waiting Well Through Infertility and/or Adoption {Beth}
We will discuss why waiting is so hard, how we can be patient as we wait, and give three key resources God gives us to wait in a way that we will be unashamed at the end of our journey to parenthood.

Finding God in the Wilderness {Lesily}
In this session Lesily will share her journey from the pain and isolation of infertility to seeing God's goodness in the trial - and how it continues to be part of who she is as a woman...even as an adoptive mom.

Learning to Let God Write His Story on my Heart{Andrea}
... and learning patience and perspective along the way.  Join Andrea as she shares about learning to let go of her plan and fully desire His plan for her life; Coming to peace with the waiting and learning the joy of God writing His story on her heart; and how perspective has kept her from going down a road that would lead her away from Him.

Choose Joy?  I Can't Even SPELL Joy!{Brooke}
Not every story ends with a baby. Living a full life with an empty (still-and-maybe-forever) womb is a tricky business. With brutal honesty and a dose of humor, Brooke will share her journey about staring six years of unexplained infertility in the face, daring to look for life in the midst of loss. This session will unpack the raw questions like: What do you do when God says “no”? What do you tell your heart when everyone else’s prayers seem to be answered while you wait? How do you describe the ache of empty arms? And what if, gulp, it goes on and on?  When joy is the thing you want to punch in the face, you may be closer to the heart of God than you think.

Transitioning from Infertility to Adoption{Mindy + Nick}
Deciding to adopt can feel like a failure or a second- best option. After sinking so much time, energy and money into trying to get pregnant, it can be tough to walk away and start another expensive, time consuming, and unpredictable process. In this session Mindy and Nick will share their experience transitioning from the pain of infertility to the roller-coaster ride of adoption. Specifically, they’ll address the complexities of discerning God’s leading, wanting to adopt but feeling emotionally stuck, fighting the perception that adoption is second-best (both with ourselves and others), and experiencing the joy of adoption amidst the pain of infertility. Adoption is God's heart, plain and simple. And, regardless of whatever way we get there, it's good, and humbling, and a privilege to step into the rhythms of God's love through adoption.

Relationships in Domestic Adoption {Courtney}
The idea of dealing with a birth family in an open adoption can be daunting and terrifying.  What will that relationship look like?  Will we get along?  Will they approve of us?  In this session Courtney will talk about handling the relationship with your child's birthparent(s) from a Christ-centered perspective, and bringing adoption full circle by sharing the gospel with your child's birthparent(s).

Special Needs Adoption {Courtney}
Are you being called to a special kind of adoption?  Courtney and her husband were.  They are blessed with two amazing special needs daughters: one with Sickle Cell Anemia and one with Down Syndrome, and they also have five other children {including a biological son with Epilepsy}!  Clearly God has called them to this special purpose. In this session Courtney will share her family's story with you, and give you an idea of what it might look like if you welcome some extra special little ones into your home.

Foster Care + Fostering to Adopt {Kara + Kristen}
There are 3,000 kids in the Foster Care system in Orange County.  18,000 in Los Angeles.  55,000 in the state of California.  There is a great need for foster parents.  There is also a growing need for adoptive parents that want to give one of these foster children a permanent home, so foster-to-adopt is becoming a popular route to adoption.  If you can't afford private adoption, or if you just have a heart for children stuck in the system, Kara and Kristen would love to share their foster parenting experiences with you and encourage you on your journey.  

Fundraising for Adoption {Kate + Megan}
This session is all about sharing tips and experiences in fundraising for your adoption. Adoption is expensive but it is absolutely possible to fundraise what you need! With some hard work, humility, out of the box thinking... the Lord you can get your little one home. Kate and Megan want to share their experiences: what worked, what didn't, and encourage you on your fundraising journey!

Domestic Adoption 101 {Denise + Morgan}
Denise is the owner of Heart & Soul Adoptions in Utah, and Morgan is a very experienced Adoption Social Worker {from Hearth & Soul} and an adoptee herself.  They are a wealth of knowledge!  This session will basically be a Q & A opportunity for you to ask anything you ever wanted to know about Domestic Adoption. They are there to answer your questions and help you decide if adoption is the right step for your family. 

The Good, the Bad, + the Ugly of Domestic Adoption {Dena}
Anyone that has walked the journey of adoption will tell you that it is a roller coaster of emotions...the highest highs and lowest lows. It seems like time stops as you long to hear the phone ring and to hear those sweet words "You have been matched". And what happens when those sweet words become a true living nightmare as an adoption fails and you fall into a heap of sobs on the kitchen floor? And yet that heartache is just a snapshot in your journey because then you receive the call for your Forever Baby and those sweet baby smells and precious little lips and tiny newborn is now yours to keep forever and ever, all the waiting and longing and heartache seems like a distant memory.  In this session Dena will share her family's experiences with one failed adoption {5 weeks post-placement}, one successful private adoption, and their decision to return to private adoption after a few fostering placements that did not lead to adoptions. 

The Good, the Bad, + the Ugly of International Adoption {Brianne}
The world of International Adoption can be confusing, scary, overwhelming...and filled with overwhelming joy! How do you navigate the murky waters of International Adoption? How do you choose a country, an agency, a path to follow? How do you even begin to pay for it? How do you adopt only children who really need to be adopted and stay far-far-away from any form of trafficking? How do you stay encouraged and trusting God along the way? Is it worth it? Can you really love a child that doesn't look like you? What will your friends, family, neighbors, strangers think and say? What are the highs and lows you can expect along the way...and is it possible to come out of this process with any hair left on your head?! Join Brianne as she discusses the good, the bad, and the ugly of International Adoption!

Meet our Keynote Speakers

In addition to two Breakaway Sessions we also have two amazing keynote speakers for you.

Rachel Goode

I have many passions.  Among them are adoption advocacy, orphan care, studying and teaching the Bible, and eating sugary candies.  I especially hope to encourage women suffering through difficult waiting periods… especially women waiting to become mothers, whether because of infertility or long adoption processes.  Scripture shows that God’s people have always been a waiting people.  There is purpose behind the pain (James 1:2-4), and God makes beauty from ashes (Isaiah 61:3).  I am excited to share with you some of God's purposes in waiting.

Rachel lives in Alabama with her pastor husband and two beautiful girls, ages five (biological) and three (adopted from Uganda), and their brand new son Owen, born at the end of 2013.  She writes obsessively and teaches Bibles studies.  Find her blogging about faith, motherhood, adoption, Jesus, and racial harmony at www.heirswithchrist.com.

Jen + Brian Dean

Hi. We are the Deans. Brian and I (Jen) are high school sweet hearts, who married straight out of college. We had our whole life ahead of us, "the american dream." First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes... Well, we met the third part of this ideal with some serious obstacles.

Brian and I are the perfect storm of infertility. Two people completely incapable, medically speaking, to have biological children, who met, married, and were thrust into the muddy waters of infertility.
Join us as we share our beautifully broken journey through the heart wrenching battle of infertility. Before even marrying, God had placed adoption on our hearts, and it was through the catalyst of infertility that we understood that adoption was God's Plan A for our life. We now have a beautiful two year old daughter, named Eliana Faith, and are blessed by an open adoption with her birth mom. We are also "Paper Pregnant" with our next child through the miracle of adoption! "He makes everything beautiful in His time." Ecclesiastes 3:11

{Jen also blogs at Barren Made Beautiful.}