Keith McAfee had a less than idyllic childhood—denied by his biological father, raised by several abusive step-fathers, made poor decisions, suffered various kinds of abuse. But one family saw through his pain and never gave up on being there for him, even when he was in and out of their lives. Listening to Keith’s story will give you hope that God is a God of details and He can make good out of any situation.
Josh Shipp is an author, global youth empowerment expert and acclaimed speaker. A former at-risk foster kid who “mastered the art of getting kicked out” of foster homes, he is renowned for his documentary TV series on A&E that followed his ground-breaking work with teens. He is the author of the book The Grown-Up’s Guide to Teenage Humans.
Jamie Grace is a Grammy nominated, Dove award-winning contemporary Christian/Christian rap musician who has big dreams and plans beyond music. Raised in a household in which her parents took in more than 25 children, she has a huge heart for foster care and is determined to make a difference in others’ lives in tangible ways.
Lynne Ellis-Gray knows what it feels like to wonder about biological parents. Adopted as a baby, her parents did the “right” things by sharing her story in a positive way and made her feel chosen and wanted. As she grew, she wondered and explored for information about her birth mother. Her interest in adoption led her to write her master’s thesis on adoption issues that adoptees face. What she found is eye-opening and can be very helpful for adoptive and foster parents, as well as adult adoptees who still find certain things trigger feelings that are based deep inside.
Kirsten Smith believes her past experience prepared her for her present reality, although “nothing could fully prepare me to be the mother of nine!” She grew up with an idea of what foster care was, and after college she worked as a social worker with families in crisis, aiding in reunification, but also seeing the effects of child abuse and neglect. “It was a hard job,” she says. “I remember thinking, ‘I don’t know why God put me here.’” A few years later she realized that some of her own children came from those scenarios.