Affiliate Staff

Amy Kryszan, MSW

Florida Director of Social Services

Greetings from Florida. My name is Amy Kryszan and I am the Director of Social Services for the Florida office. Growing up, I always knew that God had a special place for me and that my ministry would be exactly as He intended, however I never knew that it would be this wonderful. As an only child, I always dreamed of a big family and due to circumstance, I have been blessed beyond belief with three beautiful children through adoption. When asked why I love my job so much, the answer is simple: I get to help others experience the same joy and love that my husband I have had the honor and privilege of experiencing with our children. 

With my Masters degree in Social Work, I have had the wonderful opportunity of serving in the field for over 10 years, working specifically with foster care, adoptions, and mental health. It is an honor to do the Lord’s work through adoption and see forever families come together in this process.

Diane Hood, MS

Georgia Director of Social Services

Hello from the Peach State! My name is Diane Hood and I have a Bachelor’s degree in psychology from Eckerd College and a Master’s degree from Florida State University. My husband and I became parents in 1993 when a beautiful woman named Mary chose us as the parents of her unborn son. We went on to have three children by birth: two more sons and a daughter.

Since 1995, I have been performing domestic and international homestudies, working with women in crisis pregnancies, and advocating for orphans around the world. Adoption is a calling and a passion, and I seek to honor God in this ministry. He has adopted us as His children and I feel blessed that He gives me the opportunity to help children and parents come together in forever families.

Cristina Schaff, MA

Illinois Director of Social Services

Hello from Illinois! My name is Cristina Schaff and I am the Director of Social Services for Illinois. I am a native of the Chicagoland area and also spent some of my life growing up in a small town in Western Michigan. I received my Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Calvin College and my Masters degree in Clinical Psychology from Lewis University. I have been working with children and families through foster care and adoption for over 10 years. I feel incredibly blessed that God has led me to America World. I am passionate about adoption and look forward to working with you as you build your family through adoption!

Laura Carpenter, MSSW, CSW, LSW

Indiana Director of Social Services

Hello from the State of Indiana.  My name is Laura Carpenter and I have a Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Louisville.  I have been blessed in my life with twin boys and became a parent to them in 2010.  

I have 20+ years of experience in the field of social work, working in the child welfare system, managing foster care and adoption programs, working with individuals with disabilities and individuals facing adversity.  I’ve always had a heart for children who are in need of loving families.  Since God blessed me with the opportunity to be the parent of two wonderful little boys it is my desire to help children and families come together and experience that same blessing.  I’m blessed to be a part of America World and being able to be a part of providing that gift to all.   I look forward to helping others on that journey.

Angie Reed

Iowa Director of Social Services

Hello! I am excited to be a part of America World and growing families! I am a 2001 graduate from the University of Northern Iowa with a Bachelor’s degree in Social Worker. I have worked in the area of Child Welfare for both the State of Iowa and direct care agencies over the past 13 years providing a number of services to families, and serving families in the adoption world. My husband and I have been married for over 12 years and we have been blessed with two wonderful boys that keep our life interesting!

Laura Click, LCSW

Kentucky Director of Social Services

Greetings from Kentucky! I am very excited to be serving as the Director of Social Services for the families in Kentucky. I began my journey with America World 10 years ago, where I worked in the finance department after graduating with a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Texas A&M University. I left America World in order to pursue my Master’s degree in Social Work from Catholic University of America in Washington, DC. Upon graduation, I spent two years as a foster care social worker in Virginia, and another 4 as a therapist for children, adolescents, and families in various settings both in Virginia and in Kentucky, eventually earning my license as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in 2013.

Throughout my career, God’s heart for adoption has remained in the forefront of my mind and as I now have two young children of my own, I am very excited about the opportunity to spend more time with them while using the skills that I have developed throughout my career to guide and support families through their adoption journeys.

Stacie Lerum, BSW, LSW

Minnesota Director of Social Services

Hello from Minnesota! I am a busy wife and mother of 4 children, living in the Twin Cities Metro area.  Through God’s divine providence, I have been blessed with the added title as Minnesota’s Director of Social Services for America World. I have my Bachelors Degree in Social Work from Calvin College and since earning that, I have worked in positions that would allow me to improve the lives of children (including child protection, school social work, crisis pregnancy counseling, and juvenile probation.) I “fell in love” with adoption when I was a Birthparent Counselor in Colorado, and since returning to Minnesota in 1998, I longed for God to provide me with another mission field related to adoption. Helping America World families for over 10 years has been that opportunity!

Nichole Deal, MSW

Missouri Director of Social Services

Hello from Missouri! I have a Masters Degree in Social Work from the University of Missouri-Columbia. I have worked in the adoption field for over 18 years and have experiences in both international and domestic adoptions.

In addition, I also have personal adoption experience, as my parents adopted me domestically when I was two months old. I know that The Lord placed me in the family that was meant especially for me! I love the fact that I can combine my own personal and professional experiences in working with families. I look forward to helping create forever families for all of the orphaned children of the world, just as my own was created!

Samantha Fuhrman, MSW

New York Director of Social Services

Hello from New York! I am truly honored to be a part of what God is doing in the world through America World. I earned my BSW from Cairn University, and my MSW from Bryn Mawr College. I have experience working in foster care, the homeless population, mental health, and as a family and children’s therapist. As a Christian social worker, it is my desire to serve God through advocating for those without a voice. I am awed by what God is doing for orphans through the obedience and faithfulness of his people, and believe that AWAA is a place where this is happening on a daily basis.

Michele Kuxhausen

North Carolina Director of Social Services

Hello from North Carolina! I attended graduate school at the West Virginia Graduate College and earned my MA degree in Counseling. I have been serving children and families as a social worker for over 16 years. I started working at America World in 2005 as a Home Study Coordinator, and in December of 2009, started serving as the North Carolina DSS. I have a passion working with families and have been very grateful for this amazing opportunity to help orphans unite with Christian families. I feel extremely blessed to be part of such an amazing ministry. I love my job and I am committed to America World and the families that we serve.

Janet Woods

Ohio Director of Social Services

Hello!  I’m Janet Woods and I’m blessed to serve as the America World Ohio Director of Social Services.  I obtained my LSW soon after graduating from The University of Toledo with my Bachelors in Psychology, and have worked in various roles assisting children and families.  The seed of my concern for orphans began when my husband and I lived for several years in Ukraine serving our church and providing humanitarian aid to orphanages.  Fifteen years and three children later, I still could not abandon the idea that I could play a small part in the pure religion referred to in James 1:27; to care for orphans.  So, our family of five traveled to China and returned as a family of six with our youngest son.  As an adoptive mom, I understand the joy, stress and issues related to international adoption.  As a social worker, I hope to provide you with the best support and assistance possible as you travel your own adoption journey. 

Amber Lewis, LPC

Oklahoma Director of Social Services

“Is anything too hard for the Lord? I will return to you at the appointed time next year and Sarah will have a son.” -Genesis 18:14

God reminded me of this affirmation and promise of his love and perfect timing while I waited in the hospital for my son to be born at 27 weeks gestation. Indeed nothing is too hard for the Lord, and he did give me a son in His perfect timing. I thank God for that experience because it helped grow my faith and it brought us to the point of being ready to adopt a child. We found AWAA in the next year and began our journey toward bringing home our beautiful daughter from China. I once again relied on God's promise of perfect timing during our seemingly long wait for her. We now have 3 sons and 1 daughter, all wonderful and unique gifts from the Lord. Prior to that, I was born and raised on a cattle ranch in Texas, and earned my bachelors at Texas A&M (whoop!). I met my wonderful husband in graduate school in Mississippi, and we moved to Oklahoma in 1995. While I have spent most of my time since 1997 at home with my growing “brood” of children, I have also enjoyed my work as a part-time Licensed Professional Counselor. I am delighted now to have the opportunity to help others find their place in the beautiful process of adoption, and I believe God’s calling me to work with AWAA is one of the most thrilling things He has ever place in my path.

Leslie Knight

Oregon & Washington Director of Social Services

Hi! I'm Leslie Knight. I have a Master of Social Work degree and currently serve as the Director of Social Services for America World's Washington and Oregon offices. I have several years of experience working with state adoption and foster care services as well as serving as the director of a domestic adoption agency. I am passionate about supporting families throughout the entire adoption process and have experience as a foster parent, which provides me with a unique and in-depth perspective to helping children and families.

Lisa Baronner

Pennsylvania Director of Social Services

Hello from Pennsylvania!  I joined the America World staff in 2005 and it has been such a privilege to watch families grow through the special blessing of international adoption.  I earned my Bachelor’s degree from Indiana University of Pennsylvania and my Master’s Degree from the University of Pittsburgh.  I specialized in working with the aging population, but God had other plans.  My first job out of graduate school was at a hospital in a maternity/pediatric unit.  After seven years I left there to help start an adoption agency, where I have been for over two decades.  I have also been blessed personally with three children through adoption.  With each passing year I continue to be in awe of God’s unmistakable call to adoption that He places in the hearts of families, and His faithfulness throughout this lifelong journey of adoption.  It is an honor to serve adoptive families in Pennsylvania!

Emily Head, MSW

South Carolina Director of Social Services

Hello! It’s a great day in South Carolina! I have always had a passion for adoption, and am very blessed to be a part of AWAA. I received my Bachelors and Masters Degrees in Social Work from Florida State University. I have had the privilege of working with domestic adoptions and also child protective services in my professional career. I am excited about venturing to International Adoption, particularly placing orphans across the world in Godly families who will raise their children in the fear and admonition of the Lord. I have four beautiful children (Mackenzie, Parker, Ashton, and Boaz). My husband is adopted and we hope to one day adopt a child as well, Lord willing. I am looking forward to serving adoptive families in South Carolina!

Kim Cunningham, LBSW, LCPAA

Texas Director of Social Services

I am excited that God has led me to represent America World Adoption in Texas.  I feel fortunate to have the opportunity to work with you and to help you create your forever family. We have America World Adoption social workers all over Texas that are seasoned adoption professionals.  We will help you through your amazing adoption journey and pray with you in the process.  We are excited to work with you and to be a part of what God’s design is for your family.