Affiliate Staff

Leanda Weimer, MSW

Home Study Coordinator - Indiana

Leanda Weimer graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Ohio Christian University in 2013. She then obtained her Masters of Social Work from Indiana University in 2018. Leanda is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Licensed School Social Worker. She has been in the adoption and foster care field for over 8 years. Leanda is also a practitioner in Trust Based Relational Intervention and Therplay.  Leanda has worked in post-adoption, pre-adoption and now works with families to complete their adoption home studies.

Leanda is passionate about trauma-informed and attachment-based education and preparing and supporting families throughout the adoption process.

Greg Rausch, LISW-S

Home Study Coordinator - Ohio

Greg Rausch is the married father of five children, three of whom are adopted. Greg began pursuing certification as an adoption assessor in 2007 following a post-placement report with his family’s social worker during their first adoption. Greg had been looking for a way to utilize his skills in the social work field in a way that directly glorified God and impacted the Kingdom. He has enjoyed his work with families immensely and considers it a great honor to be able to join with families on their journey to adoption. Greg knows the family is uniquely designed by God and that every child belongs in a loving family. His goal is to provide the highest quality home study coordination to ease the journey as much as possible for families who undertake the daunting but rewarding adoption path.

Greg earned his Master of Social Work degree from the University of Kentucky in 1996 and has worked professionally with youth and their families since then in various capacities. When not engaged in a professional role, Greg values spending time with his family, being outside whenever possible, and remaining active.

Ernie Rivera

Home Study Coordinator - NJ

Ernie Rivera has been involved in various social service settings since 2008. Initially, he provided intensive case management services to families of children with behavioral and mental health challenges. Later, he worked with immigrant and refugee children and teenagers, offering home study and post-release case management services.

Since 2014, Ernie has obtained a Master’s degree in Human Services, specializing in Marriage and Family Counseling. He is currently dedicated to full-time ministry, where he continues pursuing his passion for helping families achieve healing and wholeness. He is excited to collaborate with AWAA in serving families in New Jersey.

Madison Strand, LMSW

Home Study Coordinator - NC

Madison Strand has had a heart for adoption for many years and is excited to help families throughout their adoption journey. She graduated from Texas Tech University with a B.S. in Community, Family, and Addiction Sciences. After some years working in the nonprofit world, Madison went on to earn her Master’s degree and licensure in Social Work. Inspired by Isaiah 1:17’s call to action, she has experience working in a number of social service settings, including healthcare, military communities, and with birth parents in domestic adoption.

Madison enjoys traveling, baking, watching movies, and throwing fun parties in her free time. Most of all, she loves to spend time with her sweet husband and their wonderful daughter. She is greatly looking forward to working with you!

Sunny Taylor, MA Edu

Home study Coordinator, Missouri

Sunny Taylor has worked in the social work setting, specifically with children, for many years. She started her career working child abuse and neglect investigations for the Children’s Division. She then returned to school to get her master’s degree and elementary teaching license. She taught in the public school setting for 9 years, which was very rewarding, but she greatly missed helping families in need. In 2017, she took a position at Missouri Baptist Children’s Home, training and working with foster families on implementing TBRI skills into their daily lives. She currently trains and licenses foster families in the Southwest area. She loves seeing how God has guided so many families to children and parents in need.

She enjoys spending her free time with her husband, Trey, their two large dogs, and their three-year-old daughter. They love going to the lake, family walks, and being on my in-law’s farm.  My husband and I have been fostering for over 6 years. They have fostered many children and witnessed God’s grace and mercy in helping families reunite. Adoption has touched her life personally; in 2022 she and her husband adopted their daughter, whom they have had since birth. The process of adoption can be exciting and challenging. She feels her personal experience has helped her better understand and guide America World families so they do not feel alone in the process.

Danielle Huntley, MSW, LCSW

Director of Social Services – Indiana and Illinois

Dani Huntley is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in Indiana.  She earned her Master of Social Work degree from the Jane Addams College of Social Work at the University of Illinois at Chicago.  She has worked in adoption since 2009 and has experience working in child welfare and refugee resettlement.  She relocated from Chicagoland to the Indianapolis suburbs, where she currently resides with her husband and two sons.  She has worked for America World since 2016 and serves as the Director of Social Services for Indiana and Illinois.

She is eager to assist families and truly enjoys getting to know her clients well so she can best serve them throughout the entire adoption process.  She is deeply passionate about advocating for the vulnerable as well as connecting with, supporting, and encouraging families throughout their adoption.  She feels blessed to be a part of the America World family, where she can provide these services to clients throughout both Indiana and Illinois.  She enjoys spending time with her family, cooking, drinking coffee, and traveling in her spare time.

Megan Stutsman, LSW, MS

Minnesota Director of Social Services

As the Minnesota Director of Social Services, Megan oversees the social services components in the state of Minnesota. She also completes home studies and post-placement reports, and she supervises Minnesota’s home study coordinators.

Megan received a B.S. in Social Work from Minnesota State University, Mankato, and an M.S. in Child & Family Studies from St. Cloud State University.  In addition, she is also a TBRI practitioner.  Megan has experience working in child protection, children’s mental health, early childhood family education, and adoption. She has enjoyed serving families in every capacity, though seeing how God orchestrates families’ adoption stories is her favorite.  Megan enjoys spending time with family and friends, reading, and enjoying the lake. Megan and her husband Ian are blessed to have 4 children, 2 biological and 2 through international adoption from Liberia.

Lyn Briscoe, B.A.E.

Virginia Home Study Coordinator and Social Services Coordinator

After earning a Bachelor’s Degree in Education, Lyn spent 6 years teaching English to at-risk middle schoolers. She then got a job at a ropes course facility, where she helped develop a drug prevention program to take into the schools. Eventually, she transitioned to the field of Christian camping, where she facilitated backpacking therapy trips for troubled youth, led adventure trips for foster kids and church youth groups, and finally became the Outdoor Education Director at a camp in Colorado where she met her husband.

Lyn and her husband have five children, three of whom were adopted from China through America World. Not long after their last adoption, Lyn received an unexpected blessing when her social worker called to ask her if she was interested in applying for his job when he retired. She is currently serving as the Social Services Coordinator for the Virginia office and continuing her job as a home study coordinator.

Lyn is grateful for the opportunity to walk her families through the adoption process and meet their beautiful children once they come home. When not working or homeschooling her kids, she enjoys reading, teaching Bible studies, and playing with her grandson.

Jennifer Knight

Ohio Director of Social Services

Jennifer Knight is an adoption professional with 15 years of experience across domestic waiting child, domestic infant, and international adoption.  She is also an adult adoptee, bringing a lifetime of personal experience into her interactions with adoptive families.  After a mid-life career change to pursue a Masters in Social work, Jennifer launched a small non-profit providing social services for families interested in adopting waiting children from the foster care system.  In addition to her work in adoption, Jennifer has experience as a mental health therapist for children and adolescents with a history of trauma.  Jennifer joined America World Adoption Association in 2020 and currently serves as the Director of Social Services for the state of Ohio as well as the Post Adoption Program Director.

DIANE HOOD, MS

GEORGIA DIRECTOR OF SOCIAL SERVICES

Diane has a Bachelor’s degree in psychology from Eckerd College and a Master’s degree from Florida State University. She and her husband became parents in 1993 when a beautiful woman named Mary chose them as the parents of her unborn son. They went on to have three children by birth: two more sons and a daughter.

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

Angie Reed, BSW

Iowa - Director of Social Services, Missions Coordinator

As the Director of Social Services – Iowa, Angie ensures America World families are provided with quality, Christ-centered services throughout their adoption. She and her Home Study Coordinators work closely with families to ensure smooth transitions for families.

Angie has a B.S. in Social Work from the University of Northern Iowa and is a Certified Adoption Investigator in the State of Iowa. As Missions Coordinator for America World, Angie leads missions teams to serve orphans and valuable children. She is also a youth leader with her church and enjoys spending time with the high schoolers.

Angie and her husband, Kyle, live in Indianola with their two sons.  She and her husband are youth leaders with their church’s high school youth group.  Angie enjoys spending her time with her family and her youth group girls.  She also leads missions teams for One Orphan to Ethiopia, which has become the highlight of her year.

Amy Pearson

Virginia - Home Study Coordinator and Social Service Coordinator

Amy began working with America World’s China program in 2004. Through her role in this program, she had the opportunity to travel to China with a large group of adoptive families to witness their adoption process. Shortly thereafter, she visited several orphanages in Ethiopia, Rwanda, and Uganda. Working with adoptive families and spending time with orphans deepened her passion for orphan care and adoption.

Since 2004, Amy has worked on and off in varying capacities at America World, depending on her season of life. She is excited to serve as Virginia and Maryland’s Social Services/Post Adoption Coordinator. Amy also serves as a Home Study Coordinator for the Northern Virginia area and enjoys meeting with adoptive families and conducting post-adoption visits.

Amy obtained her Bachelor of Science in Human Services from Virginia Tech (Go Hokies!). Her husband Justin serves as a pastor in the Northern Virginia area, and you can usually find them on the ball field or cheering on the Washington Nationals with their 4 energetic kids!  Amy also loves to spend time with friends, family, neighbors, and her church community.

Amy Kryszan, MSW

Florida Director of Social Services

As the Director of Social Services for the Florida office, Amy is responsible for the day-to-day operations of our Florida office.

Amy has been serving families with America World for over 15 years. She brings many years of experience in social services (including foster care, adoption, case management, counseling, and administration) as well as human resources.

Amy holds a Master’s degree in Social Work and has always had a passion for serving others. As an adoptive parent of 3 herself, Amy views her position with America World as her ministry and wants to help others feel the joy she and her husband felt when their children were placed with them.

Amber Srnis, LSW

Ohio - Home Study Coordinator

Amber is a home study coordinator and a licensed social worker. She is passionate about supporting and helping families as they expand through adoption. Amber has personal and professional experience with adoption. Her parents were foster parents for several years and ultimately adopted a daughter. Amber also worked in child welfare for over 5 years and has experience working with children and families through the foster and adoption process.

Amber and her husband are blessed with 4 children and a 5th on the way. They love spending time together as a family, playing outdoors, going to different places, or relaxing at home.

EMILY HEAD, MSW

Director of Social Services-SC and Post-Adoption Coordinator

Emily Head was always passionate about adoption, so she feels very blessed to be a part of America World. She received her Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in Social Work from Florida State University. She has worked with both domestic adoptions and child protective services in her professional career. She is excited to work in international adoption, particularly placing orphans across the world in Christian families who will raise their children in the fear and admonition of the Lord. She has four beautiful children (Mackenzie, Parker, Ashton, and Boaz). Her husband is adopted, and they hope to adopt a child one day.

Tim Hedden

Minnesota – Home Study Coordinator

Tim is a Home Study Coordinator in Central Minnesota and a licensed Elementary/Reading Teacher. He’s been working with families and children for over 30 years.

In 2003, he moved with his wife and five children to China to work in an orphan-care facility. They started by providing foster care for special-needs orphans and later managed week-long camps for children living in state-run orphanages. They were so moved by these little ones that they adopted three of them.

Toward the end of his tenure in China, he worked as a Home Study Provider for American families living in China who were adopting children. They returned to the U.S. in 2017 and continue to advocate for adoption. He provides trauma-informed training for families and caregivers as a Trust Based Relational Intervention® (TBRI®) Practitioner. He is also honored to work with America World in a setting that promotes the welfare of vulnerable children and families with wisdom from a Biblical worldview.

He lives in Big Lake, Minnesota, and loves being the father of eight kids, three of whom are adopted. He has five (soon to be seven) grandchildren and relishes every moment he spends with them. He looks forward to working with families who are walking the adoption journey and providing the support they need before, during, and after their adoptions are complete.

Jacquelyn White, LMHC

Missouri Director of Social Services

Jacquelyn graduated from the University of South Florida with a Master’s Degree in Mental Health Counseling in 1997 and has been a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC) for 20 years. She has a diverse background in Adoption, both domestic and international. She also has experience working for the Department of Children & Families in both Foster Care and Mental Health Programs.

Jacquelyn resides in St. Louis, Missouri, with her husband and two children, a daughter in her senior year of college and a son who is a freshman in college. Their family enjoys outdoor activities, traveling, and spending time with their three pets.

Jackie Grignon, MSW, MPA

NORTH CAROLINA DIRECTOR OF SOCIAL SERVICES

In 1996, Jackie received her Master’s degree in Social Work and obtained her Master’s Degree in Public Administration in 2010.  For the past 26 years, she has worked with children and families primarily in the field of child welfare and adoption. She feels honored to serve families and children in this capacity.

She began her journey with America World in August 2020 as the North Carolina Director of Social Services.  She feels blessed to be part of such an amazing ministry that allows her to live out her faith on a day-to-day basis. She looks forward to walking alongside you on this journey.

Dayna Huot

Ohio Home Study Coordinator

Dayna is a Home Study Assessor in her hometown of Cincinnati. She has always been passionate about God’s plan for adoption and has experience in various social work fields, including foster care, domestic adoption, and mental health services. She loves working with families on adoption through America World in southwest Ohio.

Dayna and her husband have three children and enjoy being outside with them. They love spending time in our beautiful city, exploring new restaurants, attending sporting events, and retreating to local parks for walks and hiking.

AMBER LEWIS, LPC

OKLAHOMA DIRECTOR OF SOCIAL SERVICES

Amber Lewis is a Licensed Professional Counselor in Oklahoma and has a Master of Science degree in Counseling Psychology from the University of Southern Mississippi. She has worked for America World since 2005, becoming familiar with the agency following her adoption of a daughter from China in 2003.

In her tenure with America World, she has worked both part-time and full-time, serving in various capacities, including Oklahoma director, clinical supervision, training development, and post-adoption support. She is a TBRI© Practitioner and has worked as a counselor for many years with high-needs children and their families in various settings.

She has four grown children and enjoys camping with her husband, quilting, and traveling.

Allison Gildner, MS, LPCC

Minnesota Home Study Coordinator

Allison attended the University of Northwestern – St. Paul, where she earned a Bachelor of Science in Clinical Psychology. She then completed a Master of Science at South Dakota State University in Counseling, Human Development, and School Counseling. Allison has been licensed as Professional Clinical Counselor in Minnesota since 2015. She works full-time as an Outpatient Psychotherapist with special focuses on treating trauma and postpartum mental health.

Allison and her husband have been delighted to grow their family with three children so far: one adopted from India through the America World program, and the other two by birth. Allison has been passionate about adoption since childhood. Having personally experienced God’s redeeming love through adoption, she is thrilled to help other families on that journey.

In her free time, Allison enjoys spending time with family, being outdoors, volunteering, painting, reading, and playing the sport of curling.

LAURA CARPENTER, LCSW

Director of Social Services – Kentucky

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.

Katherine Fromm, MSW

DSS Texas

Katherine was drawn to the field of adoption because she experienced the joy of adoption within her own family.  Her parents also became licensed foster parents, and she was deeply impacted by having foster siblings periodically while growing up. Prompted by the desire to work in foster care or adoption, she obtained a Bachelor of Social Work from Harding University in Arkansas and then a Master of Social Work from Our Lady of the Lake University in San Antonio, Texas. She previously enjoyed working in domestic adoption before working with families pursuing international adoptions. She has been privileged to work with America World families throughout the past 20 years and has felt blessed to be a part of the adoption process for so many children and parents. Katherine lives in the Dallas-Fort Worth area with her husband and three children. In her spare time, she enjoys gardening, crafting, and reading.

Elizabeth Gray, MSW

TENNESSEE DIRECTOR OF SOCIAL SERVICES

As Director of Social Services for Tennessee, Elizabeth works with families through the home study and post-adoption process. She strives to help adoptive parents feel supported and connected throughout their adoption. She has worked in school social work, juvenile court, and adoption.

She passionate about adoption and feels blessed to work for America World. Elizabeth has a Bachelor of Science in Social Work and a Master’s in Science in Social Work from the University of Tennessee. She enjoys reading, traveling, spending time with friends, family, and taking her dog for walks at the park.

Angela Waters, LCSW

Georgia Home Study Coordinator

Hello from Atlanta, Georgia! My name is Angela Waters and I am thrilled to be serving families through America World Adoption as a home study coordinator. I have been working in adoptions as a home study coordinator since 2014 and also had the privilege of working with members of the adoption triad in search and reunion services. I have a Masters’s degree in Social Work and am a licensed clinical social worker. My passion is walking with families through the home study process and helping them to feel empowered and comfortable on their adoption journey.

In my free time, my three young boys keep my husband and me busy and on our toes at all times. We love spending time as a family going on hikes, exploring new places, cheering on the Auburn Tigers, and going to the lake.

Enazshia Russell, B.A.

Pennsylvania Home Study Coordinator

Hello from the Keystone State! I have been with America World since 2018 and it has truly been a blessing.

What I love most is getting to know families who want to adopt domestically or internationally. My favorite part of the job is seeing the adopted child with their new family during the post-adoption visits!

I received my degree in Sociology from Temple University. I have always had a passion for working with children, at-risk youth, and families. I have professional work experience in the areas of adoption, foster care, child protective services, behavioral health, and mental health.

Cassie Zahller, MSW

Ohio Home Study Coordinator

Hello, I’m Cassie Zahller! I am a licensed social worker with a bachelor’s degree in Family Studies from Miami University and a Master of Social Work degree from The Ohio State University. As a South Korean adoptee, adoption has been a passion of mine from a young age. I’m so excited to be part of America World Adoption and to work with families through their adoption journey.

My husband and I grew our family through adoption in 2020 and our son is such a blessing. We love spending time outdoors, watching sports, traveling, and I’m always up for trying new recipes to bake.

Juanita Oiler

Ohio Home Study Coordinator

Greetings from beautiful Ohio, “the Heart of It All”.  I am so blessed to be a part of the America World Adoption family! I was privileged to receive a BA in Psychology from Mount Vernon Nazarene University in Ohio and a Master of Education in Community Counseling from Georgia State University.  I have always had a passion for helping others heal from past hurts and develop the potential God plants in each of us.

This journey has led from women’s missions to child protective services, helping dislocated workers transition to new employment and educational opportunities to coming alongside those transitioning from this life to the next while in hospice.  I have had the opportunity of providing counseling services for senior adults and therapeutic services for youth involved in treatment foster care.  Throughout this variety of experiences, it has become evident that the difficult places we encounter in our lives are made easier when we are not alone, and that supportive relationships bring healing.  For this reason, I am excited to be part of an organization committed to building such relationships across the world.

I enjoy many things, including music, crafts, travel, writing, nurturing beautiful plants, and learning as much as possible about as many subjects as I can (I am an information junkie).  I have been involved with my local church for many years and love spending time with friends. Although not privileged to have children, I have adopted a number of special needs pets over the years.  I currently have two furry companions, my dog Wynnston and his feline brother Wattson.

Shanny Gelso

Oklahoma Home Study Coordinator

Hello, my name is Shanny Gelso. I have experience in corrections, mental health services, social work, and child welfare.  I love working with domestic foster and adoptive families and have just started working with America World this year.

I’m excited to get to work with the wonderful families who adopt through America World.  I am married to my high school sweetheart, and we have two children.  I enjoy reading, traveling, playing with our dogs, and time at the lake.

Jennifer Ripley

Illinois Home Study Coordinator

As a Home Study Coordinator for the Illinois office, I conduct home studies and post-adoption services throughout Chicagoland. I received my Master’s degree in Counseling Psychology from Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in 2011. Adoption has always been a part of my family’s history and caring for vulnerable children has been impressed upon me from a young age. I am so thankful to be part of the America World team and feel blessed to have a front-row seat to witness what God is doing through this organization and in the AWAA families.

I live in a suburb of Chicago with my husband, three children, and dog.  I love having fun with my family, going for walks, listening to inspiring music and podcasts, reading, drawing, and crocheting.

Samantha Fuhrman, LMSW

New Jersey Home Study Coordinator

Samantha is a Licensed Social Worker and currently serves as Home Study Coordinator for the New Jersey office and a counselor with the ACT program. Samantha has been on the America World team since 2012. She is especially interested in coaching families who have children who are struggling with attachment and also leading support and educational groups for families. Samantha is the Program Director of a state-funded post-adoption program on Long Island, where she lives with her husband and four children, by birth and adoption.

Kayla Bosworth

Ohio Home Study Coordinator

I am thrilled to be a part of the Ohio team as a Home Study Coordinator.  I am a licensed social worker and have been working as an international adoption specialist for the past 6 years.  God truly gave me a job that fulfills my passion to serve children who are in need of loving families.

My husband and I have been blessed with 9 children,  5 of which have been adopted internationally, and we have 6 years of experience serving children in foster care.  Through our foster and adoption journey, we have been humbled and challenged and yet God has been faithful and taught us so much.  I feel my own personal experiences fill me with compassion and discernment as I seek to educate, assess and support families.

MICHELE KUXHAUSEN, MC

NORTH CAROLINA HOME STUDY COORDINATOR

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.

I have a passion for 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.

Pamela Hiller, MSW

Maryland Home Study Coordinator

As one of the Maryland Home Study Coordinators, Pamela completes home studies, home study updates, and post-placement reports.  When working with her America World families, she enjoys partnering with families on their adoption journey to help prepare them for their adoptions as well as assist with post-adoption transitions. She is honored to work for a Christian based organization that is helping bless others by bringing families together through adoption.

Pamela received her Bachelor’s degree in Human Development at Boston College and her Master’s degree in Social Work at Salem State College with a concentration in Child and Family Services.  She has worked with children and families in the social work field for over 20 years.  Some of her experiences are with foster care, adoption services, domestic violence, and counseling with children, adolescents, families, and adults.  She has been working with AWAA for 3 years.

She is married and has two daughters. She enjoys spending time with friends and family, playing or snuggling with her dog, traveling, reading, listening to music, watching family-friendly movies, and being creative. She has served on several mission trips to El Salvador and also likes volunteering through her church.

Donna Musselwhite, M.Ed., LMHC

Florida Home Study Coordinator

Since 2008 Donna has been a Home Study Coordinator with America World serving families in the North Florida and South Georgia areas.  She is a strong advocate for families who enjoys serving them throughout the adoption process.

Donna earned her bachelor’s degree from the University of Rhode Island and her master’s degree from the University of North Florida.  She has been licensed as a mental health counselor as well as certified as a school counselor PK – grade 12, since 1992.  She has worked in adoption and foster care since 1990.  Donna served on the board of her local Families with Children from China organization for 4 years as the Chairperson.

Donna is the proud mother of 2 children, one adopted by way of the state foster care system and one adopted from China. Having grown up and aged out of the state foster care system herself, Donna feels it is a calling and a passion to be involved in the adoption journey with her America World families.  In her free time, she enjoys spending time with her family, traveling, and being involved with the FCC (Families with Children from China) group.

Therese McOwen, LSW

Ohio Home Study Coordinator

Therese has worked for America World since 2005 helping families through the home study and post-adoption stage of adoption. She considers it is a privilege to be able to use both her education and her faith as she helps build families. Therese works directly with families in northwest Ohio and overseas post-adoption reporting in Ohio.

Therese received her degree from Bluffton University and is a licensed social worker. She is married and has 3 adult daughters and 5 grandchildren.

Julie Osburn, MS

Tennessee Home Study Coordinator

Hello from West Tennessee! My name is Julie Osburn, and I have a Master’s Degree in Psychology from Abilene Christian University. My family includes my library director husband and five amazing children, from ages 21 to 10.

After graduate school, I worked for eight years as a counselor and supervisor in a startup employee assistance program. I was then blessed to be home full time for 15 years, rearing and educating my children. After adopting our daughter from Ethiopia in 2010, I knew that someday I wanted to work with children and families going through the foster care or adoption process.

For the past two years, I have worked with families as they prepare their hearts and homes for state foster care/adoption and international adoption. I look forward to continued service alongside families who open their homes to children in need.

Meredith Kober, LSW

Illinois Home Study Coordinator

As a Home Study Coordinator for the America World Illinois office since 2015, Meredith completes home study and post-adoption services in the Chicagoland area. Meredith has been working in the adoption field since 2004 in international and private domestic adoptions, foster care, and birth parent counseling. Meredith enjoys getting to know her families well in order to best advocate and serve them throughout their entire adoption journey, and considers it a privilege to work with each of them.

Meredith earned her BSSW from Manchester University in N. Manchester, Indiana. Meredith began her adoption work in the State Ohio where she became a Licensed Social Worker, and completed the State of Ohio’s Tier I & II Adoption Assessor Training. She also has experience working in the field of Workforce Development and Mental Health Services, serving in these roles through management, counseling, administration, supervision, development and special events, and grant writing.

She and her husband reside in the western suburbs of Chicago. They have two adult daughters, a son-in-law, and two sweet dogs. In her free time, Meredith enjoys spending time with family and friends, going out to eat, reading, decorating, crafting, traveling, and enjoying the Illinois Prairie paths and Fox Valley River.

Sandy Ivey, M. Ed.

Tennessee Home Study Coordinator

Sandy began her professional career in adoption after earning her BA in psychology from Mercer University and Master’s of Education in Counseling from Texas Christian University. She has worked in the field of adoption since 1990. In 2003, Sandy was instrumental in the opening of America World Adoption as they brought their services to Tennessee.  Since that time, Sandy has served as Interim Director, Case Work Supervisor and Home Study Coordinator.

Serving families and children is Sandy’s passion.  Her mission is to educate the public on adoption, fostering, and the orphans of the world. An Ill-informed world lacks knowledge which could help bring about change.

Sandy is actively involved in the InterAgency Adoption Coalition and FAM the Foster Adoption Ministry at Brentwood Baptist Church. She also serves on the Board for the Middle TN. Orphan Alliance (MTOA) and she is a founding board member for Tennessee Alliance for Kids (TAK).

When not working or volunteering, Sandy and her husband of 35 years are enjoying their “empty nest”. Travel, cooking, entertaining and gardening are top priorities.  Sandy and Steve have 2 sons by birth and adoption.  Seeing the successful launch of her adult boys is one of her greatest accomplishments.

Leslie Klamm, M. Ed.

Oklahoma Home Study Coordinator

Hello from the waving wheat fields of Oklahoma!  I am a Home Study Coordinator in the NW part of Oklahoma! I have worked for America World since 2012 and in the field of private adoptions since 1996.  I hold a Master’s of Education from Northwestern Oklahoma State University.

My social service experience began with the State of Oklahoma as a Child Welfare Specialist.  My husband and I have four children: 3 as biological gifts from God and one who entered our hearts first as a foster child prior to our adoption of him.  We fostered for 11 years and gained 28 additional children into our hearts through this process.

I enjoy the connections I make with adoptive families and love being a resource that families can reach out to share joys and ask questions.

Karine Ruis, BSW

Minnesota Home Study Coordinator

Karine received her Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work from Bethel College and has worked in the adoption field for over 20 years.  She lives in a Minneapolis suburb and enjoys spending time with family and friends, reading, and photography.

Karine and her husband Jason have 3 children, two of whom joined their family through adoption. Karine has a heart for adoption and feels blessed to be able to work with families throughout their adoption journey.

Sarah Hofland, LBSW

Iowa Home Study Coordinator

Hello from Iowa.  My name is Sarah Hofland and I am a home study coordinator.  I have a Bachelor’s of Social Work degree from Northwestern College.  I have worked in the field of adoption since 1998, but adoption has always been a part of my life.  I have five siblings, three of whom came through International adoption.  Two of my siblings came as infants when I was a toddler, my other sibling came at the age of 5 when I was in junior high.  My mother also works in the adoption field and has done so since I was in elementary school.

My husband and I have four children and enjoy attending their dance competitions, volleyball games, and softball and baseball games.

Adoption has always been a part of my heart and my passion.  I am blessed to be a part of God’s work in the process and enjoy walking alongside my families as they travel along their adoption journey.