Brian Andrew Luwis
Co-founder & CEO
I have lived in the Washington Metropolitan area for over 40 years and have been actively involved with adoptions since 1993 – both as a parent and as an advocate for orphans.
After attending St. Albans School, I graduated with honors from the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C. in 1988 with a Bachelor of Architecture. In 1994 my wife and I founded America World Adoption to assist other former orphans like our first daughter, Fei, and share the blessing of adoption with Christian families.
I work for my family business, a building development, and management company and serve America World Adoption solely as a 40+ hour/week volunteer (no salary). Like the Apostle Paul who made tents, I enjoy having the ability to earn my income from a source that is separate from my primary focus/ministry. My father was a first-generation American born to a poor immigrant family from Yugoslavia; he was a very successful developer in the D.C. area and it was his commitment to hard work that has enabled me to volunteer at America World.
In 2006, I went back to school, and by late 2007 I had earned a Master’s in Nonprofit Management. During school, I applied every project and assignment to America World Adoption and orphan issues. This was a great time for me to learn and study the business side of managing a non-profit organization.
My wife, Renee, and I now have five children: four by adoption and one by birth. God has revealed one of his greatest blessings to our family through His Spirit of adoption and it is our passion to share this with families like you. We are excited about what God is doing through America World and consider it an honor to be building families like yours through God’s design of adoption.
Chief Operating Officer
America World has given me an amazing opportunity to live out my passions daily by working directly with families and helping orphans all over the world. I came to America World in 2004 with the desire to help orphans and families in a very tangible way. It has been truly a gift and life-changing experience to work with hundreds of families as they are united with their children. I feel extremely blessed to be part of such an amazing organization that strives to love and serve God in all areas.
Jo Wright serves as a staff accountant and brings almost 20 years of accounting experience to America World. She earned her BA from Hiram College and is delighted to work for an organization that shares her beliefs and core values.
Jo is married with three children, two cats, and a dog. When she is not working, she enjoys relaxing with a book or going on long drives with her husband and their dog.
Leah Rockey, BSW
Leah serves as the Assistant Director, and she is passionate about providing excellent customer service and guidance to those considering adoption for the first time and to families already in process. Her role allows her to serve and guide families through all stages of the adoption process, including advocating for waiting children, assisting in matching families, developing adoption program structures, completing home studies and post-adoption reports, and partnering with other staff in their various roles.
Leah holds a bachelor’s degree from Liberty University with a concentration in Social Work and Counseling. After working in the education field for several years, she was impacted by her time spent in India and felt God calling her to serve orphans more directly, so she joined America World in 2005. She has been impacted greatly over her years at America World and is always in awe of the way that God meticulously writes every detail of each adoption story and counts it an honor to have a front-row seat as each chapter unfolds.
Leah has lived overseas in South America and served short-term in different capacities, including work in India, China, Africa, Guatemala, and South America, where she has served orphans and high-risk children. Within the local church, she has developed missions programs and led international mission teams. She enjoys volunteering in those capacities.
Leah and her husband, Nate, have two children from China. You can often find her traveling to explore new places with her family, enjoying the outdoors, or looking for a new flavor of tea to try. In her spare time, she also enjoys photography, writing, and crafting and often uses these hobbies as creative outlets with her children.
JULIA NORRIS, B.A.
DIRECTOR OF AFFILIATE OFFICES & ACCREDITATION
Julia Norris has held various roles with America World since her employment began in 1999, but currently oversees America World’s Affiliate Offices and is also responsible for developing new programs and ensuring the agency’s compliance with The Hague Convention, UAA and USCIS regulations.
Julia has a B.A. in International Relations, a background in investigations and has traveled to 28 countries. She enjoys sailing, traveling, and spending time with her family. She is a single mom with 2 children through adoption.
Post Adoption Program Director
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.
Amy Kryszan, MSW
Director of Human Resources and Office Management
As the Director of Human Resources and Office Management, Amy is responsible for all aspects of the HR department.
Amy has been serving families with America World for over 15 years. She brings many years of experience in human resources, social services, and performance and quality improvement.
Amy holds a Master’s degree in Social Work and has always been passionate about 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.
ABBY KONYNDYK, LMSW
Senior Director of Social Services & Intake
Abby feels honored to work for a Christian agency where you can come together in prayer and fellowship and play a small role in bringing families together. She has come to appreciate how blessed she was to grow up in a Christian family, and she is pleased to work for an organization that is allowing other children the same opportunity. She received her Masters in Social Work from the University in Michigan and has previously worked in foster care and disaster response.
Kristen Mallory, LMSW
Senior Director of Social Services, Director of Social Services-NJ, Assistant Director of Developing Programs (Colombia and Bulgaria)
Kristen is a social worker who has focused her career on services to families and children and feels fortunate to have worked with many families as they explore the unique challenges and joys of building their families through adoption. She joins America World with over 15 years of adoption experience, working with families through the home study process, directly overseeing intercountry adoption programs, and supporting prospective adoptive families during referral and travel and in the post-adoption period.
Kristen has worked with families adopting internationally and domestically, expectant mothers, and adoption and other human service agencies through their accreditation process to support best practices and positive outcomes for families and children. She is the Senior Director of Social Services, Director of Social Services-NJ, and Assistant Director of Developing Programs (Colombia and Bulgaria). She holds a BA in International Relations and an MS in Social Work and resides in Massachusetts with her family.
Felicia Herrera, MSW
Felicia moved to Virginia from New Mexico to help with a church plant. She has a Master’s in Social Work and has always had a passion and deep desire to advocate for vulnerable, historically overlooked, and underserved populations. She is excited to see how God will move through her in Virginia, DC, and through my work at America World.
In her free time, she likes hiking, rock climbing, or playing with her puppy outdoors. She has served in worship, kids, youth, and outreach for many years at her church. She feels honored and privileged to lead the way in showing the love of Christ to others through service and outreach, and she is excited to continue to do that at America World and beyond.
As the Development Specialist, Rob serves as the liaison for philanthropic support for the mission and outreach of America World. He takes joy in working with donors to change the lives of orphans around the world through adoption and overseas missions. He has a passion for helping donors consider their financial, tax, and personal planning goals as they invest in the tremendous impact we achieve.
Rob shared, “Supporting donors to identify ways to give that are both meaningful and strategic is good for the organization and for our generous donors. Nothing is more satisfying in this work than knowing I have helped donors support orphans and adoptive families with the best and smartest gift possible.”
Rob has a B.A. in Journalism and Mass Communication and has over two decades of experience helping donors accomplish their goals, working in fundraising since 2000. He and his wife have five children, including a son they adopted in 2014.
Marketing and Social Media Manager
Debby first learned about America World in 2017, when two friends from her running group decided to go on a mission trip to Ethiopia with the organization. Through their involvement over the years, she followed the opening of Bete Hosanna and learned about the girls living there. Finally, in June of 2022, she visited Ethiopia to experience for herself what God was doing through America World in that country.
Then, in October of that year, she was delighted to receive the opportunity to use her marketing and communications skills to serve the organization. She holds a BA in English and an MFA in Creative Writing, so her favorite part of her job is telling stories.
Debby and her husband, Joe, have two daughters and one dog. In her spare time, she enjoys reading, exercising, serving her church, and having fun adventures with her family.
Development Project Coordinator
Melinda has been involved with America World since 2014, when she was invited to go on a One Orphan mission trip to China with several adoptive parents. Since this time, Melinda has been involved with the mission side of America World, volunteering in China and Ethiopia, and leading mission teams to Ethiopia. God ignited a passion in her heart for adoption, orphan care, and caring for the vulnerable through her experiences with America World. She is honored to be able to work among so many people who have a heart for orphan care.
She has been employed by America World since 2022 and works as their Development Project Coordinator, managing the Ethiopia humanitarian programs there, including Bete Hosanna, the transitional home for teen girls. Melinda and her husband, Justin, have five children, the youngest adopted through America World.
In her free time, Melinda enjoys sporting events with her family, the beach, traveling, and a good cup of coffee (preferably Ethiopian!).
Mindy Davis, BSW
Assistant Director India Program
Mindy serves as the Assistant Director of the India program. She works with families on a day to day basis, assisting them with their paperwork and guiding them through the adoption process step-by-step. She is originally from the Indianapolis, Indiana area, holding a Bachelor of Social Work from Ball State University. Currently, she is based out of Northern Virginia, working in our corporate office.
It is an absolute joy for Mindy to serve on the America World team! She is grateful for the privilege to walk alongside families on their adoption journey. She was witness to her parent’s two adoptions from China and has always felt international adoption was an area she was called serve in. She is so thankful for the opportunity to do just that here at America World!
Aimee Wilson, BSW
As a Program Director, Aimee leads the China & Haiti teams and oversees the day-to-day operations of the program. At the heart of each task completed, every long term goal, and every decision made is the desire to serve the families who have entrusted us to walk alongside them in their adoption journey as well as the children who are in need of a loving family.
Her oversight and collaboration with others on the team ensures that families receive up-to-date instructions and guidance on current adoption procedures as well as the support they need at each step of the adoption process. While the number of children who continue to wait can be overwhelming, Aimee remains committed to seeing each child’s unique story, needs, and life as precious and worthy of every effort to see him or her placed into a family.
Aimee has a B.S. in Social Work and brings many years of experience working in foster care, international adoption, and overseas missions. She enjoys spending time with her husband and two boys as well as reading, cooking, and photography.
Judy Hatfield, JD
Intake & Adoption Programs Coordinator
As the Intake and Adoption Programs Coordinator, Judy ensures the process and review of all applications and is committed to providing support and education to families considering adoption. Judy brings many years of experience in the world of adoption and social services. Judy received her Master of Arts in Human Services with a concentration in Family Counseling and Juris Doctor from Liberty University. Judy and her husband enjoy traveling and have taken several mission trips over the years. Judy is thankful to be a part of what God is doing through the ministry of America World.
India Program Director
As Director of the India Program, Lisa oversees all aspects of a family’s adoption from India. She provides supervision to the India Program team, coordinates direct family services and partners with the in-country staff in India to organize the adoption process. Lisa’s professional career for over 25 years has been spent in the area of adoption with a passion to create a safer world for the most defenseless, by insuring that each child finds their God-given family to call their own.
Lisa believes a beautiful and lasting love for the country of India began when her newly adopted daughter of 8 weeks from India was placed in her arms. Her experience in the field of adoption encompasses directorships of a non-profit agency, branch office director and family services director. She has facilitated adoptions for families in the countries of Vietnam, Nepal and India.
Lisa has extensive training working with parents, specializing in the areas of grief and loss and arranged reunions for birthparents and adoptees. Lisa knows firsthand both personally and professionally the joys, frustrations and anxiety that families often experience during and after their adoption. She continues to have an ongoing desire to support families who walk this path.
She is the parent of seven children, four of whom came to her family through international adoption, as well as, the grandparent of ten children, two of whom were adopted from India. Lisa and her husband enjoy traveling, camping and spending time with the family God has richly blessed them with.
Mary has served as Accounting Manager for America World for nearly fifteen years. She brings a keen eye to detail and over thirty years of Accounting and Management to service to our families and financial leadership of our office.
The domestic adoption of a younger sister when Mary was nine years old imprinted the beauty of adoption on Mary’s heart and played a pivotal role in her desire to work in this field. Mary has been blessed with four children and three grandchildren.
When not in the office, we can find Mary and her Husband spending time with family, camping with their dogs, or riding their Harley Davidson motorcycles.
Nothing gives me a bigger smile in my work day than when I know that some precious child is about to get matched with their forever family. I grew up in the D.C. area and, after graduating from the College of William and Mary, I moved back to Northern Virginia where my husband and I settled down and raised our four children. I began my professional career as an elementary school teacher in both Fairfax and Arlington counties. After teaching in the classroom for several years, I transitioned to working for a law firm, which had a significant non-profit area of practice. I am grateful to be back working to help children. I feel very blessed to be surrounded by people who love the Lord and strive very hard each day to serve Him through such an effective, professional and Godly organization.