Affiliate Staff

Amy Kryzsan, MSW

Flordia 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. The Florida team is responsible for assisting families through the adoption process by conducting all visits and assessments relating to the home study and post-adoption process.

Amy has been serving families with America World for over 10 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.

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.

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 home studies, 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.

Noelle Andrews, MSW

Georgia Home Study Coordinator

Hey Ya’ll, I’m Noell Andrews from the Peach State. I am a Licensed Social Worker with a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology and Anthropology. I also have a Master’s degree in Social Work, both from THE Valdosta State University. I found my passion for bringing families together in 2014, where I began working in foster care and adoptions. God has led me to a career in restoring and building family relationships.

I’ve been blessed to work with families since 2013, and I have been a Home Study Coordinator for America World Adoption since 2017. Outside of work, I enjoy traveling, exploring new recipes, and binging Netflix. Go Falcons!

Jill Greenwood, MHSA

Illinois Director of Social Services

Hello from the State of Illinois. My name is Jill Greenwood and I have a Master’s Degree in Human Services Administration from Concordia University. As the Director of Social Services for America World’s Illinois office, I coordinate home study and post-adoption services throughout the state.

I have worked with children and families since 1998 through child welfare and adoption. I also have experience in foster care, search, and reunion, and licensing. I have always felt passionate about adoption and feel fortunate to be able to advocate for children and families. I have been working with America World since 2018 and feel blessed to be part of this organization.

I enjoy traveling, cooking, and spending time with my parents, husband, and two children.

Amanda Black, BA

Illinois Home Study Coordinator

As a Home Study Coordinator for the America World Illinois office since 2019, Amanda completes home study and post-adoption services in Central and Southern Illinois. Amanda has been working in the adoption field in Illinois since 2004 in domestic infant and international adoptions, as well as birth parent counseling and placement services. Amanda enjoys advocating for each family and helping them grow their family through adoption.

Amanda earned her Bachelor’s degree from the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis. She became a parent through open adoption and has great respect for all members of the adoption triad. In her spare time, Amanda enjoys time with her husband and three children.

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.

LAURA CARPENTER, MSSW, CSW, LSW

INDIANA & KENTUCKY 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.

Danielle Huntley, MSW, LCSW

Indiana Home Study Coordinator

As a Home Study Coordinator for the America World Indiana office, Dani coordinates home study and post-adoption services throughout the state.  She is passionate about advocating for families and truly enjoys getting to know her clients well so she can best serve them throughout the entire adoption process.

Dani earned her MSW from the Jane Addams College of Social Work at the University of Illinois at Chicago.  She also holds a clinical license in social work.  She has worked in adoption since 2009 and also has experience working in the areas of child welfare and refugee resettlement.

It is her passion to advocate for the vulnerable as well as to connect with, support, and encourage families as she walks alongside them during the adoption process.  She feels blessed to be a part of the America World family where she can provide these services to clients throughout the state.  Dani resides in an Indianapolis suburb with her husband and two sons.  In her spare time, she enjoys spending time with her family, being outdoors, writing, and traveling.

Angie Reed, BSW

IOWA DIRECTOR OF SOCIAL SERVICES

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. Angie also leads missions teams with America World’s One Orphan, serving orphans and valuable children in Ethiopia. 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.

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.

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 2 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.

Susan Lester, BSW

North Carolina Home Study Coordinator

Growing up in Virginia, Susan first came to America World as a China Family Coordinator in 2005, working in the corporate office. After taking time off to be with her young children, she moved to North Carolina in 2015, where she continues to live with her son and daughter.  Social work, in many different capacities, has been her passion since her undergrad years.  She is currently pursuing her Masters of Social Work at North Carolina State University and is anticipating her graduation in 2021.

She loves working alongside families who are pursuing adoption and enjoys the chance she gets to connect with them in their homes while completing home study reports.  In her free time, Susan enjoys spending time with her kids, hikes with their dog Yoshi and cooking.

Julianne Seneus, MSW

Maryland Home Study Coordinator

Hello, from the beautiful state of Maryland! My name is Julianne Seneus. I am a licensed social worker with a Master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Maryland, Baltimore. I have always had a passion for adoption, and am very blessed to be a part of America World Adoption. I have the privilege of working with domestic adoptions and also the foster care system as a Resource home worker.

I enjoy spending my time with my husband and our three beautiful children (Jaella, Aliyanah, and Julian). I am blessed to be a part of God’s hand in bringing children and families together through the joy of adoption.

Megan Stutsman, M.S.

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, post-placement reports and 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. 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, friends, reading, and time on the lake. Megan and her husband Ian are blessed to have 2 children through international adoption from Liberia.

Stacy Brown, MSW

Minnesota Home Study Coordinator

Hello from Minnesota!  I received my Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Iowa and have worked in the social work field for over 18 years.  I have experience in the areas of child protection, school social work, mental health, and adoption and have enjoyed serving families in each capacity.  I love getting to know all of the families I work with and feel very blessed to be part of America World!

Nichole Deal, MSW

MISSOURI DIRECTOR OF SOCIAL SERVICES

Nichole Deal is the Director of Social Services for Missouri. She oversees all adoption-related services for adoptive families in Missouri, such as interviewing, counseling, assessing and completing home studies and post-adoption supervision; she communicates with families regarding social services issues and refers to local resources as needed; she maintains the agency license in the State in accordance with required state standards and regulations; and manages all affiliate office administration, including budget and billing. She supervises one home study coordinator.

Nichole has worked in the adoption field for over 20 years, in both international and domestic agencies. She has had the privilege to travel to Russia, Colombia, and Honduras to meet with adoption officials to discuss how best to help their precious orphans find their forever homes. She has counseling experience in working with women and children who have been abused and neglected.

Nichole has direct experience in case management, administration, supervision, policy writing, grant writing, fundraising, and special events, as she worked with several non-profits who benefit women and children. Nichole’s professional and personal experiences intertwine as she is also an adoptee.

She was adopted domestically at the age of 2 months. Her parents were open and honest with her about her adoption from the very beginning. Nichole believes that it’s a testament to her parents and her Christian upbringing that she went on to achieve her Master’s Degree in Social Work, with the ultimate goal of working in the adoption field. She loves the fact that she is able to help connect orphan children with waiting families, just like her own.

When not working, Nichole enjoys traveling and spending time with friends and family. She is married and has two children.

Samantha Fuhrman, LMSW

New Jersey Home Study Coordinator

Samantha is a Licensed Social Worker and currently serves as Home Study Coordinator for the New York 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.

Lisa Morra, LCSW

New Jersey Home Study Coordinator

Lisa is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Registered Play Therapist with close to 25 years of experience working with children and families. Since 2001 Lisa has worked with devotion in the field of adoption and currently holds the position of Home Study Coordinator for the New Jersey office and is a counselor with the ACT program.

Lisa is also a Certified School Social Worker and feels strongly for advocating for vulnerable children so they receive proper educational and therapeutic services to meet their fullest potential. Over the years Lisa has also enjoyed working with children, adolescents, and adults to identify and overcome unique challenges through her private practice in New Jersey where she resides with her husband and three children.

MICHELE KUXHAUSEN, MC

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, BA, LSW

OHIO DIRECTOR OF SOCIAL SERVICES

As the Ohio Director of Social Services, Janet Woods assists Ohio families with the home study and post-adoption process of international adoption. She coordinates the efforts of the Ohio social work staff to assess prospective adoptive parents and provide them support for the adoption journey.

Janet obtained her BA from the University of Toledo and has been a licensed social worker for over 25 years. Janet and her husband are parents to four children, by birth and adoption. She enjoys spending time with her family, travel, and reading.

Emily Gallagher, LISW-S

Ohio Home Study Coordinator

Emily has worked for America World since 2016 and worked in adoptions and foster care since 2006. As an adoptive parent herself, Emily loves all aspects of adoption, international, domestic private, and through foster care.

Emily has an undergraduate degree in Human Development and Family Studies with a focus on youth development. Emily has a Masters in Social Work and loves all her part-time work!

Ginger Heyneman

Ohio Home Study Coordinator

I graduated with degrees in social work and sociology and have spent most of my career working in a non-profit agency. I have been blessed to have many opportunities to help strengthen families and provide care for vulnerable children through at-risk child development, early intervention, foster care, and adoption programs.

I am a passionate supporter of adoption and am grateful for the many ways that adoption has touched my life. I am honored to work as a home study coordinator at America World and contribute to the on-going legacy of such an outstanding Christian organization.

I am active in my church and enjoy playing with my granddaughter, spending time with family, baking, reading, and watching the Cleveland Indians.

Dayna Huot

Ohio Home Study Coordinator

My name is Dayna Huot. I work as a Home Study Assessor in my hometown of Cincinnati. I have always been passionate about God’s plan for adoption, and have experience in a variety of Social Work fields including stateside foster care, adoption, and mental health services. I am so thankful to work for such a great organization as America World to help couples grow their families through adoption.

My husband and I have two children and enjoy being outside with them. We love spending time in our beautiful city, as well as retreating to local parks for walks and hiking.

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.

Carla Tamplin, MSW

Ohio Home Study Coordinator

Carla has been working with America World Adoption since 2020, but she’s been interested in adoption since well before that. Carla has a younger brother who was adopted internationally.

“It’s been such a joy to have [my brother] as part of our family, I can’t imagine our family without him. I really love getting to be a part of other children’s adoption journeys also.”

Carla has her Masters of Social Work from The Ohio State University and lives in Springfield, Ohio.

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.

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.

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.

Kimberly L. Peck, MSW, LCSW

Oklahoma Home Study Coordinator

Kimberly is a home study provider in the Oklahoma City, OK area. She received a B.A. in Psychology from Oklahoma State University and a Masters in Social Work from The University of Oklahoma. She has over 20 years of experience in the social work field in the areas of adoption, mental health, and medical social work.

Kimberly and her husband have three children through international adoption from South Korea. She enjoys spending time with her family and pets!

LESLIE KNIGHT, MSW

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, MSW

PENNSYLVANIA DIRECTOR OF SOCIAL SERVICES

Lisa has been with America World since 2005. As the Director of Social Services for Pennsylvania, she oversees home studies and post-adoption services for all of the America World families residing in the state.

Lisa and her husband Tim have three sons through adoption. She especially enjoys talking with families about parenting and adoption issues. Lisa has a B.S. in Special Education and a Masters in Social Work. She has worked in the area of adoption for the past 26 years. Lisa has also worked as a medical social worker on a maternity and pediatrics hospital unit, and as a behavioral specialist working with adults in a residential setting.

Lisa’s interests include sports, watercolor painting, playing and singing with her church worship team, running, hiking, and playing any type of competitive game.

Enazshia Russell, B.A.

Pennsylvania Home Study Coordinator

Hello from the Keystone State! My name is Enazshia Russell and I received my Bachelor’s 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.

It has truly been a blessing to work at America World Adoption. As a Home Study Coordinator, I coordinate the home study and post-adoption services throughout Pennsylvania.

I love 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!

Denise Sheffield, BEEd

Pennsylvania Home Study Coordinator

Hello, my name is Denise Sheffield.  I serve as a Home Study Coordinator for the America World Pennsylvania office.  I have been working with children and families for almost twenty-five years. My experiences include daycare administrator, supports coordination for children and adults with intellectual disabilities and providing adoption services in private adoption, international adoption, birth mother services, and providing and administrating the state’s Post-Permanency program.  I have presented numerous workshops, both locally and nationally, and have facilitated support groups for adoptive families.  My education includes a Bachelor’s degree from Millersville University in Elementary Education.

I am a parent to three daughters, my older two daughters, now teenagers were adopted through China’s traditional program as infants, and my youngest daughter, now a tween, came to us by birth.  I enjoy spending time outdoors, wood crafts, reading, and spending time with our many dogs and cats.

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!

Elizabeth Gray, MSW

TEXAS & TENNESSEE DIRECTOR OF SOCIAL SERVICES

As Director of Social Services for Texas and 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.

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.

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.

Reyn Gaylord, BSW

Texas Home Study Coordinator

Hi, y’all, my name is Reyn Gaylord and I live in Cypress, Texas. I was born and raised on the island of Oahu, moved to Colorado for college, and have decided to grow my roots in Texas. I hold my bachelor’s degree in Social Work, Early Intervention: Birth-5 years, and my master’s degree in Social Work, Family-Centered Practice. God planted the seed in my heart for adoption when I was 16 and we adopted my youngest sister from foster care. God lit the fire in my heart when I went away for college when He led me to international adoption.

I have worked in voluntary newborn adoptions, foster care and foster to adopt, as well as international adoption. I am so excited to be apart of the America World family and so honored to work with our amazing families!

Sunny Lee, JD

Director of Social Services - Maryland
Assistant Director of Social Services - Virginia

As the Director of Social Services – Maryland, and the Assistant Director of Social Services – Virginia, Sunny manages social services work for families in Maryland and Virginia.

Sunny has a B.A. in Public Policy Studies and a Juris Doctorate. She is licensed to practice law in the state of Maryland. She worked as a corporate immigration attorney for years before joining AWAA.

Sunny has traveled and served with a number of international development teams at medical clinics and orphanages.

She enjoys spending time with her husband and three kids, throwing dinner parties, and traveling to new places. She feels blessed to be a part of God’s hand in helping precious children and loving families experience the joy of adoption.

Kayniee A’Hearn, MSW

Virginia Home Study Coordinator

Kayniee earned a M.S.W. from Boston University and has dedicated her career to serving children, youth and families.  Prior to America World, she worked in California with at-risk youth and in foster care and adoptions for over a decade.

Kayniee and her husband have two children, one of whom they were blessed to adopt.  Having been on two sides of the adoption triad, she feels privileged to play a small part in bringing orphans and their waiting families together.

Lyn Briscoe, B.A.E.

Virginia Home Study 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 working at a ropes course associated with a drug rehab center where she worked as a ropes course facilitator and developed a drug prevention program to take into the schools. Eventually, Lyn 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 so grateful for the opportunity to walk her families through the process of adoption and meet their beautiful children once they come home. Lyn lives in Virginia with her family. When not working or homeschooling her kids, she enjoys reading and photography.

Amy Pearson, B.S.

India Administrative Assistant & Virginia Home Study Coordinator

Amy Pearson is the India Administrative Assistant. She supports the India staff in processing families’ documents and advocating for waiting children.

Amy has a B.S. in Human Development with a concentration in Human Services. She began working at America World in 2004 as a China Family Coordinator and it was during this time that the Lord truly gave her a heart for the fatherless. She was able to travel to China to witness “gotcha day” for several families in 2005. In 2007 she and her husband had the opportunity to visit orphanages throughout Ethiopia, Rwanda, and Uganda. This deepened her heart for orphan care and adoption.

Since being part of the China program, Amy has also served as the Intake and Post Adoption Coordinator at America World. She was blessed to be able to stay home with her 3 children for several years and is now thrilled to be back at America World!

Amy enjoys spending time with her husband, children, and her local church family. She is a huge Washington Nationals fan and loves going to cheer the Nats on in person!

Aleesa Ribbens, MSW

Virginia Home Study Coordinator

Aleesa earned her Master’s in Social Work with a focus in clinical family practice from Boston University. She has experience working with families and children in a variety of social service settings including adoption, legal aid, respite care, and mental health services.

Having previously served as a Travel & Family Coordinator in America World’s China Program from 2014 – 2016, Aleesa is passionate about adoption and is excited to continue helping family’s through their adoption process as a Home Study Coordinator in the Virginia office.

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.