Social Media Coordinator & Waiting Child Advocate
As our Waiting Child Advocacy and Social Media Coordinator, Julie assists waiting children in finding their forever homes by communicating their stories and needs with our current China program families and prospective clients. A graduate of Vanderbilt University, Julie has a background in education and a master’s degree in Human Services from Liberty University, specializing in Marriage & Family Counseling.
As a military spouse and mom of 4, she has served as a teacher, Air Force family readiness leader, advocacy volunteer, family mentor, events coordinator, program director and stay-at-home mom over the course of the last 20 years and 8 moves. Most importantly, Julie is an adoptive mom, who brought her son home from China in 2015 and was forever changed through the adoption experience.
Her favorite activities revolve around traveling and spending time with her husband and children. She is especially passionate about watching God weave beautiful stories through families who open their hearts to the gift of adoption!
Senior Family Coordinator
Mindy serves as a Senior Family Coordinator, primarily working with families in 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. So is so thankful for the opportunity to do just that here at America World!
DIRECTOR OF MARKETING & PR
As the Director of Marketing & PR, Mike’s role is to advocate for orphans and vulnerable children through America World’s website, blog, social media, and at events around the country. He began his role at America World in 2004 after he and his wife adopted their daughter from China through America World.
Mike received his Bachelor degree in Pastoral Ministry. His heart for orphans has led him to share the love of Christ with children in Honduras, El Salvador, and China.
In his free time, Mike enjoys running, photography, videography, and watching his son and daughter play high school baseball and basketball with his wife, Tammy.
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.
Chief Development Officer
Joe Wilson is the Chief Development Officer with America World. He was born in Southern Illinois and attended Welch College in Nashville, TN where he earned a B.S. in Secondary Education. He is married to his high school sweetheart, Julie, and they have three daughters and one son-in-law.
Joe has been in full time ministry since 1990; serving in churches and with non-profits in five different states. His early years in ministry were dedicated to impacting youth and children. It was during this time that God began to do a work in his heart concerning adoption. In 2004, he and his wife adopted their youngest daughter through America World Adoption. He is thrilled to have the opportunity to work for America World in a role that fits his strengths and passions; leading others and serving in the God-ordained work of James 1:27.
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 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 25 countries. She enjoys sailing, traveling, and spending time with her family. She is a single mom with 2 children through adoption.
Intake & Adoption Programs Coordinator
Natalie serves as the Intake & Adoption Programs Coordinator for America World. She has the opportunity to support and educate families as they consider the adoption process, assisting them as they discern the right timing, type of adoption, and best program for their family.
Natalie was born and raised in Wisconsin, moved to central Pennsylvania to attend college, and then landed in Northern Virginia after graduation. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Human Development & Family Studies from Penn State University. Natalie has always had a passion for working with children and families, and she is honored to be a part of the America World team, serving families as they follow God’s call to care for orphans around the world.
Development & Marketing Coordinator
Jacque is America World’s Development and Marking Coordinator, creating and implementing America World’s strategic fundraising and communications efforts. Before coming to America World, Jacque worked as Account Executive at AKQA, one of the world’s leading Interactive Agencies, leading digital projects for major companies such as USPS and Disney. Her non-profit development experience includes working for Christian Web Agency, Silas Partners. There, she managed the design and development of websites and multi-channel fundraising campaigns for Christian ministries such as ADRA International, Langham Partnership, Harvest, NRB, and Show Hope.
Jacque holds a BA from Duke University. She enjoys traveling, gastronomy, and serving on her church worship team. Jacque and her husband David adopted their son Zachary from China in 2014. She lives in Oakton, Virginia with her husband, three children, and puppy.
DIRECTOR OF MISSIONS
As the Director of Missions, Erica works to coordinate missions and service trips around the world as well as establish partnerships that care for orphaned and vulnerable children. Erica brings more than twelve years of experience in volunteer training, mission trip planning, humanitarian aid and impact project management.
Erica has a B.A. in Education from Clemson University and an M.A. in Missiology from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. She enjoys running, spending time with family and serving internationally. Erica is married and has four children, two through the gift of international adoption.
CHINA PROGRAM DIRECTOR
As the Director of the China Program, Aimee leads the China team 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 son as well as reading, cooking, and photography.
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.
India Administrative Assistant
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!
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.
Leah serves as the Assistant Director, where 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 provides her the opportunity to serve and guide her families through the various stages of the adoption process and paperwork, advocate for children who are waiting, assist in matching families, develop program structures, as well as assist 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 in India and felt God calling her to serve orphans more directly and joined America World in 2005. She believes every child is precious to God and we have a Biblical responsibility to care for orphans.
Leah has both lived overseas and served short-term in different capacities, including work in India, China, Africa, and throughout 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 and loves serving in those roles.
She and her husband are involved in ministry and have two children from China. She enjoys spending time with her family, being outdoors, traveling, and using photography, writing, cooking, and crafting as creative outlets.
Anneli is America World’s Travel Coordinator in the China and India programs. She prepares families to travel to their child’s birth country as well as assists with the completion of paperwork at the end of their process. In preparing families for travel, Anneli will cover what to expect when a family meets their child for the first time, cultural differences & expectations, as well as an overview of all adoption appointments that will take place during their time in the country.
Anneli holds a B.A. in Sociology with a minor in Social Work and provides many years of international adoption experience both personally and professionally. Her passion for adoption began in 2002 when her younger sister joined their family from China and also spent several years living overseas serving at a foster home for orphans with special needs.
In her free time, Anneli enjoys reading, spending as much time outside as possible, and relaxing with family and friends.
Rachel Melton Stockdale
Assistant Director of Programs
As Assistant Director of Programs, Rachel Stockdale primarily works with families in the Haiti program and also liaises with orphanage directors, the IBESR, and the US Embassy. She also works with families in the China program.
Additionally, as America World pursues opening additional programs, Rachel assists with that process.
Rachel brings many years of project and team management experience to AWAA. She holds a BA in Intercultural Studies and is pursuing an MA in Student Development. An avid D.C. sports fan, Rachel enjoys traveling, running, and spending time with her husband and their young daughter and son.
As an Administrative Assistant, Adrienne helps create an environment that is both inviting to families while equipped with the tools to help the AWAA staff work most effectively. Additionally, she supports the China Program with Dossier Assistance, which often takes her into Washington D.C. to get documents properly authenticated. Adrienne has a background in program management for non-profit associations and is currently working towards a Masters of Education in School Counseling. She is thankful for her husband, who listens to her dissertation-length diatribes about podcasts, pop culture, and musical theater, about which she is startlingly passionate.
My name is Becki Carlson and I live and work remotely, from the suburbs of Chicago. My husband and I adopted our daughter from China in 2006 through America World, and while I was still in China, I knew that I would be back. I wasn’t sure if I would be back to adopt again or for another reason, but I knew in my heart that was not my last trip. God was breaking my heart for China, the orphans there, and the nannies that work so hard caring for them. Since our adoption trip, God has allowed me to return to China 5 more times on mission trips, both as a team member and as a team leader. Now I have the privilege of working for America World and as a Mission Trip Coordinator. I could not be more thrilled or proud to represent such an amazing organization and to be able to advocate every day for the children that desperately need the love of a family.
Corporate Post-Adoption Coordinator
Amy serves as the Corporate Post Adoption Coordinator for America World. She has the opportunity to walk with families through the post-adoption phase of their journey by helping them to love and care for their children after they return home.
Amy attended Florida State University where she received her Bachelor’s of Social Work. She has a background in adoption advocacy; formerly serving in crisis pregnancy centers and ministering to women and families facing unplanned pregnancies.
She enjoys leading worship in her local church, cooking, and spending time outside in the beautiful Blue Ridge mountains with her family. Amy is married to her high school sweetheart, Colin, and they live in Virginia with their daughter, Piper
AMBER LEWIS, LPC
CLINICAL & POST-ADOPTION SUPERVISOR
“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.
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.
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.
Director of Programs
For as long as I can remember I have had a heart and passion for helping people. I went to school in Washington state (where I am from) and was blessed to be able to align my passions with my education. I graduated with a degree in Human Services and through this degree, I have gained experience working with various populations, including families in the child welfare system, youth in chemical dependency treatment and children suffering from mental health issues.
I am so grateful to be a part of the America World team. I feel so blessed to be a part of AWAA’s mission to build Christian families and to be helping place the world’s orphans in loving, Christ-centered homes.
ABBY KONYNDYK, LSW, LGSW
Director of Corporate Social Services, LSW, LGSW
It is an honor to work for a Christian agency, where you can come together in prayer and fellowship, and play a small role in bringing families together. I have come to appreciate how blessed I am to grow up in a Christian family, and am pleased to work for an organization that is allowing other child the same opportunity. I received my Masters in Social Work from the University in Michigan, and have previously worked in foster care and disaster response.
MADGE L. SMITH BASS
I am a graduate of Strayer University with a Bachelor’s degree in Accounting and a Master’s degree in Educational Management. I enjoy being able to assist others and help them realize their purpose and passion in life. I appreciate every opportunity I have to be able to serve those around me.
I enjoy meeting new people from different backgrounds and traveling the world. I am married and have three daughters; two in college and one completing her last year of high school.
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.
I grew up outside Minneapolis, Minnesota, and went to college at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Washington. Upon graduating with an Environmental Studies Major and French and Biology minors, I moved to Falls Church, Virginia to participate in The Fellows Initiative, a post-graduate leadership development program, through The Falls Church Anglican. During that year and the following years I fell in love with Northern Virginia, so after taking an opportunity to teach English in France for a year in 2016-2017, I was looking for a way to come back to the area and use the talents God had given me to further his Kingdom and I found America World!
I’ve always intended to grow my future family through adoption, and I am so thankful for the opportunity to serve adoptive families as they go through the process. Communicating with families is the best part of my job, followed closely by getting to work alongside this incredible group of people!
INDIA FAMILY COORDINATOR
I was born and raised in Northern, Virginia. I received my BA in Christian Ministries from Gordon College.
Growing up, I always had a passion for adoption. I had many friends who had been adopted and my heart was opened to what a beautiful blessing adoption is. In 2011, I took a missions trip to Nairobi, Kenya that changed the trajectory of my life. It was on this trip that I had first-hand experience of things I had only heard about. The Lord opened my eyes while breaking my heart for what breaks His. I loved on orphans and knew this was the calling the Lord had placed on my life.
Since then, I have had the privilege of travelling all over the world and being immersed in other cultures. I have been blessed to work with various non-profits both in the United States and internationally. God has given me the desire to help people. I feel honored to have the opportunity to help families in this God-ordained process of adopting orphans.