Our Team

Team Members

We are here to manage your
adoption with experience and compassion

Debbie Price, BSW, CC Angel in Adoption Awardee

Executive Director

International Specialist

Eastern Europe

Debbie Price, BSW, CC

Executive Director

International Specialist

Angel in Adoption Awardee

Adoption is my life and passion! I was adopted at birth, domestically. I have searched and found my birth family. I am also a mother of four children. I became the Executive Director of CHI in 1994, after adopting our daughter in 1991 in Romania, on our own. I have a Bachelor’s of Science in Social Work and have been blessed to have had the opportunity to work worldwide with CHI, developing programs and giving children who really need homes, a chance at having one of their own. A permanent, loving family is what children need. I’ve personally been in the adoption journey from several angles and I enjoy assisting others in theirs. I have traveled to over 40 countries in the past 20 years, developing a greater understanding of the cultures and how much adoption- permanency- is needed in the world for children.

Cindi Fuller, MSW

Social Services Supervisor

Cindi Fuller, MSW

Social Services Supervisor

cindi.f@chiadopt.org

I received my Bachelor’s in Social Work from the University of Montana and my Master’s in Social Work from Eastern Washington University. I am a licensed mental health counselor in the State of Washington. I have 2 adopted nieces and have worked in adoption as a home study and post-placement provider since 1999. I began clinical counseling for adopted children in 2010. My husband and two children are my top priority, and we love spending weekends at our cabin and hiking through the mountains of the Northwest.

Carly Palmer, MA

Social Services Supervisor/ Hong Kong International Specialist

Carly Palmer, MA

Social Services Supervisor/ Hong Kong International Specialist

carly.p@chiadopt.org

I have always had a passion for working with children and their families and have worked with a variety of populations. I first became involved with foster care and adoption through my work for a foster care agency in 2017. I served in multiple different roles at the agency, from working directly with youth, to licensing and serving as a support system for their foster families. After working for the foster care agency, my husband and I decided to become licensed foster parents and have been fostering for the past 3 years. In addition, I have experience working with the families of children with a range of special needs and disabilities through my work providing ABA therapy. I have earned my Master’s degree in Educational Studies that I received from Western Governors University, in addition to a Bachelors degree in Sociology from Western Washington University. I look forward to working with families through CHI and assisting them in providing a forever home for the children they are adopting!

Angela Vance

Case Manager

Asia, Latin America, Jamaica

Angela Vance

Case Manager

Angela is an experienced international adoption specialist as well as a mother through international adoption. She was the assistant director and social worker of an agency for 12 years, during which time she helped place over 1400 children from 9 countries for adoption. One of her most poignant memories from adoption is being at the airport in 2010 with families adopting from Haiti when 80 children (from her agency and others) were flown from earthquake-ravaged Haiti to safety. The unexpected wash of relief and patriotic pride as the U.S. military reconnaissance plane landed in front of her and the waiting families is one she will never forget. Since leaving the world of adoption in 2017, she has worked as a hospice and medical social worker, but is thrilled to be back to her roots serving children and families all around the world.

In her spare time, Angela admits she enjoys spending time way too much time on social media, watching tv shows like Heartland with her now-12-year-old daughter, and playing games on her phone. She loves the Lord, and loves serving His children through the ministry of Operation Christmas Child each year. Angela is a native resident of Florida and will also assist our Florida office with home studies as needed.

Tanya Knapp

Case Manager

India

Tanya Knapp

Case Manager

tanya.k@chiadopt.org

As a mother of 6 and grandmother to 7 I’ve realized that the lessons in life learned from raising children are irreplaceable and the memories are immeasurable. Growing up with a mixture of an adopted parent, stepparents, blended families, and family with special needs was really the foundation of my belief that families aren’t just born that they are formed. I am excited to be a part of The Children’s House International Team and to be able to help children find forever families and forever families to find children. Our family enjoys the outdoors and doing things together, we are always ready for our next adventure!

Tara Nichol, LSWAIC

Social Services Provider

Tara Nichol, LSWAIC

Social Services Provider

Tara.n@chiadopt.org

Tara earned her Master of Social work from Westfield State University and a Master’s in Education from Antioch University. She has worked as an educator for 14 years in various settings including outdoor education, wilderness guiding, residential programs and pre-k through high school education. Since her career change to Social Work, she has worked in Early Intervention, Adoption Management Services and trauma therapy with children and adults. While working in adoption services Tara assisted with the matching process and wrote home studies for prospective adoptive families. Tara has focused much of her work on trauma informed care, and she has experience in individual therapy, teaching about the effects of trauma and supporting caregivers to meet their children’s needs. In her spare time Tara loves exploring nature, doing home repair projects and spending time with her family. Tara is excited to work at CHI to support families through the adoption process!

Kathy Looser, MA, CC

Social Worker

Kathy Looser, MA, CC

Social Worker

kathy.l@chiadopt.org

I have a Master of Arts in Social Science and have worked in the field of adoption since 1996. I became interested in working in adoption after my husband and I adopted twin daughters domestically in 1988. I complete home studies and post-adoption reports for families with CHI. I also love educating parents on the issues that children face and sometimes struggle with as they deal with being adopted into a family instead of being born into it. I enjoy going out for coffee with friends, quilting, reading, traveling, watching movies with my family, and going birding.

Laura Boudreau, BS

Administrative Assistant

Laura Boudreau, BS

Administrative Assistant

laura.b@chiadopt.org

I graduated from Washington State University with a Bachelor of Science Degree in Psychology. While studying, I realized that, while I enjoyed the one-on-one aspect of psychology, I was more interested in areas relating to social work, especially relating to helping children. Multiple members of my extended family were adopted, and through them, I have seen firsthand how life-changing adoption can be. I am so excited to be a part of CHI, where I get to utilize my interests in social work while helping create families.

Yadira Clapper, BA

Executive Assistant

Yadira Clapper, BA

Executive Assistant

yadira.c@chiadopt.org

I graduated from Gonzaga University with a degree in Sociology. I’m the oldest of seven kids in my family, four of whom were adopted from Mexico. This has given me a unique perspective on the anticipation and excitement that comes with adoption. I feel incredibly lucky to play a small role in helping kids find stability and love with their forever families.

Laurie Schmaltz

Personnel Coordinator/Office Manager

Laurie Schmaltz

Personnel Coordinator/Office Manager

laurie.s@chiadopt.org

My family tree has grown in many directions surrounding adoption and enjoying a loving family. I was adopted at birth, domestically, raised in a loving family with my adopted brother.  Within my family, an Uncle opened his heart to 4 older step-nephews when their mother's life was unexpectedly cut short, and we all came together for support.  A unique joy in life was to have found my birthmother and continue to enjoy years with her and to learn her story of putting a child up for adoption.  The twists and turns of life have made me passionate about living to the fullest and whether career, family or friends, to always help others.  Understanding the mysteries of family roots being adopted, has been a growing experience for both me and my daughter.  I enjoy being creative, play piano and get another chance at being silly in life playing with my grandson.  I am excited to be part of the Children's House team with their wonderful longstanding reputation. It is a privilege to be part of the administrative support that assures successful process, as well as be able celebrate in the joys when children find their forever home with a loving family.

Kim Looper

Assistant Bookkeeper

Kim Looper

Assistant Bookkeeper

I have been married for 41 years. My husband Mike and I have 5 boys and 5 grandchildren. We have our own business in Arizona but work in California. We split our time between both states. We love to travel in our motorhome to visit places we’ve never been and to visit with our family as often as possible. I do all the accounting for our business and while in California, I work for some good friends of ours making ADA signs part time. Although we have a busy life, I love to spend time in the mountains and most of all the beach! I’m looking forward to working with all of you.

Jeanne Petersen Angel in Adoption Awardee

CFO and Bookkeeper

Jeanne Petersen

CFO and Bookkeeper

jeanne.p@chiadopt.org Angel in Adoption Awardee

I have always been passionate about children and have been blessed through the adoption of two sons. In  2001, with our youngest in school, I was hired as a part-time bookkeeper with Children’s House International. CHI offered me the perfect opportunity to mix my passion for children and my love for accounting. Since then, that part-time job has grown by leaps and bounds under the leadership of Debbie Price and the BOD. I look forward to many more years working with the wonderful adoptive families and passionate staff here at Children’s House.

Annika Wolfgram

Program Office Assistant

Annika Wolfgram

Program Office Assistant

I graduated recently, with my Bachelor of Science Degree in Psychology with an emphasis in Family Studies. My schoolwork was really focused on attachment styles, development, social life and the social causes and consequences of human behavior. I also volunteered a lot with children and the community. These courses and volunteer work made me realize that I wanted to work with parents and children to help find forever families. My Aunt also used to work as a Social Worker with families adopting internationally and absolutely loved it. I grew up listening to her stories and seeing the photos she would share of different families being united. She was so excited for me to start working at CHI as well.  As for me, I enjoy spending lots of time outdoors, reading plenty of books and traveling. I am super excited to be a part of CHI, where I can connect my degree and interests to help families come together.

Kathy Holliday Angel in Adoption Awardee

International Specialist

Latin America

Kathy Holliday

International Specialist

kathy.h@chiadopt.org Angel in Adoption Awardee

My life long journey with adoption began in 1993 when I adopted two children from Bolivia. Spending time in the orphanage there with my children and the others, truly changed my life. Even though two were going home with me, I knew I had to do whatever possible to find families for the others, which led me to begin working with CHI in 1994. Through the years, I have helped develop programs in Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico, Haiti, and Colombia. I also became involved with the Ethiopia program several years ago. I truly believe that every child that comes home through adoption is a miracle. I very much enjoy working with the children and families we serve.

Brooke Hill

Social Worker

Brooke Hill

Social Worker

I have always loved helping people and providing service, it is my love language. I graduated with my MSW from UNLV and jumped feet first into working within the social services community. I have been fortunate to work with many kids who have been in the foster system, along with their biological and at times adoptive families. I have been exclusively writing home studies for the past 2.5 years and really enjoy my work. I also recently started doing some private therapy which has proven to be challenging as well as very rewarding. In my free time I enjoy spending time with my husband and kids, whether its on a fun trip to a new place, or revisiting one of our favorites. I also enjoy baking and a good book!

Melissa Kometscher

Social Worker

Melissa Kometscher

Social Worker

I was born in Nebraska and lived in Iowa most of my life. I was exposed to adoption at a young age through family members. I grew up knowing I wanted to help others in their life. I graduated with my master's in psychology, and now finding out I want to continue in Social Work. Through my work and schooling, I had the opportunity to work in foster care. I found out I enjoyed working with children and families and helping them build a connect. I also enjoy cooking and hiking. I am excited to be part of the CHI team!

Marri Syndergaard

Volunteer Office Assistant

Marri Syndergaard

Volunteer Office Assistant

marri.s@chiadopt.org

My name Is Marri Syndergaard I was adopted back in 1993 from Bolivia. I recently became an office assistant for the Utah office but have been a volunteer for over a year for Children’s house. I love what this company does by helping children like me find a family.

Suzanne Evensen

Social Worker

Suzanne Evensen

Social Worker

Being adopted myself, I grew up feeling like I won the lottery! I always had a passion for adoption and I love being able to help others in their adoption journeys. When I went to college I asked my counselor what major I would need to be able to work in the adoption field. They told me social work and I never looked back. I graduated from Brigham Young University with my BSW. I completed my internship and then worked for the agency I was adopted through, which was really awesome! I stepped away from the work environment when I had children to raise. Several years ago we were having a family discussion about our passions in life. When my kids thought my passion was pickleball, I realized it was time to get back to working in the adoption realm. I worked with domestic adoptions doing home studies, follow up visits and, my personal favorite, counseling young women who were considering adoption. I am excited as I expand my horizons now working with international adoptions and helping others create their forever families in this way. I also really do enjoy playing pickleball, as well as snow and water skiing, golfing and mostly spending time with family.

Tinya Thomas, LBSW

Social Worker

Tinya Thomas, LBSW

Social Worker

tinya.t@chiadopt.org

I earned my Bachelors degree in Social Work from Baylor University in 1999. I am a licensed social worker and have my independent practice recognition. I started my career at Child Protective Services where I have worked in the field of Investigations for over 22 years. I began my journey in the adoption work in 2006 with experience in both domestic and international adoptions. I have been blessed and honored to be a small part of many families’ adoption journey through the years and watching these families thrive. I am single with four furbabies in the form of dogs. When not working, you will find me volunteering at the local animal shelter or with family, friends and/or my furbabies. I am very excited to be a part of the Children’s House team and look forward to putting you at ease during your adoption journey!

 

Rachel Purnell, MSW, LCSW

Social Worker

Rachel Purnell, MSW, LCSW

Social Worker

Rachel.p@chiadopt.org

I am a licensed clinical social work in the state of Texas and earned my MSW from Fordham University.  I have several adopted family members including one through international adoption.  I have been writing home studies for families adopting domestically and internationally for eight years.  Assisting families with their adoption goals and seeing adopted children thrive in their new homes has brought joy to my life.  When I am not working, I am busy being a mother of two, taking care of a dog, chickens, and goats, and spending quality time with family and friends.

Jennifer O’Leary, LBSW, LCPAA

Texas Placing Administrator, Social Worker

Jennifer O’Leary, LBSW, LCPAA

Texas Placing Administrator, Social Worker

I earned my Bachelors of Social Work from Southwest Texas State University in 2002. I am also a Licensed Child Placing Administrator (LCPAA) for the State of Texas and have my independent practice recognition as a licensed social worker. After graduating college, I taught preschool and volunteered at a local adoption agency. In 2003, I began my career in adoption and feel extremely blessed to have had the opportunity to work with so many families and children over the years. I have experience working with all members of the adoption triad in both international and domestic adoptions as well as foster care.  I have been married to my husband for 18 years and we have two beautiful daughters. On the weekends, you will find us at the soccer field, watching football, or spending time with family and friends. I am very excited to be a part of the Children’s House team and look forward to working with you during your adoption journey!

Lisa Anderson Angel in Adoption Awardee

International Specialist

India

Lisa Anderson

International Specialist

lisa.a@chiadopt.org Angel in Adoption Awardee

A little over 22 years ago I adopted my daughter, Devi, from India and am now a proud Nonnie to Baby Priya. While I was there the orphanage director showed me many children that needed families and asked if I could help. This started a fire in me that has burned ever since. I immediately started finding families for those children and soon began working for Children’s House. I adopted my son a few years later. Both of my children were seven years old at the time of their adoptions and both had special needs. My heart is with placing older and special needs children and fund-raise to establish and sustain programs that can help those children that are not adopted. Since that time, I established programs in Nepal, Ghana, and Ethiopia.   We named our Ethiopian transition home, The Thomas Center, after my son, Tommy. It’s been a long 22 years full of ups and downs, but it has been much more rewarding than I could have ever imagined. I like to think that my life has meaning because I made a difference in the life of a child.

Jana Holmes, LCSW-BACS, MSW

Social Worker

Jana Holmes, LCSW-BACS, MSW

Social Worker

jana.h@chiadopt.org

I was born and raised in central Louisiana and was the middle child in my family. I earned my Bachelor of Liberal Arts degree in Social Work from Northwestern State University in 1999 and then completed the Masters of Social Work program at LSU in 2000. My husband and I recently celebrated 6 years of marriage and we have 4 biological sons, including a set of twins born in early 2016.

I enjoy working with people with various abilities and disabilities. I spent 5 years with the state of Louisiana, working with adults with developmental disabilities. I’ve been in the public school system in special education since 2007. Just before coming to the school system though, a friend contacted me and asked if I’d like to help out with a domestic adoption home study in my hometown. I was eager and excited to see what that entailed, and 9 years later, I’m still eager and excited each time I am asked to help expand a family unit through adoption. I’ve participated in both domestic and international adoption processes and am always personally affected and moved by the families I work with. I joined the CHI team in November 2015 and have loved the experiences I’ve had so far. I look forward to many more opportunities and experiences with this group!

Kimberly White, MSW

Social Worker

Kimberly White, MSW

Social Worker

kimberly.w@chiadopt.org

I was born and raised in North Louisiana. I earned my Bachelor of Liberal Arts degree in Social Work from the University of Louisiana at Monroe (previously known as Northeast Louisiana University) in 1997 and then completed the Masters of Social Work program at Tulane University in 1998. I have been married for seventeen years and have a step-son and a daughter that I love dearly. For relaxation, I enjoy spending time with my family, watching my daughter play softball, and sitting outside on our patio overlooking the bayou and reading a book. I’ve been in the public school system in special education since 2001. I recently became the Preschool School Assessment Coordinator and completed the transition process with the Early Steps program. Between 2003 and 2004 two sets of my relatives adopted from Russia and contacted me regarding a home study and what to expect. Supporting them through their adoption process led me to begin a wonderful journey in assisting families during the adoption process since 2005 domestically and internationally. I joined the CHI team in June 2017. I am excited to be a part of the CHI team!

Paulette Rodehorst, MSW

Social Worker

Paulette Rodehorst, MSW

Social Worker

paulette.r@chiadopt.org
Claire Kosmicki, MSW

Social Worker

Adoptee

Claire Kosmicki, MSW

Social Worker

Adoptee

I was adopted domestically at birth as was my younger brother. Because of this background, I was always interested in being a part of the adoption process. I graduated with my Master’s in Social work from the University of South Carolina and have been working in adoptions as a home study and post placement provider since 2002. I have also worked with children from foster care who are looking for their forever families, so I have seen a variety of ways adoption can help grow families of all kinds! I enjoy running, trail running, and being outdoors with my family and dogs as well as getting the chance to read a good book!

Carol Layne, MSW, LCSW

Social Worker

Carol Layne, MSW, LCSW

Social Worker

I am a licensed clinical social worker and I have worked in the field of adoptions as a case worker, and licensing worker. I have worked with many adoptive families and children. I currently work part of the week in a clinical counseling office and in my spare time, I enjoy spending time with 6 grandkids and my wonderful spouse. I am blessed with two grown children who married well. My brother was adopted at the age of 5 when I was 12 years of age.

Angela Priest, MSW

Social Worker

Angela Priest, MSW

Social Worker

My husband was adopted as a newborn.  I have a Bachelor’s and a Master’s Degree in Social Work.  I began my work in adoptions working with children in foster care who were in need of an adoptive family.  I have been working as an independent home study and post placement provider since 2002 and have worked extensively with families who want to adopt domestically.  I am excited to be working with families who want to adopt internationally! I love working with children and families who come from different backgrounds.  I love to travel and I’ve had the opportunity to do some volunteer work in orphanages in Thailand and in Mexico. My summers are spent camping and hiking in the mountains with my family and winters are spent on the ski slopes.

Stacy Eccles, MSSW

Case Manager and Social Worker

Stacy Eccles, MSSW

Case Manager and Social Worker

Adoption is the biggest part of my heart. For me, it really is a passion. I look forward to the adventure as a Case Manager for Eastern Europe program and also supporting Home Studies.  My Dad was adopted, and I’ll forever be grateful to my Grandparents for making that choice. I also have cousin sibling sets adopted from Korea and Ukraine. I LOVE adoption and consider it a privileged journey to walk that path with so many families. It truly is an honor. I graduated with my Bachelor’s in International Business Management and then 20 years later with my MSW in Social Work from the University of Texas. I’m the proud mom to 4 wonderful children and my favorite hobby is attending all their performances, races, competitions and recitals. I love traveling and creating memories. I’ll take an experience over a present any day. I love palm trees, the beach and southern hospitality. I love being part of the CHI family and it fills my soul with joy.

Adrienne Rich-Hochman, LCSW

Social Worker

Adrienne Rich-Hochman, LCSW

Social Worker

adrienne.h@chiadopt.org

Working with adoptive families for the past twenty-seven years has been deeply satisfying and inspiring. It is a joy to help people realize their dreams of having a family. In addition to my work with adoption, I have a psychotherapy practice providing services to individuals and couples. I earned my Master’s Degree in Social Work at Boston University and am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. I am married and have two adult sons and a granddaughter I adore. In my leisure time, I love to read, grow orchids, bicycle, and travel.

Jennifer Starkey, LCSW

Social Worker

Jennifer Starkey, LCSW

Social Worker

jennifer.s@chiadopt.org

I was first exposed to and became interested in adoption work during an internship in 1999, I had always wanted to work with children and it became clear that bringing families together via adoption was the perfect fit for me. I began working with Children’s House International in 2002. I have also worked with The Dave Thomas Foundation as Wendy’s Wonderful Kids Recruiter, where I helped older children in foster care find their forever families. I have also worked with birth mothers and adoptive families via domestic adoptions here in Florida. My husband and I became adoptive parents in 2010 when we adopted our daughter Hope from China. I earned a Bachelor’s in Psychology in 1998, and Masters in Social Work in 2000. I then became a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) in 2005. I am married with two children, Bella and Hope, both four years of age. My hobbies include reading and spending lots of time with my family.

Pam Weyh, LCSW

Social Worker

Pam Weyh, LCSW

Social Worker

pam.w@chiadopt.org

Pamela Weyh has worked in the adoption field since 2003. After finding her passion working with adoptive families and children, Pamela followed her dream and returned to school as an adult and graduated with her masters in social work from The University of Central Florida in 2005, with special training in children, families and addictions. She is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker (LCSW) and loves all areas of her job.

Pamela spends her free time in the kitchen cooking and baking, reading, expanding her education, and traveling. She also loves spending time with her four children and eight grandchildren. Pamela believes children are a blessing beyond price and that all children deserve a safe, loving home with a parent or parents who will nurture and unconditionally love them.

Cayuna Williams, ISW

Social Worker

Cayuna Williams, ISW

Social Worker

Cayuna.w@chiadopt.org

My name is Cayuna (pronounced Kay-Yawn-Na) Williams. I am a registered social work intern in the state of Florida pursuing licensure as a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. I graduated from Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, affectionately known as FAMU, in 2018 with my Bachelor of Social Work. Upon graduating, I started working for a subcontracted agency of DCF in the Central Florida area as a Certified Child Welfare Case Manager. My favorite part of my job as a case manager was meeting children and finalizing permanency. I worked towards permanency in many ways including reunification, permanent guardianship, and my absolute favorite - adoption! After about a year of working in the field of child welfare, I decided to go back to school to pursue my Master of Social Work. I earned my degree from the University of Central Florida in 2020. As I worked as a school social worker, my heart desired something more, so I decided to return to my passion, finalizing permanency for children. My hobbies include taking my children on new experiences and taking self-care days for mani/pedis.