I grew up in the Western North Carolina mountains and came east to Charlotte for college. I have been married to my husband Dalen for 8 years and while we have no biological children, we have found ourselves parenting in a lot of other ways from hosting teenage exchange students to becoming licensed foster parents in 2020. In addition to the humans we parent, we have 2 chihuahuas (Dougie and Maggie), 2 chickens (Goldie and Cher), and roughly 100,000 nameless honeybees.
I have an undergraduate degree in Social Work from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and a master's in Social Work from North Carolina State University. I am a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and have experience working clinically with children, teens, and adults through my work as a clinician at Alexander Youth Network and my work with families experiencing homelessness at Charlotte Family Housing. During my work at Alexander Youth Network, I worked with children ages 8-18 on issues of anxiety, depression, adjustment, and trauma. While at Charlotte Family Housing, I worked with adults to explore how their life experiences and trauma histories impacted their current life situations. In addition to these experiences, I spend a week each summer exploring topics of grief and loss with teens through my work as a clinician with Circle Camps for Grieving Children. Through these seemingly unrelated experiences, I have built a base of knowledge around trauma, grief, loss, and a belief in the strength that every person has for resilience and growth.
I joined the Adoption Support Alliance team in February 2022. In addition to my work at ASA, I am also a Caregiver Support Coordinator with Foster Village Charlotte, working alongside fellow foster parents to provide community and support throughout the foster care process.
My Background with Adoption:
I come to the adoption community through my work in the foster care community. As a foster parent, foster parent advocate, and former Guardian Ad Litem, I have gotten to know many adoptive parents and recognize the complex systems and challenges those adopting out of foster care face. I am trained in delivering Resource Parent Curriculum - which is an 8-week course for parents raising children who have experienced trauma. I am also currently participating in the Center for Adoption Support and Education’s Training for Adoption Competency.
While working with children in foster care and children adopted out of foster care - I recognized the specialized need for psychoeducation, support, and understanding for foster and adoptive parents, in addition to the work I was doing with their children. I first connected with ASA through my work with Foster Village Charlotte, though I had been quietly following the work of ASA for years.
What will I do at ASA:
My hope at ASA is to work with both adoptive parents as well as adoptees, primarily focusing on work with teens and adults. My hope in working with teen and young adult adoptees is to come alongside them as they begin to process their adoption story and make sense of how it has and will impact their lives. My hope in working with adoptive parents is to help them feel supported in their journey as caregivers - parenting can bring up a lot of our own personal trauma, experiences, and ways in which we were parented that needs processing. I believe that behind every emotionally healthy child is a well-supported adult.