Staff & Board
We'd Love to Hear from You!
Adoption Options Staff:
Adrienne Elliott, LCSW, Executive Director – Adrienne is the Executive Director of Adoption Options and has been with the Agency a total of five years. Adrienne has worked in all aspects of the child welfare system including intake, child protection, permanency and adoption; including supervising an Adoption Unit for a Metro County in Colorado. Adrienne has been a child welfare trainer for the Colorado Training Academy; training on topics of abuse and neglect, permanency, and adoption. She currently teaches as adjunct faculty for the University of Denver and Metropolitan State University in subjects of Family Social Work and Foster Care and Adoption and also co-teaches a college level course for caseworkers and mental health professionals in Adoption Competence. Adrienne holds a Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Denver and a Bachelor’s of Science Degree from Purdue University. She brings with her over 20 years of child welfare and adoption experience.
Lori Devlyn, MSW, Assistant Director & Placement Supervisor – Lori was named the Assistant Director on March 1, 2014. She has been a Placement Supervisor since October of 2012 and prior to that was an Adoption Family Caseworker and Birthparent counselor. Lori received her Bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin at Stevens Point. She began her graduate degree at the University of Loyola in Chicago. While attending Loyola, she worked at the Adolescent Center at Rush University Medical Center where she provided counseling related to a full range of prenatal care, family planning and pregnancy prevention counseling and education services to teens and young adults ages 12 through 23 years. Lori and her family relocated to Colorado in 1992 where she continued her graduate work at the University of Denver. While attending DU, Lori interned with Adoption Options where she worked with Adoptive families and Birthparents and after earning her MSW, she continued working for Adoption Options in a variety of roles. After spending time at home raising her three kids, Lori returned to what she loves doing, working with individuals and families at Adoption Options since 2007.
Carol Lawson, Adoptive Family Caseworker/Consultant – Carol’s social work career started in Britain in the 1970s, where she worked for both Social Services Departments and a voluntary agency doing child protection and adoption and fostering. Carol has a Certificate of Qualification in Social Work and a Diploma in Child Care Law and Practice. Carol moved to the United States in 1993 to become Executive Director of Adoption Options, a position she retained until March 2012, when retirement saw her move to different areas of work, including training for the Consortium for Children in California. Returning to her love of working directly with families, Carol is now helping out at the agency as a part-time caseworker, assessing families and assisting with some of the education classes.
Leslie Wade, MSW, MPA, Adoptive Family Caseworker – Leslie joined Adoption Options in July 2015. She has previous child welfare experience through working for the Iowa Department of Human Services as well as working with a non-profit child abuse prevention agency. Leslie is a Colorado native, but previously lived in Nebraska for 17 years where she earned a Bachelor of Science and Social Work as well as Master of Social Work and a Master of Public Administration from the University of Nebraska at Omaha. Leslie enjoys being back in Colorado. She loves spending time on sporting fields with her children and taking trips with her family to the mountain.
Jacinta D. Watkins, MSW, Adoptive Family Caseworker – Jacinta joined Adoption Options in January of 2012 as an intern. She was hired as an Adoptive Family Caseworker in September of 2012. Born and raised in Colorado, she earned her Bachelor of Arts Degree at Baker University in Baldwin City, Kansas. After earning her Bachelor’s Degree she worked in child welfare for two years in the state of Missouri before deciding to return home to Colorado. Once in Colorado, she earned her Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Southern California.
Katie Arora, Adoptive Family Caseworker – Katie joined Adoption Options in
September 2018 as a Master of Social Work intern, and then joined the staff in February of 2019. She grew up throughout the
Midwest, spending time in St. Louis, Kansas City, Tulsa, and Memphis before landing
in Denver. She received her Bachelor of Science in Health Management and Policy
from Saint Louis University before working in healthcare information technology
in the Denver area. Katie decided that social work would better allow her to
connect with families, and she is currently working towards her Master of
Social Work at the University of Denver. Her Master’s focus is in Family
Systems Practice, and she is eager to collaborate with and welcome families of
all backgrounds as a member of the Adoption Options team. When she is not in the office or
working on schoolwork, she enjoys being outside, experimenting with new
recipes, playing trivia with friends, and watching football with her family.
Loretta Truman, Birth Parent Counselor – Loretta is originally from Kansas City. She graduated from Loyola University Chicago with a Bachelor of Science in Psychology and Bachelor of Arts in International Studies. Loretta moved to Denver in 2015 after living in New Zealand for a year to attend the University of Denver's Graduate School of Social Work. She graduated in 2017 with a Master of Social Work degree and Animal-Assisted Therapy Social Work Certificate. Prior to joining Adoption Options, Loretta gained experience providing play and animal-assisted based therapy with her licensed therapy dog, Teddy, to young children in residential treatment. Loretta's favorite things include traveling, taking her dog to the park, cooking, and reading as many books as she can get her hands on.
Samantha Mastaler, Birth Parent Counselor – Samantha joined Adoption Options in June of 2018. She is originally from Washington State where she earned her Bachelor's degree from Gonzaga University. She spent a year in the Jesuit Volunteer Corps where she worked at a domestic violence shelter in Cleveland, Ohio before moving to Denver to pursue her Master's in Social Work. She graduated with her MSW from the University of Denver in 2018 with a concentration in Family Systems. Samantha enjoys line dancing, hiking, camping, and being around friends and family.
Courtney Empson-Whaley, Flexible Families Program Manager – Courtney joined Adoption Options in July 2012. A Colorado native, she graduated from the University of Northern Colorado in 2008 with her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Criminal Justice. She worked as a Victim Advocate for 2 years in Greeley, CO before moving back to Denver and starting her career in Social Work. Courtney has been in the field for almost 4 years working as a Foster Care Case Manager, Adoption Worker, Foster Home Coordinator and Mental Health Worker. In the future she plans on getting her Master’s in Clinical Counseling.
Leah Klein, MSW, Flexible Families & Fresh Beginnings Caseworker – Leah initially joined Adoption Options as an intern in August 2016 and joined the team full time in June 2017. Leah earned her Bachelors of Social Work from Colorado State University and her Masters of Social Work from Metropolitan State University. Leah is passionate about working in the field of adoption and enjoys working with families. In her spare time, Leah likes to watch movies, and spend time with family and friends.
Lacey Jenkins,LSW, Flexible Families Caseworker – Lacey joined Adoption Options in October 2018. Lacey was
born and raised in Texas. Lacey has a Bachelor’s of Social work from Texas
Christian University. She then moved to Colorado, where she received her Master’s
degree of Social Work from the University of Denver. Outside of work, Lacey
enjoys hiking, skiing, and watching college football.
Leslie Dezendorf, LPC, Birth Parent Counselor/Adoptive Family Caseworker – Leslie joined Adoption Options in October, 2006. She does contract work for the southwestern part of Colorado, including Durango, where she lives. Previously, Leslie worked as a child and family therapist in a mental health center for ten years. Originally from Florida, she earned her Bachelor’s Degree in Teaching from Fort Lewis College and her Master’s Degree in Counseling from Adams State College.
Marianne Anderson, LCSW, Cradle Care and Foster Care Placement & Licensing Supervisor – Marianne has been working for Adoption Options since 1997. She graduated from the University of Denver in 1990 with a Master's of Social Work Degree specializing in Mental Health with an emphasis in finance and management. She is LCSW licensed in both California and Colorado. Marianne has over 25 years of experience working with children and families in foster care with juvenile offenders and human services, residential centers and out- patient services for children and families. Marianne is married and keeps busy with her three boys.
Emily Seccombe, Family Marketing Specialist and Legal Liaison – Emily started working with Adoption Options in April. She was born and raised in Littleton and moved to Fort Collins to attend Colorado State University where she obtained her Bachelor of Science degree in Human Development and Family Studies. Emily interned for an adoption agency in Fort Collins her senior year of college, where she fell in love with the field of adoption. She stayed in Fort Collins after graduation and worked for the agency as an adoptive parent caseworker and birth parent counselor for the last two years. Emily is excited to be back in the Denver area and is passionate about providing birth parents with support and counseling. Emily's favorite things include spending time with her family, eating waffles, watching the "The Office", and hitting golf balls at the driving range.
Sarah Olsen, LCSW, Trainer/Program Evaluator – Sarah joined Adoption Options in April, 2008. She has previous experience working for a county department of social services and a teen parenting program. Sarah is originally from Wyoming and earned her Bachelor’s in Sociology from the University of Puget Sound. In 2005 she received her Master’s of Social Work from the University of Denver. Sarah has been a Licensed Clinical Social Worker in the state of Colorado since 2010.
Erin Groce, Human Resources Director – Erin joined Adoption Options in February 2106. Originally from Northwestern Montana, Erin graduated from Gonzaga University and then moved to Denver in 2006. Prior to joining the Adoption Options team, she worked in book publishing and marketing for several area advertising firms. Erin enjoys spending time with her husband and two sons especially if that time can be spent outside hiking, camping, biking, etc.
Cori Winchester, Receptionist – Cori joined Adoption Options in 2012. Cori is a native of Colorado. She also teaches classical ballet at the Denver Conservatory of Dance and is a certified yoga instructor. Cori enjoys hiking, snowshoeing, practicing yoga and spending time with her three children.
Samantha Deebs, Finance Director – Samantha joined Adoption Options in May 2017. Samantha has dedicated her career to nonprofit managerial accounting; supporting valuable missions by providing solid financial data and strengthening financial positions. Samantha holds an Associates of Arts degree in Accounting from the University of Phoenix. In her spare time, Samantha enjoys travel, hiking, tennis, and golf.
Joan Cordo, Director of Fundraising & Development – Joan is the Director of Fundraising and Development and is new to the organization. She has been in the development role for many years and is excited to merge her passion for family and children with her fundraising expertise. Joan has lived in Colorado most of her life and received her Bachelor’s degree from the University of Colorado where she specialized in nonprofit. She loves spending time outdoors, traveling and just hanging out with her family.
Jamie Buttermore, MA, Adoption Caseworker & Birth Parent Counselor – Jamie joined the Adoption Options team in August 2017. She graduated with her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Colorado Mesa University in Grand Junction, CO and earned her Master’s degree in Human Services from Northeastern University in Boston, MA. Jamie has previous experience working in child welfare through working for the Mesa County Department of Human Services as an assessment case worker, working for a non-profit residential youth facility for sexually reactive youth males, and working for a non-profit for Senate Bill 94 helping minimize the number of teens that end up in the juvenile delinquency system unnecessarily. Jamie is also a long-time volunteer for Girl Scouts of Colorado as a leader mentoring the girls in her community. In her free time, she loves to travel, spend time with her 3 daughters, run marathons, watch her husband play competitive softball, and anything outdoors.
Kristen Spangler, Grand Junction Outreach Coordinator – Kristen joined the Adoption Options team in October 2018. She recently moved to Colorado from Washington to be near family. She has a two-year-old boy, two cats, and a dog. She's passionate about all things food, especially baking. She also enjoys outdoor adventures like camping and hiking with her kiddo and soon-to-be husband.
Kathy Hendry, Office Manager – Kathy originally was with Adoption Options from May 2014 to March 2016 before moving to Florida. Kathy rejoined the Agency in January 2019 after moving back to Denver to be near her family. Kathy has lived in Kansas, Nebraska and Texas, but considers Colorado home. Kathy is a Regis University graduate and has focused her working and volunteer years with non-profit organizations. When not working, Kathy spends her time with her family, pets, working in the garden and traveling.
Melisa Kotecki Schlote, Outreach Coordinator – Melisa joined our team in February 2019 after spending much of
her career serving children in a variety of capacities, including in case
and program management for adjudicated and homeless youth, teen parents, and
victims of domestic violence. Her own life-altering journey through
adoption, coupled with her natural gift of bringing people together even during
struggle, makes her a perfect addition to our own growing family. In
addition, Melisa brings uncommon expertise in community development, community
outreach, human resources, and small business operations. Melisa earned
her Bachelor’s degree from Lawrence University in Cultural Anthropology and did
her post-graduate studies at the University of Wisconsin for Urban and Regional
Planning with a focus on Community Development. Melisa enjoys spending time
hiking, camping, and traveling with her husband and two teenagers.
Gina Piazza, Marketing Coordinator – Gina joined us in February of 2019 after having worked as a Marketing Coordinator at a private club and as a New Media Assistant at the University of Wyoming Athletic Department. She received her undergraduate degree at the University of Wyoming in Communication, and is currently pursuing graduate studies at the University of Denver in Marketing Communication. Gina loves all things creative, especially graphic design and digital marketing. She is a Michigan native and has six nieces and nephews that live in the Detroit-metro area. She currently has no kids, but she does have a hedgehog named Toast!
Adoption Options Board of Directors:
Helen Gibson – Chair of the Board
Bill Flynn – Treasurer of the Board
Docia Michaels Boylen - Secretary of the Board
Steve Loux – Chair of the Governance Committee
Watch & Learn More...
Unplanned Pregnancy? You have options.
Learn more about becoming a birth parent to an adoptive family. If you’re pregnant you can connect confidentially with one of our birth parent support staff to discuss all of your options for FREE 24/7.
JJ’s Adoption Story
JJ was in the foster care system for 6 years, 3 homes, and one failed adoption before Adoption Options and her permanent family came into the story.