Meredith Shepard, Director of Programs

Meredith Shepard joined Heart of Adoptions Alliance, Inc. in 2014 as an Adoptive Parent Coordinator. She works closely with waiting adoptive families handling day-to-day needs and assisting with matching adoptive families to birth families. In July 2020 she became the Director of Programs. She is responsible to coordinate and supervise agency staff, volunteers, and handle day-to-day operational duties.
Meredith has worked in the area of social work for over 20 years and has experience with child development, adoption, foster care, and developmental disabilities. Meredith graduated with honors from Eckerd College with a Bachelor of Arts in Human Development and Walden University with a Master of Science in Non-Profit Management & leadership.


Shannon Howard-Lascari, Senior Caseworker

Shannon graduated from University of South Florida in 2007 with a Bachelors Degree in Psychology. She started working in Child Welfare immediately after graduating college as a Case Manager, where she worked with children and families involved in the Dependency System. Shannon worked as a Case Manager for four years before transitioning into a Family Adoption Specialist, where she worked with adoptive families looking to adopt from foster care. Shannon eventually worked for the lead agency providing technical assistance, support, and oversight to the case management agencies in Pinellas and Pasco Counties. Wanting to gain management experience, Shannon then went to work for a Hillsborough community based care organization as an Assistant Program Director where she was responsible for three case management supervisors, 25 case managers, and provided direct oversight on cases involving approximately 600 children in the  Dependency System.  

Shannon’s passion for adoption and creating families through adoption led her to Heart of Adoptions Alliance, Inc. where she joined the adoptions team in February 2018 as a Senior Case Worker and Intake Coordinator. In her role, she works directly with birth mothers conducting intake interviews, screening birth parents, and matched adoption applicants. Shannon sets initial appointments with clients to meet with staff for the initial assessment. Once the assessment is complete, Shannon assigns the case to a birth parent caseworker for continued attention and care. As a Senior Case Worker, Shannon also provides training, mentoring, and support to the front line staff.

Vidisha Patel, Accountant

Vidisha Patel joined the agency in July of 2016. Vidisha is responsible for all asset, liability and capital account transactions, maintaining accounting controls by preparing and recommending policies and procedures, guiding accounting clerical staff by coordinating and answering questions, reconciling financial discrepancies by collecting and analyzing account information, maintaining financial security by following internal controls, preparing reports, and ad-hoc tasks. Vidisha holds a BS and MBA with an Accounting concentration and possesses eight plus years of precise skill sets and qualifications from her previous experiences at a Big-4 firm and Fortune 500 companies.

James Taylor, IT Support Technician

James Taylor  joined Heart of Adoptions Alliance, Inc. in June 2017 as the in house  IT support technician. James primarily acts as the IT support technician  between our adoption agency and our legal team. He is responsible for hardware and software related issues.James is also responsible for various IT related task.


Daneille Stewart, Director of International Services

Daneille joined Heart of Adoptions Alliance, Inc. in 2003 and works in the Naples office, handling the social work and legal needs of our clients in Southwest Florida.   She has been providing support and guidance to adoptive families since 1997 prior to joining the agency.   She was instrumental in opening a Guatemalan incoming program and assisted in creating many families before the country closed to international adoptions.   Daneille is experienced in domestic and international adoptions.  She is responsible for assisting in educating and screening new applicants, supervising birth parent counselors, home studies, post placements and matches between birth and adoptive families.

Daneille has been working in the legal system since 1983 and received her paralegal certificate of completion from Florida International University in 1986.  She received her Certified Legal Assistant (CLA) status in 1987 from the National Association of Legal Assistants and in 1988 from the Florida Association of Legal Assistants.  Daneille is also a Florida Registered Paralegal.   Daneille received an Associate in Arts Degree in Criminology from Edison Community College in 1996 and received a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Criminology from Florida Gulf Coast University in 2006.

Gabriela Bonn, Senior Caseworker

Gabriela Bonn joined Heart of Adoptions Alliance, Inc. in 2006 as an Adoption Caseworker and began working closely with birth mothers handling their day-to-day needs, monitoring medical care and overall well-being. In 2018 Gabriela was promoted to Senior Caseworker. Aditionally, she coordinates the interaction between adoptive parents and birth parents. She has previous experience working with youth in a parenting program. Gabriela has experience in both domestic and international adoptions, specifically working with Guatemala. 
Gabriela obtained her Bachelor's degree in Social Work from Florida Gulf Coast University in 2013.


Natalie Londono, Caseworker

Natalie Graddy joined Heart of Adoptions Alliance, Inc. in 2018 as an Adoption Caseworker and began working closely with birth mothers handling their day-to-day needs, monitoring their medical care and overall well-being.  Additionally, Natalie conducts home studies and post-placement supervision in the Orlando area.   

Natalie obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Social Work at Florida Gulf Coast University in 2013.  

Merritt Island

AMy Nickerson, Adoption Caseworker


Amy Nickerson joined Heart of Adoptions in June 2018 as an Adoption Caseworker. She works closely with the birth mothers handling their day-to-day needs, monitoring medical care and overall well-being. She also conducts home studies and post placement supervision. Her prior experience is 10 years in the child welfare system as a child protective investigator, senior child protective investigator and dependency case manager in both Florida and Massachusetts. She has two children adopted internationally from Guatemala and is herself and adoptee.

Amy graduated from University of Massachusetts Boston  in 1999 with a B.S. in Psychology and in 2000 with a M.A. Certification in Forensic Services. She is currently enrolled at University of Massachusetts Boston obtaining a master’s level Addiction Counselor Education Program (ACEP) certificate.


Amy Dean, Caseworker Assistant

Amy joined Heart of Adoptions Alliance, Inc.  in January 2016 in our Merritt Island office.  Prior to this she was an Adoption Assistant for another Florida adoption agency for 8 years.  She works closely with birth mothers handling their day-to-day needs, monitoring their medical care and overall well-being.
She graduated from Rockledge High School and has an AA degree from Brevard Community College.  Amy has 3 children and uses her experiences as both an adoptee and an adoptive parents to serve and support our clients.  She brings with her a wealth of knowledge.  Amy's prior employment includes: Aggressive Constructors, General Nutrition Center, Fern Creek Elementary, and Interlachen Pediatrics.

Krystal Boulton, L.C.S.W.

Krystal Boulton joined Heart of Adoptions Alliance, Inc. in May 2018, but has worked in the field of private adoption since April 2007. Krystal is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. Krystal earned both her Bachelors and Master’s degrees in Social Work at Florida Atlantic University. Krystal has over 15 years of training and experience working with children. Krystal has over 10 years of experience working with adults and families. Krystal specialized in child welfare., dedicating most of her career to youth in the foster care system. Krystal has specialty training and experience in child development, attachment, infant, child,adult and elder mental health.

For the past 11 years, Krystal has provided various contract services in the field of adoption. Krystal enjoy's assisting birth families and adoptive families during the process. She has completed home studies and provided post-placement supervision, has provided adoption counseling to both birth and adoptive families. Krystal has provided counseling prior to placement, during and after placement.  Krystal is a Certified Adoption Competent Therapist through St. Petersburg College and Rutgers’s University. Krystal feels honored to be given the opportunity to make an impact internationally with  Heart of Adoptions Alliance.