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MEET OUR TEAM MEMBERS

Adrienne Elliott

Director

(Tampa)

Adrienne Elliott

Director

(Tampa)

Adrienne Elliott has worked in all aspects of the child welfare system including intake, child protection, permanency and adoption. She was an adjunct faculty member for the University of Denver and Metropolitan State University and taught courses in Family Social Work, Foster Care and Adoption and co-taught a college level course for caseworkers and mental health professionals in Adoption Competence. Adrienne holds her Master of Social Work from the University of Denver and her Bachelor of Science from Purdue University. Adrienne just recently moved from Denver Colorado where she was the ED for a private non-profit adoption agency and CEO of a social enterprise focused on online post adoption services for families.

Adrienne is the parent of two sons, ages 20 and 23 years old. Her oldest just graduated from CU and her youngest is attending MSU in Denver. Adrienne has lived in Denver for 25 years and prior to that she lived and grew up in Carmel, Indiana. She was part of the poms dance team and performed at football and basketball games.

Fun Facts

  • Place: Roatan, Honduras
  • Hobby: Scuba Diving Personal
  • Band: Kenny Chesney
  • Hero: Harriet Tubman
  • Book: Where the Red Fern Grows
  • Guilty Pleasure: Potato Chips
  • Why I chose to work in adoption: Because children need families and connections and it is a wonderful thing to watch a family being created.
Jeanne Tate

(Tampa)

Jeanne Tate

(Tampa)

Jeanne has an extensive and exclusive practice in the area of adoptions and is a member of the prestigious Academy of Adoption and Reproductive Attorneys and the Florida Adoption Council. For many years in a row, Jeanne has been named in The Best Lawyers in America, Florida’s Legal Elite, and Florida Super Lawyer, including as one of the top 100 lawyers in the State of Florida. Over her career, Jeanne has won several prestigious awards including the U.S. Congressional Angel in Adoption Award, the Tampa Chamber of Commerce’s Small Business Leader of the Year, the Florida Adoption Council’s Lifetime Achievement Award, the Hillsborough Association for Women Lawyers Achievement Award, the Tobias Simon Pro Bono Service Award and inclusion in the Martindale-Hubbell Bar Register of Preeminent Women Lawyers. Jeanne has been appointed to serve on the Adoption Law Certification Committee, the Judicial Nominating Procedures Committee, the Thirteenth Judicial Circuit Court Nominating Committee and the Florida Supreme Court Judicial Nominating Commission. Additionally, Jeanne has been an Adjunct Professor at the University of Florida College of Law where she taught Adoption Law and Procedure for six years. Jeanne is rated AV Preeminent by Martindale-Hubbell, signifying that the legal community ranks her “at the highest level of professional excellence.”

Fun Facts

  • Ice cream: Bern’s Macademia nut ice cream
  • Junk food: pepperidge farm chessmen
  • Hobby:
  • Food: Italian
  • Dream car: 1959 Corvette
Erica T. Healey

(Tampa)

Erica T. Healey

(Tampa)

Erica has been practicing exclusively in the area of adoptions since 2015, when she joined the Law Office of Jeanne T. Tate, P.A. She received a B.S. degree in Business Administration with a major in Finance from the University of Florida in 2007, and graduated from the University of Florida Levin College of Law in 2010 magna cum laude. She was selected for the Order of the Coif for being in the top 10% of her law school class. While in law school, Erica was a member of the Florida Law Review and completed an externship with several federal judges. During her second year of law school, the Law Review awarded Erica the Frank Maloney Award for Outstanding Candidate and the Outstanding Tutor Scholarship. Erica also served as a Notes & Comments Editor and Managing Editor of the Law Review. Erica earned Dean’s List for all semesters in law school, received book awards in Bankruptcy and Legal Drafting, received honors in Legal Research & Writing and Appellate Advocacy, and was also a Teaching Assistant for those classes. Upon graduating from law school, Erica received the Community Service Certificate and Pro Bono Certificate for her time spent volunteering. After law school Erica clerked for the Honorable Charles R. Wilson of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. Before she worked at Jeanne T. Tate, P.A., Erica was a shareholder at the firm of Banker Lopez Gassler P.A., where she worked from 2011–2015. She has been selected as a Florida Super Lawyers "Rising Star" every year since 2015.

Leanne Ragano

(Tampa)

Leanne Ragano

(Tampa)

Cynthia Rice

(Tampa)

Cynthia Rice

(Tampa)

Cindy is a sole practitioner at CYNTHIA I. RICE, P.A., in Clearwater, where she grew up in a family of 7. She has lived in Clearwater since 1964. After graduating cum laude with a business degree from USF and attending Vanderbilt Law School in Nashville, Tennessee, she returned to her home town in 1986 to practice law. Cindy specializes in Wills and Trusts, probate administration, trust administration, and estate planning.

In 1992, Cindy decided to adopt a baby as a single mother. She was blessed to adopt her first son (Willin) in May of 1993. Being from a large family and having many siblings herself, Cindy did not want to have an only child, so she began the journey to adopt a second child, a sibling for Willin. What she didn't know was that she was going to be blessed with two more sons, eight months apart! Just as she was departing for Vietnam to adopt her middle son, she found out that she was able to adopt a baby born here, so in 2001, she was blessed with a newborn and a 10-month-old within three months. Now she is happily and proudly the mother of three grown sons, is a full-time sole practitioner in her own firm, and is honored to serve on the Board of Directors of Heart of Adoptions Alliance, Inc.

 

Fun Facts

  • Favorite Activity: Family dinners every Sunday night with her mother, her children, and all of there local siblings, their spouses, and their children
  • Favorite time of the year: Christmas
  • Favorite junk food: French Fries
  • Favorite TV show: Dateline
  • Favorite Hobby: Reading or watching a suspenseful thriller
Brigette Schupay

(Tampa)

Brigette Schupay

(Tampa)

Dr. Brigette Schupay is an experienced child and family social worker.  She began her social work career in 1992 and quickly developed a love for special needs adoption.  In her role as Adoption Counselor, and later, Adoption Coordinator for Hillsborough County’s foster care program, she facilitated the adoption of nearly 1,000 special needs children.

Dr. Schupay served as the Executive Director of Heart of Adoptions, Inc., and Heart of Adoptions Alliance, Inc. from 2005-2011, where she continued her mission to place children in permanent and loving homes.  In 2013, she earned a doctoral degree in Social Work focusing her research on the Post-Adoption Depression of Adoptive Mothers.

In 2014, Dr. Schupay served as a Regional Director for the Mississippi Department of Families and Children overseeing adoption casework in 6 counties.  Additionally, her passion and experience in adoption have provided her the privilege of working as an expert witness to help adoptees and their families.

Dr. Schupay has served on the Board of Directors of Heart of Adoptions Alliance, Inc. since 2013.

Daneille Stewart

Director of International Services

(Naples)

Daneille Stewart

Director of International Services

(Naples)

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 is also a licensed private investigator in the State of Florida.

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.

Meredith Shepard

Director of Programs

(Tampa)

Meredith Shepard

Director of Programs

(Tampa)

Meredith Shepard joined Heart of Adoptions Alliance, Inc. in August 2013 as the Adoptive Parent Coordinator. She works closely with waiting adoptive families handling day-to-day needs and assisting with matching adoptive families to birth families. Meredith has worked in the area of social work for over 20 years and has experience working within the fields of 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. She was also a Licensed Massage Therapist prior to obtaining her degree. While born in Ohio, which will always be home, she is also a die-hard hot weather fan and loves nothing more than cruising in her Jeep with the top down and the music loud! She has a teenage son who just graduated from high school and a bulldog that is the sweetest, most cuddly animal you could ever meet. Meredith can typically be found at Disney on the weekends with her son, and/or Mom.

Fun Facts

  • Movie: Mary Poppins (the Original)
  • TV Show Character: Penny from The Big
  • Candy: Reese’s or Sour Patch Kids depending on my mood
  • Quote: Everything happens for a reason
  • Personal hero: My mom- she raised me- she deserves every award possible as I know I was no easy child!!
Shannon Howard-Lascari

Senior Caseworker

(Tampa)

Shannon Howard-Lascari

Senior Caseworker

(Tampa)

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 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.

Fun Facts

  • Band/Musician: Bon Jovi
  • Bucket List Travel Destination: If I could make it through the plane ride, I would go to South Africa.
  • Sports Team: Auburn (War Eagle)
  • Quote: Early is on time, and on time is late.
  • Memory with spouse or child: One of my favorite memories, was our gender reveal party. It was so great to celebrate with friends and family and learning we were having a daughter and watching my husband’s reaction was just priceless. We obviously knew we were pregnant, but I feel like in that moment, it became real.
Lori Scobee

Hearts to Home Program Director

(Tampa)

Lori Scobee

Hearts to Home Program Director

(Tampa)

Lori Scobee joined Heart of Adoptions in October 2020 as the Program Director for Hearts to Home and Heart of a Birth Mom programs. She supervises staff and works closely with families hoping to adopt children from the foster care system. Lori is also responsible for post placement support services to birth parents who have made voluntary adoption plans for their children. She has over 25 years experience in child welfare, foster care, adoption and post placement services.

Lori has parented two amazing daughters to adulthood and has one daughter that she made adoption plan for in 1989. As a birth mom herself, Lori is passionate about providing much needed post placement services to birth parents. She has facilitated many retreats, support groups and online supports. She has been a presenter at several adoption conferences discussing the importance of quality expectant parent services, openness in adoption and post placement support. She was named 2018 Adoption Advocate of the Year by Adoption Network Cleveland.

Lori grew up in Kentucky and is a proud graduate of the University of Kentucky. She spent several years in Orlando before moving to northeast Ohio where she worked as a Birth Parent Counselor at a private adoption agency. She loves the sunshine and is happy to be back in the South! You may bump into her at Siesta Key or Venice where she loves to enjoy the beach with a good book.

Fun Facts

  • Professional Hero: Brene Brown
  • Dream Vacation: Fiji
  • Guilty Pleasure: True Crime TV and podcasts
  • Favorite CD: Beastie Bos, License to Ill
  • Random Fact: She's been on 20/20 & Dateline
  • Quote: Though she be but little, she is fierce!
Amanda Curran

Caseworker Assistant

(Tampa)

Amanda Curran

Caseworker Assistant

(Tampa)

Amanda joined Heart of Adoptions Alliance, Inc. in May 2019 as a bachelor’s level intern where she has since stepped into the roll of Caseworker Assistant in the home study department. As an adoptee herself, Amanda always knew her path in social work would be working with children and families. Amanda enjoys educating adoptive families and helping them navigate through the adoption process.

Amanda graduated from Northern Arizona University in 2019, where she received a bachelor’s degree in Social Work. Amanda is on track to graduate from Northern Arizona’s Master of Social Work program in December 2020.

Fun Facts

  • Junk Food: Cheez Itz
  • Holiday Song: Spooky Scary Halloween
  • Personal Hero: David Hogg
  • Why do you work in Adoption: I was adopted by my maternal aunt and I know first hand the incredible impact adoption can have on a family and child. I’m grateful for the chance to have a role in the unification of families.
Gabriela Bonn

Senior Caseworker

(Naples)

Gabriela Bonn

Senior Caseworker

(Naples)

Gabriela Bonn joined our sister agency: Heart of Adoptions, Inc. in June 2006 as an Adoption Caseworker Assistant.  Gabriela is now the Senior Caseworker for the Naples satellite office for Heart of Adoptions Alliance, Inc.  She works closely with birth mothers handling their day-to-day needs, monitoring their medical care and overall well-being.  Additionally, she coordinates the interaction between adoptive parents and birth parents.  She has previous experience working with youth in a parenting program, as well as experience in both domestic and international adoptions, specifically working internationally with Guatemala.

Gabriela obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Social Work from Florida Gulf Coast University in 2013.

Fun Facts

  • TV show: Greys Anatomy
  • Restaurant: Cheesecake Factory
  • Candy: skittles and starbursts
  • Place: Disney World
  • What brought me to adoption: It runs in the family! My mother was an adoption coordinator for international adoptions and my grandmother ran a domestic adoption agency. I grew up surrounded by adoption, especially since I am adopted, along with my six sisters. My aunt and uncle are also adopted.
Natalie Londono

Adoption Caseworker

(Orlando)

Natalie Londono

Adoption Caseworker

(Orlando)

Natalie Londono joined our sister agency Heart of Adoptions, Inc. in December 2012 as an Adoption Casework Assistant. Natalie was later promoted to Adoption Caseworker where she also joined Heart of Adoptions Alliance, Inc. 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.

Fun Facts

  • Childhood memory: Childhood memory
  • Quote: "in a world where you can be anything, be kind"
  • Why you picked to work in adoptions?: I don’t think I chose to work in adoption, I believe adoption chose me. From early on in life, adoption was something so common and natural. I have experienced so many great adoption stories; my maternal grandfather was adopted at a young age, my paternal grandparents provided foster care through the State of Florida, my family adopted my brother when I was 6, my husband was adopted, and we adopted our beautiful daughter. Without adoption, my life as I know it, would not exist. I feel honored to walk this path with the wonderful birth parents and adoptive families that come my way.
Stacie Pratt

Caseworker Assistant

(Orlando)

Stacie Pratt

Caseworker Assistant

(Orlando)

Stacie Pratt joined Heart of Adoptions Alliance, Inc. in August of 2018 as an Adoption Casework Assistant in our Orlando office. She works closely with birth mothers handling their day-to-day needs, monitoring their medical care and overall well-being. She is from Jacksonville, Florida and moved to Orlando to attend the University of Central Florida, where she graduated with her Bachelors in December 2018. She is passionate about her job helping children find loving homes, and helping parents find that missing piece to their family. In her spare time she likes to frequent the Disney parks, travel, and spend time with her family, friends, and her dog, Flynn.

Fun Facts

  • Holiday Tradition: Decorating the house with my mom
  • Sports Team: UCF! GO KNIGHTS! CHARGE ON
  • Childhood memory: Daddy/daughter trips, meals, early mornings where we’re the only two awake, really just any time spent with my dad.
Amy Nickerson

Adoption Caseworker

(Merritt Island)

Amy Nickerson

Adoption Caseworker

(Merritt Island)

Amy Nickerson joined Heart of Adoptions Alliance, Inc. 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.

Fun Facts

  • Place: Boston
  • Sports Team: New England Patriots
  • Hobby: acting and modeling
  • Childhood memory: camping on the beach on Cape Cod every summer
  • Why you picked to work in adoptions?: My dad is adopted. I am adopted. I have two children adopted from Guatemala.
Amy Dean

Caseworker Assistant

(Merritt Island)

Amy Dean

Caseworker Assistant

(Merritt Island)

Amy joined Heart of Adoptions Alliance, Inc. 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 parent 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.

Fun Facts

  • Dream Car: Jaguar
  • Actress: Sandra Bullock
  • Childhood memory: Turning our house into a movie theater for my birthday
  • Movie: Pretty Woman
  • Candy: Whoppers
James Taylor

IT Support Technician

(Tampa)

James Taylor

IT Support Technician

(Tampa)

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.

Fun Facts

  • Magazine: MIT Technology Review
  • Hobby: Fishing
  • Personal hero: Elon Musk
  • Band: Five Finger Death Punch
  • Movie quote: I’m sorry, Dave. I’m afraid I can’t do that.
Vidisha Patel

Accountant

(Tampa)

Vidisha Patel

Accountant

(Tampa)

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.

Fun Facts

  • Band/Musician: David Gray
  • Quote: Change is the only constant in life
  • Junk Food: Pirate Booty
  • Ice Cream: Chocolate
  • Sports team: Colts

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Heart of Adoptions Alliance, Inc.

Heart of Adoptions Alliance, Inc. is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization that is Hague Accredited to complete international adoptions. In addition to international work, we promote adoption education through our dedication to assisting families facing an unplanned pregnancy by providing resources and support. Heart of Adoptions Alliance, Inc. also works to provide grant to families needing assistance with the costs of adoption, when possible.