April 6th 2019
Spring 2019 Newsletter
A Letter From Adrienne Elliott, Executive Director
Spring is in the air! As I reflect on our first quarter, I am most proud of our staff. Their dedication and commitment to serving our birth mothers and adoptive families is noteworthy. Our agency has 12 placements to date in 2019. Two infants have been placed through our Infant Adoption Program, three infants have been placed through our Designated Adoption Program and seven children have been place with their forever family through our Flexible Families Program.  
Our first three months of 2019 have been busy
on-boarding our new full-time Outreach Coordinator, Marketing Coordinator and Adoptive Family Caseworker. These new staff positions support our strategic plan and our commitment to extending our program abilities, impact and visibility throughout Colorado.
Additionally, we welcomed the disorder that a minor office remodel brings. We built a couple of new offices and built out a new conference room which will allow us to more comfortably host our monthly information nights, large group meetings and trainings.

ARISE Adoption Academy Update
The launch of ARISE Adoption Academy, our social enterprise venture, is approaching later this year. ARISE is a ‘one-stop’ online adoption resource and education platform, which will provide support and much needed services to families post-adoption. ARISE services include adoption-related topics accessed through podcasts, webinars, articles, a dedicated blog, and online coaching. 
Currently, we are seeking introductions to and support from entrepreneurs, angel investors, and grant-making foundations in order to fund ARISE Adoption Academy. Please be in touch with me directly if you can facilitate an introduction or possible partnership. 
The ARISE online platform will offer a variety of services for members, so if you would like to be a featured speaker on a podcast or write an article on an adoption-related topic, let me know and we can make it happen!
I also wanted to mention some volunteer opportunities with AO. These include assisting our Flexible Families Program by providing childcare assistance during group classes, as well as administrative and fundraising support. Contact us for more info!
Coupled with your continued support, I am confident that the first quarter success of our Adoption Options team has given us the momentum we need for a thriving second quarter!
Katie Arora,
Adoptive Family Caseworker
Katie joined Adoption Options in September 2018 as an 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's 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's of Social Work at the University of Denver.
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. 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. 
Gina Piazza,
Marketing Coordinator 
Gina joined us in February of 2019 after having worked as a Marketing Coordinator at a country club and as a New Media Assistant at the University of Wyoming Athletic Department. She received her Bachelor's in Communication at the University of Wyoming 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. 
Shane Callahan,
Board of Directors
Shane Callahan is a fiduciary Financial Advisor with his own mostly fee-only financial planning practice creating custom financial plans and investment management. He also has a background in data governance and executive reporting and analysis. As a father of two adopted children, Shane understands the unique challenges and situations of families’ adoption journeys.
Clare Huspeni,
Board of Directors
Clare Huspeni is the owner of Denver Metro South NerdsToGo, Inc, a leading provider of residential and business computer services. Ms. Huspeni holds a Bachelor's in Communication from the University of Colorado Boulder and an MBA from the University of Denver.
Brandi Miller,
Board of Directors
Brandi Miller is a residential specialist and realtor helping her clients achieve dreams of homeownership through a no-pressure process. Ms. Miller holds a Bachelor's in Health and Human Development from Montana State University and her Master’s in International Development from the University of Denver.
Erik Rutford,
Board of Directors
Erik Rutford is the Manager of Software Development at CACI International, Inc. Mr. Rutford earned his Associate’s in Intelligence Studies at Community College of the Air Force, Bachelor’s in Math from Eastern New Mexico University and his MBA from Colorado State University, Pueblo.
Equine-Assisted Empowerment with Groundwork Therapy
Last month, a group of our Adoption Options’ team worked with Lottie Grimes (MA, EdS, LPC) and her caring team at Groundwork Ranch and experienced an equine-assisted group empowerment session. Equine-Assisted Psychotherapy (EAP) begins with a strength-based, cognitive approach to working with individuals, couples and families. This form of therapy can be very powerful and effective for children working through behavioral issues or recovering from trauma. EAP therapy, coupled with face-to-face sessions, can help identify a person’s strengths and struggles which inform future therapy sessions. After experiencing some of the many benefits of EAP our Adoption Options’ team is committed to sharing this information with our adoptive families and children. If you are interested in learning more, feel free to contact us and we are happy to share more detailed information with you.
Connecting with CASA
Leslie Dezendorf, Birth Parent Counselor/Adoption Caseworker, has been part of our Adoption Options’ family for the past 12 years. Leslie works in Durango and the surrounding area providing Adoption Options services to families in Southwestern Colorado. “I love working with people and helping them build their families through adoption. I especially like working with birthparents and using my counseling skills to support them in making their decisions on how to proceed with their unplanned pregnancy,” said Leslie. Working with adoptive families, specifically in the Flexible Families Program, leaves Leslie feeling empowered knowing she is helping children and making an impact. Driven by her commitment to serve children in care, Leslie recently became a volunteer for CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocates). “I knew I wanted to continue to be involved in working with children in the foster care system and volunteering with CASA allows me to do just that.” Adoption Options is proud to have staff members like Leslie who continue to go above and beyond in their efforts to impact children’s lives throughout our communities. Way to go Leslie!
In Need of a Good Read?

One of our respite Cradle Care volunteers, Carla, has highly recommended the book, All You Can Ever Know by Nicole Chung which covers topics around adoption.

"Ms. Chung is a Korean adoptee who was raised by white parents in a non-diverse community. She talks about her feelings growing up as the only Asian child in her school and community. She did make contact with her birth family as an adult and she talks about that experience. I found it to be a very moving story and wish I had had the benefit of reading it when [my son]
was young," said Carla.
Topgolf Fundraiser

Sunday, July 21st // 2 p.m. - 5 pm
10601 E Easter Ave, Centennial, CO 80112

Our Topgolf Fundraiser is Sunday, July 21 st and we want everyone there to show us their best golf swings! Not a golfer? No worries, this event is fun for everyone. Event will include three hours of unlimited play, fajita fiesta buffet and drink tickets. Click the link below to purchase your tickets TODAY!
Coming in 2020: Tennis Mixer, Pool Gala & Golf Tournament!
We have some very exciting news and we want you to hear it from us first. Drumroll please! Adoption Options has been selected as the 2020 partner for The Foundation at Rolling Hills. This means that Adoption Options will be hosting three events at Rolling Hills Country Club that include a tennis mixer, pool gala and golf tournament. As their charity partner, we will receive 75% of all funds raised through these events. We will work very closely with the foundation board and members to ensure a successful weekend. Because of the focused commitment to The Foundation at Rolling Hills, we will need 12-18 months of planning and preparation.
What does this mean for you? It means we will not be hosting a Gala in 2019. But don’t worry, we’ll make it up to you in June of 2020! Keep an eye out for more information on how to get a taste of the Rolling Hills lifestyle.

Please contact Director of Fundraising and Development, Joan Cordo at jcordo@adoption-options.com if you have any questions regarding this event.
View the 2018 Annual Report

Read more about our success in 2018 in our annual report. 

A great place to view our agency statistics, financials, stories and more!