Meet Our Professional Team

Friends in Adoption (FIA), a not-for-profit adoption agency, is a network of dedicated, experienced, compassionate and friendly adoption professionals. Our focus is compassionate adoption. Although our administrative office is located in Vermont, we are able to provide free and confidential adoption services for pregnant women/couples anywhere in the United States. Our team members are deeply passionate about adoption, and many have experienced the miracle of adoption in their own lives. We all feel a personal connection with every adoption process. We cry and rejoice with every story. We have made a life commitment to adoption. We are Friends in Adoption.

Friends in Adoption promotes equal opportunity for all employees and applicants and does not discriminate in employment opportunities or practices on the basis of race, ancestry, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, national origin, age, disability, citizenship, military service obligation, veteran status or any other basis protected by federal, state or local laws. Our policies and personnel practices are intended to ensure that all are treated equally with regard to recruiting, hiring, and advancement, and decisions on employment are made to further the principle of equal employment opportunities for employees.

The Best of Professionals

Tara

Saltis

Executive Director

Whitehall, Washington County, NY

Tara Saltis has been part of the Friends in Adoption leadership team since 2004, and assumed the role of Executive Director in 2019. Tara works closely with the FIA team to make sure that every pregnant individual is supported and educated about their options so they can make informed decisions. She also aims to ensure the process is as efficient and affordable as possible for prospective adoptive parents. Tara is passionate about raising adoption awareness and providing ongoing post adoption support for all members of the adoption triad (the child, the birth parents, and the adoptive parents).

Meet the Friends in Adoption Team

Diana

Fletcher

Supervisor of Case Management and Outreach

Poultney, Rutland County, VT

Meet Diana, Supervisor of Case Management and Outreach. Working from the Vermont office, Diana oversees and manages the daily operations of the agency. She provides leadership and support for our case management and outreach teams while also managing relationships with our contracted clinicians and attorneys. We are proud to have Diana as our diligent liaison for the Human Rights Campaign’s “All Children – All Families” Organization.

As part of day-to-day operations, Diana also provides resources, support, and information to individuals inquiring about Friends in Adoption. She is dedicated to creating a safe space where individuals feel listened to, cared for, and are free to explore all their options without fear of judgement. Whether you are someone who is pregnant and interested in placing a child for adoption, or an individual/couple inquiring about adopting, Diana will work closely with you to support your needs and empower your choices.

“Hi Diana, thank you for staying in touch with me over the years, it means a lot to me!” —Emma, a birth mother

“Diana, thank you for everything that you have done to help us out post adopt. We are grateful!” —Dina, an adoptive parent

“Hi Diana, It’s been a while since we last spoke….I have tried several times to write to you but could never finish it, so here goes again… After looking through the packet you sent me and talking to the father of the baby, there has been some changes. Since we last spoke, I have had a miscarriage. Like I said previously, I have tried several times to send you an email but could never bring myself to finish it. I guess all things work out for a reason whatever that happens to be. I do truly and whole-heartedly thank you for being there for me. To know that someone is out there that truly cares and is not judgmental and is willing to help… that really helped me. I think you guys do wonderful work for people. Not only for the ones that end up pregnant but for the families that truly want a child of their own. I greatly appreciate all our talks. I always felt better after talking to you. If I hear of anyone else that needs your services, I will definitely put them in contact with you. You seem to really care and the families you are trying to help sound like they would make great parents!!! Thank you again for everything and most of all for being there for me when I needed a friend. I will always remember you… May God always bless you and your coworkers” —Sincerely, Emily

“Dear Diana, Thank you, thank you, thank you for everything you have done for me. Words cannot express how grateful I am for all of your help along the way. When my counselor from Planned Parenthood found you after calling several other agencies who could not help me, it made me realize that there are people out there that truly care and want to help. I was so happy and surprised when I received your packet of information and realized that I could choose the adoptive family! There were so many wonderful families to choose from, but I know I made exactly the right choice with Jeff and Marie. They are the perfect parents for my daughter, and they treat me like part of their family and with such respect. We are in contact through email several times a year, and we plan on getting together at least once every year. I had never heard about open adoption before talking with you. I know that some women choose closed adoption and I respect their choices too, but this is so right for me. Again, thank you for all you have done and I know that Friends in Adoption is always there for me.” —Audry, a birth mother

“Hi Diana, Sorry I haven’t been responding. But, thanks for being patient with me and understanding my situation. After much through and consideration, I have decided to keep the baby. I know it will be a struggle, but I have my family’s support. Thank you for every single thing you have done for me. If it wasn’t for you, this child would not be getting the prenatal care he so rightly deserves. Again, I thank you and praise you for working so diligently with me. I will keep your information in case there are any changes in the near future. But for now, I am proceeding with the pregnancy.” —Sincerely, Alyssa

Meet the Friends in Adoption Team

Kate

Kaufman Burns, MSW, LCSW

Social Work Supervisor

Loudonville, Albany County, NY

Kate is an experienced licensed social worker who is an expert in a variety of adoption issues, including transracial and visible adoption. In addition to providing home study services for pre-adoptive families, she supervises all social workers who provide FIA home studies.

Meet the Friends in Adoption Team

Brandi

LaDuc

Senior Case Manager and Community Outreach Provider

Fair Haven, Rutland County, VT

New York Capital Region and New England

Meet Brandi, Senior Case Manager and Community Outreach Provider. Brandi works from our Vermont office and focuses on attending to our adoptive families. She is a go-to support system for our families and individuals who are looking to adopt, are in the process of adopting, and who have recently adopted. If you have seen information for or been to one of our “Get Acquainted Workshops” for our prospective adoptive parents, then you have seen some of Brandi’s hard work! If you reach out to Friends in Adoption, Brandi may be someone you speak with as she also provides resources, support, and information to inquiring individuals. She is dedicated to creating a safe space where individuals feel listened to, cared for, and are free to explore all of their options without fear of judgement. Whether you are someone who is pregnant and interested in placing a child for adoption or an individual/couple inquiring about adopting, Brandi will work closely with you to support your needs and empower your choices.

Meet the Friends in Adoption Team

Patty

Smith

Senior Case Manager and Community Outreach Provider

Glenville, Schenectady County, NY

Patty has been with FIA for more than seven years. She manages cases, provides in-service training workshops and community outreach and education.


“Deciding to place my baby for adoption was nerve racking and difficult. Obviously I came to the conclusion on my own that I was making the right decision, but I don’t know how I would have made it through without Patty Smith. She was there for me right from the beginning, and literally all the way through delivery!! I don’t know if I’ve ever known someone who was as perfectly suited for her job as Patty is for hers. She is one of the kindest and most compassionate women I have ever met, and I am so happy to have her in my life.”
– Kim, birth mother


Patty with adoptive family and birth mother
From left: Patty, Kim, Chris, Baby Ryan and Keith

“When we embarked on the adoption process for the first time, Patty provided incredible support at every step. Her genuine warmth, humor, and kindness throughout really smoothed the process. She also created a great platform for us and our son’s birth mother to build a strong and enduring relationship with one another. When we adopted our second son Jake two years later, it was a huge relief to have Patty working with us again. She’ll forever feel like family to us and we’ll always be grateful for all of her hard work.”
– Chris, Keith, Ryan & Jake, adoptive family


“There couldn’t possibly have been a better fit for us than Patty as our case manager! It was easy to forget that she actually worked with anyone else besides us! We’ve always told our daughter, Cecelia, that Patty was her first friend. She has come to know and love Patty as we do. Cecelia said, “I like Patty because she likes me…I look forward to seeing her.” Although we see her only twice each year, she is with us daily, in our hearts. We are so grateful for the care and consideration she so readily gave us.”
– Gary and Carrie, adoptive parents

Patty Smith with Cecelia
Patty with Cecelia at a recent Friends in Adoption Annual Picnic

“Patty has the kind of steady hand that is so important to a successful adoption. Having traveled the adoption journey herself, we think Patty brings the perfect blend of professionalism and personal touch to her work. We admire her and love her.”
– Nina Rumbold and Denise Seidelman, Adoption Attorneys


“Patty had frequent conversations with us … I remember the excitement and relief when we were told that we could select the family that our baby would become a part of. [After we had selected the family,] we called Patty with our decision and from then on Patty had ever “t” crossed and every “i” dotted! We feel such pride, honor, and gratitude in our lives for Patty Smith, who will forever be a special angel in our lives.”
— Lisa, a birth mother


Patty Smith is Friends in Adoption Case Manager and Community Outreach Provider. She also manages cases with expectant women/couples and adoptive parents, provides in-service training workshops and community outreach and education. Patty is universally adored, and she has been an integral member of the FIA team since 2007.

Meet the Friends in Adoption Team

Jean-Charles

DeOliveira Scappaticci

Adoption Marketing Specialist

Ossining, Westchester County, NY

Jean-Charles handles all aspects of digital marketing and website development for FIA. He also expertly guides FIA families through the process of developing prospective adoptive family profiles. He and his team work with FIA to develop and produce all print and online publications.

Jean-Charles is also an FIA Alumnus. He and his husband Joe adopted 3 girls with the help of Friends in Adoption.

Meet the Friends in Adoption Team

Kelsey

Watters

Case Manager and Community Outreach Provider

Fair Haven, Rutland County, VT

Kelsey is a Case Manager and Community Outreach Provider who works closely with pregnant women and couples who are looking to learn more about adoption. She is committed to providing a kind and compassionate safe place to assess individual needs and provide support, as she knows there is no single plan that works for everyone. Kelsey is also available as a resource about adoption for adoptive families and professional organizations.

“Your support made this difficult situation and process so easy for me today! I am forever indebted. Thank you!”

–Alyssa, birth mother

“I can’t thank you enough for the incredible support and help you and FIA have been.”

–Shawna, birth mother

Meet the Friends in Adoption Team

Olivia

Pope

Community Outreach and Development Manager

Albany, Albany County, NY

As a Community Outreach and Development Manager, Olivia operates on the road with a moving office! She travels three days a week to various counties throughout New York and New England to provide resources to professionals in the healthcare and social work field. Olivia meets weekly with various professionals to equip them with information and knowledge of Friends in Adoption so that they might refer to us when they have an individual in need. She also provides professional staff development workshops that focus on in depth conversations about adoption as an option and Friends in Adoption as a community resource. When not on the road, Olivia works from her office in Albany county.

A highlight Olivia would like to share: “After one of my workshops, a professional came up to me and mentioned that she was amazed by my passion for the work I do. I’m really proud of this agency and the work we do as a team to serve our community. Friends in Adoption has made me an ally in choice and an advocate for adoption. I love the opportunity I get each week to educate professionals and pass on resources.”

Meet the Friends in Adoption Team

Jennifer

Deyo

Community Outreach and Development Manager

Crown Point, Essex County, NY

Meet the Friends in Adoption Team

Laurie

Coreno Reynolds, LMHC

Independent Counseling and Support Services

Clifton Park, Saratoga County, NY

New York and Vermont: Laurie is a licensed mental health counselor in private practice in New York State who works with FIA to provide counseling to pregnant women and expectant couples. She is an expert in adoption issues and also provides adoption home study services to prospective adoptive families. Additionally, Laurie coordinates a birth mother support group.

Meet the Friends in Adoption Team

Jennifer

Goodbody Brenlla, LCSW

Independent Counseling and Support Services

Yonkers, Westchester County, NY

Westchester County, NY: Jennifer is a clinical social worker in private practice in Westchester County, NY who works with FIA to provide counseling to pregnant women and expectant couples. She is an expert in adoption issues and also provides adoption home study services to prospective adoptive families.

Meet the Friends in Adoption Team

Clarice

Lazary, LMSW

Independent Counseling and Support Services

Fairport, Monroe County, NY

Monroe County, NY: Clarice Lazary is a Licensed Social Worker who has specialized in family support services for over 30 years. As a consultant for FIA she provides counseling to pregnant women and expectant couples in the Finger Lakes and Western New York regions. Clarice also provides Community Outreach services to professionals interested in learning more about adoption as an option for their clients and patients.

Meet the Friends in Adoption Team

Samantha

Walker, LMSW

Independent Counseling and Support Services

Bronx, New York County, NY

New York City: Samantha is a clinical social worker in private practice in New York City who works with FIA to provide counseling to pregnant women and expectant couples. She is an expert in adoption issues and also provides adoption home study services to prospective adoptive families.

Meet the Friends in Adoption Team

Johna

Harvey

Community Outreach Provider

New York, New York County, NY

Johna has been an ambitious volunteer with FIA for more than a year now. She provides outreach services to counties in downstate NY. She visits local hospitals, clinics and doctors’ offices; anywhere she can to get Friends in Adoption’s name out there and to talk about the services that we provide to pregnant women/couples and adoptive parents. Johna provided a free workshop to a group of social workers in the NYC area; she was so well received that they called to let us know how “helpful and informative” she was and they “could not wait to share our information”. Johna provides these services for us with such great enthusiasm and dedication to FIA. We are lucky to have her on the team, along with her knowledge and love for what she is doing!

Meet the Friends in Adoption Team

Corky

Bohen, LICSW

Independent Counseling and Support Services

Woodstock, Windsor County, VT

Vermont and New Hampshire: Corky is a clinical social worker in private practice in Vermont who works with FIA to provide counseling to pregnant women and expectant couples. She is an expert in adoption issues and also provides adoption home study services to prospective adoptive families.

Meet the Friends in Adoption Team

Bob

Bamman, LCSW

Independent Counseling and Support Services

New York, New York County, NY

Meet the Friends in Adoption Team

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