About Us

Meet Our Staff

Executive Staff

Jane Turner

Executive Director

Jane has been with Adoption Center of Illinois since January of 1990, when she began as one of the organization’s first home study workers. She holds a master’s degree in Social Service Administration from the University of Chicago and is a licensed social worker.

Over the years Jane has been involved in all aspects of the agency; Domestic Adoption, International Adoption and has a leadership role in the agency’s burgeoning Post-Adoption Services Program.

“Assisting families and children as they navigate through the complex experience of adoption is a never-ending journey filled with joys and wonder. Having the opportunity to be involved with a waiting family as they evolve and blossom into an adoptive family is an incredibly rich experience. My time with the agency has been enormously rewarding both personally and professionally. I look forward to the next decade and beyond. My work here is a true privilege!”

Birth Parent Counseling Staff

Pamela Brown

Birth Parent Counselor

Pam joined the organization in July of 1991. She graduated from the University of Iowa where she studied psychology, child development and counseling. Pam counsels birth parents in northern, central and southern Illinois and says that after many years with the agency she still loves her job.

“Birth parents come to us during a challenging time in their lives. I feel privileged to be able to help the people I work with so they can make well-informed choices. They amaze and inspire me every day.”

Molly Berger

Birth Parent Counselor

Program Coordinators and Administration

Amy Emerzian

Director of Finance

Amy joined the agency in October of 2002. She is a CPA and a graduate of DePaul University, holding a Bachelor degree in Commerce. After Amy came to ACI from Price Waterhouse Coopers, she immediately fell in love with the challenge of working in a non-profit environment. Amy’s knowledge gained from her background in public accounting is put to good use managing the agency’s assets, liabilities and cash flow.

“As a mother of four children, it is a joy to work in an organization that helps create families.”

Ted Mirecki

Staff Accountant

Ted has been with ACI since August of 2012. He graduated from Ohio State University with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration, majoring in Accounting. Ted is responsible for the organization’s day-to-day accounting activities.

“The most enjoyable part of working at FRC is knowing that we are making a difference in the lives of others. It’s an amazing feeling to be part of the adoption process.”

Michelle Setka

Coordinator of Adoption Services

Michelle joined the agency in October of 2001. She graduated from the University of Illinois at Chicago with a bachelor’s degree in Psychology. Michelle originally began coordinating DCFS licensing. Over the years her position evolved and today she oversees all Domestic and International Home Study administration, coordinating the education and training program and monitoring foster family home licensing.

“One of the most exciting times for me is working with families and then hearing about their successful adoptions. My efforts have been part of making a difference in their lives and the lives of their children.”

Robin Kidd

Administrative Assistant

Robin began working with ACI in February 1990. She graduated from Davidson College in North Carolina with a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish. Robin serves as the receptionist and also composes reports for adoption finalizations.

“It is my pleasure and a great priviledge to work with a staff of such caring people. I love knowing that what we do makes a difference for everyone involved in the adoption process.”

Karen Jones

Manager of Development

Karen joined ACI in December 2014. She is a proud Returned Peace Corps Volunteer, having served in China from 2011-13 teaching English. Karen holds a BA in Public Relations and Spanish from Marquette University. In her role at ACI, Karen is responsible for planning and implementing the agency’s fundraising and development activities.

Adoptive Family Caseworkers

Susan Braithwaite

Adoption Specialist

Susan has worked for the agency since adopting her first daughter from China in 1995 and her second daughter in Chicago in 1997. Susan started as a Home Study Worker and now does initial interviews as well as serves as the agency’s PQI Team Leader. She has a BA from U of I, an MS from Loyola University and a law degree from DePaul University. Susan says that working at Adoption Center of Illinois reminds her of her favorite movie, It’s a Wonderful Life, because, “I see how my small part can have a big impact on peoples’ lives.”

Marilyn Lindeman

Home Study Worker

Marilyn has worked with ACI as a Home Study Worker since 1996 and has been a volunteer since 1989. She is the adoptive mom of three children who were adopted through the agency. Marilyn has a BS from Northwestern University, is an RN and works part-time as a Nurse Practitioner. Marilyn says “I am grateful to and inspired by the people who work for this organization.”

Linda Marder

home Study Worker

Linda has worked as a Home Study Worker for ACI since 1995. She and her husband adopted two sons through the help of the agency. Prior to being a Home Study Worker, Linda was a music teacher and junior high school counselor. Linda has a BS in Music Education and an MA in Counseling. Linda says, ‘Working for ACI is very rewarding because of the dedicated people working there, the excellence of the agency and because of all the clients I’ve truly enjoyed working with!”

Gail McGraw

Home Study Worker

Gail has worked as a Home Study Worker for ACI since 1995, although adoption has been a part of her life for over 38 years. Gail started working for the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services as an adoption worker in 1971, placing children with special needs in adoptive homes all over the United States. Gail left IDCFS to raise her two adopted children who are now adults. Gail has a bachelor’s degree in English and Education from Northern Illinois University. Gail says, “I adore my job and hope to be doing it for years to come.”

Henry Over

Waiting Child Program

Jill Harris

Home Study Worker

Lindsay Weinberg LCSW

Adoption Specialist

Lindsay has been with the Adoption Center of Illinois since September of 2016. In her current role at ACI, Lindsay conducts initial interviews of prospective adoptive parents, assists with training, and supports families with non-ward subsidy applications. As an LCSW she will begin to become involved in all aspects of the agency’s work and in multiple program areas.

Lindsay earned her B.A. from the University of Michigan, her J.D. from Chicago-Kent College of Law, and her MSW from Loyola University Chicago School of Social Work. Lindsay’s prior work experience includes her role as the DCFS Post Adoption and Subsidized Guardianship Court Liaison at the Center for Law and Social Work and an Advocate Supervisor at Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) of Cook County.

Staff Associates

Richard Pearlman LCSW

Senior Consultant

Richard graduated from Friends World College in New York in 1975 and received a master’s degree in Social Work from George Williams College in Illinois in 1980. After working in a variety of social service settings in the 1970s and early 1980s, Richard was introduced to the field of adoption when he took a position as a social work supervisor for an adoption agency in Chicago. As he had philosophical disagreements with that agency, after three years he left and resolved to participate in creating an adoption agency that would operate in a manner more consistent with his values and beliefs. During the interim between 1984 and 1987, Richard worked as a hospital social worker. For a time, he worked closely with the then medical director of Howard Brown Memorial Clinic in one of the country’s first hospital wards set up to care for people with AIDS.

Richard had found the prevailing ideas and practices surrounding the field of adoption to be out-of-touch and antiquated. They did not encourage people to think for themselves or support people in managing their own lives. At that time, most agencies disempowered women and men who were placing children for adoption and did not support communication between potential adoptive parents and birth parents. Also, most agencies were rigid in their belief that closed adoption was always best for all parties. They held adoptive parents to arbitrary approval criteria in terms of age, religion, length of marriage or sexual preference, and most took a psychoanalytic approach to the screening process.

In response to the unenlightened ideas governing the field of adoption, Richard collaborated with a group of people to create an alternative. This new agency would be founded on the belief that people are best able to manage their own lives and the premise that birth mothers/expectant mothers and potential adoptive parents could and should have the opportunity to work together in planning for their child’s future. He, and a small group of other concerned individuals, developed a down-to-earth, no nonsense approach to adoption. The result was the founding of Family Resource Center.

“The topic of adoption is complicated and while it certainly includes its share of joy and celebration, for many it involves loss and sadness and emotional intensity. The act of adoption does not stop at the moment of placement. For all members of the adoption triad it is a life long journey. Family Resource Center, now Adoption Center of Illinois, was created as a place where there could be a free and open discussion about adoption and its meaning in people’s lives, throughout their lives.”