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

Molly Berger

Birth Parent Counselor

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.”

Madison Lustig

Birth Parent Counselor

Program Coordinators and Administration

Teresa Bernu, LCSW

Domestic Program Supervisor

Teresa Bernu first joined ACI as a Home Study Worker in February 2017, and later transitioned into the role of Domestic Program Supervisor in October 2017. Prior to joining ACI, she worked at the Center for Law and Social Work as an Adoption Social Worker, and later as the DCFS Post Adoption and Subsidized Guardianship Court Liaison.

Originally from Minnesota, Teresa attended St. Cloud State University and graduated in 2010 with a Bachelor of Social Work degree. Following undergrad, she spent two years as a volunteer caregiver in a Mexican orphanage, caring for the 6-9 year old boys. Upon returning to the US, she continued her studies at Loyola University Chicago, and graduated in 2014 with a Master of Social Work degree. Teresa is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and oversees the Domestic Home Study services.

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.”

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.

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.”

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.”

Barbara Stuart

Staff Accountant

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.”

Jill Harris

Home Study Worker

Jennifer Howe

Adoptive Family Caseworker

Jennifer graduated with her MSW in 1999, from the University of Maryland and is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker. In addition to her work with families here, she maintains a private psychotherapy practice. She has advanced training in the developmental transitions of life and is honored to work with families at the Adoption Center of Illinois during this exciting process.

Zoe Kolon

Home Study Worker

Zoe began working as a Home Study Worker for the Adoption Center of Illinois in March 2017. In this position, Zoe completes home studies for prospective adoptive parents, as well as post-adoption placement reports for adoptive families following their successful adoption.

Zoe earned her B.A. in Political Science and Spanish from the University of New Mexico and her Master of Social Work (MSW) from the University of Illinois at Chicago. Currently, Zoe works full-time as a Program Manager at a local non-profit organization which provides comprehensive case management services to unaccompanied immigrant children and their families.

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!”

Henry Over

Waiting Child Program

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.

Ann Wilson

Adoptive Family Caseworker

 

Staff Associates

Ross H. Capaccio

Digital Marketing & Website Consultant

Ross is the owner and design principal at röös design + consulting, an information technology firm specializing in Web design and content creation and strategy. In his current role at ACI, Ross maintains ACI’s Web site and helps facilitate ACIs social media ad campaigns, SEO and SEM activities. Ross is an adjunct instructor at Oakton Community College in Des Plaines, IL where he teaches beginning and advanced Web design classes.

Ross graduated from Northeastern Illinois University with a master’s degree in Urban Land Use Planning, including an internship with the Northeastern Illinois Planning Commission (NIPC). Ross’s prior work experience includes working as transportation planner for the Regional Transportation Authority (RTA) of Northeastern Illinois, and several large multidisciplinary civil engineering and information technology consulting firms before forming his own business in 2002.