Our staff

We learn from you every day.

ORPARC staff and interns have a spectrum of professional and personal lived and/or parenting experience in foster care, adoption, and neurodiverse needs. Staff also receive extensive training in Diversity Equity & Inclusion (DEI), LGBTQ+ competency, trauma, and interventions like Trust Based Relational Intervention (TBRI®), Collaborative Problem Solving, Therapeutic Life Story Work (TLSWi), Motivational Interviewing, Bibliotherapy, and more. Ultimately, we learn the most from the families, children and youth we serve.

Certified in Therapeutic Life Story Work (TLSWi)

Email: kmorrisjacobson@nwresource.org

Phone: (503) 241-0799 extension 16

Kendra oversees the Oregon Post Adoption Resource Center (ORPARC) and the Oregon Adoption Resource Exchange (OARE), and still fits in time for training and direct work with families, youth and caseworkers. She joined Northwest Resource Associates in 2010 and sits on the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors for Washington D.C. based advocacy nonprofit Voice for Adoption (VFA), on the Foster Homes of Healing Coalition (FHOH), as the U.S. Hub contact leader for Therapeutic Life Story Work International (TLSWi) and consults regularly for Oregon DHS and other national and international entities. Honored as Senator Wyden's 2016 Angel in Adoption, she has spent nearly 3 decades in the field, including in multiple roles with Boys & Girls Aid, the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption, and Voice for Adoption. In 2017, she authored a chapter for international life story work expert Richard Rose and like all ORPARC Family Support Specialist staff has completed Trust Based Relational Intervention 101 (TBRI®), basic Collaborative Problem Solving, ongoing Diversity & Equity Inclusion training, LGBTQ+ cultural competency, Motivational Interviewing, and Bibliotherapy among myriad other training experiences. A former preschool teacher and prior editor, writer, and adoption recruiter, she is honored to hold the stories of hundreds of foster, adoptive and kinship children, youth and families whom she feels by far are our greatest teachers. In previous clinical work as a therapist at Oregon Health & Science University's Child & Adolescent Outpatient Psychiatry Clinic, Kendra counseled children and families, led groups for adolescent depression, and contributed to research projects. Kendra obtained her B.A. in English Literature at Gettysburg College, and M.A. in Counseling Psychology at Lewis & Clark College.

Kendra has a unique private connection to adoption, cherishes family time with her husband, adult sons, and rambunctious blonde rescue shepherd, and gardens in her spare moments.

Certified in Therapeutic Life Story Work (TLSWi)

Email: tferguson@nwresource.org

Phone: (503) 241-0799 extension 12

A 2017 Angel in Adoption for Senator Merkley, Toni Ferguson came to ORPARC in 2007 from Portland State University's Graduate School of Social Work and Child Welfare Partnership where she was an instructor for 6 years. While there she was instrumental in the development of the Post Graduate Certificate Program in Therapy with Adoptive & Foster Families and remains on the advisory committee. Prior to that position, Toni was a member of the innovative Post Adoption Family therapist Team (PAFT) at ODHS, where she provided highly specialized, intensive treatment services to adoptive families of special needs children. Before PAFT, Toni had acquired over 20 years' experience in education and child welfare systems including the positions of Permanency Worker, Foster Home Certifier, School Social Worker, and Adoptive/Foster Parent Trainer. Toni serves currently on the advisory committee of the Oregon Kinship Navigator program. Toni has earned PSU’s Post Graduate Certificate in Adoptive & Foster Family Therapy and has completed Trust Based Relational Intervention 101 (TBRI®), basic Collaborative Problem Solving, ongoing Diversity & Equity Inclusion training, LGBTQ+ cultural competency, Motivational Interviewing, and Bibliotherapy, among myriad other training experiences. Toni's B.S. degrees are in Psychology and Sociology from Portland State University, and she holds a MSW from the School of Social Work and Child Welfare at Walla Walla College.

Toni and her husband have raised six children through birth and adoption who are now thriving adults, and who have given Toni the joy of grandchildren.

Email: mmcgrorty@nwresource.org

Phone: (503) 241-0799 extension 11

With ORPARC since 2001, Michael manages and handles budgets and finances for the Oregon programs, works with office technology, helps design publications and coordinate trainings, and supports the reporting processes, a role he has built upon and maximized in his many years at ORPARC. Additionally, he works part time for the overall NWRA agency in accounting. His specializations and focus areas include LGBTQ issues, cultural diversity, and the Adoption Tax Credit. Additionally as a Bilingual Support Specialist, he can also offer support to the adoptive and foster Spanish speaking community.

In his free time, Michael enjoys homelife with his pets and traveling to Latin American destinations, as well as teaching and speaking Spanish with friends.

Descripción en español

Miembro del equipo de ORPARC desde 2001, Michael trabaja con la tecnología de la oficina, diseña las publicaciones, coordina los entrenamientos [clases de capacitación], se encarga de los informes y las finanzas, y se encarga de la oficina y facilidades, un papel que ha llevado a cabo y maximizado durante muchos años con ORPARC. Las áreas de especialización y enfoque de él incluyen asuntos con la comunidad LGBT (lesbiana, gay, bisexual y transgénero), la diversidad cultural, y el Crédito Fiscal Federal de Adopción. Como Especialista Bilingüe en Apoyo Familiar a las familias adoptivas y familias de crianza hispanohablantes, él sigue desarrollando y presentando entrenamientos en español al público hispanohablante/latino por todo Oregón.

En su tiempo libre, Michael disfruta su vida cotidiana con sus mascotas, y viajando a varios destinos en la Florida y Latinoamérica, además de enseñar y hablar español con amigos.

Certified in Therapeutic Life Story Work (TLSWi)badge-8911.png

Email: adenninghille@nwresource.org

Phone: (503) 241-0799 extension 18

Annie came to ORPARC in 2018 with a background in serving youth and families experiencing developmental disabilities and mental health challenges. Annie coordinates ORPARC's KEEP support group referrals, helps monitor the online parent support groups, and is skilled in working both in and out of home with families, schools, and community support teams to assess challenging behaviors and create positive behavior support plans. With a special interest in working with individuals with Autism, Annie also speaks Spanish and is passionate about supporting parents and families through all the stages of parenting. Annie is licensed with the Oregon Board of Licensed Professional Counselors and Therapists and like all ORPARC Family Support Specialists has completed Trust Based Relational Intervention 101 (TBRI®), basic Collaborative Problem Solving, ongoing Diversity & Equity Inclusion training, LGBTQ+ cultural competency, Motivational Interviewing, and Bibliotherapy, among myriad other training experiences. She has also earned PSU’s Post Graduate Certificate in Adoptive & Foster Family Therapy. Annie also completed the national Training in Adoption Competency (TAC) through C.A.S.E. She earned her B.S. in Psychology from Gonzaga University and her M.S. in Marriage and Family Therapy from Seattle Pacific University.

Annie enjoys cooking, hiking, practicing yoga, and spending time with her husband, two high schoolers, and their newly rescued dog, Stella.

Certified in Therapeutic Life Story Work (TLSWi)


Email: nrussell@nwresource.org

Phone: (503) 241-0799 extension 15

With ORPARC since 2009, with a brief two year hiatus as a Resource Specialist and Family Education Coordinator with one of ORPARC's close training partners Swindell's Resource Center, Nicole has spent the majority of her professional career in a combination of post adoption services and/or family support work. At ORPARC, Nicole's role includes overseeing the office facilities and functioning, along with tech support. She also facilitates Oregon’s annual Shoulder to Shoulder child welfare conference and coordinates the new Training in Adoption Competency (TAC) program. She has earned PSU's Post Graduate Certificate in Adoptive & Foster Family Therapy, completed the national Training in Adoption Competency (TAC) through C.A.S.E. and is a certified TAC trainer. Like all ORPARC Family Support Specialists, she has completed Trust Based Relational Intervention 101 (TBRI®), basic Collaborative Problem Solving, ongoing Diversity & Equity Inclusion training, LGBTQ+ cultural competency, among myriad other training experiences and is currently studying Motivational Interviewing and Bibliotherapy. A recipient of NASW's 2009 Community Based Practice Award, Nicole has worked as a trainer for Cascadia Training, and for local childcare centers. Prior to ORPARC, she worked within a school-based mental health program in behavior-supported elementary school classrooms, conducted parenting classes and skills training, and was both a youth director and Head Start teacher. Nicole earned her B.A. in Social Work at Gordon College and her MSW at Portland State University.

Nicole has been touched by adoption personally, inspiring her work in the adoption field. Nicole savors her time with her husband and her two growing girls.

Certified in Therapeutic Life Story Work (TLSWi)

Email: mbartel@nwresource.org

Phone: (503) 241-0799 extension

Maya first joined ORPARC in 2015 as an intern and later became permanent staff. Maya works on managing data and reporting for both ORPARC and the Oregon Adoption Resource Exchange (OARE) program in the NWRA Oregon office, along with a variety of other creative, technological and intellectual contributions. Currently, she also serves as a DEI specialist for the larger NWRA agency. She has personal connections to adoption and her research interests lie in family life and wellbeing. In graduate school, her research focused on studying transgender families and their experience of adoption. Maya has also completed training in Motivational Interviewing and Bibliotherapy.

When not working, Maya enjoys drinking tea, reading, and cooking.

Email: clund@nwresource.org

Phone: (503) 241-0799

Chloe came to ORPARC in 2018 as an intern from Portland State University and joined the team as a part time Library Assistant in 2019. Chloe also works with Impact NW serving seniors and adults with disabilities. Chloe brings a life course perspective to her work and is particularly interested in supporting families through transition periods. Chloe holds a Bachelor of Science in Child, Youth, and Family Studies from Portland State University and is pursuing a Master of Social Work at Aurora University. She has received training in Bilbliotherapy, is also certified as a Community Resource Specialist in Aging and Disability through Inform USA, and has provisional certification as a Family Life Educator through the National Council on Family Relations.

In her free time, Chloe enjoys writing and going on adventures with her family.

Certified in Therapeutic Life Story Work (TLSWi)

Email: cduarte@nwresource.org

Phone: (503) 241-0799 extension 14

Cristina joined ORPARC in September 2023 after completing a Master's level internship with the program. She currently volunteers on the ODHS Continuous Quality Improvement Advisory Committee, has spoken on multiple advocacy panels with child welfare and housing leaders, and served 5 years previously at a residential treatment facility where she worked directly with clients diagnosed with various mental health disorders to strengthen social skills, community integration, and independent living skills. As do all ORPARC Family Support Specialists, Cristina received training in basic Collaborative Problem Solving, ongoing Diversity & Equity Inclusion training, LGBTQ+ cultural competency, Bibliotherapy, Motivational Interviewing and is currently completing Trust Based Relational Intervention 101 (TBRI®). Cristina has an interest in working in settings where she can utilize her Spanish language skills to help bridge the gap of communication she has observed occur in the various fields she has worked in. She is also a talented artist. Cristina completed her B.A. in Psychology from Arizona State University and her Master of Social Work in August 2023.

Cristina was raised in Mexico for most of her childhood, coming to America with her family to find a better life. She has brief experience spending time in the foster care system but is eager to learn more and educate herself about the entire process. She has an 80 lb. lab-mix dog, Steele, and a tuxedo cat, Socks, who keep her on her toes with the shenanigans they pull every day. She enjoys reading, drawing, video games, and long walks with her dog.

Descripción en español

Cristina se incorporó a ORPARC en septiembre de 2023 después de completar una pasantía a nivel de maestría en el programa. Es voluntaria en el Comité Asesor de Mejora de la Calidad del Departamento de Servicios Humanos de Oregón y ha hablado en múltiples paneles de defensa con líderes de vivienda y bienestar infantile. Trabajó 5 años antes en un centro de tratamiento residencial donde trabajó directamente con clientes diagnosticados con diversos trastornos de salud mental para fortalecer las habilidades sociales, la integración comunitaria y las habilidades para la vida independiente. Cristina tiene interés en trabajar donde pueda utilizar sus habilidades en el idioma español para ayudar a cerrar la brecha de comunicación que ha observado en los diversos campos en los que ha trabajado. También es una artista talentosa. Cristina completó su B.A. en Psicología de la Universidad Estatal de Arizona y su Maestría en Trabajo Social en agosto de 2023.

Cristina se crió en México durante la mayor parte de su infancia y vino a Estados Unidos con su familia en busca de una vida mejor. Tiene una breve experiencia en el sistema de cuidado de crianza, pero está ansiosa por aprender más y educarse sobre todo el proceso. Tiene un perro mezcla de laboratorio de 80 libras, Steele, y un gato blanco y negro, Socks, que la mantienen alerta con las travesuras que hacen todos los días. Le gusta leer, dibujar, los videojuegos y dar largos paseos con su perro.

Certified in Therapeutic Life Story Work (TLSWi)

Ruthie interned with ORPARC in 2022 and is now helping out as temporary staff. A recent graduate from Arizona State University with a Master’s of Social Work, Ruthie is currently also a social worker and therapist at the Veteran's Administration Medical Hospital. She is an international adoptee and an in-family adoptee, which has led her to explore the social work aspects of foster care and adoption. She has done extensive research in attachment theory that studies attachment in adults and the correlation to mental illnesses. As a registered RBAI - ABA Therapist in Oregon, she previously worked as a mental health technician (MHT) at an inpatient psychiatric hospital. Ruthie hopes to continue providing therapeutic services to underserved populations. She earned her B.A. in Psychology from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington.

In her free time, Ruthie enjoys spending time being outside with her dog, exploring new coffees and teas, trying new vegetarian recipes, reading books, and spending quality time with her husband.

After interning in spring 2023 with ORPARC, Ruby is now temporarily supporting the program in the library. Currently, Ruby works as a nanny specializing in ages 0-3. While caregiving, she works alongside families to apply principles of Montessori education in their homes. Her professional interests include child development, family life education, and early childhood education with a focus on Montessori philosophy. She aims to combine her passions for early childhood and parenting to provide support to Oregon’s resource families and hopes to one day become a resource parent herself. Ruby graduated from Portland State University in June 2023 with a B.A. in Child, Youth and Family Studies.

In her free time, Ruby enjoys being an aunt to three wonderful kiddos, having her family and friends over, traveling with her partner, cooking comfort meals, skiing Mt. Hood, and going on neighborhood walks.

Certified in Therapeutic Life Story Work (TLSWi)

Email: rstein@nwresource.org

Phone: (503) 241-0799

Rachel began at ORPARC in 2015 as an undergraduate student intern and transitioned to staff soon after. After 4 years she left ORPARC to finish her education and in 2020 returned to the Oregon Adoption Resource Exchange (OARE) and ORPARC programs to continue offering support on a very part time basis. She identifies as a transracial adult adoptee which ignites her passion in providing mental health services to children and families who have also been touched by foster care and adoption. She is currently a LPC Registered Intern with the Oregon Board of Licensed Professional Counselors and Therapists, completed the national Training in Adoption Competency (TAC) certification through C.A.S.E., is a certified TAC trainer and is currently studying Motivational Interviewing. Rachel is also Assistant Director of a local counseling practice group called Skyhook Counseling where she is also a therapist. She earned her B.A. in Psychology from Lewis & Clark College and her M.A. in Professional Mental Health Counseling from Lewis & Clark Graduate School of Education and Counseling.

In her free time, Rachel enjoys spending time exploring the great outdoors, culinary creating in the kitchen, moving her body through yoga and rock climbing, and quality time with her partner, two cuddly & sassy kitties, and two beloved rescue dogs adopted from Korea.

Kennedy began interning with ORPARC in March of 2024 while studying at Portland State University pursuing for her BS in Child, Youth, and Family Studies. She has known she's wanted to work with families from a very young age. Currently, she works with first-time parents in her role as an Infant classroom teacher, serving children ages six weeks to 18 months. She has found her passion in working directly with families and identifying the barriers that families face. She will continue to build off this passion in the fall of 2024 when she begins attending Portland State University as a graduate student pursuing her MSW.

In her free time, Kennedy is committed to social justice practice, going to concerts, creating art, or playing card games.

In April 2024, Arleth started working as an intern with ORPARC while completing her BA in Child, Youth, and Family Studies at Portland State University where she is on the Dean's List. Arleth has some personal lived experience. Since she was a child, Arleth has understood that working with children, youth, and families is something she is passionate about.

She likes to travel, go hiking, and do crafts and other creative things when she has free time.

En abril de 2024, Arleth comenzó a trabajar como pasante en ORPARC mientras completaba su licenciatura en Estudios sobre la Infancia, la Juventud y la Familia en la Universidad Estatal de Portland, donde figura en la Lista del Decano. Arleth tiene alguna experiencia vivida personalmente. Desde pequeña, Arleth entendió que trabajar con niños, jóvenes y familias es algo que le apasiona.

Le gusta viajar, hacer senderismo y hacer manualidades y otras cosas creativas cuando tiene tiempo libre.

Amy began interning with ORPARC in April of 2024 while completing her Doctorate of Occupational Therapy degree through Pacific University. She currently holds Bachelors degrees in Psychology and Exercise and Sport Science from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she grew up. She has enjoyed serving children and their families throughout her career, as a summer camp counselor, swim instructor, and behavioral therapist, and feels strongly about incorporating family centered and neurodiversity affirming practices into her philosophy as a therapist!

Amy enjoys spending time with her cats, Winston and Cece, and her newly adopted dog, Mac. In her free time, she enjoys gardening, reading and baking.