Our Staff

ORPARC has been a ray of sunshine in what has, at times, been a very difficult road...it is a huge relief to just have someone want to help.” -Adoptive Parent

Kendra Morris-Jacobson, MA
Director of Oregon Programs

Email:  kmorrisjacobson@nwresource.org
Phone:  503-241-0799 extension 16

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Kendra oversees the Oregon Post Adoption Resource Center (ORPARC) and the Oregon Adoption Resource Exchange (OARE). She joined Northwest Resource Associates in July 2010 and sits on the Board of Directors for Washington D.C. based nonprofit, Voice for Adoption. Honored as Senator Wyden's 2016 Angel in Adoption, she has spent decades in foster care adoption, including work with Boys & Girls Aid, the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption and Voice for Adoption. In 2017, she authored a chapter for international lifestory work expert, Richard Rose. As a prior editor, writer and adoption recruiter, she has captured the stories of hundreds of foster & adoptive children and families, and it has fueled her enthusiasm for this cause. In previous clinical work at Oregon Health & Science University, 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 in Pennsylvania; and M.A. in Counseling Psychology at Lewis & Clark College here in Portland.

Kendra cherishes family time with her husband, sons and rambunctious white shepherd, and runs, gardens and bakes in her spare moments.

Toni Ferguson, LMSW
Lead Family Support Specialist

Email:  tferguson@nwresource.org
Phone:  503-241-0799 extension 12

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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 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 DHS, 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 has earned PSU’s Post Graduate Certificate in Adoptive & Foster Family Therapy. 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. 

Michael McGrorty, BA
Operations Manager, Bilingual

Email:  mmcgrorty@nwresource.org
Phone:  503-241-0799 extension 11

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Se habla español

With ORPARC since 2001, Michael works with the office technology, designs publications, coordinates trainings, handles reporting and finances, and oversees the office facilities, a role he has built upon and maximized in his many years at ORPARC. His specializations and focus areas include LGBTQ issues, cultural diversity and the Adoption Tax Credit. As Bilingual Family Support Specialist to adoptive and foster Spanish-speaking families, he continues to develop and deliver Spanish language trainings to Spanish-speaking/Latino audiences throughout Oregon.

In his free time, Michael enjoys homelife with his partner, pets and traveling to Florida and 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 su pareja, sus mascotas, y viajando a varios destinos en la Florida y Latinoamérica, además de enseñar y hablar español con amigos.

Nicole Russell, LMSW
Family Support Specialist

Email:  nrussell@nwresource.org
Phone:  503-241-0799 extension 13

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At ORPARC since 2009, Nicole has spent the majority of her professional career in post adoption services work, including supervision and coordination of a foster care lending library for Washington State, facilitating Oregon’s Shoulder to Shoulder child welfare conference, and has earned PSU's Post Graduate Certificate in Adoptive & Foster Family Therapy. 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, dog Buckley and her two little girls.

Arah Gould, MA, LPC
Family Support Specialist

Email:  agould@nwresource.org
Phone:  503-241-0799 extension 19

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Having joined ORPARC in 2014, Arah has counseled in private practice since 2005, and worked previously with a diverse population at the YWCA counseling center. Arah helps manage ORPARC’s online support groups. Arah's experience and specialties include post-graduate training in humanistic/existential psychotherapy, mindfulness and psychotherapy, maternal mental health and perinatal mood disorders, and trauma therapy using various modalities. Arah has volunteered with the Returning Veterans Project and with Yoga Calm, a therapeutic movement program for children. Arah is licensed with the Oregon Board of Licensed Professional Counselors and Therapists and has earned PSU’s Post Graduate Certificate in Adoptive & Foster Family Therapy. She holds a M.A. in Counseling Psychology from Pacifica Graduate Institute and a B.A. in Cultural Anthropology from University of Oregon.

Arah enjoys time with her husband and two school age children, exploring the outdoors, playing silly games, and eating special meals together.

Rachel Stein, BA
Programs Support Coordinator

Email:  rstein@nwresource.org
Phone:  503-241-0799 extension 14

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ORPARC welcomed Rachel in 2015 initially as an intern, deepening her interest working in child welfare. As staff, Rachel now supports many aspects of ORPARC, ranging from design and social media to client support, in addition to work on the Oregon Adoption Resource Exchange (OARE) program. Having been adopted herself, Rachel has always been passionate about working with children. She has also traveled overseas a number of times, completing two terms of study abroad along with several community service trips working with underprivileged children. Rachel completed her B.A. in Psychology at Lewis & Clark College in 2016 and plans to eventually pursue her Master’s degree in graduate school.

Rachel enjoys free time practicing yoga, cooking, hiking, bouldering, and spending quality time with friends, family, and her cat.

Zoe Steiner, BA
Family Support Coordinator

Email:  zsteiner@nwresource.org
Phone:  503-241-0799 extension 11

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After having volunteered with ORPARC for multiple years, Zoe became a Family Support Coordinator in 2017, and remains eager to strengthen her experience in serving children and families, which has been a passion of hers throughout her life. With an undergraduate degree in psychology at Concordia University, Zoe has always been interested in learning about ways to support and intervene with children specifically, in hopes of helping guide them into a healthier adolescence and adulthood. Currently Zoe is completing her Masters in Marital, Couples, and Family Counseling at Portland State University. With a deep love for her home state Oregon, Zoe is invested in continually striving to uplift her community in any way that she can.

Zoe enjoys spending time outdoors hiking, exploring the beautiful Pacific Northwest, reading, spending time with family and friends, and snuggling with her dog.

Tara Farley, BA
Family Support Specialist Intern

Email:  tfarley@nwresource.org
Phone:  503-241-0799 extension 18

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As a Family Support Specialist ORPARC Intern since May 2017, Tara is working toward her Masters of Professional Mental Health Counseling at Lewis & Clark Graduate School. She is also an intern at Forward Stride in Beaverton, providing Equine-Assisted Psychotherapy with a special emphasis on foster and adoptive families. Tara has a background in crisis intervention and experience working with families of children with intellectual and developmental disabilities in foster care. Tara’s specialties include working with Highly Sensitive People and children, person-centered and existential therapy, mind-body connection, trauma, grief, and animal-assisted therapy. Tara enjoys incorporating the natural world into the therapeutic environment and helping clients reconnect through animals and nature. Tara received a B.A. in Psychology from Oregon State University and will finish her graduate program in December of 2017.

In her free time Tara enjoys spending time outdoors and with her friends, family, and furry & feathered family members.

Taylor Sexton

Email:  internor@nwresource.org
Phone:  503-241-0799

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ORPARC happily welcomes intern Taylor Sexton. Taylor currently works as part of a DHS research team at Portland State University’s Center for Improvement of Child and Family Services. She also has volunteer experience working in the Portland Public School district, as well as with youth at Donald E. Long juvenile detention center. Her ultimate goal is to be working with families and youth to help create healthy and positive interactions in some capacity. She is very excited for new educational experiences that will help further her knowledge and background. Taylor is currently finishing her bachelor’s degree in Child, Youth, and Family Studies at Portland State University and will graduate spring of 2018. She plans to pursue graduate school in the near future to further her education around working with families.

In her free time, she enjoys running, hiking, snowboarding, spending time with her partner, and spoiling her dog. 

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