Adoption and foster care have been a part of my life since my earliest memories as a child. My parents, James and Mary, adopted four of my siblings to add to the eight of us who were "homemade" (as my Dad likes to say). Twelve children were apparently not enough, however, as we had many foster children live with us over the years! One thing that stuck with me about these foster children was that they all seemed to live a life in limbo, bouncing from foster home back to birth home then to another foster home until they eventually "aged out" of the foster care system with no home to call their own.
After completing my undergraduate studies at DePauw University in Greencastle, I entered the Indiana University School of Law at Bloomington with the goal of eventually doing something about this problem of "foster care drift". Since 1997, I have devoted my law practice to representing parents who wish to give permanent homes to children through adoption, and also to foster parents who wish to have legal representation in a variety of settings.
In 1998, my Dad and I co-founded Adoption in Child Time, Inc., or "ACT". I became its Executive Director. Lobbying Indiana's legislature, ACT has been instrumental in achieving several changes to Indiana law, requiring prior notice be given to foster parents of court hearings involving their foster children, along with the opportunity to be heard and to make written recommendations to the court at these hearings. I have given dozens of seminars and workshops to train attorneys, caseworkers, mental health professionals, and foster/adoptive parents in the areas of foster care and adoption law.
Today, I also serve on the Advisory Board of Fostering Families Today Magazine.