One of Barker’s most distinguishing assets is our well-trained and experienced professional and administrative staff. Our staff includes persons who, in addition to their professional credentials, are also themselves birth parents, adoptive parents, adoptees, and passionate about serving the adoption community. Continuing in the tradition begun by Ruth and Richard Barker, our staff also provides consultation services and in-service training for teachers, physicians, nurses, social workers, and parent groups in the community.
- Executive Director & CEO
- Senior Director
- Home Study & Post Placement Social Workers
- Post-Adopt Staff/Contractors
Executive Director & CEO
Sue Hollar, LCSW-C, LICSW
Executive Director & CEO
BS, Lenoir-Rhyne University; MSW, Syracuse University
shollar [at] barkerfoundation.org
Sue heads The Barker Adoption Foundation, one of the nation’s leading and oldest comprehensive adoption organizations. Her experience includes nearly three decades of social work practice focused exclusively on child welfare and adoption work locally, nationally, and internationally. She previously served in numerous roles at Barker. Sue’s experience includes direct-service and managerial positions in foster care, treatment foster care, and independent living programs. Prior to her work at Barker, she directed programs for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Children's Bureau supporting the federally mandated child and family services reviews and title IV-E foster care eligibility reviews of state child welfare agencies. Sue has also developed and conducted training for foster care and adoption staff throughout the country and serves on the National Training and Development Curriculum for Foster and Adoptive Parents Content Committee.
Beverly N. Clarke, LCSW-C, LICSW
Senior Director of Clinical & Support Services
BSW, Andrews University; MSW, Andrews University
bclarke [at] barkerfoundation.org
Beverly is the Senior Director of Clinical & Support Services and responsible for managing, developing, implementing, and providing oversight and quality assurance for the clinical aspects of the work provided by the agency’s adoption and support programs. Beverly has more than 21 years of experience as a social worker and clinician, with many of those years focusing on children and families. Previously, Beverly was the Director of Barker’s Project Wait No Longer. Prior to Barker, Beverly worked in the foster care system, family preservation programs, and domestic and international adoption programs. As an adoptive parent herself, she brings both a personal and professional understanding of the adoption process as well as a passion for supporting families and achieving permanency for children.
Cynthia Cubbage, LCSW-C, LICSW
Director of Family and Post-Adopt Services
BSW, James Madison University; MSW, University of Central Florida
ccubbage [at] barkerfoundation.org
Cynthia heads the Family and Post-Adoption Services Department at The Barker Adoption Foundation. She provides oversight of Search & Reunion Services, Support Groups, the Clinical Counseling Program, and Training & Education Services at The Barker Adoption Foundation. She has 20 years of experience dedicated to serving children and families in leadership and clinical therapy positions through non-profit work and county government agencies. She has focused on child advocacy efforts, analyzing public local policies, developing innovative programming for youth/children, and provided clinical therapy to children and adolescents. Cynthia’s area of expertise is in providing pre and post-adoption services in a variety of local, national, and international agencies to anyone touched by adoption. She and her wife are parents by adoption of two wonderful children.
Emily Marshall, LICSW, LCSW-C
International Program Director
BA, Kenyon College, MSW, Catholic University
emarshall [at] barkerfoundation.org
Emily joins the clinical team at Barker in her role as the International Program Director. Previously, Emily has worked as a School Social Worker, providing ongoing clinical counseling and case management, as Child and Family Therapist with YMCA’s Linkages to Learning Program, and as a Social Worker for children in the foster care system in New York. In addition to her clinical experience, Emily brings her Spanish speaking skills to the clinical team. She is very excited to translate her wealth of knowledge and experience working directly with children into working on behalf of children who are in need of forever homes.
Director of Development
mmazzei [at] barkerfoundation.org
Michele is the Director of Development and responsible for crafting, implementing and managing development and fundraising strategies. She is also responsible for expanding and deepening relationships with the Barker Adoption Foundation community.
With ten years’ experience as a manager and individual contributor in a fast-paced, mission and metrics driven environment at the American Heart Association, and account management and business process experience at Siemens, she is a successful architect and implementer of strategic and tactical development plans that aligned with organizational mission.
Michele has been recognized by the American Heart Association as a National Rome Betts Award winner for consistent performance, leadership, professionalism, and dedication; an award granted annually to those who value and exhibit integrity, excellence, vision, dedication, inclusiveness and sensitivity in their work. With a business mind and mission heart, she thrives in meaningful and challenging roles that benefit children and families.
Saara McEachnie, LICSW, LCSW-C
Director of Domestic Adoptions
BSW, Oakwood University; MSW, Western Michigan University
smceachnie [at] barkerfoundation.org
Saara is the Director of Domestic Adoptions, the integrated program of Project Wait No Longer (PWNL) and Infant Adoptions. Saara came to The Barker Adoption Foundation in 2018 with over eleven years of experience working with children and families. She spent the first years of her career working with children who were diagnosed with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome and assisting families of soldiers who had served overseas in the military. The majority of Saara's experience has been with the public child welfare system, helping children to achieve permanency either through reunification with their birth parents or through adoption/guardianship with a loving and able caregiver. Saara worked on supervisory teams to implement evidence-based, trauma-informed treatment models to best serve the vulnerable population of children within the foster care system in the District of Columbia. Her passion is mostly found in ensuring happy, healthy, and loving families for children.
Director Marketing and Communications
BA Trinity College, Hartford CT, MBA Georgetown University
lpowell [at] barkerfoundatio.org
Libby is the Director of Marketing and Communications, and is responsible for strengthening the Barker brand and supporting and growing all program work to expand engagement and services with the adoption community. Libby has over 25 years of experience in marketing and communications, including work for Fortune 100 companies earlier in her career, and more recently, 7 years with non-profit, mission organizations. Libby has a wide range of skills, including digital, research, innovation, and analytics.
Libby is inspired and thrilled to work for Barker to assist in any way she can to expand Barker’s stellar reputation and deliver Barker’s services to help make and support happy families with adoptive children.
Nancy E. Wilkinson, CPA
Director of Finance and Administration
B.A., University of Maryland M.S., Accounting, Georgetown University
nwilkinson [at] barkerfoundation.org
Nancy joined The Barker Adoption Foundation as Director of Finance and Administration in March 2020. In this role, she is responsible for Financial and Accounting operations, Human Resources and Benefit Administration, and Operations Administration. As a CPA, she brings a broad range of experience to Barker, in both public accounting and other finance management roles for several large nonprofits. Nancy is thrilled to be able to utilize her accounting skills to support the amazing Barker staff.
Sami Albert, LCSW-C, LICSW
Pregnancy Counselor & Family Support Specialist
BA, The Pennsylvania State University; MSW, University of Maryland, Baltimore
salbert [at] barkerfoundation.org
Sami is the Pregnancy Counselor and Family Support Specialist for the Domestic Infant Adoptions program. Sami had spent much of her social work career working for the public child welfare system in Washington, DC prior to coming to The Barker Adoption Foundation. In her previous role, Sami worked with children and families to achieve permanency, whether through reunification with birth parents, adoption, or guardianship. She has worked with children and families that have experienced high levels of trauma and often had multiple mental health diagnoses. Sami uses her clinical experience working with families to enhance the adoption process for children, birth parents, and adoptive families.
Domestic Adoption Program Support Specialist
George Mason University - B.S, Criminology Law and Society
calfaro [at] barkerfoundation.org
Caitlin serves as the Domestic Adoption Program Support Specialist for families in both the Infant and Project Wait No Longer Programs. She works closely with families and outside agencies from home study to finalization. Before coming to Barker, Caitlin served in the U.S Army as an Administrative Support Specialist, serving a tour of duty overseas. As an adoptee and birth mother herself, she brings both a personal and professional understanding of the adoption process and a passion for serving children and families in our domestic program.
Adoption Home Study Case Manager
B.A., The University of the South
vdownes [at] barkerfoundation.org
Virginia serves as the support specialist for families in both the infant and Project Wait No Longer Programs. She works closely with families and outside agencies from home study to finalization. Virginia joined our team after completing a year of service with AmeriCorps, where she worked in the DC public school system. She has a passion for women and children’s issues and enjoys putting her skills to work on behalf of the children and families we serve across our domestic programs.
Kaitlin Fischer, LICSW, LMSW
International Case Manager & Family Support Specialist
BSW, James Madison University; MSW, Virginia Commonwealth University
kfischer [at] barkerfoundation.org
As our International Case Manager & Family Support Specialist, Kaitlin provides support to families in Barker’s international adoption programs and is responsible for the review of child referrals and matching with prospective adoptive families. Prior to coming to Barker in 2019, Kaitlin worked for a non-profit serving families experiencing homelessness and poverty in the Washington, DC area. Kaitlin is passionate about serving children and families and is excited to continue this work in the adoption field.
Missy Herendeen, LMSW
Adoption-Competent Child, Family, and Adolescent Therapist
mherendeen [at] barkerfoundation.org
“Missy” (Melissa Herendeen), is Barker's Adoption-Competent Child, Family, and Adolescent Therapist. She is passionate about walking with individuals as they work to gain insights and find their voice in their personal narrative, using storytelling, meditation, and the mind-body connection. Missy’s focus at Barker is working with children, adolescents, and families. Her previous work has equipped her with skills to work with clients and their families as they process and heal from trauma, work through grief and shame, and gain tools they can utilize in their ongoing journey to create a safe environment to explore complex emotions and thoughts.
Administrative Coordinator and Program Specialist
mjackson [at] barkerfoundation.org
Meghan Jackson is the Administrative Coordinator and Program Specialist for Barker and serves as the first point of contact, providing knowledge about Barker’s many programs. She helps to manage the day-to-day operations in the office and enjoys scheduling and coordinating successful agency events.
Meghan comes with an extensive background in the geriatric field, working directly with clients and serving as a business office manager. She has administrative experience in the restaurant industry, working as an assistant general manager for 6 years. She is currently taking classes at the University of Maryland Global Campus to obtain her bachelor’s degree in social sciences. She currently holds an associate degree in social work and has future plans to obtain her MSW at the University of Maryland Baltimore, School of Social Work.
Child, Adolescent, and Family Therapist
BA, Morgan State University; MSW, Columbia University
imahdi [at] barkerfoundation.org
Imani is a Licensed Master’s Level Social Worker and received her degrees from Morgan State University and Columbia University. Imani’s focus has been on working with children and families who have experienced trauma. Imani has experience working with clients impacted by anxiety, depression, neurological disorders, communication delays, ADHD, behavioral and school issues, family dysfunction, abuse/neglect as well as families involved in the foster care system. Before coming to Barker, Imani worked in the Baltimore City region working with children, adults, and families. Imani assists families and children with obtaining skills focused on conflict resolution, problem-solving, self-empathy, and relaxation techniques. Through her engaging, trauma-sensitive, adoption-competent lens Imani is able to help guide families and children to begin the healing process by creating an open space to provide change.
Community Outreach and Recruitment Specialist
tmcleran [at] barkerfoundation.org
Taylor is the Community Outreach and Recruitment Specialist who is responsible for assisting in recruiting families for waiting children or children with specialized needs in Barker’s various programs. Taylor has spent her career facilitating the needs of a variety of ages; from infant to senior citizen in both private and clinical settings. Her most recent job focused on supporting adults with differing abilities ensuring that each person had a meaningful day. While she loved working with people of different ages, Taylor’s heart belongs to working with children and people with differing abilities most of all.
University of Maryland, University College - BA in Communications Howard Community College - Spanish language program
apagon [at] barkerfoundation.org
Avon serves as Barker’s Office Administrator and brings to Barker over a decade of experience in management and supervision. She has expertise in the areas of vendor management, IT support, human resources, communications, event planning, workplace efficiencies, and board and volunteer management. Avon is certified as an English as a Second Language instructor and is committed to making a difference in all that she does. Avon is passionate about the important mission of The Barker Adoption Foundation and is very excited to support Barker to further its impact.
International Program Support Specialist
breed [at] barkerfoundation.org
Brooke serves as Barker’s International Program Support Specialist, working with families during throughout the international adoption process. Before joining Barker, Brooke gained extensive knowledge in various intercultural experiences by travel, work, and education. Most recently, Brooke served in the Peace Corps, working with children and parents in Peru teaching life skills. Her previous experience impassions her work to build families and provide safe, loving homes to children.
Digital Marketing & Outreach Manager
mthomas [at] barkerfoundation.org
Margeline, an expert in digital marketing and outreach, joined The Barker Adoption Foundation in 2017 to increase Barker’s name brand recognition and relationship building. As Barker’s Digital Marketing Outreach Manager, she focuses on increasing the community’s awareness of and exposure to the agency’s adoption programs and services through external and internal communication and outreach, content development and delivery, brand management, and integrated marketing campaigns.
Margeline came to Barker with years of experience at an international humanitarian development organization, where she provided technical and digital support in marketing and development. She is passionate about using digital strategy, graphic design, and data analysis to tell Barker's story and make a lasting impact in the lives of those who need it most.
Eileen Wharton, MSW
Child Matching & Family Support Specialist, Project Wait No Longer
BSW, Radford University; MSW, University of Denver
ewharton [at] barkerfoundation.org
Eileen serves as the Child Matching & Family Support Specialist for Project Wait No Longer. She is responsible for managing matching and placement services, which includes connecting waiting families with children who are awaiting adoption in the public foster care system. Eileen, who previously worked in international adoption, has also been a home-based child therapist and has worked with families, at-risk youth, and individuals with disabilities.
Home Study & Post Placement Social Workers
Sandy Batton, LICSW, LCSW-C
Home Study Social Worker
BS, University of Pittsburgh; MSW, University of Cincinnati
Sandy has worked in the field of adoption since 1995. Throughout that time, she has worked with adoptive families, expectant parents considering adoption, and birth parents and adult adopted persons interested in search and reunion. Since 2007, she has served as a Home Study Social Worker at Barker, where she supports adoptive parents and children throughout the adoption process.
Home Study Social Worker
Lisa is a Licensed Clinical Social who has been working in Child Welfare in Maryland and Washington, DC since 1999. What started out as a case management position with a foster care agency in Prince George’s County has turned into a career devoted to helping to build and strengthen families touched by all aspects of foster care and adoption. Lisa has been with the Barker Adoption Foundation since 2006 working as a home study social worker, preadoption group facilitator, and birth parent counselor. In addition to her work with Barker, Lisa sees clients at her private practice in Anne Arundel County and at a substance abuse recovery facility for women.
Molly McKenna, LICSW, LCSW-C, LCSW
Home Study Social Worker
BA, Boston College, MSW, Catholic University
Molly is a home study social worker with Barker. Prior to joining Barker, Molly worked as a behavioral health and oncology social worker at the National Institutes of Health. She also has vast experience working with immigrant and refugee families and advocating for the fair treatment of immigrants. She is passionate about working with vulnerable populations and adoptive families.
Home Study Social Worker
B.A., The University of Virginia MSW, The Catholic University of America - School of Social Service
Eliza is a clinical social worker with over 20 years of experience in the adoption field and has had the pleasure of working with adoptive families, birth parents and adoptees. She has been part of the Barker staff since 2003. Currently, the focus of her work involves preparing families to adopt a child through Barker's domestic and international adoption programs and supporting them during the post-placement period. Since 2007, Eliza has facilitated the Pre-Adoption Group Training that is required for all families adopting through Barker. Eliza also has the great joy of being an adoptive parent. Eliza and her husband adopted their daughter from Guatemala in 2006. She believes that being an adoptive parent herself has enriched her work in the adoption field.
Theodore C. Reynolds, LCSW-C, LICSW
Home Study Social Worker
BSW, Stony Brook University; MSW, Columbia University
Ted is a home study social worker who joined Barker in 2018. Prior to coming to Barker, Ted worked in the public child welfare system. He initially trained and assessed foster parents to work with children who had experienced abuse and neglect. Ted has also worked with children and families to achieve permanency through reunification, guardianship or adoption with a loving permanent family. Ted also has a background in mental health as a result of his experience working with mental health patients at a hospital in Baltimore city.
Cynthia Cubbage, LCSW-C, LICSW
Director of Family & Post-Adopt Services and Adoption Competent Family, Child, and Adolescent Therapist
Cynthia heads the Family and Post-Adoption Services Department at The Barker Adoption Foundation. She provides oversight of Search & Reunion Services, Support Groups, the Clinical Counseling Program, and Training & Education Services at The Barker Adoption Foundation. She has 20 years of experience dedicated to serving children and families in leadership and clinical therapy positions through non-profit work and county government agencies. Cynthia’s area of expertise is in working with children and teens with ADHD, anxiety, LGBTQ Youth and families, depression, attachment, Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD), adoption related grief and loss, international search and reunion, multi-racial/cultural family counseling, emotional/behavioral disorders, and other neurodevelopmental disorders. Cynthia has provided numerous trainings and workshops at the national and international level. She and her wife are parents by adoption of two wonderful children.
Barbara Donesky, LCSWC, LICSW
Barbara Donesky has more than 20 years of experience providing individual counseling, couples therapy/marriage counseling and group therapy. Her style is interactional, holistic and strengths-based. Barbara facilitates two support groups at Barker- Parents of Adopted Teens and Older Children Support Group and the Parents of Young Adults Support Group. Recently voted as one of the top three couples counselors in Washington, D.C. Much of her work with couples involves healing from infidelity, which can be sexual or emotional. As for individual therapy, Barbara’s areas of expertise are grief/loss, substance abuse, adoption, and infertility.
Missy Herendeen, LMSW and Registered Yoga
Adoption-Competent Child, Family, and Adolescent Therapist
She is passionate about walking with individuals as they work to gain insights and find their voice in their personal narrative, using storytelling, meditation, and the mind-body connection. Missy’s focus at Barker is working with children, adolescents and families. Her previous work has equipped her with skills to work with clients and their families as they process and heal from trauma, work through grief and shame, and gain tools they can utilize in their ongoing journey to create a safe environment to explore complex emotions and thoughts.
Varda Makovsky, LCSW-C, LICSW
Adoption Competent Adult Therapist
vmakovsky [at] barkerfoundation.org
Varda Makovsky, LCSW-C, LICSW (Adoption Competent Adult Therapist) is passionate about counseling and empowering adults who have been touched by adoption, including adoptees, birth parents and adoptive parents. She counsels adoptees - at various life stages. She assists adopted persons, birthparents, and adoptive parents as they navigate the complexities of the search and reunion process and reconnection. Counseling with adoptive parents may focus on: developing strategies for talking to children about adoption, exploring issues surrounding race (in transracial adoptions), navigating the complexities of open adoption, enhancing family relationships, and the role adoption has played in their lives.
Varda also provides counseling services at Barker to many people who are not connected to adoption on issues related to depression, anxiety, mood disorders, relationship issues, fertility and family-building, life transitions, grief and loss, trauma, self-esteem and parenting.
Nationally Certified Counselor
Kristen Reighard is a Nationally Certified Counselor who has worked with Barker for over 10 years. She facilitates Barker’s monthly Adult Adoptee Discussion Group. In addition, she co-facilitates Barker’s Adopted Kids' & Teens' Groups throughout the year. Kristen is also an adoptee herself. She was transracially adopted as a baby from Seoul, South Korea and grew up in New Jersey. She has been married for 7 years and has a son and daughter.
Ellen Singer, LCSW-C
Adoption-Competent Adult Therapist
Ellen Singer, LCSW-C, (Adoption-Competent Adult Therapist) co-facilitates the Birth Parent Discussion group, provides parent and professional education and training; search and reunion counseling, and individual, couple and family counseling for adoptive parents and adopted adults at the Barker Adoption Foundation. Ellen has dedicated her 35+ years career to providing pre and post adoption services in non-profit, private adoption and mental health organizations. As an experienced therapist and trainer for both parent and professionals, her areas of expertise include making the decision to adopt, open adoption, search and reunion, transracial/transcultural adoption, relationship issues. She has been a key author/contributor to a number of adoption/foster care publications. Ellen and her husband are parents by adoption and by birth of two wonderful adult children.