Meet the Staff

  • Sue Chaffee
    Sue Chaffee
    Executive Director

    Sue has been with LifeLong Adoptions since the very beginning, and she brought with her many years of experience in customer service. Her extraordinary people skills are a tremendous benefit when working with both adoptive families and birthmothers. As the mother of three children, Sue understands the desire adoptive families have to be parents, and she is always thrilled when her adoptive families are blessed with a new baby. Furthermore, Sue understands the level of support and guidance birthmothers need and feels fortunate to have the opportunity to let them know how much LifeLong cares for them.

  • Mark Doyle
    Mark Doyle
    Director

    Mark is our Adoptive Parent Specialist for the LGBT community. Mark provides education, guidance and support about the adoption process through informational meetings with our prospective adoptive parents. Mark came to work for LifeLong after 10 years of working for a major corporate retailer in the Human Resources department. His passion for adoption grew from his own experience with LifeLong. After his own adoption, Mark’s desire to continue to help other LGBT families achieve their dream of a family grew stronger and he joined the LifeLong team. He continues to advocate for LGBT adoptions. He enjoys helping others and believes you should never give up on the dream of family.

  • Dina
    Liz Gentile
    Assistant Director

    Liz brings to LifeLong Adoptions a background in technical project management. Liz had always dreamed of being part of an organization that assisted families, so after moving from Texas to Illinois, she began pursuing a job that was more meaningful for her. By combining her excellent communication skills with her love for children and families, she’s the perfect fit for the assistant director role. Having grown up in a small, close-knit family, she understands the desire for parents to have children and for children to have siblings. Liz is a vital part of continuously improving the adoption journey for adoptive families at LifeLong Adoptions.

  • Dina
    Dina Blackmore
    Adoption Admissions Coordinator

    Dina serves as our Adoption Admissions Coordinator. She is the mother of 4 children and has helped raise over 20 other children while running an in-home daycare. She understands the desire to become a parent and she will strive to make that dream come true for others. She utilizes her Bachelor of Science Degree in Family Social Services along with her Master of Science Degree in Community Health to better understand and support our adoptive families.

  • Liz Niemiec
    Liz Niemiec
    Adoptive Parent Coordinator

    Liz joined LifeLong Adoptions with a background in Administration and Human Resources. Throughout her career Liz has been devoted to helping others and being that person they can depend on. Adoption had an huge impact on Liz's life because she was adopted! She knows she wouldn't be where she is today if it weren't for her birthmother's selflessness and her adoptive family's unconditional love and support. Her goal at Lifelong is to be a support to adoptive families and guide them through their adoption journey. When Liz isn't at work, she is often out exploring new places, trying new foods, or spending time making memories with her family, friends, and two dogs.

  • Christina Hladnik
    Christina Hladnik
    Adoptive Parent Coordinator

    Christina comes to LifeLong with a background in social services, case management, and art. She is passionate about all things LOVE and knows and values the gift of adoption as one of the many incredible ways to show and express that love. Through each interaction with others, Christina strives to connect to them on a soul level and reflect back the beauty and magnificence that we all possess. Christina is overjoyed to play a part in the miracle of adoption and hold witness to the beauty of child connecting with parent. When not working, you can find Christina playing with her two young children, in her studio painting, or brainstorming with her husband over their next big adventure.

  • Kay
    Kay Wilemon
    Case Coordinator

    Kay comes to LifeLong with a degree in Communications and a background in Customer Service and Insurance. In previous roles, Kay often helped families through very challenging situations. Now she brings that compassion, dedication, and support to her role as an Case Coordinator. Kay is part of a "non-traditional" family herself. As a parent and step-parent, she understands and appreciates the beauty of a family created by love, regardless of biology. She's witnessed the miracle of adoption in her own extended family, and is excited to bring that joy to the adoptive families she helps! When she's not working, you can find Kay at home with her husband and two adorable daughters.

  • Deena Duda
    Deena Duda
    Assistant Director of Birthmother Services

    Deena joins LifeLong as a birthmother coordinator. She brings with her a background in advocacy and crisis intervention. She has an undergraduate degree in Human Services and is currently earning her graduate degree in Human Services Administration. Deena is married with two wonderful children, and she enjoys reading books and watching hockey in her free time. After witnessing someone close to her place her baby with a loving family, she understands firsthand the bravery, strength, and love of a birthmother. Deena is excited to bring her experience, education, and passion to her position as a birthmother coordinator.

  • Stacy Rodriguez
    Stacy Rodriguez
    Birthmother Coordinator

    Stacy is thrilled to be on the LifeLong Adoptions team! She has always wanted to work with people in a more intimate capacity, and with a BA in Sociology, she has the necessary attributes to do so—patience, strong interpersonal and communication skills, and the ability to empathize without judgment. Coming from a big, traditional Mexican family, Stacy understands the importance of family and relationships. Outside of work, she enjoys running half marathons, traveling the world, admiring nature through hiking, and spending time with her loved ones. Stacy aspires to help and empower expectant mothers, let them know they are not alone, and create a supportive environment for them as they look to create a change for themselves and for a lucky family!

  • Dawn
    Dawn Hembd
    Profile Coordinator

    Serving as our Profile Coordinator, Dawn manages the family profile development process from start to finish. With years of client services and project management experience, Dawn specializes in helping her clients put their best foot forward. With several friends and family who were adopted, adoption has a special place in her heart. Outside of the office, Dawn can usually be found behind her camera lens capturing the smiles of her two children while fishing, hiking, or exploring. She loves working closely with our adoptive families to ensure their profile is the best reflection of them.

  • Jen
    Jennifer Marie
    Profile Creator

    Working for LifeLong is close to her heart, as she too was adopted. Jennifer know's how much love, strength and courage a birthmother and birthfather have in order to make this unselfish and life-altering decision. Growing up in a gracious and loving family with two adopted siblings she brings compassion and experience to her job in creating profiles for our families. Jennifer has had the experience of meeting her biological mother and father and truly respects the decisions they had to make. Jennifer’s adoptive mother always told her, "you weren’t born under my heart, but you were born in it." Jennifer has felt these words every day of her life. Creating profiles and working with LifeLong brings her great satisfaction in helping other families along this journey. Jennifer wishes you the best throughout your adoption.

  • Mark Doyle
    Nathan Etter
    Outreach & Education

    After an eight-year career in elementary education, Nathan was thrilled to join the Lifelong Adoptions family! With his extensive communication skills and contagious personality, Nathan works to build relationships and cultivate partnerships with community organizations who serve expectant mothers. His goal is to empower these organizations with tools and resources to allow them to educate and support expectant mothers who are considering adoption. As a member of and advocate for the LGBTQ+ community, Nathan is proud to be a part of an inclusive enterprise whose mission is helping others achieve their dreams of becoming parents.

  • Edie Kanthack
    Edie Kanthack
    Administrative Assistant

    Edie serves all departments at LifeLong Adoptions as our administrative assistant. Her hard work and dedication keep our office running smoothly and efficiently. Edie is the proud mother of two beautiful girls who made her life complete. After three failed in-vitro attempts, she traveled to China to adopt her daughter Audrey. After returning from China she was blessed one more time when she realized she was pregnant. Nine months later, she gave birth to her second daughter Ava. Edie understands the ups and downs that life can bring, and her genuine, caring nature makes her a wonderful part of our team.

  • Emily
    Emily Downey
    Office Assistant

    Emily is our Office Assistant. She brings a positive and friendly attitude to every task. Her day to day responsibilities include printing adoption materials, preparing informational packets and assisting our adoptive and birthmother coordinators. Emily brings a strong work ethic and a genuine love of helping others.

  • Carolyn Walker and Sharon Ahmann
    Carolyn Walker & Sharon Ahmann
    Co-founders

    As adoptive mothers, Carolyn and Sharon have each experienced the joy of adoption three times over. Through their experiences, they became full-time adoption advocates, and have been committed to supporting adoptive parents and birth parents throughout the adoption process for more than 20 years. In the course of their work, Carolyn & Sharon recognized a need for personalized adoption services specifically for the LGBT community. In 2011, they founded LifeLong Adoptions based on the belief that everyone deserves the opportunity to achieve their dream of a family through the miracle of adoption.