Meet the Staff
Sue ChaffeeExecutive 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 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.
Liz GentileAssistant 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 BlackmoreAdoption 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.
Jenee SpringinsguthAdoptive Parent Specialist
Jenee’s desire for advocacy was developed throughout the course of her own personal journey that has equipped her to provide excellent care and attention to our adoptive parents.
As a mother of 3 who experienced the struggle of infertility, she has a passion for building families through alternative means because she believes creating a loving family and providing a sense of belonging and unity is a choice.
Jenee enjoys connecting with people and has a desire to bring inspiration to others by helping them see the beauty of the journey and encourages them to maintain hope through all the obstacles.
With a compassionate heart, she looks forward to the road ahead and is thankful for the opportunity to walk hand-in-hand with prospective adoptive parents as they await the love and fulfillment of the dream their hearts so desire!
Melinda RappeAdoptive Parent Coordinator
Melinda joined the Lifelong Adoptions team after having worked in education, administrative support, and journalism for 16 years. She does her best to impart both kindness and love as a way to treat everyone. Her compassion and fastidiousness make her an excellent fit for her role here at LifeLong. She has a Bachelor's Degree in English and enjoys both writing and reading novels. She also has a five-year-old son and spends plenty of time exploring the world through his eyes. She loves helping hopeful parents grow their families. Her brother is a member of the LGBT community and she looks forward to helping him grow his family one day as well.
Nicole FerlitoBirthmother Coordinator
Nicole joins Lifelong Adoptions, serving as our Birth Mother Coordinator. She is dedicated to providing good relationships, organization and service to helping with both our birth mothers, and adoptive parents. She is one of 4 siblings and grew up in an Italian household; she understands the importance and desire adoptive parents have to want to raise a family. Graduated in 2011 with a bachelors in Health Promotions, emphasis in Women’s Studies; her passion is to assist and advocate for women's experiences in all aspects of life. She served her internship at Planned Parenthood of Illinois while working extensively with potential birth mothers, and knew that was the path for her. With a hope and want to be a mother herself one day, as well as raise a family, her passion and understanding for both sides plays a good role when helping place babies with the perfect family.
Emily BelrichardBirthmother Coordinator
Emily joins LifeLong with Bachelor's and Master's degrees in psychology. She has several years of experience working in foster care as a permanency specialist and an intake specialist. Emily has a great passion for working with children and families and helping those in need. Adoption is close to her heart as several family members, including her sister, were adopted. Being a mother, Emily understands the desire to have children, and she is so grateful for the opportunity to help others receive the greatest blessing of all.
Dawn GraafProfile 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 husband and two teenagers while fishing, hiking, or exploring. She loves working closely with our adoptive families to ensure their profile is the best reflection of them.
Jennifer MarieProfile 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.
Edie KanthackAdministrative 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 DowneyOffice 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 & Sharon AhmannCo-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.