Staff

The Adoption Institute’s staff – which includes some of the most accomplished professionals in the fields of adoption and child welfare – works with our Senior Research Fellows, practitioners, policy­-makers, and journalists nationwide to accomplish our mission.

 

William Boltz, Ph.D.

Development Director

(212)-925-4089

The Donaldson Adoption Institute

120 E. 38th Street

New York, NY 10016

William Boltz, Ph.D. has held leadership positions in national and international nonprofit organizations seeking to advance civil society, human rights and public health, including Healing the Divide/The Gere Foundation Religions for Peace and the University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Boltz has taught at the University of Chicago. As a professional development consultant, he has raised funds for the New York University School of Law, Humboldt State University and Santa Clara University.  He is a graduate of UCLA and the University of Chicago.

David Brodzinsky, Ph.D

Research & Project Director

(510) 601-1410

The Donaldson Adoption Institute

120 E. 38th Street

New York, NY 10016

David Brodzinsky, Ph.D. is one of the most highly regarded researchers, educators and authors in the field of adoption and foster care. He is Professor Emeritus of Developmental and Clinical Psychology and immediate past Director of the Foster Care Counseling Project at Rutgers University. Dr. Brodzinsky was a founding member of the Institute’s Board of Directors, on which he served for 10 years and a Senior Fellow. In the fall 2006, he opened the West Coast office of the Adoption Institute and joined its staff as Research and Project Director. For the past three decades, Dr. Brodzinsky’s highly regarded research and scholarly writing have focused primarily on issues related to the adjustment of adopted and foster children and their families. He is especially well known for his research on developmental and family issues related to adopted children’s adjustment. Dr. Brodzinsky maintains an active private practice in psychology, much of which focuses on the clinical needs of adoption triad members. He also has an active practice in forensic psychology, focusing primarily on family law issues including child custody, termination of parental rights, contested adoptions, and child abuse and neglect. He has testified in a number of nationally prominent cases, including the Baby M contested adoption case in New Jersey, the Baby Jessica contested adoption case in Michigan, the Woody Allen and Mia Farrow contested adoption and custody case in New York, and the gay marriage trial in Hawaii. Dr. Brodzinsky has been a consultant to numerous public and private adoption agencies and has conducted workshops and seminars on adoption and foster care for mental health professionals, adoption professionals, and the lay public throughout the United States, Canada and Europe. He also has published widely on the psychology of adoption in professional journals and is the co-author or co-editor of five books on adoption, including The Psychology of Adoption (1990); Being Adopted: The Lifelong Search for Self (1992); Children’s Adjustment to Adoption: Developmental and Clinical Issues (1998); Adoption and Prenatal Drug Exposure: Research, Policy, and Practice (2000), andPsychological Issues in Adoption: Research and Practice (2005).

April Dinwoodie

Chief Executive

(212) 925-4089

The Donaldson Adoption Institute

120 E. 38th Street

New York, NY 10016

A seasoned brand marketing and communications professional, April Dinwoodie has developed a deep and practical understanding of diverse consumer groups and socioeconomic segments by working within various industries. Passionate about how people experience and interact with brands, April has honed her skills both as a full-time executive as well as a senior-level consultant giving her a unique perspective and the ability to strategically and gracefully navigate dynamic environments.

As a senior level executive, April has been a leader within the marketing and communications departments of some of the most recognized fashion retail companies including: Nine West Group Inc., Kenneth Cole Productions Inc., Nautica Enterprises and J. C. Penney Company Inc. where as Divisional Vice President, she was instrumental in driving transformational change via brand engagement and publicity. Key projects included; Ellen TV Integrations, 84th Annual Academy Awards Fan Experience, Emeril Lagasse Cookware launch and Fashion’s Night Out/People StyleWatch Event. Most recently, April served at the Director of External Media at JetBlue Airways where she managed proactive and reactive commucations. She was instrumental in launching the first aircraft with sharklets as well as driving the strategy for the launch of JetBlue’s new A321 aircraft.

On the agency side, April has worked with Fleishman-Hillard and Ruder Finn on campaigns supporting powerhouse brands such as; Gerber, Subway and Cingular Wireless (AT&T). Keenly aware of the ever-evolving communications landscape and the critical importance of message consistency, April is always thinking holistically about the bigger picture. While at Ruder Finn, April championed a web-based teen anti-violence campaign (“Love is Respect”) for The Texas Council on Family Violence. The campaign helped to increase engagement and web traffic by 83% and garnered a WEBBY award for Activism in 2007.

Dinwoodie is a fierce advocate for children and families for whom adoption and foster care are everyday realities. She created a specialized mentoring program called “Adoptment,” in which adults who were adopted or who had spent time in foster care serve as mentors to youth in care. She is also a co-founder and Vice President of the Board of Fostering Change for Children, a progressive nonprofit that helps drive innovation in the child welfare system.

Jeanne A. Howard, Ph.D.

Policy & Research Director

(309) 438-8503

The Donaldson Adoption Institute

120 E. 38th Street

New York, NY 10016

Jeanne A. Howard, PhD, is Policy and Research Director of the Donaldson Adoption Institute. A Professor Emerita of the Illinois State University at Illinois State University, she has conducted research on adoption and child welfare topics for over twenty-five years. Much of that work has been conducted with her long time colleague, Susan L. Smith with whom she developed and co-directed the Center for Adoption Studies, where they conducted research on the needs of over 2,000 children adopted from foster care and their families after adoption. Together she and Smith have co-authored multiple publications, developed training and made over 60 presentations at national and international scholarly conferences.

Dr. Howard received her PhD from the University of Chicago’s School of Social Service Administration. Prior to joining the faculty at Illinois State University she was director of undergraduate field instruction in the School of Social Work at the University of Illinois, Champaign – Urbana and assistant professor at Southeast Missouri State University.

With  Smith, Howard is the co-author of Promoting Successful Adoptions: Practice with Troubled Families (1999) and After Adoption: The Needs of Adopted Youth (2003). She has authored chapters in Adoption by Lesbians and Gay Men: A New Dimension in Family Diversity and The Postadoption Experience: Adoptive Families’ Service Needs and Outcomes, as well as entries in the Encyclopedia of Adoption, as well as several articles on adoption and foster care.

Her long collaboration with Susan Smith led to the receipt of joint awards for adoption research. Together, they were given the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Adoption 2002 Excellence Award for their work in applied scholarship and research and in 2006 received the Congressional Angels in Adoption Award.

Dr. Howard resides in Bloomington, Illinois. Since joining the Institute she has directed or participated in several studies published by the Institute, including papers on the impact of the Internet on adoption policy and practice; the importance of same-sex couples as a resource for children awaiting adoption from foster care, the critical need for adoption for older children, the moral and legal basis for restoring adoptee access to their original birth certificates, and the adjustment of transracially/transculturally adoptees in adulthood.

Nikita Huggins

Office Manager & Project Associate

(212)-925-4089

The Donaldson Adoption Institute

120 E. 38th Street

New York, NY 10016

Nikita Huggins joined DAI in 2011 and manages the Institute’s Operations and Information Technology. Prior to joining the organization, Nikita volunteered at DAI assisting in the development department. She is very passionate about giving back and assisting in her community. Nikita currently serves on the executive committee at her local school on the IT and Urban Gardening committees. She has a diverse background in web development, event planning, online educational services, human resources, management, development and customer service. She holds undergraduate degrees in both Information Technology and Management and has completed post-graduate studies in Business Analysis and Web Development.

Megan Hyatt

Project Associate

(212)-925-4089

The Donaldson Adoption Institute

120 E. 38th Street

New York, NY 10016

Susan Livingston Smith, LCSW

Program & Project Director

(919) 662-3896

The Donaldson Adoption Institute

120 E. 38th Street

New York, NY 10016

Susan Livingston Smith, LCSW is Program and Project Director of the Donaldson Adoption Institute and a Professor Emerita of the School of Social Work at Illinois State University. She has been a leading researcher in the field of post-adoption services for the past 25 years. Starting with a ground-breaking study on adoption disruption in 1988, Smith and her colleague, Jeanne Howard, began a scholarly partnership which has continued, resulting in many joint publications, over 60 presentations at professional conferences, and other activities on a national scale. Over the past 15 years, they have co-directed the Center for Adoption Studies at Illinois State University, which has produced several major pieces of research as well as curricula for adoption workers.

Susan completed her MSSW at the University of Tennessee in 1969 and continued to develop her clinical expertise, receiving the ACSW and becoming a licensed clinical social worker. In 1974, Smith became an Assistant Professor at South Carolina State College and moved to Illinois State University in 1981, where she was Director of Field Instruction. Smith has conducted research on adoption preservation services in Illinois since this program’s inception in 1991 and currently is completing an in-depth study of stress and coping in over 100 child welfare adoptive families served by this program – a pre-post study assessing child behavior problems, parenting stress, coping styles, and parental depression.

Smith has co-authored three books on adoption, Promoting Successful Adoptions: Practice with Troubled Families (1999), After Adoption: The Needs of Adopted Youth (2003), and Siblings in Adoption and Foster Care: Traumatic Separations and Honored Connections (2009) as well as over 15 journal articles, several book chapters, and numerous scholarly monographs. Smith and Howard were responsible for obtaining over $3,500,000 in funding for their research at Illinois State University; and together, they were given the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Adoption 2002 Excellence Award for their work in applied scholarship and research. In 2006 Susan received the Congressional Angels in Adoption Award.

Susan currently resides in Raleigh, North Carolina. Since joining the Donaldson Adoption Institute in 2004, Susan has directed several studies that have been published through the Institute, including papers on the rights and well-being of birthparents in domestic infant adoption, the needs of adopted youth in the schools, transracial adoption of African American children in foster care, critical issues in post-adoption services and openness in adoption. Most recently, she was primary author of a compendium on important practices for achieving adoptions for children in foster care.

Brittany Northcross

Development Associate

(212)-925-4089

The Donaldson Adoption Institute

120 E. 38th Street

New York, NY 10016

Brittany Northcross, Development Associate, has a diverse background in social justice, policy research, and advocacy. Brittany attended Harvard University, earning a Bachelor of Arts degree in History with a focus on 20th Century International Relations. After graduating she joined the New York State Academy of Trial Lawyers as a project associate working to enhance access to the civil justice system. She has held internship positions at the Clinton Foundation, Bone, McAllister, Norton LLC, and World Boston. Brittany comes from a large family with many connections to the adoption world and has served at the Adoption Institute for one year.

Adam Pertman

President

(617) 332-8944

The Donaldson Adoption Institute

120 E. 38th Street

New York, NY 10016

Adam Pertman is President of The Donaldson Adoption Institute, a national nonprofit that is the pre-eminent research, policy and education organization in its field. Pertman – a former Pulitzer-nominated journalist – is also Associate Editor of Adoption Quarterly, the premier research journal dealing with adoption and foster care. He is the author/editor of two newly published books, Adoption Nation: How the Adoption Revolution is Transforming Our Families &ndash and America(which has been reviewed as “the most important book ever written on the subject”) and “Gay and Lesbian Adoption: A New Dimension in Family Diversity”, and has written many other chapters and articles on adoption- and family-related issues in books, scholarly journals and mass-market publications. Pertman has delivered hundreds of keynotes, trainings and other presentations in this country and internationally for organizations including the Child Welfare League of America, the American Adoption Congress, the National Academy of Sciences, the Annie E. Casey Foundation, the Joint Council on International Children’s Services, the Massachusetts Adoption Resource Exchange, the National Association of Child Advocates, and numerous professionals including judges, social workers, psychiatrists, educators and journalists – as well as pre-adoptive and adoptive parents, birthparents and adopted persons. Pertman’s commentaries on families and children have appeared in the Los Angeles Times, Christian Science Monitor, Boston Globe, Baltimore Sun, Miami Herald and on National Public Radio, CNN, NBC, CBS, ABC and Fox News, among others. Articles about him, his book and the Adoption Institute have appeared in numerous publications nationwide, including theNew York Times and People. As a leading expert on adoption and family issues, he is widely quoted in the media and has been a guest on many programs, including “Oprah,” “Today,” “The View” and “Nightline.” Pertman was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize for his writing about adoption in The Boston Globe. His other honors include a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Florida Adoption Council, an Angel in Adoption award from the U.S. Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute; the Special Friend of Children Award from the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry; the Dave Thomas Center for Adoption Law’s first award for “the nation’s greatest contributor to public understanding about adoption and permanency placement issues;” the Friend of Children Award from the ODS Adoption Community of New England; a Family Builder Award from the American Fertility Assn., the Century Foundation’s prestigious Leonard Silk Journalism Award; the President’s Award from the African American Cultural Council of Virginia; the Year 2000 Journalism Award from Holt International Children’s Services; and the American Adoption Congress’ first award for the journalist who most informed the nation on adoption issues and “for his eloquent witnessing of contemporary adoption.” Before embarking on his current career, Pertman was a senior journalist with The Boston Globe for more than two decades. His positions included Foreign Editor, Washington News Editor, Diplomatic Correspondent, National Political Correspondent, Family and Children’s Issues Reporter, and restaurant reviewer. His assignments included the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Philippine revolution, the Gulf War, the Mideast peace process, the O.J. Simpson trials, and several presidential elections. He is a member of the Council on Contemporary Families, the Editorial Advisory Board of Adoptive Familiesmagazine, the National Adoption Advisory Committee of the Child Welfare League of America, and the Advisory Board of Orphans International Worldwide. He and his wife, Judy Baumwoll, live in Massachusetts with their two children: Zachary, 18, and Emilia, 15.