Adoption Advisory Council

Adoption Advisory Council Members

Carolyn Berger, L.C.S.W., Chair

Carolyn Berger, LCSW, is a P2P Therapist, Adoption Advisory Council Chair and current Board Member. She has written and spoken widely on many aspects of both fertility and adoption. The American Fertility Association was founded in 1999 by the board and staff, with Carolyn Berger Founding Board Chair, and Pamela Madsen Founding Executive Director. Carolyn has a private practice at New York Fertility Services in NYC and in Westchester County, specializing in Fertility, All Forms of Family Building, and Adoption. She works with couples and individuals, helping them create their family building plans and find the fertility doctors and adoption professionals best suited to them. She has a special interest in helping people in the LGBT Community. Carolyn received her MSW degree from New York University in 1983. She is a member of The American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), ASRM's Mental Health Professional Group (MHPG), The Adoptive Parents Committee (APC), and The National Association of Social Workers (NASW). She believes her greatest accomplishment to date is creating her own family. She has two sons, one through reproductive technology and one through adoption. They have inspired her to help others build families.

Kathy Brodsky, L.C.S.W.

Kathy Brodsky, LCSW received both her Bachelors and Masters of Social Work degrees from Adelphi University in the 1970’s. She is a New York and New Jersey Licensed Clinical Social Worker, a member of the National Association of Social Workers and Joint Council on International Children’s Services. Her prior work experience includes the Children’s Aid Society, Children’s Village, MS Society, Veterans Administration, NYC Board of Education, as well as a private therapy practice. Kathy is a nationally sought speaker whose audiences include the Westchester Family Institute, St. John’s University, RESOLVE, the Adoptive Parents Committee and Joint Council on International Children’s Concerns. She serves as a member of the Advisory Board of Path2Parenthood.

Robyn Harrod, M.S.W., L.C.S.W.

Backed by more than 20 years of experience, Robyn Harrod, MSW, LCSW, is a Licensed Clinical Social Worker and Adoption Service Provider (ASP). She spent the past fifteen years as the Director of Programs for a well-regarded foster care and adoption agency. As an ASP for more than 10 years, Robyn has counseled and supported many birth parents throughout the process of placing their babies for adoption. Robyn has had the honor of being involved with over 750 adoptions through private, newborn adoptions and adoption through the foster care system.

In Robyn's current practice she helps her clients create loving families through foster care, adoption, surrogacy, or other alternative methods. In a safe and supportive environment she works with all people ready to start a family, helping them navigate the family building process that's best for them. Robyn offers individual, couples, and family counseling. She has a great deal of knowledge working with children, helping them understand adoption and other ways families are formed. Robyn facilitates support groups and has a special expertise working with the LGBT community.

Susan B. Nichols, Esq.

Suzanne B. Nichols, Esq. has practiced in the area of adoption law for almost twenty-five years. In the last few years, she has expanded the practice to include assisted reproduction law. She is licensed to practice law in New York and New Jersey. Suzanne holds an undergraduate Bachelor of Science degree from Boston University, a Master’s degree in counseling from George Washington University, and a Juris Doctor degree from New York Law School. Prior to attending law school, Suzanne worked for several years counseling individuals and families. The combination of her work experience and her educational background gives Suzanne a unique set of skills to help prospective families navigate through the often emotional process of adopting children. Suzanne has been a Fellow of the American Academy of Adoption Attorneys since 1991. The Academy is the preeminent organization of adoption attorneys in the U.S. and Canada. Suzanne is also a member of the American Academy of Assisted Reproductive Technology Attorneys, American Bar Association, the New York State Bar Association as well as national, state and local adoption educational and support groups. As a well-known expert in the field of adoptions Suzanne is a frequent guest speaker at adoption conferences and educational workshops. She has also been the subject of various newspaper and magazine articles, and has appeared on national television and radio programs to discuss adoption issues and procedures.

Adam Pertman

Adam Pertman is Executive Director of the Evan B. 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 – 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. 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 Families magazine, 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, 19, and Emilia, 16.

Sam Pitkowsky

Sam Pitkowsky is the adoptive parent of two daughters; one from Honduras, and the other from the Dominican Republic. Mr. Pitkowsky currently serves as the President of the New York City Chapter of the Adoptive Parents Committee, Inc. (APC), a parent support group serving over 3,000 New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut families. Sam has represented APC at Joint Council, The Hague Alliance, and the Advisory Council on Intercountry Adoption (ACIA), and has also provided testimony in favor of adoption on Capitol Hill and in 1994 before Congress on the Hague Treaty. With his extensive volunteer work and expertise on international adoption issues, he will be a valuable asset in the guidance of FFTA’s International program. Sam has been named one of the 2007 Congressional Angels in Adoption.

Nina E. Rumbold, Esq.

Nina E. Rumbold, Esq., is a Partner in the firm of Rumbold & Seidelman, LLP practicing exclusively in the areas of adoption and reproductive law. Nina is a member of the leading organizations in the adoption and reproductive law fields including: The American Academy of Adoption Attorneys (AAAA), the American Academy of Assisted Reproductive Technology Attorneys (AARTA), the American Society for Reproductive Medicine (ASRM) and the Family Law Institute of the National LGBT Bar Association. Nina received her Juris Doctor degree from New York University Law School and is admitted to practice in New York and New Jersey. She has lectured on Adoption Law and Reproductive Law as a member of the faculties of the ABA Family Law Section, Practicing Law Institute, the New York Judicial Institute and the New York City Bar Center for Continuing Legal Education. She is also a regular speaker at the Adoptive Parents Committee annual conference. A current member and former President of New York Attorneys for Adoption and Family Formation (NYAAFF), an organization which advocates for legislative reform in the areas of adoption and reproductive law, Nina is a major contributor to The Child-Parent Security Act, proposed legislation which seeks to reform New York’s laws regarding the parentage of children born through assisted reproductive technology.

Dawn Smith-Pliner

Dawn Smith Pliner is the Founder and Director of Post Adoption Services, a licensed NY, VT, and RI child placement agency working in the field of Compassionate Adoption since 1982. She has served on the Advisory Panel of Path2Parenthood since 2007 and is a frequent speaker at conferences. Dawn is also the adoptive mom to Aura and Isaac and an avid snowboarder and hula hooper.

Rita Soronen

For more than 25 years, Rita Soronen has worked on behalf of abused, neglected and vulnerable children. Mr. Soronen has provided leadership for local, state and national efforts working to improve the juvenile justice and child welfare systems, while striving to assure safe, nurturing and permanent homes for North America’s children. As Executive Director of the Dave Thomas Foundation for Adoption since 2001, a national non-profit public charity, Ms. Soronen works to find loving adoptive families for each of the 150,000 waiting children in the United States and Canada’s foster care systems. Under Ms. Soronen’s leadership, the Foundation has significantly increased its grant-making and awareness commitments, while developing signature initiatives that underscore and act on the urgency of the issue.


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