Karlene

Karlene
Job Title: IN Executive Director
Email Address: karlene@nightlight.org
Favorite Bible Verse: Philippians 4:13 I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.
Favorite Adoption Story: There’s always that one adoption story that makes your heart explode…..again and again. While working in foster care, I received a referral for a medical needs infant born to young Mexican immigrants who it appeared would not likely be able to support her due to her severe medical needs. She was not expected to live until her second birthday, if that even occurred, and she was reported to be blind, deaf, would never walk, had a cleft palate, had Charge Syndrome, and was diagnosed with various other medical needs. If she left the hospital, there would be multiple visits each week for treatment and testing. Placement options for this little girl were few but we had an older couple whose children were grown and they stepped up to the enormous challenge of parenting and caring for her despite the obstacles. They build a supportive relationship with the young birth parents and coached them patiently and lovingly during visitations. However, they eventually terminated their parental rights. The foster parents loved this little girl so much that they adopted her. They spent many years at hospitals and with specialists addressing her multiple special needs, always refusing to give up. With cochlear implants, she was able to hear. With a walker and years of physical therapy, she was able to finally walk. Her facial features were somewhat corrected surgically. With thick special lenses, she can now see. At 10 years old, this little girl still has many special needs but she attends school, goes to dance classes, planted a summer garden, sings at church, has friends, and last Friday night, I saw her cheering for her cousin’s football game! Her very special adoptive parents refused to give up on her, recognized the possibilities of her life and supported her constantly. I truly believe their unconditional love and devotion to her were essentially the gift of life for her. This amazing family will always be in my heart!
Education: Karlene holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology with minors in Human Services and Sociology from the University of Tennessee. Her Master’s degree is in Agency Counseling from Indiana State University. She is a certified Advanced Clinical Therapist in Adoption Competency through the Center for Adoption Support and Education (CASE) and has participated in many Trauma Competent Care trainings. Karlene is a Licensed Social Worker. She has worked in child welfare, family services, adoption, foster care, independent living, therapeutic services, early childhood education, child care programming, and residential treatment for over 25 years.
Responsibilities: Karlene works with the incredible staff at the Indiana office to assist families in their adoption journey. She assists directly with client support services, education, referrals, and home study preparation. She manages the operations of the Indiana office, assists with marketing, oversees state and federal licensing and compliance, budgeting, quality improvement, and public relations. She works with our volunteer Board of Directors for agency policies and planning. Karlene provides oversight for the Indiana staff and works with the Chief Operating Officer for intercountry services.

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