About Shepherd Care
Adoption by Shepherd Care was founded in 1980 as a 501(c) (3) nonprofit agency. Our mission is to provide competent and compassionate adoption services to birth parents, prospective adoptive parents, and children needing a forever family.
Adoption by Shepherd Care’s main program areas include:
- Comprehensive services to expectant parents making an adoption plan
- Domestic Adoption Services
- International program in Colombia
- Other services including domestic and Hague-approved international home studies, post adoption supervision, and pre-arranged adoption services
As we enter our 35th year as an agency, we celebrate the thousands of families and birthparents we have been privileged to serve. We look forward to many more years to come!
WHO WE ARE
At ASC, we strive to be compassionate and competent in all we do…
Compassionate. We are committed to expressing God’s love through the services we provide. We work with individuals and families of all faith backgrounds, but it is no secret that we are motivated by our Christian faith. We respect the dignity and confidentiality of each person and the sacredness of all human life. And we realize that everyone who comes to adoption brings with them some amount of pain and struggle, and we seek to work with everyone with great compassion and acceptance.
Competent. We believe that God is honored when we do our jobs well. We are not do-gooders who are just trying to bring more happiness to the world. We are professionals who are committed to providing quality services and staying abreast of all changes and developments in adoption policy and practice. When adoption law is complicated and corruption abounds, true competence and ethical standards are invaluable.
MEET OUR STAFF
The mission of ASC is carried out day in, day out by our dedicated staff. Here’s what our Executive Director, Joseph Sica, has to say about them:
“This may be surprising, but I believe one of the main qualities that allows our small agency to do such a significant amount of quality work is our staff’s attention to detail. They are continuously educating themselves, thinking things through, and researching to be ready for the next phone call, the next question, the next situation we are involved in. They are caring, committed, and stand ready to serve you.”
Joseph Sica, MS
Joseph Sica has served as the Executive Director of Adoption by Shepherd Care since 2001. He has been involved in adoption since 1988, first serving as a house parent for pregnant women in a maternity home and serving variety of other roles since that time. Much of his previous training and experience is in the field of education and learning disabilities, so he brings a unique perspective to many issues within the field of adoption. He believes the mission of ASC is to serve birthparents and adoptive families with competence, compassion, and passion. He enjoys providing oversight and direction to the ASC team so that this mission can be accomplished. When he is not at the office, Joe can always be found spending time with his wife and their five children.
Trey Miller, P.A.
Trey Miller is the attorney who handles the legal aspects of all adoptions completed through Adoption by Shepherd Care. He obtained his law degree from Nova Southeastern University and is a member of the Florida Bar. Trey has represented ASC since 2007 and has been the attorney of record in over 250 adoptions. He feels that many attorneys work their entire career and never feel their work made a difference in people’s lives or society—he has no doubt the work he does touches people’s lives and our community in a meaningful way. He finds it a true privilege to work in adoptions and represent Adoption by Shepherd Care. He has extensive experience in adoption-related trials and appeals. Additionally, Trey represents adoptive parents in dependency cases, step-parent adoptions, grandparent adoptions, relative adoptions, and re-adoptions. He loves spending time with his wife and three children.
Nidia Sica, MSW
Director of Social Services/Director of International Programs
Nidia has worked in the field of adoption since 1988. She began her work in adoption by serving as a house parent in a maternity home, and she has since had the privilege to work with several agencies and attorneys in a variety of roles. Throughout the years, she has worked with birthparents to make an adoption plan for their child, with adoptive families by providing home study and post adoption services, and in the fields of both domestic and international adoption. She has also had the opportunity to participate in birthparent, child, and adoptive parent reunions as well as providing training to birthparent and adoptive parent caseworkers. She currently serves as the Director of Social Services and the International Program Director at ASC. She feels that during her career in adoption, she has met the most courageous people who sacrifice everything for the sake of another’s best interests. She and her husband have been blessed with five children, two of whom came into their family through the miracle of adoption.
Orlando Supervisor/International Program Specialist
Terri came on staff at Adoption by Shepherd Care in 2007 after working for eleven years at a Pregnancy Center. She has worked with biological parents who have chosen adoption for their child and has been forever impacted by the selfless love of the bravest ,most amazing women and men in the world.
Terri currently works as a team member with our Colombia program and also serves as the supervisor in our Orlando office. Terri is married and loves spending time with her children and grandchildren and working in her garden.
Martha del Castillo Schrader, MS
Colombia Program Coordinator
Martha has served as Adoption by Shepherd Care’s Colombia Representative since 2008. ASC is very fortunate to have a representative with her level of dedication, experience, and competence. In ASC’s Colombia adoption program, Martha manages all matters in the country and serves as a support to families during their travel. She has been working in the field of adoption since 1999, with years of previous training and work as a journalist. She feels that children have always held a special place in her heart, and for many years she has been very active in volunteering with at-risk children in Colombia. Martha lives in Bogotá with her husband and two grown children.
Marilyn Woolard, BA
Senior Office Assistant
Marilyn joined Adoption by Shepherd Care in March of 2005 and has worked in a variety of roles since that time. She currently is responsible for many administrative tasks within our corporate office in Hollywood, and there is a good chance that hers is the friendly voice that greets you when you call this office. Marilyn enjoys seeing God work in people’s lives: birth parents, families, children and our staff. She also enjoys spending time with her husband and family, reading, walking, and classical music.
International Adoption Coordinator
Claudia Martinez obtained her Law degree from Universidad Sergio Arboleda , in 1999,in Bogota Colombia, where she was born and raised. Upon obtaining her license she practiced law as a legal consultant in various areas for the Government of Colombia.
In 2007, she and her family decided to move to the United States in order for her to purse her love advocacy for vulnerable children in need of a Forever Family.
Claudia is the International Program Coordinator for ASC. She enjoys working with families desiring to be parents through adoption and identifying Families for children around the world. Her love for the law has made her an expert Hague Law since the United States ratified the Hague in 2008.
Claudia’s compassion and competence is what makes her the best advocate.
Heidi Morgia, LMHC
Birth Parent Counselor
Heidi has been working in the social services field for over 12 years. She was adopted herself and adds an incredible perspective to ASC because of that. She has her Masters in Mental Health Counseling and is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor. Heidi is married and has two adult step-children. When she isn’t working, her and her husband enjoy going to Disney and taking weekend trips to new places. She enjoys going swimming and experiencing new cultures; she has lived in many places all over the world!
Kira Swihart, MS
Birth Parent Counselor
Kira has been working with women and children over the last seven years. She has a Masters degree in Mental Health Counseling. Kira has a heart for ministry and loves working with individuals and families as they go through their adoption journey. In her free time, Kira enjoys spending time with family, reading a good book, and bargain shopping.
Angela Knapp, MSW
Angela has over 9 years of experience working with children and families, including several years’ experience working abroad. She has a Master’s in Social Work and has been a Licensed Clinical Social Worker since 2011.
Angela enjoys working with anyone touched by adoption, and serves as a Birthmother Counselor at Adoption By Shepherd Care. She loves being a part of bringing birth mothers, children, and families together. Angela has one son through international adoption and enjoys travel, reading, and spending time with family.
Birth Parent Counselor
Emily has experience working with children, families and adults in multiple settings over the last five years. She has her Master’s in Mental Health Counseling and is currently working toward licensure in Florida. Emily is a Birth Parent Counselor at Shepherd Care and is passionate about hearing people’s stories. She loves walking alongside of individuals and families as they make their adoption journey and she counts it an honor every time she is involved in the beautiful process of adoption. In time outside of work, Emily enjoys quality time with her husband and friends, traveling, reading, and engaging in just about every kind of outdoor activity and adventure.
Beth Lawson, BA
Beth is the Legal Assistant to Trey Miller, the attorney who provides legal services for ASC adoptions. Beth has worked in this role since 2008. She loves being able to be a part of such a joyous occasion in families’ lives. In her spare time, Beth enjoys arts such as theatre and music, as well as reading and travelling to new places.
Bree Nelson, BA
Administrative Assistant/ Adoption Specialist
Bree has over 5 years of experience with organizations that work with women and adolescents, including Adoption by Shepherd Care. She graduated from the Moody Bible Institute with a Bachelor’s Degree in a social work related field. Joining in on empowering birth parents and aiding adoptive parents through the adoption process is very near and dear to her. Bree handles paperwork and files for birth parents and adoptive parents. She also answers phone calls and makes it her goal to provide excellent service to all she encounters. She has a huge heart for those in need of assistance and strives to provide the best care she can for staff, birthparents, or adoptive parents.
Outside of work, Bree loves to spend time relaxing with her husband, watching funny TV shows, cooking, and playing games. She also enjoys going out with or hosting friends and family.
Benjamin Nelson, BAA
Benjamin earned a Bachelor’s in Finance with a double major in International Business, along with multiple certificates in banking. He handles the bookkeeping and related responsibilities for the agency.
In more recent years, adoption has been something that has become more and more close to his heart; he is thrilled to be able to use his talents and abilities to help in the process of placing children in families. Outside of work, he enjoys playing the drums and spending quality time with his wife.
Jacqueline Leonor, MSW
Jaci came to Adoption by Shepherd Care with over 25 years of social work experience. She earned her Masters of Social Work from New York University. Jaci conducts home studies and post adoptive visits. She delights in walking alongside families throughout their adoption journey and watching children become a part of a forever family.
Jaci is the parent of an amazing young girl whom she loves spending time with. For relaxation, she enjoys being with family and friends, reading a good book, laughing with the neighborhood children and in the kitchen baking some wonderful desserts.
One way that competence is measured in adoption is through professional accreditations and associations. ASC is a licensed child-placing agency through the Florida Department of Children and Families, and we are also proud to hold the accreditations and memberships listed here.
In April of 2008, ASC was among the first group of agencies to be accredited by the Council of Accreditation to work in Hague Convention cases. We have maintained our accreditation since that time. The Hague Convention is an international treaty created to ensure that intercountry adoptions are in the best interests of children and to prevent abduction, exploitation, sale, or trafficking of children. Hague accreditation ensures that agencies are in compliance with Hague Convention standards.
National Council for Adoption
ASC has been a member NCFA since 1998. NCFA was founded in 1980 as an adoption advocacy nonprofit organization. NCFA’s mission is to promote a culture of adoption through education, research, and legislative action.
Council on Accreditation
ASC received COA accreditation in April of 2009. COA evaluates agencies and organizations to ensure they are providing high-quality, ethical services in compliance with COA’s accreditation standards. The accreditation process involves substantial investigation of the agency by COA and an in-depth site visit to ASC’s offices.
Florida Adoption Council
ASC has been a member agency since its inception in 2001. The Florida Adoption Council is a not-for-profit association of adoption professionals, including attorneys, agencies, and social workers. FAC is dedicated to furthering and improving the adoption process within the state of Florida. Members of FAC are heavily involved in adoption legislation and spend time lobbying for better adoption laws.
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