One of Barker’s most distinguishing assets is our well-trained and experienced professional and administrative staff. Our staff includes persons who, in addition to their professional credentials, are also themselves birth parents, adoptive parents, and adoptees.

Continuing in the tradition begun by Ruth and Richard Barker, our staff also provides consultation services and in-service training for teachers, physicians, nurses, social workers, and parent groups in the community.

Executive Director & CEO

Sue Hollar Barker Adoption

Sue Hollar, LCSW-C, LICSW

Executive Director & CEO
BS, Lenoir-Rhyne University; MSW, Syracuse University

Ms. Hollar heads The Barker Adoption Foundation, one of the nation’s leading and oldest comprehensive adoption organizations. Her experience includes nearly three decades of social work practice, including 25 years of child welfare and adoption work locally, nationally and internationally. She previously served in numerous roles at Barker, most recently as its Associate Director. Ms. Hollar’s experience includes direct-service and managerial positions in foster care, treatment foster care and independent living programs. Prior to her work at Barker, she directed programs for the US Department of Health and Human Services Children's Bureau supporting the federally mandated child and family services reviews and title IV-E foster care eligibility reviews of state child welfare agencies. Ms. Hollar has also developed and conducted training for foster care and adoption staff throughout the country.



Susan H. Baker, CPA

Director of Finance and Administration
B.A. Bucknell University

Ms. Baker joined The Barker Adoption Foundation as Director of Finance and Administration in 2011. In this role, she is responsible for Financial and Accounting operations, Human Resources and Benefit Administration, Information Management, Risk Management and Operations Administration. She brings to Barker over 30 years of expertise in financial management and a broad range of experience, both in similar roles for other nonprofits and in providing Accounting and Financial Services to a variety of organizations as an independent consultant.  Ms. Baker received her undergraduate degree in Sociology  before she began her career as a Certified Public Accountant with Deloitte. She is pleased to bring together her passion for helping others with her Nonprofit Management expertise.


Anne Clark Christman

Director of Development 
B.A. Hamilton College, J.D. Boston College Law School

Anne joined The Barker Adoption Foundation in 2017 as Director of Development. In this role, she is responsible for creating and implementing development strategies for Barker and its individual programs as well as cultivating and developing new and existing individual, corporate and foundation funding sources.  Anne brings to Barker years of experience in nonprofit fundraising.  Anne received her undergraduate degree in Philosophy and Psychology before receiving a J.D. degree and practicing law for over 10 years.  Anne is also an adoptive parent.  She is pleased to bring together her passion for the work Barker does and her development expertise to help grow support for the Barker mission.


Project Wait No Longer Director Bev ClarkeBeverly N. Clarke, LCSW-C, LICSW

Director of Project Wait No Longer, Older Child Adoptions
BSW, Andrews University; MSW, Andrews University

Ms. Clarke is the Director of Project Wait No Longer: Permanency for Foster Youth, a Barker initiative that seeks to find permanent homes for children currently in the public foster care system. She is responsible for the Project's overall administration, including recruitment, training, outreach and matching. Ms. Clarke comes to Barker with 13 years of experience as a social worker and clinician, with many of those years focusing on children and families. Ms. Clarke's past experience includes work with the foster care system, family preservation programs as well as domestic and international adoption work.  As an adoptive parent herself, she brings both a personal and professional understanding of the adoption process as well as a passion for achieving permanency for at-risk children.


Tina Ji, LLM

Director of International Programs
LLB, Peking University, China; LLM, University of Virginia School of Law, University of Virginia, Charlottesville, VA

Ms. Ji currently oversees all of Barker’s international programs. She has worked in the adoption field since 1992, first with Children’s Hope International in St. Louis, and for the next ten years with Families Thru International Adoption (FTIA). Ms. Ji has extensive experience supervising adoption programs in Asia, Latin America and East Europe. She also developed humanitarian programs in China. In 2001 she started a foster care program in China which currently trains foster parents to care for over 100 children in non-institutional settings. She has also led efforts to help many orphanages improve conditions for the children, including provision of medical care. She is active with Joint Council on International Children’s Services and has also been substantially involved in the Hague Treaty and compliance issues for U.S. agencies.


Domestic Adoption Director Ann MorrisonAnn Morrison, LCSW-C
Director of Domestic Infant Program

B.A. Randolph-Macon Woman’s College; M.B.A. UCLA; M.S.W. National Catholic School of Social Service, CUA

As Director of Domestic Infant Program, Ms. Morrison oversees all facets of the program that serves individuals and couples who wish to adopt domestically, and expectant parents exploring an adoption plan due to an unplanned pregnancy.  She is responsible for programs and services for those interested in adopting, from the inquiry stage through finalization.  She is also responsible for leading activities in outreach, counselling and post delivery support for birth parents.

Ms. Morrison previously worked with adoptive families in home study and post placement process, counselled expectant and birth parents, led pre-adoption groups and led loss and healing workshops for interim care givers.  Previously she has provided counselling and workshops on healing after experiencing loss.  She formerly worked as an executive and consultant in Human Resources.


Post Adoption Services Director Varda MakovskyVarda Makovsky, LCSW-C

Director of Family and Post-Adoption Services
BS, New York University; MBA, New York University; MSW, University of Maryland

Ms. Makovsky heads the Department of Family and Post-Adoption Services at The Barker Adoption Foundation.  In this capacity, she provides ongoing consultation and support to adoptive and birth families, and coordinates support groups and skill-building educational programs for all members of the adoptive triad in both domestic and international programs. Ms. Makovsky acts as the Barker Foundation’s confidential intermediary, serving as a link between adoptive and birth families and assisting adult adopted persons who seek non-identifying information about their birth families, or undertake court-ordered searches.

Ms. Makovsky’s prior social work experience includes working with adoptive families in the home study and post-placement process, counseling women facing domestic abuse, and providing therapy services to clients at a mental health center.



anna2-staff-bioAnna Beers

Executive Assistant
BA, McDaniel College

Ms. Beers joined the Barker Adoption Foundation in 2013 and now serves as the Executive Assistant. She comes to us after three years with Barker’s older child adoption program Project Wait No Longer as the Program Assistant. Before her time at Barker she worked in Carroll County with the CASA program and with domestic violence survivors, and on the eastern shore as Operations Manager of a marketing firm.  Ms. Beers is passionate about the important mission of the Barker Adoption Foundation, and is very excited to support the executive team and board at Barker to further this mission.


staff-pic-jenny-beersJenny Beers

Project Wait No Longer Program Assistant
BA, Indiana University

Jenny’s role as Program Assistant allows her to support PWNL families through each step of the adoption process. She joined Barker after completing her Criminal Justice degree from Indiana University in 2016. Jenny has previously worked at summer camps and is passionate about children. She is enthusiastic about the Barker Adoption Foundation and their mission, and is excited to be a part of the Barker team.

International AdoptionBarker  Betty Betz

Betty Betz, MBA

International Programs Case Manager
AD, Indiana University; BS & MBA University of Southern Indiana

Ms. Betz serves as a case manager for the international programs.  She adopted her daughter through the China Waiting Child program in 2003 and worked for Families Thru International Adoption from January 2006 through December 2013. She comes from Evansville, Indiana, where she was active in a local Families Adopting Children Everywhere support group and formed the first Families with Children from China (FCC) group in her city.  Ms. Betz has been a strong advocate for special needs and older child adoption and feels blessed to be able to help children find their forever families.


Family Adoption Specialist Barker Lisa HughesLisa Hughes, LCSW-C

International Programs Clinical Specialist
BSW & Spanish, Radford University; MSW, Virginia Commonwealth University

As the Clinical Specialist, Ms. Hughes is responsible for overseeing the clinical aspects of all the international programs. She is responsible for the assessment, training, and support to prospective adoptive parents during the pre-adoption process and the post-placement period.  She previously supported  birth parents and adoptive families in Barker’s Domestic Infant program through counseling, clinical assessments and support groups.

Prior to Lisa’s work at Barker, her experience includes providing therapy and child-care education to patients of the Inova OB/GYN clinic, child welfare work within public foster-care and adoption, crisis counseling at a domestic violence center, and work with adoptive families at another local adoption agency. Ms. Hughes has also served as a child welfare research assistant at the National Association of Social Workers. She earned her MSW from VCU, where she focused her research on trans-racial and international adoption.


Kathie Lehner

Senior Domestic Program Assistant  

Ms. Lehner joined The Barker Adoption Foundation in July 2008 and spent 3 years as the Korea Program Assistant. She worked closely with families in the Korea program offering support and assistance in each step of the adoption process, from home study through finalization. Currrently Ms. Lehner is working in the Domestic department as a senior program assistant.  She continues to support the domestic families through each step of the adoption process.




charnita-mercer-pictureCharnita Mercer, MSW, LGSW

Pregnancy Counselor
B.S., Frostburg State University; MSW, LGSW, School of Social Work, University of Maryland, Baltimore 

Charnita works with women and their partners who are experiencing crisis pregnancy and are considering adoption.  She works to support and educate birth parents during their time of need about options for adoption, parenting, access to community resources, and helping clients to complete an adoption plan. Charnita also, works to educate other professionals in the field and the broader community about ethical adoption and best practice when serving birth parents. Previously, Charnita worked with children and families in foster care providing individual and family counseling. She also worked with, adults in a behavioral health setting providing, case management and rehabilitative skills to support re-integration back into the community.


Kathleen Porter Barker AdoptionKathleen Porter

Office Manager/Web Coordinator 
Montgomery College – Technical Writing

Ms. Porter joined Barker in 2008 and handles all incoming calls and requests for information. She comes to Barker after many years in the telecommunications industry. Ms. Porter manages the website, the Barker calendar, and coordinates and schedules workshops, training, and other events including Barker’s annual conference. She enjoys being the first point of contact and speaking with all families and individuals who call for information, assistance, and support.



Patricia Sanyer, MPA, MSW, LGSW

Bilingual Pregnancy Counselor
BSW and BA in Spanish, N.C. State University; MPA, N.C. State University; MSW, Our Lady of the Lake University

Patricia works with women and their partners who are experiencing crisis pregnancy and considering adoption. She supports clients during this challenging time by providing education about adoption and parenting, accessing needed services before, during and after delivery, and helping clients to select adoptive families while working with them to complete an adoption plan. Patricia also engages in helping related medical, educational and pregnancy service providers become knowledgeable about ethical adoption practices. Patricia previously worked with families of small children, coordinating services to address developmental delays of children aged 0-3 years old.  She also worked with mothers of the perinatal community, providing therapy primarily to Spanish speaking clients interested in managing pre- and post-delivery mental health issues.

Patricia trabaja con mujeres embarazadas  y sus compañeros para educarlos sobre adopción y la realidad de un embarazo no planeado. Ella trabaja con las mujeres embarazadas para proveer servicios antes de, durante de, y después de dar a luz. Las madres pueden elegir las familias adoptivas y completar un plan de adopción con la apoya de Patricia.  Patricia también comunica con organizaciones a través del área para informarlas sobre prácticos éticas en relación con el proceso de adopción.  


Kate Simpson, MSW, LGSW

Family Specialist, Domestic Infant Program 
BA, California State University – Monterey Bay; MSW, University of Washington – Seattle  

In her role as the Family Specialist,  Ms. Simpson supports and counsels adoptive families throughout the adoption process and helps families create an individualized adoption plan. She also coordinates adoption education and training programs for hospitals, schools, and other community organizations. She previously worked as a Pregnancy Counselor with expectant parents at The Barker Adoption Foundation. 

Ms. Simpson’s graduate work focused on mental health, healthcare systems, and global health. Through her global health studies she focused on maternal and child health specifically, and worked on nutrition and women’s empowerment in Africa. Her professional background also includes working in mental health services and refugee resettlement. Prior to working with international populations Ms. Simpson was a lead teacher in a daycare program and worked with two agencies serving victims of domestic violence.


staff-pic-Margeline-ThomasMargeline Thomas

Digital Marketing & Outreach Manager  

Ms. Thomas joined The Barker Adoption Foundation to engage the digital community in Barker's mission and advocacy for adoption services. Ms. Thomas comes to Barker with years of experience at an international humanitarian development organization, where she provided technical and digital support in marketing and development. She is passionate about using digital strategy, graphic design, and data analysis to tell Barker's story and make a lasting impact in the lives of those who need it most.           


Domestic Adoption Assistant Stephany WestStephany West

Domestic Program Assistant
BA, Randolph College

As one of Barker’s Domestic Infant Program Assistants, Ms. West supports families pursuing domestic adoption.  Before coming to Barker, Ms. West earned an undergraduate degree with the goal of working with a nonprofit agency. She is excited to be a part of the Barker team helping guide families through the adoption process, from initial information calls about our programs through assisting families with adoption finalization.



Eileen Wharton, MSW, LGSW

Child Matching & Family Support Specialist, Project Wait No Longer 
BSW, Radford University; MSW, University of Denver

Ms. Wharton serves as the Child Matching & Family Support Specialist for Project Wait No Longer: Permanency for Foster Youth. She is responsible for managing matching and placement services which includes connecting waiting families with children who are awaiting adoption in the public foster care system. Ms. Wharton, who previously worked in international adoption, has also been a home based child therapist and has worked with families, at-risk youth and individuals with disabilities.



Alex Williams, MSW

Outreach and Program Support Specialist, Project Wait No Longer 
BSW, James Madison University; MSW, George Mason University 

Ms. Williams serves as the primary representative for Project Wait No Longer in the community at all outreach events.  She is responsible for heading up our older child adoption parent recruitment initiatives – including managing our PWNL blog, newsletter, and presenting at general informational meetings.   Ms. Williams is the first point of contact for families who are interested in learning more about the Older Child Adoption process and is a wonderful advocate for waiting children within our community. Ms. Williams works tirelessly with caseworkers from around the country to help support The Barker Adoption Foundation’s belief that “every child deserves a family.” Prior to Barker, she conducted outreach with communities and organizations across the nation to further affordable housing and also worked in community programming with children and youth. Ms. Williams brings a passion for child welfare to this position and is excited to reach families in the community who are looking to provide a “forever home” for children in need.



Rebecca-York-International-Program-AssistantRebecca York

International Program Assistant
BSW, Christopher Newport University 

Ms. York obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Social Work and serves as Barker’s International Program Assistant. She previously worked for a non-profit, therapeutic foster care and adoption agency in Newport News, Virginia. While working in the Tidewater region, she gained experience in the foster care and adoption system and uses that knowledge and experience to ensure that all individuals have a positive experience with the adoption process. She is extremely passionate about this field of work and continues to love supporting non-profit organizations. She is excited to help find forever families for the children she serves through Barker.