• Carolyn Twietmeyer

    Carolyn Twietmeyer

    Founder and Executive Director

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    Family: Married to Kiel Twietmeyer.  Mother to Matthew, Andarge, Kylie, Brendan, Sarah, Rachel, Ethan, Selah, Gracie, Samuel, Hank, Danny, Seth, Sofia, and Isaac….

    How I got involved in Project HOPEFUL:  We live in Guatemala!  It all began with our first adoption when we realized that our child with HIV would not be able to come home at the same time as his brother and sister because of the immigration process for people with HIV.  I was saddened by the idea of explaining to my 4 year old little guy why he would have to wait an extra 3-9 months to join his new family and knew we had to fight to change immigration policy.  (Read more of Carolyn’s Founders’ Story here)

    Hobbies: Writing, reading, knitting, painting, making jewelry, decorating….I make a hobby of wanting hobbies.  I fully intend to make running a hobby so that I can run in our half marathons with Team Truth!

  • Traci Heim

    Traci Heim

    Director of FIG Programs

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    Family: Married to Scott since 1993, Mom to ten children.

    How I got involved in Project HOPEFUL:  All 10 of my children have entered our family through adoption.  Initially was this was due to infertility, but more recently because God opened my eyes to the needs of His children.  I first began volunteering my time with Project HOPEFUL.  Later, we adopted two of our kids who needed a new home after their mom died due to AIDS.  Our youngest, came to us off of an HIV+ waiting child list. We could not imagine our lives without her.  In 2013, we adopted four children from Ukraine.My desire with Project HOPEFUL is to spread the word about how very hope-filled an HIV+ adoption is so that no one misses out on this joy these children bring.  My passion is to encourage others to advocate for these children as well.

    Hobbies: My children say they are working on the computer and talking on the phone.  I would say that I enjoy skiing, reading, and spending alone time with my husband. (figure out how we can make that happen!)

  • Jennifer Kooshian

    Jennifer Kooshian

    Director of Communications

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    Family: Married to my best friend, Brian since 1992, and so far I am mother to Peter, Jeremiah, Emma, Noah, and Mercy.

    How I got involved in Project HOPEFUL: I have been passionate about adoption and orphan care since I was a child, but when I started learning the truth about HIV and AIDS in 2010, I was shaken.  I was upset to learn I had believed lies for more than twenty years.  It sickened me that I was one of the Moms who always moved quickly past the photo-listings of any waiting children with HIV out of ignorance and fear.  Now I’m passionate about doing everything in my power to see them adopted into loving families and to conquer stigma with TRUTH!  We have not adopted yet, but are praying God opens that door to us very soon.

    Hobbies: Embroidery, gardening, idealistic daydreaming, and playing board games with my family. Chronic Facebook, Twitter, and Blog junkie.

  • Melissa Kinast

    Melissa Kinast

    Director of Events and Planning

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    Family: Married to Chip and together parent five children.

    How I got involved in Project HOPEFUL: Project HOPEFUL combines three of my greatest passions: faith, children and HIV/AIDS awareness.  Growing up one of my close family members had AIDS during the early years of the disease. I was able to witness the wonderful quality of life my family member achieved. I also saw how devastating stigma can be. Fast forward 20 years. We know so much more about how to manage HIV/AIDS, yet stigma still remains. Unacceptable!

    Hobbies: Decorating, gardening, entertaining, and restoring vintage properties. Pilates and studying the art of ballet (but only in my living room)

  • Jen Knapp

    Jen Knapp

    Director of Human Resources

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    Family: Married to Brian.  We have one beautiful bio daughter, Sahara, and two daughters from Africa.  Ayantu Grace (Ethiopia) and Juliana Frema (Ghana)

    How I got involved in Project HOPEFUL: I remember reading the article about the Twietmeyer’s in People magazine and God used that seed a year later! We were trying to get our daughter home from Ghana when her case was stuck in immigration because she had tested positive for TB. We knew something in our case was not right when God reminded me of Project HOPEFUL from the article I had read. I contacted Carolyn while she was speaking at an Adoption Conference. Within 3 days, our case was pushed through and we were able to bring our daughter home. It has since become my passion to do everything I can to assist those in the adoption process as well as advocate for the most neglected orphans on the planet. God will stop at nothing for the orphan…why should I?

    Hobbies: Reading, writing, telling anyone that will listen to me blab about the orphan crisis and what they can do to help, running [I never would have said that prior to TEAM TRUTH], watching God reveal himself to our three beautiful girls.

  • Jenni Johnston

    Jenni Johnston

    Director of Waiting Children and Orphanage Liason

    Contact Jenni

    Family: Married to my hero, Josh. We have three very loud children, Chloe, Jack (Ethiopia), and Liam… more to come.

    How I got involved in Project HOPEFUL: In 2009, I begged God to give me a purpose. I heard him loud and clear, “ADOPTION!” We then brought home Jack in 2010. I realized I was not done. I, then, asked God to show me what broke his heart. Through crazy God-moments I was lead to Project HOPEFUL. After stalking these wonderful ladies, they let me be on staff. My world has been turned upside-down! I will forever be broken for these children who need hope and love.

    Hobbies: Roller Derby, chasing after my kiddos, obsessing over anything adoption, pretending that I am going to be a hippie, homeopathic, farmer that can cook, and I love playing dress-up.

  • Jenny Clark

    Jenny Clark

    Single Parent Liaison & Events Coordinator

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    Family: Single mom to Aidan, Ella Mae and JoJo who came home in 2013.

    How I got involved in Project HOPEFUL: I ran the Chicago Half Marathon with Project HOPEFUL in September of 2012. God showed me the amazing work that He was doing with this organization and I knew He wanted me to do more. Shortly thereafter I joined the staff!

    Hobbies: I have a lot of jobs (I work for my family’s Investment Management Business, I own a photography business, and a monogramming business) so I don’t have a whole lot of time for hobbies! But, I love movies, reading, quilting and of course, long walks on the beach at sunset.

  • Amy & Todd Block

    Amy & Todd Block

    Directors of Village of Hope — Guatemala

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    Todd and Amy are the parents of nine beautiful children, four biological and five through the miracle of adoption. Because of their adoption experiences from Guatemala, the US foster system and Ethiopia, the Lord opened their eyes to the children around the world who are orphaned, abandoned, helpless and at risk.  Once their eyes were opened the entire family became passionate about reaching the lost and vulnerable. In 2011 the Lord called them to do full time mission’s work in Guatemala.  Todd, Amy and seven of their nine children are serving at Village of Hope in San Lucas, Guatemala working with orphans living with HIV/AIDS and other special needs in a family style setting.

  • Greg & Charisa Knight

    Greg & Charisa Knight

    Directors of FIG Awassa

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    Family: Charisa and Greg have been married since 1992 and parent 5 kids: Rebekah, Joshua, Rachel, Abenezer (Ethiopia) and Teshale (Ethiopia)

    How we got involved in Project HOPEFUL: It all started with a mission trip to Zambia in 2007 when the children became REAL!! We couldn’t change the channel when it became uncomfortable and it was clear that the Lord was calling us to something. That experience led to the adoption of two beautiful Ethiopian boys and our lives shifted direction in a dramatic way.

    Hobbies: Charisa loves music-particularly worship music that brings me into our Father’s presence. You may find me curled up with a book when I can get a moment. I am also passionate about fighting human trafficking and volunteer as a justice advocate with International Justice Mission.  Greg enjoys time with the family and chasing the boys around to soccer games. He is a family man at heart.

  • Dawn Patterson

    Dawn Patterson

    Director of HOPE+ Sisterhood Uganda

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    Family: I’ve been married to John since 1996.  We have 4 beautiful children…3 through birth and 1 through adoption from Uganda.

    How I got involved in Project HOPEFUL: My heart became broken for orphans on my first mission trip to Ethiopia when I fell in love with an HIV+ teen who had been abandoned by her family because she was positive. I met Carolyn at Together For Adoption in 2010 and knew we were kindred spirits. When I found out about Project HOPEFUL’s mission to advocate, educate and enable for HIV + adoption…I was sold out. That’s when I created the HOPEFUL jewelry collection so that I could donate to Project HOPEFUL regularly.

    Hobbies: Making jewelry has been a life long hobby and I am blessed that God has turned it into a business and ministry.

  • Nancy Porter

    Nancy Porter

    Director of HOPE+ Sisterhood Ethiopia

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    Family: Married to Kirk Porter since 1998, adoptive mother to 2 amazing kids:  Haan and Eden

    How I got involved in Project HOPEFUL: I met Carolyn (and Selah) in Ethiopia 2 1/2 years ago when we both had an extended stay in Addis and stayed together in a guest house. I was able to see firsthand how very ill Selah was in Addis and then watch the transformation once she was home. Looking back now, I realize that the extended stay had a larger purpose, and my eyes were opened to the plight of the HIV+ child and the amazing ministry that is Project HOPEFUL. I am so grateful for the opportunity to help further Project HOPEFUL’s mission and spread the word about its amazing work!!!

    Hobbies: Yoga, reading, hiking, making jewelry, advocating adoption, and Friday night dates with Kirk!

  • Lani Rankin

    Lani Rankin

    Waiting Children Coordinator

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    Family: Single mom to my son, Hunter.

    How I got involved in Project HOPEFUL: I was introduced to Project HOPEFUL by Jenni Johnston and ever since God has been at work on my heart. Being part of the Project Hopeful team gives me encouragement and inspiration to help find homes for wonderful children throughout the world. I hope to make other people aware and Hope+.

    Hobbies: Running, pinning on Pinterest, reading, and car radio singing

  • Kimberly Balts

    Kimberly Balts

    FIG Matched Family Coordinator

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    Family: I married my high school sweetheart in 1991. In 2004, I became a mom to Ellie, then twin boys, Zander and Connor, and Madison (Uganda)

    How I got involved in Project HOPEFUL: Through our adoption process, God opened my eyes to His heart for adoption and stirred within me a passion for adoption. Since our own adoption, I have been praying for God to break my heart for what breaks His, and to show me an area where I can serve Him. I began learning more about HIV and adoption and that is how I found Project HOPEFUL. I am so excited to share my passion with young people and get them involved with advocating for orphans, and to see where God leads.

    Hobbies: photography (wish I was better at it), reading, playing scrabble, and I love traveling.

  • Yamid HR

    Yamid HR

    Creative Media & Translations

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    Family: Looking forward to marrying my best friend.  I’m engaged and am a future adoptive parent. My family is all around the world, those that take care of the widows, orphans and keep apart of the corruption of this world . .

    How I got involved in Project HOPEFUL: I used to believe that Truth is the most important thing in life, but a few years ago I understood that it’s not just about the things that you think are right, but what you do with the truth that you have… not just trying to resolve an intellectual issue like being pro or against abortion, but being able to respond to those that don’t see another choice in life and be part of a community of people that believes and lives in ways that promote life with everything we do. Truth and Grace brings Love to my life and it’s because of Love that I have Hope.

    Hobbies: Performing Arts and Dance and Communications, and studying languages …

  • Debbie Spikings

    Debbie Spikings

    Executive Assistant to the Staff Directors

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    Family: Married to Rick. Our children: Jennifer, Carrie, Wendy, Christopher, Brian, Elizabeth, Victor, Matthew, Andrew, Jamon

    How I got involved in Project HOPEFUL: After my husband and I married in 2003 we wanted a ministry we could do together. Our youngest child was in high school and we were almost empty nesters. The answer to our prayers came in the form of a three month old baby boy! The Lord really opened my heart and eyes to the need for people to care for orphans, especially those with HIV/AIDS and other special needs. I prayed about how to serve and the Lord and He led me to Project HOPEFUL.

    Hobbies: Playing guitar, singing, collecting antique school books (I know that sounds weird!). I enjoy traveling to our cabin in Michigan with my husband.