Founder and Executive Director
Family: Married to Kiel Twietmeyer. Mother to Matthew, Andarge, Kylie, Brendan, Sarah, Rachel, Ethan, Selah, Gracie, Samuel, Hank, Danny, Seth, Sofia, and Isaac…. Grandparents to: Kathryn, Pami, Axel, Gabby and Royce. We are part time missionaries in Guatemala at Project HOPEFUL’s Walk on Water Initiative and recently moved our family from Illinois to sunny Florida!
How I got involved in Project HOPEFUL: 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…all things creative and expressive. We are very active with health, fitness and nutrition to be in the condition to keep up with all of the above. We are passionate about helping pre and post adoptive families achieve health and peace in all ways.
Associate Executive Director
Family: Married to LaRue. Mother to Kristi, Casey, Austin, Jacob, Dameon, Jesse and Ava.
How I got involved in Project HOPEFUL: We were about to be empty nesters when we felt a very sudden and strong pull to adopt. I had recently been in Ethiopia and just naturally assumed that would be where our child was waiting…but God had other plans. After speaking with Carolyn and learning the TRUTH about HIV we began our first adoption – from Ukraine! LaRue and I later became foster parents and have been blessed to adopt three more children through the U.S. foster care system. I began working with Project HOPEFUL shortly after our first adoption because I truly believe in the need for education to combat the stigma that surrounds HIV and other special needs. It’s a tremendous blessing to work with such a passionate, Spirit-led staff!
Hobbies: reading, gardening, canning, cooking, chasing chickens and homesteading on our little farmette.
Director of Financial Stewardship
Family: Traci and her husband Scott are parents to 10 children through adoption. Her children come from Russia, Ethiopia, and Ukraine and have come home as young as 10 months and as old as 17.
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.
I believe there is no special need greater than needing a family, and I am passionate about finding families for children and equipping those families to thrive.
She has held a staff position with Project HOPEFUL for many years, first assisting wherever necessary and then managing FIG grant funds and speaking at conferences and other events. She is now the Director of Financial Stewardship as well as board treasurer.
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!)
GREG & CHARISA KNIGHT
Directors of FIG Awassa
Contact Greg & Charisa
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 our two Ethiopian sons and our lives shifted direction in a dramatic way. We are passionate about orphan prevention and local adoption in Ethiopia and are privileged to play a small part in it.
Hobbies: Charisa loves people and any activity that includes long talks and laughter. She loves to teach (especially about nature) and can be found curled up with a good book. She also is passionate about fighting human trafficking and encouraging fair trade. Greg is a family man at heart. He loves to serve his family and others. He enjoys music concerts and longs walks on the beach.
Director of HOPE+ Sisterhood Ethiopia
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 8 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 woman 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: teaching + taking pure barre, eating (who doesn’t love that), stand up paddle boarding, reading, hiking, traveling, laughing, learning, + date nights with Kirk.
Director of Hope+ Guatemala and W.O.W. Public Relations Coordinator
Family: Carol and her daughter Grace love their little family of two!
How I got involved in Project Hopeful: I met Carolyn through blogging back in 2007 while she was in Ethiopia and trying to bring her daughter Selah home. Through a series of events, God opened the door for my daughter and I to serve with Carolyn and her family in Guatemala for 10 weeks during our summer break. During that time, God gave us a very clear call to return to Guatemala. After living in Guatemala for eight months, learning as much of the culture and language as we could during that short time, we returned to Oregon. I am excited to see what God does through the Walk on Water Initiative in Guatemala and am honored to be a part of His work.
Hobbies: I enjoy swimming, snorkeling when I get the chance and traveling. I love hanging out with friends, lots of laughter as well as deep conversations. Why do I feel like I just posted on a dating site?
HOPE+ Ethiopia Assistant Director
Family: Married to Rick. Our children: Jennifer, Carrie, Wendy, Christopher, Brian, Elizabeth, Victor, Matthew, Andrew, Jamon
How I got involved in Project HOPEFUL: I am a wife, mother, grandmother, and a lover and follower of Jesus Christ. I was introduced to Carolyn Tweitmeyer and Project Hopeful about 6 years ago, through a series of God-ordained circumstances. Through more God ordained circumstances, I became acquainted with Nancy Porter, the Director of Hope+ Ethiopia. As the Lord led me into more interaction and projects with Project Hopeful, I ended up going with Nancy to Ethiopia for the Hope+ Sisterhood program. And the Lord showed me that this was what He wanted me to doing – working to help these ladies and their children as He led us. I have been so incredibly Blessed by Project Hopeful and what the organization stands for. And I love watching the ladies going through the Hope+ Ethiopia program, who previously pictured themselves as hopeless, unlovable, desperate, and ignorant, begin to see themselves as strong, intelligent, love-worthy, independent women. They begin to believe that they can provide for themselves and their children. They learn that being HIV+ doesn’t have to mean a death sentence. With a little help, they grow and learn. I love being a part of Hope+ Ethiopia and 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.
Waiting Children Coordinator
Family: Single mom to Hunter.
How I got involved in Project HOPEFUL: I was introduced to PH and stigma stomping in 2012 by a friend. I started working on the waiting children list as a helper and God started showing me how to soften my heart regarding all of His children. Although I haven’t adopted, I am blessed to be part of this amazing team.
Hobbies: Reading, dance-offs to Justin Bieber songs, car radio singing, avoiding politics.
Creative Media & Translations
Family: Hi there! The little one you see there is Andy, he will make you smile no matter what is going on in your life, so feel free to visit us, my wife is an amazing and talented dancers, and I’m just someone that wants to create and make beautiful things out of any situation. We want to support and bring hope to orphans everywhere, we want to support their adoption process, before and after, we bring education to schools and places when it’s needed to end stigma and encourage others to adopt as we get ready for our first adoption! We are in Beijing, China. Feel free to contact us. Come and dance with us, have some coffee or a good discussion about any book you want.
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 …
Special Needs Advocate
Family: Married to Nathan Rippke. Mother to Elsa and Nase.
How I got involved in Project HOPEFUL: My husband and I were in the middle of our first adoption when we felt God calling us to special needs adoption, waiting children in particular. We knew that our paperwork and our hearts didn’t line up, and that it didn’t make sense for us to wait on a list while there were children waiting. But we weren’t sure what reconciling the two looked like. Long story short, over the course of several months some of our friends that are raising HIV+ children, and advocates from Project Hopeful, helped us understand what raising a child with HIV actually looks like. What we believed, and what we learned to be the truth, were two completely different things. And we want to be a part of sharing that truth. After seeing our daughter on a waiting child page a couple of months later we quickly realized that had people not been open and honest with us about HIV we may have never known our girl. As a family we feel a strong calling to be advocates not only for HIV adoption and education, but for all waiting and special needs children. That passion led us to our son just eight months after bringing our daughter home…and more often than is comfortable, keeps me up at night. It’s also what drew me to Project Hopeful as an organization, and part of why we became a FIG family for two precious girls and two amazing boys in the Project Hopeful Awassa program.
Hobbies: Graphic design – even though it’s also my job, having bonfire with the kids, snuggling dachshunds, advocating for waiting children, watching cartoons, cooking for my kids (if I do it all day long that makes it a hobby right?)