Andrea Kelley, Founder and President, is a musician and Suzuki trained teacher with degrees in performance from Indiana University and the Cleveland Institute of Music. Over the years she has enjoyed a variety of musical activities ranging from playing with The Who, Led Zeppelin and Johnny Mathis to touring Europe with orchestras. Andrea currently focuses her time on family, students, and Ethiopian Adoption Connection. She supports the voice of adoptees and natural families and is an advocate for adoption reform. The Kelleys have been in an open adoption with the known family of their children since 2004 and visit regularly. Andrea’s not-so-secret passion is eating Ethiopian food as often as possible, about which her kids tease her mercilessly. Andrea also serves as Executive Director of EAC.
Mrs. Manyahilishal M. Dado, Director and Programme Head, did her masters degree in Law from Amsterdam Law School and got her LLB from Ethiopian Civil Service University. Manyahilishal has worked for over a decade focusing on women and children as a child protection and advocacy specialist, senior public prosecutor and heads of women affairs department in Ethiopia. Manyahilishal is a passionate, experienced and committed expert on child protection, sexual abuse and HIV/AIDS prosecution. She is an advocate for adoptee issues; she is committed and dedicated in making it possible for adoptee’s to be connected with their roots and a strong supporter of open adoption. Currently she is helping adoptive families and adult adoptees search their birth families in different regions of Ethiopia in addition to translating and facilitating Skype calls, which give her a great satisfaction. Manyahilishal a native Ethiopian is a married and a mother of three, who now lives in Virginia USA.
Rachel Wentworth, Director, has worked in nonprofit civil rights organizations for sixteen years and has twelve years of grant and program management and technical assistance experience. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology from Hiram College and a Master’s Degree in Community and Regional Planning from Temple University. Rachel and her husband adopted their son from Ethiopia in 2011. She and her family reside in Philadelphia, PA. Rachel believes deeply that open adoptions significantly benefit all members of the adoption triad and that adoptees have the right to full knowledge of their personal histories.
Mrs. Kalkidan Alelign, Director and VP of Operations in Ethiopia, did her Masters degree in Social Work specializing in children and families in Addis Ababa University School of Social Work and got her BA in Sociology and Social Anthropology from the same university. As a senior social worker she possesses ample experience in the area of Adoption, providing psychosocial support, translating and working with marginalized segments of the society. Through her involvement with different humanitarian and nongovernmental organizations both as an employee and a volunteer, she was coordinating various programs and providing technical support. Her thesis that focuses on Ethiopian birth mothers’ experience after relinquishment is serving as an insight for many who were not aware of birth mothers’ situation and depicts a glimpse of their day to day life. Mrs Kalkidan is Vice President in Ethiopian Adoption Connection (EAC) and aspires to help many.
Tracey Chambers, Director and Secretary is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, and Columbia University School of Law. She has been an attorney for the United States Government since 1994. Tracey is a native New Yorker, but now lives in Washington, DC area. She is an intrafamily adoptee, and supports the voice of adoptees and first family. She adopted her daughter from Ethiopia in 2006. She and her daughter returned to Ethiopia in 2013. Since that time, she has maintained open and regular contact with her daughter’s Ethiopian family..
Wendy Rhodes, Director and Fundraising Wendy is an experienced non-profit executive specializing in fundraising and strategy for cultural organizations. She has previously held positions with the New York Philharmonic, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, and Boston Lyric Opera, and is currently the Director of Institutional Relations and Campaign at the world-famous Apollo Theater. Wendy holds an MBA from NYU Stern School of Business as well as a Masters of Music in Voice/Opera Performance from Louisiana State University. Wendy is the mom of two boys through the miracles of birth and Ethiopian adoption. She is an advocate for adoption reform, transparency in adoption, and especially for ensuring that Ethiopian adoptees are able to know their histories and make connections with their birth families whenever possible.
Rebecca Demissie, Advisory Board, has over ten years of nonprofit management experience in poverty reduction focused development programs specifically on issues of gender equality, women empowerment, human trafficking, child protection and HIV/AIDS. She did her masters degree in Gender Studies from Addis Ababa University (AAU), BA degree in Leadership and Organizational Management from International leadership Institute (ILI) in Ethiopia. Her masters thesis is on birthmothers who relinquish their child/children for international adoption with the objective of creating an understanding on the circumstance perspective and experience of birthmothers who relinquish their children for international adoption titled: International Adoption Looked at from the Circumstance, Perspective and Experience of birthmothers in Wonji Shoa and Addis Ababa. She believes that this study will add knowledge and serves as a reference in regards the birthmothers that relinquish their children for international adoption. Rebecca, a mother of two daughters, is a native Ethiopian who currently resides in Virginia, USA.
After a career in IT and computer support, Karen Fetrow, Advisory Board, is transitioning to working directly with individuals looking for help specifically in the area of post adoption support. She is a recent Bachelor of Social Work graduate and is working toward her Master of Social Work degree. Her future goal is to become a counselor specializing in post-adoption issues for adoptees, original parents, and adoptive parents. Karen is a legislative advocate in the US for adoptee rights, volunteering with both national and state level grassroots organizations. Being an original mother whose son is adopted by another family, Karen wants to support other mothers and families dealing with the loss of a child to adoption. When not studying, Karen enjoys sewing and gardening. Karen has been with EAC since 2016 and contributed to our Ethiopian caseworker training, specifically in the area of support for Ethiopian families who lost children to adoption.
Kalkidan Bekele, Intern, received her Bachelor’s Degree at Mid America Nazarene University. She is looking forward to pursuing a Masters in Social Work in the coming years.
Nebyu Fissha, Bookkeeper, received his BA in Accounting from Addis Ababa University College of Commerce and did his MBA in Accounting at Avila University in Kansas City, MO. Nebyu has a strong background in accounting and finance work both in financial and non financial industries. Currently Nebyu works at the Kansas City Housing Authority which is a not for profit organization. Nebyu wants to use knowledge to help Ethiopian Adoption Connection to have excellent financial record keeping and internal control practice in order to safeguard its assets and increase donor confidence. Nebyu joined EAC in 2016.
Intern Sydney Morgan is a counseling psychology doctoral student at the University of Missouri – Kansas City, where she works with Dr. Kimberly Langrehr. She studies racial and ethnic socialization practices in transracial families. She is interested in messages White parents provide – either directly or indirectly – to their children of color that assist in their child’s racial and ethnic identity development. Other interest areas include multicultural competency development, social justice, and advocacy. She’s excited for the opportunity to work with Ethiopian Adoption Connection. Sydney has been with EAC since 2016.
Danielle West Lori Precious Julie Kelly Elena Elosegi Stefani Milla Chris Ardern
Claudia Corrigan D’Arcy Erica Karen Sanford Rachael Strogoff Anna Habte Mesfin