Our Staff and Advisory Council


Karen B. Cheyney, JD, LSWA, is a co-founder and the Director of Bright Futures and the mother of two children through open adoption. For more than 25 years, Karen has provided legal and counseling services for parents and children.

Wendy Vandenhoeck, LICSW, is the Clinical Supervisor for Bright Futures and has extensive experience working with all members of the adoption triad. She has worked in the adoption field for over 20 years.

Jodi Waddell, LICSW, works with birth and adoptive parents. Jodi has done academic research on transracial adoption and has clinical experience with both foster care and adoption. Jodi has worked in a variety of settings, and is an adoptive parent.

Felicity Turgeon, LICSW, has worked with children and their families for more than 15 years.  The majority of her work is with court-involved youth and families as she provides comprehensive clinical evaluations and treatment recommendations.  She has worked with Bright Futures for the last few years as a per diem clinician conducting child assessments, adoption and foster care studies.

Kristin Cohen, LICSW, has worked with children and families for over ten years, both within the Department of Children and Families and the Department of Mental Health. She spent several years raising her own three young children and has been a clinician at Bright Futures for three years. She very much enjoys learning more every day about adoption from her colleagues, other professionals in the field and the families she interacts with.

Laura C. Joyce, LICSW/JD, is a clinician working with children and families involved in foster care and adoption. She is passionate about child welfare policy and the law. Laura is an active foster mom.

Lisa Lovett, LICSW, works with foster and adoptive families and has over twenty-five years of experience working in adoption. She has a practice interest and expertise in older child adoption, attachment and trauma. Lisa grew up in a transracial blended family and she is a licensed foster parent.

Patricia Fitzgerald-Pollard, LSW, Adoption Social Worker, has worked with children and families for 36 years, many of those years with the Department of Children and Families, and in the field of adoption for 25 years.

Sandra Acevedo
, LICSW, completes assessments for foster children with the goal of adoption and families wishing to adopt them. She is a much needed resource for Spanish speaking children and families and has over 19 years of experience working with children and families in various settings.

Carolina Menendez, BSW,is the Administrative Assistant for Bright Futures and is working toward completing her Master’s Degree in Social Work. Carolina is fluent in Spanish.


Tamara Cadet, LICSW, is a co-founder of Bright Futures and the daughter of an adoptee. Tammy has provided birth and adoptive parent counseling, training and networking and is now a member of our Advisory Council.

Dawn Smith-Pliner is a member of Bright Futures’ Advisory Council and served on Bright Futures’ Board for nine years.. She and her husband are the adoptive parents of two terrific young adults. Dawn is also the founder and director of Friends in Adoption, a nontraditional licensed child-placing agency, located in Vermont. Having survived in the position for more than 25 years, Dawn considers herself a sage in the ever changing, challenging world of adoption.

David Stolow is a member of Bright Futures’ Advisory Council and served on Bright Futures’ Board for 9 years. David has a Master’s Degree in Public and Private Management from Yale University and has spent many years working in financial management and strategy positions at different nonprofit, community and child-oriented organizations. David is an uncle through adoption and has a special place in his heart for adoption related work.