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2019 National Council For Adoption Board Leadership

May 1, 2019 – Alexandria, VA – National Council For Adoption (NCFA) is proud to announce their incoming elected officers of the Board of Directors, who begin their terms in May 2019.

Heidi Cox, J.D., will serve as Chair-Elect for a one-year term in preparation of becoming NCFA’s Chairman of the Board of Directors in May 2020.

Andrea T. Vavonese, Esq., has served as Vice Chairman since May 2015 and begins a new two-year term in this role in May 2019.

Phillip Littleton has served as Treasurer since May 2013 and begins his fourth two-year term in this role in May 2019.

Chairman Wayne Winston Sharp, Ph.D., Secretary Lisa A. Sinclair, and Strategic Plan Coordinator Jane Castanias continue in their leadership positions. To view all members and officers of NCFA’s Board of Directors, visit: 

“Heidi, Andrea, and Phil have brought unparalleled knowledge, expertise, and resources to our organization over the years, and I’m proud to serve alongside them,” says Dr. Sharp. “In my final year as Chairman, I am looking forward to celebrating NCFA’s 40th anniversary in 2020 with our Families For All Gala as we reflect on our progress and envision the impact we will have in the decade to come. Our Chair-Elect Heidi Cox has a tenacious work ethic, an impressive knowledge of adoption, and an incredible passion for children and families. I’m looking forward to working with her in the year to come.”


Ms. Heidi Cox has served the adoption community as an attorney with the Gladney Center for Adoption for over 29 years and has impacted thousands of lives — adoptive parents, birth parents and adoptees. During her tenure, she has worked on legislation in D.C. and in Texas, trying to improve the law and child welfare systems, by advocating to focus more attention on what is best for children. Ms. Cox was appointed to the Adoption Review Committee created by the Texas legislature to identify obstacles that impede the state’s ability to find permanent placements for children in foster care. Ms. Cox is a dedicated and passionate advocate for women and children, and she remains actively involved in local, national, and international child advocacy efforts.

Ms. Cox received her Doctor of Jurisprudence from Texas Tech University. Her undergraduate studies were at Trinity University, earning a B.A. in History with a minor in German. Ms. Cox began her child advocacy while at Trinity, volunteering at the San Antonio Children’s Shelter and Juvenile Detention Center. In law school, she served as a big sister in the Big Brothers Big Sisters program. Through her volunteer work and career, she understands that no one organization can solve the problems. It takes an entire nation of communities and organizations, coming together to focus on children as individuals, with a strong belief that every child has a fundamental, human right to a family, regardless of what community, state, or country the child is born in. Every child deserves the opportunity to a full and complete life.

Vice Chairman

Andrea T. Vavonese is Division Counsel for Northrop Grumman Corporation. Prior to joining Northrop Grumman in 2015, Ms. Vavonese served as Senior Counsel with Akin, Gump, Strauss, Hauer & Feld, LLP and as litigation counsel for VeriSign, Inc. Ms. Vavonese has represented government contracting firms on all aspects of dealing with the federal government, including procurement, contract negotiations, protection of intellectual property, changes and compliance. She also represented clients on litigation matters relating to claims against the US Government, contract disputes, intellectual property disputes and construction disputes. She has defended and prosecuted lawsuits, governmental investigations and subpoenas. She has handled patent, trademark, domain name, unfair competition, earnout and employment litigation.

Ms. Vavonese received her B.S. in accounting from the State University of New York at Geneseo in 1991, where she remains actively involved in the Alumni Council Career Committee. She became a certified public accountant in 1993. She received her J.D. magna cum laude in 1997 from the Catholic University of America, where she was a member of the Catholic University Law Review. She is a member of the District of Columbia and Virginia Bars and is admitted to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court, the U.S. Court of Federal Claims and various federal trial and appellate courts.

Ms. Vavonese is committed to supporting the needs of children. In addition to serving on the Board of Directors for the National Council For Adoption, she has been involved with several other non- profit organizations that focus on the care, education and inclusion of children, including those with special needs. Her most rewarding and challenging role has been as an adoptive and biological parent, with her husband Dan, to two beautiful daughters.


Phillip Littleton joined Holt International Children’s Services in 2003 as Vice President of Marketing and Development. He now serves as President and CEO. In the ten years before he joined Holt's leadership staff, he previously worked for what is now the world's largest marketing and communications agency exclusively serving nonprofit organizations—the Russ Reid Company in Southern California.

A father of three, Phil adopted his two sons domestically at birth. After fostering several children in their home, he and his wife recently adopted their youngest – a daughter – from the local foster care system.

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Founded in 1980, National Council For Adoption (NCFA) is a global adoption advocacy nonprofit that promotes a culture of adoption through education, research, legislative action, and collaboration. As the authoritative voice for adoption, NCFA’s areas of focus include domestic infant adoption, adoption and permanency outcomes for youth in foster care, and intercountry adoption. Passionately committed to the belief that every child deserves to thrive in a nurturing, permanent family, NCFA serves children, birth parents, adoptees, adoptive families, and adoption professionals. In addition, we work tirelessly to educate U.S. and foreign government officials and policymakers, members of the media, and all those in the general public with an interest in adoption.

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