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National Council For Adoption Introduces New Officers for the Board of Directors


April 26, 2024 – Alexandria, VA – National Council For Adoption (NCFA) is proud to announce that Andrea Vavonese of Vienna, Virginia, has been confirmed by a unanimous board to serve a two-year term as Chair of the Board of Directors, effective May 1, 2024.

Ms. Vavonese is the Deputy General Counsel for Peraton, a national security and technology company. Ms. Vavonese, an adoptive parent, began serving as a pro bono attorney for NCFA and has been on the Board of Directors since 2013. Ms. Vavonese will succeed current Board Chair Mike Thorne, an adult adoptee from Maine who provides business leadership guidance and serves as a Vistage Chair for business leaders in New England.

"Mike's visionary leadership and strategic guidance have been instrumental in shaping NCFA's trajectory,” said Ms. Vavonese. “I'm eager to harness the momentum he's built to enhance awareness of NCFA's mission, amplifying our efforts to support the adoption community and work towards a future where every child finds a nurturing, permanent family."

The board also elected the following officers:

  • Incoming Chair-Elect Jane Castanias previously served as the Vice-Chair of the Board of Directors, including providing leadership on the Executive Committee and leading past strategic planning efforts on behalf of the organization. As a former trial attorney and long-time adoption advocate and philanthropist, Ms. Castanias brings extensive experience, including serving on multiple organization’s Board of Directors. She has been previously recognized as an “Angel in Adoption” by CCAI.
  • There were two Vice-Chairs elected as well. Lisa Sinclair, the Vice President of Legal Affairs and Deputy General Counsel at Northeastern University, was re-elected as Vice Chair. Joining her as a Vice Chair is Kate Trambitskaya, CEO of Spence-Chapin Services to Families and Children, who is ending her term as NCFA’s Secretary.
  • Kyle Clark, the Vice President of Finance and Administration at Florida State University, was re-elected as Treasurer at NCFA having previously been Chair of the Audit Committee.
  • Joining the Executive Committee of the Board for the first time is Eric Curtis, who is the President of Curtis Strategy, a non-profit consulting firm. Mr. Curtis is an adoptee who lives in Massachusetts and will serve a two-year term in the role of Secretary.

These transitions also bring an end to Heidi Cox’s three decades of service to NCFA’s Board of Directors. Ms. Cox, an attorney who provides leadership for strategic initiatives at The Gladney Center for Adoption, leaves a strong legacy of collaboration and commitment to excellence in providing support and services to all those connected to adoption.

Dr. Wayne W. Sharp, an adoptee who joined the NCFA Board in 2007 and served on the Board for fifteen years, including two consecutive terms as Board Chair, remains NCFA’s only Emeritus Director of NCFA’s Board.

A full list of the NCFA Board of Directors can be found here on their website.

“We are thankful for Mike Thorne and his many years of dedication to our organization. We are looking forward to the new fiscal year with gratitude to have a Board with strong leadership and a diversity of experiences,” says Ryan Hanlon, president and CEO of NCFA. “We are especially grateful to Heidi for her many years of service and we look forward to staying in touch with her in the years ahead. Our Board of Directors plays an active role in ensuring that National Council For Adoption’s work remains effective and relevant, addressing areas of need and supporting high-quality practices in the field of adoption.”



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 from foster care, and intercountry adoption.

Passionately committed to the belief that every child deserves to thrive in a nurturing, permanent family, NCFA serves expectant parents, 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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Media Contact:
Ryan Hanlon
(703) 299-6633