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About Adoption Answers, Inc.

The dedicated staff members at Adoption Answers have decades of experience in adoption. With backgrounds in social work, counseling, business and media, our staff can help you on your adoption journey every step of the way.

All of our clients will be matched with an Adoption Specialist, who can help them with any questions during the process. Read our staff bios below to get to know the faces and learn the heart of Adoption Answers.

 

Melanie Leal, LMSW-IPR
Adoption Coordinator

Melanie’s love for adoption stems from having several family members who are adopted, including her mother, aunt and cousin. She received her Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work from the University of North Texas and her Master’s Degree in Social Work from the University of Texas in Arlington. She has worked in the adoption field since 2003. Her experience includes completing home studies and post placement studies for domestic and international adoption, writing and presenting education courses for adoptive families and professionals in the field, working with birth parents and developing agency programs. She greatly enjoys working with adoptive families throughout their adoption journeys. Melanie and her husband have two daughters.

 

Jenna Howard, LMSW
Director

Jenna has a heart for adoption. As an adoptee and an adoptive parent, she knows the blessing that adoption has been in her life. She loves helping families become blessed by adoption. Involved in the adoption field since 1994, her work experience has included birthmother counseling, completion of home studies for both domestic and international adoption, and adoption education. She earned her BS in Psychology from Abilene Christian University and her MS in Social Work from the University of Texas at Arlington. She has her LMSW with Independent Practice Recognition and her Licensed Child Placing Agency Administrator license. She and her husband, Mark, have four sons and a daughter.

 

Rebecca Jay, LMSW
Home Study Specialist

Rebecca Jay received her BS in Social Work from Abilene Christian University in 1994. She earned her MS in Social Work from the University of Texas at Arlington in 1995. Rebecca has her LMSW with Independent Practice Recognition. In the past, she has worked as a home health care worker, a child welfare worker, a technical writer, and an adoption worker. She enjoys working with families as they pursue international and domestic adoption. Rebecca was born in Africa and lived there for most of her childhood, so she brings a multi-cultural experience to her work. Rebecca and her husband, Brad, have a son and a daughter.

 

Kristen Blankenship
Home Study Specialist

Kristen graduated from Abilene Christian University with a Bachelor of Science in Education in 1999. She earned her Master’s Degree in Education from Southwest Texas State University in 2001. Kristen taught school for 6 years and thoroughly enjoyed the experience. While teaching, she mainly worked with underprivileged children and grew to love them dearly. Kristen has worked in the adoption field since 2004. She has experience with counseling birthmothers and with completing home studies for domestic and international adoption. Kristen and her husband have 3 children; Ben, Hannah, and Emily.

 

Melanie Pylant
Home Study Specialist

Melanie works with Adoption Answers, Inc. in Houston and surrounding areas. She received a B.S. in Psychology from Texas A&M in 1995 and a M.S. in Social Work from the University of Texas at Arlington in 1998. She has worked in the adoption field since 2004, conducting domestic and international home studies, and providing education and support in adoption-related issues. Prior to that, she served as a school social worker, working with under-privileged children, and in refugee resettlement. Melanie and her husband are proud parents to 3 beautiful children, and know firsthand the blessing that adoption is. She enjoys helping families navigate the adoption process and supporting them as they journey toward oneness.

 

Wynne Melland, LPC
Home Study Specialist

Wynne Melland received her BA in Psychology and her MA in Community Counseling from the University of Texas at San Antonio. The counseling areas she has specialized in include family violence, sexual abuse, and therapeutic foster care.  She began her work providing home studies in 2010.  She has contracted with the child welfare system and has provided private adoption home studies and post placement work for both international and domestic adoption.  She most recently has provided birth parent counseling as well. Wynne has a family history of adoption and she loves working with families while they pursue their adoption journey. She lives with her husband and three small children in San Antonio, Texas.

 

Lauren Staats, LMSW
Social Worker

Lauren has enjoyed working in the field of adoption since 2009.  Her heart for adoption stems from several close friends who have adopted children domestically and internationally.  She received her Bachelor’s and Master’s Degrees in Social Work from Baylor University.  Her experience includes completing home studies and post placement studies for domestic and international adoption and working with birth parents.  She loves partnering with families and birth parents throughout the adoption process.  Lauren and her husband have two sons and a daughter; Noah, Nathan and Ruthie.

 

Lakeisha Cotton, MA
Social Worker

LaKeisha received her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from the University of Houston in 2003. She earned her MA degree in Counseling from Prairie View A&M University in 2008. LaKeisha has worked in child welfare for over 14 years. She has worked with the Department of Family and Protective Services, MHMRA, and as a foster care and adoption worker. She has experience with counseling birth mothers and with completing home studies for domestic and international adoptions. LaKeisha enjoys helping and supporting families through their adoption journey!

 

Celena Stewart, MA
Social Worker

Celena has a Master’s degree in Counseling & Educational Leadership, and a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology. She has worked in Human Services for 19 years with a specialization in adoption. Celena is trained in TBRI (Trust-Based Relational Intervention) as a practitioner and educator. She enjoys working with families and helping children establish a forever home. Celena emphasizes healthy attachment and enhancing relationships through trust and empowerment in her work with families.

 

Annie Rice, LBSW, MSW
Social Worker

Annie Rice received her BS in Social Work from the University of Central Florida in Orlando in 2007.  She earned her MS in Social Work from Texas State University in 2012.  Annie found her passion was to work with children and families after volunteering as a Guardian Ad Litem in 2005 while earning her undergrad degree.  Since then she has worked in various programs dealing with child protection, family preservation, and now adoption.  She feels it is a true blessing and privilege to work with birth parents and adoptive parents.  Annie has been married to a U.S. Coast Guard member for 24 years and now has two sons serving in the military.

 

Heather Pullen, LMSW
Social Worker

Heather works with Adoption Answers, Inc in San Antonio and the surrounding areas.  She is a former high school history teacher turned Licensed Social Worker.  After leaving the teaching field, she went to work as an adoption caseworker with Child Protective Services, where she fell in love with working in child welfare and helping children find permanency in forever families.  She then went on to receive her Master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Texas at San Antonio.  She has experience counseling birth mothers, as well as completing international and domestic home studies.  She continues to enjoy seeing families brought together through adoption and looks forward to being a part of many more children finding forever homes. Heather and her husband, Jeremiah, have three children: Michele, Will, and Aidan.

 

Martha Dominguez
Social Worker

Hello! My name is Martha Dominguez and work out of El Paso, TX. I have been working with adoption agencies since 2006. During this time I have had the privilege of meeting amazing families and have been given opportunities to be part of many incredible adoption journeys.  I feel honored to be part of Adoption Answers, and I am thankful for the wonderful work they do in helping families grow through adoption.

 

Mallory Mayne
Social Worker

Mallory works with Adoption Answers, Inc. in East Texas and surrounding areas. Mallory developed a passion for adoption at a young age as a result of her parent’s decision to foster young children. As a high school student, she experienced loving these children and loved to ask questions of the social workers who came through her home. This experience, which included witnessing adoptions and reunifications, grew her heart for adoption and helped determine her career path. She obtained her Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work from Baylor University in 2008 and her Master’s Degree in Social Work in 2014 through the University of Texas at Arlington. She is married and has one daughter.

 

Michelle Rigg, LMSW
Social Worker

Michelle has been working with adoptive families for over 25 years. She has supported hundreds of families in Texas with their adoptions throughout her career as a caseworker and administrator for foster care and adoption agencies. She enjoys supporting families as they pursue adoption through developing home studies and providing post placement services. Michelle earned her Bachelor’s degree in Family Studies from Texas Tech University and her Master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Texas at Arlington. She is a Licensed Master Social worker and a Trust-Based Relational Intervention (TBRI) Practitioner. She is in private practice as a child and family therapist.