Marci Purcell, (Executive Director) first served on the board of AKA as a board member-at-large and then as board president. Her previous board experience also includes Support Texas Adoptee Rights (STAR), and is currently serving on the STAR Advisory Board. Marci is committed to advocacy and reform relating to the rights of adult adoptees, foster care alumni, as well as truth and transparency in adoption. She is also passionate about disability rights, both in the broader community, and as they relate to adoption. She is committed to seeing AKA thrive as we move into this new decade. Marci has a degree in Psychology, is certified in Psychological First Aid and peer support, and a trained mediator through The UT School of Law, Center for Public Policy Dispute Resolution. When not working for AKA or advocating at the Texas Capitol, she is busy running her vintage business in Austin and enjoying her family. Marci is serving as AKA's executive director and cofacilitating the Women Adoptee Meetup Group and DNA Discoveries Group.
Our Dedicated Volunteers
Sherry Ferguson, (Search Angel) is an adoptee. She is in a happy reunion with her biological parents. She has provided testimony for adoptee rights during the 2015 and 2017 Texas legislative session. Prior to becoming a Mother she worked in the medical profession. She has been a Licensed Vocational Nurse since 1986. As an adoptee she understands the difficulty involved in obtaining family health history and ancestry. She is a Volunteer Search Angel helping adoptees for over 20 years. Her passion is genealogy. Her research connected her to New Orleans and her French Cajun Irish and Spanish roots. She is a proud Native Texan. Born in Houston. Her ancestors came to Texas in 1824 as one Stephen F Austin’s “Old 300” first families. She enjoys her children and hiking and swimming. Sherry is a volunteer search angel.
Anne Bingham, (Peer Support Group Facilitator) is a writer living in Austin, TX. She is an ardent adoptee rights advocate and served on the board of Support Texas Adoptee Rights, as well as a long time member of Adoption Knowledge Affiliates. Anne has used her resources, time, and talents educating others about adoption from the birth parent perspective, both on the AKA conference planning committee and as a panelist at past AKA conferences and events. Currently, Anne is a facilitator for the Birth/First Parent Peer Support Groups.
Rod Lind, LPC, (Peer Support Group Facilitator) comes to AKA as an adoptee who recently united with several members of his birth family. He is also a Licensed Professional Counselor and a National Certified Counselor with more than 20 years of experience in the mental health field. He holds a certification in medical hypnosis (CMH) from the American Psychotherapy and Medical Hypnosis Association and has Diplomate status in Comprehensive Energy Psychology (D-CEP) from the Association for Comprehensive Energy Psychology and is currently a Board member of both of those organizations. Rod has a limited private practice helping adult adoptees to meet life’s challenges and to achieve their most desirable sense. Rod is a facilitator for the Male Adoptee Meetup Group.
Dawn Scott, (Peer Support Group Facilitator & Conference Committee) is an adoptive parent residing in Austin, Texas with her daughter and their dogs, Lucky and Sadie. Past President of AKA, and longtime open records advocate, Dawn also expresses her passion for transparency as a Senior Manager with Beautycounter, the leading provider of clean skin care and cosmetics in North America. Dawn was awarded AKA's Adoption Vanguard Award in 2021. She is a facilitator for the Adoptive Parent Peer Support Group and the DNA Discoveries Support Group.
Daryn Watson, (Peer Support Group Facilitator) is an adoptee born and raised in Alberta, Canada. Daryn began his reunion journey in 1995 after finding his maternal family (with the help of Adoption Knowledge Affiliates). Daryn is a Certified Life Coach and he uses his 25+ years of reunion experience to help fellow adoptees and other members of the adoption constellation navigate their adoption reunion journeys. He lives in Austin, TX with his wife Christine. Daryn is a facilitator for the Men's Adoptee Peer Support Group.
Tamara Whinston, (Peer Support Group Facilitator) is an adoptive mom and an ardent supporter of AKA. Tamara began seeking a deeper connection to the adoption community and educating herself regarding transracial adoption after adopting her son from Russia. Her passion is creating a community where everyone feels heard and valued. Tamara's expertise lies in bringing people together for meaningful collaboration. She enjoys facilitating meetings, event planning, and serving marginalized and underserved communities. She hopes to assist AKA in its mission of connecting members of the adoption constellation to educational programming and social gatherings. Tamara has already given her time to AKA as a dedicated member of the conference committee for the past four years. Tamara is a facilitator for the Adoptive / Foster Parent Meetup Group.
Karen Whitaker, (Peer Support Group Facilitator) has served on several volunteer committees over the years and has volunteered at various national and local nonprofits. Karen has two sons and learned more about the adoption experience and the impact on birth mothers when relinquishing her parental rights in 1999. While managing her life as a single parent and her emotions as a birth parent in an open adoption relationship, life presented unique challenges. Thirteen years later, to help with her ongoing grief, Karen began researching adoption and connecting with other birth/first/biological mothers and adoptees to understand her emotional attachment to this experience. She was met with amazing people from the adoption community who mentored and supported her in her journey to healing. This is when she also learned more about the experiences of transracial adoptees and the impact it could have on her son. Karen advocates for compassion and transparency in adoption. As a hard of hearing person, she also advocates for disability rights. Karen is also a facilitator for AKA's Birth/First Parent Peer Support Group.
Dianne Sonnenberg, (Peer Support Group Facilitator) is an international (First Nations) adoptee who has been active in the AKA community for several years. She values the services that AKA provides, has benefitted greatly from her participation, and has a strong desire to support others in their own journeys. She reunited with her extended biological family and First Nations tribal community in 2013-2014. Dianne holds a BA in Psychology from the University of Michigan. She has been married since 1989, an Austin, TX resident since 1992, and has two grown children. Dianne is an artist, and also serves on the boards of the Austin Mosaic Guild and the Texas Society of Sculptors.
Hannah Andrews (Peer Support Group Facilitator & Newsletter) was born in Chicago and was adopted as an infant during the Baby Scoop Era. She was raised on a Midwestern farm with two older adoptee brothers. In 2018, a chance meeting with an author birthmother sent Hannah in search of her own history. She found more questions than answers, but found guidance and community from fellow triad members. She joined the AKA board to provide that same support to others. Hannah is a writer, pianist & pet enthusiast . She lives in San Diego, CA with her dog Josie and three Pussycats .
Isha Marie Rush, MPA, (Peer Support Group Facilitator) is a Transracial/International Adoptee. Isha was born in India and adopted at age five. She is extremely excited to not only serve on this board, but be surrounded by so many beautiful hearts. Isha is looking forward to utilizing her skills with aims to best serve this community! She is so grateful to have found her people and ecstatic to connect with everyone through board service!
Dirk Uphoff, (Peer Support Coordinator & Group Facilitator) is a transracial adoptee born in the 1960’s during the baby scoop era. He “came out of the fog” in late 2019 and has been immersing himself into the adoption community ever since. Dirk is passionate about educating parents of transracial adoptees and has participated on several panels. He has been active in AKA’s Male Adoptee group and hopes to see more male participation in the adoption constellation. Dirk has served on several boards and looks forward to contributing what he can to AKA and the larger adoption community. He was reunited with several members of his birth family in 2016 and remains in relationship with them. Dirk has a BA in Liberal Arts from Bethel University and holds a certification in Office Ergonomics (CEAS) working in the Contract Furniture Industry. He has been married since 1988, has four grown children, and lives in Phoenix, AZ.