Mary Wheatley, Executive Director

Mary Wheatley joined Heart of Adoptions, Inc. in June 2012 as the new Executive Director. As Executive Director, she is responsible for supervising all staff members and for overseeing each adoption case. Mary is held accountable for compliance with agency licenses, training and evaluating staff, and monitoring the entire adoption process.

Mary graduated from Georgia College and State University with a Master’s Degree in Psychology, and devoted many years to adolescents in residential facilities. As program manager with the crisis stabilization unit, she was able to improve levels of therapeutic care for all ages. As a proud adoptive parent of two beautiful girls, Mary was eager to join the field of private adoptions in 2005 and loves creating families through adoption. 

Annsley Atkin, Senior Adoption Case Worker

Annsley Atkin has worked in the field of private adoptions since 2003. She joined Heart of Adoptions, Inc. as an Adoption Caseworker in 2009, and now acts as our Senior Case Manager. She works closely with birth mothers and adoptive families at the intake stage and helps them to build and create their adoption plans. Annsley also performs assessments and provides clients with referrals for services, as needed. She has worked in every aspect of private adoption, now and in the past, including birth parent support, adoptive family support, home studies, foster to adopt placements, older child adoptions, international adoptions, etc. 

Annsley graduated from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2002 with a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology and hopes to obtain a Master’s degree in the near future.

Rachel Balfour, Adoption Case Worker

Rachel Balfour joined Heart of Adoptions, Inc. as an Adoption Case Worker in June 2014. She works closely with birth mothers handling their day-to-day needs, monitoring their medical care and overall well-being. Additionally, she oversees the Adoption Subsidy department by working closely with adoptive families and various CBC agencies throughout the country to assist families that are adopting children with special needs. Rachel previously devoted two and a half years to working as both a traditional and adoptive Case Manager in the dependency system at Directions for Living in Pinellas County.

Prior to receiving her degree, Rachel interned as a Family Specialist with Woven Basket Adoption Agency during her last semester in college. Rachel graduated from the University of South Florida in 2011 with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and a minor in  Behavioral Healthcare.

Reena JayaSegar, Adoption Case Worker

Reena JayaSegar joined Heart of Adoptions in October 2014 as an Adoption Case Worker. She works closely with birth mothers handling their day to day needs, monitoring their medical care and overall well being. Prior to joining Heart of Adoptions, Reena worked as a child safety case manager in Pinellas County where she ensured child safety, wellbeing and permanency for the children involved in Florida’s dependency system. Reena also has experience working with individuals suffering from drug addiction and co-occurring mental disorders.

Reena graduated with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and Criminology from The University of Tampa and with a Master of Science in Mental Health Counseling from NOVA Southeastern University.

Fallon Buckley, Adoption Caseworker

Fallon Buckley joined Heart of Adoptions, Inc. as an Adoption Case Worker in October 2015. She works closely with birth mothers handling their day-to-day needs, monitoring their medical care and overall well-being. Fallon previously devoted her time working as a Targeted Case Manager for a Specialized Therapeutic Program working with foster care children in Pinellas County.

Fallon has extensive experience working with foster care children, children with mental health diagnosis residing in a group home setting and has also interned with Sarasota/Manatee Riding Therapy, Creative Clay, and Velasco School Center as a speech pathology assistant. Fallon graduated from Eckerd College in 2009 with a Bachelor of Arts in Psychology and a minor in Human Development.

Meredith Shepard, Adoptive Parent Coordinator

Meredith Shepard joined Heart of Adoptions in August 2013 as an Adoptive Parent Coordinator. She works closely with waiting adoptive families handling day-to-day needs and assisting with matching adoptive families to birth families. Meredith has worked in the area of social work for over 15 years and has experience with child development, adoption, foster care, and developmental disabilities.

Meredith graduated with honors from Eckerd College with a Bachelor of Arts in Human Development and Walden University with a Master of Science in Non-Profit Management & leadership.

Erin Fawver, Home Study Coordinator

Erin Fawver joined Heart of Adoptions, Inc. as the Home Study Coordinator in July 2014.  Erin oversees the completion of homestudies and post-placement supervision as well as all homestudy and background screening updates.  She enjoys educating adoptive families about homestudies and the adoption process as a whole.  Erin's extensive family social work experience consists of  quality home studies, post-placement supervision, adoptive parent education,  and managing adoptive parent’s day-to-day needs.  Erin also has experience in adoption marketing and social media. 

As a member of Pi Gammu Mu, the Social Science Honor Society, Erin graduated from The University of South Florida with honors.  She received a Bachelor’s degree in Social Work and Anthropology.   

Judi Martin, Office Manager

Judi Martin joined Heart of Adoptions, Inc. in November 2004 as the Office Manager. Judi ensures the Tampa office of Heart of Adoptions runs smoothly by providing support to all staff. Previously, Judi was the office manager of a local engineering firm before she became a mother of a beautiful baby girl and opened her own fully licensed family day care.  Judi devoted all her energy and love into her daycare kids for 6 years until her daughter began school full time.  She than joined a renowned local historic preservation architectural firm as an office manager before joining the HOA team.

Jason Lauer, Administrative Assistant

Jason Lauer joined Heart of Adoptions, Inc. in January 2010 as an Administrative Assistant.  Jason primarily acts as a liason between our adoption agency, our legal team, and the local courthouse.  He is responsible for filing all new adoption cases with the courts.  Jason is also responsible for maintaing our closed files and records, aiding caseworkers in obtaining support needs for our birth mothers, and assisting in daily clerical needs.  He continues to be a valued member of our adoption team.

Elizabeth Unruh, Department Assistant

Elizabeth joined Heart of Adoptions part-time in January 2016 but has previously worked for Heart of Adoptions off and on for approximately 10 years. Elizabeth is currently the Adoptive Parent Department Assistant. Her primary duties include data entry, managing and organizing files, and processing incoming paperwork. She previously worked at Heart of Adoptions as both an Administrative Assistant and Casework Assistant.

Vidisha Patel, Accountant

Vidisha Patel joined the agency in July of 2016. Vidisha is responsible for all asset, liability and capital account transactions, maintaining accounting controls by preparing and recommending policies and procedures, guiding accounting clerical staff by coordinating and answering questions, reconciling financial discrepancies by collecting and analyzing account information, maintaining financial security by following internal controls, preparing reports, and ad-hoc tasks. Vidisha holds a BS and MBA with an Accounting concentration and possesses eight plus years of precise skill sets and qualifications from her previous experiences at a Big-4 firm and Fortune 500 companies.

Tom Tate, Casework Services

Tom joined Heart of Adoptions in February 2017 as an Executive Assistant.  Previously, Tom managed his family’s Italian restaurant business for over 20 years. Originally from Ohio, he came to Florida to attend College at the University of Florida. His day to day duties include aiding caseworkers in obtaining support needs for our birth mothers, helping with accounting matters, and also any other tasks our executive director or caseworkers ask of him. He is our Jack of all trades, eager to help out anyway he can.