Dr. Jamie SchwandtDr. Jamie Schwandt

Dr. Jamie Schwandt is an American author, TV show host, motivational speaker, Lean Six Sigma master black belt and a major in the United States Army. Schwandt has served the military in numerous capacities, has commanded over four hundred soldiers, and has served two tours in the middle east. He is the host of Dreaming Big with Dr. Schwandt and travels the country speaking to and inspiring foster youth. As a former foster youth himself, Schwandt has a deep passion for assisting those in need.

Kat McdermontKathleen (Kat) Carroll

Kathleen (Kat) Carroll grew up in Rockford, Illinois, where she was adopted as an infant into a wonderful, loving family. She attended the University of Iowa and graduated in 2002 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Art and a K-12 Teaching Certificate. Through her student teaching experience at Metro Alternative High School in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, Kat found a genuine love for working with at-risk students. She has spent the last seven years teaching at-risk students in both conventional and alternative high school settings. Kat's background as an adopted child and as an at-risk educator gives her a unique passion and perspective for working with children in foster care and those who are in the process of being adopted. Kat is currently working to complete her Master of Arts degree in Educational Administration and K-12 Principal Licensure. She plans to continue working with at-risk students through an administrative role in an alternative high school setting.

LucyLucy Cook Taylor

Illustrator for My Growing World.

Lucy has been drawing for the last 20 years, drawing everything, everywhere. After growing up in the Midwest, Lucy moved to Southern California in 2009 to pursue a career as an illustrator. According to Lucy, drawing is her ‘home’, her safe bubble.

Donna Barnes and Terri McCoyDonna Barnes and Terri McCoy

Donna Barnes and Terri McCoy are a  mother/daughter team that are uniquely qualified. Their adoption and foster books bring together life lessons and professional experience like no other.

donna barnesDonna Barnes

Donna Barnes has answered to "Mom" from twenty different children. She and her husband have been birth, foster, and both domestic and international adoptive parents to infants through teens. Putting her outside career on hold, she parented her way through many challenging situations. These "in-the-trenches" experiences, along with hours of race relations training, provided her with unique sensitivity to many adoption issues.  When asked about her family, Donna replies, "it's what happened when we left our hearts and front door open."

Prior to adopting, Donna was the editor of Family Slants magazine. As a writing specialist teamed with her daughter, Terri, she has since been able to add her insights to the development of exceptional, therapeutic life books and other foster/adopt publications designed to promote positive self-esteem in youngsters and teens.

terri mccoyTheresa McCoy, LBSW

Theresa McCoy, LBSW, has worked in special needs adoption since 1979, first with a state agency, then at Four Oaks Residential Treatment Center where she helped to launch a new Adoption Program in 1987.  She initiated preparation groups for children, provided training for staff, and taught intensive classes for prospective parents that included volunteer experience at the treatment center. Terri also facilitated Adoptive Parent Support Groups, helping many families through difficult challenges and crisis.  She feels privileged to have been part of so many children's lives and shares their parent's pride at graduations and weddings.

Growing up in a multi-racial foster/adopt home gave Terri a unique perspective on adoption.  Her creative work in pre- and post-placement services for children with severe emotional and behavioral problems sparked the development of several therapeutic foster/adoption books with her partner and mother, Donna Barnes.

In addition to being a social worker, Terri is married to a school administrator and has two sons who are pursuing careers in helping professions.