logo and pictures of children

About International Adoption Net

Established in 1999, International Adoption Net (IAN) is a licensed, full-service child placement agency and nonprofit organization in Greenwood Village, Colorado in the United States of America. We are a Hague-accredited agency, and have been so since 2008. Our current Hague approval is valid through July 2020. We are also an active member of the National Council for Adoption, a membership based advocacy group that is, “Passionately committed to the belief that every child deserves to thrive in a nurturing, permanent family, NCFA’s mission is to meet the diverse needs of children, birth parents, adopted individuals, adoptive families, and all those touched by adoption through global advocacy, education, research, legislative action, and collaboration.”

Our agency and staff members have tremendous amounts of experience handling domestic and international adoptions. IAN has facilitated adoptions in the United States, China, Guatemala, Nepal, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Ethiopia, Uganda, India, Mexico and Bulgaria, as well as assisting with many other countries through our post adoption and homestudy services.

The majority of our placements and services are with our International Programs. We are experienced in meeting the legal and cultural requirements of the foreign adoptive country, as well as the adoption laws of Colorado and the United States. We provide pre-qualified, carefully screened adoptive parents to the foreign country for consideration so that children are placed in loving, healthy environments full of opportunity.

Our Team

Joan Strauss- Executive Director

Joan Strauss- Executive Director

Joan founded the agency in 1999, after working in the adoption field herself. She has had a long career working with children and education. She has a passion for linking children with opportunity. She lives in Denver, CO with her Husband, Henry, and has daughter who had her own little girl and made Joan a grandma!. Joan was born and raised in China, and has spent much time there, as well as many other countries, seeing the need of children living in orphanages first hand. She enjoys spending time with family, going to the theater, traveling, her dog Max, and of course serving children and families through adoption.

Julie Kula – Child Placement/ Program Supervisor

Julie Kula was born in Seoul, Korea and was adopted internationally when she was 1 year old. She has lived in Denver since and considers herself a “Colorado Native”. She is married and has three sons. Julie’s passion for adoption began when returning to college later in life, graduating with her BSW and MSW. Her work experience as a social worker includes working in Child Welfare and Kinship and as an Adoption Counselor. She loves to help, support and walk with families going through the adoption process. As an adoptee, Julie has personal experience with adoption that gives her a unique understanding for both the adoptive parents and the adoptee.

Hannah Kakac – Adoption Coordinator

Hannah joined IAN in July 2019 after getting her B.S. in Human Services. She has a heart for children, especially those with special needs, and is passionate about serving them and their families. She is excited to work with families as they move through their adoption process. Hannah is a Colorado native and loves being outdoors, reading, and spending time with others.

Audra Ross- Office Administrator

Audra came from a marketing/dental background. She is excited to start a new journey with a purpose. She is a Colorado Native and loves everything the state has to offer. She has been married for 14 years and has 2 children, Ruby and Ryker. She loves being with her family and going on adventures. She enjoys reading, camping, and dancing with her kids.

Carissa Elston

Carissa is passionate about working with children and families. She received a B.S in Human development and Family Studies with a focus on Prevention and Intervention Studies/Trauma. She is excited to use this to better serve the families she works with. She has worked with foster and adoptive families for 3 years in respite care and is looking forward to working with families in their process of adopting. Outside of work Carissa enjoys hiking, camping, reading, and spending time with loved ones.

Karla Whelan- Adoption Coordinator

Karla Whelan- India & Bulgaria Program Coordinator

Karla has been helping families navigate the international adoption process since 2003. She has traveled internationally, meeting with foreign adoption officials and orphanage directors. She has assisted in the adoptions of over 450 children from various country programs including China, India and Bulgaria. Karla is married with two teenage daughters. In her free time, she can be found on the pool deck officiating YMCA and USA swim meets.

Bob Mardock- Adoption Coordinator

Bob Mardock- India Program Coordinator

Bob Mardock is under contract with International Adoption Net and serves as as one of IAN’s India program coordinators. He also serves as the co-founder and president of International Family Services, a domestic and international adoption organization that has helped place over 5000 children into US homes. Bob comes with a rich 30-year background in the world of adoption. As a high schooler his parents opened their home to a teen in need of a home and Bob saw the impact an “open heart – open home” had in foster-brother Paul’s life. Later, when Bob met and fell in love with Carol, they decided adoption would be part of their family culture. Six adoptions later, and four biological kids (yes, that’s 10 kids) the Mardocks live a full family life. Bob has been involved in India for over 20 years and has overseen the adoptions of nearly 500 children from India.

Bethany Compton- India Adoption Assistant

Bethany Compton- India Adoption Assistant

Adoption has been a blessing, and a huge part of Bethany’s life since her family adopted her first brother from Korea when she was 8 years old. She now has 6 more adopted siblings (from Vietnam, India, and the U.S.) bringing the number of kids in her family to 10. Her mom began working in the adoption field about 19 years ago, when they adopted her sister from India, which allowed her to assist her and learn more about the adoption process. In 2007, she was given the opportunity to officially work with the India program, and she has been “hooked” ever since. She is honored to work as Bob Mardock’s assistant for IAN’s India program, and to be a small part in bringing children and families together.

Esther Haines- Adoption Coordinator

Esther Haines- China Program Coordinator

Esther Haines was born and grew up in China, she came to United States when she was young adult to complete her education in the US. Esther is married to Rev. Todd Haines who is Presbyterian minister and Moderator of Synod of Northeast of Presbyterian Church and they have two beautiful biracial children, Rachel and Jonathan. Esther has been working in the field of China adoption for 20 years, and helped over 600 Chinese children find caring and loving homes. She is called to serve families and children. Esther has across culture understanding, working for several years between the US and China, translating and training many professionals involved with China. Her life and professional experiences have made a great contribution to adoptive families and children in the field of China adoption. She believes that adopting a child is a journey and a beautiful way to build a family. It is a journey home and a journey of love.

Sylvia Priest- Social Worker

Sylvia Priest- Social Worker

After twenty seven years of doing various Social Work assignments for a large Denver area human services agency, Sylvia went to work for ten years as a Social Worker and Administrator for a combined Department of Labor and Denver Public Schools initiative. In 2006 she returned to the full time practice of Social Work in the adoption arena. She has worked for human service agencies doing domestic adoptions and foster and kin care studies and for several international adoption agencies in the metropolitan area. She has degrees in Psychology and Social Work and a Juris Doctor. Sylvia reads, does needlework, gardens and travels internationally in her spare time and she and her husband celebrated fifty four years of marriage this year.

Sheri Ludlam-Social Worker

Sheri has been working as a social worker for IAN since December 2007. She loves being able to help families through the adoption process by completing their home study and post placement reports. Sheri earned a Psychology degree from Colorado Christian University in 2002. Prior to working for IAN, she has worked in a residential treatment center, in home based services for families and individuals dealing with crisis and mental health issues, and as a Child Protection Caseworker for Denver county. Sheri is married and has two boys. She enjoys hiking, working out at the gym, playing games, volunteering at her boys’ school, and spending time with her family and friends.


Our Board

Henry L Strauss, Chair

Henry Strauss has had a distinguished career in business and government. He is the founder and chairman of Strauss Enterprises a property investment and Management Company. He served as Regional Administrator of the Small Business Administration under President Carter and as Chairman of the Colorado Real Estate Commission under Governor Lamm. In addition he has had extensive international business experience serving on the District Export-Import Council and on the Board of the World Trade Center. We are fortunate to have his insight to organizational operations as part of our team!

Lou Bluestein, Vice Chair

Lou Bluestein is a retired attorney, who worked for Renaissance Technologies Corp., a small money management company in New York. He works extensively with youths, including working in the Denver Juvenile Court as a Deputy State Public Defender, volunteering in Arapahoe High School, coaching middle school girls in volleyball (Gold Crown and the South Metro Volleyball League). He has a true passion for the rights of children, and an advocate for adoption. His legal mind brings a great perspective to the board! He has been a long term, committed member of our agency.

Julie Segraves, Board Member

Ms. Segraves is Executive Director of the Asian Art Coordinating Council, a prominent Colorado developer of art exchanges between China and the United States. Her professional experience includes work as a lecturer, curator for several art museums and councils, adjunct professor and art appraiser. She has numerous publications and articles to her credit. Ms. Segraves is the mother of a young man whom she adopted when he was an infant. Her perspective as an adoptive parent brings so much to our team, and she is has always been supportive member of the adoption community.

Peggy McKay, Board Member

Ms. McKay has had a thirty-year career as news editor of the Denver Post, Denver’s largest newspaper. She is the adoptive mother of a sixteen-year-old girl who was born in China. She offers insights to IAN on international adoption procedures and problems. Among her affiliations are the Board of Directors of Asian Art Coordinating Council and the Board of Directors of the Colorado China Council. Again we are so thankful to have her support, and her contributions to the team as an adoptive parent.