Meet The Team

Rebecca MacDougall

Rebecca MacDougall

Branch Director, LCSW - Chicago

Rebecca has been working with birth and adoptive families for more than 30 years and has personally facilitated more than 400 domestic, international, interstate, and special needs adoptions. She has been Director of Bethany Christian Services of Chicago since 2010 and is a frequent speaker on adoption issues including infertility, openness, transracial adoption, and seeing God in adoption. She and her husband, Wayne, are the parents of three children, who joined their family through adoption, and they have two adorable grandchildren. Their family has had experience as foster parents and with open adoption, transracial adoption, and sibling adoption. Rebecca received her bachelor’s degree from Bethel University and her Master of Social Work from Jane Addams College of Social Work.

Alison Lamsma

Alison Lamsma

Intercountry Adoption Coordinator, LCSW - Chicago

Alison has worked at Bethany since 1997. She was born in West Africa and lived there for 18 years. She has held several positions at Bethany, and each one has taught her a lot about the families and children she serves. Alison has worked with birth parents, foster families, and adoptive families. She is a frequent speaker on transracial adoption and international adoption. She enjoys photography, traveling, being outdoors, and spending time with her family. She and her husband, Darren, have two sons. Alison received her bachelor's degree in social work from Calvin College and her master’s degree in social service administration from the University of Chicago.

Janet Yelovich

Janet Yelovich

Therapist, LCSW - Chicago

Janet has worked in the field of adoption over 30 years in residential treatment, managing an adoption preservation program, and providing individual and family therapy. Janet loves to participate to help strengthen adoptive families and believes in adoption as a therapeutic response to loss and trauma. She brings skills, experience, and joy to her work as a therapist and clinical supervisor at Bethany.

Julie Anderson

Julie Anderson

Pregnancy Counselor - Rockford - Chicago

Julie Anderson received a bachelor’s degree in education. Before joining Bethany as a pregnancy counselor in 2016, she worked with children and families as a middle school and high school English teacher. She is passionate about serving women facing unexpected pregnancies in Rockford and surrounding communities. She works with any expectant mother or father in need of guidance and support, while helping them explore all their options. Julie loves to network and help connect clients to resources in the community.

Marcia Ooms

Marcia Ooms

Social Worker, LCSW - Chicago

Marcia has been with Bethany since 2009. For as long as she can remember, Marcia felt called to work in the adoption field, and she feels blessed to be a part of the Bethany team. She previously worked as a case manager for children in therapeutic foster care for several years. When she came to Bethany, Marcia began working as a pregnancy counselor, and today she serves both birthparents and families wishing to adopt domestically. She enjoys reading, spending time with family and friends, and being involved at her church. Marcia received her bachelor’s degree in sociology and psychology from Trinity Christian College and her Master of Social Work from Dominican University. She is a licensed social worker in Illinois.

Melissa Dykema

Melissa Dykema

Safe Families for Children Coordinator - Chicago

Melissa has been with Bethany since 2011. She was previously a school teacher, and she homeschooled her four boys. In 2009, Melissa and her husband, Chip, felt God’s call to open their home to vulnerable children. They became Safe Families for Children (SFFC) volunteers and have hosted three children. Melissa is excited to expand the SFFC ministry in the Chicago Southland and help other families be a blessing to children in need. She received a bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Asbury University.

Patricia Taylor

Patricia Taylor

Parent Advocate - Northern Illinois - Chicago

Patti Taylor received her bachelor’s degree in social work from the Ohio State University. She has worked with a variety of people, including birth parents, foster families, and adoptive families. She was also a licensed home daycare provider for five years. For most of her career she worked as a service coordinator for the Birth to Three Early Intervention program in Illinois, serving families that have young children with delays in their development and/or special needs. She feels called to serve women facing unexpected pregnancies and to provide guidance, support, and resources to them during this challenging time. Patti and her husband Tyson have three boys. She enjoys spending time with them, going to concerts or plays, and being involved and serving at her church.

Veronica Studnicka

Veronica Studnicka

Office Manager/Grant Writer - Chicago

Veronica Studnicka joined Bethany Christian Services as an office manager and grant writer, in order to help children find permanent and loving homes. She earned her bachelor’s degree in elementary education from Loyola University Chicago and her master’s degree in English as a Second Language from Saint Xavier University. Veronica transitioned into the nonprofit sector over 11 years ago and has implemented programs, written grants, and helped execute fundraising events. She previously was a Grants Manager at Catholic Charites and Operations Director at Emmaus Ministries.

Kara Johnson

Kara Johnson

Safe Families Coach - Chicago

Kara Johnson joined our team in May, 2019. Kara has worked in several aspects of social service for over thirteen years. She received her MSW from Loyola University in 2014 and has worked in management with Head Start and a local Family Service agency. She comes to us with family case management experience and is currently serving as a Family Coach in our Safe Families for Children ministry. Kara is from Chicago Southland area and brings a wealth of resources within the communities we serve.

Laura L. Castillo

Laura L. Castillo

Pregnancy Counselor - Chicago

Laura joined the Bethany team in Chicago in 2019. She graduated from Hope College in 2007 and received her Masters of Social Work degree from Michigan State University in 2010. Laura has worked for Bethany in Holland, Michigan and has experience in family preservation services, child welfare, and counseling. She is passionate about helping people through difficult times in their lives, and is excited about working as an advocate and counselor for women facing unplanned pregnancies. Laura enjoys spending time with her family, running marathons, and reading.