When you rely on New Beginnings to guide you through the adoption process, you are relying on a group of professionals, not volunteers. Many of our social workers have advanced degrees and all of them have a passion for serving the families in our programs.
Jody, Tom, and Kala work in our domestic adoption program. They offer support and counsel to our clients through pregnancy and, when necessary, though postpartum. Striving to be available whenever a birthmother may need them, they answer calls 24/7 and have often slept on cots in the hospital to support a birth mother through the birth of her child. They also meet with adoptive parents to guide them through the adoption process and provide post adoption support.
Jody Lynn Hicks
Jody Lynn Hicks has her Master’s in Social Work degree. She started her career with New Beginnings as a secretary and since finishing her degree has been one of our social workers for three years.
“After high school, I had no clue what I wanted to be ‘when I grew up’ so I decided to work for a while. My pastor was on the Board at New Beginnings and let me know that they were in need of a secretary. I interviewed for the job and was hired,” said Jody.
Working with New Beginnings helped her find her passion for helping people.
“It didn’t take me long to realize that social work is what I wanted to do. I worked as the secretary for three years and then left to further my education. I started back in a social work position in 2013. I love it!” she added.
As one of our social workers, she loves working with birth mothers and growing families.
“One of the rewarding parts of my job is to be involved in building families. There is no better feeling than to witness a family see their adopted child for the first time. I also enjoy working with our precious birthmothers who are so courageous and selfless. Being able to assist them in making an adoption plan is such a pleasure! I tell all of my birth moms that they are my heroes!”
Thomas M. “Tom” Velie
Thomas M. “Tom” Velie has been in social work for 30 years. Looking back, he says his career didn’t turn out the way he expected.
“Well…it wasn’t really an academic choice. I’d completed Bible College, was working with Youth in church settings, and I was following in my father’s footsteps as a home-builder (carpenter). We were living in northern Wisconsin, close to family and friends, when we felt the call to “do more.” When a job opened at a residential group home, Debbie and I, along with our four and one year old daughters, moved to Tupelo. Because we saw the need to further our education because of the youth we were serving, we both entered the social work program at the University of Mississippi and received our undergraduate degrees there. I completed my Masters degree in social work at Southern Mississippi. My life’s mission statement has been ‘making an eternal difference in the lives of children and families’,” said Tom.
Velie has worked with New Beginnings for almost 14 years now and says being a social worker has been a reward in and of itself.
“The most rewarding or most memorable experience of my career. I’ve had so many that it’s hard to pick out one. I think it would be the ‘composite’ picture of seeing dozens of children being held in the arms of adoptive parents…all with smiles on their faces.”
Kala Johnson, who has a Master’s degree in Social Work and three years of experience, joined New Beginnings six months ago.
“I chose social work because I love serving God by serving other people. I find so much joy when I see the happiness on people’s faces after I have helped them accomplish something,” she said.
Her most memorable experience with New Beginnings has been getting to see an adoptive couple meet their child for the first time.
“It is such a rewarding feeling to have such a small part in the adoption process and then watch the prayers of the adoptive families become answered right before my eyes,” she added.