CCI Board Alumni

Although CCI might have a current board of leaders, CCI has been the product of the love and hard work of many, many Chinese adoptees throughout the years. Each of them are an important member of the CCI Board Family and they all have contributed in numerous, valuable ways.  We hope to acknowledge their work through this website featuring bios of past board members.



Phoebe Balascio

Programs Coordinator 2017-2018 | Adoptee Chats Coordinator 2015-2016

I’m Phoebe Balascio, a Board Member. I was adopted from Huazhou, Guangdong Province and now live in Newark, Delaware. I am a student at the University of Delaware, majoring in biomedical engineering. I hope CCI empowers adoptee voices and educates others about Chinese adoptee experiences.


Brianna Brennan

Pen Pal Coordinator

Hey everyone, my name is Brianna Brennan and I was adopted from Jiangmen, Guangdong Province, China when I was 3 months old in 1995. I grew up in the San Francisco Area until I moved to Oregon when I was 10. I am a recent 2017 graduate of Oregon State University- Corvallis, Oregon with a Bachelor of Science in Animal Science. I am now going into Student Affairs and Higher Education to help minorities and underrepresented students through their time in college.


Emily Chan

HCCI Founder 2017 | Special Projects Coordinator

Hi everyone! My name is Emily Chan. I am so excited for this new and upcoming project "Humans of CCI!" I was adopted from Anhui Province, China at the age of two and am now living in Oregon, USA with my amazing parents. I am 19 years old and a Freshman at the University of Oregon. My favorite thing about being an adoptee is the fact that I have a unique story just like every single adoptee out there. That's why I wanted to start this project so that adoptees can get to know other adoptees on a more personal and fun level. I hope you all enjoy and share this project as it unfolds!


Ariel Ervin

Summer Intern

Hi, everyone! My name is Ariel! I was adopted from Bengbu, Anhui province and grew up in Boston, Massachusetts! I am currently a rising senior at UMass Boston, double majoring in Women's, Gender, & Sexuality Studies and Psychology. I am so happy to be working with CCI as an intern this summer! I hope that I can contribute a lot of helpful resources for the Chinese adoptee community during my stay!


Nicole Gildea

CCI Committee Member

Hi, my name is Nicole Gildea but most people call me Nikki. I was adopted from Wuhan, China when I was fifteen months old and grew up in Boston since then. I was a former CCI committee member during high school. I am currently in a dual degree program where I am getting a bachelor’s in physics from Bryn Mawr College and a master’s in mechanical engineering from the University of Pennsylvania. I think CCI is a great organization that connects adoptees from all over the world and I am proud to be a part of this community.


Robin Hilkey

Website & Media Designer

Hi CCI! I’m Robin, I was adopted from Hefei, Anhui, China when I was about 8 months old. I grew up in Brooklyn, New York. I’m a recent graduate from the Rhode Island School of Design with a degree in Graphic Design. I currently work at (RED), a brand and non-profit based in New York, where I am the Junior Designer. I’m very excited to come on to CCI as the Media Designer and help with creative for this amazing group!


Katie Holz

Board Member

I was adopted from Guilin, Guangxi Province when I was 2 years old. I am currently a senior at Stockton University. I am pursuing my Bachelor of Science: Health Science degree with a concentration in Communication Disorders. I joined China's Children International in 2012, and joined the CCI Leadership Team in 2013. Since then, I have assumed various positions including Media Manager, Webmaster, Project Manager, and Member Communications. My leadership skills have strenghtened as a result of being a member of the Board.

My passion and dedication to the adoptee community has grown tremendously over the years. I experience so much joy connecting adoptees with one another and seeing how much of an impact our organization has made on others. I am so proud to be part of CCI as we continue to foster a space for Chinese adoptees to have to get their voices heard.


Jessie Lutz

Founding Member and Board Member; International Communications Manager

Hi everyone, my name is Jessie and I was adopted from Yueyang, Hunan province at ten months old. I have two sisters also adopted from China. I grew up in Raleigh, North Carolina, so technically I was born and raised in the south! I was the one of the only Asians in my community and so I’ve had to grapple with issues of race and identity from a young age. Thankfully, I’ve always had the unconditional love of my parents and the support of the adoptee community.

I am excited to be part of CCI because I feel that having a space for adoptees’ voices is necessary. Our members continually inspire me and I’m just so happy to be working with an organization that connects me to unique people from around the world. I am currently a student at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.


Hannah Lyon

E-Magazine Editor in Chief

After having worked with CCI as newsletter editor and board member, Hannah is currently continuing her studies in economics and data science while also nurturing her passions for coffee, Asian cultures, and travel.


Katie Neteler

Communications Coordinator

I was the former communications coordinator for the China Children International. I lived in Malaysia for 10 years and I am currently a student in college. As of right now, I am studying abroad in China to improve my Chinese. I found CCI when I was in high school and they as a community have helped my better understand my identity as an adoptee.

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Kiera McCabe

CCI Intern

I was with CCI throughout high school and part of college, after attending their joint Half the Sky volunteer trip. Right now I'm attending Mount Holyoke College (class of 2019) as a Computer Science and East Asian Studies Major.

Lily Rau

Facebook Chats

Hey everyone! My name is Lily Rau and I was adopted from Nanchang, Jiangxi at 9 months old. I’m currently a senior at Michigan State University who is double majoring in Social Relations and Policy, and Chinese. I have an older sister who is biologically my mother and father’s daughter, as well as a younger sister who is also adopted from China. My family currently has three adopted cats and a dog.

I have recently become enthralled with the adoptee community and hope to continue to build bridges and form new relationships with other international adoptees. I believe that social media plays a huge role in bringing together a community that was ripped apart at birth, and scattered across the globe. It is my hope to one day work with a non-profit organization to advocate for adoptee rights, support birthparent searches, and create a safe space for international adoptees.

I would like to work with the current CCI board to expand the Chinese adoptee community and continue to find resources and help build connections between Chinese adoptees from across the globe.

Bethan Richards


Hello all, I'm Bethan Richards. I was adopted from Wuchuan, Guangdong Province at 13 months old. I am currently going into my sophomore year at high school here in Scotland, UK. In the foreseeable future I hope to visit China again.

It was in late 2015 that I joined CCI, many thanks to board member Kathryn who introduced me to this organization. I believe CCI is a great outlet for the adoptee community to celebrate their diversity and uniqueness as well as create connections from all over the globe whereby the adoptees can discuss and make lasting friendships. I look forward to my time with CCI and feel privileged to be part of such an amazing community.


Maia Stack

Founding Member and Board Member

Hi! My name is Maia, and I'm a recent graduate and native of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I was with CCI from 2012 to 2014, and was honored to help this very important community grow. All adoptees have different experiences, but we share something special. I'm currently traveling in Asia and studying Chinese, but in the fall I plan to start social work research and food justice work!


Maddy Ullman

Outreach Chair

Hi everyone, my name is Maddy Ullman. I was adopted from Hong Kong at three and a half. Growing up I was one of the only Chinese people in town. I didn't even think about being adopted when I was a child. I was overjoyed when I found CCI and the adoptive community. I'm so happy to be working with CCI to better the Chinese adoptee community

I'm currently taking a gap year to find myself on the way towards a Bachelor's in Film.


Jaia Werner

Board Member

Hi, my name is Jaia! I was adopted from Yiwu, Zhejiang Province in 1996. I grew up in Madison, WI, and am currently in my final year at American University in Washington, DC, studying International Studies and Special Education.

I am constantly in awe of the incredible community CCI has built, and the crazy coincidences and connections I have through CCI!