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Tributes for Janice

Thank you for celebrating child and family well-being change-maker Janice Goldwater on 34 years as Paths for Families' Founder & CEO!

Janice Goldwater Headshot

We’re continuing to collect tributes for Janice! You’re welcome to share your well wishes here.

Submit a Written Tribute

Mary Alvord, PhD Psychologist

Janice Goldwater has been an inspirational groundbreaker and leader in the field of adoption and pathways for families to form and thrive. A creative thinker, she has always put those ideas into action, thereby transforming lives. I am privileged to call her a friend and colleague for over 40 years!

Amanda Bache

Janice- I remember when I first started 16 years ago. You were the sweet kind person who welcomed this 23-year-old intern into the agency with open arms. As I progressed from an intern to part time, to full time staff you were always a beacon of light and support. I am forever grateful for Adoptions Together for giving me the opportunity to learn and grow over the years. Our friendship and growth over the years has truly been remarkable. You have always been like a second “mom” to me as I grew up with AT. Now having a family of my own I truly see what it means to love and have an amazing work life balance (which is something you have always allowed me to have while here). I look forward to many more years with the agency but will always remember your and the kindness and love you showed towards me and my family as we “grew up” along side the agency. Thank you so much for the opportunity to serve and work here. I am forever grateful for all that you have done.

Kim Bivens

Janice I’m grateful for the opportunity to have worked with you and learn under your guidance. Thank you for being such a great and noble leader.

Loretta S. Caldwell

Janice Goldwater my dear friend, founder and visionary of Adoptions Together, aka Paths for Families, has and always will be an extraordinary leader; a trailblazer in the field of adoptions, social work for children and creating multifaceted families. I owe her the love of my own blended family as so many others do. I wish you a carbon copy future of the happiness and fulfillment that you have given to so many others.

Many hugs and much love,

Loretta S. Caldwell

Pres/CEO L. S. Caldwell & Associates, Inc.; Past Chair Adoptions Together, Inc.

Lisa (Bradley) Carroll

That special day, February 4. 1993, when you drove me from the Adoptions Together office all the way to St. Mary’s hospital to be blessed with my son who was born the day before. It was the most important day in my life and will remain so till I am gone from this earth. You made this happen and even more after that day when we had to live in Maryland with our baby, Tyler, until we could legally cross the state line to go home to Virginia. I can never thank you enough for what you have done. In addition my congratulations to all that you have done for hundreds, or thousands of other families who have adopted children through the last 34 years. May your next chapter be whatever you wish it to be because you deserve the world. With love and admiration for always.

Bob Cecil

Wow! You are finally there. We’ve been through so much together – a name change, complete leadership turnover, big changes in the services and programs, and the list goes on. It couldn’t have happened without your passion and inspired leadership. It has been both a professional and personal privilege to have been on this journey with you.

Margie Chalofsky

I have known Janice for a long time and remember clearly when she shared with me that she wanted to start an adoption agency. I never anticipated that she would found an agency that would go onto do so much for so many. In these past years we have had the chance to partner together in the work world as well as to continue our friendship. I have seen up close her willingness to broaden her agency’s scope over the years to embrace the full continuum of helping children and families. Janice is an amazing leader who has both the ability to vision as well as to bring her vision into reality. I have been enriched by knowing her and want to thank her for everything she has achieved and brought into this field.

Becky Cromwell

I met Janice around 1982 when our first-borns were infants and we were in a support group together. We bonded over the fact that she was a social worker, and I was just about to enter SW school. I have a vivid memory of her telling me that she was not satisfied with the way her agency was handling adoptions. She had ideas about how it should done, and her goal was to start an adoption agency that would have the best practices for birthmothers, and adoptive families, and children. It seemed aspirational at the time, but I also knew that she was very self-confident and bold in her ideas. Sure enough, she started working with a lawyer and this practice grew until she started her own agency. I believe that she, along with her colleagues, created an agency that not only incorporated the best practices at that time, but also developed new and pioneering programs, like the one that provided ongoing support for adoptive parents and their children. This agency recognizes the needs of everyone in the adoptive triangle, and seeks to meet them with compassion, professional skill, and an intention to constantly improve their services.

Congratulations to Janice as she transitions to the next part of her life. Your legacy will live on!

The Detwiler Family

Dear Janice,

8 years ago, you learned of a medically fragile baby boy in a local NICU. Through your compassion and grace, you convinced the board of trustees to take a leap of faith with him. You then inspired us and gave us the confidence to bring Nolan into our lives, which began an arduous 18-month journey to finalization – a journey we could not have completed without your guidance, support, and love.

With your personal help and the strength of the community that you built, Nolan is thriving, and we will forever be grateful to you and Pathways for Families for everything that you’ve done for us.And we’re not just grateful for our family, but also for your tireless commitment to matching children with families of all shapes and sizes. The world is a better place because of you, and it will continue to be a better place because of Pathways for Families and the immense extended family that has grown from it.

Thank you for everything.

With all our love,
The Detwiler Family

Lisa Dominguez

Janice, it has been such an honor working beside you and learning from you over the past two and half years. You have built an organization that has strengthened our community and enriched the lives of so many. Your vision, passion, and commitment are woven into all that Paths for Families is and will continue to be. Thank you for trusting me to help write the next chapter.

Gary and Pat Drutch

Dear Janice, we wish you all the best on your retirement. I can honestly say that whenever I needed advice or support, you have been at the ready! I was really nervous the first time we met and was quickly put to ease! You had a true gift for relating to me no matter what the situation. You were always up front and honest during our waiting parent phase. I was working as a volunteer in the office one day. We were eighteen months into waiting. You saw me and came over to chat. When you asked how I was doing, I replied—something like —do you want the truth or what I think you want to hear? Oh my goodness, you were so very wonderful and set me completely at ease. You had a vision, a dream, to help build families and you made that happen for us, twice! We thank you for your personal attention no matter when I called and no matter what I was calling about! We heartily thank you for being there for us no matter what! What a beautiful dream you had and helped so many people for all these years! You deserve a well earned happy retirement!

We will definitely miss you! Thank you for being there for so many children and families💕

Feffer-Peterson Family

I clearly remember the first time I met Janice Goldwater. My husband and I were attending an adoption information session sponsored by Resolve. We had not yet decided to pursue adoption as a means of building our family, but we were interested in learning more about it. Honestly, I was apprehensive about the home study, believing it would be an intrusion into our private lives. As Janice spoke about the home study process, however, she was so relatable that I immediately felt at ease with the idea of sharing the personal details of our lives with someone like her. I said to myself then, I would be very comfortable speaking with Janice. She was warm, caring, and empathetic. Soon thereafter, we contacted Janice to begin the adoption process. As it turned out, since Janice had just established Adoptions Together she was, understandably, too busy to perform our home study herself. Exemplifying her character and the type of agency she was creating, she arranged for us to work with another warm, caring, and empathetic colleague, Erica Moltz, to conduct the home studies for the adoptions of both of our wonderful children. From the very beginning, Janice has always ensured that her entire team treats everyone with the understanding, kindness, and respect that all humans deserve.

Our Matthew is 31 years old, and Elena is 25. We have been associated with Paths for Families for decades. We have seen Janice’s vision grow from establishing a domestic adoption agency to the remarkable multi-faceted entity it has become, supporting children, parents, and families. When Janice characterized the agency as championing families, “every step of the way,” she was not exaggerating. ATI conducted our home studies, brought our children home, guided us through the legal process and has remained close and dear to our hearts. ATI’s social workers counseled both of our children’s birthmothers, which gave us confidence that they received the emotional and compassionate support throughout the adoption process. We attended many support groups sponsored by ATI including the waiting parents’ group, post adoption education, and counseling seminars. We have attended fall family day years after our children were too old (and/or embarrassed) to join us. It has been heartwarming to witness the troves of families, both in scope and diversity, formed, by Janice and her team.

Janice has always embraced us with open arms. She remembers the names and ages of our children. She always includes a handwritten thoughtful note in all her correspondence to us, as well as, with our extended family members. Honestly, we hit the jackpot with our children and we will always be grateful to Janice for facilitating our adoptions and assisting us in our post adoption challenges. She is a very special person who has literally touched the lives of so many that have crossed her path. We wish her the very best in her next endeavor and treasure her friendship. Thank you.

Audrey, Tim, Matthew, and Elena and their two dogs Bodie and Athena who complete our family (for now).

Kara Sellman Frome

Congratulations and best wishes to you, Janice! You are an amazing advocate and leader. I am grateful to have been a part of your world as I started my social work path many years ago!

Elaine Halliday

I am the grandmother of two kids adopted by my daughter from Russia. They are now 18 and 20, so this was a while ago and the kids were a handful, each in a different way. Of course Janice was wonderful in setting up the adoption process , but that was not the end of her support. Over the years as my daughter and I called with problems and the need for advice, we were so grateful that Janice was always there to help, support and share her own adoption experiences. It was impressive that as busy as she was, Janice always had time to offer help, or just talk. Janice, you have probably given similar help to hundreds of families–maybe thousands. The Halliday Family thanks you!


I have known Janice personally and professionally for over 35 years. I watched a dream of hers turn into a reality triple fold! Janice is a person who I watched grow from her obstacles and turn them into opportunities to grow Paths for Families – Janice talked and listened to people about their needs and desires and molded an agency to meet these needs with best practices, a growing community and services for all those affected by adoption. In addition, Janice grew and changed the agency that was congruent with societal and cultural changes. She has been a pioneer in the adoption community!!!

On a personal level I have watched Janice grow with the agency both personally, spiritually and professionally. She has maintained her humility and humanity thru it all. Janice always supported me and my growth as a social worker and continued to offer me opportunities for my growth!

Thank you Janice for all that you are!!

Ellen Kahn

Janice, you have modeled what it means to lead with integrity and vulnerability your entire career, long before any of us even knew the name Brene Brown. Your commitment to personal and professional growth, to an open mind and open heart, and to centering the health and wellbeing of families is remarkable, and unwavering. I want to especially highlight your leadership on LGBTQ+ inclusion, being one of the first agencies to formalize your policies and practices in partnership with HRC’s All Children-All Families program, and once again, walking the talk by holding yourself and your organization accountable to the highest standards. The entire child welfare field is better because of your work, and I congratulate you on a meaningful and impactful career thus far, and I wish you all the best in the chapters ahead!!

Meg Klekner & Paul Segretto

Janice has been the cornerstone of the organization, while remaining humble, diligent and gracious. She has followed in the footsteps or the late Irene Jordan. You made us whole, by helping us find our wonderful family. May your find joy throughout the next steps in your journey.

Jane Kotler

I have been Janice’s closest friend for 53 years. She is family to me; she’s the person I have called when I’ve had joyous occasions to share and she’s the person I have called when life has thrown a curve ball. Janice has never once wavered in her response marked by unconditional love and support. This deep connection is reciprocal – I have done the same after all these decades. It is with gratitude and heartfelt appreciation that I can call Janice my friend.

Janice has navigated her career with the same authentic commitment and compassion. She fully “shows up” by carrying out her organizational mission which is aligned with her personal values. I have been in awe over her ability to create an incredible agency and to sustain it with growth and creativity.

I have no doubt that Janice will apply her passion and expertise to another project! She has so much energy to give.

Betsy Krieger

Janice was the person who introduced me to the concept of attachment. She taught me so much about the importance of relationship in the first years. Her wisdom has strongly influenced our grantmaking. Janice, all the best in your next chapter. I hope we can continue to work together.

Debra Liberman

Dear Janice,

I am sorry that I am unable to be there this evening to honor your extraordinary accomplishment.

More than 34 years ago, I was privileged to accompany you on what was to be one of your first speaking engagements on behalf of Adoptions Together. To this day, I can remember feeling so very proud as I listened to you speak, and watched the group in attendance so transparently vested in what you had to say.

Fast forward to the imprint your distinguished career has left on so many, and a vision which has encompassed local communities and global outreach.

Yet in spite of your recognition and awards for developing innovative and groundbreaking programs and support services that have embraced so many, you have remained ever humble. Your passion, compassion, and tireless devotion have never faded, and you chose not to retire until you knew your vision could continue to spread its wings in meaningful and capable hands, as you passed the baton forward.

It has been an honor to have witnessed your journey.


Debra Liberman

Melissa Mollet

Janice is simply a force. She is a force that has changed lives for more than 10,000 children – and countless others over the years. How many of us can say we’ve left such a legacy?

Erica Moltz

It feels like I have known Janice for my entire life, at least my professional one. I got to know her in 1990 through a mutual friend. Our first meeting was in my house with my 6-year-old son and Timmy, Janice’s baby, who is about to get married. She told me that she was opening an adoption agency and explained why. She asked if I was interested in doing home studies for the agency. I have 5 adopted cousins so the offer sounded intriguing except I had no idea what a home study was. After a few months, I was heavily immersed in doing home studies. Helping to create and grow families was a great gig for me. I continued as a contractor and then joined the staff in 1999 when my youngest child was about to get his driver’s license. Being part of the staff helped me feel part of the agency and appreciate Janice’s leadership in a more robust way.

From day one, it was clear to me that Janice was a “positive force of nature” completely invested in providing ethical and clinically competent client services to everyone in the triad. She helped me understand the importance of openness when that wasn’t a “thing,” the complexities of interracial adoption, and how to help gays and lesbians build their family. A huge game changer was when Janice helped AT become grounded in attachment and trauma principles and integrate them into agency services. It helped me understand my own history so much better and how to help parents hang in there with a challenging child.

As the agency grew and prospered under Janice’s leadership, she mentored me as I also took on more clinical, managerial and supervisory responsibilities in each of my various positions with the agency. Her trust and respect encouraged me to follow my energy/passion and take risks. I was given the autonomy to pursue training which fit in with my priorities and strengths and which I have really loved.

I have grown so much from Janice’s trust in me and our solid friendship. I will be forever grateful for how she has “held” me for over 30 years in this safe and nurturing space.

Valaree Moodee

Dear Janice! Congratulations on your retirement! Thank you for my daughter, the greatest gift anyone can give. You have had a tremendous impact on the adoption process and have made it possible for children to have a forever home. Collectively, we owe you so much and thank you for the foresight to have conceived this wonderful organization. You have created a legacy that is unmatched of children, parents, birth mothers and a host of families and friends. Thank you for your years of generosity, of caring and of sharing yourself with us! Best of luck in your next journey!

Brian Murphy

Thanks for being an inaugural member of the Gift of Adoption Fund Adoption Advisory Council. It’s been a pleasure to work with you and learn from your wisdom and expertise. The ripple effect of the positive impact you have made on children and families through your work will be everlasting.

Jessica Ostrander

Janice, your hard work, dedication and achievements may never be matched. Here’s to celebrating your legacy and commitment. Thank you for everything you have contributed to this agency and the field of child welfare and family systems.

Mark and Dori Paster

Janice…. 29 years ago this month, you helped us complete our family. The daughter we brought home from Novosibirsk then is today a young woman – beautiful, fun-loving, smart, loving, and a joy to be around. You have increased the love and joy in our lives more than we can say. Thank you for you compassion, insight, dedication, moral compass, and so much more. Best of luck in all you do.

Brooke Petty

Janice’s leadership style has been as inspiring as it has been effective. She is a champion for collaboration, Janice has fostered a culture of teamwork, innovation, and compassion within Paths for Families/Adoptions Together. This commitment to building a strong team ensures that the organization’s mission will continue to thrive for years to come.

Under Janice’s visionary leadership, Paths for Families/Adoptions Together has achieved remarkable milestones. But her impact goes beyond statistics. It’s about the countless stories of hope and transformation. It’s about the families and communities empowered by Paths for Families/Adoptions Together’s services, the children lifted out of hardship, and the brighter futures made possible. These are the true testament to Janice’s leadership and dedication.

As she embarks on this new chapter, I am grateful for her extraordinary service. We are forever indebted to her vision, dedication, and unwavering commitment to making a difference. I wish her the best in her well-deserved retirement, knowing that the seeds she has sown will continue to blossom and leave a lasting impact on our world.

The Pingho Family

Getting to know Janice has been a joy. Janice’s spirit – in everything she does, in how she engages, in her thoughtfulness – is evident every time, all the time. There is no doubt that Janice has made contributions to our world in ways that cannot actually be estimated. Janice – thank you so very much for all that you have done. Can’t wait to see how you continue to contribute in this next phase of your adventures.

Keron R. Sadler, MARFY Executive Director

Dearest Janice,

As you prepare to embark on your retirement, I wanted to take a moment to express my heartfelt gratitude for your dedication and leadership. Under your guidance, countless families have been brought together, and lives have been forever changed for the better. Your compassion, vision, and unwavering commitment to the mission of Paths for Families (and previously Adoptions Together) have not only enriched the adoption community but have also set a standard of excellence that will inspire us for years to come.

Your legacy is one of love, hope, and families – a true testament to the profound impact you’ve had on both the lives you’ve touched directly and the adoption community as a whole. As you step into this new chapter of life, may you find it filled with the same joy and fulfillment you’ve brought to so many.

Thank you for everything! Your support has meant everything to me.

Wishing you a retirement that’s every bit as rewarding and fulfilling as your career has been. Please stay in touch💛

Warmest regards,

Judy Sebring

Janice, congratulations on your retirement! You , without a doubt earned it. I watched you for about 27 years, being I think, the longest serving board member during all those years. I watched you transform your dream into one of the finest adoption agencies in the country. You fought for every child that came your way, no matter what the circumstances were in that child’s life. That , to me was the most inspiring of all !! I know you’ll continue to fight for children , always, as you have inspired me to do. Maybe we’ll even do some things together…

Thanks for all the years and I wish you the best always!

Judy Sebring

Paula Skedsvold

Janice is truly remarkable. With wisdom and empathy, she established an incredible organization, providing a family for countless children and youth. Her open-hearted approach and compassionate leadership allowed her to build a team of talented and committed individuals. What a wonderful legacy! And what a privilege it is to know her. Wishing her the very best in retirement!

Lakisha Solomon

Janice a heartfelt congratulations to you on your retirement. You are an inspiration and have impacted so many lives throughout your career. Thank you for your drive, dedication, passion, and leadership. I wish you the very best. May your retirement be filled with joy, laughter and lots of love.


Joanne Steller

Working for Janice (briefly 20 years ago), was like watching a master class in the qualities and expertise that it takes to build forever families and an organization to serve them.

Unstoppable dedication.
Unflinching courage.
Unfailing compassion.
Unequivocal insight.
Unsurpassed capacity to serve with integrity and grace.

Janice is an inspired and inspiring leader. We are all the better for having been on the path with her.

Godspeed, Janice.

Janet St. Amand

What can I say about the woman who brought about the greatest gifts in my life?

Almost 30 years ago, I decided to adopt a child as a single mother. I searched and searched and researched and researched and finally realized the best adoption agency I could find was the first I had encountered – Adoptions Together. I worked with Janice and Janice and Irene and they somehow searched the world over and found the – eventually – two children who were meant to be mine way off in Russia. (My children STILL hear that story!) Adoptions Together changed my life and gave me the greatest joy I could have imagined, and Janice was the founder, the leader and the CEO responsible for this miracle for me and for hundreds if not thousands of others.

Janice, you have made an indelible mark on this world and the world is a much better place for your presence in it. Thank you, thank you, thank you for all you have done for individual children, individual families and the communities in which they live. Where would we all be without you?

And, most especially, thank you for my family.

With Love,
Janet St. Amand