Colleen Holt Thompson

Executive Director

A 12 year hosting and adoption veteran, Colleen brings a valuable mix of corporate experience and volunteer passion to the role of Executive Director. She has had a heart for Ukraine since “accidentally” hosting in 2005. After that first hosting experience, she traveled to Ukraine and was forever changed. Colleen has worked to match over 2,500 orphan children with host families across the US, and to raise much needed funding for orphanages, medical needs of orphans, and educational programs. Her passion is advocating for special needs children, sibling groups and teen orphans.

Colleen and husband, David, live in the Cincinnati area and are happily exhausted parents of eight, including four Ukrainian-born daughters, and two newly adopted Ukrainian sons. Their older children also volunteer with Host Ukraine, and have inherited their parents’ passion for orphan care.

Sheela Allen

Program Director

Sheela Allen has been a Registered Nurse for 22 years, and enjoys working with children from all grades as a substitute school nurse, after years as an PICU nurse. 

Sheela and her family hosted from Ukraine, and felt compelled to help the many wonderful children still waiting for their family.  All of the Allen family members enjoyed the hosting experience and are looking forward to hosting again this session. In 2016, they adopted their son from Ukraine.

Sarah Larsen

Education, Training & Family Support

Sarah Larsen has hosted and adopted from Ukraine, and also adopted domestically. She has a passion for mentoring new host families, and is trained in attachment/trauma parenting. She has walked with many families through the challenging waters of parenthood.

Sarah is a teacher with a masters degree in special education, a busy mom and an always willing volunteer. Her heart for helping others in undeniable.

Tammy & Wayne Way

Operations & Training

Tammy & Wayne Way have hosted both teenage girls and boys from Ukraine. They live in central Pennsylvania and adopted two unrelated teenage boys in 2015.  They also have a younger daughter and an adult son.

Tammy works closely with families placing children, as well as training and educating on hosting and orphan life. She also volunteers in the school library and leads a youth group at their church. 

Wayne is a marketing manager and plays guitar in his free time.  He spent 10 weeks in Ukraine in 2015, living at an orphanage and visiting several others. His experience in the adoption process, as well as life inside an orphanage gives him a unique perspective.  Wayne and Tammy are both passionate about helping older orphans.

Raquel Murray

Finance & Education Team

Raquel is a Senior Vice President at a national financial institution. She also has worked at a local non-profit Christian Radio station, 88.7fm, The Bridge as the Director of Development and Director of Operations. Raquel helped the Bridge grow in revenue from a $325,000 annual budget to a $1MM annual budget in 3+ years. As Director of Operations, she worked to help the station achieve independent non-profit status. 88.7fm, The Bridge was named 2014 Small Market Station of the Year by the Christian Music Broadcasters Association.

Raquel is a graduate of the University of Delaware and Wilmington College and holds a degree in Elementary Education. She lives in Georgia and Delaware with her children, Jace and Reese. Raquel’s daughter, Caitlin, a registered nurse, lives in Delaware with her husband, Benjamyn. Raquel adopted from Ukraine in 2013 and has hosted many children over the last five years. Her passion for orphan care and experience with “Connected Parenting” techniques is an asset to the host families she supports.


Mekaela Carter

Family Support

Mekaela was introduced to hosting after her sister hosted and adopted teen siblings from Ukraine. She and husband, Bill, have hosted twice and become passionate about advocating and sponsoring orphans.

Tara Airhart

Family Support

Jonathan and Tara live in Virginia with two beautiful daughters, and a third on the way. They hosted two brothers last summer, and saw the benefits of hosting to these children we serve.

Tara is a dedicated advocate for Ukrainian orphans and a homeschooling mama. Her willingness to share from her personal living experiences in Ukraine is a blessing to our team. They are hosting again this session and look forward to supporting others on their hosting journey.

Jessica Parra

Family Support

Jess Parra and her husband hosted for the first time in Summer 2015, and twice since. They have enjoyed every minute of their hosting experience, and love serving other host families, and advocating for these amazing kids.

Jess has a degree in social work and worked in a residential children’s home for years before transitioning to a school position. She is now working with students who have Autism.

Jess lives in the Chicago area and is a supportive and knowledgeable Family Coach and Outreach Coordinator.

Jonathan Airhart

Ukraine Liaison

Jonathan and Tara live in Virginia with their three beautiful daughters. They hosted two brothers last summer, a teen this summer, and saw the benefits of hosting to the children we serve.

Jonathan is Active Duty Air Force, and during his service had the opportunity to spend a year learning Ukrainian, followed by a two year cultural immersion program, living in Kyiv and traveling extensively throughout Ukraine. It was during that time both Jonathan and Tara fell in love with Ukraine and her people.

Jonathan’s unique experiences as a host dad who has lived in Ukraine and speaks fluent Ukrainian have made him a valuable cultural liaison and ambassador for our program.

Shari Alfaro

Family Support

Shari Alfaro lives in Dallas, Texas with her amazing husband and four kids, ages 21, 16, 7 and 4. She is an active stay-at-home mom who enjoys camping, reading and performing arts. Passionate about God’s grace and His heart for children, Shari is on staff as the Children’s Ministry Director at Vertical Church. She and her husband stepped out on faith and began the adoption process of their 15-year-old host son before they met him in the Summer of 2015. Sasha is now home and thriving, and loving American high school and all that goes with it.

The Alfaro’s are so glad they were obedient to God’s calling as they are absolutely love Sasha and are committed to helping other families find their children in  Ukraine. Shari’s experience is a blessing to the new host families she mentors and supports.

Emily Allen

Hope Ukraine Program
Emily was introduced to the hosting process when her family decided to host a teen boy from Ukraine in 2015.  She immediately saw the benefits of the hosting program.  Since starting hosting, her family has hosted three different teen boys.
Emily has 10 years of experience in camping including being an intern and program staff.  She is currently pursuing her Master’s degree and works with children who have autism.  She hopes to be able to travel to Ukraine and make a difference in the lives of the orphans.