In our Staff Spotlight series, we catch up with the talented, dedicated, and compassionate individuals who help make everything our organization does possible. This month we’re featuring Kristina Berg, Director of Engagement with CH/LSS.
Kristina joined Children’s Home in 2005 and has held a variety of roles from international program specialist to outreach manager and more. She is an empathetic, encouraging, and strategic leader with a passion for child welfare. One of her long-time colleagues Sue Orban (Outreach and Adoption Specialist) says, “Kristina is the kind of supervisor that everyone wishes they had! She respects and listens to your input, is always available when you need her, and trusts your contributions. I wish she could be cloned!” Read more about Kristina’s life inside and outside of work below.
What is your current role with CH/LSS and what are some of your primary responsibilities?
My current role is a bit of a catch-all, which I love because every day is different. I oversee the agency’s marketing, intake, outreach, volunteer, and in-kind donation efforts, as well as our adoption database, Adoption Support Fund, Global Family Support and Adoption Ambassador programs.
What originally drew you to the field of foster care and adoption?
Adoption is part of my family’s story. I have always been drawn to child welfare, and believe foster care and adoption are critical safety nets for children. I knew when I entered the social work program I wanted to intern in adoption. I was fortunate to make that happen with Children’s Home. The internship provided me with amazing, hands-on experience at the peak of international adoption. I was offered a position and began the Monday after graduation. In this field, there is never a point at which you can stop learning or stop listening to lived experiences.
I wish people knew that just because it may not be the right time for you to foster or adopt, doesn’t mean you can’t get involved. You can still learn, advocate, volunteer, donate, or be part of our Adoption Ambassador Program. —Kristina Berg
What is the most rewarding part of your job?
The kiddos who have waited a long time or had extraordinary challenges, to see them open themselves back up again and accept the love of a caregiver — there is nothing better. It is not all rainbows and sunshine, adoption comes from deep loss, but there are definitely very rewarding and emotional moments.
What is something you wish people knew about foster care and adoption that they might not?
I have a million answers running through my head! I wish people knew that just because it may not be the right time for you to foster or adopt, doesn’t mean you can’t get involved. You can still learn, advocate, volunteer, donate, etc. (insert shameless plug for our Adoption Ambassadors).
What advice would you give to families looking to begin their adoption or foster care journey?
Take advantage of free information meetings and trainings. This will help you determine what may be a good fit for you and your family. There are a lot of choices at first and it can feel overwhelming to pick a path. My team and I are here to help you with that!
Switching gears to learning about your life outside of work, what does an ideal weekend look like to you?
Well with three little kiddos weekends can be chaotic, but an ideal one would consist of outdoor time in good weather, seeing friends or family, a dinner out and a good meal in, lots of laughs, everyone healthy, and no laundry!
What songs or podcasts are on your current playlist?
There’s been a lot of Encanto in my life lately, but I’d be lying if I said I haven’t been blasting the new Lizzo song at every chance I get! I do listen to a wide variety of podcasts — a mix of light and heavier topics ranging from Real Housewives to social injustices.
“Kristina is such a great fit for the position she’s in. Families find us, and when they do, they are supported in their early decision-making because of the good work she leads her team to do. She shows up! We all are better for the enthusiasm and commitment she brings to the work we do. —Deb Harder, Adoption Information Coordinator, CH/LSS
Do you have a favorite saying or quote that makes you laugh, gives you peace, or provides you with wisdom?
I think this one falls in the wisdom category. I’ve been reading Austin Channing Brown’s, I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness and this has stuck with me, “Our only chance at dismantling racial injustice is being more curious about its origins than we are worried about our comfort.”
What’s something that always brings a smile to your face?
Seeing my kids smile or laugh. It is the best!