Meet Our Team

Each of us have had our hearts touched by adoption

The Kansas City Adoption Team


Founder and Director

Hi, I’m Steffany Aye. I have been a part of the adoption field since 1993 and found it to be very rewarding. I was introduced to the field of adoption in college while obtaining my first master’s degree in Family Life Education and Consultation. I had always had an interest in unplanned pregnancy and infertility, but it was not until this point that I began to see how it all fit together.

While obtaining my second master’s degree in Social Work, I had the opportunity to also study Hospital and School Social Work. I thoroughly enjoyed learning about these other fields; however, I knew that my heart’s desire was to be involved in adoption. Within a few short months, doors began to open and starting an adoption agency became a reality.

Since 1998, Adoption & Beyond has grown from a small, one-person home-based agency to an agency with several workers covering two states. I am so thankful and blessed to have had the opportunity to work with hundreds of wonderful birth parents, adoptive families and their children. In addition, I am the proud mother of five children, one having joined our family through adoption.

Warmest Wishes,

Steffany A. Aye


Domestic Adoption Coordinator

Hello, my name is Julie Nielsen.

I am excited to embark on this journey as an Adoption Coordinator! I graduated from Avila University in 2014 with my bachelor’s degree in Social Work and received my master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Kansas in 2016.   I completed a one-year practicum at MOCSA and have spent the last five years working as a case manager at Jewish Family Services.  I have a passion for working with vulnerable individuals who have experienced trauma and abuse.  I am continuously inspired by the human strength and determination to overcome adversity.

I have a busy life as a proud mom to seven beautiful children. They are all active and my spare time is spent supporting each of their endeavors. I am also a birth mom to a beautiful little girl.  My children and I look forward to the time we share with her and the adoptive family.  Since placing my daughter for adoption in 2013, I have had a desire to work professionally in the area of adoption.  I am blessed to have found this opportunity to fulfill that aspiration.  I look forward to offering both my professional and personal experience as I work alongside you.


Julie Nielsen


Home Study and Post-Adoption Coordinator

I was honored to become a part of the Adoption & Beyond team in 2015! I received my bachelor’s degree in Social Work from Avila University in Kansas City, Missouri in 2014. I completed my internship with Sunflower House in Shawnee, Kansas as a Family Advocate. After graduating, I worked with families in the Head Start Program in the Kansas City, Kansas public school district. I greatly enjoy working with families and look forward to working with Adoption & Beyond’s families.

I have a personal connection to adoption as I was adopted by my father around the age of 13 years old. Some might say that it was an adoption by my stepfather, but he is my dad. I am married and have a young child. I know the joy that comes along with becoming a parent and want to help others experience that joy as well.

In my free time, I like to read, run, spend time with my family, and be outdoors. I am excited to work for Adoption & Beyond and look forward to working with you!


Shawna Super

Regional Adoption Team


Northern Kansas Adoption

Hi, my name is Tonya Grauberger, I am a Home Study Coordinator and have been with Adoption & Beyond since 2005. I live in Topeka, Kansas and I graduated from Washburn University with a Bachelor of Social Work Degree and later returned to Washburn for my Master of Social Work Degree. I have always had an interest in working with children. I completed my undergraduate internship with Court Appointed Special Advocates, of Shawnee County (CASA). Unsure of the focus I wanted to pursue in my work with children, I took a job in the field of accounting for five years. I still had a desire to work with families and children, so in the summer of 2004, I began working on my master’s degree. I completed my graduate internship at Adoption & Beyond, where I was very fortunate to have the opportunity to work with prospective birth parents and prospective adoptive families. It was through my personal experience as a prospective adoptive mother that my interest in working in the area of adoption grew. My husband and I were blessed with a precious son through adoption in January 2003 and a beautiful daughter in May 2007. I had wonderful adoption experiences, and I knew that I wanted to provide families beginning their adoption journey with similar experiences. My heart truly is in the field of adoption and the issues that surround families touched by adoption.


Tonya Grauberger

Emily GrayEmily Gray, LCSW

St. Louis & Eastern Missouri Adoption

Hi, I am Emily Gray!

I am so excited to be an adoption case worker with Adoption & Beyond! I am honored to have the opportunity to work in the adoption field. I graduated from Southern Illinois University Edwardsville with my Bachelor of Social Work Degree in 2014. I received my Masters of Social Work in 2015 from Washington University in St. Louis. I currently work as a pediatric transplant social worker at local Children’s Hospital with families and children who need or have had kidney and liver transplants.

In my free time, I love to spending time with friends, painting, traveli, and listening to live music. I am so grateful to be able to experience the adoption process with families. I look forward to working with you to extend your family through Adoption & Beyond!


Emily Gray


Kansas City Area Adoption

I joined the Adoption & Beyond team in February 2018. I attended the University of Missouri- Kansas City, where I received my Bachelor’s in Psychology in 2012. After taking a few years off from school I decided to continue my education, and obtained my Master’s in Social Work from the University of Kansas in 2017. During graduate school I completed two internships, each lasting one school year. My first internship was at KVC, where I worked on the re-integration team serving both the children and their biological parents. I completed my second internship at the Salvation Army Children’s Shelter, where I provided case management and therapeutic services to the clients living at the shelter.

I have always been passionate about adoption, and I believe this stems from the way in which I was raised. My family provided foster care for approximately 12 years and adopted my eldest brother during this time. I can’t imagine my life without my brother, or without all of the children that we had the joy of loving over those 12 years. My husband and I are  foster parents ourselves! We currently have two sweet girls, one who joined our family through foster care adoption. 

I feel honored to work at Adoption & Beyond, and especially honored to play a small part in your adoption story!


Brittany Sheets, LMSW


Central & Western Kansas Adoption

Hello, my name is Debbi Stone, and I am one of the Home Study Coordinators, I have been with Adoption & Beyond since 2006. I graduated from Bethel College in 1999 with a bachelor’s degree in Social Work. During my senior year at Bethel I was able to intern at an adoption agency in Wichita, Kansas. It was an awesome experience which turned into an awesome job!

I enjoy working with prospective adoptive families and appreciate and admire their strength and determination as they travel through the journey to become parents. I have a special place in my heart for all members of the triad. In order for you to know what makes me tick as a person and as a social worker it is important for you to know that I am a birth mother of a 25 year old son named Danny. Danny is a well-adjusted man who happens to be an adoptee because I made the decision many years ago to give him parents who could provide for him like I could not at that time in my life. I believe Danny is the awesome man he is today because of his mom and dad, and yes, because he is a product of an open adoption. I understand “open adoption” is not always possible, but by educating yourself about adoption and about your child’s heritage, you will be prepared to help him or her navigate through adoption and through life. I wish you the best and pray your adoption journey will bless you as mine has me.


Debbi Stone


Wichita, Central & Western Kansas Adoption

Greetings from Central Kansas, I am Mary Waggoner and I am a Home Study Coordinator for Adoption & Beyond, I have been with the agency since 2010. For over eight years I worked with children and families through the mental health and school system. Currently I am working as a school social worker. I have undergraduate degrees from Emporia State University and Bethel College and I received my Master of Social Work Degree from Newman University in 2007.

My first introduction to the adoption process began nineteen years ago when some friends of mine decided to forgo fertility treatments and pursue adoption. As they weighed the pros and cons of their decision, I was there to listen, support, and encourage. After their son was born I celebrated with them as he reached various milestones and I cheered with the family when he graduated from high school and moved on to college. Since that first introduction I have had numerous opportunities to interact with other touched by adoption. These experiences have left me with the desire to work with others who want to build their families through adoption.

When I am not working, I spend my time on the never ending house projects of demolishing, re-building and decorating. I am actively involved in a Bible study group where I have developed and maintain close friendships. I also spend as much time as I can with my three children who are each leaving home to pursue dreams of their own.

I am looking forward to working with your family.


Mary E. Waggoner


Southwestern Missouri Adoption

Hi, my name is Shannon Wilson and I live in Springfield, Missouri. I graduated from Evangel University with a bachelor’s degree in Social Work in 2000 and from Missouri State University with a master’s degree in Social Work in 2003. I received my clinical social work license in 2007.

I have been working with an agency that facilitates Adoptions and Foster Care since the spring of 2003. I received my clinical social work license in 2007. I enjoy my job, and I enjoy developing relationships with my foster families and investing in the lives of the children that I work with.

I have been working with Adoption & Beyond as one of their Home Study Coordinators since the fall of 2004 and have thoroughly enjoyed meeting so many new people. It is so rewarding to be a part of children and adoptive parents coming together and becoming a family. There are so many children that need families, and I love sharing in the process of these families being created. I enjoy working with families from the beginning of the home study process all the way through getting to meet their children during the post-adoptive visits. I believe that God has opened this door for me, and I am excited for the opportunity to be a part of bringing children who need a family to a family that is waiting for them.

I am married and have been blessed to be the mother to two little girls, Reagan and Riley. Both of my jobs allow me the flexibility to stay home with them most of the time. I love being a mom, and I love helping people become parents through adoption.


Shannon Wilson

Learn more about the adoption process