Our History

AFC is a 501c3 that began in the Fall of 2011 as Adoptive Families Coalition with a mission to resource families with post adoption challenges. More specifically filling a gap in financial assistance for therapeutic treatment not covered by insurance. In our first 10 years we have helped raise over 3 million dollars to find healing for children impacted by trauma and abuse.

Center on Third

The Center on Third was opened by AFC in August of 2018 in Logan, UT. The support center offers art, music, and education classes to strengthen
and empower foster, adoptive,and kinship families. We are dedicated to the holistic support of families with adopted children who demonstrate emotional, behavioral, or psychological challenges.


Ten Year Anniversary

We are excited to begin a new chapter in our second decade! We have updated our name and logo to include foster families and our family retreat center. The retreat center is designed to provide a safe and healing environment for year round support and family camp sessions.

Time in Operation

0 Years

Program Money Raised


Board Members and Team


Jackie Palmer

Executive Director/AFC Co-Founder

Jackie is co-founder of AFC and serves as Executive Director. She is passionate about supporting adoptive parents and determined to make a difference in the lives of trauma-impacted children. The majority of the past 18 years she has spent raising children with special needs and relentlessly researching options for successful treatment and healing for those living with emotional and behavioral health issues.

In addition to Adoptive Families Coalition, she is part owner of a small engineering firm and a graduate of Arizona State University. She lives with her husband, Jim Palmer, and 3 teenage children in beautiful Cache Valley, Utah. Since moving to Utah in 2013, Jackie renewed her interest in gardening and has embraced the trend of backyard chickens with 5 hens.


Bryce Patten

President/Co-Founder Camp Connect

Bryce is a dedicated husband and father of four children. He loves spending time with his family, being outdoors, hunting, fishing and his dogs. He also loves woodworking and sports, especially basketball. He has always loved serving and helping others. While in highschool he volunteered in the peer tutor classroom as well as the Special Olympics. Bryce has also staffed scout camps, worked on the city youth council and coached youth basketball.

After moving to Cache Valley he started working as a Life Skills Instructor for people with disabilities which he loved and eventually led to working for Common Ground Outdoor Adventures, a non-profit providing recreational activities for people with disabilities. He Served as the program director there for almost 9 years.

Bryce believes that one person can make a huge difference in another's life. There are so many children who, through no fault of their own, are in a tough place and he wants to help make a positive impact in their lives.


Carol Barger

Secretary/AFC Co-Founder

Carol Barger was raised with strong family values on a ranch in western Nebraska. Her training in Bible College and with Cru Staff prepared her for a lifetime of teaching and serving the needs of women and children in strengthening families.

With the joy of the arrival of grandchildren came an introduction for her to the accompanying challenges in the world of adoption. The discovery of limited availability for post-adoption resources compelled her to be the co-founder of Adoptive Families Coalition (AFC) in 2011 with Jackie & Jim Palmer. They shared a strong sense of calling to create a means of support to help fill a gap in post-adoption assistance for families.

She currently serves on the AFC Board of Directors and assists with fundraising events.


Lori Connin


Lorraine “Lori”, has worked in the adolescent residential industry for the last 40 years. She held many positions within the residential treatment center she was employed at, which gave her a broad experience of residential treatment, from administration to working with parents and students at the facility. In 2000 she moved to Logan and became co-founder and co-owner of LRA, a residential treatment center for adolescence, and held the position of CFO.

She was a volunteer board member of the Center for Pregnancy Choices, a life affirming organization, were she served as treasurer for 10 years.

Lori has recently retired, and is spending her time, learning piano, enjoying the outdoors, and assisting in administrative duties at her local church. Her greatest pleasure is taking her time to enjoy her mornings.


Jim Palmer

AFC Co-Founder

Jim is co-founder and member of Adoptive Families Coalition. He is a structural engineer by trade and brings with him a mind that is detail oriented and concerned with safety and problem solving. Jim adds his sense of humor to help encourage the team to continue the efforts to help hurting families. Jim has experienced all the conflicts and emotions associated with raising a child with emotional and behavioral issues. Being part of Adoptive Families Coalition allows Jim to share what he has learned and learning through his experiences.

Jim and his wife, Jackie, have been married for 27 years. They owned and operated an engineering business for 10 years. Jim enjoys playing basketball (while he still can), outdoor activities and goofing around with his family.


Cliff Warden


Cliff is a graduate of the University of Northern Colorado and Pepperdine University School of Law. Cliff began his business career in 1979 in Colorado in the general practice of law where he worked with clients on various legal matters including their wills, trusts and estates. He continued his career working as an in house legal counsel for several different corporations in Colorado, Arizona and Virginia. While Cliff does not offer legal services in his current profession, since coming to Financial Planning Services of Greater La Crosse, Cliff has acquired the designations of Chartered Financial Consultant (ChFC ) and Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU) from the American College.

Cliff and his wife, Jody, who have 3 children, live in Onalaska, Wisconsin. They enjoy traveling, cycling, hiking, reading, writing and spending time with family and friends.


Trhas Tafere


Trhas is a mom to three children; one adopted and two biological. She lives with her husband, Sileshi, and kids in Cache Valley, Utah. Trhas lived most of her life in Ethiopia. As a social worker in Ethiopia, she worked with orphaned and abandoned children. Since coming to Utah, she has completed her bachelor’s degree in Sociology and Anthropology from USU and is almost finished with her master’s degree in Global Health and Development from Northeastern University. She currently works at the Bear River Health Department with the COVID division, leading outreach programs with community and faith-based organizations. Trhas is passionate about helping women and children in need. In addition to time at AFC events, she regularly volunteers with the Cache Refugee and Immigrant Connection (CRIC) helping families from Eritrea and Ethiopia.

Bonnie Rodriguez

Administrative Assistant

Bonnie Rodriguez joined Adoptive Families Coalition in March of 2017 to lend help with daily administrative tasks that keep the AFC wheel going ‘round. Adoption became a clear passion as a teenager when her family adopted 6 children from Ethiopia over the course of several years. Sharing in the life of her first-born through an open adoption is a high priority. Bonnie spends most of her time trying to keep up with her two young children at home.


Chelsea Kerr

Program Director/Co-Founder Camp Connect

Chelsea is a read-aholic, loves camping and hanging out at the lake with her family, and has a mild addiction to cheese. She has been working for youth organizations since she was 16. During one of her first summers with the Boy Scouts she dreamed of starting her own summer camp. The dream has changed and evolved, but her passion for helping kids has only grown. She continued working for the Boy Scouts and the Boys and Girls Club through high school and college, where she met her husband. They married and had three amazing biological children. Three years ago their lives were changed as they started fostering and eventually adopted two children, bringing their family to seven!

Chelsea recognized how important continued support is for adoptive families, and she has experienced first hand the difference that comes with continued training and education.

“We have been so blessed by the training we have received to help our children and are passionate about bringing these resources closer to home for so many other families who need it.” - Chelsea Kerr