About

Adoption First Steps is a Government accredited not-for-profit charitable trust established by parents who adopted children from other countries. We wanted to use our knowledge to help other people wanting to create, or add to, their families by adopting children in orphanages or other State care overseas.

Our Director, Sue Peacock, is one of the founding members. Sue works with a team of Social Workers who specialise in inter-country adoption.

Our operations are overseen by the AFS Board of Trustees which is made up of founding members with on-the ground-experience as well as professionals with related skills. AFS services are accredited by the New Zealand Government’s Ministry of Social Development. We are audited by the Ministry of Social Development and professional accountants annually.

While AFS is based in Auckland, we offer services throughout New Zealand.
Read about our story here

Our Executive and Board

Susan Peacock – Executive Director

NZ Diploma of Physiotherapy, Advanced Diploma of Physiotherapy, MSc (Physiology).

I have worked in a range of management roles in the Health sector and bring this, as well as an understanding of quality processes, to my role as Director.

I have experienced the frustrations and joys of my own adoption journey. My husband and I are the parents of 2 children adopted from Russia.

Marian Hudson (FPRIA) – Chairperson

My background is in Senior Management, Corporate Affairs and Journalism in the public and private sector in Australia and New Zealand. I bring to Adoption First Steps broad business skills developed from challenging business roles typically for green-field projects or for organisations undergoing radical change. My experience spans negotiating legal and stakeholder agreements for multi-million dollar green-field projects and commercialisation of government operations through to improving the public profile of one of Australia’s largest energy companies as the market deregulated. I have also resurrected struggling businesses and advised CEO’s and Boards on complex business issues.

In New Zealand, I worked for New Zealand Post managing aspects of massive change across its retail and franchise stores as the organisation evolved its business delivery model. I am a Director of
several companies and author. While not an adoptive parent, my personal experience in becoming a mother means I have great empathy with the role, goals and approach of Adoption First Steps.

While not an adoptive parent my personal experience in becoming a mother means I have great empathy with the role, goals and approach of Adoption First Steps.

Carol Marshall – Treasurer

I have a Certificate in Business Studies and over twenty years experience in accounts to bring to the board of Adoption First Steps.

My husband and I have a son adopted from St Petersburg, Russia and a daughter adopted from Pskov, Russia. I feel that the best place for children to grow and mature is in a loving and supportive family.

Boris Girard de Soucanton – Trustee

Originally from Germany, I immigrated to New Zealand in 2003.

I have more than 25 years of experience in all areas of the import/export businesses I worked for, both, in Europe and New Zealand. In 2006 I started my own business in importing and distributing timber floors and have been managing this for the past 11 years.

I bring valuable business skills to AFS such as marketing, financial management, communication, negotiation and problem solving. I am also an adoptive parent of a daughter from Thailand. As such I fully identify with the role, goals and mission of AFS.

Anne van Endhoven Plas (Dip Tchg) – Trustee

I have an ongoing interest in international adoption and have been actively involved in the Thai and Chinese adoption community in New Zealand, organising social and support group events for other
parents who have adopted children from China and Thailand, as well as providing advice and guidance to people thinking of adopting from abroad. I have also been the moderator of the NZ Thai
Adoption Group on Yahoo for a number of years.

Originally training as a primary school teacher, I initially taught in Auckland prior to travelling overseas and living in Europe before returning to New Zealand in the 1990’s.
My husband and I are parents to two wonderful children adopted from China and Thailand in 2006 and 2009.

After spending years in IVF treatment before pursuing adoption, I am passionate about families having the opportunity to adopt and best practice in the adoption process. I strongly believe quality
adoption education plays a key role in building happy and successful adoptive families.