Securing Forever Homes

Alumna of the Year Anthea “Thea” Sholander Ramirez ’06 ignites change for hundreds of families by asking life's difficult questions.

Sometimes the ‘why’ questions are the hardest to answer. They stretch us far beyond what our minds can comprehend, forcing us to shift our perspective and dig deeper. And sometimes, just having the courage to ask those questions can be the catalyst to something world-changing.

For the 2024 Alumna of the Year, Anthea “Thea” Sholander Ramirez ’06, asking ‘why?’ has led to the establishment of forever homes for hundreds of orphans in the United States. Understanding why so many children languish in foster care despite goals for adoption was the spark needed to ignite Thea’s passionate advocacy for children without permanent homes. “It always amazes me how powerful a question can be to ignite meaningful change,” Thea muses. “Now I see it was the simple willingness to ask a question that got us to where we are today.”

As the founder and CEO of Adoption-Share, Thea works hard to bring reform, transparency, and efficiency to the foster and adoption process through compassion-driven technology. Through the establishment of a new program called Family-Match, Thea has furthered the impact of her nonprofit by simplifying the work for agencies via a pairing technology that makes it easier to provide successful, expedited placement for children in stable homes.

Over the years, her dedication and perseverance have led to speaking invitations from the White House and European Parliament as well as numerous features in prominent nationwide media outlets. By partnering with powerful organizations and spreading her passion for child welfare, Thea has contributed to significant policy reform in the United States, making a difference that impacts thousands of children and families. 

Drawn to what she describes as Eastern’s “just go do it” attitude, Thea was immediately inspired by her classmates and professors “to be a solution to the world's hurt, to be peace to the word's raging wars, to be an agent of change to the places and spaces that need the warm light of an eternal, loving God.” Using her degree in social work, Thea laid the groundwork for a now thriving career that combines her education, relentless passion, and marathon spirit.

Thea and her husband, fellow alumnus Lucas Ramirez ’05, now live in Brunswick, Georgia with their three children, who inspire her every day to continue doing the work she is doing for other children around the world. “It is an incredible honor to be named Eastern's Alumna of the Year,” she says. “Considering the breadth of incredible alumni and their service and impact in the world, it is a privilege to be included in the ranks of fellow world-changers!”