Hands Across The Water was started by Directors James and Kathleen Nelson initially as an adoption education resource organization. As international adoptive parents themselves, the beginning focus of the organization was to facilitate the pre-adoption and post-adoption process through education and information. The path taken by Hands Across The Water's Directors has led them to becoming a fully licensed child placing agency in the state of Michigan.
On November 30, 2016, Kathleen retired as director of HATW. She passed the responsibility of Executive Director to Katie Page Sander. Katie brought to HATW many years experience in the non-profit, child welfare arena. She has worked in many capacities in varied child welfare agencies. In fact, she worked at HATW as the Domestic Programs Supervisor for six years! In addition to all her work experience, she is also an adoptive parent, bringing a wealth of knowledge to this agency which will help maintain the outstanding service and continued growth established by it's founders.
HATW continues to provide adoption education as the foundation to all their adoption services. They have added mental health services as well. Hands Across The Water prides itself in maintaining that all the adoption professionals affiliated with the agency have been touched by adoption in some way.