Thursday, December 9, 2010

Exciting News!

The holiday season is in full swing! Christmas lights are up and everyone is doing their holiday shopping. If you are looking for a unique gift for someone this year I have an idea for you! Christopher Radko designed the very first Gladney holiday ornament and it's not too late to order yours! The limited edition "Cozy Cottage" ornament was designed specially for Gladney, and features the Gladney logo. The ornament is available for just $50.  Place your order while supplies last by contacting Gladney's GFA at gfa@gladney.org.


Gladney has created a new program called "Healthy for Life" which will help families create lifestyles that promote healthy eating, physical activity, and overall well being. Gladney is thrilled to collaborate on this initiative with expert nutritionists Tammy and Elysse Lakatos, also known as the "Nutrition Twins." The mission is to provide families with information that will empower them to make healthy food choices at home, in their communities, and in life. Through our information, webinars, and seminars, we will provide nutrition education for both parents and children so that the entire family has the tools they need to live healthier, happier lives. For more information visit our website.

If you want to keep updated with the exciting things happening at Gladney be sure to 'like' our facebook page.

It is hard to believe 2011 is just around the corner, but I am looking forward to starting new projects and all the excitement that comes with the new year! Happy Holidays :)

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Always encouraging

Today is the first day of December, I can't believe it! Let the Christmas music play :)

I spent some time in Photoshop today removing the background behind an adorable little girl. I always appreciate the time I get to spend using the programs I've learned in school to help Gladney.

Recently, I've been reminded of the encouraging environment at Gladney. E-mails about placements always thank everyone involved and anytime exciting news is shared, several positive responses follow. The best part is that this encouragement isn't seasonal! Appreciation, excitement and joy can be seen at Gladney all 12 months of the year.

Gladney Center for Adoption helps create forever families for many and has a very loving family of its own.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Holiday Happenings

The holidays are here! Thanksgiving is tomorrow, even though the temperature is in the 80s here in Texas, and Christmas will be here before we know it. Gladney has several exciting things for the holidays including a Christopher Radko holiday ornament designed specifically for Gladney. There is an exciting opportunity to give back when shopping for gifts this season. Just go to GoodShop.com, designate Gladney Center for Adoption as the cause you support and then click over to your favorite store and shop away!


For more information throughout the holidays be sure to visit Gladney's facebook page. We will keep you updated on ways to give back, National Adoption Month tips, exciting news, and fun at the office (like Waffles this morning!).

We have also been voting on Holiday Traditions cards. Check out some pictures of entries shown below.

Happy Holidays!


Wednesday, November 3, 2010

National Adoption Month!!

November is National Adoption Month (NAM)! Gladney will be giving tips throughout the month about how to spread the positives about adoption and specific ways you can get involved with Gladney. You can also visit orphansunday.org for more information about Orphan Sunday on November 7th.

Text NAM to 43648 to receive ideas on how to get involved. Msg & data rates may apply. Text HELP for help, STOP to stop.


Visit Gladney's facebook page and click on the NAM tab to see more tips as the month goes on!
  • NAM Activity #1: In election times, learn candidates' views on issues realted to adoption and child welfare. Make your views known to the candidates.
  • NAM Activity #2: Encourage your social network to join the various Gladney pages on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube.
  • NAM Activity # 3: Have local government issue proclamation recognizing "November as National Adoption Month" http://ht.ly/33hk9
  • NAM Activity #4: Contact PTA President to see if you can present a program on Adoption in November. http://ht.ly/33iGZ
  • NAM Activity #5: Deliver Gladney Hotline cards & other outreach materials to Jr. High & High School teachers, counselors, nurses and librarians to distribute. Contact outreach@gladney.org if you would like materials.
In other news, The International Adoption Webinar has been updated to include information about Costa Rica!  Watch and share it with a friend! http://bit.ly/cpT3lp


Big projects for me over the last few weeks have included consolidating contacts for the New York office, working on a postcard, and learning about different events taking place for NAM.

Coming in once a week is a little crazy so I am really looking forward to being able to come to Gladney more often starting in January!

--Katye

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Better Late Than Never

The other interns and I have been working on publishing the Fall 2010 newsletter for Gladney. There are so many adorable children and their families getting ready for the new school year. The newsletter has pictures, stories, and articles about how to handle difficult conversations that may arise with teachers and peers each school year. Any adoptive parent with school aged children should definitly check it out!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

The New Column Writer

I've been slacking on my blogging skills because I have been so busy writing columns for Gladney's website!

Recently, I have had the experience to read stories, e-mails, and powerpoints in order to reformat them into articles. But, these are no small stories. The staff at Gladney is so well-rounded and diverse that I have been reading a range of subjects from child psychological development to the adverse effects the rain has on adoption in Ethiopia.
One of the other articles I worked on was about how to cope with the emotions from infertility. It's about how to answer questions your friends and family may confront you with. The articles are all very interesting, and I'm not saying that because I wrote them, the articles are helpful at any stage of adoption you may be at. It is important for us all to be aware of other factors that may not effect us directly. For example, the article on infertility may help you empathize with a friend experiencing this change in life, or the article about Ethiopia may help you realize the drastic weather conditions these children have to live in.

Learning is a skill that truly helps us grow as individuals. Now is it time for you to grow?

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Can't get rid of me yet!

It has been a while since my last post partly due to an illness, school starting again, and trying to get back into a regular routine. When the summer ended I was not sure if I would be able to keep interning at Gladney. Luckily, my schedule worked out so I can come in once a week! For those first few weeks of school, I missed the Gladney work environment and getting to read the sweet placement stories that are shared throughout the week. Now that I'm back it's great to see everyone and work on projects that ultimately help create forever families.

Be sure to check out the Gladney facebook page for relevant information and opportunities to get involved with Gladney. Each country has a facebook page, so be sure to 'like' those and receive updates! Here are links to the different pages: Bulgaria, China, Colombia, Costa Rica, Nepal, Russia, Rwanda, Taiwan.

Last week I spent time archiving photos. This will speed up the search for photos that Gladney employees have taken during trips to various countries and any pictures of Gladney families and kids. The process has taken some time because there are so many  pictures, but it will make a huge difference when trying to locate that perfect picture!

The interns are still working on the Orphan Sunday event, trying to get things finalized since November is drawing closer. I'm sure you'll be hearing more about this in the coming weeks!

I am so glad to be back at Gladney and I can't wait to see what fun projects I'll be working on this Fall.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

What I like about Gladney...

I've been interning at Gladney for 6 or 7 weeks and I love it! It is not an internship where I come in and do all the jobs that nobody wants. Instead, I work on projects that really need to be done. I have been able to spend a lot of time in design programs, mainly InDesign, creating templates, brochures, post cards etc. The best part is I can see the finished product - I worked on the Christian Perspective brochure for a while and last week we printed a short run to get those brochures in people's hands. It is so great to be able to see the job complete and know that I'm making progress and Gladney's need is being met. The marketing interns - there are three of us right now - are in charge of planning an Orphan Sunday event to take place on the Gladney campus on November 7. We've all said we want to keep planning that event after school starts because it's our project, not just something we're kind of working on and can let someone else finish.

Something I've noticed is everyone at Gladney really appreciates the interns. They are so happy that we are here and able to help them out, we even had a breakfast so the interns could get to know Frank Garrott (the President and CEO of Gladney). It seems to me that everyone really loves working at Gladney, it's not just something they do everyday but it is something they really care about. Interning at Gladney has been a really great experience and I would definitely recommend it!

Friday, July 30, 2010

It's Off to Work We Go...

Mike McMahon laughed at us sitting in our cubicle this morning all diligently working away. Paige, Katye, and I have been working hard on Parent Profiles, creating templates and writing columns for a new newsletter. Today, with the help of Nancy, I finished the article about the Heritage Service Trip to Russia. I really enjoyed getting to research and read all about the group that got to experience that amazing opportunity to learn about their backgrounds. Also, you should check out the printable version that has a nice quote from an adoptive parent and a beautiful template that Katye made.
The article covering the Teen trip to Mexico to volunteer at and orphanage should be up soon! But as for now, check out their Facebook post!
Now I'm going to research different ways we can improve our Parent Profiles to make them more appealing for birthmothers.

My Last Day at Gladney

Unfortunately the summer has come to a close. While I'm excited to see my family again I'm going to really miss Gladney and everyone here in the office. This has been by far my best internship experience and I will use what I have learned here to hopefully launch into a career in the field. I hope to have the chance to return to Gladney after finishing school.

Thank you for such a wonderful summer and for everything you do for families and children!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Adoption Day :)

Today I had the chance to go to Adoption Day at the Fort Worth courthouse. It was so exciting, heartwarming and emotional. In Texas, once a prospective adoptive family has been approved to adopt and has taken placement of a baby (after the birthmother relinquishes), the family is under a supervisory period for six months before they can finalize the adoption with a judge. During that six month supervisory period, the baby (or child) comes to live with the family but the adoptive parents have not yet established firm legal parenting rights. Once the six month period is over, the parents must go to court to finalize the adoption with a judge. They may do so any day they would like, but many families choose to wait until Adoption Day which takes place once a month at the Fort Worth courthouse.

The courtroom was decorated with balloons and stuffed animals and about twenty families gathered with their children, friends and relatives to finalize the adoption. Rather than feeling like a sober courtroom, it felt like a large family reunion with parents doting over their children. One by one each family (parents, children, extended family and friends) was invited in front of the judge to finalize their adoption papers. Then the excited new parents and child got to take a family photo with the judge holding the baby (or child). Each newly adopted child and his or her siblings left with a balloon and stuffed animals. It was potentially the happiest occasion to ever take place in court.

Every family was so beautiful and the occasion so wonderful, but I was particularly touched by the adoption of a sibling group of three African American girls. The girls appeared to be about ages 12, 9 and 7. It was so exciting to see them enter a forever family and I couldn’t help but think about how today has changed the course of their lives forever in a way that will allow them to grow together and reach their potential with the love and support of their parents.

Adoption Day

Hi, I'm Grace the new Marketing intern at Gladney. Recently I have been helping out with the organizing and researching for the Strategic Plan for the next two years. I have been graphing data and scouring through statistics in order to support Gladney's plan of action for the next couple of year.
However, through sitting all day in a cubicle by myself I have really enjoyed to opportunity to learn (as cliche as that sounds). One of the most interesting and disturbing facts I have recently discovered is the emergence of Ulipristal Acetate, or UPA, in the United States. UPA was created in Europe and has passed in 2009 with flying colors as the new emergency contraception for women. This new drug, named EllaOne by HRA Pharma, allows women 120 hours (5 days) for emergency contraception to take the pill after unprotected intercourse. Research has shown a decrease in the chance of pregnancy compared to the well-known Plan B in the United States and could possibly be distributed as an over-the-counter drug. Although the FDA has not approved EllaOne for US manufacturing, the advisory board for the FDA has passed the drug, signifying a positive approval for the drug in the near future. While this may sound like a new savior for confused teens not wanting a child, this new drug has potential to alter how many children are put up for adoption each year. In the eyes of Gladney and adoptive parents this drug is scary for the future generations of adoping children.

Today I went to a domestic adoption orientation. At the orientation I could see that these people going through the process of adoption are embarking on a selfless journey. It amazes me how complete strangers could gain my full respect with their attendance to learn about adoption with the hope of improving a child's life as well as their own.

I look forward to learning more about Gladney and the employees here because it is evident walking around how committed the employees are to making families happy.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Constant Contact

I am quickly becoming an expert in Constant Contact after building several templates, sending e-mail blasts and problem solving to figure out how to make Constant Contact work effectively for Gladney. I have continued promoting the International Adoption Webinar using Constant Contact and Facebook - if you haven't had a chance to watch it be sure to check it out and share it with friends! The webinar is a great tool to learn more about International Adoption and specific information about the countries Gladney works with.

Here's a list of some of my other recent projects:
  • Formatting a brochure for birth mothers about the Christian perspective on adoption

  • Creating PowerPoint templates

  • Creating InDesign templates for newsletters, Parent Profiles, etc.

  • Planning Orphan Sunday (which is Nov 7th!) with the other marketing interns

Friday, July 16, 2010

Pei Wei's Cookies4Kids

Today Gladney had a very nice reception to thank Pei Wei restaurants for their generous contribution to Gladney’s humanitarian efforts around the world. In May, Pei Wei launched a fundraising effort to support Gladney’s work with children worldwide. Today’s reception was a wonderful way to recognize the kindness and impact of their contribution.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

I can't believe another week has gone by already! I was able to go as a witness for a relinquishment last week. It was a really great opportunity to get a clearer picture of the whole process of adoption and understand more about Gladney. I had no idea what a relinquishment was going to be like, but it seemed to go smoothly and the birth parents appeared confident in their decision to choose adoption.

Here is a look at some projects I have been working on:

  • New PowerPoint templates for International Programs - which include the country specific toy on the slides - a great idea we got from Angie!
  • Connecting Facebook and Blogger
  • Archiving photos in order to make pictures easier to find
  • Updating the Birth Mother color pallate with some fun new colors!

Next week I will attend an Orientation for Adoptive Parents so check back to hear about how it goes!

Friday, July 9, 2010

Another week has flown by at Gladney! I can't believe how fast the summer goes. My research project for Heidi Bruegel Cox is finally taking form. Today I looked at the costs to society of a child being adopted from foster care. The costs include adoption tax benefits, adoption assistance (both non-recurring and recurring), Medicaid eligability and exemption from public college tuition. These financial incentives are an important element in finding homes for children in foster care!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Long Overdue

I must admitt I have been lacking in the blogging department, only because I have been so busy keeping up with all my duties here at Gladney. In the time that I have been here I have almost mastered the process of setting up Parent Profiles for parents looking to adopt. Facebook is a piece of cake, because lets face it I'm a college student. AdoptionsbyGladney is a different set up, because simple enough. But ParentProfiles.com is where I have a lot of questions. Anything from how to get the profile started to am I scanning the right papers to file. But at the end of the day I'm pretty confident that I did everything right.

I also just finished cleaning out the file cabinet, and threw away all the papers from couples who have finshed their adoption process. It went from a sea of white from over flowing papers, to black deep empty hole. After this chore I realized how many couples we have successfully helped start a family, and that was only a small portion of Gladney.

International Adoption Webinar Available!

This is the beginning of my second week as an Intern in the Marketing Department at Gladney. Recently, I have been working on an e-mail to announce the International Adoption Webinar. The e-mail was sent to anyone interested in international adoption so they can visit the site and watch the informative and educational webinar.

The webinar includes:

  • Country background
  • Updated information
  • Countries separated by region
  • Information available at your convenience

Visit http://bit.ly/cpT3lp to see the new webinar.

In addition to working on spreading the word about the webinar, I posted notes on facebook with FAQ specific to the different countries. Check out the facebook pages using the links below!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Friday, June 25, 2010

The Culture of Gladney

This week was quite eventful at Gladney! On Wednesday the office hosted a fabulous baby shower for an employee. Everyone put so much thought and care in to making it a picture-perfect shower. People made the most beautiful decorations, a delicious cake and enough food to feed the whole office. Gladney’s culture is very person-focused and really builds a supportive work community and recognizes the importance and value of each employee. It was so sweet to see everyone come together to welcome the new baby.

Another Gladney tradition is getting a group together to go out to lunch for each employee’s birthday. Today, Gladney’s president, Frank Garrott joined us for lunch. I love the relaxed atmosphere that exists across departments and across rank. Everyone is here to support each other and to work toward bringing children into loving families.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Why Working At Gladney Is Awesome

This week I had the chance to take part in a variety of the aspects that makes Gladney a wonderful and successful agency. On Tuesday I got to attend a court hearing with Heidi Bruegel Cox. The hearing concerned a family who was doing a CPS adoption through Gladney of 5 year-old and 7 year-old brothers. Three months after the boys had been placed in their home, the parents felt that the aggressive nature of the older child posed a threat to the younger child and felt that for the safety of both children, it would be best to adopt only the younger child at this time. CPS removed the children from the home once the request for separation was made. The court hearing was petitioning the adoption of just the younger child at this point. The case has not yet concluded and will continue next month, but I already learned so much from attending the hearing. Both sides of the case do believe they are protecting the best interests of the children and everyone’s hearts are in the right place; there’s just disagreement over what is right and best.

Yesterday I had the chance to serve as a witness to a potential birthfather signing a waiver. It was interesting to learn how that process goes. The birthparent caseworker first talks to him about the adoption process in general and what her role and Gladney’s role is in this case. He is then asked if he would like to see the profile of the adoptive family that the birthmother has chosen. He is also invited to receive pictures and letters throughout the baby’s childhood. Then the caseworker goes over his and his family’s medical and psychological histories. That way, the adoptive family will be able to provide the child’s doctors with insight into the child’s biological medical history. Finally, he is sworn into oath by the caseworker (who is a notary public) and reviews the waiver for accuracy and asks any questions he has. He signs the waiver in front of two witnesses and it is notarized.

Following witnessing a birthfather sign his waiver, I got to observe a birthmother sign her relinquishment documents. In this case, her deposition was taken by a court reporter and she was also sworn into oath. She was reassured that she does not have to go through with this relinquishment today and may wait or choose to parent. She is asked if she has friend and family support in her adoption plan and asked if she chose to parent would she have support in that decision as well. The birthmother provides a written statement as to why she believes that the adoption plan is in the best interest of the baby and finally signs the relinquishment documents. It was a very emotion-filled event. It was wonderful to see what a thoughtful and bright young lady she is.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Yesterday I had the chance to attend the monthly staff meeting and learn more about Gladney – both about its internal traditions and about where the organization stands. The staff meeting had several cute traditions – they announced the birthdays and anniversaries this month at Gladney; they had cake to celebrate the birthdays; and they read aloud the “stars” of the month. Gladney seems to go above-and-beyond in building an internal community and making it an enjoyable work environment.

It was also interesting to hear Frank Garrott (Gladney’s President and CEO) give an update on where Gladney stands financially this month. He talked about development plans as well as a future endowment campaign. It will be exciting to see how Gladney grows.

Monday, June 7, 2010

First Day at Gladney

After working at Gladney for little over an hour I have already learned quite a bit. I was able to read through The Gladney Toy Story, and read about the process parents who are looking to adopt go through. The beginning highlights on Domestic Adoption Programs, Services for Birth Mothers, Intercountry Adoption Programs, and Hague Accreditation. The idea of this packet is to help make the process of adoption easy and understandable for parents hoping to adopt. The same concept is put together in a packet for mothers looking to put their children up for adoption.

I also had the oppurtunity to read though the Style Guide and Reference packet. This packet shows how different images and templates are evaluated and placed together.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Adoption Review Committee

This week I went to Austin with Heidi Bruegel Cox for a two-day meeting of the Adoption Review Committee, which was appointed by the governor. The Committee is charged with identifying barriers to adopting out of foster care and creating legislative proposals to overcome those obstacles so that children in the foster care system can find permanency more quickly. On Wednesday the Committee heard testimony from individuals and families who had fostered or sought to adopt children from CPS (Child Protective Services) but felt that CPS created barriers to the adoption that was damaging to their family and to the children. A common theme throughout their testimonies was that the current foster care reimbursement system disincentivizes adoption. Parents who had been fostering medically fragile children – some of whom suffered from degenerative conditions that weaken and deteriorate their bodies and who required treatment from multiple specialists – find themselves financially unable to adopt the children they have fostered since birth because they would lose the foster care reimbursements that help fund the life-saving treatments for the children they love.

Families also touched upon the difficulty they had receiving responses from CPS on their inquiries about adopting children. One woman testifying about her journey to adopt a child from CPS said that she contacted caseworkers on over 30 children who were available to adopt and whom she wanted to adopt. She only heard back on half of the inquiries and often the response came 2-4 months later in the form of an automated response. Many of the children she reached out to try to adopt remained listed on TARE (the Texas Adoption Resource Exchange). Though they needed a family that she was willing to provide, they remained unplaced.

Another theme brought up in testimony was the treatment of sibling groups in foster care. DFPS makes every effort to keep siblings together in foster and adoptive placements – a priority with good intentions, which in many cases is an appropriate course of action. However, families revealed cases in which separating siblings may have been in the best interests of the children and keeping them together prevents each from healing and becoming adopted. A family who fostered two brothers – a five year-old and seven year-old – petitioned to adopt the five year-old. The children’s psychologists had recommended that the children be placed in different homes so that each may heal in a safe environment. The seven year-old posed a physical danger to his younger brother who lived in fear of his older brother. Despite the recommendations to have the siblings separated and the availability of an adoptive placement for the younger sibling, CPS insisted on keeping the siblings together which is delaying or preventing permanency for each child.

The meeting brought to attention many barriers to adopting from foster care. Later this year, the Adoption Review Committee will put forth suggestions to overcome these barriers and move children into permanency more quickly.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

First Two Weeks at Gladney

I have LOVED getting to work at Gladney! Heidi Bruegel Cox (whom I work with in Legal) is good about making this a two-way experience in which I learn from and about Gladney as much as I work for Gladney. I've had the chance to go with Heidi to a local hospital and listen to her present to the current resident class of OB-GYNs about the adoption services Gladney could offer their clients.

The best part of my experience thus far was attending Adoptive Parent Orientation. It was amazing! Couples came to learn about the next steps in the adoption process and have all their questions answered. It was wonderful to hear from three birth-moms about their journeys - they are all so sweet, bright and thoughtful.

My big project for the summer is researching the cost associated with state adoptions and with children leaving the foster care system. I have spent the first half of this week looking into the costs associated with future homelessness of youth who age out of foster care - it is astounding!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Gladney Volunteer Blogs from Ethiopia

This blog is by one of Gladney's volunteers currently in Ethiopia. Reading it will make you smile and remind you that every bit of attention we give these kids matters! Liana (our volunteer) is piloting a "read aloud" project that enhances both language development and literacy with the kids in our foster care centers in Addis.

You're All That I Call My Own

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Goodbye!

As many of you have already heard, today is my last day. =( I have had such a wonderful experience during my time here, and I am so thankful that I had the opportunity to work with such amazing, caring, and knowledgeable people. I have felt welcome from the first day that I came. I have had numerous opportunities and experiences that I will carry with me throughout my life. I have really had the chance to grow both as a person and professionally during my internship. I cannot speak enough praises about the people I have worked with or Gladney as an agency. I am truly blessed to have had such a wonderful experience. From the bottom of my heart I thank everyone who allowed me to work with them, observe them, or just pick their brain for a little while. Thank you all so very much for making my internship such a valuable learning experience.




Grace Brown

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Pei Wei + Gladney = Cookies

For a limited time (May 3-16), all Pei Wei restaurants in AZ and TX will be selling Cookies4Kids (Double Chocolate Chunk Oatmeal Cookie for $1.00). All proceeds from this promotion will benefit Gladney’s humanitarian aid efforts around the world.




Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Web Profiles

Okay, be honest, how many of you turn to the internet first when you need information on something? If you didn't answer yes, then you are among only about 25% of the US population who do not use the internet. I turn to the internet for everything from seeing what a restaurant has on its menu to keeping in touch with family and friends.

The latest project I have been working on is encouraging families to create web profiles. These web profiles contain about a 500 word description of the family and 4 pictures. Information like who they are and what they would want the birth mother to know about them is included. It is only a brief glimpse at the family, but it is a great way to get a family's name and face out to birth parents who are using the internet. These profiles go onto Gladney's site, and adoptive parents can opt for their profile to also be displayed on parentprofiles.com for an additional fee. On parentprofiles.com, adoptive parents can create a Photo Album and Favorite Things list in addition to their About Us section. Birth parents can browse through our families and see what wonderful people they are. Gladney's website will be adding a new feature this month, which allows for birth parents to search the ethnicity of a family, the region of a family, whether they have a child in the home, etc.
Let's face it, the internet has become a vital part of our everyday life. Fortunately Gladney recognizes this trend and is offering our families a chance to take advantage of a wonderful opportunity.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Transracial Adoption

Recently I have been researching transracial adoption for Gladney's website. It is an extremely interesting subject because people are very divided over the issue. Some argue that children adopted transracially miss out on learning about and experiencing their culture and heritage. Others argue that children adopted transracially have a loving family and welcoming home, something they might not have received had they been forced to wait in foster care to be adopted by a family of the same race.

An interesting story on transracial adoption, "Transracial Adoptions in Oklahoma Mean Rewards and Challenges" features some of Gladney's own speaking out on behalf of transracial adoption. Intern Allie Reed also found some interesting articles that provide pros and cons to adoption, as well as tips for families that are transracial.

Below are some interesting things I have learned through my research on the issue:

The first recorded adoption of an African-American child by a white family took place in Minnesota in 1948.

Sorry, I am a history major so I had to throw in at least one historical fact! Now on to more interesting things:

The Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978 treats all Native American lands as if they were separate countries within the United States. As a result, in most cases the consent of the birthparents alone is not enough to adopt a child—you must also obtain the consent of the tribe.

In 1994 and again in 1996, the federal government passed laws that forbade racial consideration as the sole reason to deny a prospective adopter a chance to adopt a child of another race.

Reserch has shown that children adopted transracially have a strong self-esteem and a positive sense of their identity. However, adoptee Phil Bertelsen made a documentary about his experience growing up in a multi-racial family and his search for where he belonged.

All in all, both sides of the debate have valid points on the part of transracial adoption. Take a look at some of the articles and think about it. Transracial adoption is clearly not going away and neither is the debate.

Lauren

Thursday, March 25, 2010

A Stroll Down Memory Lane

As a part of the Heritage trip that Gladney is taking this summer to Russia, we have been collecting pictures from all Russia families who have adopted from Russia, since the conception of the program. With these pictures we are going to create scrapbooks to send to each of the regions to see how their "little ones" have grown up into beautiful young men and women who are living happy and healthy lives.

I have absolutley loved this project! As one of the coordinators, I have been able to go through all of the pictures that are sent in and watch these kinds grow up, in a matter of seconds...and boy have they grown! Some of them are now atheletes, some are dancers, and some are over 6 feet tall (as I am only 5 feet, this amazes me). But they are all adorable!

I wanted you to be able to experience this with me. So, please enjoy these pictures of these sibblings from Pskov! :)

This daughter loves her new family! (7 months)
Celebrating their first Mardi Gras! (19 mo.)
DISNEYWORLD!!! (7 years...see they just grew up 5 years!)

I think this one is my favorite! Can anyone relate? Caption from their mom: This is their normal state. My son is looking innocent, my daughter is outraged. (9 years.)

The cheerleader, the football player, and the dog (10 years old...and being a Baylor Bear myself, I post this one only because the men's team won in Louisiana last week!)
At the beach last summer (age 12)
I hope you enjoyed these pictures! I can't wait to see the books all finished!
Now, go and take your own walk down memory lane with your own family! Now is always a good time to get out the photo albums...and a box of Kleenex.
-Sheryl

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

A Reminder...

This morning I was reminded why what we do here at Gladney is so wonderful. I was able to join one of our Family Services Social Workers on a Post Placement visit with a family who adopted 2 children from Ethiopia. We went out to the family's house and were able to visit with the parents and the cutest 2 year old little boy and girl you have ever seen. Seeing them running around their house so joyful and carefree made me want to run around with them...but I, of course, remained professional and stayed in my chair.

The favorite parts of my visit though, were when the little boy or girl would run up to their mommy or daddy and ask to climb in their lap and give them a big hug and a kiss! It was so sweet watching this family interact with one another in such a loving and caring way. Knowing that these precious little ones, whose mother had died before they were a year old, would not have this much freedom and affection if they were still in Ethiopia made it all the more beautiful.

-Sheryl

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Vote for Former Gladney Intern

One of Gladney's former marketing interns, Whitney Williams, has been named as "America's Coolest College Start-ups 2010."  While interning at Gladney, Whitney stepped into the role of the Community Center Coordinator role while staff was on maternity leave.  She was invaluable during this time and used her skills and knowledge in such a professional manner.

Please join me in casting your vote for this talented women!

Monday, February 22, 2010

Social Media, Bookmarks

Today I kind of played catchup, but in the process I encountered some interesting projects that Gladney is working on.

First, I signed Gladney up for Gowalla.com and Foursquare.com. If you do not know anything about these websites (as I was) they essentially are forums for you to visit locales in your city and give tips or reviews of them. It is really interesting and they are utilized mainly though mobile devices, a medium that is growing faster than the Internet did in the early 90s. So, if you love your iPhone apps, download the Gowalla and Foursquare apps and go visit the Visitor's Center and the Gladney Center for Adoption!

Now moving in a different direction, I also began working on a project to turn artwork made for Gladney's book covers into bookmarks. These bookmarks would be left at various outreach events at schools, etc. The current artwork is a really unique piece of grafitti that was made especially with Gladney in mind. It is made up of words that embody Gladney, such as "Pregnancy Hotline" "Choices" "Adoption Rocks" etc.

What words would you put in a piece of grafitti to describe Gladney? Let me know!

Lauren

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Training at Gladney

Lately I have been working on getting together a training for the staff of Gladney and some of our partnering agencies (through the DFW Interagency Adoption Council). We have been working with The Parenting Center to set up the training for February 25.

As we were looking through the list of trainings that The Parenting Center offered one stuck out to us, in particular. This was titled, "Helping Children Deal with Stress and Feelings," and we felt that this training would be beneficial for most of the social workers that would be in attendance. The training is all about recognizing and responding appropriately to the positive and negative feelings of the children of today and the stresses they face. In particular, learning this information would be helpful to pass along to the families and children they work with on a day to day basis.

I was especially intrigued by this title because it is not one that is taught on very frequently, yet is crucial to parents understanding their children and what they are going through, and helping the children to understand their feelings.

So, if you are a Gladney staff member, I would highly recommend carving out some time on February 25 from 10-12 to come and listen to the training...we would love to see you there! (And if you need more incentive you will recieve free CEUs!)

-Sheryl Roberts

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Learning about international adoption

Updating the country and culture links for each country Gladney works with always fascinates me. I love learning about the histories, geographies and cultural traditions that each country holds.

For parents who have successfully participated in international adoption, there is no better resource than Gladney for adoption advice on how to teach your child about their unique culture! The country and culture links on Gladney's international adoption pages showcase the holidays that each individual country celebrates.

China's country and culture page is below, and look they just finished celebrating the Chinese New Year!

http://www.adoptionsbygladney.com/html/china/culture.php

It is important to teach your children about their special heritage and culture. Gladney's website is just one of the many resources that the Gladney Center offers for parents seeking adoption advice!

Lauren Hensarling

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Next Steps finds jobs for our birth mothers on LinkedIn!

Nancy and I had a meeting this morning with Beth Cox about creating a LinkedIn account to help birth mothers find jobs. Beth works with the Next Steps program, which assists birth mothers with life after they give birth. She is constantly in the process of looking for part-time jobs for girls living in the dorm as well as more permanent jobs for girls that have moved out.

Luckily, Gladney has a wide circle of friends, so reach out to Beth if you know of any job opportunites for our birth mothers or have any advice to aid her in helping out the girls.

Connect with her on LinkedIn and join the Gladney group while you are there!

Lauren Hensarling

PS: You can also connect with me on LinkedIn!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Gladney International Adoption Programs

Today I spent my time working on projects related to Gladney's international adoption programs. Currently, Gladney helps match families with children from countries such as China, Nepal, Bulgaria, Rwanda and Mexico, to name a few. Gladney uses toys that are specific to each region to symbolize their knowledge of the region, and give prospective parents a small taste of the culture and everyday lives of children living overseas.

I researched prospective toys for Costa Rica, and found out that while children there enjoy participating in outdoor sports such as soccer and baseball, they also like to play with a "trompo" which is a combination of a spinning top and yo-yo. The tops are typically made out of wood and are often hand painted in vivid colors and patterns.

After researching Costa Rica, I worked on adding more information to each country's "Country and Culture" page on Gladney's website. I really enjoyed reading about each country and learning about their heritage. I know very little about African countries so I especially enjoyed reading about their history and culture. Some nations have a population made up of people who speak over 80 different languages!

Click here to view the Country and Culture page for Rwanda.  Let me know what you found interesting about Rwanda's culture!

Lauren Hensarling

Friday, January 22, 2010

Gladney's ABC program

Today I spent most of my time researching how Gladney can improve the web presence of their ABC program. Gladney's ABC program helps place African American and biracial babies with families. In researcing this topic, I learned that there are far more biracial and African American babies who need homes than caucasion ones. Therefore, I think it is important that Gladney do increase the web presence of their ABC program to bring awareness to the availability and need of biracial and African American babies to be adopted.

Here's Gladney's ABC page on their website:

http://http//www.adoptionsbygladney.com/html/abc/index.php


Overall, I thought it would be a great idea for Gladney to provide links for biracial and African American moms to search for prospective parents who want to adopt from the ABC program so that they could more easily find a match and good family for their baby. Hopefully, making the ABC program more accessible will influence prospective adoptive parents to choose to adopt an African American or biracial baby, and give mothers the opportunity to find the perfect parents for her baby.

Lauren Hensarling

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Home away from home

Today is my second day here at Gladney (third if you count orientation last Friday), and I must say that I have learned more in these past two days than I have in a very long time. Everything from copier codes to where such-and-such room is located is swimming around in my head. Being 9 hours from home (which is Hattiesburg, MS) is extrememly hard for me since I have never lived more than 20 minutes from my family in my 23 years of life. However, I feel like I have another family here at Gladney! Everyone has welcomed me with open arms and has made me feel like I belong.
On my first actual day as an intern, I watched a placement. The birth mother handed her child over to the adoptive parents. The courage and love that it took for that birth mom to give her child to another family was overwhelming. Her love was completely selfless, and the looks on the adoptive parents' faces will stick with me long past my internship. Being a part of this whole process is so rewarding and I look forward to experiencing many great things during my time here at Gladney!!

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

The Greatest Gift

This past Friday I attended the Domestic Adoption Orientation with adoptive parents who are anticipating adopting domestically. I thoroughly enjoyed getting to understand this side of the adoption process, learning about the application, the process, the creation of their "View Book" which is used by the birth moms to choose their child's family. Being new to the process, like the adoptive parents, I feel I got to experience a little bit of what they were experiencing: the emotions, the questions, the fears, and the worries.

One of the most interesting thoughts I am coming away with, is this: the birth parents are giving the adoptive parents the greatest gift they will ever receive. I'm sure many people have had that thought before, however, not being a parent myself, this idea was so novel. This got me to thinking of how brave and courageous these birth mothers are. They are choosing to give up parts of their life (comfort, security, time, schooling, living a normal life) for 9 months of their life, so that their child will have a better life. They choose to lay aside their lives for 9 months, so their child may have life.

I do want to thank these women today. Their courage and sacrifice is not recognized enough, and because of their bravery, a child gets the opportunity to live. Humans have the ability to achieve significant amounts of greatness...and who knows what greatness that life has in store.

-Sheryl Roberts

Friday, January 15, 2010

Gladney and the Internet

I just finished my first week working with the Gladney Center. Even in the marketing department, where I do not personally interact with prospective adoptive parents or birth mothers, I am constantly amazed by how much Gladney has touched the lives of thousands. Walking around the office, almost everyone has numerous thank you letters posted on their walls and Christmas cards from familes they have helped make complete. It truly is a testament to the great work Gladney is doing!

I have been working all week on creating profiles of prosepective adoptive parents to post on Gladney's website.



I am a huge advocate of using the Internet and social media to connect with others because I really do think it is a powerful and accessible way to reach people.I think that the parent profiles are a great tool for Gladney to accomplish its goals and provide prospective birth mothers and adoptive parents with their happy ending. I loved creating the parent profiles because they really do illustrate the love that prospective parents have for their significant other, and hope to give to a child of their own. In creating the parent profiles I can only hope that prospective birth mothers will be able to find a loving family for their child, and prospective adoptive parents will be able to complete their family.

Lauren Hensarling

Monday, January 11, 2010

It's not Business, It's Personal

Well, it is the beginning of my second full week here at Gladney as an intern, and it has been wonderful! I think that my favorite part about being here, besides the free cake that randomly shows up in the break room, is the people that are here. I have felt continually supported by each person I come in contact with. Each time I ask a question, or look lost, I am anwered with a smiling face and a helpful attitude! So, thank you Gladney staff! :)

As I am typing this, I am overhearing a conversation with a caseworker and one of their clients, and the caseworker is getting to tell the family that they will be able to travel to visit a child in the next month! On the phone the mother started crying at the thought of, possibly , seeing their new baby in a month...and then I started crying as I recognized how special and personal this work is. What is done here touches lives, not only the families lives, but the staff's (and intern's) as well! That family will be changed from today on, despite whether or not they are able to take that little baby home.

This is just one of MANY stories that happen here each week. I am so thankful to have been a part, even if it was only in eavesdropping, of that family's story, and a part of the Gladney family, for this time.

-Sheryl Roberts

First Day at Gladney

I just finished my first day as a marketing intern for Gladney! My day consisted of touring the building (it will be interesting to see if I can find my way around on Wednesday) and getting acquainted with Gladney in general.

I loved reading the informational brochures for prospective adoptive parents and birth mothers. I especially enjoyed about reading about international adoptions because I learned a little about each country as well as their adoption requirements.

I can't wait to begin working on projects for Gladney!

Lauren Hensarling