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.
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; ther…
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.
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.
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 adop…