Friday, April 20, 2012

Parent Profiles!

Creating parent profiles is one of the best parts of my job because I love learning about the families! Check out some of our awesome families online profiles!

Meghan and Matt
" Thank you for taking the time to read a little about us. We hope it gives you a glimpse of our life and who we are and will allow you to see all the love that we have to give a child. We believe there isn't just one way build a family. We know raising a happy family is the most important thing we will ever do. To us, being parents is a special gift that comes with tremendous responsibility."

Mike and Amy
"Hi! We are Mike and Amy, and we are honored that you are taking the time to get to know a little about us. We know we can’t fully relate to what you are going through, but we admire the courage, love and thoughtfulness you are putting into your decision. Please know that we are praying for wisdom and peace for you at this time. We hope this profile gives you a glimpse into who we are. Thanks for looking."

"Our Names are Steve and Gwen. We are very excited that you are taking the time to learn more about us as you develop your adoption plan. While we cannot imagine how hard this decision has been for you, please know that we admire your strength and love. Your child will grow up knowing of your strength and love by the life you have chosen for them in a nurturing house full of love, laughter, respect, and possibilities. We would love nothing more than the opportunity to welcome your child into our home."

"Hello, we are Jeff and Melissa. We feel so blessed that you are reading our profile. We hope through these words and pictures you discover a little more about our love, marriage and strong desire to become parents again through adoption. We know this must be a very trying time, but you are a strong and courageous individual to choose adoption. We believe our paths have crossed for a very special reason."

"Thank you for your interest in getting to know us. We are so excited and proud to be adopting for the second time. Our daughter Jenny joined our family through the miracle of adoption and we are so grateful for her birthparents -- and to you -- for being so selfless and loving in making an adoption plan."

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

“Jesus loves me”:

Not all post placement visits go as smoothly as my first visit. I just returned from another post placement visit I went on with a co-worker of mine. She thought it would be a good learning experience for me to come along on this particular visit because she had known the family for a while and they have been through some tough times recently. Once we arrived we were introduced to their children, two of which were quite hyperactive and excitable. During the visit they did not listen to directions particularly well and made it difficult to proceed with the supervisory report because of the interruptions. I watched the parents as their children would interrupt and beckon for attention..  they were SO composed and patient with them! I was floored by their ability to calmly reprimand the children (maybe even provide them with a task for their child to focus on) and then continue seamlessly with our interview. It turned out that their children had sensory issues similar to ADHD or ADD, but what amazed me was the perfectly tailored parenting skills the mom and dad used when dealing with the children’s behavioral issues.  This is a great example of how no child is perfect ...but they can be perfectly matched.

A lot of parents may have not been as prepared to handle such a wily sibling group. Believe me, from an outside perspective the children may have seemed wild and unmanageable, but their parents were doing an outstanding job, and the love the children reciprocated for their parents was undeniable. As I was leaving, the little boy grabbed my hand and pulled me down to say something in my ear. He whispered, “Guess what… Jesus loves me” and had the biggest smile on his face, he hugged me and then ran off. How could anyone not love this kid? He was adorable! My favorite post placement visit yet.

Friday, April 13, 2012

Emergency cases:

In adoption, there are sometimes cases we hear about or are working on that require special attention and care from the Gladney social worker.  Since I have been an intern here, there have only been a couple that I have heard about; cases where the child may have experienced trauma prior to adoption or where the parents are truly struggling.

Unfortunately, it is not always the picture-perfect version of adoption that some parents may think of. Not all children are adopted from infancy, not all children are born with perfect health, some may even have had experienced some level of trauma before they were adopted. All of these possibilities are real, but just like in biological child birth, there is no such thing as a “perfect” baby… but it is the belief of Gladney that for every child there is a perfect match of adoptive parents, parents who will love the child in the way that nurtures them and accepts them.  And as long as parents are patient and accepting and loving of their child, they will be that perfect match for them.

It is important to remember, just like in biological birth, raising children takes WORK!

…but thankfully, Gladney is here to lend a hand! J

Monday, April 9, 2012

Talking About the Tough Stuff:

Adoption panel- I was asked to be on a birth-parent and adoptive-child birth panel on February 28th, called Talking about the Tough Stuff. Since I was adopted and am currently an intern at Gladney, they thought I could provide some insight to potential adoptive parents (AP’s) and answer questions they may have. I agreed to help out, it sounded like a fun experience and I was excited to share my story! The panel was intimidating at first. My family, along with two other families, were seated at the front of the Mabee conference hall as the adoptive parents asked us questions about our individual experiences with adoption.  The AP’s all asked very good and thoughtful questions, this was a very honest discussion. Talking about the tough stuff, means that in adoption sometimes there are challenging times and sometimes adopted children may have questions that are tough to answer…  This panel/ discussion helped AP’s prepare for those questions and to feel comfortable in answering them.  At times some AP’s who shared their thoughts became emotional when describing their situations and how they wanted children or how grateful they were for the adoption process.  Overall, it was a genuine and heartwarming talk, and I left feeling like my family and I offered something truly valuable to the adoptive parents who came and listened. I’m glad I got to be a part of it.

Friday, April 6, 2012

A Blessing and a Curse:

Pathways max capacity- Gladney offers an amazing training session that is designed to aid international adoptions for children 2 years-old and above, but really in my opinion all adoptive parents could learn from this training it’s so good!  I had no idea this training was so popular when I attended my first session, but apparently it reaches its max. capacity just about every month we have it and usually need to create a waitlist! This is just as much awesome news as it is stressful news. It is wonderful that Gladney’s Pathways training is requested by so many AP’s, however it makes things a little bit more complicated behind the scenes. The International and Family Services department is having to work super hard to try and keep up with the demand for more training sessions, while making sure the families that are in need of the training and a required get signed up in time. The department has no other real options but to create more dates for the training, which means more work, and less time to do it in! I am so impressed with this department’s ability to accommodate families’ needs.. that is a quality that not every adoption agency can offer.  Go Gladney!!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

My first post placement visit, ALONE?!

Luckily, I was blessed with a wonderful family to do my first post placement report on. They had previously adopted through Gladney and had already been approved by other social workers, my only job was to evaluate and report how their most recent adoption was working out. In this kind of report we gauge the child’s attachment to the parent as well at the parent’s attachment to the child. It is important that during the first year there is a good deal of bonding that takes place (however, it is important to remember that all families are different and may bond at different rates—there is no single formula). In this particular case, the parents and child had bonded swiftly to each other. It was precious to watch how their new baby girl clung to her mother and made eye contact with her as often as possible. She was just as eager for her father’s attention as well, holding his hand and trying to play with him during the visit. It was endearing to watch the love that this family shared.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Tornado Warning!!!!

Today was a VERY exciting day at work, mostly due to the crazy weather we had. Around lunch time we got word that there was some bad weather coming our way and not too long after we heard on the weather channel that Johnson County, directly south of us, has a large tornado and egg sized hail. If didn’t change directions, this storm was supposed to be headed north towards the Fort Worth and Arlington area, where the Gladney headquarters is located. From the windows outside our offices we watched the clouds began to get dark and the wind start to pick up. The weather channel changed from a Severe Weather Advisory to Tornado Warning and we were briefed on safety protocol in the event of a tornado. Thankfully it never came to that, but I feel very prepared now none the less! I’m glad to see how collected my co-workers were, no one was afraid, everyone carried on with their work as if there was no alarm (besides the occasional onlooker who wanted to peek out the window J)

We all made it through the storm though.

just another perilous life-threatening day at the office, it’s what we do