Thursday, October 24, 2013

I Am Gladney Pittsburgh

I have been at Gladney for 3.5 academic semesters now and with my last semester half way over, now is a good time to share some reflections.

In starting my internship at Gladney I knew very little about adoption and practice. I had read quite a bit, followed news stories, watched lots of movies and TV specials, but I was very disconnected from the practice. Fortunately I connected with the Pittsburgh PA worker, Cheryl Parkhil, who has been more than generous in sharing the adoption world with me. I have done Home Studies, Post Placements, worked with Birth Mothers and even been to Texas to see our work and meet staff.
I was really inspired by what I saw in Texas. Gladney truly is a wonderful organization, focused on the best service delivery and a continued goal of hope.

I know now more than ever than I want to stay in this field as a professional. I want to experience the highs and lows of working with people at all stages of this highly emotional process. Connecting with people, understanding their situation, having empathy for them and celebrating their joys are all skills that take great time to acquire and refine. I have been fortunate to work with an agency that has perfected these skills and is eager to assist me in developing my own.

I have felt honored to be a part of the Gladney team and will always be supportive of this incredible agency!

I AM Gladney Pittsburgh :)

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Last Day As Colombia Intern

It is with mixed emotions that I am finally saying goodbye to being the Colombia intern. I am so excited to learn about what else is out there, but I have become so comfortable and in love with Colombian adoption. It's going to be hard to leave. Luckily, Beth and Angie are both on the service trip to Colombia this week, so I don't have any tasks piling up, which makes it physically easier to leave, but emotionally I really am going to miss working with the whole intercountry team. When I started this internship, I had NO idea what to expect. I didn't know much about adoption to begin with, and I knew even little about Colombia especially Colombian adoption. Now, I feel educated on so much regarding the whole process, and I feel like my spanish has gotten a teeeeeennnyy, tiiinnnyyy, eeeensy, weeenssyy bit better. Thank you so much to everyone I've worked with; from Beth giving me my weekly list of to-dos and answering my numerous questions to Suzanne and Camille helping me figure out the oh-so-frustrating copy machine, I am so greatful for all of you, and I hope you know how much I appreciate you and admire the work y'all do for this wonderful place. I have learned so much from this experience and this organization as a whole, and I promise to carry everything I have learned here with me in my future. Gladney truly has captured my heart <3.

 Meg Scamardo

My Farewells to Interning and Tying it All Together

Today I walked into my cubicle--my second one--I have been in two cubicles this semester--in between International and Marketing--and low and behold there was a present on my desk.  Now, I should tell you about me--I have been told stoic is a good adjective for myself.  I do not become emotional easily.  Actually--hardley ever.  I found myself close to tears several times, starting with that present today.

I have interned both semester for Gladney--as a student obtaining a BSW from UTA--that meant 240 hours per semester--one Spring and one Summer for me.  This has been a stressful, fun and memorable ride for me.  I believe that most important reason is because I, too, was a Gladney Birth Mother.  It was nine years ago, but I remember the first time walking back in to the doors, and just completely busting out into tears--thankfully, I had this wonderful woman (who is still with Gladney) talk to me and completely make me feel better.

There are so many stories--ones from the amazing Tea machine that we got in the commons--all the FOOD!--that was catered (or in the commons)--and let's be honest here people, I ate and ate and ate--and no doubtedly gained the "Gladney 15" that Whitney (Youzva) had warned me the fact that I swear my computer was either possessed or was in the Gladney Black Hole (granted Judy's computer is too) in the middle of the upstairs cubicles, I literally wanted to pick it up, and oh um maybe, accidentally drop it a time or two--thankfully Ryan and Nancy stopped me before that mishap happened!

This experience has shown me a whole other world from what I am used too.  There are so many people here that I owe thanks to:

Nancy                  Ann                     Judy
Jessica                  Mandy                Deborah
Emily                    Mary                   Katye
Natalie                 Heather               Camille
Lindsay                Janice                  Beth
Heidi                    Sherri                  Kerri

I know that I am forgetting people and please just know that I am just at a point where I have come to a realization that this is coming to an end and I am overcome with those (eh hem) emotions so forgive me if your name is not on that list.

Gladney is a place for people to gain many insights on what it will be like for all three clients that Gladney serves.  There is an endless need for Interns and hopefully, this Intern, will maybe get a job (wink wink to the powers that be)!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Unexpected Precious Moments

After interning at Gladney for almost 6 months, I can honestly say my favorite thing about working here is always being surprised by what will happen the next day. There are some days that are very typical office days; I have my to-do list; I get it done, and I go home always with a smile on my face and excited to come back the next day. Then there are days where things happen that really do surprise me! For example, this past Thursday I had walked over to Beth's cube to chat with her about tasks she need my help with. Not 30 seconds after we had finished discussing what she needed, she asked me if I could quickly run down to reception to be a witness to a birth father relinquishing his parental rights. I of course ran to help with whatever was needed.

While I had always planned on witnessing relinquishment at some point during my time in Gladney, I always had thought when I had the opportunity to do so it would be through a birth mother. I was shocked at how much seeing one man signing a piece of paper would affect me. It was a very matter-of-fact, non-emotional process, yet I noticed the poor guy's hand would not stop shaking the whole time. I couldn't help but wonder what was going through his mind right now. He just signed away his right to his own flesh and blood forever. I could only image what an overwhelming range of emotions from relief to fear to selfishness to sadness must have been consuming him. And I came to the conclusion that no matter what his feelings or reasons may be, he was ultimately committing an act of Love. His actions ultimately allowed the opportunity for his child to be unconditionally loved and provided for by their own Forever Family.

Everyone always talks about how God has a funny way of working sometimes, and in this moment, I was reminded of His ability to transform "mistakes" into beautiful miracles. It was a short experience that maybe some people wouldn't think anything of, but I found it truly awesome and thought provoking. It reminded me what a truly beautiful place Gladney is. The process of adoption is anything but easy, but Gladney demonstrates how the good truly outweighs all the bad. I am seriously so lucky to be able to work at Gladney, and I am so thankful for every single precious moment.

-Meg Scamardo
Colombia Intern

Monday, June 17, 2013

Family Services Intern

Hi! My name is Caitlyn and I am the current intern for Family Services in Fort Worth and will be here through December. I am a social work graduate student at the University of Texas at Arlington (UTA) working towards becoming a LMSW. I will also graduate in December.

Family Services provides post-adoption support for families who have adopted internationally. Some of our services include: parent education and training, home study services, counseling and support resources. As the Family Services intern I have had the opportunity to learn about the services we provide and review follow-up reports from our adoptive families. So far, I have spent a lot of time with Uncle Ricoh (our trusty copier/printer) and sending these reports to the country where the children were adopted (Ethiopia, Taiwan, Russia). I love reading up on how the children are adjusting and thriving with their family in the U.S. and I especially love seeing pictures of their sweet faces! Soon I will be able to take part in visiting some of these families with our Counselors and experience the post-adoption services we provide first hand.

I am so glad to be an intern at Gladney and I know that my experience will be one to remember! It has been my goal since I began my graduate studies to intern at Gladney and now that it has become reality, I feel blessed beyond measure for this wonderful opportunity. From day one I felt an overwhelming sense of community and family here and I am so happy to be a part of what God is accomplishing through this amazing agency.

Caitlyn Ussery | Family Services Program Intern

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

As a current MSW student at the University of Pittsburgh, I have been doing my internship with Cheryl Parkhill up in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania! As I had such an amazing first year experience, I jumped at the chance to stay on for another year to complete my Concentration field placement. So Cheryl and I have just begun round two and I am excited about the potential these next two semesters hold. Last year I learned a lot about Home Studies and Post Placements and was able to interact with families involved in adoptions through China, Ethipoia, Bulgaria and Colombia. I also was able to develop my Doula skills as I was present at one of our birth mother's deliveries! As I am currently working to get DONA certified to be a Doula, this was a welcome experience. This semester we will focus more on Birth Parent Services as I assist Cheryl with developing and facilitating a birth parent support group. This is something that is virtually nonexistent in Pittsburgh so we are hopeful for a positive turnout. Our first session is July 9th. I will also be working more closely with referral sources in the area and doing some outreach to increase our impact in our community. I think Gladney has a lot to teach aspiring adoption workers and the experience so far has been incredibly positive. I hope all of the other new and old interns are enjoying their time with Gladney as well.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Being the "Adoption Guide"

As the marekting intern, I gert to experience all sides of Gladney. This week I have been helping out with a youtube video that shows potential birth parents their options as far as where to live during their adoption process. I had a lot of fun mixed with a little stress making the video, but I hope the video will shine some light on living options to birth mothers and also let them know how much Gladney cares about them.
Here's the video!


Monday, April 8, 2013

Life as an Intern for New Beginnings and Transitional Care

I have had an amazing experience as an intern. Tanya and Holly are beyond amazing and they help me learn something new each day. From the very first day that I got here, I have been diving head first into many new and exciting things. I have gone on home studies and I've gotten a chance to hold babies and care for them. I have worked on a resource list and I have also started doing a lot of work for Gladney in general. I love it and it is a wonderful place to work.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Marketing Intern

As a marketing intern I have had many experiences dealing with forever families and one that really  stuck out to me was a children's book I got to read and write a report about. Here is my review of this amazingly touching story that is not only good for families of adoption, but just families in general.

“On The Far Side of Poplar Pond” provides a wonderful insight for children and adults into the world of adoption and how some people view it. Written by Anjanette Walchshauser, her picture book brings to life an encouraging story of a forever family and the joy adoption can bring. As an adoptive mother herself Anjanette explains appropriate ways to openly talk about adoption with others who may not understand it.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Learning More and More Everyday :)

When I first applied to Gladney, I remember the biggest appeal was ALL the different opportunities it seemed to offer. I can remember at orientation finding almost every department appealing and wishing I had time to experience all of them. Well, I don't think that's actually possible, BUT I am finding myself taking advantage of all the opportunities at Gladney has to offer. Last Thursday, I got to attend Pathways Training, which was amazing! It was so exciting to me to see adoptive parents up close and personal and to put faces to some names i've heard mentioned in meetings or seen on documents i've scanned many times. It showed me no only why but who all the small, tedious little tasks I do behind a computer are for. I loved seeing couples interact and being able to observe the certain dynamics among adoptive parents. It was so much fun, and I learned so much!! Not to mention the free food was excellent :) On Monday, I also got to attend the Birth Parent Panel, which was so amazing and inspiring. I wasn't expecting to hear from a Gladney Baby as well as Adoptive Parents, so I found that just incredibly awesome. The panel really gave me a new appreciation for these Birth Moms. What they go through is so difficult, and I don't think soceity gives them the credit they deserve. We should give more thanks to mothers who place their children for adoption because essentially they are giving something so beautiful and special up so that two strangers can be happy. That to me is just awesome.

As for my work with Colombia, it surprises me everyday how much more I really grow to love it. I was little nervous about my internship at first (and often still am just b/c I feel like sometimes I have no idea what the heck is going on), but I honestly am really really enjoying my time working with Colombia adoptions. Currently, I'm working on putting together Colombia's waiting children onto Gladney's new A Child to Love website. Basically, A Child to Love contains profiles of children in the international programs as well as the Texas Foster Care system who are available for adoption. Even though, I only have photographs and documents of these kids, I feel like i'm kind of getting attached to them :) They are all SO adorable (seriously some of them could be models), and I love reading about all their different personalities and stories. Hopefully, the website will be 100% complete and up n' running soon so we can help these children find their forever families.

I've had a decent amount of jobs over the past couple of years, and I can honestly say Gladney is the only place where I've ALWAYS left in a great mood and excited for when I get to go back. I love it here!!

-Meg Scamardo
Colombia Intern

Monday, February 25, 2013

Birth Parent Intern

Being a part of Gladney these past few months has been amazing! Adoption has always been close to my heart, but after being here at Gladney - my heart was expanded. Knowing that I am helping others, who cannot have a child on their own, start a family is so rewarding.

Currently, I am an intern working in Birth Parent Services for Gladney. Every day that I work here is different. Some days are consumed :) with paperwork, some are filled with exciting adventures to see Birth Mothers, and some are spent learning new things. Overall, this experience has taught me so much about myself, and the social work profession as a whole.

I plan on attending Baylor in their MSW program in the fall. Working with Gladney has helped me to become more prepared for graduate school, as well as giving me a positive perspective about adoption and social work. I just love being here!

- Jessica Blaylock
Birth Parent Services Intern

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Hello from the Colombia Intern :)

Hey y'all! My name is Meg. I'm currently working on getting my Bachelor's degree in Social Work at the University of Texas in Arlington, and this semester i'm interning at Gladney in the Colombia department. I've loved every single person and duty i've been given so far - including all my quality time i've spent with the scanner :) I'm really excitedto be working at Gladney because it seems like such a positive environment full of wonderful people who are doing great things with their life. I can't wait to see what the rest of the semester holds.