Monday, July 28, 2014

Oh, how my time at Gladney has been sweet!

Oh, how my time at Gladney has been sweet! As an intern in Marketing, I didn’t really know what to expect. I knew of Gladney’s wonderful reputation and of their high standards and values, but was unsure of what the day to day operations of the office would look like. My internship at Gladney has afforded more learning opportunities than I could have ever expected. Everything that Gladney does in the internship program is focused on you getting out of the internship what you want. Each morning I arrived eager to start the day! I have spent most of my time with my co-workers in Marketing, making AP profiles online and helping out with social media campaigns. I am grateful for the loving and encouraging environment for which I get to walk in to each day. Some mornings I attended meetings: legal, international, development- whatever interested me I was encouraged to attend! The whole experience was geared towards me getting what I wanted out of the experience. The whole Gladney staff works to treat interns as real workers and enables them to take part in projects and on cases that real employees partake in. They are all about hands-on experience! I was overjoyed at the things I was able to participate in- Domestic Orientation and bi-weekly legal meetings being two my favorites.

But nothing compares to the excitement of what began as a typical day in mid-June. I started off the morning at my desk working on online profiles when Courtney, a birthparent caseworker, came and asked me if I wanted to accompany her to a small town in Texas to pick up a baby! I had told Heidi that I was interested in witnessing birthparents transfer parental rights and she had graciously passed the word along to Courtney. With next to no hesitation, I hopped into the car with Courtney (whom I had just met for the first time!) and we began our 3- hour journey. I am sure Courtney was sick of me by the time we reached the hospital in Paris, as I had asked her a million questions on the car ride there. She told me all of the details about the case and I found out that I was able to be present in the hospital room as the  birthmother and birthfather transferred their parental rights. We arrived at the hospital and I was so impressed by Courtney’s professional attitude, compassion, and support that she showed for the birthparents. After discussing the situation a little and talking about what the process looked like moving forward, Courtney and I grabbed a second witness from the hospital waiting room and began the paperwork process. Courtney made it as smooth as possible for the birthparents and they left the room shortly after, with Courtney already having plans for a follow-up conversation and selecting the AP’s. Being in the hospital room during this was surreal. Being in the room as all of this happened is something that the baby will never remember. He will be told of the selfless decision and love that his birthparents had for him. That they desired a loving, forever home for him. How special to be able to witness that moment! I will never forget the excitement I felt holding the baby and feeding him on the 3- hour car ride home. I was hardly able to believe that within a week-this baby that I was holding- would be going home to a new family who was going to be over the moon excited for him to have finally arrived! Just getting to play a small part in the adoption story of this child was an honor. That day I was so strongly reminded of God’s abounding grace and great love for us. God’s love is eternal and everlasting- and just like the new adoptive parents this baby now has-he can’t wait to welcome us into his open arms!

Elizabeth Shannon