I first came to Gladney in the fall of 2012 as a volunteer. I needed to put in hours at a social work agency for my degree program. I knew I wanted a career in a field where families are the focus, so adoption seemed like a great field to look into! Gladney immediately took my interest seriously and before I knew it I was interviewing for a volunteer position. My time at Gladney as a volunteer was short but even in that short time span I realized how much more went into this process than I originally thought. Adoption is a very in depth process and it takes many people to help everyone complete their journey with adoption. Everyone I met seemed so enthusiastic and passionate about what they did there. The staff at Gladney really does take pride in bringing families together. I knew I wanted to come back again one day.
When it came time to do my internship for school, I knew I wanted to go back to Gladney. I listed Gladney as my top pick and hoped for the best. Thankfully, my school placed me with my top choice and Gladney welcomed me back for an intern position; this time I will be with Gladney through the spring. I work in birth parent services and love how each day in my department is so different! On my first day as an intern, my supervisor told me she had a placement scheduled and was going to check with the birth mother to see if it was ok for me to go along. A placement is when birth parents introduce their baby to their adoptive family. Really?! On my first day?? There is no way this mother would want me there during this time. Little did I know Mary* was a very sweet young woman with equally sweet parents who not only were ok with me being there, but would later have some encouraging words for me.
Soon enough it was time to start and we walked down to the Placement Room, where a large number of people have shared their first moments as new families. The sweet transitional care mother walked baby boy out to his birth mother and lovingly placed him in Mary’s* arms. She doted on him a few moments and told Mary* how much she loved him. He had only been with her for 30 days, often the length of time a transitional care family has an infant, but it was clear that he was very loved while in his temporary home. Mary* held him and snuggled him a few moments before heading into the room where he would meet his forever family. His mother, father, and big sister eagerly awaited his arrival and were beaming as they met the new addition to their family. The tears! There were so many tears cried. Tears of joy as this family met their son and tears of sorrow as this sweet birth mother lived out this incredibly difficult, yet selfless decision. Tears of joy from the transitional care mother who said seeing moments such as these is what makes her open up her home the way she does. More tears from Mary’s* parents as they undoubtedly felt their daughters pain, yet felt such happiness that their grandson was being so happily welcomed by his new family. And tears from a fresh intern, who didn’t quite yet know how handle the overwhelming emotions involved in an adoption placement, but was just so humbled to be there for that special moment.
There were pictures, laughter, crying, hugging, and a few special gifts exchanged. Mary’s* father then asked if he could say a prayer for everyone. He prayed for his grandson, his new big sister, he prayed for his adoptive parents and their marriage. He prayed for his daughter and their own family. Afterwards, there was a sense of closure and peace in that room that can only be described as love and grace. How absolutely amazing our God is that he would give a mother the strength and courage to make this loving decision for her child; a sweet testimony of how great a mother’s love can be.
I walked away moved to my core and sobbed a bit more, not sure if they were tears of sadness or joy, but I think probably both. Mary’s* father spoke with me as he walked to leave and I told him how brave and courageous I thought his daughter was and that they would be in my prayers. He smiled and told me to never underestimate my impact on people I meet, how kind words or even gestures could comfort someone hurting or in need. He said he would pray that my journey in school and with Gladney went well. I will never forget that. I in turn pray that I can serve Gladney well in my time here. I look forward to every day there, thanks for having me again, Gladney!
Birth Parent Services