Thursday, July 23, 2015

I am GLAD I interned at GLADney

I’m going to start with a cheesy story, because those are always fun! I wholeheartedly believe God chose Gladney for me, though I had NO previous experience with adoption! Being on the brink of finishing graduate school, 27 years old, living life freely with no husband or children, I obviously made a 5-year plan for myself and it was going to happen. No one would tell me any differently, and if anybody got in my way, I’d step on them, not literally, because that’s frowned upon in today’s society.

My plan was to intern with Cook Children’s Medical Center as a medical social worker. I was going to be the most awesome intern ever; so awesome that they offered me a job upon graduation (in August), and I was going to be a medical social worker and be HAPPY with life. Well, that plan didn’t last long and life punched me in the face and said, NOPE! Then Gladney happened. I was devastated. And when I say devastated, I mean I called one of my good friends, who is also in the UTA SSW program, and I cried. I cried because I assumed I wasn’t good enough for Cooks and Gladney was not what I wanted. I had this idea that because Gladney was an adoption agency, that it would be boring, full of me making copies, faxing stuff, and filing paperwork, no fun at all. Little did I know, this was all in God’s plan for me.

I met Mary and my future supervisor, Rachel. I was assigned to Domestic Adoption working with adoptive parents. I thought, “Just great, that’s even more boring, right? I don’t even get to hold babies or anything, just the legal stuff with these guys. Seriously God, do you not even know me at all?!?”

On my very first day at Gladney, I took a deep breath, sucked it up, and took a big dive into the adoption world. My supervisor, Rachel, said, “I hope you’re ready, we have a big day ahead of us!” In my mind, I was like, “Yeah right lady, let’s get this day over with!” First, there was legal meeting. If you’ve never been in legal meeting, talk about INTENSE!!! I never imagined the diversity among birth parents and adoptive parents. I was then introduced to the fact that no family at Gladney fits a cookie cutter standard; you won’t find one, trust me! After legal meeting was Case Review, which I will admit was scary. The caseworkers knew all of their families like they had been friends for years. In two hours, Gladney went from boring to overwhelming. After case review, Rachel and I zipped down I-20 to Dallas for a post placement visit. I was schooled in the car on how I wouldn’t just be shadowing, I was there to help out. I said okay, and was yet a little nervous. I walked in the family’s home and saw (brace yourself), the cutest baby ever! And I didn’t only get to look at her, they let me hold her. That visit was awesome! (If you can’t tell, I adore babies)

The next few months were filled with information about Gladney, adoption, foster care, all of the information you can get on making “forever families.” My attitudes and ideas about Gladney and adoption were changed very quickly and I fell in absolute love with this agency and everything I do. I currently have a number of families I visit after they have had placement. I travel, A LOT! Luckily, I don’t have children, because I’m never at home for long and hardly ever in the office; my dog does miss me though!

My time at Gladney has been filled with placements, orientation, traveling, home studies, ADOPTION DAY, Pathways training, post supervisory visits, joy, and laughter. Last week, I had the opportunity to go to Austin for the 4th or 5th time this semester.  I don’t say that lightly. It’s a big responsibility driving a Gladney car all the way to Austin and being responsible for meeting with families while I’m there. The highlight of my trip was actually tripping at a family’s home. I didn’t completely fall, but it was hilariously embarrassing. It completely broke the ice, and I think they may have felt bad for me after a while. I made my second trip to the Secretary of State’s office for Official Gladney Business (I’m official, WHOOP WHOOP), I spent a little time wondering where Matthew McConaughey’s mansion is, even spent some time at the State Capital.

Out of all of my experiences at Gladney, I can’t say that I’d trade one for anything, even when I’ve made copies. The most rewarding part of being here at Gladney is the end result for these families; we have found children forever families. It is amazing the work that Gladney does. And I know God is smiling at Gladney and Edna Gladney is very proud of every single one of us. I have become very close to my supervisor who is now a close friend, I’ve gained a few fellow intern friends as well. Now that I am graduating (soon), I hope that this is not where my journey ends with Gladney. Who knows, in a year or so, I may be back behind a desk, or out visiting families in the Gladney car. Until then my friends, I am GLAD I interned at GLADney.

Alicia, Domestic Adoption Intern

1 comment: