Friday, June 24, 2016

One Month Update

I have now been working at Gladney for a month. It’s been a crazy whirlwind of an internship, and I can say with certainty that I have learned more than I ever thought possible. I truly can’t imagine spending my summer anywhere else. From sending emails to adoptive parents, to getting documents notarized in Austin, to getting visas for a group of kiddos about to come to their forever home, Gladney (especially my boss, Beth Whitacre) has really shown me what goes on day in and day out in intercountry adoption.

In all honesty, the job can be frustrating. Now that I’ve established myself as the Colombian Waiting Children advocate, I’ve seen how many kids there are who are freed for adoption that I just don’t have time to fight for in my three months as the International Adoption Intern. On top of that, I was recently told I wouldn’t receive any new reports or photographs of over ten of the kids I’m advocating for until I find homes for three older sibling groups I’m currently working with.

However, in that, I’ve gotten to create a new blog for these sibling groups. If you want to read about Camilo and Jesus, click here. If you want to read about Caren, Maria, and Javier, click here. If you want to hear about Maicol, Ana Maria, and Cristian, click here. Hearing Camilo talk about how much he loves pizza and Maria talk about how she wants to be a teacher one day strengthens my belief that these kids are just like any others, and despite their tough cases, deserve families just as much as any other kid. If you’re considering adopting a sibling group and want to see their beautiful smiles and hear their contagious laughs, click here to make a profile on A Child to Love.

My favorite part about working at Gladney so far, though, is that my boss brings me, the intern, coffee. Now, before you think I’m crazy and superficial, let me explain. The grande White Chocolate Mocha with soy milk and no whip in itself was indeed a great source of joy that morning, but the fact that my superior* thinks about me before the work day begins and after it ends means so much to me. She cares about my life outside of work just as much as she cares about me from 9am-5pm. The friendships I have made from that off-hours relationship will keep me at Gladney for the rest of my life, even if I don’t end up here in the long run (either that or my indentured servitude to this place).


Beth (left) and Margot (right)
Being at Gladney has given me the perfect balance of work and fun, even while taking two summer classes on top of my full time job. Beth makes sure I don’t work myself too hard, and even convinced me to join an adult recreational kickball team made up of a handful of Gladney staff! We've played three games so far this season, and I've already scored twice! It’s been a great way to get to know people I don’t typically see in the office.


I hope and dream that wherever I end up next will treat me as well as Gladney does, but maybe cut down on the amount of free food left out for me to consume.

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* she prefers the title Master, and she once put a braid in my hair and pretended I was a young padawan.

By: Margot Twomey
International Adoption Intern

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If you have any questions about adoption, know someone facing an unplanned pregnancy, are considering adoption yourself, or just want to get involved and/or educated on the subject, please don’t hesitate to contact Gladney. We would love to talk to you!

Find out how you can become a Gladney intern or volunteer here. We currently have Summer 2016 internship openings in Accounting, IT, and Marketing.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Good Things Do Come From This

Yesterday we had a new hire/intern orientation that equipped us with knowledge and joy to be a part of Gladney. During this day, however my Gladney story whispered in the halls. We took a beautiful tour of our museum in the visitor center, which I personally loved. It was beautiful to hear how historical adoption is and how many hearts fought to make it what it is today, a loving decision celebrated by many. At the end of this tour, we ended up in a place I have walked by many times in the past 6 years. I knew it was there, always praised the Lord when I saw that another family was created in that room, prayed for the women who left there without a piece of their heart, but never once did I think of going into the placement room. Yesterday I saw those four walls for the first time in 6 years and I was surprisingly emotional, but not for the obvious reasons one would assume. It was emotional because it reminded me why I love Gladney. Because it is my story, passion, and my heart is abundantly full of unconditional love for my Olivia and her parents.

About 7 years ago, I wandered into the halls of the Gladney dorm to be surrounded by women who were in the exact same place as me, vulnerability. I was adopted at two days old, as was my sister, so I grew up loving adoption, and had a deeper understanding of why my life was greater because of the hardest decision my birth mom ever had to make. Regardless of my perception of adoption, nothing can ever prepare you for ridding yourself of all selfish desires for a baby you haven’t even held yet. That’s the beauty of the dorm. We didn’t all like the same shows, we fought like typical teenagers full of estrogen, we cried A LOT, we yelled A LOT, but we all had one thing in common, we were sisters through our decision to prepare adoption plans. And let me tell you, we always found ways to bond regardless of our differences. One of my favorite memories of my time at the dorm still brings me to tearful laughter… think of a bunch of pregnant women “dancing” hip-hop to The Black Eyed Peas. Yes, we requested that we have a pregnant hip-hop class every week and don’t let anyone kid you; we were fantastic! When I wasn’t whipping and naenaeing, I was building forever friendships. I still keep up with 10-15 birth moms I met in my time at the dorm and I met my best friend in those walls as well. Gladney gave me forever sisters and became my home.


The staff that I met over the year of me living at my home away from home became my cheerleaders in life. When you hear staff say that Gladney cares about their clients, they probably don’t even know the impact they leave on so many lives. Throughout the past six years, I have been lifted up in prayer, cheered on with encouragement, and reassured when I felt like I lost my way. I have made a path for myself and my goals get checked off as I go. Gladney has cheered me on as I get my degree in business administration, and now they have blessed me with learning from such phenomenal people through an internship. It blows me away how much opportunity a birth mom has by walking through Gladney’s doors. I will forever be thankful and humbled by the people who have impacted my life in this building. Good things can come out of this, they sure did for me and I pray that they do for you too.

-Katie Reisor, Development Intern and Gladney Birth Mom

Sunday, June 5, 2016

What It's Like to be Adopted

If you know me, you know I never shut up about adoption. I can, and will, talk your ear off about anything and everything adoption for as long as you’ll let me. However, the toughest question I’ve ever been asked on the subject is probably, “What’s it like to be adopted?” Although I typically shy away from this specific question, I’ll answer it here:

I really, truly do not know.

In the mere twenty years and twenty-three days I have been alive, I have never felt “adopted.” I have never felt like there was a time in my life where I didn’t belong in the Twomey family; it’s just not something I consciously think about. I’ve got two awesome parents, three wacko siblings, a fantastic grandma, and a really intelligent dog, all of whom I love more than anyone and anything else on this planet.

Now, I don’t confuse that with the knowledge that I am adopted. My bedtime story growing up was the story of my dad’s trip to Texas to come get me when he got the news my birthmother was in labor. I know my family tree has a couple more branches, I’ll forever frustrate my doctors with an incomplete medical history, and I’ll always have those awkward, “wait, how are you only twelve days older than your sister?” moments. But none of that makes me any less of a Twomey than my siblings or cousins.

Being adopted, for me, is never stressing about having a cool fun fact to share about myself on the first day of school (yes, we still do this in college). It’s an opportunity to educate others on a subject not frequently talked about. It’s knowing I’m extra-loved. It’s knowing that I wasn’t given up, but that I was taken in. But being adopted has never, ever been about being different than anyone else in my family.

So, that's what it's like to be adopted. In the end, there are three things I want you to take away from my words today.
1. I cannot speak for everyone. Everybody has their own feelings and their own stories. I was adopted at birth, domestically, into a family of my same ethnicity. Those are the bare bones of my situation, but you must remember that even identical twins have different sentiments about their adoptions.
2. My parents chose adoption because in wanting to create a family, they realized that beneath it all, they really just wanted to parent to a child; it didn’t matter where that child came from. They weren’t adopting for religious reasons, or out of pity, or to save a life, or become heroes (even though they are heroes); they adopted me because before I was born, they already felt like I was part of the family.
3. Blood and genetics do not define family. The love, the bonds, and the mac & cheese thrown across the dinner table after refusing to do your homework (sorry mom) on an average Tuesday evening do.

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If you have any questions about adoption, know someone facing an unplanned pregnancy, are considering adoption yourself, or just want to get involved and/or educated on the subject, please don’t hesitate to contact Gladney. We would love to talk to you!

Find out how you can become a Gladney intern or volunteer.   We currently have Summer 2016 internship openings in Accounting, IT, and Marketing.


By: Margot Twomey
International Adoption Intern