Friday, July 8, 2016

Pathways Training

My day started out just like any other day; It was 7:30am, and I was quietly minding my own business, studying for my summer government class at Starbucks, when a small child came up to me and started dancing. I smiled at her, said hello, and went back to my studies. However, she didn’t leave, and she didn’t stop “whipping.” It was actually pretty cute. Eventually, her mother gently guided her away from my table with a very apologetic look in her eyes. I studied for a little while longer, and around 8:15am realized I needed to get to work. Naturally, I decided to leave the coffee shop at the same time as my new little friend. As I’m packing up she starts asking me a bunch of questions. “What’s your name? How old are you? What are you doing today? What are you doing this summer?” I told her, “My name’s Margot, I’m 20, I work at the adoption agency down the street, and today I’m going to go sit in on a parenting class for moms and dads who want to adopt kids.” She said, “Okay well have fun!” and hopped into her mother’s car.

I got into my car and thought to myself, how much fun can I really have in a two day long training for soon-to-be adoptive parents? I mean, I’m twenty years old, and definitely not looking to become a parent any time soon. But even just ten minutes into the training, I realized how important it is to understand children who have been through trauma, even if you’re not going to be the one parenting them. After the entire thing, I was very glad my supervisor gave me the opportunity to experience Pathways.

In this activity, one person read instructions to a blindfolded
searcher while everybody else in the room was being as loud
and distracting as possible.
Our post adoption team did a phenomenal job. I listened to personal stories of adoption, and I learned a lot. I learned about the effects of neglect, abuse, and sexual abuse. I learned about both adult and child attachment styles, the growing brain, how parents can be healers, and even did hands-on activities concerning children’s different sensory needs. I learned about how much goes on inside the mind of a child that we simply just cannot see, but need to learn how to look for. And I already knew this one, but it was reiterated in my brain that every kid out there has hope. Every single child, no matter their past, has the capacity to rewire their brain pathways to give them a better future. I’d say that was my biggest takeaway from the day. I’m working with so many kids who society would look at and categorize “unadoptable” based on their pasts, when in reality, beyond a shadow of a doubt, they’re all adoptable. With the right help, every one of them can create new pathways, no matter what they’ve been through. It may not be a walk in the park, but it’s possible.

The families who came were so nice, and seemed to really absorb what the team was saying, even if they had originally been underwhelmed by the prospect of a two-day long parenting class. I spoke to a couple families throughout the training who were not the least bit hesitant to ask their questions! By the end of the training, I think every family felt as though Pathways was worth it, whether they were planning on adopting a domestic infant or an international sixteen year old.

And, to conclude, I want to give a HUGE shoutout to Angie for putting together all the food (this wouldn't be a true Gladney blog post if I didn't mention food at least once)! We had Mexican for lunch the first day, and barbecue the second. The snacks were awesome as well—bagels and cream cheese, carrots and hummus, belvita crackers, you name it! Thanks Angie!!! 



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.

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