Gladney Center for Adoption

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Dickson - Bright Futures 2021

Posted by Gladney Center for Adoption on 6/19/21 4:36 PM

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Topics: Adoption Stories, Gladney Adoptee, Bright Futures Publication, Gladney Graduate

Nick - Bright Futures 2021

Posted by Gladney Center for Adoption on 6/13/21 4:17 PM

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Topics: Adoption Stories, Gladney Adoptee, Bright Futures Publication, Gladney Graduate

Reagan- Bright Futures 2021

Posted by Gladney Center for Adoption on 6/12/21 4:03 PM

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Topics: Adoption Stories, Gladney Adoptee, Bright Futures Publication, Gladney Graduate

What are the Biggest Challenges Gladney has Experienced Related to the Pandemic?

Posted by Gladney Center for Adoption on 6/7/21 9:30 AM

Hear From Our Team

We asked our team questions about how they've managed the last year in a pandemic.

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Topics: Gladney Leadership

Brady- Bright Futures 2021

Posted by Gladney Center for Adoption on 6/6/21 4:10 PM

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Topics: Adoption Stories, Gladney Adoptee, Bright Futures Publication, Gladney Graduate

Rhiannon- Bright Futures 2021

Posted by Gladney Center for Adoption on 6/5/21 3:47 PM

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Topics: Adoption Stories, Gladney Adoptee, Bright Futures Publication, Gladney Graduate

How Did You Feel in 2020 About Staying Home?

Posted by Gladney Center for Adoption on 6/2/21 1:11 PM

Hear From Our Team

We asked our team questions about how they've managed the last year in a pandemic.

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Topics: Gladney Leadership

Be a Mentor

Posted by Gladney Center for Adoption on 5/17/21 12:57 PM

'My name is Jeremy Tilley. My family started our new beginnings adoption journey in 2017. We had raised our biological twins to the age of 5 and were confident that we understood what it took to be parents and convey parental love to any child, even one not born to us.

In April of 2018 my wife and I had completed all of our requirements to register to adopt, and we waited for God to lead us to our child. In August, much faster than we were ready for, we got our call. We dropped our twins off at school and, very nervously, headed south to see what God had instore for us. He was 20 months old, he only spoke a few words, he was on a feeding tube, he had a clubbed foot, and his bones were twisted. This tough little package was a year behind, had a medical file that was three inches thick, five medications and four doctor’s appointments every week. He was so busy surviving that he had never even been to a park.

I would love to tell you that there was an instant bond. I would love to say that when we held him, we knew that he was our son, but none of that would be true. We were just straight up scared and blindly proceeding forward, trusting in the process. What we didn’t understand was that the process was never going to be enough to see us through.

Two weeks after our son moved in, my wife had surgery (Ovarian Cystectomy). A week after her surgery we decided to start the process of teaching our son how to eat. It was substantially more difficult than we could have ever imagined and in the end took us six months. Two weeks after my wife’s first surgery, she had to go back in for a full hysterectomy. While she was in recovery, I was alone with our son at one of his many doctors’ appointments when I was told that our best option to fix his clubbed foot was amputation. Two weeks after that, a tumor was discovered in my throat and I went in for emergency surgery. During all of this, even at only 21 months old, our newest family member was testing our resolve every moment of every day. We could barely breathe, let alone bond with our scared little man.

We were so overwhelmed that we actually considered throwing in the towel and admitting defeat. We were so lost that we couldn’t even see that we needed help. We knew that Gladney was there for us at a moment’s notice, but we needed something more, something different. What we needed, what I needed, was someone who had been through this. I needed someone who could look at me and say “I understand because I’ve been there.” Someone who understood our mess, and the beauty that it could one day be. I needed to know, from someone with experience, that one day when my son hugged me and said “Dad, I love you”, I’d be able to look back on that difficult period and be truly grateful for our journey. Though I didn’t know it at the time, I needed a mentor. We needed mentors.

Today our son isn’t on a single medication. He doesn’t stop talking, eats us out of house and home, has terrible morning breath, gives the best hugs, wrestles with his brother, annoys his sister, loves to cook, climbs trees like squirrel, and couldn’t be pried away from us by a thousand horses. There are some days when I literally forget that my youngest son is adopted. I can now look back and be grateful for the journey.

We’re on the other side of our adoption story, and even though our family is complete, we know that we have more to give. I know there are thousands of you out there, just like us, wanting to help those who are just beginning their journey. They’re scared, they’re overwhelmed, and they need us….. They need you. They need you to look at them and say “I understand, because I’ve been there.” If you, like us, feel the calling to be an ear, a voice, an example of the joy that can be…. There are families that are starting their adoption journeys that need understanding experience. Answer the call and come
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Topics: Gladney Family Mentorship

Open Adoption

Posted by Gladney Center for Adoption on 3/16/21 8:45 AM

Prior to applying to adopt through Gladney, my husband, Courtney, and I researched open adoptions as much as we could. On top of the typical questions about the adoption process, we asked ourselves, “How exactly do we navigate an open adoption, and what if it all goes wrong?”

We had been parents for almost three years to our daughter, Avery. She is our little IVF miracle. Becoming parents again wasn’t what intimidated us. It was all the added layers that came with adopting a child. Parenting a child who is adopted is one layer. We added another layer when we chose open adoption, and we added an additional layer when we chose to adopt and parent a child of another race. We believe these layers are not obstacles or complications, but they do lay the footprints of a unique parenting journey.

I remember vividly the day I received a call from our caseworker that an expectant mother had chosen us and wanted to talk to me on the phone. A couple of days later, she and I spoke for hours. We had already created a Google voice number, but after talking to her on the phone, we decided to share our real phone number. We made arrangements to visit her and her family in Phoenix later that month. My husband, our daughter, Avery, and I flew out to Phoenix. A Gladney birth parent caseworker met all of us at Chuck E. Cheese for dinner to help make introductions and to ensure we all felt comfortable. The next day, we joined her and her family at a science museum and enjoyed playing with the kids and getting to know each other better. Before we ended our short trip to Phoenix, we decided to reveal our last name and email address. This was the first step in opening up the adoption.

When she texted me to say she was in labor, we threw our bags in the car and drove straight from San Antonio straight to Phoenix. At a McDonald’s for a pit stop, Avery told other children on the playground that her little sister had been born. There were some confused expressions! The next morning, we met our youngest daughter at the hospital. We took placement of Olivia when she was two days old and visited with her birth mother and her family a couple more times before we had permission to head back to Texas.

When Olivia was born, we opened up our adoption a little more by sharing our address. We continued to text and talk on the phone about Olivia. At this point, we didn’t need to send updates through Gladney because we were communicating directly. Through phone calls and texting, we continued to build our friendship. As Olivia neared her first birthday, her birth mother asked if she could come and visit. For the next few years, we would fly her out every other year for a visit. These visits occurred without Olivia’s biological siblings.

As Olivia approached 5 years old, we decided it was time to include her siblings in a visit, so we made the drive to Phoenix. As I’m writing this, Olivia and I have been looking back at photos and videos from that time and reliving some memories. I cannot fully explain the joy we all experienced watching all the siblings play together. For Olivia to see her own physical traits in her biological siblings and to share some of the same personality traits provides her answers that we never could have provided without an open adoption. On this visit, she also got to meet her new baby brother. Olivia proudly shares with her friends that she has two sisters and two brothers. She confidently shared she was adopted with her entire first grade class when she was “queen of the day.” We have continued visits with Olivia’s birth mother and her siblings at least every other year. Sometimes we go to Phoenix, and sometimes they come to San Antonio.

Without an open adoption and visits, Olivia wouldn’t have the opportunity to develop a relationship with her biological siblings. Some people have asked how I handle it if her birth mother crosses a relationship boundary or how I feel when Olivia and her birth mother are interacting. I view our relationship with her birth mother as a relationship with any family member. Sometimes boundaries are crossed, and there are disagreements, just like in any family. The important thing to remember is that this is not about us. We are navigating this journey and relationship for the benefit of Olivia. I can confidently say I’ve never felt threatened by her birth mother’s presence in our lives. Olivia knows I am her Mom, but she also knows she is loved by her birth mother and that her birth mother made a loving decision by choosing us to be Olivia’s parents. We do not correspond with Olivia’s birth father but will welcome some type of relationship when he is ready. For now, we are happy to be able to remind Olivia of who she gets her great sense of humor from and why she is so good at puzzles.

Every story is different, and I hope by sharing our story, we provide yet another perspective for a family wanting to adopt or currently parenting a child who has been adopted. Wherever you are in your journey, I hope I provided some insight by sharing our experiences.

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Topics: Adoption Stories, Transracial Adoption, Development, Open Adoption

What I Have Learned from Birth Mothers

Posted by Gladney Center for Adoption on 11/19/20 9:15 AM

Going into the adoption process, I knew very little about how the process worked. One such area was with respect to birth mothers, who I now know are selfless, courageous, and steadfast women. Simply put, I unfairly assumed a birth mother must be an unfit mother, without ever even having met one myself. It was wrong of me to do so, and I would be proven wrong with all three of our daughters’ birth mothers.

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Topics: Adoption, Adoption Stories, Birth Mother

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