This past week my daughter was playing in the backyard when she suddenly ran inside yelling “Daddy, there’s things flying everywhere in the air!” When he went to look, he found a giant swarm of bees and quickly ushered her and our Golden Retriever inside. After a little investigation, we found there was a large beehive in our neighbor’s tree. For all the obvious reasons I was worried for our safety—we’re not sure if our girls are allergic to bees yet—but I was also disappointed. Like many homes with small children, things can get loud, chaotic, and overwhelming. Our backyard has become a sanctuary while we’ve been sheltering in place and now this bee Armageddon was taking that away.
The first weekend in May is a special time for Gladney and Gladney Families because it is the annual retreat for the Gladney Family Association (GFA) leaders. Gladney adoptive parents and adult adoptees come from all over the United States to connect, learn, and discuss how to better fulfill Gladney’s Family for Life promise in their home communities, in addition to building lifelong friendships. This year, like so many other things in our lives, we took the GFA Leadership Equipping Retreat to a virtual model. On Saturday, May 2nd, Gladney Ambassadors gathered around their computers for a full day of education and collaboration. Their passion for and commitment to advocacy mean the future for Gladney Families looks bright.
Today, the expectant mothers we serve have more complex needs than the clients we served 10 years ago, and we have adjusted our services to meet them where they are.
Expectant mothers experiencing unplanned pregnancies and mothers with young children who contact us considering making an adoption plan are sometimes coming from a challenging, vulnerable place. While some expectant mothers have a strong support system and access to resources, others may be in an abusive relationship, unemployed, experiencing homelessness, or have mental health or substance abuse treatment needs. The women Gladney serves range from teenagers to women in their forties, with an average age of 26, and 49% of the women already have other children. More than 70% of the women are from Texas, and the remainder of the women are from other states across the U.S., including 15 states outside Texas in 2019 alone.
I recently had the opportunity to talk with Wendy Stanley and Mary Chapman who are part of the Gladney International Adoption team about some frequently asked questions that Gladney receives on a daily basis.
Watch the video below and if you have questions that we didn't cover, please comment below and we'll respond.
Meet sweet Allison who is 3 ½ years old. We have photos and several videos of Allison, but none that can be shared publicly. Allison is described as vibrant and friendly. She likes to cuddle with caregivers. She likes to play with any toy given to her, and she is still learning how to properly play with different types of toys.