We have met Mason several times with the Superkids team over the last few years. Mason is a considerate, smart, articulate and athletic 11 year old boy. He is currently in the 5th grade and works hard at school – he even told me that he likes doing homework!
This April, 37 years ago, the day began as a normal one . . . heavily in the throes of tax season, getting ready for some meetings, and taking care of things for my father as my mother had passed away not quite two weeks earlier. Then at 9:00 am, the phone rang, and news that our baby girl was here was on the other end of the line. It was Mrs. Stafford, our Gladney Caseworker and "the very most important person in our lives.” In our minds and those of many of our friends, she held the key for our future as a family. Now having years of history with Gladney, I know Mrs. Stafford and many other very wise professionals were part of a very educated, emotional plan for the creation of our family and, needless to say, a plan for our children’s' birth mothers.
It was now about 10:00 am. I had laundered the gown I had purchased for this baby and was ironing it for some crazy reason - would she ever notice? Probably not. The doorbell rang, and it was a precious friend, bringing me flowers to lift my heart for missing my mother. She was greeted instead with huge tears of joy because our daughter Claire was now here!
Who would have thought I would be standing in the kitchen with my family in mid-April of my senior year when the governor made the announcement we were done? Deep down, I had a feeling this was coming, but it does not make it any easier. I left my high school on March 12, 2020, for spring break, unaware I would never walk back into the school as a student again. It leaves me... well, it leaves me heartbroken.
In August 2016, I began high school as a wide-eyed, nervous, awkward, metal-mouthed, and excited freshman. I had no idea how the next four years would shape me into the person I am today... a strong, confident, God-fearing, young woman, ready to take on the world.
I am the person I am today because of the people and experiences I have had over these past four years. I have had experiences that not many other high schoolers can say they have had, and I have met people who have pushed me to be the very best I can be.... people who encourage me to chase my dreams and improve every day.
From leading a student organization I started during freshman year to marching in the Rose Bowl Parade last year, I leave knowing I gave these past four years all I had to offer. I am walking away from high school knowing what it means to work hard and to persevere through hardships. I am walking away knowing the power of the connections you make with others and how those connections can lead you to do really great things.
I am crushed. I really am. I had no idea I would not see my third graders again and would not have any more study sessions at "my special table" at the top of the main stairs, where I spent many 4th periods, class times, and even after school hours. I did not know I had my last college math class in room 2465, where we stood outside and talked until the bell rang, forcing us to go in and get to work. I am going to miss the high fives from coaches in the hallway, my classmates, my teachers, and even parking in Timbuktu and walking in after interning at the elementary school. It hurts a lot knowing I am not going to have these experiences anymore, but I am looking forward to the day when I can go back in and reminisce on all of the memories high school gave me and talk to teachers again who made a huge difference in my life.
Over these past four years, I have learned to follow my heart in anything and everything I do. I have learned to try new things and put myself out there, even when I was afraid to do so. Most of all, I have figured out what I want to do in life. I can see beyond all of this and am excited for where I am headed. Is this year ending the way I wanted it to? Not at all, but there is no better feeling than closing one chapter, knowing I did all I could do.
Here's to the future, here's to more memories, and here's to adulthood. School may be done, but like they always said, "Once a jag, always a jag."
God Bless & Go Jags!
Zhanna, Gladney Adult Adoptee
As a videographer, I keep getting asked the same questions so I put together some tips to look and sound your best while video chatting:
I’m a fundraiser. That’s my defined responsibility for the important mission of creating bright futures through adoption. However, in this moment and honestly, always, I am not connecting with families to raise money for our important work; I’m connecting to raise their spirits. Today, it is essential that we collectively raise all those who have supported Gladney when we depended on them most. Now, they need us. They are depending on us to be strategic with our asks. Today, my ask has never been more clear: how can Gladney and I help YOU, our family? We all agree family is essential. Gladney believes every child deserves a loving and caring family, and that need will always be essential. Gladney’s Family for Life promise will always be essential. We are here for you. How can we help?
Topics: Gladney Leadership
I switched from working full time in an office to working full time from home in 2016 when we moved to Houston for my husband’s job. Although grateful to work for an organization that offers this flexibility, it was a big transition that took adjustment and a lot of getting used to. It also happens to be a big transition that much of the country has been forced to make in the past few weeks. As a work from home veteran, I am here to share my story, and offer you some of the tips I’ve learned to keep myself productive and most importantly…sane.
We don’t have photos of siblings Kelly and Ken that can be shared publicly, but trust me when I say they are adorable! We can share photos and a video with anyone who we can confirm meets the requirements to adopt from Taiwan.
We have met 4 ½ year old Kaeleb several times with Superkids over the last couple of years. Kaeleb loves playing with toy cars! He prefers independent play, but likes cuddling with his caregivers. He can usually follow directions well and complete tasks when asked.
Meet 7 year old Arthur! He was a little shy and quiet at first when we spent time together in November, but quickly warmed up. He did amazingly well on all of our tasks - he even did some of the harder cognitive games we usually play with the kids closer to 10 years old! His foster mother described him as gentle and considerate. He will often help her with chores, even though it’s not his favorite activity.
But what about the children?
Tonight after laying my little ones down for bed I scrolled Facebook and found the news story that I’ve been anticipating. Child Abuse Numbers are Skyrocketing.