Sitting here at my desk at the same adoption organization my parents came to is so surreal. Being a Social Work intern at Gladney right now is so special because it allows me to connect with where my new life with my family began. As a future social worker, my goal is to help others on their adoption journeys and support all members of the adoption triad. I just finished a big personal project of mine which was publishing my book called Through Adopted Eyes: A Collection of Memoirs from Adoptees – which includes my own thoughts and perspective on adoption as a Russian adoptee. The book also includes the emotional and amazing stories of 50 other adoptees and talks about the best and worst things about being an adoptee and what adoptees wish others knew. These adoptees of all different ages have differing backgrounds, perspectives, and adoptee insight.
This internship has been so much more than I ever expected! I first heard about Gladney after I started the MSW program at the University of Texas at Arlington. When the opportunity presented itself to apply for an internship here I jumped at it, but I was not holding my breath on being one of the few lucky ones to be selected. Then, the much-anticipated e-mail came in…” you have been accepted as an intern at the Gladney Center for Adoption”. Intern at Gladney?! Me?! I felt like my eyes were deceiving me! I remember calling my mom to tell her and then quickly assuring both of us that it was too good to be true. I am so glad that statement was wrong!
A Day in the Life of a Gladney Intern
My connection with Gladney began two years ago when one of my classes required that I do volunteer work for a non-profit organization. While volunteering I learned they needed a driver for the expectant moms living in the dorm so I decided to apply. Over the last two years I developed an appreciation for the culture and commitment Gladney has to help those in need. I wanted to understand other ways that Gladney positively impacts lives and so I decided to do my Internship with them.
I love to say that I’m from Fort Worth, Texas, even though I only lived here for two weeks after I was born. Another thing I love to tell people is that I was found in a newspaper. This one always throws people off and then I have to explain that my parents placed an ad in various newspapers stating that they were looking to adopt, and that I wasn’t actually found wrapped up in the newspaper. After speaking, briefly, with different birth mothers and birth fathers, my dad spoke with my birth mother who was willing to travel to Texas to finish out her pregnancy and place her baby (me) for adoption. At this point neither my birth parents nor adoptive parents knew if they would be matched with one another or with other families, BUT… they ended up being matched and now I have one giant family.
Day in the Life of a Gladney Intern
Hello there, I’m Taylor Caressimo and I’m currently interning with Gladney in the New Beginnings adoption department, where we connect loving families with children who are in foster care to find them their forever homes.
Hi! My name is Shelly Kalina and I am currently interning in the Domestic Infant Adoption Program working with Adoptive Parents under the awesome supervision of Courtney Kearney. So far, I love it here at Gladney! There is such a wonderful work atmosphere that is a great blend of challenges, fun, efficiency, and teamwork that feels like family.
Hi everyone! I’m Laura, and I am an intern in the Birth Parent Services department. One of my main roles at Gladney is to research ways to improve birth parent experiences through more readable documents and evaluation surveys. I get excited knowing the work I am doing is reducing barriers birth parents face as they create adoption plans. However, my sweetest times at Gladney have not been behind a computer screen, but have been in hospital rooms and out in the community loving on sweet birth families. Leading up to my internship, I prayed that I would get to hold a precious baby and on my first day here, I was blessed with the opportunity to carry and love on an adorable baby boy. It is amazing how a baby so tiny can hold such a big place in your heart.
Hi, my name is Marissa Hernandez. I am a senior at the University of North Texas and I am gradating with a Bachelor in social work this spring of 2018! Like most people, I did not quite understand what adoption really was before Gladney. All I knew was that I wanted to help those in need to have a forever home. Therefore, my professor at North Texas linked me to Gladney and now I could not imagine doing my internship anywhere else.
Hey, there! I’m Katie, a Communications Intern at Gladney Center for Adoption. During my internship, I have worked with my boss, Noah Rodgers, to help create film and media content for Gladney University and AdoptED. After spending three years working as a Social Media Ambassador for Emory University and one year working as an intern in Emory’s Film and Media Studies Department, I was so excited to use my film and media experience to serve the Gladney community. Luckily, I scored the hands-on film and media internship of my dreams! My boss gave me the opportunity to help build our film sets, film the live-streamed Gladney University events, and create social media content for Gladney University. I also created documents with ideas for social media content and a social media calendar to help us brainstorm seasonal and holiday-related content for Instagram and Facebook posts. While I had a blast making documents about emoji usage and hashtags, my favorite part about my internship was the reminder that everything I did at Gladney was an act of service—for a birthmother, a child, a family, or a member of our community.
As a Gladney intern with the Next Steps program I came in wanting to know about all things Gladney as soon as I could learn. There are so many facets to Gladney that I quickly realized this would take time. I started this process by attending whatever trainings I was allowed. This included Domestic Orientation, Pathway’s, New Hire Orientation, and legal training. After attending these trainings I was able to put a lot more of the pieces together of the puzzle that is Gladney. While still many pieces were missing in the “1000” piece puzzle, I was determined to turn over all the pieces and see where they go. When I created my learning contract at the beginning of the semester I took risks to make myself branch out, because if it is part of the contract, I have to complete it, right? As a high functioning introvert I knew it would take this to make me try new things and meet new people. Since I had to meet certain criteria on my contract, I began networking with people in different departments to shadow them for a time. This was fantastic. While it was a little anxiety producing, it brought out so much information about so many topics that I didn’t even realize. With Gladney being so large you may wonder how I did this.