When your job becomes so much more…
July 8, 2012
As I sit here and reflect upon my life, I realize one thing. It has been extremely fulfilling. I am married and have had the privilege of staying home to raise my children while my husband supported our family. It is something in today’s day and age that is very rare, but I can say that I was fortunate enough to have done that for a majority of my married life.
As your children get older you realize that they don’t need you as much for the day to day activities. They become more mature and fall back on all the teachings you gave them when they were a child. They use your words and guidance as they learn to stand on their own two feet. Trust me, they will always need their mother’s guidance and love, but now I am more of a back seat driver. I will always be there if they need me and I know that they will always come to me for guidance, advice, and support. I’ve done my job and looking at my two children, I can say, I have done it well.
As I realized my life was changing, I decided it was time to find something for me; a part time job that would give me interaction with adults and the outside world but also give me the flexibility to be there for my children at a moments’ notice. That opportunity came to me a few short years ago. As I was chatting with my neighbor, Edna Brown, I told her that I think it was time for me to find a job. After all, how often can you clean your house? It would be nice to find something while my children were in school. It wouldn’t be a job that would take me away from my family, but something to enhance my days while my children were not there.
Unbeknownst to me, she discussed my situation with her partner, Angela Quick. Angela was the owner of a small agency that was mainly doing contract work. She assisted adoption agencies and attorneys with birth mother interviews, adoptive parent home studies, consent signings and discharge of mother and baby; all things that I knew nothing, absolutely nothing about!
A few weeks later, Angela called me and asked if I wanted to take on a part time position with her. She would need someone to be in her office to organize, file, type, send and receive faxes and work on minor projects that her current assistant did not have time to complete. I thought to myself, “why not?” It didn’t sound very complicated and at the very least, it would give me something to do during the day.
Over the next few years, Angela would sit with me when assigning me a task and explain, in great detail, exactly why she needed me to complete the task, why the task important and how it would impact the families involved. She taught me so many things over the next few years and I valued each and every time we sat together. I began to understand adoption. I respected that word. I respected Angela and Edna for what they did. But at that time, these individuals were just paper to me. I never met or spoke to a birth mother or for that matter, an adoptive parent. That just terrified me!
Over the next few years, through the training and guidance that Angela gave to me and the patience she showed every time I made a mistake, or the question I asked over and over, I became more comfortable talking with birth mothers and adoptive parents. I met them. I went to the doctor’s visits with the birth mothers. I was at ease talking with hospitals and doctor’s offices. I made connections with attorneys. I worked with birth mother’s when they needed help with Medicaid eligibility or just wanted someone to talk too. I spoke with adoptive parents when they had questions regarding paperwork. I became a valued individual in the agency. I could have not done this without the guidance and patience of Angela.
This job is ever changing and just went I felt comfortable with what I knew; I added another task to my ever-growing list of job responsibilities. I conducted my first birth-adoptive parent meeting. This meeting is always conducted by Angela and although I have sat through these meetings before, Angela was always the one who would initiate the conversations. But Angela was called away to counsel another birth mother and could not be there for this introduction. She told me that she had confidence in me to handle this on my own. A little nervous, I met these families on a Sunday night and gently answered questions the adoptive parents had regarding their birth mother. They were so nervous, afraid to say the wrong thing. The birth mother had the same concerns; she was quiet and smiled a lot during the meeting. I initiated conversations when I sensed the awkward silences and before all of us realized, we were chatting as if we knew each other forever! I gently swayed the conversation to the doctor’s visit the next day and the possibility of the birth mom being admitted for an early induction. All in all, it was a magical evening as I saw these two families unite. I felt privileged to be part of such an important part of this adoption journey. Angela instilled trust in me and let me go to represent the agency. It became clear to me that night that I was more than just a part time employee, I was an integral part of the agency; an agency that Angela had spent years cultivating and masterfully creating a reputation of excellence.
My life and this part time job that I assumed years prior; it has become clear to me that it is not just part time job. It is not just a job to consume a few hours of my day, it is something bigger than all that. It is a choice to be part of the emotional journey of adoption which doesn’t always stop at 5:00pm. It consumes your thoughts, your weekends, your interactions with family and friends. It gives you a greater purpose and understanding of life and the challenges other individuals face.
I thank Angela for realizing all those years ago, that I had the potential to go beyond what I thought I could do and let me do what I didn’t even realize I had the knowledge to do.
A job that has become so much more…..