Madison Campbell is a Community, Family and Addiction Sciences (CFAS) student in the College of Human Sciences and is completing an internship at The Gladney Center for Adoption this summer in Fort Worth, Texas.
Madison is an Options Counseling Intern in the Admissions Department at Gladney. She said this is the department that has first contact with birthparent clients, so she must tread lightly and make a great first impression of Gladney, all while making sure the birthparent's needs are met.
Madison is able to take on many administrative responsibilities in her position such as requesting medical records, processing background paperwork, mailing overnight packages to birth-moms in crisis, and entering or editing information into the database.
Madison said although that part doesn't seem super interesting, it is an important step in the adoption process and she loves it. Additionally, Madison does a lot of shadowing and observing during first responses.
“My supervisors complete a lot of first responses, which are the first meetings that women who are thinking about placing their child or children for adoption will have with Gladney,” Madison said. “Option Counselors provide counseling and support to the birthmother from step one, which is not something most adoption agencies can really offer.”
Madison said the job of the Option Counselor is to meet the birth-moms wherever they need and give them options that the birth-moms have, whether it is to continue with an adoption plan or to make a parenting plan. While shadowing, Madison's job is mainly to observe different counseling techniques, take notes, and chime in when necessary.
Madison decided to pursue this internship at Gladney because she has become passionate about the pro-life movement.
“As someone who is pro-life, I see adoption as a very loving and beautiful option for many women and men who are struggling with what to do when faced with an unplanned pregnancy .I decided I would love an opportunity to learn more about the adoption field, so I began researching and came across Gladney.”
Madison said the more she learned about Gladney, the more she realized how incredible the organization was. She noticed an intern blog on their website where past and present interns posted their thoughts and experiences with Gladney. Reading the posts, Madison decided this was the internship experience she was looking for.
“They didn't just complete ‘intern work' like sharpening pencils, they were able to learn, observe, and act when it came to the real stuff. Being at Gladney, I have come to experience how true that is, and I'm very grateful to be with them.
Madison said she also chose to intern at Gladney because of how strongly their mission lined up with hers. Madison said Gladney has a strong value for life and will do everything in their power to make sure children find loving homes.
Madison said something unique about Gladney is they fight for the birthparents and will provide them with resources, funding, counseling, and more for up to six weeks after the birth. She said not many organizations advocate so much for birthparents, and that is just one of the many reasons why she chose to pursue this internship.
Madison said the best part of the internship is getting to interact with clients. She said the women she meets are at all different stages of their pregnancies and all have unique needs and crisis levels. She said you never really know what to expect.
“It has been a great experience for me to be a part of helping such a diverse group of people all come toward the same goal. Gladney likes to keep their interns well-rounded, so even though I'm in the Admissions Department and usually only work with birth-moms, I've gotten to shadow caseworkers as well who work with adoptive parents and even adoptive children.”
Madison said this has allowed her to see the roles and struggles of the adoption process. She said the administrative work is great, but the clients are the heartbeat of Gladney and working with them is the best past by far.
However, Madison said there is also a challenging side to interning at Gladney. She has witnessed birthparents relinquishing the rights to their child, adoptive families learn that their birth-mom backed out at the last minute, and young children asking to go back to a parent they would never see again.
“Though adoption is an incredibly joyous process, it doesn't come without some sadness,” Madison said. “Our clients are often experiencing tremendous grief and loss and it can be difficult not to take that home with me.”
Madison said the College of Human Sciences has helped her build herself as a professional. She said she was very nervous coming into the internship, but when she arrived she realized she knew more than she thought she would.
“I've been able to apply my knowledge in family systems, boundaries, addiction and mental health issue, non-profit administration, and much more throughout this experience. When some of the other interns learned about the CFAS major and everything it involves, they were honestly pretty jealous that they aren't CFAS majors.”
Madison said this internship has been a valuable experience for her. Throughout the rest of her academic career, she will be able to use her time at Gladney as an example for the new topics that she learns about.
“Being able to compare my internship experience to my classwork will really help enhance my understanding of the subject being taught. As far as my professional career goes, any amount of real-life experience will benefit me greatly.”
Thanks to Gladney, Madison will have experienced multiple departments of the adoption field, leaving her with wisdom that she can carry with her throughout her professional life.
Perhaps the most unique part of Madison's internship is when she mentioned to Gladney her struggle deciding to either pay for expensive housing in Fort Worth or commute from Plano, Gladney allowed her to live in a dorm that their pregnant clients can live in. Madison said not only is she experiencing the work side of Gladney, but she is able to build relationships with sweet, brave women.
“Living here has been an excellent opportunity to practice building and keeping healthy boundaries and to hear the stories and backgrounds these birth-moms have to offer.I really am so lucky to have come across the Gladney Center and to have gotten to learn from so many great people and live with the bravest women out there.”