a little and a lot

Friday, February 29, 2008

Around the Mid-South in 80 Days

Where have I been??

Tupelo MS, Jonesboro AR, Jackson TN, Jacksonville AR, Little Rock AR, Cabot AR, and Columbus MS.  That's where.  

This is the part of my blog where I tell you what I do for my new job:

I work for The Adoption Center of the Midsouth.  The Adoption Center is a part of AGAPE Child & Family Services.  (I kind of regret typing those out because now someone is going to Google the name of my workplace and they are going to end up on my kooky blog.  Sorry, Googlers.)  

You may feel you know all about AGAPE--I know I thought I did.  There is one in Atlanta that our church was always helping to support.  However, I was surprised to discover (as you might be) that AGAPE is not related to other AGAPE agencies throughout our country.  Ours is unique and specific to Memphis, though the agency might look similar to the others--they are dedicated to supporting families...through foster care, adoption services, maternity services for women with unplanned pregnancies, and counseling for individuals, couples, and families.  It is a wonderful organization--I love the people I work with and what the agency stands for.  

As a side note: something I admire and respect most about AGAPE is that they are known throughout the community as an agency dedicated to excellence.  This is not always (dare I say often??) true of "Christian organizations," (sometimes "Christian" can mean "subpar" in our society, and I am not okay with that) which is why I love that AGAPE is both a Christ-centered ministry to the community and an agency that practices excellence.  That challenges me.  

But enough about all of that, because my job is in total left field within AGAPE.  

I work with a grant that AGAPE holds which contracts us to provide training for professionals within the medical and social work fields regarding infant adoption.  Does that make sense to you?  Because it made no sense to me when I first heard about it!  I'm going to use a recent example to give you the gist of things: 

I recently spoke with a high school counselor.  She works within a school system where there are a lot of lower-class, even homeless, students.  A 16-year old student had recently approached her with a problem--she was pregnant.  Her family was homeless and she knew she could not take care of a baby.  However, she shared that she was morally opposed to terminating the pregnancy.  The student was interested in adoption...she asked the counselor for more information...

If you were the counselor, what would you say?  (No, I mean sit there for a second and think about what you would say...)

The counselor shared with me that she was at a loss...she didn't know much about how adoption worked.  She wasn't sure whom she should refer this student to.  She didn't know how to answer any of the teenager's questions about the subject of adoption.  They only thing the counselor knew to do was to give her the name and number of a friend who had adopted a child.  The counselor was ill-equipped.

Sooooo...MY job is to set up trainings for people like this counselor.  We educate nurses and social workers in hospitals, schools, health departments, crisis pregnancy centers, etc on adoption.  We discuss correct terminology. (Have you ever thought about the negative connotations of the phrases "putting a child up for adoption," "keeping the baby/giving it away," "real parent/child?"  A mini-lesson: instead of "put the child up for adoption" or "gave the baby away," you can say "made an adoption plan"...instead of "real parent" or "real child," you can say "birthparent" or "biological child.")  We talk about state-specific laws (for example, how long does the birthmother have to change her mind?), and we discuss how adoption has changed over the years.  It is actually a pretty interesting training!  

Now, I don't DO the training...I just coordinate the trainings.  We are responsible for training a certain number of people in Arkansas, Mississippi, and West Tennessee.  I call all kinds of people and travel to all kinds of places in order to make connections to set up trainings in those places for those people.  

And that is what I do.  
I like it.  It is challenging, super busy, and rewarding because I know the grant that I work with funds a lot of ministries within AGAPE.  

In other news:
  • My anniversary and birthday presents came early this year as a Valentine's Day present.  The gift of my dreams...the ultimate techological gadget that could decrease the weight of my purse by 75%...the one...the only...  Yup.  If you don't know what it is, then check out the end of this previous blog post.
  • I've been reading this book recently:  Though postmodernly missing the mark when it comes to "truth," it is a thought-provoking and entertaining read.  I am in love with the whimsical and authentic writing style of Elizabeth Gilbert, Anne Lamott, Donald Miller, and the like.  This leads me to an enigma: I've been trying to figure out why it has been excruciatingly difficult for me to read through "Girl Meets God."  I expected to absolutely love it (Julie, I SO wanted to love it!), but although Lauren Wenner's writing style is so similar to the aforementioned authors, it is just a chore to keep reading it.  (Alas, I WILL finish, and your book will be returned Ashley!)  I devoured "Blue Like Jazz," but had trouble reading another book by Donald Miller: "Searching for God Knows What."  I couldn't finish it.  I lost interest.  That's what's been happening to me in "Girl Meets God" as well.  I am engrossed as I'm reading it, but as soon as I set it down, I have nothing compelling me to pick it back up.  WHY?  
  • About the running: I know I've been coming up short on my goals, but I am not in peril.  I view New Year's Resolutions not as promises that are broken on January 2, but more as goals for the whole year, with the deadline being December 31.  (Brooke and Buster were really giving me a hard time one year when I made a resolution to drink the recommended 64 oz of water a day.  I didn't ever make it to 64 oz until the very last week of December and I was rejoicing that I met my resolution.  I set myself up for SUCCESS, people!)  Anyways, back to the running: the reso is about to kick into high gear because Nick & I just joined the YMCA.  (Why did no one tell me that they have an adjusted membership fee based on your income??)  Running indoors in Memphis Februarys is waaaay more attractive than out in the grey, dreary, cold, rainy mess.  The Y is doing a promotion right now where you sign up to work out a certain number of times in a certain number of weeks (heck if I remember what those numbers are!), and that is yet one more motivation for running.  I'm a positive reinforcement girl...are you telling me that I can check off a box each time I work out and you'll give me a free tshirt if I check enough boxes?  You're on, buddy!
  •  Our second anniversary is coming up very soon!  This year's March 11 will be pretty low-key compared to the past two (a wedding and a beach trip).  Nick has a short course that week, and we are both busy with traveling.  He is gone this weekend for a men's retreat, I'll be gone next weekend to help with a girls retreat, then I'll be gone for work, then we'll both go on our Sunday School class' retreat.  And that's March!  (Incidentally, I'll be gone for two weeks for work in the middle of April!  CRAAAAZY!)  I can't believe we'll be starting our third year of marriage--I feel like my life moves at warp speed these days!
However, tonight is NOT crazy.  I am a bachelorette tonight and I intend to ACT like it!  When Nick is away, I like to rent sick girly movies.  Tonight's features are: "The Nanny Diaries" and "Monster in Law."  I watch these movies merely out of curiosity to see what a disaster they were.  I don't like to do this all the time--only when I'm alone and bored.  I have already gotten a head start by eating half a bag of Hint of Lime Tostidos and two bowls of Anniversary Cake Blue Bell ice cream.  Oh yeah.

However, dear blog readers, I figured before I started my double feature that I owed you a post.  After all, I've been excusing myself for so long now because "I don't have the time."  Well I did tonight.  And there you go.  


melanie said...

I am so glad you are back! you are busy...and will remain busy! But I hope you find time to blog. Cause I love to read it!


Brooke said...

wow, this is a real post.

love all the stuff about your job. interesting. glad its rewarding and challenging.

Becca said...

I am way impressed that you were able to sum up your job so well. I think you deserve a raise for being able to explain your job so clearly to others who have no idea. Again, i am completely impressed!!

Adopting Rhet: Click on the timeline above to read more