By Connie Shakro
When I began my internship with RG Adoption Consulting, I knew little to nothing about adoption. In just five short months, I feel tremendously more educated about and emotionally connected to the adoption process, and my life somehow feels fuller because of it.
One of the most rewarding things I was able to do was to help edit an adoption profile book. I previously had no knowledge of the importance profile books play when it comes to adopting a baby. This is the tool birth-mothers use in choosing who they want to adopt their child. WOA!
Looking through this woman’s profile book (it was a single woman) and having her life story unfold before me through pictures of her family, friends, and home, I felt instantly connected to her. It was not as if we had anything in common, as I am currently in a very different stage in my life (my biggest concern is usually cramming for my Biochemistry exams). However, I felt the undeniable passion and love she had and wanted to share with a child of her own. I was touched (I would choose her!) and I continue to be touched by people’s stories each and every day that I able to work as an intern for an amazing adoption consultant (I swear she didn’t make me say that).
Stories. As an English major with a focus in creative writing, I am in the business of sharing stories. I have come to realize that stories hold an inherent value that allows for us to come to understand those who are completely different from ourselves. We learn empathy through stories. We learn to put ourselves in the shoes of another. In my internship, I have the privilege of reading many adoption stories- some good, some bad, and some that often leave me with tears in my eyes. Even if I am just scrolling through Facebook posts on adoption support group pages, I find myself learning more and more about the struggles and triumphs of the adoption process from everybody’s viewpoint.
I have a newfound empathy and understanding for people from all walks of life, from the birth mother who is struggling with the loss of a child to the new adoptive mother who is struggling with the transition to parenthood. I have come to realize the struggle of a same-sex couple trying to adopt an infant, as well as a woman struggling with infertility. There is no way I can fully grasp the obstacles they endure, but through this journey, I have been able to learn, gain compassion, and grow as an individual.
These are real life issues and real people’s stories, stories that aren’t shared in any of my classes. Struggles that people face when it comes to building or growing their family is something that I now realize are things people only learn about when they are hit with them head-on. Why isn’t infertility taught in school? Why don’t our teachers talk about adoption and various ways a family is formed? This internship has opened my eyes and my heart to a world I have never really known or considered. And I feel a responsibility to educate others with my newfound knowledge, a knowledge for which I am grateful.
Connie Shakro is an intern for the RG Adoption Consulting team! She is currently a junior at Loyola University Chicago studying English and Spanish while pursuing the pre-medicine track. She loves to write poetry and volunteer at hospitals in her free time.