We are excited to give our families a little glimpse of the staff here at GWCA and CAN, so that you can see who we are and why we love doing just what we do. Every day we come to work and love to connect with our families, but now we are going to show you whose faces are behind every phone call, letter and E-mail received!
Our next staff member that we want to introduce you to is Jenny Teague, our Travel Advisor! Jenny is the definition of committed. You can tell that she loves her job, values her clients and will go to whatever lengths to make sure that families have a good experience once their case comes across her desk. She inspires the rest of us to match her caliber of service.
We think her zeal will be obvious, so without further ado… Meet Jenny!
- What is your job title and description here at GWCA?
I am the Travel Advisor and oversee travel for our China program, our CAN program and our Legacy Journey program. I handle all inner-country arrangements, from making sure families attend their adoption appointments to helping them schedule their international flights to and from whatever country they’re going to in order to be united with their child! I help families gather all their travel documents to take with them, and make sure they understand the culture in the country that pertains to them.
I work closely with our inner-country reps to make sure that all families are well taken care of when they land to complete the adoption of their child or children. These reps make the finalization of the adoption necessary, and more enjoyable, as adoption is stressful, but exciting for the families and for me. Having our inner-country reps is what sets us apart from other agencies.
Our Legacy Journey program is an awesome program where I am honored to send families back to China with their adopted child or children, usually about 5-6 years after adoption. This program brings particular joy to me because I am able to connect with families who have adopted many years ago, and want to show their child their homeland. There are no adoption meetings to attend. There are no schedules to meet, except tours. This is a time they get to share in their child’s heritage and just learn where their child came from and it’s a time for their adopted children to learn more about their culture through immersion. I arrange all the elements of these trips, and even get to arrange visits to their child’s orphanage, if they desire to go.
- How long have you been working at GWCA?
I have been with GWCA/CAN since April 2010.
- What do you enjoy most about your job?
There is nothing better than hearing the happy squeals, laughter and tears when I tell a family it’s time to travel to their country. This part of the process is the hardest from what families tell me. It means they’ve been matched with their child and that they are now waiting to travel. So, I get to turn a family (who has only looked at pictures) into uniting them with their child by hugging them!
So, being able to give them actual travel dates is the best part of my job. The phone calls are fun, exciting and meaningful, where I get every reaction in the book from, laughing, crying, shock, etc.
- What is the most difficult aspect of your job?
The most difficult aspect of my job is dealing with foreign entities, such as the Embassy and the local government of the country the parents are adopting from. It’s sometimes a very long process, and I help my families understand by making sure they understand the process of their inner-country experience, while explaining that I have to abide by the rules governed by the Embassy and local governments. Each country’s Embassy and local government is different, and I have to make sure I’m treating each representative with respect and honor, as countries feel it is our privilege to adopt from their country.
This part of the process can sometimes delay travel for the families, and because they aren’t familiar with dealing with foreign entities, it’s my job to make them feel at ease and give them realistic timelines.
- How have you grown personally from working at GWCA and with their families?
Working at GWCA/CAN has definitely changed my life for the better. I have never had the honor to be part of such an amazing experience. I feel connected to the families I work with, and while I’m an employee here, I feel a bond with all my families through this process, and when they are happy, I am honored to share in that joy. When they’re sad, I enjoy making them feel better. When families are anxious and feel like they might never travel, I give them pep talks. This job allows me to use my ability to help people feel better in all the different emotions that come with adoption.
This job has shown me that there is still hope in the world, and I see what I call little miracles every day. Seeing families united, and being part of the process when they’re in country is simply amazing, and knowing that there are families out there who love their children before even meeting them is a rewarding feeling. I am kinder, more patient and feel more humble than I ever have in my life. This is not just a job to me, but a mission, and when I was given the opportunity to work here, I felt like I was being given the opportunity to learn more about myself.
I couldn’t imagine being anywhere else, and no matter what the day brings, I know in the end, I’m helping families be Forever Families. Nothing beats that!
- Why do you love adoption?
I love adoption because it brings a feeling of warmth, awe and happiness. It shows that the world has some amazing people in it, and that there are still people out there who are filled with unconditional love, especially in international adoption. There are so many unknowns and these families know that and don’t care what the unknowns might be. They only know that their son or daughter is out there, in whatever country, just waiting for them. They see a picture and fall in love. They get an update, which most of the time is not very informative, and they fall in love. They open their hearts and minds and never look back. They know in their hearts that their son or daughter is there, and no matter what, they love them without hesitation.
I also love adoption because it means there’s one less orphan in the world. Our goal is to have no orphans and no need for adoption, but until that time occurs, our families will continue to find their sons and daughters all over the world and give them the life they could never hope to have in their current situations.
Fun facts about Jenny:
1. I have 2 children – my son is 19, a Marine, and newly married, and stationed in California completing his training to be a linguist. My daughter is 15, a dancer and singer and we have a ton of fun, being that it’s only her and I now. They are the joys in my life.
2. I have 4 kitties, and 1 puppy. I know. I know. I must be crazy, but I have a soft spot for animals, and I adopt them all from the Humane Society here in Austin. I will say that my new puppy was left on my doorstep with a note attached. I opened the door and opened the box she was in and never looked back. She is a wonderful addition to our animal farm!
3. I am a singer, and love the opportunity to sing for anyone who wants to listen! My daughter is following in my footsteps and wants to go on the X Factor before she graduates high school.
4. I love reading, and typically read 3-4 books a week on my Kindle Fire. It’s how I wind down from my work day. I was a book snob for a long time, but once you get a Kindle, you never look back!
5. Adoption has touched my life as well. My children’s Dad was adopted, and I was lucky to help him find his birth mother, brothers, and learn more about this heritage. My father was also adopted and he was able to find his birth mother, and his birth sister, who I had the honor of meeting when I was younger.
“Families are very important to Jenny. She dedicates her time and heart into helping families transition smoothly through the travel process. She makes a personal effort to ensure families picking up their little ones- whether it is in China, Africa or another country- have the absolute best experience!” –Jenny’s coworker
Check back next Wednesday to see who our next staffer profiled will be!Read More
For the next couple of weeks we are going to be sharing something special with you called “Staff Spotlight,” a blog mini-series every Wednesday! We are excited to give our families a little glimpse of the staff here at GWCA and CAN so that you can see who we are, and why we love doing just what we do. Every day we come to work and love to connect with our families, but now we are going to show you whose faces are behind every phone call, letter and E-mail received!
Our first staff member that we want to introduce you to is Kim Moore, our China Waiting Child Program Manager! Kim is the kind of co-worker that everyone wants to have and we are positive that our families are in the best hands when working with Kim. Her passion, consistency, and warmth are contagious.
So without further ado… Meet Kim!
1. What is your job title and description here at GWCA?
I am the Waiting Child Program Manager. Not only do I oversee our GWCA Waiting Child Program, I work very closely with our Waiting Child Team to help match families with our waiting angels. I have the honor to be able to help educate, guide, and assist families with identifying their forever child. I work with many families in all stages of their adoption journey and it is my goal to ensure that they have a positive relationship with our team, our children, and their adoption journey.
- How long have you been working at Great Wall?
I have been working with GWCA for about 1 year.
- What do you enjoy most about your job?
I love helping the families and children. Just helping 1 child come home to a safe, loving, and stable forever family is the most wonderful experience. I thoroughly enjoy getting to know a family and helping them realize their dream of adoption. Uniting families is important and it is a wonderful experience to see these waiting angels come home.
- What is the most difficult aspect of your job?
The most challenging aspect of this position is trying to provide the best advocacy and outreach for all of our waiting children. There are over 2000 waiting children within China and providing individualized and personal advocacy for each of these children is challenging. I want to be able to help each one of these children find their forever family. The more education I can provide families about adoption, special needs, and the beauty of a specific child is highly important to me. I enjoy the challenge of creating new ideas for advocating for our children and love knowing that families are so eager to help too.
- How have you grown personally from working at GWCA, and with their families?
There are so many ways I have personally grown from working with GWCA and with our wonderful families. Adoption holds a very special place in my heart as I myself was adopted internationally. Although at the time, there was no special needs track, I myself would have been considered a waiting child as well. Several of my family members were also internationally adopted; many of whom also have special needs. Knowing how the power of love and family can change the life of a child inspires my passion to help bring home these waiting children and unite them with their forever family.
Working in this position has shown me how wonderful families are in considering this option for their adoption. There are so many families who may have not ever considered these children and I feel that it is important for me personally to help educate and support families who are considering this track. It has also been a challenge as I want to show families that there are many conditions that are very manageable and is an option that should be explored. I have learned so much from adoptive parents and families, and have been able to share my own experiences and advice coming from an adult adoptee perspective.
Working within this field has brought me closer to the adoption community and has helped in my understanding and feelings of my own adoption as well.
- Why do you love adoption?
I love adoption because I think every child deserves to know the love and support of a family. Children were not meant to grow up and be raised in institutions and I want to help as many children as possible realize the beauty of family. Along with my personal experiences (noted above), I have spent over 5 years professionally working with children and families. Adoption is overall a very positive experience for families and I am thrilled to work within such a supportive community. My background includes working with families through child development stages and major life transitions. All of these experiences have helped me better guide families through the journey of adopting a waiting child.
1. I was adopted internationally from South Korea
2. My “special need” that I would have been labeled with if there was a waiting child program would have been multiple hemangiomas.
3. I am learning the Hangul language and plan to travel to S. Korea for the 1st time since my adoption in September.
4. I have no adopted children, but I have adopted a cat (Niko) and a dog (Cherry).
“I am so happy to hear Kim is today’s Staff Spotlight choice. Kim is so passionate and works extremely hard to bring children home to their forever families. I admire Kim for her dedication to China adoption. Each day, I find myself learning from Kim as she counsels and assists families through their adoption journey.” –Kim’s coworker
Don’t forget to check back next Wednesday to see who will be featured on “Staff Spotlight!”Read More