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Farewell from the Fall Intern - Samantha Dehring

My name is Samantha Dehring, and I’ve had the honor of interning here with Voice for Adoption for the past few months. When I first arrived in Washington, D.C. in August, I was excited, optimistic, and a little frightened. I’d wanted to live in D.C. since first grade, and I hoped to make the very most of the experience. I could not have wished for a better internship experience than the one I found at Voice for Adoption, where I learned so much about the issues facing the adoption and foster care realm, as well as about how advocacy in general works.

Me on the morning of the Adoptive Family Portait Project

            When I began my work with Voice for Adoption, we were extremely busy preparing for the Adoptive Family Portrait Project. The Project, which matches families who have adopted from foster care with their Senator or Representative for National Adoption Awareness Month, taught me first-hand that though there are issues in the adoption and foster care system, there is also joy. Through my work as the main point of contact for the project, I was privileged enough to speak with several of the families who participated in the project, and all of them lit up when asked to speak about their family.

Perhaps the most meaningful of these moments was during the Project’s briefing portion on Capitol Hill, when Ms. Welborne was speaking to her experience adopting Madison into her family. She’d given Madison a pen and paper, so the little girl would keep still while she spoke, and at the end, she showed that Madison had drawn a picture of herself and her mother holding hands, with a heart that said “love” in between them. When asked about the drawing, Madison explained, “I love my mom!” and hugged her mother.

My work with Voice for Adoption has been filled with many touching moments, but it has also been filled with educational ones. The Executive Director, Schylar, has taught me so much, not only about the issues facing the system, but also about how an advocacy organization works. I watched VFA work tirelessly with other small organizations to preserve the Adoption Tax Credit, and learned that there is strength in numbers, that together, we can absolutely make a difference in the world around us.

My View of the White Hosue as I walk home from Voice for Adoption in the evenings

As my time in Washington, D.C. draws to a close, and I reflect upon the changes that this semester has brought to my life, I’d like to thank Voice for Adoption, and Schylar, for allowing me to work and grow with them. Voice for Adoption and the Adoptive Family Portrait Project have taught me so many things, and I will cherish my time here for years to come.