This week marks the beginning of my third month as an intern at the Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute.
When I first began working here in mid-January, I knew exactly what I hoped to gain from my internship—work experience, exposure to federal policy, and a better understanding of the international adoption process that brought my cousin to the United States last year. However, I wasn’t really sure what would be expected from me. Coming into my internship, I had some knowledge of CCAI and its activities, but only a vague image of the role that I would play in the organization. Part of me was afraid that I would spend the entire spring doing menial tasks.
It didn’t take long for that to change. Within my first week on the job, I was taking notes at a State Department briefing on the state of intercountry adoptions in Haiti. Since then, I have done everything from updating the CCAI website, to researching pending foster care legislation for our bimonthly newsletter. A couple of weeks ago, I was on the phone all day alerting members of congress about an opportunity to sign on to a letter concerning adoptions from Nepal.
Of course, that isn’t to say that I don’t do my fair share of clerical work. As one of only two interns in the office, I spend a lot of time doing things like entering people into our database, editing spreadsheets, and answering the phone.
But while I used to think that stuffing envelopes and making copies was nothing but busy work, that has changed in the time that I have spent at CCAI. No matter how many envelopes I stuff, or how many copies I make—I have never once felt like any of the work I do here is meaningless. We have such a small office that the impact of my work is readily apparent, and such a close-knit staff that it is always appreciated.
A lot of things have changed since I started working here, but my personal favorite change has been to the wall in front of my desk. Initially it was pretty boring to look at, but I have started to decorate it over the past few weeks. Each sticky note has some words of wisdom or inspiration passed on to me from a member of our staff. At the end of my internship, I hope that I can look up and see an entire wall filled with notes.
And, much like I can say now that CCAI is helping me to change my wall into something that I can enjoy looking at, I hope that I can someday look back and say that I helped them change the world into a place where more children and families can enjoy living.