Saturday, August 25, 2012
FINALLY .... Let Me Tell You a Story.....
Soon after we moved here in June I connected with some women and we began planning a statewide Christian Adoption Conference to be held on October 27th which we have since named Choosing Hope. I'm getting more and more excited about this, by the way, and if you haven't heard about it, you should check it out.
As we were talking about collaborating with other organizations, I remembered that two of the women that I especially enjoyed from the Adoption Competency class that I taught this past fall were employed at Bethany Christian Services. Not knowing a lot about the organization, I simply had the idea that if they had Christian in the name they should partner with us with the conference. So I sent a quick email to these two women and asked if we could meet at Dunn Brothers and chat.
So we did. And I told them about the conference, and they said they agreed -- and then they said, "We thought you were asking us to meet because you wanted to talk about THE JOB." I said, "What Job?" and an very long journey began.
Apparently their Branch Manager position for the branch in Minnesota was vacant and had been for some time. They encouraged me to apply for it and I explained that I wasn't looking for a job -- that I had plenty of those. But they made it simply by saying I could avoid all of the application materials on the web and just shoot them a resume and that the regional Director of Operations happened to be coming to town that week. If he liked the resume, they said, he might have time to meet with me.
So I went to the Bethany website and was very impressed with so many things. I read through the job description, realized I was qualified (which surprised me because I don't have an MSW nor do I have a license), and worked on my resume. When I was revising an old resume, I realized that it might look like I had made up my resume because it so clearly fit into the job description! It looked as though God had been preparing me for this position all my life.
A few days later I met with the DO for an hour and he concluded that we should think about things for a few days and then decide if we both wanted to move forward. I already knew my answer. He took a while to get back to me.
A couple weeks later I had a chance to meet with the Interim Branch Manager who is also the Manager of the Colorado Branch and we had a wonderful two hour conversation that got me very excited about the position. She told me what it was like to have the position -- about the autonomy of the local office combined with the support and services of the Corporate Office. It was a very encouraging conversation.
The Regional DO wanted to talk to me at length and was not going to be in town when I was for quite some time, so we agreed to webcam interview. For almost four hours on a Saturday morning we talked about all kinds of things -- and then it was time to think and pray some more. (For him, I guess. I was sure).
Another phone call a few days later was a role play -- him acting like an angry adoptive parent and me being the Branch manager. The next day he wanted me to do an analysis of a sample budget and make recommendations. And then he wanted to talk to someone who I had supervised in the past.
Wow. That was tricky. I haven't supervised anyone except my children in a long time -- in fact, it had been 20 years -- but fortunately one of the guys I supervised remains a good friend and I have seen him several times since then. So that led to what I understand was a 45 minute conversation.
By this time it was vacation time, so we went on vacation with the understanding that after my return I would be meeting with the local board of Directors upon my return. On August 7th I had the privilege of meeting those people. I had been told that I needed to be professional .. and I tried to be very careful -- for about 7 minutes -- and then I was just myself. I figured that if they hired me to be someone different that it would be a long fivge years (that is the commitment I had made) of pretending. I loved the board members and felt like it was a great meeting.
By the next day I had been informed that it was unanimous that I would be progressing to the next interview -- which was to take place at the headquarters in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where I flew on Monday. I spent 5 hours on the main Bethany campus on Tuesday morning and it was awesome. I could fill pages of the things I learned about the amazing work Bethany is doing around the world. I loved the people I met and could sense their intelligence, kindness, and passion for children.
Thursday the Regional DO called to let me know that he had gotten the feedback and that the report for Michigan was a good one. The local board was meeting one more time on Thursday evening to vote on their final decision.
Yesterday, just two days short of two full months of the hiring process, I was offered the position and accepted it. And that, ladies and gentlemen -- (ok, possibly not gentlemen), is my unbloggable news.
It's been an interesting journey. I know in many ways I am going to have to grow up. For one thing, I'm going to have to go into an office every morning. For another, I am going to have to dress up. My words are now going to be representative of an organization that has a huge impact on children (nationally Bethany served 66,284 children in 2011). If you want to check out the annual report you can find it here. I also encourage you, if you are at all interested, to spend some time on the Bethany website to see all the places in the world that they are making an impact.
Most of this summer I have been too excited to sleep. Our new church is amazing. Our new friends so much fun. And the possibility of working for an organization like Bethany seems like the culmination of everything I've done so far. It brings me back into the Christian world -- a place I've been away from professionally for 16 years -- and back to my roots. It incorporates my passion -- finding homes for children before they age out of care -- and expands it to include all kinds of edgy programs that help take care of the orphans of the world.
I'm ready for the next adventure and apologize for my poor blogging this summer. I'm really bad at keeping a secret so I figured I sen hould just shut up -- and I didn't want to talk about it online until the families I'm currently working with had been notified.
I'm not sure exactly what direction my blog will head -- but don't worry, I'll still be around. You guys are my extended family.
Quite a story, huh?