AMANDA MUCCIO ’18
During the summer before her senior year at Trinity, Elizabeth Searls ’18 interned at EVOLVE Adoption and Family Services in Stillwater, Minnesota. “It was the most humbling and rewarding experience to be part of bringing families together,” said Searls.
EVOLVE Adoption and Family Services is an agency that offers support in both domestic and international adoption in addition to a local infant program, foster care, and pregnancy services. Searls worked specifically with the domestic and international programs for adoption. “I handled the administrative end of the adoption process,” Searls remarked. “I helped make sure parents met the proper requirements to adopt. I quickly learned the importance of being financially stable, providing a support system, and being emotionally available. It’s all about creating the best environment for a child to grow.”
When asked how she went about selecting the internship at EVOLVE for the summer of 2017, Searls said she simply stumbled upon it. “I didn’t necessarily plan on practicing in social work. I was searching for non-forprofit opportunities in Minnesota, and a Process Coordinator intern position was available.” Searls explained that strong personal interest also led her to this experience. She said that, “Although I hadn’t had anyone close to me go through the adoption process, I had always been curious about it. As soon as I read the position description, I knew it would be a great learning experience. Now, more than ever, I have a deep respect for those who make adoption services a part of their profession.”
From June to August, Searls drove one-hour from her home in Wayzata, Minn. to EVOLVE’s office in Stillwater, Minn four days per week. While the commute was tiring, Searls expressed how grateful she is for her experience at EVOLVE. In reflecting on her time at the agency, Searls mentioned that her greatest memory was encapsulated in family photographs. Since Searls does not have a Master’s degree in social work, she was unable to work directly with parents or children. However, she said that some of the best moments in the office were spent celebrating the uniting of an adoptive or foster child with their parents. Even if it was “behind the scenes,” Searls did have a hand in joining them together. “Seeing the photos of the children and their families always made the entire staff smile,” Searls said. Searls later acknowledged the importance of an internship like this one: “Even if you’re doing the desk work, you are making a real difference in the lives of real people. Helping to bring families together is so incredible.”