For the past six months, Adoption Choices of Oklahoma has had the honor of having Kenneal Patterson as an Editorial Intern. Each week, she brought her creative writing skills to work and developed amazing content. Her knack for painting images with her words allowed her to relay information in a new way and broaden the perspectives of our readers. She was never shy about showing her passion for the adoption community in each word she wrote either. During her time with us, Kenneal was able to utilize her journalist talent by interviewing adoptive families and bringing their stories to light. Even when life threw her a few curveballs, Kenneal persevered and successfully completed her internship.
Sadly, Kenneal’s contract has come to an end and she has decided to move onto the next season of her life. Adoption Choices greatly appreciated everything she has done for us. She will be greatly missed. Here are her insights into our Editorial Internship, how it impacted her and what her future goals are. We wish her the very best in everything she does!
RR: When did You Start as an Intern, and what Prompted You to Apply for the Internship?
KP: This internship has changed my life in so many wonderful ways, and encouraged me to look at the world through a new perspective. For as long as I can remember, I’ve wanted to be a journalist. I knew that this internship would give me incredible writing experience and a chance to explore something I’m passionate about. Without adoption, I would have never met one of my most beloved family members, my youngest cousin. Even though I live hundreds of miles from her, she illuminates my life every day with her radiance. My life would be dull and grey without her sunshine! It’s unbelievable to imagine my life without her in it, so I’ve always advocated for the wonders of adoption. This internship gave me an incredible opportunity to pursue a writing career while simultaneously learning about something I cared deeply about.
RR: What Knowledge of Adoption did You have coming into the Internship? How has that Changed/Not Changed?
KP: I knew very little about adoption when I first started the internship. My cousin is only five years younger than me, so I was still quite little when she came into my life. It has been so rewarding to learn so much about the adoption process. I feel like I discovered something new every single week. Thanks to the guidance of my supervisor and the others that have edited my work, I’ve been able to perfect so many writing techniques. But I had no idea how much I would learn about the adoption process as a whole. The world of adoption is so much bigger than I could have ever dreamed.
RR: Over the past Six Months, what do You feel You’ve Learned through being an Intern with Adoption Choices?
KP: Adoption Choices works so hard to ensure that children are paired with loving families. To me, there is something magical about the bond between a child and their parents. One of the most fascinating parts of the internship was when I interviewed parents who had adopted through Adoption Choices. I heard their beautiful stories and listened as they professed the unconditional love they have for their little ones. It just reminded me all over again what I love about adoption. Adoption is all about the unparalleled beauty of human connection – between birth parents and their child, a child and their adoptive parents, adoptive parents and birth parents, and so much more.
RR: What was One of the Biggest Challenges You Faced?
KP: In many movies, adoption is depicted as a flawless experience, devoid of hardship or hassle. In reality, the adoption process can be fairly stressful. Many parents experience months of waiting, pounds of paperwork, and complex court hearings. Adoption is far from simple, and it was often a challenge to understand the nuances. I learned about everything from the home study process, the pros and cons of transracial adoption, and how mental health influences adoption. I previously knew nothing about these complexities, and researching them was oftentimes a challenge. I am so grateful, however, for everything these topics taught me.
RR: What was a Highlight of Your Experience?
KP: It may be cheesy, but the highlight of my experience was constantly thinking about the undeniable connection of family. Throughout every single blog post, I always concentrated on the beauty of adoption and the ties that bind us to one another. To me, family is all about unity, compassion, respect, and most importantly – love. This internship did not only remind me to be a better writer. It reminded me to be a better sister, daughter, cousin, and human being.
RR: What Knowledge/Skills that You Gained with us do You Plan on Applying in the Future?
KP: I am very thankful for several skills that will help me throughout my journalism career: writing, editing, and researching. The internship taught me how to delve deep into scientific journals, personal accounts, and online statistics to get a better understanding of my weekly topic. Without learning how to properly research, I would never have gained the essential knowledge that the blog posts required. Furthermore, I was already accustomed to typical news writing, essay writing, and creative writing. I had never truly experienced blog writing, however. Working on a blog post is different than anything I have ever experienced. I connected to my readers in ways I had never thought possible. The editing was also extremely helpful since my punctuation and grammar mistakes had gone unnoticed for too long before I started the internship.
RR: Did the Internship provide You with any Insights that You hadn’t Anticipated?
KP: I learned a lot about online communication and how to promote articles, something I had no idea the internship entailed. Almost every journalist wants their work to be recognized, and they’re committed to sharing crucial information. However, you cannot just publish a blog post and wait for a person to randomly click your link. It takes a lot of effort to identify SEO keywords, link articles, and signal boost your posts.
RR: Prior to Beginning Your Job, did the Company give You Adequate Information about Your Project?
KP: Absolutely. Adoption Choices gave me all the information I needed to have an incredible internship experience.
RR: What would You have liked to Know before Your Internship Started?
KP: It was sometimes hard to get used to the quick turnaround on articles. The internship was not limited to a certain amount of time per week, but it was a round-the-clock commitment. I developed so many professional strengths thanks to the internship, especially since there were very few breaks. You constantly have work to do – whether it’s researching a new article, writing your article, or editing multiple articles at once.
RR: Did You Accomplish what You Wanted to during Your Internship?
KP: This internship has definitely exceeded my expectations. I was lucky enough to get endless writing practice, but learned so much else along the way. I have so much more than a portfolio of blog posts. I have gained vital journalistic skills and continued to improve my writing. I can also impress my family members with extensive knowledge of a subject I love.
RR: Would You Recommend this Internship to a Friend? Why or why not?
KP: I would recommend this internship to a friend who has good time management skills. Although the internship is online, you must constantly be diligent about your work. You cannot simply submit a rough draft and neglect your other responsibilities. The internship is just as rewarding as the time you put into it, and you should be dedicated to challenging yourself and striving to do better each week.
RR: What Advice would You Give to help us Improve the Program in the Future?
KP: I think that a quick tutorial on how to write a blog post would be really helpful. When I first started, I was a little unsure about how best to format my blogs. It took me a while to master blog writing, especially since I had no prior experience. Blog posts require clear headers, SEO keywords, a healthy relationship with your audience, and a writing style that doesn’t sound too formal. Before the internship, I was accustomed to a very specific type of writing. Blog writing pushed me out of my comfort zone, and it provided me with an educational experience that I will never forget. Nevertheless, a brief overview of blog writing at the beginning of the internship would have been beneficial.
RR: What was the most Helpful Thing Your Supervisor did to make You Feel Comfortable as an Intern?
KP: I really appreciated our monthly ZOOM meetings, especially my individual ZOOM call with my supervisor. My supervisor went above and beyond to make each intern feel recognized and appreciated. Even in her weekly emails, she addressed each of us individually rather than as a whole. She fostered a personal connection with each intern and worked hard to establish a sense of community despite the online nature of the internship.
RR: Anything You’d like to Ask, Say or Suggest to Your Intern Supervisor?
KP: Thank you, thank you, thank you! Rachel, you have been an absolutely wonderful supervisor and I am so grateful for the time I spent as your mentee. You are so passionate about everything that you do, and you have so much empathy and kindness in your heart. Your primary concern is for the well-being of your interns, and that is a remarkable quality to have. You not only pushed me to be a better writer, but you were there for me through some difficult times. Your endless encouragement and reassurance gave me the confidence I needed to pursue a career in journalism. You are an inspiration to us all, and I cannot thank you enough.
RR: What is Next for You?
KP: I will be finishing up my next few years of college at Northeastern University in Boston. I am majoring in Journalism, and will continue to fulfill my dreams of being a writer. I am looking forward to what this next decade has in store!