This month, we are excited and honored to welcome a new member to the Adoption Choices of Oklahoma team: Kenneal Patterson! She will be working as an Editorial Intern with us for the next six months.
As a sophomore at Northeastern University in Boston, Kenneal is currently studying Journalism and Political Science, with a minor in Global Health. She is honored to be a part of Adoption Choices, as she has a huge passion for helping others and hopes to use her hard-earned journalism skills to inspire our readers with information about adoption. I’m excited to have her on my team, and look forward to what the coming weeks hold for her.
Before she begins her regular blogs, I wanted to give her a chance to introduce herself and for you all to get to know her.
When you hear the word,” adoption,” what comes to mind?
When I think of adoption, I immediately think of my beloved little cousin. My cousin Lila, who is just about to start her freshman year of high school, is one of the most wonderful, creative, and hilarious kids I’ve ever met. I remember my uncontainable excitement after receiving letters in the mail containing adorable pictures of Lila from her orphanage in China. She was barely even a year old, with chubby cheeks, wispy black baby hair, and the biggest dimple I’d ever seen. It was the most peculiar feeling- even though I had never met her, I felt like she had been part of our family for years. I remember the day we rushed over to the airport, eagerness propelling us through the crowds to greet my aunt and new baby cousin. I can picture it so clearly: my aunt’s teary smile, the swathed baby cradled in the crook of her arm, and Lila’s tiny hands reaching for her new plush teddy bear. Lila has grown up so much, but I will never forget the exact moment I first laid eyes on her. I wouldn’t trade that memory for the world.
What/Who inspires you?
My mom is easily my greatest inspiration. Her compassion practically pours out of her; she engulfs everyone she meets in a tidal wave of love and warmth. She cares so deeply about every living thing around her- from the bumblebees in her rose garden to people across the world she’ll never meet. Her empathy for others is all consuming- her selflessness is almost supernatural. Every morning, she sheds a tear when reading sad stories in the daily paper. She specifically goes out of her way to save doves with broken wings; she has never ignored the silent suffering of stray dogs. My mom’s compassion is in her every movement- even when taking a stroll, she moves snails off the pavement so that pedestrians won’t crush them.I must also mention that my mom got her compassion from my grandmother before her. My grandmother taught all of her children and grandchildren to cherish every creature- big or small. I hope to follow in the footsteps of the incredible women in my family- I want my empathy to flow as abundantly as their own. Every day, I try to be more like them.
What was the last book you read?
I just reread one of my favorite books of all time, Mountains Beyond Mountains by Tracy Kidder. I read this incredible novel before I visited Haiti for the first time. I have been very involved in Haiti throughout my life, and I’ve had the privilege to visit three times. Haiti has an indescribable beauty and culture, and my life has been completely altered after meeting so many vibrant and wonderful people. Kidder’s novel describes the inspiring work of Dr. Paul Farmer, the founder of an organization called Partners in Health. Dr. Farmer constructed incredible hospitals in the heart of Haiti’s central plateau, and I fortunately had the opportunity to visit his hospitals and orphanages. Throughout high school, I was mesmerized by Dr. Farmer’s life and his astonishing impact on so many people. The minute I started school, I joined my university’s Partners in Health Club. I was completely awestruck when I had the honor of meeting Dr. Paul Farmer after attending one of his seminars in Boston. Mountains Beyond Mountains ignited my intense love for Global Health, something that I hope to apply to my work with Adoption Choices.
What is the craziest thing you’ve ever done?
The craziest thing I’ve ever done happened during one of my visits to Haiti. Last summer, Haiti experienced violent protests. In July, Haitian civilians asked the Prime Minister to step down over tensions regarding skyrocketing gas prices. Streets were swarming with protestors, and many roads were blocked off with flaming tires and rocky barricades. Due to these roadblocks, our small group was unable to make it to Port-au-Prince and fly out of Haiti. On the way back, the car was unable to circumnavigate the roadblocks, so we were forced to get out of the car. To get back to our hotel, we had to ride on the back of motorcycles and weave in and out of the burning roadblocks. It was a thrilling day, to say the least!
What are you passionate about?
As a journalist, I am very passionate about exploring the truth. I think that the first step in changing the world for the better is to make others a little more open minded. Journalists have the ability to share such a diverse range of stories, and reading about real life scenarios and real life people makes you gain just a little more empathy. Empathy is the driving force of change- once we realize that the world is much bigger than our own sheltered bubble, we are aCurrently, I’m watching the series “Our Planet.” I would recommend this show to anyone. We are facing a critical turning point in history, where we must finally decide between protecting our only home or fulfilling humanity’s insatiable greed. “Our Planet” chronicles the unimaginable beauty of our natural world. It transports the viewer to vast deserts; it details the teeming life of tropical jungles. It reminds the watcher that Earth is truly irreplaceable, and it shows us what we stand to lose if we don’t make more of an effort to protect our home.
What are you currently watching on Netflix?
I’m able to strengthen bonds with those who are different. And once these connections are formed, our world becomes a little kinder and a little more peaceful. It is a journalist’s duty to be genuine and honest, to share what they discover. People can only resolve the world’s inequalities after opening their eyes and realizing that these injustices exist. However, people can only acknowledge suffering after the truth is exposed in the first place.
What did you want to be when you grew up?
I fell in love with reading from a young age. According to my mom, I used to cradle heaps and heaps of library books in my bed. I would fall asleep with the books scattered around me. Other kids had stuffed animals, and I had my favorite fantastical hardbacks. I absorbed my favorite stories in the depths of my very soul, and they shaped me to be the person I am today. After I learned to read, I quickly learned to write. There was something truly magical about how you could pick up a pen and create a universe. I decided immediately that I wanted to be an author, so that little kids just like me could share the worlds of our imagination. Although I’ve decided to pursue the path of journalism instead, I still consider literature to be one of the most important forms of art.
What do you enjoy doing when you’re not working?
When I’m not working, I spend most of my time outdoors. I spent the first part of my childhood on a pastoral farm in Sonoma, California. My sister and I would wake up at dawn to the sound of roosters; we would fall asleep to the quiet chirping of crickets. We spent balmy summers in woodland brooks, catching frogs and chasing fireflies. Every night we came home smelling of dirt and oak, and leaves were perpetually stuck in our hair. My childhood fostered my love for the natural world, something that I still hold very dear to me. At home in Colorado, I can enjoy nature every single day- whether by watching fox outside my window, or hiking through wildflowers behind my house. Moving to Boston for school made me appreciate nature in a way I never had before. Boston is incredible, but it’s impossible to compare any city to the breathtaking sight of the Rocky Mountains. My love for the wild encourages me to get out of my house as often as I can.
What are your career aspirations?
My biggest dream is to become a journalist. In all honesty, I believe that the staggering impact of journalism is too often ignored. Journalists uphold the truth, they expose essential facts of life when many choose to turn the other cheek. They are the voice for the voiceless, spreading life changing information, destroying pre-existing beliefs, and shattering ignorance. A journalist’s job is to enlighten- to bring crucial knowledge to the apathetic or unaware. Journalists have the privilege of documenting history as it happens, and changing the course of an era. They can transform lives with stories of love and hope, or they can warn multitudes of impending danger. I know that I have a long way to go, but I hope someday to follow in the footsteps of my role models and write like the journalists I look up to.
Why Adoption Choices?
Adoption can be a terrifying thing. That’s why organizations like Adoption Choices are so critical- they facilitate the process and provide support to anyone that needs it. Adoption Choices transforms lives; it builds families. A loving family is one of the true wonders of the world, and Adoption Choices makes families their raison d’etre. Furthermore, Adoption Choices is progressive and accepting of any loving parent that wants to adopt, including members of the LGBTQ+ community. It’s so inspiring that this organization creates such a welcoming and caring atmosphere for families to form. That’s why it means so much to me to work for Adoption Choices.
About the Author
Rachel Robertson is a published journalist, book editor, certified Publishing Specialist, and aspiring novelist. She graduated from Central Washington University (CWU) in March 2011, having found her writing voice within the Creative Nonfiction genre and grew to work as a freelance book editor for small presses all across the United States.
In June 2018, she embarked on an internship with Virginia Frank and came on board with Adoption Choices Inc., Not for Profit 501(c)(3), in December 2018. Between her mutual passion with adoption and surrogacy, and her own personal history with adoption, Rachel is excited to research and share topics each week that will spread awareness and better serve the faithful patrons of Adoption Choices Inc.
When Rachel isn’t haunting her local Starbucks or Barnes and Noble, she’s avidly pouring over her Writer’s Digest subscription or cozying up with a cup of tea and a book. She currently resides in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with her beloved wife and Border Collie.