Adoption Counselor and Family Advocate Erin Hutchison is Adoption STAR’s newest staff member. She writes about taking risks in an effort to grow both personally and professionally.
I am very much a person who functions best with routine and familiarity. However, I also realize that too much of the same thing isn’t necessarily good. While working for several years as a clinician at my previous agency, I regularly provided support and encouragement to clients as they “stepped out of their comfort zone” and learned about taking calculated risks to facilitate personal growth and change. I am a firm believer that feeling uncomfortable is okay because it means that you are challenging yourself through exposure to new things – an experience that’s necessary for personal growth.
Over the past year or so, I found myself doing a lot of self-reflection. I was questioning who I was and where I wanted to be. I was comfortable with my career at an agency I had worked at for many years. I felt completely competent as I worked treating clients in an outpatient chemical dependency and mental health counseling setting. However, I started feeling as though I needed something more…something different. I felt that I had potentially reached my plateau and I wasn’t sure where to go next. What I did know was that I enjoyed working with people and I enjoyed being a part of their personal journey of growth and change – even when this involved working to help people overcome many of life’s most challenging and difficult barriers.
It wasn’t long after that a friend told me about a job posting she had seen at Adoption STAR. She thought of me when she became aware of it and felt strongly enough about it that she pulled me aside and told me I may want to consider the idea. She was right! It seemed so “me.” I felt it was almost written for me! I was excited but scared.
Up until that point, I had not considered leaving the agency I had worked at for so many years. I was comfortable there, I knew how to do my job, and I knew how to do it well. However, at the same time, I couldn’t stop thinking about the potential opportunity of working at Adoption STAR. I was excited at the prospect of being able to continue to use my skills as a counselor, but in a completely different light. I could continue to work with families, but in a completely different context – I would be assisting them with the incredibly beautiful journey that is adoption.
It’s been about 4 months since I submitted my resume and took that personal risk. Looking back, it’s one of the best decisions I have made for both my family and myself. What’s fascinating is how quickly I realized this and how assured I felt within just the first hour of my first day at Adoption STAR!
All of the anxiety I experienced about being “the new girl,” leaving my old routine, my former co-workers and friends quickly passed and I transitioned into feeling a sense of security, feeling welcome, and feeling incredibly excited to continue to grow as a person and as a clinician as I dove in to “everything adoption.”
In the short time that I have been with Adoption STAR, I have already learned so much about working with adoptive families and the adoption process. However, I’ve also learned a lot about myself and the importance of self-awareness, taking personal risks, and embracing some of life’s “unknowns.” Life truly is a journey and you never know where it will take you.
Thank you to the wonderful Adoption STAR team that I feel so privileged to be a part of, and to the Adoption STAR families that I look forward to working with everyday.