We are so excited to welcome Adoption Support Alliance’s first MSW intern, Andie Coston. Andie is working towards her Masters in Social Work through Indiana Wesleyan University. As an adoptee and adoptive parent, we are looking forward to how her involvement will improve our organization. And, we welcome the opportunity to influence a future adoption-competent clinician. Andie will be with ASA through 2022. We hope you, too, will be able to learn from her and influence her growth through this internship. Welcome, Andie!
Hello! My name is Andrea, or Andie.
Let’s get the basics out of the way… I am a recent Northern Michigander transplant to the Charlotte area. I have been married to my husband for 14 years and we have four children ages 11, 9, 7, and 4. We also house and care for two wiener dogs (Daisy Duke Banana Pants and Long John Custard), two cats (Frey and Toothless), and a host of southern bugs and lizards that I have resigned myself to escorting from my home daily.
My background with Adoption:
I come to ASA as an infant domestic private Adoptee. My adoption was through Catholic Charities via Jim Gritter. Jim is a proponent of Open Adoption and, through a series of circumstances, my very closed adoption became very open. I am in reunion with both of my biological families with varying degrees of openness and closeness.
I am also a former foster parent and an adoptive parent through the foster care system. We have an open adoption with our child’s parents and siblings.
My work in adoption and overlapping areas:
For the last few years, I have been in the online community sharing my own story as well as advocating for family preservation, ethical adoptions, federal and state adoption reforms and post-placement services. My desire is to educate others on adoption via blogging, storytelling, podcasting, writing, and building relationships with other Adoptees, Birth/First Parents, Foster Parents, Adoptive Parents and Prospective Adoptive Parents.
I am trauma-certified through PESI’s Bessel Van der Kolk’s trauma class. I created a podcast with fellow social worker, Allison Sweatman, entitled Trauma-Informed Everything. In 2020, I was part of a panel, which can be found on YouTube, entitled The Triad Table where we discussed different adoption topics with Adoptees, Birth/First Parents, Adoptive Parents, and Adoption Agencies. My first MSW field placement was at a k-12 charter school where I worked with children of all ages in groups, individual assessments, and providing services to support students during the onset of COVID.
Most recently, I started a post-placement connection business with fellow Adoptee, Claire Hudson. Our company, POST Resource provides Connection Kits and Boxes that were designed to bring connection to the entire adoption constellation through tools, resources, and education.
Over 15 years ago, I realized that to be able to truly make tactile change within the Adoption Community and Industry, I would need a degree in an area that would qualify me as a professional. I have a Bachelor of Science in Intercultural Studies with a minor in Marketing. I am currently in my final year of my graduate program of Master of Social Work. It was through my POST partner, Claire, that I learned about ASA when we moved to the Charlotte area and I knew I wanted to partner with this organization in some way. Erin Nasmyth has graciously agreed to supervise my advanced placement internship with ASA.
What will I do?
My goal as an intern at ASA is multi-faceted. I hope to be able to offer my own lived experience as an Adoptee and an Adoptive Parent to help develop and move forward the goals ASA already has in place. In turn, I will advance my education in providing individual, family, and group therapy under the supervision of Erin. I will also be creating educational opportunities through blogs, panels, workshops, book clubs, or whatever ways ASA can utilize my education, lived experience, and skills.
I look forward to serving and building relationships with ASA clients to cultivate healthier adoptions, Adoptees, and families. I am excited for what ASA is planning to cultivate and start this year and hope that I can be just another pair of hands to assist Erin and Erin in their tasks.