This month, we are excited and honored to welcome a new member to the Adoption Choices of New York team: Darby Summers! She will be working as an Editorial Intern with us for the next six months.
Darby Summers has a strong passion for reading, literature and language. She was inspired at a young age, followed through with a BA in English, and dreams of sharing a story of her own in the genres she has adored all her life. During her six months with Adoption Choices, Darby plans to help provide birth and adoptive families with much needed industry information and support them through what can be a very difficult time in their lives.
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.
RR: When you hear the word, “adoption,” what comes to mind?
DS: Love. Family. Choice. Hope. These were the words that sprung to mind when I first read this question, and, after thinking about it for a few days, they all still resonate strongly when I hear the word adoption.
I’ll start with ‘family’ – this is the most straightforward. When you are adopting, you are creating or growing a family. A child gains a parent (or parents), the parent(s) gains a child. Of course, there is more to a family than just the parent-child relationship, and that is why ‘choice,’ ‘love,’ and ‘hope’ are all so strong in my mind as well.
Adoption is a choice. It is a choice for the birth mother, and it is a choice for the adoptive parent(s). It can be a hard choice to make. But it is a choice, and there is always careful consideration and purpose behind it. An adoptive family isn’t one that just happens, it is made, decided with a purpose – and that purpose is love.
Okay, now I’ll tackle ‘love’. Though it was the first thing I put – and is first because in my mind it is the biggest and most important– it becomes even more powerful with the context of ‘family’ and ‘choice.’ What do all the choices have in common? They are made out of love. The birth mother makes a choice out of love for her child and wanting what’s best for her child. The parent(s) make the choice out of love for each other, wanting to build a family together and loving this unknown child in need who will become family to them. It is this bond of love that makes a family so much more than just people who live together under the same roof.
Lastly, ‘hope.’ Adoption offers hope to all involved. Hope for a birth mother who can’t care for a baby right now, and hope for people who haven’t been able to have a child of their own, hope in all sorts of situations that the lives of all those involved will be improved by the choices made out of love. When love is the basis of hope, that hope is most certainly well-founded.
RR: What/Who inspires you?
DS: Often, I find myself inspired by characters in fiction. Lucy Pevensie in The Chronicles of Narnia by C.S. Lewis is someone I’ve always aspired to be more like. She is kind, compassionate, and cares about her family and people in need; she is firm in her convictions and brave, but not to the point of foolishness. She has a pure heart and believes in the goodness of people and brings hope and joy to all who come in contact with her. It’s hard not to be inspired by that and want to emulate it in my daily life.
In terms of real-life people, though, my mom really inspires me. I didn’t appreciate all she did for me and my sister when we were growing up, and how difficult she had it raising two girls with a husband in the military who would be deployed for years at a time. If you think it’s hard being a military brat, I can tell you with 100% confidence it’s even harder to be a military spouse. Recently, she completed an online degree and got her Masters in Sports Psychology. I’ve been so proud of her! That may be a weird thing for a child to say about her parent, but it’s true.
Mom, if you’re reading this: I love you so much. I appreciate all you’ve done to raise me, and I am so proud of all of the strides you have taken towards your own growth, career and personal life. Thank you for all the support and love you give to my sister and me every day. <3
RR: What was the last book you read?
DS: I’ve been partaking in “Screenless Sundays” for the past couple weeks, and this past Sunday I looked over my bookshelf and decided to pull out the first book of The Belgariad series by David Eddings. The Belgariad is a pretty usual choice for me; I love fantasy, and The Belgariad is a fairly typical coming-of-age fantasy epic. (10/10 would recommend it if that’s your thing. But if you aren’t a fan of predictable plots and tropes, maybe read something more like The Chronicles of Amber by Roger Zelazny, which has a super original concept. Though it contains more adult themes, content, and language).
It’s also pretty typical of me to re-read books. I’m a very nostalgic person. During “Screenless Sunday” the previous week, I finished rereading the Animorphs series, which I hadn’t read since probably 2005? It was interesting to spend some of quarantine revisiting something I hadn’t seen in over a decade.
Also worthy of note: I recently bought the Magnus Chase series by Rick Riordan for a re-read; I love all of Rick Riordan’s mythology series, but Magnus Chase is my absolute favorite!
RR: What is the craziest thing you’ve ever done?
DS: It depends on your definition of crazy. Personally, I don’t think I’m a very crazy person. My definition of crazy is probably something as simple as being spontaneous, which I am on occasion. But, for me, spontaneity tends to look like “you know what? I’m just gonna… buy tickets to this movie that’s showing in twenty minutes and do that this afternoon.”
Some people might think me partaking in “Screenless Sundays” during this time is a crazy thing. But, for me, it is a good chance to avoid the constant passive intake of media, take a moment to disconnect from the world, and (attempt) to get more connected with myself.
Oh okay, here’s an actual crazy thing: I’ve auditioned to be on Survivor. I didn’t get on, but I’m going to continue auditioning. If they ask me to come out and be on Survivor, I would absolutely do it. That is pretty crazy. Or maybe you think me still being an avid fan of Survivor well into its 40th season is crazy enough.
RR: What are you passionate about?
DS: What am I not passionate about? I’m a very passionate person; it’s something that is at the very core of my being. I like to live life with emotion because that’s what makes life interesting. I love when a movie draws me in and makes me feel so much I cry – tears of sadness, tears of joy, and the bittersweet tears that come when a story that has been so well-told concludes in a perfect, beautiful ending (looking at you, The Good Place).
I love to get really invested and excited about something. I love how, when I talk about things, like what a good show Emerald City was and how much I wish it hadn’t been cancelled, my brain starts to move more quickly, and my excitement and love for it are clear in my animated tones. I love to spread the joys of various stories with other people, so once I get to know you, don’t be surprised if I start recommending things I think you’d enjoy! Only those I honestly think you’ll enjoy, mind you. I think very carefully before making recommendations, and may ask questions to make sure it’s a good fit before recommending it.
But I really love the community that comes about from different people experiencing the same story and how each person brings their own perspective to the community. Seeing the different aspects of a story that make other people passionate can highlight things about the story I’d never thought of before and add depth to a familiar tale. Perspectives open my eyes to new possibilities and get me thinking. They’re also a simple way for me to get to know someone better.
I used to say, “The best way to get to know me is through the things I love,” and I don’t entirely know why I stopped saying it. It’s still one of the truest ways to get to know me. Ask me what I like (and don’t like) about the Harry Potter movie adaptations. Ask me why I love Rick Riordan’s books and why Magnus Chase is my favorite of his mythology series. Ask me the last movie or show I cried at, and what it made me feel. I will warn you, some of those topics will engage very long discussions, but you’ll see the passion I’m talking about without a doubt.
RR: What are you currently watching on Netflix?
DS: I actually just finished most of the Netflix shows that were on my “to-watch” list (Umbrella Academy and The Good Witch to name a few) I also re-watched Designated Survivor. I am still working through the various Star Trek series that I haven’t seen yet, but that tends to be something I turn on before going to bed and falling asleep. So, it’s slow going. With Star Trek, I’m currently in the middle of season 4, Deep Space Nine. I’m enjoying it, but I think I’d still say Star Trek: The Next Generation is what truly holds my Trekkie heart.
Also (not on Netflix) I’m currently going through The White Queen on Starz. It’s not a typical show for me – I normally enjoy fantasy rather than historical fiction, but I had finished The Spanish Princess and decided to watch a related show. I watched The Spanish Princess purely because Georgie Henley was in it, and I loved her as Lucy in The Chronicles of Narnia. I did enjoy The Spanish Princess and am enjoying The White Queen. So, maybe I’ll add some more historical dramas in the future? We’ll see how long quarantine lasts and how many shows that are on my “to-watch” list I get through. I will mention that once Avatar: The Last Airbender hits Netflix on May 15th, that’ll definitely be my next binge re-watch.
RR: What did you want to be when you grew up?
DS: Very early on I wanted to be an author. But, of course, when you’re young and say, “I wanna be an author”, nearly every adult says, “It’s really difficult to make a living as an author; you should really have a plan B.” So, my plan B was to be an English teacher. English was always my favorite subject, and I have always loved books and reading. I also enjoy helping others find a love for reading. Even now, I wouldn’t mind tutoring, but I don’t really want to work in the mess that is the American Education system… I applaud all those who are able to navigate it and teach.
RR: What do you enjoy doing when you’re not working?
DS: I like to read, watch TV and movies, and sing. In the last few years, I’ve also started cosplaying and going to cons with friends (if you aren’t familiar with these terms, cons = pop culture conventions, cosplay = dressing up like characters from tv shows, movies, books, comics, animes, etc.). I enjoy cosplaying because it’s expressive and creative. I’ve had to learn a lot of new skills to make different cosplays, and there’s so much more I can learn as I try to tackle more ambitious cosplays.
The first cosplay outfit I made myself was Queen Lucy’s dress (when she was an adult) from the 2005 The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe. The dress is in the movie for less than two minutes, but it is a favorite of mine and a very meaningful first cosplay project. I will say, though, I can’t wait to revisit it in a few years. It’s been less than a year since I finished it, and already there are things I would do differently to make it better! Going to cons in cosplay is also a great way to hang out with friends and meet other people who have similar interests.
RR: What are your career aspirations?
DS: I would love to be an editor for fantasy books. Maybe an author, if I find the right story to tell – and the current story I’m working on has me more excited than anything I’ve written before! I’m working towards those as goals. But, ultimately, I want something that is flexible enough to give me a little autonomy, remote enough that I can continue working despite moving across different states, creative enough that I feel I am being productive and growing as a person, and meaningful enough to have pride in what I do. Perhaps I will find those things in a field I never even dreamed of. So, until I make a break in the publishing world, I’m keeping my eyes open to all sorts of things.
RR: Why Adoption Choices?
DS: It never crossed my mind that I would find a job I would be really excited about in the adoption field. However, while keeping my eyes open for various opportunities, I found this opening at Adoption Choices. It honestly seemed perfect for me! I have always been interested in adoption and fostering, so I decided to look further into it.
As I looked across the various state’s Adoption Choices websites, they all seemed to have the same core: support and love. Support is available in the form of resources and an abundance of information about all the options open to you, as well as counseling and other such adoption services. But beyond support, there is a love and care that is evident in how Adoption Choices approaches the whole adoption process, and that was what really made me excited to apply. I’d been looking for something that would be meaningful to me and would allow me to gain experiences to build on in the future. Working with Adoption Choices is an excellent marriage of those two desires. The company has individual qualities and a mission I find important, and the work provides opportunities that will help me grow as a person.