Licensed social worker, the Maine Children’s Home for Little Wanderers
When Lindsay Bragdon became pregnant about two years ago, it drove home just how important her day-to-day work is: She had the ability to get pregnant and have a child on her own terms, when so many people struggle every day to conceive children or, conversely, are stunned by unplanned pregnancies.
Although the 28-year-old called it “crazy nuts” to juggle a career and motherhood, she noted that the work she does for the Maine Children’s Home for Little Wanderers in Waterville ultimately “allows people to do what I’m doing, which is be a mom.”
A licensed social worker, mother to 1-year-old son Jacoby, and wife to her high school sweetheart Jared, Bragdon works with birth parents, adoptees and adoptive parents to build (and nurture) families. She offers counseling and support both to men and women who are experiencing unplanned pregnancies, as well as couples who want to build families through adoption. In both cases, she helps people determine their options, and ultimately work through an overwhelming time.
“We’re all about families and children, and bettering the quality of all that encounters,” said Bragdon, who’s been with the Maine Children’s Home for Little Wanderers since 2009, and has done extensive work in the past with teen parents.
Ultimately, the donor and volunteer-driven organization reaches out to more than 2,000 families and children around the state every year, according to its website. Its programs are broad reaching, including a Hague-accredited adoption program, various counseling services, child care and early education programs, teen parent support and summer camp scholarships.
Bragdon called the process of building and strengthening families a “very personal process,” and “such an emotional process.” Couples “grieve” when they can’t have children, and “come to us with a lot of love to give,” she explained.
At the end of the day, there are many rewards to her work – seeing children placed in a loving home; watching couples who can’t conceive get the chance for a family; and providing a caring ear and shoulder to people who are going through a vulnerable period in their lives.
“I always knew people were my thing. I’m a people person,” she said, noting her plans to pursue her master’s degree in social work in the next few years. “Through this work I can do that all the time – have relationships with other people, get to know families.”
Still, she’s humble about what she does.
“I wouldn’t say that I’ve changed lives,” Bragdon said. Instead, “I support folks that change their own lives.”