Thursday, April 8, 2010

I'm Not Ready VS GET READY!

Wow, such a crazy couple of weeks.

I had contacted the agency and they arranged for a social worker to come out to my home. Now, as a social worker myself, I am ALWAYS telling people that we don't care about the general tidiness of your house when we come for a homevisit.

So, imagine the irony when I found myself frantically wiping down counters and making my bed (for the first time in months) in preparation for the social worker to come over! I laughed at myself.

The social worker showed up a bit late due to some confusion regarding my address. But once he was inside, Henry was nice and we talked for quite a bit. I was feeling pretty confident and excited - and then we got to the "protocol" portion of the homevisit. I thought I was prepared, I know how slow the system can be! I was expecting it to take at least a couple months before I'd be "active" as a Resource Family.

Remember how I mentioned that this agency is not affiliated with the state CPS system? I got my first taste of what a benefit that is during my first homevisit!

Because of my training and the fact that I was already background checked due to my job, I was informed that I could be listed as active pretty much right away. In fact, I was warned, Henry knew of a child needing placement that day and wondered if I'd be open to her if need be? My mind swirled for a good 60 seconds before I could answer. I don't remember my exact response but it was somewhere along the lines of, "I wasn't really expecting this, but tell them to call me!"

Shortly afterwards, Henry left and I spent the next week trying to process what happened.

Oh, and I also spent the next week fielding phone calls for placements!

None of them ended up working out - for various reasons. And then I have had to put myself on hold for a week or so because I had family in from out of town. But I expect my phone will start ringing as soon as they leave this weekend!

I also spent some time thinking about what my boundaries need to be - I really wish I didn't have to have any! Some are for safety reasons and some are because I need to be realistic about my limits. I feel comfortable sharing that I have said that I can not accept placement of older boys (though I set no specific age limit). This breaks my heart, but I have to be realistic that having an adolescent boy in my small space would probably be uncomfortable for him and simply inappropriate for me. I hope at some point my circumstances change in this regard. The other limits are due to my work schedule and current child care options - but I'm working diligently on changing those situations.

After quite a bit of self reflection, I've spent too many years saying, "I'm not ready" - but not nearly enough time making conscious decisions to GET READY! All part of my desire to really "walk the walk". I've made choices with my career that have delayed this being possible, I've been foolish with my money, and I have lived to fulfill my own temporary whims instead of looking at the bigger picture.

I am putting this out there in an attempt to hold myself accountable. These changes are scary! I am terrified of the uncertainty of this future! Although I have wanted some of these things, and believe in their importance, and am committed to living them out - it will not be easy!

But the families that have already been presented to me compel me to move forward. It would be easy to do this for children like my first call - a 9 month old who needed a 30 day placement while her mother sought drug treatment. But I feel more compelled by the ones where I have been told - "if you won't take them, we can't find another place for them." Like a teenage boy who just told his parents that he is gay. Or the teenage mom and her four year old - they tried to just place the four year old, but he didn't do well without mom (duh!) so they were trying to find someone to take both of them into their home.

It makes me so sad to think that other families, most of them Christians, would not take these children.

Would not help mend and support these families.

I don't want to judge, I just want to encourage those of you who feel that you could be a support to such families. You are needed!

If anyone has questions or comments please feel free to send them my way. My phone should start ringing any minute now and my blogging time may be severely impacted! ;)

(Read about my first placement here!)

8 comments:

  1. Welcome to the crazy world! I miss fostering. I miss the excitement over phone calls. I miss sitting down with my family and discussing a possible placement and how that will impact us if we take that child. I miss forging relationships with birth parents. I so hope to do it again soon!

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  2. The excitement is building....... :)


    Sidenote: I know you set this to post earlier cause there is no way you're up this early. :)

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  3. This program really intrigues me. I'm really quite curious if these programs exist in my area.

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  4. I'm excited to be joining you in this new path - thanks for sharing.

    My husband and I did the same "not ready" mindset for a few years: knowing we wanted to foster at 'some point', always keeping that point some time in the future. And then we realized we weren't really thinking about fostering in our everyday life - and when we did, we found we were ready.

    And like you, I feel this call especially to help families. Some seem compelled to help just because there are children that need them - nothing wrong with that. But for us, being able to help families has been the overarching goal.

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  5. That sounds like such a cool program! I'm excited to see how it goes!

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  6. Good luck - I know the feeling - and also frequently do the mad-panic cleaning and tidying before social worker visits that I, myself, tell people not to bother with because really, truly, I don't mind a bit of messiness!
    It sounds like a really interesting programme and very speedy.. but I look forward to hearing about it!

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  7. Wow!! How very exciting. I am getting caught up on some of my blog reading and was surprised by this. Great surprise! God bless you!!

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  8. Thank you!! Thank you for being the social worker who is willing, even eager, to try life on the other side! I wish you worked in my county. I have said for years that social workers should at least do respite care for a kid like mine just so they really get a good idea of what it can be like to be responsible for so much.

    I laughed out loud about you cleaning! I always clean too! Damnit-my life might be a disaster, but my house is gonna be clean when she comes over! And we're drinking Diet Coke out of a glass like civilized people!! :-) My worker always laughs and I always say she would do the same. Thanks for confirming that one!

    Have a great day!
    Advocate Mom

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