Just little snippets of work that I don’t want to forget.
In September I was in an accident with two young clients in the car with me. (No, they didn’t cause the accident…). My pretty, little, red, two door car was totaled. Just a few days later I had one of those clients with me and was taking her home in my rental car. The rental was a black VW Jetta. This little girl walked outside, saw the rental and exclaimed “your car got fixed!”
One of the kids on my case load has a Filipino foster caregiver. The foster caregiver taught the three year old child a derogatory Filipino word, which the child then repeated to a DCFS investigator.
The other day I got called to testify at court. And then the state’s attorney decided he didn’t need me to testify after all.
Last summer, shortly after I had started my internship, I was supervising a visit at the park. The only available restrooms were across a busy street at a gas station. With about 5 minutes left in the visit, I heard one of the kids, age three, say he had to use the bathroom. The mom told him he could wait, and I let it go. Right before I started loading the kids into my car, the same kid yells out “I have to poop! I am not kidding!”
Today I didn’t have time for lunch. I ran late to all of my appointment. I practically stole teddy grahams from a six year old. Here’s what my day looked like:
9: arrive at work, check email, gather supplies for my 10 am visit, leave instructions with secretary about who isn’t allowed at visits.
9:30: drive across town and pick up child
9:50: get back as other children are arriving for visit, get foster parents situated so they can hang out during the visit without having bio parents know they are there. Wait on counselor to show up to help supervise visit
10ish: start dad’s visit, control extremely hyper children who are about to be fed sugar, watch a dad say goodbye to his kids for the last time.
11ish: hide dad in conference room so that he doesn’t have to see mom, his ex-wife. Hold doors open for mom, who has apparently cleaned out her storage unit and decided children need to have every single last item that was theirs. Mom proudly proclaims, “they [the children] come fully equipped!”
11:15: start mom’s visit. Thankfully the kids seem to have mellowed out a bit and are watching a movie. I think they are exhausted emotionally and physically. Mom forfeits a solid ten minutes of her visit so she can sort through and pick just a few things for each child to have.
12ish: the visit is over. Finally. Deliver kids to foster parents.
12:15: have a family meeting with mom. Listen to mom lament about it isn’t her fault and the children shouldn’t have been removed. Be physically exhausted just by listening.
1:15: take home child (finally!), did not expect the meeting to go so long.
1:30: come back to the office just long enough to switch out carseats and drive across town to pick up another child for a visit.
2:15: start the visit and thankfully everything is calm. I lean my head against a bookshelf and think about taking a nap, instead I eat the teddy grahams I acquired earlier in the day.
3:15: visit is over, get clothing vouchers, take kid home, drive out to the mart to meet another foster parent to take her shopping
3:45: walk through Walmart with a very angry ten year old. Grandma (foster parent) decided I could spend time with him while she took the chatty and chipper four year old. I follow said ten year old around the mart and get him to cheer up by pointing him in the direction of Cardinal’s jerseys. Point for the case worker.
4:45: head back to the office, check my email and do some paperwork. Thankfully I have no voicemails (a miracle!)
5:30: leave the office, stopping on my way out to pour myself a glass of ill-gotten pink lemonade.
Thank goodness this isn’t a typical day. Thank goodness. I don’t think my nerves could handle it. Or my to do list. I accomplished a lot of nothing today. And I have to at some point write case notes for nearly every activity I did do today. Oh joy.
In the meeting I had with a parent today it became so painfully apparent to me and my supervisor why we can’t send children back home to this parent. And it was so sad. The cycle of abuse is at work in this family and to be quite honest this parent had no childhood and was treated like crap by her drug abusing mother. Unfortunately, try as we may, we can’t stop the cycle in this family. The parent doesn’t want help and doesn’t think she needs help. So, we are cutting the cycle off. This cycle of abuse is going to stop one way or another. And it is sad, it is very sad. But we have hope there will be a fresh start, and fresh life will spring forth.