Change is hard, especially when we try to control everything. After limping along, burnout out at work I left my position at DCFS in the beginning of March. It was scary and unplanned, but an overwhelming sense of peace and comfort have helped me realize this was the plan.
About five years ago, when our secondary infertility became obvious, Gamer and I had discussed becoming foster parents. I had just finished my internship with the foster care foundation and I felt strongly that foster care was something we were supposed to do eventually. We knew there was no way to do it without jobs and a bigger apartment. I had never intended to work for DCFS, but Utah privatized disability care the year I graduated from UVU and suddenly there were thousands of caseworkers looking for work. I was lucky to get hired by the state four years ago. My caseload immediately became “my kids” and for the first three years that was enough. My job enabled us to buy our house and eventually our house led to custody of Fajita.
Then last year, after successfully settling Fajita into our family, I just wanted to adopt every single child in my office. With escalating urgency I felt I should look for different employment. As a caseworker it was impossible for me to work for DCFS and provide foster care. In other words, the people who understood foster care and the issues that stem from it the most are the least able to help in providing permanent homes.
|Foster child coming soon!|
But change is scary. So job postings would be researched, but application deadlines were missed and I continued to dislike my job more and more. And then everyone in my office was pregnant. Okay, not everyone, but in the space of three weeks the arrival of four babies on our team of twelve were announced, including my supervisor. I had already been through one supervisor’s retirement and with planning, the transition was seamless. The window to get a supervisor hired was less than a month. I didn’t realize how three months of maternity leave would change that. My supervisor didn’t even need to tell HR she wasn’t coming back until she had maxed out her leave. And then, the social worker job market stabilized and private companies began hiring again. Everything boiled into a chain reaction of people leaving. Caseloads soared, documentation was lost, clients were traumatized. Finally our build supervisor publicly plead no one else would leave until we could hire some new people. And then six months later, I had a new supervisor.
To say my new supervisor disliked me from the start would be an understatement. As my blog name dictates I have a somewhat strong personality and things didn’t work out from the beginning. Unfortunately, DCFS only allows transfers quarterly and it would be four months before I could put in to transfer to a different location. When transfer requests opened at the beginning of the year they had added that your current supervisor had to approve the reason for the transfer request. And I couldn’t bring myself to tactfully submitting my request before the deadline. Each day at work was dreaded. Instead of proactively looking for other employment, knowing my supervisor was trying to get me to leave, I dug my heels in and discussed a life-long career in my current position. I threw myself into being the perfect caseworker. I was miserable.
|Fajita's new digs.|
Fortunately God had a plan for me that was not being miserable for the rest of my life. My supervisor discovered an error I had made during the chaos and used it to build a strong enough argument that I should quit. So I did, to the shock of many of my friends. I left without notice. I cleaned out my office and went home. On the way I called the agency who promised to hired me if I ever left and I called the agency I had decided would be the best 3rd party to do foster care. And for the first time in two years I could breathe.
Changes. Our license has taken a little longer than expected. Our first placement will arrive when the high school gets out. We requested they figure out a way for him to continue at his current school to the end of the year. We will be having weekend visits soon though, so we wanted to get ready. We had to make some changes to our house. Burrito and Taco moved downstairs to share the biggest bedroom with Bean Dip. Fajita was given the bed we had in storage in the garage so we could give her bed to our placement. We could be licensed for three children, but we don’t have enough bedrooms. Until we get another set of bunk beds, we can only have one.
I have spend the week rearranging and cleaning and setting up bedrooms. My siblings are off track and we very helpful in taking apart the bunk beds so we could move them downstairs. Babydoll was so cute learning how to use a socket and unscrewing the bolts for me. What about you readers? Any major change coming this summer?
|Burrito's cool new fort.|
Mom and I were discussing how to handle foster children on her blog. We can with permission post photos, but obviously we can’t use their names. We can’t identify them in a way that indicates they are in foster care either. We want you all to be able to keep track, but they could be coming and going. We thought about allowing them to pick their blog name, but I don’t think we will have approval to formally introduce them in a post like we have in the past when new members have joined our family. What do you think readers?