Tag Archives: Elene G

Letters to my children- First letter.

So just as I thought I had settled into my workload something or someone throws a curb ball and I have to remind my self that this is a learning curve, because really… at times I feel as if I have been doing this for longer than I really have.  When people question what I do or ask why I do it, I find my self trying to put feelings into words…unsuccessfully, and the thoughts that keeps coming back to me, are the faces and impressions of my children, and yes! My children, because as one of my fellow corps member mentioned in one of his posts, they become our children; we take ownership of them until we can get them safely to where they have to be.

So I decided to write letters to my kids, not to share them with them, but for me; to help me put into words what I feel about them; the feelings that come with the person and not the trained worker. My human side, what drives me to do this job.  It’s sort-of like a diary to my children and this is my first letter.

Dear J., 

You are the first child I met from my caseload. I had to travel hours in a windy road on a rainy day, to get to where you were spending your summer. I didn’t know what to expect, the briefing that I had gotten from your case were facts and dates, it wasn’t about you, it was about that one incident that put you in care. I wasn’t sure what I would find. My heart was racing…Would you like me? Would you talk to me?  What did you look like? —And then I saw you, with your big blue eyes and sweet smile, your dirty fingernails, an old sweater and your muddy shoes, I immediately thought you were having fun at camp, getting down and dirty, but little did I know that I later would realize that your mom doesn’t ever notice your dirty fingernails. …. Since that moment, I wanted to take you home with me….adopt you and fill you with all the love and attention that your eyes were craving. You were shy and soft spoken, with a pure soul. Meeting you changed me! Never before had I felt loving someone instantly. You asked me if your mom had moved out of the shelter, you said you wanted to go home, to a home, to a new home.  What kind of 8 year old asks this? You are so young and so aware. I told you she hadn’t moved out yet but that she was working on it and with your premature 8 years of wisdom, you were disappointed. How many times has this happened before? Have you been disappointed many times in the past? I questioned what type of mother you had? The only thing that I knew for sure is that the police found you wandering the streets at night in your diapers at the age of 4. What kind of mom do you have that does not seem to be smitten by such a sweet boy? I didn’t want to judge, but right then and there I knew I was going to have to fight hard to make you happy. We have a long road ahead; I just hope I can be the bridge that will cross you safely to the other sideIn the meantime: Stay strong little boy! 

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Comparable pain: my breakthrough.

For the past weeks every time I hit a wall with a case, I kept hearing “move on and keep going.”

Everyone told me that I came to work at a great time because school was off, court was slow, that I was eased into my cases and not thrown in, that I was lucky because my caseload was low (14 families and counting) and that my situation wasn’t so bad. At the end of the day rather than finding solutions and hope, I ended up feeling frustrated and inadequate, I thought I just had to work harder until I could master the job and truly see and feel the advantage I, supposedly, had over my colleagues.

Everyone belittled my frustration by telling me how bad their situation really was: “I’m the one overloaded, you should be thankful, your job is easy” and then sometime in the middle of this crazy month, it hit me; it wasn’t about me being inadequate or getting more comfortable with the work; comparable pain was not the answer, it had nothing to do with my situation and I don’t know how I let it get to me. Suddenly I realized there is a big flaw in the way things are done. I asked around to see how people performed their work and realized that most of the people  swear by “you do what you can and move on”, that’s the way it is because there is just too much to do.  No wonder I was feeling backed up and frustrated, I really want to help my families move on but with the right tools and outlook on life.

This job is not about moving cattle from point A to point B, it’s about being able to support families through tough times and really meeting their needs so that they can move on in the right direction and not get lost on the way. The system asks too much from the workers and the agency, every time I come with new ideas to help in a case I’m struck with the realities of budgets, suspended payments, lack of resources  or simply “we cannot afford for you to spend so much time on this.” I refuse to allow these walls to close in on me, I will keep trying to find alternatives and loopholes and if not now, in the future, I hope I can help the system change.

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