A little thing called Perspective

Every job is hard. Some jobs are physically hard, like construction workers. Geesh I don’t know how they do it in the middle of the summer or the middle of winter! Kudos to everyone who has to work outside because God knows I could not do it! Other jobs are mentally difficult. I imagine it is mentally difficult to be an astro physicist. I surely couldn’t do it. My job is in the third category. It is emotionally difficult. Most days I come home one of two ways: the first is on top of the world. If I just had an awesome day with my kids, or feel like I really connected with a client I will be on cloud nine! The other way is in the depths of the ocean. Some days are so emotionally draining I don’t know if I can handle another day. I will be so down in the dumps for whatever reason. It could be that I had to tell a client some bad news. It could be that one of my kids had a really bad day behaviorally, and I’m at a loss on how to help them. Maybe someone was rude to me that day, or maybe I feel like I am being taken advantage of. Sadly, what usually makes me the most upset is the latter, when I feel as though I am being taken advantage of. (Disclaimer: I am a woman of faith, and definitely could not get through life without Jesus. If you don’t believe the same way I do…thats okay! I love you anyway!) So anyway, the problem with this is that for 2015 Jesus is teaching me about 2 things that are very important but also a little contradictory. The first is boundaries. Boundaries are so very important. Boundaries keep us sane! Now, when I say boundaries I don’t mean stone walls that keep everyone out. I mean healthy boundaries that allow us to interact with all types of people, and not allow them to take advantage of us or steal things from us, such as our joy, peace, love, and kindness. When you have healthy boundaries you realize that YOU are SO IMPORTANT! YOU matter. YOU are special. YOUR needs are just as important as everyone else’s. Healthy boundaries teach us to truly LOVE ourselves! Jesus is teaching me that it is okay to distance myself from people who it is not healthy for me to be around. He is teaching me that my clients cannot rule my life. He is teaching me that if my clients are going to change THEY have to do it. I can’t do it for them! My only responsibility is to provide them with the tools they need to make the change! That’s awesome!

On the other hand, Jesus is also teaching me about perspective. My director said something today that really spoke to me. She said, “We have to remember that our job is not to do what’s most convenient for us, but what is best for our families.” And even though I am learning healthy boundaries, she is RIGHT! This job isn’t about me. It’s about my clients. It’s about my kids! I have to learn balance. I have to learn that I NEED healthy boundaries, but I also have to remember that this isn’t all about me. I heard a quote once that said “There is a spot in the middle of the universe that everything centers and revolves around. That spot is NOT you!” I had to laugh! So many times I get mad and frustrated because it’s 8:00pm and I’m STILL WORKING. So many times I get frustrated because I feel like I work harder than others, and don’t get the recognition I feel like I deserve. Many times I get frustrated because I definitely do not get paid the correct amount for what I do. However, while all those may be very fair statements to make…they aren’t right. Because even though I have healthy boundaries, I have to remember its not about me. It is about the kids. When I leave work I have a home to go to. When I leave work I get to call my beautiful mother and talk to her on the phone. When I leave work I am still whole. However, my kids do not have the same luxury. My kids lay down in a place some of them don’t want to be. All of my kids have to wonder why their parents made the choices they did. All my kids wonder if it is their fault they are in foster care. All my kids wonder when they will have a place to call their forever home.

So, will I still get frustrated and say things I shouldn’t? Yes. Will I get frustrated and think that I work harder than others? Yes. Will I get frustrated because I don’t make enough money? Of course. We all will. We are humans. There is grace for that reason! But what I will also do is remind myself during those times that it is all about my perspective of the situation. I get to choose how I view my life. I have the power, and I choose to believe that my 12 hour days aren’t for nothing. My perspective is that Jesus has called me to be a social worker for DHR, and that even though it is emotionally draining, Jesus is my strength. My perspective is that my kids NEED me, and the deserve for me to be the BEST version of myself. They deserve for me to sacrifice what is convenient to me for what is NECESSARY for them.

xoxo

Katie

Yes, I said 22

My name is Katie and I have 22 children. Yep, you read that right…22. They don’t live in my house although I wish they could. I don’t get to watch them learn new things and change everyday. I don’t get to read them bed time stories or hug and kiss them goodnight. Some of them won’t even remember who I am, but I can never forget them. These children have impacted my life in ways they will never understand. They have changed the way I look at myself and the way I look at life. They have changed what I view as important, and what I view as insignificant. They have changed my lifestyle, my thought process, my ability to sleep at night, and my ability to work harder than I ever have before. They have taught me to be passionate, driven, and bold. These are my children and I am their social worker.

Now I know that you have probably read stories about terrible case workers who work for the state and do not care about children or their jobs. I know that sometimes children are taken out of homes when they shouldn’t be, and that children are left in homes they shouldn’t be. And I’ll give it to you…that happens.  But here’s what I have experienced. I know that the people I work the closest with LOVE their kids. I know that I work with the BEST foster parents, and the BEST co-workers. I know that I have the BEST supervisor of anyone in this world, and I know that we strive daily to make the lives of our kids better than they were before.

I’m a foster care worker. I work with children who are in the custody of the state. Legally, I am their mother. So you are probably asking yourself; “If you don’t take care of them…what exactly do you do?” Good question. I do everything and anything. I arrange for them to be in counseling if they need it. I attend their IEP meetings, and advocate for them in the school. I go to court and fight for their permanency. I take them to the doctor if needed. I go to their foster home in the middle of the night, and manage a crisis if needed. I arrange services for their parents so that, hopefully, one day they can go home. When its necessary, I testify for them so that they can be adopted and find a forever loving home. I teach their parents how to be better parents. I fight to give them the best chance possible.

I am 22 years old. I am not married, and I have never birthed a child. When I come home after a long 12 hour day I come home to my dog, Wrangler. But that is the beautiful thing about love…it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter that I don’t physically take care of these children. It doesn’t matter that they only know me as “Miss Katie.”  It doesn’t matter that some of them will never remember their time with me. Love doesn’t care. Love knows that these are precious souls that deserve their best chance. I love them because they exist. I love them because they are children. I love them because they were brought into my life. I love them because they are mine.

So yeah…I have to be the “Absent” parent, but that’s okay. Yeah some of the babies on my caseload may never know my name. But that’s okay. Because I am their mother, and I will fight for them. I will love them. And I will do everything I can to make their life better than it has ever been before.