Thursday, January 05, 2006

Social Work Convergence and Subsequent Thoughts

Wow. We had a meeting today that was actually productive, and notable in that I believe it was the first time I've been in a meeting with three social workers (including The Wife). I feel emotionally healthier just for having taken part in such a conclave...and I wasn't even the point of the discussion.

That would be "Josie", and she was one nervous little kitten. heh. I never saw so many doodles on one sheet of paper. Did I mention "Josie" has a singular talent for drawing? That talent doesn't serve her quite as well when her art is serving her as a safety valve. But then, it was a pretty important meeting for her.

Many things were laid bare finally. We now have a much clearer picture of what "Josie's" mom wants, as well as what our PATH social worker thinks of her friends. We're more aware that her circle of friends are not bad kids, but they are on the margins and will bear watching. Careful watching, to judge by having them over for dinner.

I do believe that "Josie" is a great kid, and any wrong turns she makes are likely to be instigated by one or more of her friends. One of the best things we'll be able to do is keep her mostly away from the wrong types of people.

There is an old saying...I'm not sure who originated it, but it really rings true here: "Keep your friends close, and your enemies closer". I'm not sure which of these kids are our "enemies", and probably none of them are. But we're going to keep them close, first and foremost because we have to in order to help "Josie"...but also because some of them are pretty neat kids in their own right, and some of them are in high-risk situations and we're now mandated reporters, and probably also because let's face it, we're dealing with a pool of potential future foster kids, and it wouldn't hurt to have an idea ahead of time of who's in trouble, who's doing what that they shouldn't be, and so forth. Plus, keeping all the relationships between all the kids straight is a lot like a real-life soap opera. Who needs TV?

I have spent too much of my life planning for future events. When I was in high school, I was planning for college. When I was in college, I was planning for a career. When I started my career, I was planning how I was going to get married, and how I was going to advance in my career, plus how I was going to afford a house. My time spent thinking about the future had increased, not decreased. Then I spent time thinking about parenthood, moving, getting a divorce, getting remarried, and on and on. Now, for the first time I can remember, I'm actually living the life I've wanted to live. Everybody on the planet should have this feeling at some point in their busy lives.

"Josie" isn't having the greatest time right now. Who can blame her? Nobody likes this much change, or to be under the microscope like she is right now. But I'm having a ball with this fostering thing (and a nice career on the side too, by the way). I'm beginning to understand why Mom loved this so much. It's the stuff of life, and there's nothing else like it. It matters to people. We're making a difference. Because of our efforts, people's lives will be better. Wow.

I want to do this until I can't do it anymore. I hope The Wife feels the same way, because while I love this, I couldn't keep it up indefinitely without her full buy-in to the mission.

UPDATE: After catching up on the blog, The Wife has informed me that the above should state something more to the effect that I simply couldn't keep this up AT ALL without her, PERIOD. Heh. She's right. Love you, lady.


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