If I write it down will it be true? May it really happen then? People make changes all the time in life, they are no big deal. My co-worker is moving to Paris for 2 years… she just casually brought it up at lunch. My sister built a new house and it was worthy of only 1 status update. But I am a processor and I am a bit dramatic, and when I have done something for 14 years, it seems like a big deal to move on.
And I did more than “do something”. I poured my heart and soul into it. I fell asleep thinking about it and woke up in the middle of the night to write down ideas. I put my kids in day care for it. I eat, slept and breathed it. For 14 years. It is my passion, it gives me purpose. I was a part of countless stories, most happy, some devastating. I have a phone number to Homeland Security that I use almost daily. And not to sound conceited, but I am full of pride, I built something amazing with the help of my community and my co-workers. The Holland Branch of Bethany Christian Services, that works in 2 counties, one of them Allegan (you know what I am saying if you are local), placed more children in families annually than any other branch. We placed more children with special placement needs as well.
And we are going to keep doing that. Just not so much me. I had some tough decisions to make this spring. And some days I still feel like I am giving up. But international adoption is not what it used to be. We are not getting the clientele we need to justify a full time staff person. But those 500 kids on my computer, what am I saying to them? I promise you guys, I am leaving you in good hands.
Here is the thing. Reality is I need full time employment. Not just for money, but for my sanity. I need to be doing. And doing something I am passionate about. Doing something that keeps my heart full. And when I am at home, the only thing that is full is my stomach. And despite being a straight C student through college, I really love to learn, and challenge myself. (not being cliche here, it really is true). I need to be with people, I love to solve problems, I find joy in mentoring and teaching and listening.
There are a few things I knew were musts when making a career decision.
1.) I wanted to work at Bethany Christian Services. I know the work they do. I know the ethics they practice. I 100% agree with their mission and values. This is a big deal to me. Because I have worked places that are not like BCS. And I don’t like that. (aside: working with children is NOT about being quick or cheap. It is NOT about giving customers what they want, but about giving children what the NEED and I will NOT compromise that value. EVER.).
2.) I wanted to work at Bethany Christian Services HOLLAND. I have never worked in such a supportive, encouraging, fun, passionate and creative environment.
3.) I wanted to stay in a supervisory role. Not because I want to climb the ladder, but because I enjoy it. I guess in my job, I have not had to be one of those hard core, micro managing managers that threatens to fire people. But to lead a team with my same values and passions. To encourage, to listen, to brainstorm, to drink coffee with, to take something off their plate, to praise them.
4.) I wanted to stay working with vulnerable children. I am not a “kid” person. I don’t want to go on field trips with the kids class. I don’t need to hold a baby. I despise church nursery and sunday school. But I love kids 1:1. I love to know them and win the over. I love to be that fun person with a great game. But more than anything I really believe every child deserves a loving family. I want to be a part of stopping the cycle of abuse, neglect and all that other ugly stuff.
So I started thinking… where is the need? I have been working internationally for 14 years. I love international work. You know this. And you know what I have loved the most? Working with countries to help keep kids in their own families. Their own communities. And I can do that here.
So when, at a weekly managers meeting, it was mentioned that a new Child Welfare Supervisor was needed, it only took me 24 hours to whip my resume into shape. When I sent in my application to HR, they said “What? No one moves from adoption to foster care!” Well, I did. And I am excited, but more on that later, cause I need a bit more time to wallow in moving on.
The bonus is I will still be supervising the International Adoption Team, just not carrying a case load. But I am so excited about the people I do have that will be doing that. I will still be able to call Homeland Security and fill out I800’s. I will still get to convince all of you to be adoptive parents, but also foster parents.
And in case you were wondering, I am going to figure out how to fix this Child Welfare System once and for all, so the kids are not flailing, and moving, and bouncing and living out of suitcases. On that note, I think we need some suitcases for our foster children, we are running out. Seriously…