Sucks to suck

It really sucks to suck. And lately, I have really been sucking. I have been afraid to write for a while, because I am afraid. I feel like I cannot always say what is on my mind for fear of getting in trouble. Cause as much as I hate it, I cannot always been completely honest because there really is no public space where I can freely be me. But part of being me, and what helps me process and heal and grow is being able to write and share and to do so in a public place. Because something about knowing that maybe just one person will read what I wrote and relate, is a big deal to me. I may not be a famous blogger, and I have not won any prizes, or gotten a book deal or been published, but I have been told, that people appreciate my honesty and can relate, and THAT, is a big deal to me. That makes me feel that I am making a difference.

So all that being said, no matter what I say, it seems someone is going to be offended or upset because if I talk about marriage or parenting it reflects on my family. If I talk about work or social services it reflects on my agency. But I am just a human who gets upset and frustrated and scared and overwhelmed and passionate and it does not mean I am an ambassador for anything or anyone but myself.

So here is the deal… I am overwhelmed with my professional world right now. I am depressed about it. My overseas work is my greatest passion and my grant is done. It’s not that I need to travel 2x a year, but I love teaching people and I love knowing I am a small part of change for children. And now it is just done. And I don’t know if I will ever be able to have a part of it again.

And foster care is so hard. And I try and I work hard and I believe so strongly in the work, but it doesn’t always matter, because if you make a mistake no one cares if you worked hard or have deep passion. It doesn’t matter that you have worked 12 hour days for a week and put your own family on hold to try to figure out a plan or finish a report or go over material to prepare for a hearing. What matters is perfection and getting it right the first time because there are laws and policies and that is what the auditors see and that is what the judges see. No one sees that you spend hours on the phone with someone at 6:00 at night trying to help them find a solution. No one cares that you give up your day off to drive a client to an appointment or supervise a parenting time.

It is no secret that I am not a detail person. But I really do try. It is no secret that working in child welfare is seriously hard and takes a very special and unique person. But it is a secret that every day I am so scared. I am terrified that I will not have an answer. I live in fear that my inability to complete a task in my computer system will reflect more on my performance that actual hands on work with clients. I lay awake at night wondering why, even though I feel I know what is best for a family or a child, will not happen because of policy or the black and white decision making of the legal system.

I used to be good at my job. When I had the same job for 13 years and had people coming to me for answers and I could give them. When I did not know the answer I knew how to find it. When I dealt with people more than policy. And the funny thing is, I know, by heart, the adoption laws of every country I have ever worked with. I know the details of every pieces of paperwork for every country. I know intricate details of the Department of Justice and the Department of Homeland Security. I know about state seals and apostilles and authentication and biometric screening. I know about dossiers and attestations. I know how to prepare a family for a court hearing in a country 12,000 miles away.

But I do not know how to prepare for a court hearing 20 miles down the road. I have no idea how to create a treatment plan in the State data base. I know what information goes in it, I know how to work with the client to get the information. I know how to use the information to get the correct services, but I don’t know how to create the actual form. I don’t know how to make the actual referral. How is it that I can fly to the other side of the world and work with people who have policies and laws I have never worked with before and help create a system that works for them, but I cannot even understand my own system?

And the thing that is really the worst is that I bet people in the country and state that I work with, think I am lazy, or dumb or not focused. But I am not. I am scared. I am disappointed in myself. I am wanting so badly to be successful and make my agency proud and my county proud and my state proud. I want to be a part of a solution to better services and change in child welfare, but I seem to just be causing more problems. It is like a story problem I am not able to solve. I don’t know what letters to put on each side of the equation.
I remember once on an algebra test I was faced with a story problem and somwhow I figured out the answer, but had no idea how to show my work. When I got my test back I did not get full points for answering the question correctly because I did not get to the answer in the prescribed way.

That’s what my life feels like lately. I may get to the end of the day. I may have the right recommendations, I may have completed a very successful 3 day training in another country, I may have given the best advice, but if I did not get to that end result in the politically correct way, or the black and white way of policy or law, then it doesn’t make a difference.
I am not asking for a free ride, or a pass every time I mess up. I just want to know how to show my work. I want to figure out how to work in a black and white world when I only know who to think in grey. I want to know how to make changes in a macro way when I know they need to be changed. I want to be able to slam the stone tables of the political commandments of child welfare and write ones that actually make sense.

I want to be confident again. I want to know I can do the work I am good at without waiting for someone who actually has power and money to decide it is worthy work. And I want to not get in trouble for writing this. Because I really needed to write this.

Oh, and I want to not be fat anymore. If I am really dreaming, I want to go back a year to when I was super healthy and did not crave frosty’s and mozzarella sticks and had self control myself.

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5 thoughts on “Sucks to suck

  1. Sarah…..speaking from someone who has experienced you in your professional and personal life..you have made a difference in MY life. You have helped me create our family…without you my family wouldn’t be the way it is today – wonderfully made and wonderfully insane. You have brought joy and have brought us comfort. You have been with us through our joys and through our sorrows, and you have made a difference in my life. You have made me cry with laughter from your humor and cry with pain for how you’ve written about the plight of children around the world. We’ve enjoyed drinks on my deck, tears in a courtroom, and hugs at a funeral….you have made a difference in my life!
    That all said, it doesn’t take away the suckiness you are experiencing right now amd for that, thank you for sharing your heart…it gives me a better way to pray for you. From my experience in my life (and please take this with a grain of salt), when I’m in that pit of suckiness that you’re in – its right before God does some amazing thing next…sometimes it just takes longer in the pit than other times unfortunately. :(. Please know you are not alone in this suckiness :):)…..stop by ANYTIME and we can have a drink by the fire instead :):). Love you dearly, my friend!
    Jolynn

  2. Sarah, I can relate more than you know! I miss that you are no longer fighting the good fight along side me…..you have so many strengths, focus on those parts of you. You make a difference in the lives of many! Jenny

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