A lot of time and energy is spent focusing on what we need to do. We need to review the case file, we need to visit the kids, we need to contact the therapist, we need to touch base with the foster parents, we need to obtain the school records, we need to enter our activity into the database, we need to write reports, we need to attend MDTs (Multi-disciplinary Team meetings), we need to attend hearings, we need to check on the respondent caregivers’ progress throughout the case, we need to attend quarterly in-service training….
But what if we have done all of that, and there is nothing to do? Our minds race. We wonder about the possible placement decisions, the conclusions to the case. Has everyone thought of everything? Have all concerns been addressed? What if the placement doesn’t work out? What if the children don’t acclimate to their new schools, their new surroundings? What if the placement family isn’t a good fit? What if the placement disrupts?
Time, energy, and worry are unavoidable focal points of this work. It’s difficult to do nothing. Sometimes however, we need to disconnect momentarily. It’s okay to do that. We have to take a step back, breathe deeply, re-energize, and then jump back in. The one thing we can always do is to care. Many of these children and families have never had the privilege of uninterrupted caring from anyone. The promise of, “I will come back,” or “I may not understand, but I care for the way it’s obviously affecting you,” seems kind of obvious doesn’t it? Care. We have to care to do this work don’t we? But even we get tired, and may not always show the caring in our hearts for these children, these families, these cases…ourselves.
When we think we have done everything we can possibly do, we cannot forget to remind ourselves that we are important too. Our well-being is important, for without it, we cannot provide any level of meaningful advocacy for the children. When we think we have done everything, we need to remember to stop and care for ourselves.