Thursday, October 1, 2009

Life in the Tired Lane

I do not want my field experience to be over quickly (I truly do enjoy it and wish I could much more time there) but I will not cry when this semester is over. I am running on FUMES, ppl! Mid-term is right around the corner. Oh joy!

My field supervisor wants me to create a Targeted Development Agreement for all the trainings I go to. It will be like a mini-contract between the 2 of us. It will state that to ensure transfer of learning from each training, I will apply them in practice. I will state a personal objective for attending each session, skill development commitments and we will both sign it. :)

I am saddened by a certain experience I had yesterday. A birth mom was in the hospital with her newborn and was thinking about adoption. Superviso and I went to the hospital, along with her mother (whom I will refer to as grandmother). BM is young and doesn't make much money. BF is away in college, and although he expressed interest in keeping the child, he does not have any means to raise a child either. I was not welcome into the hospital room, so I remained outside and observed the grandmother and grandchild in the neo-natal room. (Grandmother is in love, no doubt!) The child is biracial and therefore, the grandfather will not welcome the child into his home. (OPINION: If I was that grandmother, I'd tell that man to hit the friggin' road, Jack!)

This struck a deep chord with me. My family has dealt with serious racial B.S. 15 years ago, my family ripped itself apart because my then-17 year old cousin got pregnant by an African-American. It is NO surprise that my mother's father was a racist SOB, and it did trickle down to some of his children. My uncle went off the deep end over the news and it caused a serious rift in my family. We have not been the same since.

Now, my cousin has since had 3 more bi-racial children - all of whom are absolutely gorgeous. I am not close with them, as I was not close with my cousin. This does sadden me, as I think of them often, but I am not surprised that is the way things are. There are no hard feelings between us and I am very proud of the shit she has overcome. She must have skin made of steel.

On to my point of the story: I am not judging this grandfather for his reasoning, but I don't have to like it. I personally can't understand how you could shun a child, a new life who had no control over their conception. It really is difficult for me to fathom. Of course, a lot of ppl do not agree with the mixing of "ethnic groups" but honestly, I don't see why it should matter. We are all human. And frankly, multi-racial/ethnic people are BEAUTIFUL!

This is my opinion. And, as I stated, I am not judging anyone for their views.

More work to do. Ciao!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

My First Post-Placement Home Visit

Yesterday, I had the opportunity to go to a post-placement home visit with my supervisor. After a family brings a child home, the agency has to do monthly post-placement visit for 90 days. These visits are to ensure that the child is thriving, developmentally on task, the parents are adjusting to routines, etc. This couple adopted an infant. She is almost 2 months old and just beautiful! Supervisor held the baby but since I just met the couple, I did not feel comfortable asking them to hold her. People can be weird about that, ya know? The visit went smoothly. The baby is growing, eating, and is developmentally on task. The parents are adjusting well and seem very grounded. It was a happy moment!

This morning, I will be meeting my sup. at the local hospital for an intake. She sent me an email about it, so I'm not really sure what that entails. I assume it is an intake of a birth mom?

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Cross-Cultural Casework

I'm reading this Cross-Cultural Casework "training" guide that my supervisor has. I am really enjoying the explanation they have at the beginning of the manual. It really makes sense and puts it into laymen terms.

  • Preparation for the trip
    • Check your vehicles (self) out thoroughly. (This is something all social workers should do on a continual basis. Acknowledging your biases, prejudices, values, morals, etc. upfront will help you to recognize them in practice, esp. if they are impeding on your professional work with clients)
    • Leave behind extra baggage (hidden agenda) (I was not sure I understood this, so I asked Todd. He gave me this example, which is personal. I was raised by a single mother who was abused. She broke the cycle and provided me with a wonderful childhood, and is my best friend. Now, if I were interviewing a woman who wanted to adopt, and she had the same background that my mother had, I may show favoritism toward her as a choice for a child (when she might not be the best choice) because I have baggage/experience with a woman who overcame her abuse. It could also be a negative bias, etc.)
    • Pack useful stuff (strengths and experiences) (This is self explanatory. I can definitely relate to people, and I'm a good listener. My real skills do not naturally lie with people though. I excel in organization, working with data, research, etc. I know that I am shy around ppl I don't know and my nerves can screw up my thoughts and speech So, it will be interesting to see how my strengths play out, and I will definitely be working on my challenges!)
  • On the Road
    • Pay attn to road signs (msgs, info) (Makes sense. Be aware. Pay attention. Be open)
    • Watch for potholes (biases, prejudices, presumptions, negatives) (This is also self-explanatory. We ALL have these, and just knowing about them ahead of time, accepting them, and NOT applying them to your clients helps. You have to look at everyone with a blank slate. Not everyone fits into a mold, no matter how much we believe that)
    • Choose travelling companions carefully (friends, mentors, colleagues) (Agreed!)
  • Moving down the Road
    • Lifetime journey (continuous growth) (I am such a fan if education and professional/personal development. I will NO DOUBT be that social worker that attends numerous trainings/events/conferences to further my understanding and ability to assist people be the best they can be!)