I had the awesome opportunity to participate in an Interview Project. I was paired with Socialwrkr24/7 from Eyes Opened Wider at eyesopenedwider.blogspot.com. Over the past couple of weeks, I've read through her blog, finding out more about her before I had the chance to send her my list of questions for our interview. So come join me in getting to know Socialwrkr24/7 a little bit more. Be sure to check out her great blog too so that you can read some of her great stories and gain some insight into the world of a social worker.
1) How did you get started as an adoption/foster care blog reader/writer? What compels you to continue with it?
I actually started my blog purely as one more attempt to remember my experiences in life. I've always loved the idea of keeping a journal, but never could stick with it! Perhaps if I'd let people comment on my pink and purple diary from the second grade I'd have kept up with it for more than four days!
But soon after I started writing, I had a number of foster/adoptive parents comment about some of the stories I told. I followed their comments back to more blogs and was hooked! These are my people! People who understand the need for supporting families, for loving children who were not born of their bodies, people who willing work in an imperfect system because they hope the end result is worth the frustration. I have also enjoyed learning more about different types of adoption (ie international/infant domestic) that I have only had a passing experience with professionally.
I continue to blog because I've found a wondeful community that supports each other - each in our own unique ways. I hope this community will one day help to improve the system. I think its already happening!
2) What would I find in your refrigerator right now?
Ugh - not much! I've slacked on grocery shopping this week b/c it was my birthday and I knew I'd be eating out a lot. I live alone - and I'm working on wasting less food! But usually you'd find just the staples - milk, bread, veggies and ridiculous amounts and varieties of cheese - plus various leftovers and takeout. I just remembered I actually did a post about this during NaBloPoMo! http://eyesopenedwider.blogspot.com/2009/11/cribs-socialwrkr247-style.html
3) Have you ever found your faith at complete odds with you job as a social worker? If so, how did you overcome this?
This is by far the hardest/best question I've ever been asked about my job! It is one that I have thought about A LOT over the past 7+ years of being a social worker. I used to feel like my job was at odds with my faith ALL THE TIME. I almost quit grad school 2 months into my first internship! Now I can honestly say - I find my job to be at odds with my religion at times, but never with my faith. But I worked through a lot of issues and came to see a lot of things differently. Many religions in the world today are so focused on the "rules" - they have forgotten that reason for their existence is supposed to be to bring people closer to God. That doesn't mean that I don't still practice my religion - but I have had to seperate some of the practices of my denomination with my faith in God's will.
My faith is the reason I went into this career - and I'd never be able to continue without it. I went into social work because my faith taught me to be of service to those who had less than I do. I believe that how I treat "the least of these brothers" would be taken into account by God (Matthew 25: 34-40). I am able to do my job everyday because I believe that each and every person is a child of God - needing to be shown love, grace and mercy (John 13:34-35). I can only continue to see the awful situations and make the incredibly difficult decisions I make, because I believe that God has a hope and a future for each and every person. He will use my work to further his plan, and when I screw up - he will still bring goodness out of it (Jer 29:11).
My religion is a product of humans, my faith is a product of God, - when in doubt, I go with what I believe God would want me to do.
4) What was the last movie you went to see?
Remember Me - it was a good, very character driven, film. But if your overly sensitive to recent terrorist events, I wouldn't recommend it! I was a little traumatized.
5) Being a social worker must be very stressful at times. What's your favorite thing to do to relax and unwind?
Being with friends and family! I wrote a whole post about how I cope here: http://eyesopenedwider.blogspot.com/2009/07/self-help.html But I'd say my favorite thing is to be with happy, healthy, loving people - and to spoil my goddaughters madly!
6) If you could be a superhero, what would you want your superpowers to be?
Oh dear, I never know how to answer this one! I'm going with the ability to read minds - that would make my job much easier! But I would also want to be able to turn it off!!
7) Would you ever chose to grow your family through adoption? If so which would you chose and why - foster care, domestic newborn or international?
I hope to one day! Most likely through foster care. I would really like to do reunification foster care, but chances are not all children would be able to return home. I would like to be a "last stop" for children who have bounced around the system. I also have a soft spot for Ethiopian Adoption - as anyone who has read Zari's Story will understand. I could see that possibility in my future. http://eyesopenedwider.blogspot.com/2009/01/zaris-story.html
8) What was the most interesting trip you have ever taken? Why?
Hmmm... I am usually going to visit family or friends when I travel, so I'm not sure I've been on any really "interesting" trips! I do like to visit my sister in California - she lives near LA and I like doing all the touristy Hollywood things there! But I am taking myself on a solo vacation this spring - I'm hoping it will be interesting!
9) As a social worker, what is the one most important piece of advice you would give to any potential parent?
There can be no effective discipline without a solid relationship as the foundation. If you're at your wits end trying to find a punishment to make your child behave - your working on the wrong end of the problem. Start from scratch on building up positive feelings and a solid parent/child relationship (not a friendship!). It won't solve everything - but it will help a lot! Plus, having a foundation of positivity makes doling out and receiving negative consequence much easier to bear! Everyone recovers quicker!
10) What one thing that has happened in your life has made the biggest impact on who you are today?
I think "who I am" is made up of thousands of life changing moments. Does one big thing make more of an impact than a hundred little things? I don't think they neccesarily do. Some things in my life have been big - places I lived in my childhood, being a middle child, struggling with depression, certain people who have been part of my life, etc. Others have been smaller - meeting someone new, the millions of books I've read, interactions with my clients... But, I believe that the things that happen today, both big and small, will affect the person I am tomorrow.
Short answer: I'm still figuring out who I am!
Make sure you check out all the other interviews too. You can find them all listed here. Thanks to Heather at Production, Not Reproduction for setting this all up and getting us all talking!