Work lately has been a bit crazy.
Normally when my mom visits, I just take a few weeks completely off. I plan before hand and take care of any time sensitive issues before she gets here, and don't schedule any appointments while she is here.
Not this time. My mom got here last Monday, and it couldn't have been a busier time at work.
In the days before she arrived, when I would normally be scouring the kitchen and folding laundry, I had an overnight placement. I got a phone call at 8:15pm, and when my work phone rings that late, I know something is up. I called the couple and told them they had been chosen for a baby at 8:30pm, and a few hours later we were all at the hospital meeting the birth parents. We were out until after midnight that night, and then returned the next morning at 9:30am for placement. Then, after all is said and done, and the couple is home having sleepless nights, I am neck deep in paperwork.
Being a caseworker means that every contact relating to a case needs to be documented. So when something happens that quickly, and that late at night, it makes sitting down and remembering every phone call and every bit of information given a little difficult. Did I tell them that? Was that on Wednesday or Thursday? The 4th phone call or the 5th? And then there are the legal documents and reports to write with every placement. The summary of every gift given, every document signed and witnessed, and every statement made showing claiming or bonding.
And then one week after that placement, I got to do it again. Well not quite. It's not an overnight placement. But another couple was chosen a couple days ago, and the birth mom is due any day. So the whirlwind of phone calls and paperwork begins, face to face's on short notice, and reviewing placement documents with the couple.
Not to say I am not ecstatic to be a part of such wonderful events. I LOVE when my couples get babies. It is the best part of my job. It just made for a crazy week- and a dirty house when my mom got here.
It's been a bit of a crazy year in that respect. In the last 12 months, I have placed 14 babies (that I can remember), and taken 2 relinquishments (meaning I was the birth parent caseworker when she placed her baby). I have 3 more couples due to get babies in August.
Also happening this week at work, we are opening the Springville office.
Yes, yes, I live in Salt Lake, and Springville is even further than Provo. But the commute is actually about 5 minutes shorter. Instead of cutting across the valley for 12 minutes, I just continue on the freeway 2 more exits and I'm there! So that is why I offered to go to Springville.
But opening the new office has been a bit crazy. We do not have an adoption manager hired yet, so there has been some confusion and lack of direction in getting things going. For a long time, concrete plans were just being put on hold while we waited to see who would be hired as manager. Then, as it became clear that hiring a manager was a ways off, those decisions were placed on the caseworkers. Luckily the other caseworker transferring with me is a full-timer and in training to be a manager. So she can make those decisions much better than I can. Budget, opening date, which cases to transfer, decorating. We have a credit card with the agency's name on it (literally), and have put it to good use purchasing big framed artwork, and little potted plants, leather ottomans, pillows, and lamps.
We even got a Ford Escape, which is both neat and scary. Neat because it is a different car than most other offices- they all have Camry's. Scary because the reason we got the cool SUV is that our catchment area (the area we cover in our office) goes from Springville, out to Price, to Moab. And clients have to have home visits throughout the year. I may be driving those backroad highways in the dead of Utah winter.
It's a good thing my mom likes shopping, because that is all we did the first half of the week she was here! We open for appointments tomorrow, and while the artwork isn't hung yet (church contractors have to hang it), and we still have a lot more decorating type stuff to buy, my office is mostly put together at this point. We are still waiting on some clocks and pillows. We can't decorate with other than church purchased items until after the dedication, which isn't schedule until August 26th. So for now this is all I can have out. But after that, I'll have up my calendar, some more artwork from home, my degree and licensure, and I have a collection of the photos of every child I have placed.
It will be really nice not having to share my office space. Not that I didn't love my Provo co-workers. But it will be nice to not have to split the available hours, and to able to run in on a day off, and to not have to readjust my chair height every single day, and to always have pens in the desk.
Another part of opening the Springville office is splitting the Provo caseload. We had a meeting a week ago where all of the caseworkers sat down and went over each case and determined if it transferred to Springville, or stayed in Provo based on address. Then we assigned them to their new caseworkers. Typically the part time workers carry a caseload of about 20-25 adoptive couples and 5-10 expectant parents. With all the placements I had in the last year, my caseload was a bit lower to start, about 20, because once couples finalize their adoptions, I close them. You may have noticed that my available couples listed on my sidebar has been shrinking. Well, I transferred 3 of my couples to workers staying in Provo, but the majority were going with me to Springville. Then I received 14 new cases; 13 of which are approved waiting couples. So watch for my list to almost triple!
Also new with work this week- the FSA national conference. When my mom told me she was coming out the last week in July, I told her that that'd be great because she would get to go to the conference with me! I'm not sure how much she enjoyed it; she doesn't eat breath and sleep adoption like most of the people who attended. But I hope she was able to get something out of the sessions we attended. I took her to a birth mother's panel (one of my birth moms was speaking!), to a session on openness, to a class for expectant parents on how to choose an adoptive couple, to a class on the Utah foster care system, and to a panel on the whole picture following a case through the eyes of the birth mother, birth grandparents, adoptive couple, adoptive grandparents, and caseworkers on both sides. I actually got to present on that panel, as the case was one of mine. So now my mom is an adoption expert! (whether she liked it or not)
The last big news at work (of course also happening this week) is that the agency is coming out with a bunch of new policy. This new policy will come out officially tomorrow, and there are a lot of big changes for my couples. So we, as caseworkers, have had a lot of policy to read, and meetings to discuss, and I still feel like I am flying a bit blind. I hope I fully understand the changes before I am answering big questions about them. This also means that I am writing an entire home study this week, and that I am actually scheduling some appointments next week in order to get one couple approved and others' homestudies updated before the new policy would effect them.
Ok, big deep breath. This crazy week will pass.
And my mom is getting to see more of my job than she ever wanted to. And now, if you read all that, you did too!
Sunday, August 01, 2010
Work lately has been a bit crazy.