I never write about my work but my profile will tell you I'm a social worker for a non-profit. It's a pretty big part of my identity although I don't put in very many hours right now. The problem is that it's hard to talk about my job when everything I do is confidential. I certainly can't just hop online and vent when I'm stressed. Here's the basic job description though for anyone that might find it interesting.
I work in the adoptions field as a contracted social worker for a private agency. Sounds fancy but basically the government of BC oversees all adoptions related to child protection issues, older children, and/or children who have or are expected to have special needs. They contract out what they call "low risk newborn" adoptions and any out of country applications to non-profit agencies. That's where I come in.
The three main areas I might get called for are the home study, birth parent counselling or post-placement visits. The home study is the biggest piece and I generally spend an evening a week for 8 weeks with a couple/family that wants to adopt a child. We dig into all kinds of personal issues like their family history, motivation for adoption and how they deal with stress, anger and conflict. It's all over the map and requires a high level of engagement. At the end of that I write a long report and essentially either approve them for a placement or not. I feel that stress sometimes but for the most part I deal with fabulous people who are looking to provide a stable home for a child who needs it.
Birth parent counselling is the least predictable work. I meet with the birth mom and occasionally the dad prior to the adoption, often through the final months of pregnancy. We go through the emotional, financial and social pressures they are under and try to figure out if it's the most appropriate choice. If they want to continue we go through the procedure of selecting adoptive parents and then often meeting them. I support them through the time of placement and meet with them a few times afterwards, depending on their needs.
Post placement reports are the icing on the cake. I meet with families that have had children placed with them. I've been doing this long enough in this area that I've often done the home study for the families that are getting placements. In those cases I know them quite well and it's cool to visit them in their home and ask them to brag about their children. It's obviously not always all good but the majority of placements I see (at about 6 months to a year in) are positive. I would love to see how the families are doing years later but don't usually get those updates.
So that's what I'm up to when I'm "at work".
I had the most glorious weekend at the Devine Ride mountain bike camp. I took off for Rossland on Friday afternoon with 4 other women - I haven't done anything like that in years. The first night we had dinner at the Colander in Trail. The food was wonderful but the service truly bizarre. I was so punch drunk from hunger and driving I got delirious giggles. Having sobered up with the fantastic lasagna we headed for the Gerick's wine & cheese event. It was an odd combination of bike fitting/maintenance, schmoozing, shopping and wine. We capped off the evening with a soak in the teeny but wonderful hot tub at Greene's Family Guest House.
I woke up ridiculously early on Saturday and couldn't get back to sleep. I grabbed my mp3 player and went for a gorgeous walk down main street. One of the cafes was just opening so I had a quiet, sunny breakfast on my own. We spent the morning at the local elementary school working on skills like riding skinnies, lunges (small drop offs), wheel lifts, braking, switchbacks and oh yes, stairs!
It was warm & sunny and I loved the instruction and practice time. Lunch was provided by the Flying Steamshovel, which was our central meeting point and looked like this when we were in!
After lunch we went on our first group ride on on terrain similar to this and included an insane assortment of trails ( map). Here they are in no particular order (and possibly completely inaccurate) water tower to upper and lower pale ale, milky way, cemetery, back of KC, green room, Roger's and back. It wasn't nearly as long as it sounds. I attempted something I'd never done before that I had to work up to.
I cleaned it and then made myself go back up and do it again for good measure. I was so beat at the end of the ride that it reminded me of the university days when we'd come up for a week of snowboarding at Big White and could hardly walk after the first day.
The post-ride event was similar to the night before, only at the local Revolution Cycles bike shop. We wrapped up the day with a visit to the local Mexican restaurant. It had a great authentic vibe and it was fun to hear the Spanish rolling off the tongues of the employees. Technically all one family I think. The mole sauce was a little more than I had bargained for though and we were all breathing fire. Thank goodness for those super pricey margaritas. Maybe that's their marketing plan?
Sunday we woke up to pouring rain that didn't really let up so I didn't have my camera along. I had a very, very happy morning at the bike park. We worked on more little stunts and I had a chance to try some dirt jumps. My face was sore from grinning, I kid you not. The afternoon ride was on Crown Point. The rain certainly added some challenges but did not dampen the spirits. This trail also had a section I was hesitant to ride but with a few spotters standing by I rode it and, you guessed it, did it again to prove to myself that it wasn't an accident.
The weekend ended with a short wrap-up at the Steamshovel and then we packed our weary bodies into the car for the drive home. I could keep gushing about the weekend but you probably get the idea. I might possibly have irritated the people I was with by constantly exclaiming about how happy/lucky/delighted I was with my life. There were covert shuttles, exquisite Mr. Freezies, hot tub sessions and plenty of laughs. I'm sending out a huge thank you to the "girls" for inviting me along and putting up with me mooching all of their food.
It was my first time away from Ezra for night and only the third time I've been away on my own since having kids. That's nuts. There were the usual emotions when I left but it didn't take me long to get over them. It was great for me to go and good to come back. The biggest thanks goes to Jeremy for the encouragement to go and for his brilliant competence on the home front. I came home to a mellow husband, sleeping kids and a clean house!