Welcome to the KingZoo and Funny Farm, where we learn to live, laugh, and love together. Here you'll find snippets of life in our zoo, parenting tips we've learned along the way, reflections on shining God's light in this world, passions in the realm of orphan care, and our journey as parents of a visually impaired child with sensory processing disorder. Have fun!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Government regulations

The social worker was here yesterday. Seems silly to do a yearly re-eval on a family that doesn't currently have a foster child, but that's the law and there are a lot of them when it comes to foster care. You'd think the foster parents are all criminals. At least that's how I often feel when these evaluations are being done. I know they mean well and only have the best interests of "the child" at heart but sometimes it's more than a bit much.

There is a young boy who is being considered for our home. We don't really know the status of this situation as it has been "in consideration" for several months. Up until yesterday we didn't even know his name. But yesterday she let it slip. His name is Isaac. Well, that would be interesting, wouldn't it? God knows best. If we're to have 2 Isaacs, then so be it. It sure would make the business of retrieving the right name just a little easier knowing that if you say "Isaac" you'd be correct 2/7 of the time. We might even be able to stop calling kids by their shirt color: "Hey Jesse. I mean Mariana. Oh, you in the red shirt. Come here."

As is often the case, it was a new caseworker who had never been to our home before. She was a trooper while I had to locate a phone to prove that we do have emergency numbers posted on them, even though it seems to me it's faster to memorize 9 -1-1 than to turn the phone front-to-back while copying these numbers from the mandated sticker. She didn't even criticize when I had to pry the phone from Andrew's ear to show it to her.

She pretended not to notice the tub full of plaster and broken tile when I flushed the toilet to demonstrate that we do indeed have working plumbing. I, of course, felt it necessary to point out that we are in the midst of a bathroom renovation, just in case she thought we were into some new type of bathing or spa treatment. She even agreed to skip the upstairs toilet demonstration when we found it was occupied. To the child stating, "Don't come in, I'm in here," I just had to respond with, "Are you on the toilet? Will you be flushing it when finished?", and she accepted that as a working throne.

She was able to look at the plethora of instruments in the bedroom-turned music room-could easily be changed back to a bedroom room and imagine a beautiful bedroom for a child, complete with bed and dresser. She also maneuvered her way around the mess in the boys' room (quite expertly, if I do say so myself) to see that there is also room in here for another child.

She checked the outlets which (check) I had remembered to check that morning and they were all covered. She forgot to look for the Mr. Yuck stickers. That's a good thing as I believe a lot of them ended up in the recycling when the cleaning bottles were empty. We tested each smoke alarm. All are in good, working order. I tried to tell her that she would only have to be here when there's bacon in the oven to know that the one in the kitchen works just fine, but it didn't work. I had to drag over a chair to climb up and manually push the little button.

I made it easy on her when I was able to state that we don't have guns in the house (so she didn't have to check for gun cabinet locks), we don't use the fireplace (so it doesn't need a cover), nor do we have a shed in the backyard (so she wouldn't have to rule out kids being forced to sleep in it). She could also quickly check off "no" in the sections asking if in the past year any household members had been convicted of a felony or had a protection order issued against them.

She was a little dubious when I told her how much we spend on cable per month. Apparently she doesn't know anyone else with basic cable. She also questioned the low amount we spend on phone service. All I had to do was tell her about the new-yet-no-so-improved Magic Jack service that John bought. I told her that as long as one doesn't mind dropped calls and a phone that decides when you can or cannot make and receive calls, it's well worth the savings. But when she figures out our income and compares it to our expenses she'll see that it all works out just fine for us.

We were speeding through the re-eval until she asked if we have any pets. Linus, the cocker spaniel, was easy since he just had his rabies shot and I had thought ahead and mailed a copy of the vaccination certificate to the office. The fish were a little more difficult as she could see that their tank is looking more than a little green. Hopefully she knows we take better care of our children than we do our fish. The snake threw her for a loop. I think she had a little trouble spelling Cornelia and she was a little sheepish when asking if snakes need rabies shots. Not that I know of. But maybe the mice that we feed to her need proof of vaccination? After plenty of years with the state foster care system, I am pretty certain that will be a law on the books some day in the future, requiring that the vaccination certificates for feeder mice be on file in the agency's office. Funny, she never asked to actually see the snake, though. That's good. At least she didn't have to look the other way when passing the toys on the basement steps. Toys on the steps, for non-foster parents not in the know, are illegal in foster homes. But don't worry, they will be removed and replaced and removed again for good by the time another child is placed in our home.

1 comment:

  1. Oh my goodness, Cindy, I was cracking up so much as I was reading that post. I was just picturing the dozens of home re-evaluations that I have completed and going through all of those ridiculous steps to ensure the safety of the home; there have been some awkward moments in the past. And then I was picturing a new worker doing a re-eval at your house and it was hilarous! Thanks for sharing.
    And yes, it continues to become more and more difficult to be an approved foster family, there are so many rules and regulations and sometimes they seem so silly, but in most cases, I understand where they come from.
    Anyway, good luck with the possible pending placement; I know things will work out as they should.
    p.s. I know a family that has two daughters with the same name...love it!