My birthday yesterday was a fun and fairly mellow day, which is how I wanted it after such a c-r-a-z-y week. My co-workers did get me a cake and give me a nice key chain made by our clients.
The craziness started on Tuesday when, after seeing two clients in Oakland, I drove up to Albany to lead a career transition meet-up... which had only one attendee! Boo. So tired of meet-up bailouts, even though I do it myself. lol FOUR other people failed to show up; one of them was nice enough to change their response on the website. Double boo. But. It ended up being really worthwhile!
The one guy who showed up runs the one-stop career center in San Pablo (where I worked for several years at the community college) and graciously offered the space to me for workshops and career groups. He also used to work at the Concord one-stop, which is close to where I live and where I'm wanting more clients! I intend to follow up with him on both the SP workshop and Concord networking fronts. Even though we have some differences in our background and perspective and the conversation started a bit stilted, we warmed into a lively dialogue about our clients and career development philosophies, and knowing some of same people at the college, etc. Great introvert networking experience!
I returned home around 8:30pm and after a half hour or so of necessary down time, jumped into preparing for my first of two interviews the next morning. Went to bed around 1am, but had insomnia and probably got about four hours sleep before the wretched alarm went off. This first interview was the one with a *NINE* person interview panel, which was as nerve-wracking and intimidating as it sounds. Everyone was really quiet, too, and not very responsive, which made me all the more nervous. My answer to the key diversity question was not great, but overall I would say I did okay. Came back home for a couple of hours before heading out to work at the non-profit.
That evening, I tweaked my PP presentation for the second interview the next morning, reviewed interview responses - especially the one about diversity! - and got to bed around 1am again. This interview started a bit later (the first was at the godawful time of 7:45am) but it was in Santa Rosa so I theoretically had about an hour and quarter drive to get there. I awoke at the same early hour of 6:30am, at which time I might add, it is still dark outside, and getting about 5 hours of sleep. *As a side note, I admire and have compassion for those of you that get up at this time or earlier every day.
Despite the rocky start of getting there late due to torrential rains and initially going to the wrong location, this interview, as a whole, was the best it could have been. I liked and felt connected with the (reasonable number of) four interviewers, gave what I felt were strong answers to their questions and a good presentation. This latter job is the one that would require moving, at least eventually. It would be a part-time position, so initially I could commute a couple of days a week. But considering the non-profit job location, it would make sense that I re-locate long-term to a town in-between the two jobs, which would mean about a half hour drive to each. On the positive side, it's a nice area.
Part of the reason I would wait to re-locate on the latter job, is because of my adoption process in this county. I need to research whether I could re-locate when a child is placed with me but not yet officially adopted. This could happen within a few months.
Regarding this adoption process, I took another step forward this week when I met with the adoption social worker Thursday afternoon. We had the house cleaned Monday, and I tidied everything up prior to her arrival. She was quite young! Like maybe 24 or 25? We first went through signing a lot of paperwork in rapid-fire fashion, before she began asking me questions about myself and what I was hoping for in this process.
Early on in the question-asking, I said I hoped for two-years-old and under but was a little torn and might want to consider a little older. At this point, she asked me, "Have you thought of other options?" Head slap, huge groan!!! Um, no, I'm just coming to you guys out of the blue, completely unaware and definitely not having gone through over 10 years off and on of trying to have a biological child, and three adoption training programs in three different counties, not to mention many blogs read, conversations had, books and articles consumed, experts consulted, etc., etc.! Do you agree that's a pretty harsh and clueless question, or am I just overly sensitive? It frustrated me but also hurt my feelings, as I am excited about moving forward and was thinking that she was there to help me and be "on my side."
She also followed up the question with a couple disparaging, negative comments about how there aren't nearly as many babies/infants that come up needing homes. I of course know this already as they stress it in every training and you hear it anyway, just through the media. I feel terrible about the older youth that get stuck in the system and have a harder time finding their forever families. It totally sucks. And, I am who I am and am where I am in life. I've worked with older youth for many years as part of my career. I love them, but I long for the experience of motherhood and am especially longing for the baby/infant experience and supporting them through the developmental milestones. As I think I've shared, part of my motivation for adopting through foster care is financial, but it is also that I want to provide a loving, safe home for a little one who was dealt a very harsh hand in life. So yes, ma'am, I have thought of other options. Grrr
Sorry for the rant. The interview did dramatically improve from there, after I said that her question kind of hurt my feelings and disrupted the process of beginning to get to know each other and work together. She apologized. I know her perspective is very different than mine. In any case, she then focused and began asking me the questions I thought she would ask about my strengths and interests, my neighborhood, my goals for next year, what ethnicity and gender in a child that I was open to, etc. She didn't get into asking about disabilities or special needs, but she gave me quite a bit of additional paperwork to complete, including a questionnaire with those types of questions.
Oh, and before she left, she had me complete this sad and somewhat disturbing questionnaire about what I or those in my family had experienced in terms of various forms of abuse, pornography, use of firearms, drugs, and more. It was a bit strange to answer, "I don't know" for some of them regarding family, and I felt a bit "hardened" answering yes to several drugs (from my college days in the late '80s lol). She said that having experienced these things would not rule someone out but instead will guide our conversation next time when we talk more deeply about my history.
We scheduled our next meeting for January 10th, which gives me time to try and make some fixes (lock box for medications, all cleaners stored in a place that's inaccessible to children, outlets and cords protected - how do you secure cords? - and any less than child-friendly items removed from the yard, and other requirements) and complete the homework. I realized that I should see what items my siblings in Oregon might have to pass along when I have my car to carry them back. Feeling excited about making preparations and things feeling more and more real!
That's my crazy week! Today, I'm going to have a late birthday celebration by meeting a couple of friends to check out a local holiday street fair and have drinks. It's a beautiful day, after getting tons of rain, so it should be a fun time. Then holiday cookie and candle making this evening and tomorrow.