Q: I’ve applied to adopt a waiting child from foster care. We are open to all races, kids up to age 13, and sibling groups up to 3 kids. We applied and then heard nothing. We also applied through AdoptUSKids and also heard nothing. I know the social workers are busy, but this is getting to be ridiculous. How do I get their attention without making them angry at me?
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Dawn Davenport 0:00
Welcome to weekend wisdom by Creating a Family. Creating a family is a national support and training nonprofit for foster adoptive and kinship families. And this segment is part of the creative family podcast. Each Sunday morning, we drop a short segment answering a question that we receive. You can submit your own questions to info at creating a family.org you can put weekend wisdom in the subject line. And I promise you will eventually find its way to me. Today's question is about how to get your social worker or caseworkers attention. Here's the question. She says I've applied to adopt a waiting child from foster care. We are open to all races, kids up to age 13, and sibling groups up to three kids. We have applied and then heard nothing. We've also applied through adopt us kids and also heard nothing. I know that social workers are busy, but this is getting to be ridiculous. How do I get their attention without making them angry at me? You know, we get this question from those at the beginning like this questioner. But we also get them from those people who are in the midst of fostering and caring for a child or having trouble post adoption and needing to reach out after the adoption. So our advice is going to apply equally to people both at the beginning, as well as those who are in the midst and can't seem to get the attention of the bureaucracy. And it also applies, perhaps even more so to kinship caregivers. And I gotta say at the outset, we don't have a one size fits all silver bullet. But we do have some tried and trued ideas for getting the attention of anyone in a bureaucracy. First, you need to be proactive to ensure you have what you need, but you don't have to be a jerk about it. Instead, what we suggest is a to be a polite pain in the neck. Or maybe polite ish is what we should say, the polite ish squeaky wheel. So I'm going to give you five tips. One, when you are waiting for a specific child, or eligibility for placement, try to stay on the social workers radar. Look for reasons to connect with him periodically, for example, send him an email, just and listen to her great creating a family.org podcast on parenting kids with prenatal exposure. And it really connected with us or something like thanks for recommending that we read the connected child Wow, what a good book. In other words, periodically, you want them to think that you are out there. It doesn't hurt that in both cases, the examples we just gave, it shows that you're trying to get more educated that also works in your favor. The second tip is don't leave the ball and the caseworker or social workers court to call you back when you leave a phone message in the Message by way saying that you're going to try again to reach them, and then follow up in a couple of days. If you don't hear from them. They are busy. They're not going to probably call you back even though they should. So don't leave it that way. Third tip, maintain a running list of specific questions you want to talk about. When you do connect with the social worker. You don't want to waste your time or theirs. And just as important prioritize your list to make sure you hit the most important topics first in case your time is cut short. The fourth tip, if the social worker has not returned your call email resist the temptation to point out those failings when you finally do connect. You can choose not to mention the unanswered calls and emails. You can also briefly mention that you're glad that you finally been able to connect with them. But if you do that don't emphasize the word. Finally, remember that you need to maintain a working relationship and that it's best to start by assuming their best intentions. And honestly just offer them a face saving way out it can make it easier for you to work together and make them less likely to resist your calls in the future. And our fifth tip is to end your conversation when you do have it with your social worker or the caseworker. By asking them when you can expect to hear back from them. You can nicely require them to commit to a timeframe, it may help spur them on and it gives you tacit permission to be the squeaky wheel after that timeframe has expired. You can also ask them when you can call them back to wrap up the issue. Again, then they give you a timeframe. So they can't really complain that you in their minds even that they that you're calling them back. And here's just a bonus tip. It's not directly on point but it is so important. Take notes on all your points of contact with the caseworker. Make sure you track dates, who's on the call if others are involved. If you think it would be helpful. You can send a summary of the phone call or meeting with a short friendly note or email. You can say something like I know how busy you are. So I thought I'd help us both out with summary of our meeting. Thanks for your time yesterday. I generally do that by email, but if you don't think they will check emails, I guess you could do it by actual snail mail. I hope that these five tips in the bonus are helpful for you when you are trying to get the attention of somebody in a nameless bureaucracy. Thanks for listening to this week's we can wisdom. If you liked it, please tell a friend to subscribe to the creating a family podcast. Do you know that we have 12 free courses that can help you be the best parent to your kid possible? Thanks to our partners that Shakopee family foundation you can go to Bitly slash JB F support and choose from our library of 12 Horses many of them will dovetail really nicely with the show this podcast go to Bitly slash J B F support that's bi T dot L y slash J B F support
Transcribed by https://otter.ai