By Rachel Bates
Caseworker! That is my job title. Sometimes I laugh when I have to explain to other people what exactly it means. Most of the time, I am not sure what it means. But today, I realized what it is. Loving, serving, and advocating for my clients. That never means the same thing twice.
Today, it meant entertaining my expectant client’s 18-month-old daughter for an hour while she got her teeth cleaned for the first time in 3 years. Unfortunately, she has no one to do that for her. After that, I took her to lunch at a fast food place I have been to many times. She told me it was her first time eating there. She cried with me over chicken nuggets and fries about how great and how hard it is to be matched with an adoptive family. The reality hit her that they will be taking her newborn baby home soon, and she will be saying goodbye. THIS is being a Caseworker.
“…being willing to go the extra mile shows her that I care about the little details of her life… this is being a Caseworker.”
Somedays, it means talking about life, about grief, about anger, about guilt, about joy, about relationships. It means listening and crying over a cup of coffee or tea. THIS is being a Caseworker.
Sometimes being a caseworker is grocery or maternity clothes shopping, food stamps appointments, doctor’s appointments, and ultrasounds. Holding a young woman’s hand as she sees, maybe for the first time, her child that she already loves dearly but is about to say goodbye to. THIS is being a Caseworker.
Once I made a run for fried rice from the local Chinese restaurant, because a birth mother had just delivered a baby, and was craving it. Just the simple act of being willing to go the extra mile shows her that I care about the little details of her life. In my heart I want to hand her the world, but fried rice will have to do. THIS is being a Caseworker.
But the moments I remember the most are the hugs, the tears, and the last moments at the hospital. The culmination of days and months of time spent together, doing what we talked most about, bringing a precious life into this world.
The time is here. She says goodbye to the tiny person she loves most in the world. Sometimes I think I can hear her heartbreaking. But yet, she knows. She knows it is right. She walks out of the room and drives away, strong and confident.
These moments are written on my heart, burned in my memory, and have forever changed me. My life has been tremendously blessed by these amazing people, and I am forever grateful.
Rachael started working at Hope’s Promise as a social worker in 2008 and is now leading the adoption caseworkers as the Director of Adoptions. Her years of dedicated service bringing children into loving Christian families is an inspiration to the staff, those we serve and our community.