Wise, Witty, and Wacky Wednesday


A year and a half ago I began to live my life from a place of fear and regret. A child in my care was placed back home- I knew it was the wrong choice, and I did what I could within the restrictions of my job to prevent it, as did my boss who is wonderful and listened to me rant and complain over and over again. The caseworker and the therapist were at odds (personally) and they both were more interested in their own egos then doing their jobs and this little girl suffered for it.
She had lived with me for a year and came to me socially stunted ,hissing, and biting people who upset her and unable to sit through class at school. When they took her she was getting good grades, had friends, and was one of the teachers favorite kids. I know intellectually that I did what I could, and if I had meditated, made lists, and prayed on it I might feel that way in my heart, instead I acted- or didn’t act- out of fear. I was afraid to lose my job- which supports my family (I have a husband and two kids) a valid fear as my thought was to go to a meeting and yell at everyone until they listened to me about what dumb asses they were being. My boss can only protect me from so much. I also thought about kidnapping her- but I lacked the funds and again I had my family to consider.
The point being since then I have vainly tried to protect myself. I have tried to not get close to any of the kids (I’m not very good at this one) and emotionally have hidden inside a shell. I just finished reading Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird, were she talks about how as writers we are more sensitive, more emotional, because we observe everything and bring it into us to use later in our writing. This helped me realize that my emotional nature isn’t wrong, and I’m not broken, and yes I really do use egg rolls to medicate- but a lot of authors use something. In her book Anne Lamott says that she becomes more open, more vulnerable, and this helps her deal with her emotions better then hiding from them and herself.
I envy this courage. I want to be fierce and proud and vulnerable, and open to life. This reminds me of my friend Ahu. I don’t remember what we were talking about or who asked her, but someone asked what she does when she argues with someone and hurtful things are said. And Ahu smiled (she’s so beautiful when she smiles) and said “I become more vulnerable, more open, I don’t hide my heart I show it and I become stronger and more powerful because of that openness.”
I have thought of these words many times, and admired Ahu’s passion and openness and love of life.
So now I am trying to find my way to that place of truth, acceptance, joy, and vulnerability. Day by day, moment by moment I do my best to slow down, think about what I’m doing a see if I could open my heart just a little bit more.
My beautiful friend Ahu http://www.ahusmith.com/Home.html

14 responses »

  1. Beautiful post, Alicia. We all do things we come to regret. Try not to be so hard on yourself. “I want to be fierce and proud and vulnerable, and open to life.” It sounds like you are well on your way. I am going to carry that line with me today. Thank you.

  2. What a touching post, Alica. And so sad that that little and you had to go through such an event. And many people have mentioned Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird. It obviously struck a chord for many writers like you and has helped you in your life.
    Thank you for telling us.

  3. Insightful post, Alica. Thanks for subscribing to my blog too. I am excited to be a new subscriber to your journey via the blog here.

    Bird by Bird is a tremendous book. It was one of the first that I read after deciding to be a writer. Another great book is Julia Cameron’s, The Artist Way. It revolutionized my life within the 12-week-program outlined therein.

    • Thank you! My hubby has the artists way around here some where I’ll have to hunt it down. When life allows I do write in the morning- it helps so much. If only kids and work wouldn’t get in the way.

  4. wow. fierce, proud, vulnerable and open to life. i want to be in that space too. i am afraid alot, afraid of failing, of looking stupid, of being open to that degree, but at the same time i want to be in that space. i feel like being closed off is making it hard for me to BE in my life. thank you. ❤

  5. Alica, having worked at CPS for 9 very long years, I can certainly understand how you feel. No I never had these kids living in my home so I didn’t develop the bond that you do. I did however feel very close to those I removed from their homes. I felt responsible for them. So, when the higher ups (not my supervisor — she was awesome) or the the judge decided to go against my recommendation and return a child when I knew he/she didn’t need to, I felt completely torn. Should I just let this happen or should I kidnap the kid and take off? Well, obviously if I did the latter, I’d end up in jail and jobless, so that was no answer. I wouldn’t be able to help anyone.

    Sometimes you just have to fight as hard as you can and then realize you have to stop when it gets to the point it really is out of your hands. And then you pray. Diligently.

    I remember a judge placing a newborn back into the hands of this drug addicted homeless mother. He expected her to page me every day from the shelter he wanted me to get her into. Not to mention my life being on hold every single day to make sure she was where she was supposed to be. Well, that lasted all of two nights. The third she didn’t show up. Of course, this was the winter Texas decided to have a real winter and there was ice and snow (mainly ice) all over the ground and roads. I searched in all the worst parts of town all night and all the next day, talking with every drug dealer, transient, prostitute and pimp I could find. I got many leads from these people as even they were worried about the baby.

    When I finally found her the baby was so sick he had to be taken to the hospital and admitted. Next day in court, the judge just looked at her bewildered and said, “I can’t believe you did that after I gave you a chance.” And all I could think is that he gave her the chance to kill the baby and thankfully she didn’t.

    As for finding my way to vulnerability and acceptance…after 20 years of seeing the worst humanity has to offer…I think it’ll be hard to crack that shell. But, I may eventually get there.

    Thank you for all you do with kids in foster care. I’m sure they are so much better off now and in the future for having been a part of your family.

    • Good caseworkers are hard to come by! I’ve met a few and always been thankful for all of the work and time they put into helping protect the kids.
      I’ve told people CPS is often a many headed dragon where the heads don’t talk to each other. The judge looks at the file in front of him, not understanding that while I’m a ‘group home’ what I really do is professional foster care because we run a family style group home and I live here. I have one weekend off a month and 10 respite hours a week. These kids live with me, but all he sees is group home- so the most important thing is to move them on as soon as possible.
      We have gotten so many kids from foster care because of the parents not being able to handle the kids or not being suited for that kind of work.
      That poor baby- I’m glad she’s okay. What kills me is I know they kept working toward reconciliation with mom when she could have been placed with an adoptive family. The amount of chances they give parents makes me want to scream. When do the kids get a second change at a new life?
      Thank you for all of your hard work in helping keep kids safe. I have met some really wonderful caseworkers and they do make all the difference in how a case is handled and the quality of life for the child.

  6. Alica-This post was vulnerable and open. I was touched and am amazed and grateful for what you do. Thank you for opening up to these children and showing them love when they may have never seen love, true love, before. I am honored and thankful that I get to call you a new friend girl!

    • *hugs* Thanks you! Most of my Wednesday posts are silly- but this just came to me. I hope that I can give them a glimps of what life, family, and love can be and teach them that they are worth and able to have goodness in their lives.

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