I haven't discussed it much here, but we are licensed by the state to foster parent.
We haven't had a placement in over a year, so it hasn't come up recently. But yesterday was our home visit and license renewal. We had to sign the paperwork for our background checks, the social worker had to inspect the house, and we had to be interviewed about our health, finances, work schedules, etc.
It's similar to a home study done by an adoption agency. It's not a huge deal, but it's important. Anytime you have a social worker in your house and you have kids, it's important. You invite a certain amount of scrutiny and judgement into your home, which you have to be comfortable with.
But I feel confident in my ability to provide a safe and (fairly) clean home to my children, and any other children that come over. There have been times during the renovation of this house when it was difficult to feel that confidence, but these days everything is pretty well under control except my bedroom. And the play room. And the kids rooms. And the yard. (sigh) But we're getting there. Slowly. I had no concerns about this visit.
But the social worker arrived early. And got to our house before we did. There was no chance for alast-minute vacuuming, or a frantic scrub of the toilet, or a chance to make my bed or straighten up the bedrooms. I pulled into the driveway and our worker was waiting on the front steps. I was not pleased - the kids dentist appointment had run (very) long, and I would have liked 10 minutes to get things in order. But it was not to be. We were going to have to do this thing, and just hope that the house wasn't too much of a disaster.
And so it began. As we all walked in the door, the kids said "Hi" and then excused themselves to the TV room to watch a movie quietly (without being asked !) and Max grabbed snacks (without being asked !) and I settled down on the couch for the interview, proud of their well-mannered demeanor during this visit that was, ultimately, judging my parenting skills.
We were chatting away in the quiet living room, that for once (miraculously) wasn't covered in crap, and then it was time for the moment of truth: we needed to do the home inspection.
I cracked open the door to my room so that he could see my unmade bed and the curtains that never seem to get opened, then the bathroom. And then we opened the door to the TV room. Which is when I heard it.
"It's a hard knock life, for us."
Oh. My. God.
"No one cares for you, a bit, when you're in an orphanage."
"Hey kids" said the social worker. "Whatcha watching?"
"Annie!" they replied cheerfully.
"Ah!" he replied.
I refused to make eye contact.
"And right through here are the kid's rooms!" I continued with the tour.
When we returned to the living room, the social worker left the door open to the TV room. And as I filled out the form, the kids continued to watch...........Little Orphan Annie.
"I'm an ordinary wooooman, with feeeelings...........I like a man to nibble on my ear."
"Why is she acting like that?" Lucy asked Max from the other room.
"She's probably drunk." he opined.
That lucky bitch.
1 day ago