This winning article was submitted by Rebecca James, Foster and Adoptive Case Manager for KVC West Virginia, as part of our annual story contest.
Child welfare social workers frequently go far beyond what is expected of them to ensure the wellbeing of those they serve. Sometimes this involves making late-night visits to families in crisis, and sometimes this can be as simple as taking a child to get ice cream. Recently, KVC social workers spent extra time to assist two young brothers who were nervous before being adopted.
8-year-old Kobe and 4-year-old Cameron had been in a foster care for one year when they were informed that the Nevada family who had already adopted their older brother wanted to adopt them, too. Not only were they going across the country to live with people they had never met, but they were also being flown to Nevada. Cameron did not really understand what was taking place, but Kobe did and was petrified to fly.
KVC social workers Rebecca James and Brittany Sponaugle reached out to the West Virginia Yeager Airport and arranged for them to take a tour long before the day of the flight. Rebecca and Brittany wanted to make everything that the boys were going through as stress-free as possible and picked the boys up and took them to the airport for their tour.
Rebecca and Brittany showed them the whole process of flying: picking up their tickets, dropping off their luggage, going through security, and knowing what they could take in their carry-on bags. The highlight of their tour was getting to see planes land and take off. After the tour, Rebecca and Brittany took Kobe and Cameron for lunch and ice cream.
Kobe and Cameron’s foster parents said the boys talked about the tour, lunch and ice cream for days. While Kobe was still a little nervous about flying, he knew what to expect and arrived at the airport with much more confidence than he had before.
Rebecca and Brittany show that being a child welfare social worker is about much more than routine visits. It’s about getting to know every child on a personal level and understanding their likes and dislikes and easing any fears they may have.
And, once in a while, it’s about taking most of a day to take two young boys to an airport in an attempt to ease their fears and anxieties, taking them to lunch at the restaurant of their choice, and letting them pick out ice cream flavors and toppings. It’s about showing them they are cared for and they matter.