"Hi, my name is Devan and I've been assigned as Allie's caseworker. Can I come over in an hour to meet her? My supervisor will be coming, too."
Allie* was a precious 6 month old who had come to us a few days prior. Because her placement had occurred over the weekend, we knew a caseworker for our new foster daughter wouldn't be assigned until Monday. It was now that day.
I rushed around the house; picking up toys, straightening pillows on the couch, putting dishes in the dishwasher; praying that not only would my house pass inspection, but that I would, too. We had only had one short term placement within the past 5 months--that was after the 1 year "sabbatical" we had taken because we questioned if we had misread God's plan for us to become foster parents.
Fostering was still a very new, unknown road for our family.
As I held Allie against my hip with one hand and wiped off the kitchen counter with the other, there was a knock at the door. I took a deep breath (maybe even two deep breaths) and opened the door. But instead of seeing two people, I only saw one.
"Hi there! I'm Devan. We realized this morning I had enough hours in to come by myself, so my supervisor didn't need to come with me."
Oh, no. Someone brand new? Paired with foster parents who still don't have a clue about how this whole thing works? Cases are all so unique, so different. I hope I can handle this!
That conversation, and my first interactions with Devan, took place exactly 3 years ago. Allie didn't stay in our home for very long (her godmother desired to keep Allie until mom could get her back), but I enjoyed that little bit of time with both Allie and Devan. It was clear God had called us to foster, regardless of the outcome.
Then, two months after Allie left, we got a call to take in a 3 week old baby boy. Once the investigator placed him in our home, it triggered for our agency to have his case. And the caseworker? Devan.
I wasn't as nervous this time, and Devan appeared more relaxed and confident, too. Not only did Charlie become our first long term placement, but by the time he was 6 months old we knew he was going to become our first adoption. The length of time from Charlie's placement in our home to his adoption was 18 months.
- 18 months in which Devan not only spent time developing a relationship with Charlie, but with our family, too.
- 18 months in which Devan began bringing new caseworkers with her when we had court hearings, home visits, and an adoption home study. During that time I watched the former newbie become a very capable and qualified trainer.
- 18 months that, when they ended due to the adoption, left me a little sad because Devan had no reason to come to our house anymore.
But God, in a way that can only be explained as His Perfect Plan, gave us Devan as a caseworker not once, but twice, during 2014. Both cases are still open and active, right within our home. Two cases that, while completely separate from one another, connect together in ways that are truly unbelievable. And the only other person walking step by step on this crazy, amazing, surreal road of court hearings, home visits, and case reviews is Devan.
- Devan, who now teaches Domestic Violence classes at our agency.
- Devan, who just this month began working on gaining her Master's Degree.
- Devan, who I believe will walk the tough, hectic, and burdensome road of being a social worker for a very long time.
And I'm forever grateful.