Sarah Goodapple has worked at Chaddock for a year and a half as a Child Welfare Specialist in Chaddock’s Foster and Adoption Services. Sarah now serves as a Family Coach. Sarah is a wife, a mom to a sweet 6-year-old, and loves to spend her time being creative.
I have had the opportunity to work with many families since joining Chaddock’s Foster and Adoption Services program a year and a half ago. I began my job as a caseworker, and now I serve as a Family Coach.
Many of the families I serve are experiencing some of their darkest days after their children are removed from their care. I recently met with a family who is working diligently towards their return home goal and reunification with their child. When I first began working with this family, they were very unsure about our services and the opportunities they had available to them, and it seemed as though my support was intrusive and unwanted. However, over time both parents became engaged and willing to do whatever it took to get their children back home as soon as possible.
At one of the later hearings I attended, the family expressed that they were indeed initially unwilling to work with me, but eventually understood that Chaddock was trying to help them succeed. I shared with him that I view the process of reunification much like a house remodel: the home has some much-needed improvements, but the house is unlivable due to dangerous foundation issues. The remodel process is messy, chaotic, and sometimes costly. However, once the repairs are finally fixed, this remodel could mean that the house stands for generations to come. That is my hope for this family and for every family I serve at Chaddock.
I am there to stand beside families throughout the messy remodel and help them make changes that will be seen for generations to come.
The world of foster care and adoption is often misunderstood by those outside of it. Due to the number of variables, moving parts, paperwork and legalities it can be easy to forget that this is a system put in place to not only protect children but to support parents and families on their journey to becoming the best that they can be.
Many people fall into judgment quickly, whether it’s those within the system, or those on the outside looking in, and whether you are a parent, caregiver, child or young person, or someone working to help those parents, caregivers, children and young people. The real change happens though when we can put our perceptions aside and instead come from a place of empathy and patience and consider the roles that vulnerability and courage can play.
In our world at Chaddock, we talk a lot about the parallel process. It is our job to hold the parents, families and caregivers, so that they can hold their children. Think of us as the scaffolding holding the entire house together until it’s ready to stand on its own again.