Sheer Exhaustion

This was my first week on the new job… 20 hours as the office manager for our local CASA program. It’s an awesome group of women working hard for local kids. But man, I am exhausted!

The kids’ behavior this week has rivaled some since the beginning. The whining and crying just did me in. It’s a fight every day. We’re still having toileting issues. We’re having some adjustment to the new room configurations and early rising.

My mother is visiting for the week too and we’ve had a lot to get done so I haven’t had a moment of rest.

We met with the Family Behavioral therapists twice this week (once with just me, once with all the kids). I really can’t imagine my life now without June and her pearls of wisdom. This week we made the goal of working on “calm parental presence.” The next couple of weeks she will schedule activities with the children that promote this goal.

We started with the Adoption Prep class through our agency. The kids are working on lifebooks which is so interesting.

Anne had a quiz or test every day this week and is really struggling. Today she had to owe recess because she was having such a hard time on her history test. Hubby and I are trying to figure out what to do with her since the private school seems overwhelming. She loves it, she loves the kids and the teachers. She gets Spanish once a week which she adores. But if she keeps failing her classes due to lack of focus and organization I just can’t justify the expense. We are hoping that as she gets more comfortable and set into the routine that she will start trying her best.

That was my week! Hopefully I will be set more next week to update on our progress with the therapists and school.


Promises, Promises

I promise I will update on the adoption and work, etc. I guess life in general. But today was super rough and mama just needs some quiet no-brain activity-time. Loved reading this after a long day, she is fantastic and I am halfway through her book which is amazing.

Highly recommend (click through):

Carry On, Warrior

Working Hard for the Money

Yesterday I was super bummed about work. Before I left for North Carolina on Friday I talked to my boss about how things were working out with the position. I know I wrote about my concerns last week. Everything came to a head when I had to start signing paperwork and booking travel for my AmeriCorps training (scheduled November 18-21 in Boston).

Here, they wanted me to sign a waiver that said I was not taking on their health insurance. But that was a super big deal for me! I did not get many details prior to accepting this AmeriCorps VISTA position and I really wish I had! Here, I had to sign that I did not want to take on their insurance for the year that I was under contract with AmeriCorps. This was all well and good until my current insurance through my husband’s company said they would charge us extra for both myself and my daughter each month because I was waiving insurance from my employer. I can’t switch insurance! Not only would it be a huge pain (for just a year contract), but I had a stroke in January and heart surgery in May so I am not prepared to give up relationships I have with these doctors. Therefore, this AmeriCorps position was just not cut out for me. My boss totally understood the issue I had with spending an extra couple hundred dollars a month a month while basically having a volunteer position. But she also did not have extra funding available to bring me on without the contract with AmeriCorps.

So my boss emailed me on Sunday and basically said that she would have to let me know in the future when they had enough funding to bring me on. I was super bummed yesterday. Despite helping them since July, I haven’t been paid. I had to wait until November and the AmeriCorps training before my contract officially started. I felt kind of duped, like I gave them all this advice and developed strategy for them without keeping compensation in mind. It’s a cause that I wholeheartedly believe in, so it was hard to be too mad. I was just frustrated at myself for not being more careful.

Then this afternoon my boss called me! Unfortunately one of the office staff members whose main job is case management resigned effective immediately because his mother has cancer. So my boss needs to restructure the office and bring in someone to help! She asked if I would consider a part-time position with both marketing and case management. I said of course! I think the local and National CASA do great advocacy on the part of the children and it fits in my goal of helping as many kids possible get what they deserve in terms of help and services. I have never done case management but I would love to learn. This week is crazy with Halloween parades, our last visit with our case manager and touring the private school so I will not get a chance to go into the office but that will give my boss some time to restructure and figure out where I will fit. Here I’ve gone from a year “volunteer” contract position with AmeriCorps to help the CASA office develop to actually being an employed (probably still contract) member of the staff!

It’s amazing how much can change in one day!

New Job

Today was my meeting at the CASA office to discuss the AmeriCorps position. Talking with the Executive Director was like a breath of fresh air! They are totally flexible with my work schedule and if I need to take off because we get a placement. I will actually be starting next week, and will bank the hours so that I have time to take off during the year of service.

AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America) is a program started by JFK in 1965 to fight poverty in low-income communities with year-long commitments from Americans of all walks of life. I start next week developing (ie: marketing) and supporting (ie: fundraising) the Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) program. I am so excited to learn more about the non-profit side of the world and help this program that does wonderful things for children every day!

Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA, or Guardians ad litem) volunteer nationwide to provide children with a safe and healthy environment in permanent homes. If you have children in foster care or have been in care you probably know the far reach of this nationwide program.

VISTA members support the program’s purpose through three primary objectives: 1) encouraging volunteer service at the local level, 2) generating the commitment of private sector resources, and 3) strengthening local agencies and organizations that serve low-income communities. There are currently over 5,000 VISTA members serving in over 1,000 projects throughout the nation.

I am excited to start this new job and I can’t wait to see where the next year will lead me!


Job Interview

One of my other tasks while I was in Raleigh was to meet with my boss and determine my fate in our business. We didn’t get very far, and it wasn’t made very clear to me, but she said there isn’t anything I need to work on. This coming after running her business for two months while she was rehabbing and vacationing (and in the midst of my heart surgery). So I sent her an email later to clarify (when I continued to pry she gave me short answers or changed the subject, and I am not good with confrontation). I asked if she would need my help in the future, even if she did not need me to work on anything now. That was three days ago. I still haven’t heard! It would be very disappointing for me to end my two year position with her not even answering my emails, but who knows!

Once I realized that I wasn’t getting anywhere with my boss and continuing to get hours, I started to look for a new job. I’ve been considering my options anyway, since we moved six months ago and I do marketing. It’s very difficult to work remotely in the marketing field (unless you do social media marketing or search engine optimization)! I haven’t ruled out still working for my boss and having hours in the future, but I need to have something going on in my professional life!

One of the positions I found on in my area (there were not many options) is through AmeriCorps, working to develop and support the CASA program in my county and three of the other surrounding counties. This is a relatively new program in this area and they need help to promote their program in order to gain more funding. In that way they can support  more children in finding permanency. Whomever is placed in the AmeriCorps position will have the chance to work directly for CASA once their year contract is complete with AmeriCorps.

I applied for this AmeriCorps position Wednesday night when we returned from Raleigh. I realized that I was already linked on LinkedIn with the Executive Director so I also emailed her directly. I got an answer that night! She wanted me to come in the very next day! So I went in yesterday for an interview with her, the Executive Director of the regional CASA program, and her marketing director. The interview went very well. They basically need someone who can assist each of the four people in their office. The position will entail some marketing, some case management, some PR, administrative and database tasks. The two women that I met with are obviously very passionate about their jobs and seem to be working hard to bring this program full speed.

With the AmeriCorps VISTA program, you are basically a volunteer for a specified amount of time. You are given a living allowance, health benefits and childcare if you need/qualify. Then at the end of your contract you receive either a monetary bonus or money towards existing/future student loans. I would love to have money to pay off my loans! I don’t qualify for the child care component but the living allowance would more than cover child care expenses.

I got a call this morning from the Executive Director that I got the job! Because it is a full time position, I told her that I had reservations, especially if we get placement. She said that she had already thought that through and has come up with some ideas. So I am going in next Tuesday to discuss how we might be able to make this work!

The position doesn’t start until the end of August. It will be nice when Little One is headed back to school that I will have something to fill my days besides laundry and housework!