I’ve started a new job in Miami, and it’s been pretty rough. I’ve had a lot of cases thrown at me. I was doing a visit at this group home in Hialeah with this cute 8 year-old, and immediately noticed his front tooth was missing. I asked him if the Tooth Fairy had brought him any money, and his response was “What is that?” I explained who she was to him, then discreetly gave the house mother $ 3 and whisper-requested that the Tooth Fairy please come for him tonight. The whole thing made me sad, he’s such a great funny little kid. He obviously never had anyone who cared enough or was thoughtful enough explain who the Tooth Fairy was, either his parents or his foster care placements.
I have my highs, and I have my lows. This week I have been exceptionally lonely and prone to cry. My friend and co-worker Mike is in a training class, so I was volunteered to take one of his children for a psychiatric evaluation and psychotropic medication consult. Jenny (not her real name) is almost 4 years old, a chunky little nugget with pigtails and that raspy voice that some little kids have. When I pick her up at the daycare at the crack of dawn I am informed she hasn’t had breakfast, but we are running late so there is no time to stop. We get to the doctor’s office and wait, and wait, and wait. Jenny never gets cross, or pouts, or whines. I get in the floor and we play house, then she cooks me some food in the kitchen, then we color, then we are farmers with all of her animals, then she plays games on my phone until it dies. She knows we are going to McDonald’s and asks when we can leave every 5 minutes. At 11:45 I finally complain, and then I’m asked to bring Jenny back “around 1:30” because the doctor has a mandatory staffing and she can’t be seen until then.
We go to McDonald’s, where Jenny gets a Happy Meal, quickly making her cheeseburger, fries, apples and Sprite disappear. My little nugget has a few of my chicken nuggets as well. Not-her-case-manager buys us ice cream cones AND chocolate chip cookies, with me praising her for being such a good girl. When we return to the doctor’s office Jenny draws a picture of us, and then I show her a picture of my dogs and she draws them as well. She is still happy, laughing, playing…such a good girl! The doctor finally sees us at 3 p.m., and Jenny has her meltdown shortly after. She yells and cries and runs in and out of people’s offices. I explain to the doctor that she hadn’t had her nap and that she was tired and cranky. I have a bag of toys in my trunk and am forced to promise to give her three of them if she will stop running away from me, stop yelling and get in the car. Once she is seat-belted in and digging through the toys (choosing Stitch, the Cookie Monster and a meerkat) she is fine and happy again. As we near her foster home, she asks me if I am staying for dinner. I say No, I have to go home to my puppies. She asks if I will come in and play with her for “just a few minutes” because now we are best friends. My heart, which she already had, melts. Of course I do go inside and play Barbies with her for about 15 minutes, garnering a quizzical look from the 60-year old foster mother. I don’t care, I just smile and play with her dolls, because she has made me happy today, with her continued good mood and positive energy. I might be crying a little as I write this, but they are happy tears, given to me by a precious little one, a chunky little angel 🙂
“Such a perfect day, you made me forget myself…I thought I was someone else, someone good”
I have a new little one on my caseload. He was born healthy and allowed to go home with his mother from the hospital. DCF removed him for failure to thrive nine days later, but irreparable damage was already done. I ask to hold him, and his foster mother places this fragile little bird in my arms, gently reminding me to be careful of the feeding tube in his stomach. I look down at him. His bright blue eyes find mine, and he smiles. Tears well up in my eyes. I think about how negative and unhappy and unproductive I have been in these past two years, complaining about getting old or being lonely, and I am ashamed. This little angel has had a rough life so far, and is lucky to be alive. Seeing his perfect little face smiling up at me, I promise to do my best to find him a forever home and family, who will love him…like I already do.
@thejohnjernigan, adoption case manager, adoptions, atlanta, Bebe's kids, bloods, buy John's book on Amazon, child protective services, crips, culture, cute, funny, gangs, gay, humor, juvenile deliquency, LGBT, Life, love, MSW, perspective, point of view, social worker, St. Petersburg, Tampa Bay
When I was a case manager in Pensacola, I had a big office all to myself. I would collect small toys at different thrift stores and flea markets, and kept them in said office for the children on my caseload. 2 years later, I still have bags full of toys. I had a home visit scheduled this evening, to see a three-year old on one of my cases. I brought my bag of toys for him, and the other foster kids in the home, and the foster mother’s grandbaby, with the plan that each toddler could have 2-3 toys. At my arrival, the “gang” and I do mean gang included my three-year old *Bubba, siblings *Peanut and *Bean three and 1 1/2 years old, and the foster mother’s granddaughter *Atari, 4 years old. All were observed to have snotty noses.
The five of us got down on the living room floor and I dumped the bag of toys out. They all started grabbing and pushing. Bean sat down right in the middle of the pile. I tried to help Atari pick out the few girls toys, but Peanut snatched up a My Little Pony and a Strawberry Shortcake, causing Atari to start screaming and trying to kick Peanut, who smartly remained just out of reach. His little brother Bean wasn’t as lucky. He was intently slobbering and putting toys in his mouth when Atari hit him over the head with a Triceratops, hard, and he started screaming and crying. I tried to explain to Peanut that he didn’t want girls toys, but his foster mother (who is ancient, older than her own mother, and whose voicemail jumps right into quoting scripture without so much as a hello) shrugged and said “Peanut be likin’ girl stuff, that’s how he do.”
Bubba was stockpiling toys behind him, and Peanut and Atari started grabbing again. Peanut put poor Boots up his nose. Atari was trying to be sneaky and was hiding toys underneath her, looking off into space so she wouldn’t have to make eye contact with me. Bubba and Peanut started grabbing up toys and running them to their bedroom, in the back of the house. Old Mother Hubbard didn’t say shit. Atari refused to stand up, because she was sitting on several toys, including Stitch, Eor and Oscar the Grouch. She never stood up until I left, furtively watching me with her little thievin’ eyes. As soon as I had three or four toys in front of one of them and thought I was good, the others had grabbed up more, except baby Bean, who needed changing, BADLY 😦
All three of the older gremlins got 5-6 toys each at least, and when I started putting the remaining toys back in the bag, all four of them started screaming again, yelling No! Stop! Mine! Peanut even started crying. As I made my exit Bubba and Peanut were wrestling and screaming over a giraffe, Atari was nesting on her stolen loot, and Bean was gnawing Miss Piggy’s face off.
* Not their names
adoptions, all men are dogs, atlanta, buy John's book on Amazon $3.99, catfished, child protection, dating, DCF, facebook, funny, gay dating, gay marriage, Helen Keller, humor, internet romance, love, Miami, queer, relationships, romance, sex, social worker
I have 648 friends on the Facebook. There are like 10 of my facebook ” friends” that I would like to be my boyfriend. I mainly post stuff like this to try to impress them, either that or I have low self esteem.
shout outs to Ronan M, Richard S, Scott W, Forrest C, Steven C, Stephen W, Jeff R, Brian K, Grover K, Geoffrey B, Stuart N, Mark S, Brian B, Scott G, John M, Jerry L…and Ken Cunningham
@thejohnjernigan, adoptions, buy John's book on Amazon, Clearwater, culture, dating, funny, gay, hero, humor, LGBT, MSW, perspective, point of view, queer, relationships, Ryan Gosling, sex, social services, social work, social worker, St. Petersburg, tampa
My friend Melissa gave me some social work shine on the facebook today 🙂
Melissa Ann – John Jernigan
Today Directions had an all case management meeting. Our supervisor gave John this award, the Champion Award. She explained that she gave him the award for a couple of reasons: For one thing, he keeps the office laughing and in a good mood telling jokes and making fun of people, but also because he has been working some tough cases, with difficult teenagers mostly, and he has kept his cool. He has also been driving one of his teens daily across the Howard Frankland to Tampa and back to Clearwater, so that the teen can remain in his same school. Congrats, you funny little fella !
Although I am single and alone on Valentines, I did get some love from my friends