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It is the final step for a Home Finder. At the very bottom of the last page, a little black line, about three inches long; your typed name, credentials, and title below. You poise your blue or black pen over the paper and there is always a pause. The weight of the paper is heavy in your hand. You’ve read, re-read, and scrutinized every line. Peers, supervisors, and program directors have reviewed your work. That document, generally fifteen to twenty pages in length, is the weight of months of research. It is hours of time spent in a home that is not your own; opening cabinets, closets, and refrigerators that are not your own; testing smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors; checking for child proofing, cabinet locks for chemicals, and lock boxes for medications. It is the compilation of personal references that you analyze and try to read between the lines, looking for any hint of danger or a red flag. You assess and obsess over the stability and resiliency of the applicant. You hunch over your notes, looking at the family history. Did you represent them honestly, without your own biases or feelings? It is true, fair, and insightful?
The pen hovers over the pages as you review one last time. I click mine compulsively, to the point I’ve had co-workers ask me to only use capped pens, as I noisily expel my anxiety. The signature I am about to put to paper is not for my supervisors. It is not for my program director or my agency. It isn’t for the state. It isn’t even for the person or family applying. My signature and the signatures of my colleagues are promises. Each signature represents a promise to a child or youth, to a person who is trusting me, someone they will likely never meet, to keep them safe. My signature means I am assuring him or her that they will be respected. His or her family and history will be respected. His or her unique talents, interests, and qualities will be valued and nurtured. He or she will not be further traumatized and will be given the tools to heal and gain strength. Our signatures carry the weight of a child’s life.
If you believe that you have a home that can bear the weight of the life of a child, please reach out to us today.