Why Social Services Showed Up In My Hospital Room

Thank you, everyone, for all the congratulations and well wishes!

Sawyer is doing very well (after a pretty rough first night home before my milk came in) and is currently sound asleep . I am feeling much, MUCH better now that I’m not carrying around an almost ten pound baby inside me 🙂 The older kids have been basking in the extra attention from Noah and I am SO THANKFUL that he is going to be home until January. It has made this whole transition so much easier than it could have been.

I promised a post about why Social Services showed up in my hospital room after Sawyer was born. Spoiler: it was because we’re living in a bus.

I have to say, I’m generally not very shy about the fact that we live in a bus. I mean, I don’t go shouting it from the rooftops or anything, but it’s something that most people find pretty interesting and I like to share about our experience (please see: entire blog).

So, when one of my night nurses turned out to be a friend-of-a -friend (and had also been my night nurse during my stay after Finn’s delivery at the same hospital) we got to chatting and the subject of our unique living situation came up. I gave her the blog address and she came back later to say that she had poked around a bit and thought it was great!

I’m not sure about the details of what happened after that. She went off duty, the day shift came on, and somewhere along the way somebody became concerned about the lady who delivered her baby on the floor and was apparently living in a bus, quite possibly in poverty and squalor.

The morning of the day we were due to be discharged a very warm and friendly woman came into my room and said she was from Social Services and could she have a chat with me? Noah was visiting the older kids where his mom was watching them at his sister’s house, so I was by myself.

I remember kind of wishing that I had kept my big mouth shut this time, because obviously somebody had gotten the wrong impression somewhere, but I didn’t feel nervous or afraid or embarrassed or anything. I just wanted to see exactly where this conversation would go.

After making some small talk (“So, I hear you gave birth in the hallway!”) she came to the point and said that somebody had heard about us living in a bus and was concerned that we might need access to some resources that she could point us to, such as SNAP or WIC.

I thanked her and said that I didn’t believe we currently qualified for those services, although we had at one point. I explained that we weren’t living in a bus out of necessity, but by choice and told her about building a house and the process of renovating the bus.

The first thing she asked at that point, before she asked about our income or Noah’s job or whether utilities were available on the property, was about whether friends and family were close by that could help us if we needed it.

I told her about my parents, Noah’s sister, all our awesome neighbors and my church family who are close by, not to mention Noah’s mom and Spencer who aren’t physically nearby all the time, but have provided an additional safety net during this undertaking.

She looked very pleased as I listed off all the people who care about our family’s wellbeing.  At that point she asked briefly about Noah’s job and utilities and space and was even happier when I eventually pulled up the blog on my phone and showed her pictures.

At that point she closed the notebook she had been using and said that she felt satisfied that we were doing just fine. I asked her if we were going to need to be on the lookout for a visit from CPS or anything like that. She stopped and turned at the doorway and said that it looked like we were doing about a thousand times better than the people she is normally sent in to see.

And that was that.

I have some thoughts about the whole thing, the first being that I’m glad that such systems exist in our community to help people access the public support that they might need.

Secondly, and the main thing that has been on my mind, is just how fortunate we are to be surrounded by a large web of family and friends (and internet peeps!) who are rooting for us, who truly want to see our family succeed in this endeavor, and have lavished us with love and kindness.

Social Services exists to fill in the gaps where community is lacking and I am incredibly grateful that our community is full to the brim.

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8 thoughts on “Why Social Services Showed Up In My Hospital Room

  1. I love reading your blogs and this story! You are rocking in that bus of yours and I am glad that CPS recognized that.

  2. I immediately thought, “But Sarah is obviously intelligent and articulate. What if she were painfully shy and introverted and couldn’t talk through her fear of an official visit?” I’m glad that everyone has access to services, but sometimes it can get very scary. And I’m so very glad that it wasn’t scary for you!

  3. Congratulations, we are so happy for you all on the baby’s arrival. I can’t wait to see family pictures. :’)

  4. I was so nervous when I’d heard Social Services had stopped by to chat. I thought that couldn’t possibly be the end of it, and that’s the last thing you guys need right now. My faith in our system was restored a little by reading this. I’m happy thats the end of it for you and not another worry. Wishing for a speedy construction process for you next! <3

  5. Well that turned out to be a lot better than I thought! Glad it ended up being a positive experience. =)

  6. As a former social worker, I’m VERY GLAD this turned out positively. I’m glad others were able to read that social services is there for a good reason and benefits society. It’s not there to simply take kids away.

    1. Until it does take kids away, and that’s not always for good reasons–just because YOU care about whole families doesn’t mean all social workers do. Some of us are quite aware that states get bonus payments for every foster-to-adopt they arrange, and of course the younger a child is the more adoptable they are. Which is why we see some of these discrepancies where an older child is abused but left in the home while an infant is taken simply because their parents wanted a second opinion on a health issue. Race and nationality (the latter case was a Russian immigrant couple I read about a few years ago) often play a role as well.

      I want a country in which we have a social services that *plays backup* for parents needing help rather than *trying to take over for the parents*, if that makes any sense, and most particularly when the child’s not endangered. This story here could have turned out so differently if they’d made just twenty thousand less a year or if she’d been single or if they hadn’t had family nearby, and it’s ridiculous.

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