Work Struggles/Considering Foster Care

by Amanda
(Virginia)

My daughter is 18 months old. Her father has never acknowledged her, especially since we weren't in a relationship when she was conceived. I don't receive child support. The state lagged on paperwork and it was too frustrating to deal with. I've bounced around with family members in different states, trying to 'get my act together'. I was starting to feel like I had, staying with my grandparents, but they upped the ante and pushed us out of the nest too soon. I had no money saved up when we got our own place, and it's farther from my work now (almost an hour, considering I still drop my daughter off at their house and it's not exactly on the way).

My work performance is faltering. My boss piles on additional duties even though she knows I can't stay late. I have a meeting tomorrow to discuss a department transfer for myself, which I feel like I will not get. I requested a transfer to another store (one closer to my house), they made me chase them around rather than tell me the new store had no interest in letting me transfer there.

I'm considering giving my daughter to relatives to raise for a while (or foster care), so I can go to another state (with a higher minimum wage and more education opportunities) and more or less live out of my car until I can build myself up and take care of her again.

I really don't want to. But I can't make it on minimum wage and I have no time for schooling or money to do it. I am really at a loss. I would miss my daughter terribly and honestly at this point, I don't see her nearly as much as I should.

I almost... wish they would hurry up and fire me, so at least I could see her a little more. I feel like they're taking advantage of my situation as a single mother to make me work like a dog and then punish me when I don't 'meet their expectations'--that they're constantly raising. I tried to tell them that I needed the extra help, but my manager makes it so that she receives extra assistance and I don't, and since I close the department most nights... if work isn't finished, I have to stay late (and sometimes not even get to see my kid for an entire day or two) or take the criticisms. I've looked for other work--I always seem to miss the hiring managers or their calls because I'm at work or they're not in when I have free time. Or, they just forgot to take down a job posting.

Everyone says I need to go to school. I just feel like... I don't have time. Online programs are so limited, and I really want to be in a classroom because it would also give me the social interaction that I miss out on.

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Dear Considering Foster Care... NEW
by: Ask Sara...

Amanda, I so remember those days!!! I can feel your desperation, frustration, and I know you feel lost. I am going to give some down and dirty steps to take, that took me years to figure out:

1. Get the child support. Call your local child support agency. They will take care of the process. That money is for the care of you child, and regardless of the dad's involvement before or after conception, dad has a responsibility.

2. The minimum wage difference between states is so small, moving isn't going to help you. You need to improve your lot where you are right now. Find another job. Contact your local social services office as they likely have job seeking support. Let them do the legwork for you, and reach you by phone at the times you are available. Envision yourself at a higher wage. Options are out there. With a better wage and better hours, you can get yourself in classes.

3. Also contact your local social services agency for daycare support. You need good daycare, nearby, that is affordable. They can help you. They can also help you with housing assistance if you qualify. Sign up for my free gift and get my free Daycare Interview Guide.

4. You are a single mom, and it is hard, but your job doesn't care. If you need a specific accommodation for a doctor's appt. etc., tell them, but say it in a very matter-of-fact way. If you come across as weak, needy, unable to pull your weight; they will treat you accordingly. The fact is, if they let you go, you can find another minimum wage job without enormous effort. Do good work, but don't grovel, beg, or whine. This is hard because you feel afraid of having no income. (This one took me a while to master, but believe me, you will feel stronger, and you will be stronger.)

5. I don't know if you have enough faith to trust in this, but consider taking a day off. You need time to relax, rest, think, to spend with your child, and to make your phone calls.

6. Write down everything you have done so far. You have been amazing. You had a baby by yourself, you are working, your are loving your baby, you found housing, and I am sure the list goes on. Read your list of accomplishments each day. You are incredible and I want you remind yourself each day.

7. Write down the next 5 things you want to do, and each day document your progress, no matter how small.

You are just on the edge and you can't see the next step. Reach out to the places that can get you over the hump. There is no need to leave your child, but you are right, you do need to make some changes. Keep me posted!

God bless!!

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