MBCH Children and Family Ministries

New Normal

Written by Donna Gilliam, FRD, SEMO.

About the time COVID-19 was beginning to rear its ugly head and change everything that we call “normal”, I was assigned five home studies. “Normally” this would have been no big deal – five families to meet, work with and assist with the licensing process. Then it began to change. First, we were notified that due to restrictions to protect our families and employees, we were no longer allowed to go inside the homes for our visits, but we could stay outside and visit within the six foot guidelines. My first visit following these guidelines was on a cold, windy day. We exchanged forms and documentation – the couple went inside their home to sign forms and I went to my car to view their documentation. We exchanged documents again and they brought their children outside on the porch to say “hello” while I stood in the yard and briefly talked with them. The visit ended with dad and me walking around the outside of the house (six feet apart) to do a safety check.

A week or so later, I was sitting in my car in the garage ready to leave for another initial visit, when I received notification that new guidelines were in effect and we were no longer to go to the homes at all. It was at this point that I became very thankful for the internet, smart phones and good ol’ “snail mail”.  All of my families have been very understanding and cooperative. We have had phone calls to discuss the forms in the packets of information they receive. We have learned how to do face-to-face visits and home safety walk-throughs with Duo. We have scanned and emailed signed documents. Families who do not have Wi-Fi or computers mail their forms to me and discuss issues via phone calls. Forms have been emailed or mailed to physicians, schools, personal references – and they are filling them out and returning them!

COVID-19 has changed or halted many things. But children still need a safe and loving home, and we are finding ways to make sure that happens!