Tuesday, April 6, 2010

A-maze-ing News

We have been struggling to get the child abuse background check info back from Georgia.  It has been locked up in the hollows of government bureaucracy.  It has seemed that the supposed person working on our child abuse check is located in some parallel universe existing in a completely different time and space continuum.  Similar to something from Star Trek.  And to go beyond that, it has seemed that there have been purposeful barricades erected in order to prevent any outsider from reaching anyone on the inside that has any actual, meaningful knowledge or ability to change the course of the required paperwork.  A seemingly endless maze through which we've been walking, not knowing whether there was really any cheese at the end or not.

We tried to get the contact information from our social worker, but she was reluctant to have us push also, not wanting to apply too much pressure for fear our request might go to the bottom of the pile.  Understandable concern.  But we nonetheless started to walk through the maze - an attempt to find the single person in Georgia who is handling our child abuse background check.

First we found out that these checks are done by the Department of Health and Services (DHS) in Georgia.  To give you an idea of just how big this department is, their website (which mysteriously lists no meaningful phone numbers) states that 25% of all children in the state of Georgia have a file with the DHS!  What a web they have created.  They do have a place on their website where you can submit an email.  I did that and received a prompt, generic email reply that said they may be able to answer my email in 5-7 business days!  Arghh!  The other option I pursued was the generic 1-800-GEORGIA (I'm not making this up) phone number on the Georgia.gov web page.  After navigating through a number of menus and entertaining "on hold" music, I reached a person who directed me to various phone numbers and departments all of which had one of two results:  (1) no answer after ringing many, many times, or (2) the person who answered the phone had no ability to answer my question and would then forward my call to another location where result #1 would happen.  The deflector system to prevent any intruder from getting to meaningful information was fully in place and operational.  Their shields were up.  However, after going through office after office, I finally got to the Department of Family and Child Services (DFCS) office in Richmond County (the county where we lived when we were in Augusta, GA).  I had partially penetrated the bureaucracy!  I could hear the "red alert" sirens in the background.

After a number of calls to the Richmond County DFCS, I was now down to three ladies that I was told would have the answer to my question.  After many calls to these three ladies with no answers, I was finally directed to another lady, Miss Bryant (must be spoken in a southern drawl).  I called and left a voice mail with her and was shocked when she called me back.  I explained, for what seemed the one hundredth time, my situation and asked her if she could help me or send me to the right person who could help me.  I was once again shocked when she said she was the right person!  She took my information, which included my social worker's information, and told me she would get back with me.  Within ten minutes, she called back, said our record was clean, and said she had contacted our social worker!  Jenkies.....done!  Their shields were down, I had completed my mission, I had successfully reached another time and space continuum.  It was like I was Luke Skywalker shooting that last laser that goes in through the mysterious ventilation hole and destroys the death star.  I thanked her endlessly letting her know that today she had made a difference in the life of an orphan girl waiting to be adopted.  I told her that she probably doesn't get thanked very often but today she was getting thanked.  She was very appreciative, though she will probably get demoted for giving an outsider meaningful and productive information in a prompt manner - clearly violating her department rules of engagement.

So now we only await the official letter from her that our social worker will receive and put in our file.  Then Cindy can complete, notarize, and mail our home study to us.  Maybe by next week.

God directed us through a frustratingly endless maze - all in His time, under His control.  He will continue to lead and direct us in through the next maze we encounter, whatever that may be (I'm certain they are currently rebuilding the death star to be bigger and better!).  Although we put enormous effort forth to work through the mazes, He is the one that holds the key to it all.  Thank you God!

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