Day Nineteen


8:15am  Department of Social Services. “Do you recommend that at child protection services we wait until we are needed later, or set up a case manager now.” Set up a case manager. Better yet…

Baby snatcher is a hard rumor and label to undo. How about a child protection worker meeting with the families. Meet with the parents as the children are in school. Ask them as the experts they are on their children, what they need from you. Ask them how children are disciplined in their culture. Then share about how they are disciplined here. Ask them how decisions around the children are made, and by whom. Then share that in Iceland children are talked to as adults early on, and asked their opinions in making large decisions (ahh, finally, my people). How about an eight week class where the parents gather and share their knowledge about their children and you share about Iceland’s schools and parenting styles. Then you can teach them alternatives to spanking, which is against the law (still in-love).

Then to a high school where classes can be mixed ages, and year of graduation is not the goal but feeling competent is. They have had, and have, exchange students who know no Icelandic and feel comfortable easing these children in. I ask if the siblings who are close in age feel protective of each other after war zones if they could be in the same class. Yes, if the siblings want to be in the same class that is fine. We are thinking we will have them in language only classes at first. We heard from the Serbian boys that they were in the main classrooms too quickly. That was many years ago (over 12). I tell them about signs of trauma. We decide to “prepare to be flexible”.

I pack and clean and my work is evident; that makes me feel less tired.

Then to a local coffee shop where my two main contacts and I discuss the week, their future. I tell them I am always available. I am going to miss them. I am going to miss being part of their work.

About ndubus

Assistant Professor of Social Work, San Jose State University, USA
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