Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Who's the 'guy'? My key to life

The key to adoption, foster care, education choices, financial assistance and ultimately life is to ASK the question.

I would not be where I am today (albeit most think that is crazy town) had I not asked the 'guy' a question.  If you want something you must ask.  If you don't like that guy's answer ask the next guy.  If again you don't like his answer ask the next guy after that and the guy after him and the guy after him until you either find the right guy or there is finally no one left to ask and you must accept the answer you didn't want to hear.

There are exceptions to almost every rule and there is generally a way to make things happen but the answer will always be no if no request is made. 

There is no great skill in self advocacy or in securing what your family needs but there are rules that should be abided in my opinion.  They are as follows:

Always be respectful.  You want the 'guy' to want to help you or at least hear you out and maybe refer you to the next guy who can help you if he can't.  

Be empathetic.  Everyone has their area of responsibility and limitations.  Simply put, they can only do what they can do.  This does not mean you don't carry your quest further but attempting to push someone past their capabilities probably won't get you where you are trying to go.

Be knowledgeable.  With each 'guy' you talk to gather information i.e. he can't help you...why? Your request can't be accommodated...why?  Who has the authority to make the decision you are looking for?

Be grateful.  This falls under being respectful but can stand on its own too.  You don't want to burn your bridges.  Advocacy often times is forging relationships.  People talk.  If you present poorly and are unappreciative of what efforts the one 'guy' makes for you he's likely to pass it on to the next 'guy' which could have you losing a positive audience before you even get there.

Bottom line to all of this....ask, ask, ask.  More times than you know the answer will be YES!