In celebration of Social Work Month, we asked one of our case workers in Tennessee, Lauren Haun, about the field of social work and why she believes this work is “essential.” Lifeline is so thankful for our many skilled social workers on staff, and know they are making a difference as they strive to bring gospel hope to the vulnerable.
Q. How did you get interested in social work?
A. If you would have asked me two years ago if I would ever have a job as a social worker, I would have told you, “no way!” The idea had never crossed my mind. … But during my college years, I worked at an after-school program with kids from low-income families. That was my first glimpse of how trauma in a child’s life caused unhealthy and negative behaviors and habits. It was, also, my first experience seeing a world where parents neglected and abused their children. I worked to earn my college degrees in Education and went on to teach for six years in a local elementary school before my career made a turn to become a stay-at-home mom. … My husband, Chad, and I discussed adoption before we were married and then several times throughout the years of birthing children. We knew God laid it on our hearts, we just wanted to do it in His timing. In 2012, when our youngest was 8 months old, we started the adoption process for Lucy and brought her home from China in June 2013. Lucy wrecked our hearts even more for the fatherless and we brought home Charlie Mei from China in May 2015. Chad and I both knew at that point that we would never say no if God opened our hearts to another child. In August 2016, we were connected with a 5-year-old girl that had been adopted from China and needed a new forever home. Through that super sad dissolution, we were so thankful to be able to domestically adopt Livie Joy in February 2017. We thought with six children that our family was probably complete, but God had another plan. In December 2018, we met a foster child on our son’s basketball team and began to keep him for respite for his current foster mom. One thing led to another and when his case turned permanent, we were asked if we wanted to move forward, become certified foster parents and adopt him. We adopted Mikiah in September 2020. This is a long story of God revealing to me that it’s not so surprising that I ended up being a social worker. Truly, I had already been doing most of this type of work most of my life.
Q. What does a “typical” day look like for you?
A. A typical day for me in my home office looks like working on a family’s home study, writing a post-adoption report, making phone calls to current and post-families, working on families’ files, connecting with new potential Lifeline families, going into families’ homes for home study visits and post-adoption visits, and my favorite thing is when I get to connect on a spiritual level with families and I get to share my heart, hear their heart, and pray over them.
Q. What do you love about your job?
A. My favorite thing about my job is going into families’ homes and getting to talk to them and hear them share what is going on in their world. I love connecting with families on a spiritual level and get to share my heart, hear their heart, and pray over them. I love walking families through the adoption process and helping them navigate the hard road in post-placement visits.
Q. What is really hard about your job, or something you don’t like?
A. The hardest thing about my job to me is making myself sit down and do all the paperwork! Bleh!
Q. What is one big thing you’ve learned in your years of social work that you hope to take with you in your life or work in the future?
A. One big thing I have learned and I am still working on is how to be a good listener. There are so many times that listening and just being there for a family is what they really need. Listen first, listen well, and then respond in love.
Q. The theme for this year’s Social Work Month is “Social Workers Are Essential.” What are some ways you’ve seen that statement to be true in your career?
A. I feel that social workers are essential because there are millions of vulnerable children in this world that need to hear the gospel, need to see it lived out, and need a family of their own. My job includes helping make this happen. It’s essential in furthering the gospel and working for the glory of Christ alone!