Saturday, May 30, 2015

Acquaintances or Friends

Lately I have been trying to find ways to take a moment here or there for myself. Some days it works and some days not so much. This week I was able to have a moment to spend with a really great friend. We had adult conversation without any interruption from the little's or anyone for that matter, just the waitress.

During our conversation, it reminded me how much I despise drama and gossip. Since my accident I had a rude awakening when it came to friends and family. Truly I was made to realize and understand who I thought were friends necessarily were not and family was no better. After the sadness and the whys, my guard kept crawling up to a high point keeping me very distant to the outside adult friend world. This was not only for myself but for my family too. Now, I have many acquaintances not friends. So, when I do actually come across someone that I feel and think I can trust enough, it makes my OCD a thousand times scarier. Really just wanting not to get burned but knowing somewhere I will. Have to take a chance every now and again too.

We, women, are very interesting human beings. There is really never a dull moment with a bunch of women. We are so quick to be by each other side but all so quick to throw each other under the bus. When one is having issues, several others jump on the band wagon just because. Why? Men do not act this way. They may have an issue amongst each other but they find a way to talk it out, argue or even throw blows but when all said and done...their issue is usually over. Women not so much or let me say most women.

Many movies and television shows have depicted how women can be when drama is in the center mix. Usually in the end when one decides the drama is not worth it then they seem to be the happier one or the one coming out on top. This is usually not before many cat-fights, emotional digs, caddy exchanges, rumors spread, etc. Something about drama that is attractive in the literal sense amongst women. Leading who on what side has the better story, though may not be completely factual but has or can make the better argument seems to be the one who comes out on top. Plus if a woman stands ups, speaks bluntly or to the point that does not win any brownie points either.

I believe having really have a few awesome and great friends versus having many friends where sitting around having dinner and a glass of wine is listening to all the weekly or town drama and gossip but you know as sure if you were not there your name could surely be thrown in the mix. Is this a true friendship?

Life is too short to have drama and gossip. If someone constantly wants to add your name in the mix then maybe they should be looking in the mirror. As the say, "Don't get angry when others are talking behind your back...because they're just proving that your life is obviously more interesting than them." - Ritu Ghatou


Until Next Time...Make it a Great Day!

Thursday, May 28, 2015

On the Autism Spectrum

Yesterday, at a meeting for one of my little's, I had the opportunity to look around the room at documentation that was posted. Written on a poster, hanging from the wall was the following....

The 14 Signs of Autism
1.      May avoid eye contact
2.      May prefer to be alone
3.      Echos words or phrases
4.      Difficulty interacting with others
5.      Spins objects or self
6.      Insistence on sameness
7.      Inappropriate attachments to objects
8.      Inappropriate laughing or giggling
9.      May not want cuddling
10.  Difficulty in expressing needs; may use gestures
11.  Inappropriate response or no response to sound
12.  No real fear of dangers
13.  Apparent insensitivity to pain
14.  Sustained unusual or repetitive play' uneven physical or verbal skills

As I was reading the words, not once but several times, it amazed me how the signs of Autism seems so cut and dry. Then I began categorizing my little one who was just diagnosed with Autism, who having eleven of the fourteen signs, my six year old and fifteen year old who each of them having ten of the fourteen signs. What is interesting to me how different all three of my children on the spectrum are then again how very much alike they are too. Each having a diagnosis of Autism or ASD.

While I write this, I keep thinking is this diagnosis truly this simple?

I am not a doctor or a psychologist. I do not have a PHD or MD as a moniker after my name, I am just a Mother who tends to go by their gut. I totally understand that some actions, behaviors and habits maybe the age period. However, when things so not seem right, even more than the terrible two's or delays of milestones, early intervention is key. I do believe with resources many things can be overcome or at least help with progress.

I am very realistic, blunt to the point, researcher of all things, books and articles are great tools, I use Google or any online search engine for that matter, bounce off Family and Friends, be involved with different groups (try to stay objective) all knowing more than likely I can take my child to ten different doctors or specialists and get ten different diagnoses. With that said, no matter what is diagnosed or not, what truly matters is obtaining the proper resources for my child and my family.  Here are some Facts and Statistic in regards to Autism -

About 1 percent of the world population has autism spectrum disorder. (CDC, 2014)
Prevalence in the United States is estimated at 1 in 68 births. (CDC, 2014)
More than 3.5 million Americans live with an autism spectrum disorder. (Buescher et al., 2014)
Prevalence of autism in U.S. children increased by 119.4 percent from 2000 (1 in 150) to 2010 (1 in 68). (CDC, 2014) Autism is the fastest-growing developmental disability. (CDC, 2008)
Prevalence has increased by 6-15 percent each year from 2002 to 2010. (Based on biennial numbers from the CDC)
Autism services cost U.S. citizens $236-262 billion annually. (Buescher et al., 2014)
A majority of costs in the U.S. are in adult services – $175-196 billion, compared to $61-66 billion for children. (Buescher et al., 2014)
In 10 years, the annual cost will be $200-400 billion. (Autism Society estimate)
Cost of lifelong care can be reduced by 2/3 with early diagnosis and intervention. (Autism. 2007 Sep;11(5):453-63; The economic consequences of autistic spectrum disorder among children in a Swedish municipality. Järbrink K1.)
1 percent of the adult population of the United Kingdom has autism spectrum disorder. (Brugha T.S. et al., 2011)
The U.S. cost of autism over the lifespan is about $2.4 million for a person with an intellectual disability, or $1.4 million for a person without intellectual disability. (Buescher et al., 2014)
35 percent of young adults (ages 19-23) with autism have not had a job or received postgraduate education after leaving high school. (Shattuck et al., 2012)
It costs more than $8,600 extra per year to educate a student with autism. (Lavelle et al., 2014) (The average cost of educating a student is about $12,000 – NCES, 2014)
In June 2014, only 19.3 percent of people with disabilities in the U.S. were participating in the labor force – working or seeking work. Of those, 12.9 percent were unemployed, meaning only 16.8 percent of the population with disabilities was employed. (By contrast, 69.3 percent of people without disabilities were in the labor force, and 65 percent of the population without disabilities was employed.) (Bureau of Labor Statistics, 2014)

Interesting factoids. Whatever the case maybe in your daily world of Autism or special needs, remember you are your child's voice, their advocate. If you are not familiar with a process, read about it, ask questions, do not be afraid to appeal a decision if you can and have supporting documentation to uphold your appeal. Believe me, I have learned many things over the years by asking, rocking the boat, getting second and third opinions but I have also been the novice and did not know where to start which cost a lot of time and resources too. Sometimes you just need to dive in head first, coming up for air in the middle. Living in a world where technology changes like the wind...use it to your advantage. Just take a moment, research, figure it out and go from there. We all have it in us, sometimes after the long days, many emails and phone calls, umpteen denials, therapist, specialists, doctors and everything else of the daily grind of life, you just need to find that little voice that says you can do it. Always have Faith!

“What lies behind us & what lies before us are tiny matters compared to what lies within us.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson GOD BLESS

Until Next Time...Make A Great Day!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Raising the White Flag

When is it time to raise the white flag with your teenager? Having teenagers has been a true test for me. One that I am constantly asking myself, GOD, friends, family, what am I doing right or wrong? I do find some comfort that I am not the only parent that goes through the ups and downs of the teenage years. Interesting enough, I usually find myself engulfed in my little's daily schedule but truthfully my teenagers are just as time consuming as the four little ones. Having one in college that we barely have contact with, one at home getting ready to go to college and one with a couple more years until college; all three teenagers combined seem to keep my schedule jammed packed; emotionally, mentally and physically. I have to honestly say they are sometimes more work than the little's, even with less activities, events, homework and just daily life.

Being the baby of eight, I have four brothers and three sisters; my household was always moving and shaking. However, my brother next in line, having a nine year gap between us; so, when I seemed to be the last in the house, I thought whoop whoop! The beginning of my teenage years. Hold on it was going to be a wild ride! Boy did I give my parents a run for their money so I thought, I thought I knew everything, boy I was wrong. I did and still do have awesome parents (my mother resting in heaven now). They were very open with me and communication meant everything, if I tried to pass anything by them especially my father, it just did not fly. They just seem to always find out everything. Plus, my mother had this saying always with a smile, be careful life comes back tenfold. Well, I have to agree wholeheartedly.

Meaning, I left my parents home after graduating high school early to spread my wings. I could not move out fast enough. I was on my own and I thought I knew more than my parents. I listened to what they said but I really did not listen at all. I flew into adulthood and as much I liked it, it hated it too. I really missed my parents along with their imaginary money tree that always seems to be there when I needed it. Truth be told, I really did not get what my parents were saying until I had my first child. Though I was responsible, was employed, on my own but truly having a child was the point when I really grew up. Not only was I responsible for myself, now no matter what the future held for David and me, I would be responsible for another. A scary place to be when you still have so much to learn, so much to do. 

Hence my own teenagers; remembering back at my teenage years, I am getting a dose of what I gave my parents and then some but I do also believe all teenagers have to experience something in life. A life lesson, though it may be subtle, it may be huge but somewhere in their life it happens before they are hit with the thoughts of "what am I doing or what am I thinking; it's time to change, grow up and figure things out." Part of the cycle of life. As a mother we hope and pray that everything always works out no matter what situation; good or bad.

Prior to being a stay at home mother, where my life was engulfed in work, having children, I would say it was more important to be at home or more available when my children were teenagers as it may be easier for them to find situations or places not to be at (speaking from my own experiences). Well today, it does not matter, your babies need you, your toddlers need you, your teenagers need you and at times your adult children need you. If you are able to stay at home or have a schedule to be flexible to know what your child is doing then be on it. If you are working be involved, you are still able to know what goes on in your child or teenager's life...Welcome Social Media!!!!

Twenty years ago, God put me at a fork in the road, the path he had for me then and has for me now has been a path of ups and downs nevertheless I am thankful for everything; my successes and my mistakes as without both I would not have the life I have today. Parenting never ends no matter the age. As I have stated before there is no parent handbook, manual or reference book like the "What to Expect When Your Expecting?" book. Every day is a new day, it is your choice to make a change, to learn something new, to have fun and be positive. Whatever your choice maybe, do it with full conviction! Remember this little saying....

Mom and Dad - I Love You!

Age 10 - I Love You!
Age 14 - You are So Annoying!
Age 18 - I cannot wait to Leave This House...
Age 25 - You were Right...
Age 30 - Please, Forgive Me?
Age 50 - I do not want to Lose You, Mom and Dad...
Age 70 - I Love You SO Much!


Until Next Time...Make it a Great Day!

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Overmedicating Children in Foster Care

Came  across this article this morning, something I have also written about, something that is also very close to my heart. Very scary when it is unknown waters and happens in your own home..foster or not.

Overmedicating Children in Foster Care

Article Credit - Marian Wright Edelman Become a fan
President, Children's Defense Fund
Posted: Updated:

On any given day nearly one in four children in foster care is taking at least one psychotropic medication—more than four times the rate for all children. Nearly half of children living in residential treatment centers or group homes take psychotropic medications. Children in foster care are more likely to be prescribed multiple psychotropic medications at very high doses, although research shows higher doses can result in serious side effects.

Viewers of the ABC News program 20/20 may remember Ke’onte Cook from a few years ago; he was a 10-year-old who had already spent four years in foster care being treated with a dozen different medications for conditions including seizures, bipolar disorder, and ADHD. Ke’onte had never been diagnosed with the conditions some of the medications were meant to treat. Under his adoptive parents’ care he stopped taking all the medications and started relying on therapy, and with that new treatment plan he was transformed. Why are some children in foster care being overmedicated, and what steps do we need to take to do something about it?

Psychotropic medications act on the brain and central nervous system to cause changes in mood, behavior, or perception. They can be effective treatments for certain serious mental health conditions, but there is a growing concern that too many children in foster care are overmedicated—in some cases as a form of behavior control.

Children who come into foster care often have been exposed to multiple traumatic events, including the removal from their families, and may be at higher risk for mental health problems and emotional disorders. Too often multiple medications may be used without other kinds of effective treatments that might better address the underlying trauma children are experiencing. There’s evidence that some children in foster care are subjected to powerful medications at very young ages and/or in combinations and amounts that are unsafe for children of any age. Many psychotropic medications are not approved for use in children at all.

Often children in foster care are prescribed drugs without any psychotherapy because resources aren’t available. They may not receive a proper initial diagnosis or any of the ongoing monitoring or extra services that should accompany the use of such powerful drugs—all essential considering the serious side effects from some that can include nightmares, hallucinations, suicidal thoughts, and even death. The 20/20 special included the heartbreaking story of Gabriel Myers, a Florida 7-year-old who hanged himself in his foster family’s bathroom. A state investigation concluded that the use of psychotropic drugs was a contributing factor in his death. His foster father said the doctor who prescribed the many drugs that Gabriel was taking—some so strong that even the pharmacy filling them raised red flags—would spend no more than five minutes with the little boy before sending him out the door with another prescription.

We must do better. Last year JooYeun Chang, Associate Commissioner of the Children’s Bureau in the Department of Health and Human Services’ Administration for Children, Youth, and Families (ACF), testified before Congress that despite important steps taken by the administration and Congress to promote the monitoring and management of psychotropic medications and the development of trauma-informed practices, too many child welfare agencies lack the proper non-pharmacological treatments to address the mental health needs of children in foster care. This year, for the second time, in President Obama’s budget proposal ACF and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) have jointly proposed a demonstration to promote trauma-informed psychosocial interventions to meet the complex needs of children who have experienced maltreatment and other trauma, and to address the overuse of psychotropic medications for children in foster care.

The administration seeks to reduce the over-reliance on drugs and increase the use of appropriate screening, assessment, and interventions. ACF is asking Congress for $250 million over five years to create the necessary infrastructure to do this, including creating a special workforce to recruit families who can care for children receiving alternative treatments; better training in trauma-informed practice for child welfare professionals; better coordination between child welfare and Medicaid agencies in case planning and case management; and better data collection and information sharing by child welfare agencies, Medicaid, and behavioral health services. The budget request also includes an additional $500 million for CMS to provide incentives to states that demonstrate improvements to reduce inappropriate drug prescribing practices and overutilization of psychotropic medications, increase access to evidence-based and trauma-informed therapeutic interventions, promote child and adolescent well-being, and improve outcomes for children in the child welfare system. These common-sense and necessary steps build on best practices already in place in some states. May is National Foster Care Month, and now is the right time to ensure children in foster care get the treatment and care they truly need.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Ducklings sharing the Man Cave

Our little's are so excited to see their Daddy after he comes home from work, from smile's, hello's, big hugs and kisses...then their nightly ritual begins. After David has changed from his work clothes to his comfy clothes, he say's garage and the little's follow like little ducklings. Going to what I call his "man cave".

David has set up our garage as a place for him to relax, hang out, watch television, work out, listen to music..his area, his "man cave". However, his area, our garage has also become an area for our little's. Unknowing to him, he has made the little's a sensory gym too. 

Case in point, David has set up balls to hang from the ceiling for the little's. They hit them, they run into them, they push them, bite them, grab them...all sensory based.

The treadmill which is used for walking for adults has also become where the little's use the bar to hold on to, roll on, flip over on, you name it works...all sensory based.

The workout bench and weight bar used for lifting weights has become used for heavy work for the little's. It is amazing how long one little can hold on. The small weights used daily by being moved and stacked all over the garage floor..heavy work and sensory based.

Small tools to name a few..the drill without any vibrates...again it is sensory based.....a paint brush roller, our littles love to roll the garage floor and walls...heavy work. A broom, cut down to size. All sensory based.

The dog's water bowl, though it does not stay out on the floor the entire time, they do seem to always get their hands in it for some period. Water play which I believe most children love but with sensory issues water play is awesome and the water spilled on the floor does not go to waste either, their little hands get into that too.

Boxes we have in the garage are moved and pushed in the garage...heavy work.

As our garage is pretty organized, we do have items here and there...the little's love to climb over, sit on and lay on. With our little's having occupational therapy weekly along with their in home services sometimes thinking outside the box is the way to go. However, my husband does not even realize has  given our little's a sensory place, it makes it so much better. Kudos to my Hubby!

After researching, reading, listening and watching, there are so many activities that can be used for Sensory Auditory Processing Disorder. When I was at the first evaluation and assessments for all my little's I was given a paper that had a list of things to help with this disorder. At first I thought I needed to order certain toys, weights, foods, etc. I soon realized that I had many of the same items that the Occupational Therapist was using and suggested. I quickly started thinking outside the box. Honestly it is not about going to the learning store, grocery story or online store, you have many things in your own home, pantry and/or garage that works just as well.

The greatest glory in living lies not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall. - Nelson Mandela GOD BLESS

Until Next Time...Make it A Great Day!

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Foster Care


As a Foster Parent, I came across this article today...there is so much to be said (good and bad) about the system but truly does anyone know what is the true definition of "foster care" and "the best interest for a child"....
Article By: Become a fan
Foster Children's Rights Coalition -

The 10 Most Surprising Things About Foster Care


Posted: Updated:
1. Foster care is all around us.
I saw a tweet once from a radio personality that asked, "When I go to a foster parent training, why am I the only one who doesn't look like he's going to a monster truck rally?"
When my husband and I got licensed for foster care so that we could adopt a child who was waiting for a family, we thought we would be alone on this journey within our social circles. After all, foster parents have a certain reputation. Now, I realize it's not a reputation as much as it's a stereotype.
Trust me when I tell you that there are foster families all around you. Foster families go to your church. Foster children go to school with your children. Foster children are on your children's sports teams. Your children are friends with them, but they don't know they are foster children. Foster children don't like to talk about it. Speaking of not liking to talk about it...

2. Asking for a foster child's backstory story is hurtful.
If someone dear to your heart was struggling with drug addiction or mental illness, how much detail would you want to share with a stranger? What if your loved one had just overdosed and died? What if your spouse ran off with one of your parents? What if your mother was hooking in the next room over? How much of this story would you want to tell to anyone?
Random people, even strangers, ask foster children questions like, "Why are you in foster care?" or "Are you going to be adopted?" or "Where are your parents?" These questions bring the deepest pain and darkest fears to the surface.
Most foster children feel uncomfortable with the questions, but don't want to be rude by not answering. Many foster children do not have healthy boundaries. Some foster children will want to talk too much. For some, talking with strangers about deeply personal matters feeds a desperate need for connection in a very unhealthy way.

3. Foster children must leave everyone and everything behind.
These children are grieving everything. Imagine waking up one day in a new home with a new family in a new neighborhood and being sent to a new school where you know no one and no one knows you. You have no one to talk to. You don't have any of your things. You don't know where anything is organized or stored in the house. Imagine, you've heard the worst foster care horror stories on the news, and now you've been dropped into a foster home -- alone.
Remember the last time you stayed in someone's house as a guest. Every interaction in a new home feels like an intrusion. Now, imagine that you stayed there after losing your entire family, all of your friends, and everyone else you know. Imagine coming as a guest in someone's home with none of your belongings -- no extra underwear, no toiletries, none of the things you'd pack on a trip. Imagine how long it would take for you to truly feel at home in this new environment.
No matter how hard foster families work to make foster children feel loved and accepted, these adjustments take time.

4. Many of these kids have lived without water or electricity.
My adopted son did not have running water or electricity before he came into foster care at 5 years old. The swish and sound of a toilet flushing scared him. He didn't know how to use toilet paper. Some foster children have not understood that toilet paper goes into the toilet. My son did not know how to wash himself.
Without electricity, food options are also limited. Many children coming into foster care have a limited palate because they simply have not been exposed to many foods. They've usually eaten very few fresh vegetables and fruit because they don't have refrigeration. They have eaten lots of canned foods, "instant" foods, and dry cereal (without milk). After nearly two years, my son still does not like hot foods. Speaking of food...

5. Food is a major issue in a way we could not have imagined.
I cannot count how many new foster parents accuse foster children of "stealing" food. Some foster parents become so frustrated that they lock up their pantries. Sometimes, there are valid fears about health issues -- especially for kids with diabetes and kids who gorge on very unhealthy food items. For example, my son will down an entire spice packet if given the chance. Other foster parents worry about their food bills when they see small children eating two or three times the amount a grown man should eat.
These children are not stealing food. They are stocking up in case the food runs out. This was their experience for too many years. My oldest child who spent a decade in foster care eats as if she is in prison -- one arm casually placed around the perimeter of her place setting, two watchful eyes, waiting for someone to take her food. My youngest talks about life with his birth mother -- crying all night, unable to sleep because being hungry hurt so much.
These kids often spend years hoarding food because they "know" the food will eventually run out. They "know" that someday they will once again have to go days without food. If you find one hiding place, they have five more backup places. Once, we found an entire loaf of bread and two jars of peanut butter hidden in the most ingenious place in a closet. We found a pyramid of Doritos carefully stacked under a bed. We found a trove of food treasures carefully hidden behind a headboard. There are therapists who specialize in food hoarding caused by neglect.

6. There is little you can do about a bad social worker.

We've had more good caseworkers than bad caseworkers, but the bad ones will make life a living hell. One caseworker got so angry about a child not wanting to speak to her that she told us we had to remove the girl's bedroom and bathroom doors. She told us she would not leave our house until we followed her orders. Luckily, the law in Arizona was on our side, and foster homes are required to have a door on any bedroom belonging to a foster child.
When social workers have engaged in behavior that is clearly unethical, they are rarely held accountable even when complaints are made through the proper channels. The grievance process is basically this: (1) Talk to a supervisor, (2) Talk to the supervisor's supervisor, (3) Talk to a bureau chief, (4) Call the governor's ombudsman. Over five years of foster care support groups, we've seen and done all of the above. Each time, foster parents have been reassured that the behavior is unacceptable, but nothing changes with the caseworker or the case. The closest thing to accountability is usually just lip service.

7. Some social workers are way past jaded and cynical. They are desperate and dispirited.
Some social workers manage to keep the optimism that brought them into this field of work. Most, though, have seen the underbelly of the system, and they know there is only so much they can do. They focus on putting out fires and stabilizing where they can.
Because the focus is on putting out fires and stabilizing unstable situations, foster children who are seen as relatively stable can be put on the back burner. Simple requests and questions, even important ones, will sometimes not get a response for weeks -- sometimes months.
Things have gotten worse over the years, not better. One social worker said this morning, "In 1999, I had 18 kids. In 2012, I had 51. I could only put out the fire of the day. I was always one who knew all my kids and families, but with 51 kids, I couldn't keep thing straight. It was too hard to even make a dent or be effective."

8. Foster children often sleep in offices or cubicles.
Social workers place children in homes out of desperation because otherwise, the children on their caseloads will sleep in the child welfare office in a sleeping bag or on a cot. Even worse, some kids end up in shelters or group homes (i.e., modern day orphanages) for the long haul.
To get a child placed into a foster family, some caseworkers will often say anything to get a child placed and will neglect to share important information. For example, we had a child placed in our home once who had stabbed someone repeatedly and had been arrested for multiple assaults on different people. The caseworker, who had picked up this child from jail 4 days earlier, told us that the child had no behaviors. We later learned that this child had been sleeping in the office, and the caseworker was required to stay there with her. The caseworker was desperate to get home to her own family. She placed this child out of desperation because the Arizona foster care system does not have mental health treatment in place for children with these types of mental health challenges.
Over five years of foster parent support groups, we have seen this happen to families with absolute consistency. When we ask the caseworker why they did not disclose, they are clear, "Because you would not have taken this child." I have personally heard these words from four different caseworkers, and many foster parents in our support groups have heard the same words.
When we go up the chain to hold the workers accountable, they don't even bother to find out what happened. The response is always, "They probably just did not know that information." This, above all, makes foster parents want to run screaming for the hills, because the caseworkers don't even deny it. Yet, the administration denies it because they understand the legal liability of recognizing this problem. After all, the courts have indicated that foster families have a Fourteenth Amendment right to disclosure of known risks. And that's not even getting into the civil rights of the foster children who deserve to have their mental health needs met.

9. Social workers are stereotyped as much as foster parents.
Based on the last two points above, you've probably already got a distaste for social workers, but let me reassure you, again, that most social workers are good people doing their best in a system that constrains them.
They work long hours. They drudge through endless paperwork. They drive and drive and drive, trying to see each kid in their current residence each month. Imagine having 50 kids on your caseload, spread across more than 9,000 square miles with a population of nearly four million. Imagine having to visit each of those children in their place of residence every 30 days and visit their birth parents, too, all while coordinating services for the children and their parents.
Social workers also have to write a monthly report for each kid, write frequent court reports, compile evidence and information for the Attorney General's office, and send reports to the judges.
When a child has a mental health crisis, the caseworker can spend hours or days just setting up supports and services to stabilize the situation. When a child needs to be moved, the caseworker has to find the child a bed, and did we mention that there is such a shortage of foster parents that children are sleeping in offices...
All of these things cover only part of a social worker's job.

10. Parental rights are often considered before the best interest of the child.
The courts have ruled that parenting is a Constitutional right. The state can only intervene in parenting matters when the well-being of a child is endangered, and once the state intervenes, the state must make its best attempt to help the family heal and reunify through services, supports and visitation. In order to stop working toward reunification, the state must prove that parents cannot engage in "minimally adequate parenting."
This is both good and bad. In many cases, the birth parents are repeating the cycle of abuse and neglect that they learned as children. Many of these parents can and do learn to be better parents. Sometimes, poverty brings children into foster care, and love drives those parents to improve their situation for their kids. Family reunification efforts were meant for these families.
Then, there are the children who have suffered from severe, chronic abuse and neglect. Federal law says that egregious cases with "aggravating circumstances" (i.e., abandonment, chronic abuse, torture) can be expedited to protect children from being returned to unsafe homes and from staying in foster care for too long. However, loopholes and exceptions can be the norm for these cases, and children are routinely subjected to extensive reunification procedures that are unnecessary, harmful and risky. They, too, get an automatic case plan of "family reunification," including visitation between terrified, traumatized children and their abusers. Even when children express their fears and try to refuse visits, they are told, "Visits cannot be stopped."

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Family Outing

It is not always easy getting my big little family ready to go out of the house. I usually start about two hours earlier than when we actually have to walk out the door. Sometimes this works and sometimes it does not as the little's may stay dressed, they may stay clean but for the most part we are good to go. I on the other hand seem to be the one rushing; pushing the envelope not to be late. I laugh and smirk now but I am the one getting the four little's bathed or showered, diapered, clothed, finding the matching shoe and diaper bag contained. Plus this does not include my big kids, iron this, iron that, does this look good, what shoe for that but in the thick of it, would not change it for anything. It is my world of craziness and love!

I remember when it was just David and I, going somewhere was get up and go. Spontaneous! Oh memories!!! Then our first baby came...a lot memories....we seemed to packed everything and anything, making it not so easy just to run to the grocery store. First time parents but we managed to go many places with a very packed Honda Accord. Then our second baby came along, packing became less and putting two babies in the car became somewhat easier than one baby. I think less stuff! By the time we had our third baby, going places was not so easy, him having Asperger’s gave us a little run for our money but we overcame, learned and we figured things out. Fast-forward many years later, many rides on our roller coaster, we have Seven. 

Definitely learned a lot over the years, made many mistakes, tried many many things. Now, it is not just get up and go, getting ready takes time. Sometimes going out means all, one or two. There is an occasion here and there, David and I have a date night, meaning no children. Date Night is important no matter how many children you have. You need to take a moment for you and your significant other. Keeps your relationship growing. 

However, if we are out with everyone, our brood is usually David, six kids and myself, ranging from teenagers to babies. People will look at us. Some ask if they are all ours, several times if I might add. David will pop a joke here and there but I always say with a smile, yes they are and very blessed by each one. I do find it interesting how people look when they start trying to calculate ages as well. I just smile. 

It may not be always be easy getting ready for an outing or keeping to a little's schedule when we are out and about. Probably guaranteed a meltdown or two. Always trying to keep structure or trying to re-direct in the weirdest places. It is what it is, special needs or not. Nevertheless, being together whether it is at Church, amusement park, Public Park, beach, family get together or recently the ballet. Just having the time to spend together, watching the smiles or looks on their faces, hearing the laughter and making memories is what family is all about.

We Love
We Share
We Play
We Laugh
We Fight
We Live

Until Next Time...Make it A Great Day!