Sunday, February 21, 2016

Special Happy Birthday to My Mother, Angel in Heaven

One year ago, we celebrated my Mothers Birthday for the last time while she was here with all of us.


That day was an Awesome Celebration and a Goodbye. So many friends and family came by to say Hello, Goodbye and Smile that one last time. She kept smiling no matter what though, nobody knew that five minutes prior to the first guest arriving she just had bout sickness and was not able to keep much down. That was My Mother, our Mother,  A Grammy, A Friend, A Sister, always smiling, never wanting to burden anyone and definitely if a party of any kind had been planned and was happening she was the BEST Hostess.

She was a fighter of Cancer and lost that battle thirty days later from her last celebration and that BEAUTIFUL smile she ALWAYS shared for eighty one years went to Heaven.

Today, Her Birthday we celebrated a little different. Yes, she is dancing and singing with the Angels looking down with that BEAUTIFUL Smile but a Birthday is a Birthday. Here is to you Mom!

Today with my sisters, we all shared something as we honored her with something My Mother would have done. A day to remember with More Memories and Honor then David and I and the kids all spent dinner with My Father and she was with us in Spirit. I could not help but feel her telling me, did you season enough as I made homemade Meatballs and Gravy with Mashed Potatoes and Green Beans? Something she always made for Everyone....

I Love You, We Love You, 
I Miss you Every Moment, Every Day! 
Knowing you are with ALL of US and watching over US!

Cherish the Moments you Have, Remember That Time Does Not Last Forever, 
Do not Live in the Past, Live for Today as Tomorrow is Not Promised...
Love, Laugh and Smile Always!


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

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Saturday, February 13, 2016

Too Much Love, Nuture and Services Leads to A Break of Fostering

Never a dull moment here in our household. Bringing me to my point where I thought or we thought the reason we would stop fostering children within the Department of Social Services would not be from too much love, from advocating as if they were our own or better yet because we recently were called an exception to the rule. However, here we stand approximately seven months exactly to the day when I first received a telephone call where I was told our home would be needing a "mandatory break".

Did I hear the words right? Break!

When I asked why, I was given weird reasoning of rules that did not exist, somewhat knowing the policy plus further researching after the telephone call, I immediately asked for it in writing where later social services came back a week later during a sit down meeting and stated they were wrong and misread the policy. However, in the same breath I was being told that with the children (homegrown, adopted and foster) in our home, they felt my hands were full and would not place any future placements at that time. This being from people who have never spent a day in our home, come on a park outing, come out to dinner, spent any time in our home, watched our schedule, sat down for a moment to see us in action but only going by what and at the time I did not know. So giving to their benefit, PAPER!

Just a little background of us...anyone who knows us, really know us, knows that we are always busy, whether we have three children or seven children. Though disabled, I am organized, I volunteer and I NEVER take on anything I cannot handle. I know my limits, I always have. My husband and I balance one another and it works. Several years after my accident, we had a path and a calling. The direction was foster care. Our opportunity to see blessings and gifts from a completely different perspective, to give back and maybe make a difference. Even if a small one it was something.

In the years of fostering, we have never had an allegation of any kind (knock on wood), we have followed all of the rules set-forth by the State and our County, we like to lay low, do not ask for favors, do not have any special relationship with County Social Workers, Management, Supervisors, etc. and in all the years we have been fostering always seem to keep a full home. We have taken each placement whether for an hour or a year shown them each love, cared for them, kept them safe and treated them as our own but that all changed seven months ago. The reason given - "We Feel Your Hands are Full"

To this day, we cannot tell you truly what changed as we really do not know. We can make assumptions and speculate but honestly we are reminded how much power social services has over our home. We knew the moment going into foster care our life, home, day to day dealings would be an open book but out of all of this the reassurance social services has given us is that the standards between each foster home is different. Case and point, there are several homes that have very similar situations to ours; children, services, caregivers etc. Though, for some reason our home is being flagged. At the time of our first meeting those several months ago, I offered to have our caregiver come more days per week from two and half days a week to five days a week. Quickly told it would not matter as the remark was then who was watching the children, I agreed. Does this not happen with the foster families who already have caregivers or what about the families who work full time and children go to a day care or preschool? What makes them so different?

So, we have complied with the "mandatory break" with a discussed timeline of three to six months to further reevaluate. On my request. Just recently, I met again with social services to reevaluate our situation. Knowing things have changed in our home plus going past the six month mark. Somewhat hopeful to get some reassurance that there might be a change but still, the same answer, "we feel your hands are still full and would not be ethically and morally right placing another child at this time". What if something were to go wrong? This question is a question that can be asked on any foster home at any time? If social services is asking that question then I believe social services needs to do some reevaluating of some current foster homes. As there are several homes that have one more infant, toddler, child like our situation and those home are not being placed on a "mandatory break". What made our home so special? Oh, let's just say seven months ago our home received attention two ways, I personally asked to be taken off adoption list which our home should have not been on in the first place and the other way, our girls biological parents had another baby and was directed by a County Worker on how to report it, let's just say that did not work out so well. I do not believe in coincidences but interesting on the timing of everything.

Honestly, I do not know what to think, I was recently told that social services tracks emergency 911 calls, so if that is the case, careful about being a Good Samaritan because that is a count against you, if that statement is a fact. We do know if our home will never get off this "mandatory break" no timeline has been given, no parameters of what they are looking for to change, nothing in writing nor can give anything in writing as we have not done anything to warrant a write-up but here is the power of a governmental office. I stated seven months ago to a higher up within social services, if for some reason our home would be let off the "mandatory break" I felt somewhere there would still be limits in placing. Here I am, right as ever, though I was reassured that would not happen, our home will NEVER be able to meet the County's expectations especially hard when no timeline to re-evaluate and nothing to compare.

With this all said, it was expressed that we should be happy with the children in our home. Yes, we are happy and blessed beyond anyone can image for the children that we have been able to give birth to, to foster and the children that we have been able to foster then adopt but when we started almost seven years ago, we wanted to strictly foster, our gifts of adopting have been icing on the cake, no one ever expressed hey, if you adopt you may find yourself banned from fostering somewhere down the road. It was asked if we would have changed our minds of adoption. NO, saying this with full conviction as our plan has been set, things happen for reasons, the children placed in our home all for reasons. We love ALL of our children, but we were asked to change our home from foster to adopt at the very beginning and WE BOTH SAID NO! That is how passionate we are about FOSTERING!

This "mandatory break" may be a point in our life on our roller coaster that we just do not know where it is supposed to lead but what is troubling is the reasoning behind it and how it is being handled. Understanding that all things in life are not fair and some things may not be for one as they are for another but if we are expected to follow rules, the expectation is the same from our peers and the people we work with; then again we must be reminded that perception is not always reality but it is a fine line and we cannot control what others perceptions are as it is their reality.

Here is to our Mandatory Break! GOD BLESS!

To all Foster and Adoptive Parents Everywhere....
A Shout Out to You! Keep Smiling and Keep you Head Held High! You All Are AMAZING!!!!

"God does not call the equipped. Rather, He equips the called. When hearing the comment "Boy you have your hands full" I always answer "No, just very blessed".  Withay -

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

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