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
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
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
in expressing needs; may use gestures
response or no response to sound
fear of dangers
insensitivity to pain
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
While I write this, I keep thinking is this diagnosis truly this
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 - http://www.autism-society.org/what-is/facts-and-statistics/
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
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
1 percent of the adult population of the United Kingdom has autism spectrum
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
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 EmersonGOD BLESS
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
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!
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.
President, Children's Defense Fund Posted:
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
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
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.
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 attachments...it 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
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: Dawn TeoBecome a fan
Foster Children's Rights Coalition - www.FosteringRights.org
The 10 Most Surprising Things About Foster Care
1. Foster care is all around us.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
9. Social workers are stereotyped as much as foster parents.
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
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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 FAMILY We Live GOD BLESS