Wednesday, December 31, 2008


Here is the start of an article that ran yesterday at

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — More than a dozen families filed a lawsuit Tuesday challenging a new Arkansas law banning unmarried couples living together from becoming foster or adoptive parents.

If you would like to read the whole article, it can be found here:,2933,474104,00.html

OK, So here is yet another state that doesn't want to do what is best for its children. With the lack of foster parents and willing adoptive couples, to ban anyone from doing either of those is the most assisnine thing I have ever heard of.

It does not matter in this case what your stand is on gay couples either. (I personally am a heterosexual person who strongly believes in live and let live) This is a ban that effects any couples living together......Homosexual, heterosexual, or I guess even asexual. I would be willing to bet that 99% of the people voting for the ban would not be the least bit interested in becoming foster parents or adopting special needs children.

Now Arkansas ranks in the bottom half in terms of state education, and that may help explain some of this, But how stupid do you have to be to not realize there is a problem getting foster parents and that some kids end up in group homes, which are far less desireable, just because foster parents aren't available.

If you haven't noticed, this really irks me. I am glad to see someone doing something about it, and I certainly hope that Pulaski County Circuit Judge Timothy Fox sees the light and rules this new law unconstitutional.....I hope in the process he forces all of the people who are arguing in favor of this to become foster, forget that. I think we need to have kids growing up in as tolerant a family as possible........OK, enough about that. I was going to have a "New Year" type post, but that will wait until tomorrow. In the meantime:

May everyone have a Happy, Healthy, and Blessed New Year!

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

A Day at the Museum

This wasn't anywhere near as funny as Night at the Museum, but (S) and I had a wonderful time.

My lovely wife and (K) went looking for a wedding gown today. While they were gone, I took (S) to the children's museum. I AM EXHAUSTED!! She has to be one of the busiest girls I have ever met, and certainly the busiest 3 year old I have ever met. She was non-stop the entire time we were there. It was difficult to keep up with her. She seemed to like the little restaurant set-up they have where the kids can make believe they are running a restaurant. She was even playing well with the other kids that were there.

We went to lunch and then had to come home as it was her case worker's monthly visit today. She said that they need to make arrangements for (S) to be spending more time with mom and dad as they work out the reunification. She sees it as a slow process for (S) and said we will probably have her here for another 2 to 3 months. I was happy to hear that. I told her (S) was welcome here for 3 months or 3 years, whatever it took.

At one point we didn't even know if she would be here for Christmas, so we are glad she will be staying a little longer. We know we will miss her when she finally does go.

When we started down this road we didn't know if this was going to be the only foster child we had or not, and we have pretty much decided that there wioll be more after (S), but we are not going to rush her out of here. She does belong with her mom and dad, but we have grown to love her over the last year and when she goes........ well enough about that it just saddens me to think about it.

I think (K) did ok with the dress. It was $499.00 not counting the veil. I was figuring it would be around that somewhere but really hoping for the $59.95 special :). I can't wait to see her in the gown. I am sure she will look wonderful.

Well, just waiting for my wife to return and then it is ribs for dinner tonight. I love ribs!!

Sunday, December 28, 2008


I just ran across a Chrstmas Eve article from the Atlanta Journal Constitution. It was written by a gentleman named Tom Rawlings and talks about a family that adopted a disabled child from foster care. It also talks about the support of the community that they have been getting. It is a very nice article and is worth taking a look at.

It is nice to hear about community support as there have been times I have received those "looks" from people when they find out we are doing foster care. Even though I have a decent job, and have supported my family fine over the years, to include raising three children of my own, people still think we are being foster parents for "the money" If only they knew. I don't know what they think the state gives us. Or why they feel the need to be so judgemental about others.

What do you say to people when they ask you if the foster child is your ___________ fill in the blank? (we usually get granddaughter). We have been saying no, she is our foster daughter, but that is what brings on those looks.

We shouldn't be worrying about those looks or thinking about saying just "yes" to answer the question. What we need to do as part of the foster parent community to is act as better advocates for ourselves. We do a great job of advocating for our foster children, but it is time we start advocating for ourselves. We have to get those members of the community who understand what foster parenting is all about, to help as well. There are just too many people who don't have a clue. While articles like this one by Mr. Rawlings certainly help we have to do more.

So what am I going to do? I am not sure. I am open to suggestions though, so please feel free to comment and give me your ideas while I try to come up with some ideas of my own.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Youngest Bio Daughter

Our youngext daughter (26) is going to be the first of our children to get married. The big day will be June 21st. Last night we were invited to her future father-in-laws house for dinner. There were a lot of people there and (S) was enjoying all the attention she was getting. In the meantime, I felt a little awkward. I have known this man for a few years, and we really aren't friends and don't hang out in the same circles so it was a very uncomfortable night.

But, THE FOOD was good!!!

Unfortunately, my wife now feels compelled to have him and his girlfriend over for dinner. That will mean another uncomfortable night.

I am looking forward to the wedding even though it is going to be a costly event. We have already rented the lcoation, hired a photographer and a DJ. My daughter has picked out oinvitations, and my wife, her and her bridesmaids are going to a David's Bridal on Tuesday to pick out dresses. They are excited about it. I am glad I get to stay home and have fun with (S) while they are gone. We still haven't decided on a menu, or even whether or not there will be a buffet or sit down.

The boy she is marrying is ok I guess. He has a job and they are currently living together and seem to be enjoying themselves and having a good time together. I am just not all that thrilled about him. I guess that brings to mind the question of the day:

Does any father feel as though any boy is good enough for his daughter?

Friday, December 26, 2008

All good today

We got a call last night that S's father was home from the hospital. Apparently it was a minor problem that was more scare then anything else. S was happy when she heard her daddy was home. She will get to see him tomorrow so that should even help more.

She did have a wonderful Christmas though with all things considered. Today she has been relaxing for the most part after the busy day yesterday. We did however get the chance to go to "Donaldfries" where she got a Happy Meal and played in the gym for a little while with all the other kids there.

Well, I never would have expected that when she came to us over a year ago, she would still be here today. It looks like she will see in the second New Year with us. 2009 should bring her back home with her family though. They are so close to getting it all together, I hope they don't mess it up.

Well, that's all for now and thanls to those of you who emailed and commented reference S's dad. We know it is important to S that he be OK, and thus it is important to us too.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Day Visit

(S) went to visit with hermom and dad today. It was supposed to be a nice Christmas visit. when we got there, there was a new princess bicycle under the tree that S went right to. She knew it was hers, and it looked like today was going to be a good day. We would go back to pick her up at 3:00pm.

Unfortunately her mom called at 1:30 and asked us to come to pick up S as her dad had a seizure and the ambulance was there to take him to the hospital. We rusehd over to get S and she was crying. She said she was scared because her daddy had left.

We certainly hope that all is fine. God knows she has been through enough in the last year, she doesn't need anything else added to her at just 3 years old.

When we got back to the house, we played with the toys that she had under our tree and then after dinner we put together a ginger bread house that we had bought. Neither me nor my wife had ever done one before and we had fun. Most importantly, it kept S's mind off of her father.

One of the people from the reunification group called. Apparently she had heard what had happened to dad. She was concerned about S and wanted to make sure everything was ok.

Well, back to trying to enjoy the rest of the day. Merry Christmas everyone!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The Real Gift

It was just over a year ago when (S) came to us. She was our very first foster child and we really had no idea what we were getting ourselves into. Now, after a year, and on this Christmas Eve, I can look back and say it has been a wonderful year.

When we took on this adventure we went into it with the idea that we were going to "help out some children in need" and maybe "provide some things for some children that they ordinarilly wouldn't have had". While we have tried to do all that, (S) has done so much more for us than we would have ever thought.

There are days, events, and words that we have been a part of this year that never would have happened were it not for her. She has made us laugh and cry and giggle and love more than we would have ever expected. This has truly been an absolutely wonderful time in our lives. I can tell you from our experience that the prophet (I think Isaiah) was absolutely right on when he said:

"...if you offer your food to the hungry and satisfy the needs of the afflicted,then your light shall rise in the darkness and your gloom be like the noonday.

Merry Christmas to all

Monday, December 22, 2008

Snow Snow Snow

I know I am about to ramble, so I appolgize in advance. If you don't like to read the ramblings of the foster father to a 3 year old girl, then I completely understand.

OK, we got about 18 or 20 inches of snow last night. That is just too much for this time of year. I guess it does guarantee a white Christmas though.

The snow plow driver ripped down our mailbox again. That is two times in two storms. I spoke to the town office and they took the information for the spreadhseet they keep on cokmplaints about plowing. THEY KEEP A SPREADSHEET!!! You would think at the point you decide you need to keep a spreadsheet you would think about doing something different.

I called the sheriff and he came by the house. I asked about the plow "leaving the scene of an accident with property damage". He said that if a plow knocks down my mailbox, it is not like if I knock down a street sign. He said the plow is a "mishap" while the other is an accident. WHAT????

The sheriff is now talking like the DHHS people. I think they think every one is stupid. That really iritates me.

Anyway, back to the snow. Last year (S) was not the least bit interested in sledding so we didn't buy a sled. She saw all the snow and said "I want to go sledding>" So, my lovely wife went to Walmart and bought a sled. Then she brought it home and guess what? (S) was not interested in going sledding today. I guess we will do that Thursday and/or Friday.

She is going to be with her bio parents from 9am to 3pm on Christmas Day. It will kind of mess up our day, but we will make the adjustments. I just wish we would have a little more say in the way things are handled. We pretty much get told what to do and I dont know if I need to be more assertive or if that is a bad thing. Being that this is our first foster child and we have only been doing it for a year, we relaly have nothing to compare this year to.

Speaking of snow, my oldest daughter Amy (now 30) first learned how to spell snow in nursery school. It was the very first word she could spell. I think it was from a song. I remember driving her home from school that day. she was so excited that she was able to spell a word.

Well, enough rambling...again my appologies. If I dont get on here before Thursday, everyone have a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, or whatever holiday you celebrate.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

"What" is the mommy?

Well our forster daughter (S) and I were looking at pictures the other day. Most of them were of her, and it was absolutely adorable hearing her say "that's me" "that's me" "that's me" every time I turned to a new picture. Then we got to some other pictures. First was the one of my parents and she identified them as Nanny and Papa. (That's what my kids call them so she did the same when they came to visit.) Then we got through a lot of pictures of different people and children she had become friends with over the last year since she had been here and she identified all of them correctly.

We then got to a picture we had of her whole family. Her brothers and her, her mother and father were all in the picture. She looked at me proudly and said "Those are my friends".

I really didn't know what to say. She goes to visit with them once a week, and she calls her mother mommy, but she thinks that she is a friend. When we were looking at the pictures today, the same thing happened. I know I should probably say something, but I don't know what.

It is bad enough that she doesn't know she is gong to be leaving our home soon, ( the one she calls "my house")I don't want to make it even more difficult, but then how can you just let it slide. How often is it that a child doesn't know "what" a mommy is. She should know that her mother is an important part of her family, and yet she considers her to be a friend. She can't grow up thinking her mother is her friend. That will only lead to problems later.

I am just feeling kind of sad for her today knowing that she doesn't have a concept of what her family is or her home is or who her friends are......oh well, just another day in the life I guess. But I really don't like it. Tomorrow is the first visit in conjunction with reunification. I have such mixed feelings about that too.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Cuts Cuts and More Cuts

The State of Maine has been making cuts all year as a result of the horrible economy. I understand that most states are finding themselves in the same situation. i don't know what the other states are doing, but it seems as though every time they cut something it comes from the kids. Maine made the following cuts in Child Welfare

$2.6 million (12.5 percent) in subsidies for foster and adoptive families.
$1.8 million saved by reviewing mental health services used in child welfare.
$1.7 million saved in the foster care program by breaking out services (unbundling) and not paying for all services. (Example: No longer paying for child care if a parent is home with the child and need has not been determined; recreational programs; and respite care).
$1 million in savings by transferring child welfare assessments to state workers.
$900,000 in reducing the time for psychological evaluations of children in state care.
$291,000 to agencies that serve unwed mothers and mothers with young children.

I guess I could bi**ch about it and god knows this would be the place to do it. Its just that I dont have any better ideas given the way the economy is. I am sure it will get worse before it gets better, I just hope that some of whatever stimulus Obama comes up with is put aside for the children of this nation. They are, after all, our most precious resource.

Enough politics. Today was a visiting day. Mom was gone when we dropped S off, but dad was there. The kids were in a good mood when we picked her up, and she seemed to have enjoyed herself, but was ready to come to us. I just have one question:

Why is it the parents think that they are the victims in this mess they are in? I am afraid if they don't change their attitude the reunification won't work, and that would be the absolute worst thing that could happen.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Foster Parents hard to find

It doesn't matter what state or county you go to, Foster care parents becoming harder to find. Its really no wonder. You never really know what you are going to get and these kids come with all kinds of problems. The chances of getting one without any issues are pretty slim. Of course most people want the "perfect" child. the one without any drug dependency, the one with no behavioral problems, the one who hasn't been a prostitute at age 12. Unfortunately, that is not the kind of kids that come into foster care. Additionally, there is a belief that foster parents do what they do just for the money (trust me, if you are doing it for the money, you can make more and have less aggravation saying "would you like fries with that?") and don't care about the children and in most cases are abusive themselves.

This is simply not that case, but when someone has been trusted to be a foster parent and that trust is shattered, you are sure to hear about it on the nightly news. Rarely do you hear about all the good people out there who are taking in children in need of help. There are many people out there doing great work with some of the most difficult children.

If you are still reading this and are not already involved in foster care, please consider it. Contact your local Child Welfare or Human Services Department and see how you can help. We have only been doing this for one year, but it may be the most rewarding thing I have ever done. So many children end up in group homes because there just aren't enough people out there to foster children.

I think it was Abe Lincoln who said "No man stands so tall as when he stoops to help a child."

Please stand tall and make a call. You are needed!

Thursday, December 18, 2008


OK, the other day I saw a wonderful article from Salt Lake about a former meth addict who was turning her life around and getting her children back. Today I saw the most ridiculous story I could ever imagine. See if you agree.

A couple adopted a child 6 months ago. The mother opted to give the child up for adoption and the new family took custody of the child right out of the hospital. This made the adoptive parents the only parents this child would know. Unfortunately this child was born addicted to drugs and the adoptive parents had to nurse him back to health. The birth mother then changed her mind about the adoption. Since she is an American Indian, the Indian Child Welfare Act came into play and the tribe was able to say the boy belonged with the tribe.

OK, here is the kicker.....The mother has been declared unfit and has four other children in foster care. So the child has to be given back to the tribe because the woman changed her mind, but since the mother is unfit, the child will end up in foster care.

This has to be the most ridiculous thing I have ever seen. The boy is in a loving home that is treating him well and there was a legal adoption, now they are going to put this child in foster care. The adoptive parents are of course fighting this and I hope they are successful.

Is this what the Indian Child Welfare Act was supposed to do? If it is, there should be some changes. Obviously this law is not seeing to the welfare of the child.

I guess I have ranted on this enough, but does anyone else think this is totally ridiculous, or am I over reacting to this. Heather and Clint Larson are the adoptive parents. They have my support!!!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Family Reunification Program

Two of the workers from the reunification program came to the house today. They explained the whole program to us and how it works. They say the program has been in use in Michigan for a number of years and has about a 90% success rate there. Unfortunately, here it has only been in use for a couple of years and they have more like a 30% rate. The team leader is optimistic about this family though. They spent a number of hours with them on Monday, and met the two older boys yesterday, Today was their day to meet us and our foster daughter. There are two more brothers to meet.

We were very happy to hear that they were interested in our concerns and listened closely to what we had to say. They are also in agreement with how she needs to be brought back into the family with her 4 brothers and hopefully all five will be back with the parents within 4-6 months. We are certainly hopeful.

The pamphlet they left had a couple of sentences in it that I think have to be remembered by everyone involved in foster care and family reunification:

"Children have a right to their family"

"It is in the best interest of the child for his or her family to remain intact in the absence of compelling evidence to the contrary"

and the one I really like...

"Families are diverse and have a right to be respected for the special cultural, racial, ethnic, and religious traditions that make families distinct."

We are certainly hopeful that this will work. It is the last chance for this family to remain as such but ..........God, we will miss her

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

You don't often see these kinds of stories

I cam across this article from Utah about a mother who had her children taken and put into foster care. She has apparently turned her life around, and her children are coming home. Congratulations to Stacey Rice and all she has accomplished, and good luck to her in the future. Just as important, a big congrats to Kathy Stoner, the children's foster mother. I don't know either of these people, and I have never been to Utah, but you just don't see stories like this very often. You can read the whole story here:

Monday, December 15, 2008

Family Meeting

Today was the monthly family meeting. It looks like our foster daughter will not be in the first two to go home. We are glad she will be around for a while longer. The whole process with the family will probably take a few months. She is going to spend 6 hours on Xmas day with her family.

We were concerned about how the reunification would go. I guess it will be one overnight followed by a weekend overnight and then a little more and more until she is no longer with us and spends all her time with her family.

I have to tell you, we have ceretainly grown to love her over the year she has been here. She is absolutely adorable. I know we will miss her, and I am sure she will miss us, but a famiy should be together, and she belongs with her birth family if that is possible.

There will be a woman coming from the reunification team on wednesday to talk with us about our little girl and see what she may need in the way of special services during the reunification process. I am not sure what exactly that involves as it is our first time, but I will certainly let you know.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Visiting Day

Today is a visiting day with family for our foster daughter. She usually wants to go but this time she didn't. She just turned 3 years old, and has been with us for a year. She really doesnt understand this whole thing, but I know she has fun on visiting day especially with her older brothers.

Of course she didn't sleep in her room again last night. I believe she knowsthat she will be going home soon from what her parents tell her, and she is very insecure about everything. Well, I have to go get her some Christmas items for her stocking. Have a nice day!

Friday, December 12, 2008

I have never blogged before, but it seems like a good thing to do now. I am not sure what this will evolve into, but we shall see as we move along.

My wife and I have been foster parents for exactly one year. Our current foster daughter came to us in December 2007. It seems as though she is close to being back with her birth family. She currently has 4 brothers who are also in foster care. We will certainly miss her when she gos, but we know it is probably best in the long run.......if it works. That is our biggest concern. If it doesnt work and she is taken out again, that will stink.

She is only 3 years old and really has no understanding of what has been going on. We were looking at pictures with her yesterday and when we got to a picture of her family and I asked her who they were she responded with "those are my friends". She refers to her paents home as my mommy and daddy's home and she calls our home her home.

Since she is our first foster child, we are wondering how it will all work out in the end. We have a meeting on Monday which should give us more information as to how the reunification process will proceed. I think we are both very anxious. We certainyl have grown to love her over the last year, and know we will miss her when she is gone.