Tuesday, March 31, 2009
There is an article today in the Atlanta Journal Constitution by Craig Schneider titled: "Report: Fulton taking better legal care of foster children" If you would like, you can read the article here:
The article talks about the progress that they have made in providing legal assistance for children in foster care. The thing is, they had to be ordered by a court in 2006 to reduce the caseload for attorneys to 80 cases each. You may or may not think that is a lot of children to be looking out for, but before the court order the number was as high as 500 in some instances.
That number is ludicrous, but not as ludicrous as the county needing to be ordered by the court to change it. Kudos to the court for looking out for the children, and shame on the Fulton County Mystery Mansion for needing a court order to do the right thing!
It is important that all of us in the foster care system keep the kids as number 1. This is especially true with a lot of stimulus money going into the foster care system in many states. Keep an eye on your local Mystery Mansion and make sure the money gets put where it is needed most to benefit the children.
Sunday, March 29, 2009
This is the headline from Milwaukee channel 4 news:
Suspected Pedophile Was A Foster Parent
It seems like every time we turn around, there is another similar story. It is always the few that give the rest a bad name. This is exactly why foster parents get more scowls then the biological parents who are unable to take care of their own children. I have only been involved in foster care for a little over a year, but I have met nothing but wonderful people involved in foster care. Why do we have such a difficult time getting this word out? I know the answer. A headline like "foster parent does a wonderful thing" doesn't sell as many papers or get the ratings that the above headline does. I know there is a commentary on our society in general related to that, but I just want to get some good news out there. I am going to try to do that at least a couple of times a week. Hopefully it will help.
Anyway, if you want, the article by Shelley Walcott can be found at:
Saturday, March 28, 2009
This will be the last post on our trip. We are all glad to be home and looking forward to getting back to a normal life. We certainly had some good times while we were gone and would love to do it again. Just not too soon. During the trip I thought it might be fun to keep tabs on some of the most, best, wierdest, etc that we saw. What follows is that list:
The most snow: In my front yard when I left. Second most in my front yard when I returned.
THE BIGGEST CROSS: Along interstate 70 in Effingham Illinois. It is 198 feet tall and has been placed by http://www.crossusa.org/
Friday, March 27, 2009
One last post about the trip this weekend, then back on topic.
Monday, March 23, 2009
OK, so we are in OKC and we are on our way to Bricktown. That is an area of the city that at one time was a commercial/industrial area where all the buildings are faced in brink. (I could make a joke about the lack of imagination that the people of Oklahoma have but I think everyone knows that any state that is able to come up with "Oklahoma is OK" has probably heard enough of that.) Besides, the epople of Oklahoma City are great people and among the friendliest you will find anywhere.
Anyway, we are on our way to Bricktown and travelling down Reno which is a major east west street. When we get to Harvey St. which is a north/south street at the Ford Center, we are forced to turn right on to Harvey Street. After turning down Harvey we are at a light to turn left onto 3rd street. Now that may all sound complicated and I really don't know why I bother to write it as it isn't acttually improtant to the story, but if you want to check it out you will need the directions.
Now, I have not travelled everywhere in the country, but this is the first intersection where I have ever seen a skign that said "Left Turn on Red After Stop". That is correct. At this intersection they allow a left turn after stop. So, I do what anyone else would have done. After looking to see where the traffic was, and there was none, I went ahead and made the left turn onto 3rd street to continue on my way to Bricktown. Lo and Behold, from the car seat in the back comes "you went through a red light" then i was serenaded wth the words "Bad Boys Bad Boys, Whatcha Gonna do"
Thats right. (S) who is only three years old first recognized that I went through the red light, and then demonstrates she knows the words to the song from the tv show "Cops"
DW and I have to watch fewer of those shows!
Sunday, March 22, 2009
I don't get to spend a lot of time with my sister since she is in Houston and we are still in New England. She had never met (S) ans (S) has been with us for about a year and a half!, She had fun with (S) but (S) enjoyed my brother-in-law a lot more than my sister. I think she was a little taken aback as my sister is in a wheelchair due to a foot problem she can't get rid of.Hopefully she will be out of it soon, but (S) didn't seem to like it.
(S) did seem to enjoy her though. My sister can be wacky sometimes and she absolutely LOVES children. She was making up stories and telling them to (S) and (S) was just eating them up. There were times when I know (S) was about as happy as she has been. You can tell by the smiles on her face. Sometimes they are just a refular smile, but sometimes they are absolutely the best. There were a lot of them this weekend.
I think the best part for (S) may have been the last. There is a place called "Sprinkles" http://www.sprinkles.com/
You haven't tasted good cupcakes until you have tasted theirs~!!! The chocolate ones are AWESOME!!! (I wish I could post pics of (S) eating them)
Thursday, March 19, 2009
I have frequently told my children one thing. "You rarely regret the things in life that you do, but often regret the things in life you don't do.
I think about my own life and look back quite often and say "I wonder how things would have been had I done_______________. Or maybe I would have really enjoyed doing _________
but I didn't when I had the chance.
It goes back to when I was 7 years old and went to summer camp and didn't want to go on a trip in canoes. By the next morning I was sorry I hadn't gone. Now that is something that is realtively minor, but since I remember it after all these years, it must have meant something to me at the time. There are other opportunities that have come up and I regret not giving things a shot or at least trying them out.
I never finished college and regretted that for a long time. I went back to school and got my Bachelors of Science 4 years ago. It has done absolutely nothing for me career wise, or financially. Not only don't I regret doing it, I am still proud that I did.
So what does this have to do with foster care? We have reached a 99 percent decision that we will not adopt (S). We love her and adore her and will miss her greatly when she is gone. She has been wonderful to have with us for the past year and a half. So now I have to ask myself.....Will we regret not having adopted her?
According to my "philosophy" there should be no question that we are going to adpot her. I can see myself regretting it if I should be lucky enough that we both live until 70 and feel quite healthy and fit and we will regret our decision which is partly based on not being able to handle a teenager at that age, or a teenager having to have old parents that are unable to properly "parent" her.
I have written about this dilema quite a bit, but it was only today that my "philosophy" came into my mind and I wonder..........
Tomorrow we go to Dallas for the weekend.
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
Today DW took (S) to the Oklahoma City Zoo. there were a whole lot of people there as it is school vacation week down here. As far as we know, she had never been to a zoo before. She did seem to enjoy it . Here she is looking at a lioness.
Last night I ended up sleeping in her bed as she came into our room again. I think she is afraid of losing us and she wants to make sure she holds on to us. She is getting very clingy. Especially to DW. This evening in the car she was talking about "mommy and daddy and her brothers" This was the most she had mentioned them in a long time. For the most part they have been going unmentioned. I am not sure what all of that is about, but I am not worried as she seems to be acting fairly normal for a three year old for the most part.
There are no real plans for tomorrow but I think DW and (S) are going to be going to a mall and just look around and maybe do a little shopping. I will be learning more about metalurgy/ (don't ask).
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Saturday, March 14, 2009
(S) was alternately good and not so good. She was interested in some of the stuff, but the thing she seemed to like the most was the bus ride from the ticket center to the home. She did seem to enjoy the car Museum. She insisted on having her picture taken with the pink Cadillac........ She loves anything pink. As a side note at the place we had dinner when the waitress asked her if she would like a red or yellow balloon, she said pink......
So we left there and headed for Little Rock where we are now. About an hour from Memphis the conversation went like this:
(S).....I didn't get to see Elvis
(DW)...Well you got to see his house and his airplane and his cars and other things as well.
(S)....But I didn't see Elvis
DW....Elvis wasn't there
(S).....He will be there tomorrow
So if you of you are awaiting a potential Elvis sighting, (S) says it will be tomorrow....of course we will be in Oklahoma City tomorrow and visiting the cowboy museum. We have to get up at 6:00am to make our times, but then it is OKC for 10 days.
This trip has been a blast. (S) has certainly had her moments when we wonder if we should have taken the trip, but after we get over the aggravation, we realize we are having a good time and so is she. When originally thinking about this trip we thought (S) would be back home with bio mom and dad. When that changes, we had to consider either not taking the trip or taking her with us. Again, while there has been some aggravation, I think we made the right choice and In glad we did.
Friday, March 13, 2009
(S) has been absolutely great all things considered. We are really enjoying her enjoying our trip. I am really tired as we went to Georgia today and ran a lot of errands for (B). More to follow tomorrow or Sunday.
Thursday, March 12, 2009
What caught my eye were two of the items it mentioned.
Every child should feel safety, security, and love
Every child should attend a family reunion.
It made me a little depressed. (S) is doing great, but while I am sure she feels safe and secrure now, I know she hasn't always had that and as far as attending a family reunion? Well, I am hopeful that one day she will have a good family that encourages that and includes her as one of her family so that she can go to the family reunion.
Since we started foster care, it is amazing how persepctives have changed. Before I probably never would have picked up that book, and if I had, I would have wondered why some of the things in the book even needed to be said. Didn't everyone have those opportunities.
What a difference 18 months can make..................
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
No, that wasn't enough. For dinner tonight we went to Chuck E Cheese. (S) had never been anyplace quite like that before and couldn't get from one game to another quick enough. The embarassing part.......anyone who has been keeping up knows that we can't count on more than a day or two without something happening...........Today it was at Chuck Es. You know that game of Ski-Ball where you roll the ball down the alley and it goes up into little holes that are worth points along the way? Well that is the way most people choose to play it. but if you want to score higher, (S) has a new way of playing. You pick up the ball, then climb up on the alley and walk to the target area where you then are able to put the ball into whatever hole you choose!!!
Anyway, tomorrow is another day in Birmingham. We are having fun with (B) and I think he is enjoying us as well although it is obvious (S) is much more fun than we are. I am not sure what the plans are, but I am sure (S) will enjoy it. She has been having so much fun. It is absolutely wonderful to see it.
Monday, March 9, 2009
OK, the speed limit was 70. Then all of a sudden it changed to 55. The policeman got me going 70 on radar. What an A%&hole. Since (S) does not have generally good experiences with policemen I told her that the officer knew we weren't sure where we were going and he was in his car writing down the directions for us........those directions are going to cost $142. Anyway....
We went to the Louisville Slugger factory and went on the tour, then went to lunch at a great restaurant at the hotel C21 and had a very nice visit with my cousin. After that it was on the road to Nashville. We checked into the hotel and then went downtown. We have pictures of (S) with 4 different Elvis' and a couple fo guitars. We had dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe and then stopped for Ice Cream.
Right now (S) is fast asleep and we are relaxing. Tomorrow morning a little more time in Nashville and then off to Birmingham to see my son (B) for a few days. (S) adores him so she is looking forward to Bama.
Trips make for lots of blogging material, but for now, this is more about (S) and she is having a good time. It is very difficult on her though. To keep a 3 year old pent up in a car seat for 3 or 4 hours and then expecting her to be mellow is asking way to much. She gets out of that car and is ready to motivate. We brought her stroller and she pushed it all over Nashville. No wonder she is asleep.
Sunday, March 8, 2009
Saturday, March 7, 2009
We arrived at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame around 2:30pm. She was just a bundle of energy and after being cooped up in the car all day she was ready to rock and roll herself. She did do a lot of dancing while listening to the music, but mostly she was hard to keep track of. I really enjoyed it in spite of that. I enjoyed watching her as much as I enjoyed looking at the exhibits......Of course there was the ropes around the Purple Lincoln Continental that belonged to Elvis. (S) didn't quite understand the red rope thing and went right under them and tried to open up the front door. I AM SO GLAD IT WAS LOCKED! I don't know what I would have done if she got in. Can you imagine if they had left the keys in it? You would probably be seeing us on CNN or Fox News tonight.
We then found our way to the hotel got settled in and looked for a place to eat dinner. We are staying on Euclid Avenue which is like main street in Cleveland and we went over to the House of Blues for dinner. By the time we ate it was close to 6:30pm. We made it back to the hotel by 7:30 and put (S) into bed. She said she didn't want to go to sleep, so I told her she didn't have to. All she had to do was lie down and get under the covers. I don't think it took more than two minutes before she was fast asleep.
Tomorrow, we are off to Indianapolis. That will be about a 4 hour drive and we will be spending the rest of the day at the indoor water park. It should be a good day for (S) as she will be able to burn a lot of that pent up energy. It should be relaxing for us as well. They don't allow you to take pictures in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame so nothing to post today, but I will definitely have some water park pictures tomorrow night.
Friday, March 6, 2009
Day two. First, I have given up on the "state entering" pictures. I will have a post on just that soon, but for now I continue with our trip. Last night we stayed in Connecticut. When we arrived at the hotel and were getting out of the car an ambulence went by with it's siren blaring. (S) got very upset. She was also very upset yesterday about the sun getting in her eyes. When she first came to us she seemed to be ultra-sensitive to sights and sounds and that seems to be coming up again on this trip. I am not sure why that is, but it can be upsetting to us when there is little we can do other than to try our best to comfort her. We went to Hershey today. We visited Chocolate World and we took her on the ride through the "factory" where you learn about how they make chocolate. (S) was grasping on the DW for most of the time as she wasn't real thrilled with the whole ride. She loosened up a little bit and then saw the singing cows so that seemed to cheer her up a little bit. Afterwards she worked in their little kisses making area and got a picture ID and a factory hat. She had fun doing that too. The best part for her?.....Eating chocolate of course. She loves it. Who doesn't? I have always considered it one of the four basic food groups. You know, ice cream, cake, cookies, and chocolate!
You know if you have a chocolate ice cream cake with an oreo cookie on top that is the most healthy of all the possible food combinations because it contains all of the basic food groups....but I digress...
After Hershey we went to a great toy store in Hummelstown. Then it was to the hotel and out to dinner. Dinner tonight was at Red Robin. There aren't any of those in Maine so we had never been to one before. The burgers DW and I had were delicious. (S) was very cranky all day. She had pizza for dinner and her two favorite foods (pizza and chocolate) didn't seem to make today any better for her. I am not sure if she is feeling strange about being away from home or if she is a little overwhelmed by all the travel and new places, but in spite of being cranky and not listening a bit, she does seem to be having fun anyway so on we go. Tomorrow is on to Cleveland and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.
Ok, I just have to talk a little about technology. I am amazed as we continue on this trip. I was sitting in the car today and DW was talking to (K) on the cell phone about wedding preparations and (S) was in the back seat watching "Wow wow Wubzy" on the portable DVD player. I have an EZ-Pass and when we came to the toll booths I just drove right through without having to stop, and to top it all off I was listening to a little Australian woman who lives inside the Garmin GPS telling me each turn and twist I needed to take to get to our intended destination. I also knew from the time we left our hotel what time we would arrive at Chocolate World and boy was that accurate.
Now 10 years ago none of those things could have taken place. DW would be wondering if (K) had done some particular task relating to the wedding and wondering when she would have the chance to call her. While she wondered I would have her looking at a map letting me know when the next turn was and where it was and onto what road. I would ask her that about once every 10 miles or so just so I would be sure not to get lost. (of course if I got lost it would be all her fault, because like a true man, I never get lost! Shhhh please don't tell DW I said that) Anayway, about 4 miles before we hit a toll we would be wondering how much it cost and digging through pockets and the spare change sitting around in the cup holder trying to get as close to exact change as possible and during all of this (S) would have been in the back seat asking incessantly "Are we there yet"
HOW GREAT IS TECHNOLOGY!!!
Thursday, March 5, 2009
Wednesday, March 4, 2009
Tuesday, March 3, 2009
On Saturday we took (S) to visit with her 4 brothers at the local Mickey Ds. for about an hour or so.
(S) went to the daycare today and spent time with her BFF (she doesnt know what that means, but it fits) Anyway, it came time for her to leave and she will not see her BFF or anyone else for over 3 weeks while we are away.
(A) and her partner and his two children came over for dinner tonight. (S) was so happy to see them as they will all play with her and do anything she wants with them. They came over becasue we are going away for a few weeks and they wanted to see us before we left.
The thing that connects these three events? There came a time to say good-bye and (S) refused. This is not the first time. She does not like good-byes. I think this is also her problem with going to bed. She doesn't like being alone or saying good-bye. I believe it is just that she fears losing the people she loves.
This is fairly obvious as it happens to a lot of kids in foster care. The question is how do we help her get over this. Will she ever get over it. Is she developing or on the way to developing RAD? I don't know. I am not familiar enough with either RAD or foster care to know that. I certainly will mention it to the SW when she comes tomorrow. Hopefully she will have some good advice. If this is what is happening, I want to do whatever we can to prevent it.
Does it sound like this may be a problem to any of you? If so, what do you think we can do to prevent it from becoming a problem for (S)? This is the problem with new foster parents like ourselves. We lack the knowledge that experience will give us. I guess everyone has to start somewhere, but it is frustrating.
Monday, March 2, 2009
Today I came home from work and she wanted me to join her for a party she had all set up. Now the set up wasn't anything spectacular so I asked her what kind of a party ot was and she said it was a "masquearade party". I am not even sure I spelled it right yet this 3 year old knew exactly what it was.
This evening she was holding the jump rope and jumping up and down. Now she wasn't jumping over the rope, she was just holding it, but while she jumped she was saying "one potato two potato three potato four" I have no idea where she got that from either.
She has been a sponge since the day she showed up here. Thankfully we have been careful about what we say around her (for the most part) and she hasn't picked up anything really bad. I remember when (A) was a little girl around (S)s age and her great grandmother was still alive and visiting. Her Great Grandma was shooing a lfy away and said "dam fly". It wasn't long before (A) was saying "dam fly".
I am hoping when we go on our trip she picks up a lot and she remembers it. I know she is excited about the trip now and can't wait to go. Neither can we.
Sunday, March 1, 2009
Friday am we leave for Hershey and will visit Chocolatetown. (S) can't wait to learn about how chocolate is made. As I have mentioned before, when she first came to us and we asked her brother what she liked to eat the answer was "pizza and chocolate". This will be a big event. We will spend the night in Harrisburg.
Saturday morning we leave for Cleveland, OH and will visit the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. That is for DW and me. I don't know if there is anything for (S) there, but she does like music and singing so she may get something out of it. We will spend the night in Cleveland.
Sunday morning we head out for Indianapolis. We are going to a Holiday Inn there that has an indoor water park. (S) is going to LOVE that. We will spend the day there and stay the night as well.
Monday am we will leave for Nashville. DW and I have never been there and are looking forward to it. We are not big country music fans, but it really doesn't matter. We are going to spend the night there and also do the tourist thing on Tuesday am. After lunch we will head to Birmingham, AL.
Our son (B) lives in Birmingham and we are going to stay there and visit with him until Saturday morning. Then we will leave for Little Rock. We are going to stop in Memphis along the way and see Graceland. Then Sunday we plan on arriving in OKC where we will spend the next 10 days. (Actually during the weekend we are there we are going to go to Dallas and meet my sister. She lives in Houston so this is a good opportunity to see her and my brother in law.)
It is going to be a wonderful trip and you can look forward to this blog turning into somewhat of a travel log. Of course we will have plenty to speak about regarding (S) as well. The SW is hoping this trip will help us make a determination to adopt (S). I am hoping it doesn't. We absolutely adore her and quite frankly can't remember what life was like before her, nor can I imagine what life will be like without her, but adoption is a big step neither DW nor I are willing to take at this point.