Monday, November 7, 2011

Rescuing the Lakota Children: The Lakota People's Law Project Responds to NPR Story with Three Ways You Can Help


NPR's hard-hitting investigative report concerning the forced removal of Lakota Sioux children from their homes in South Dakota causes the Lakota People's Law Project to respond. The NPR story aired on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday of this week, addressing violations of the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA) by South Dakota and other states across the nation. The award winning investigative reporter Laura Sullivan exposed the need to rescue Lakota children from an abusive state foster care system overly concerned with securing federal funds at the expense of Indian child welfare.

Rescuing the Lakota Children: The Lakota People's Law Project Responds to NPR Story with Three Ways You Can Help

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Say What?


Sunday Koffron Taylor

‎"A GENTLE REMINDER: Birth mothers don't "give up" their children, they place them!" i ran a crossed this in my gut reaction is "Are you effing kidding me?” any other thoughts?


I guess my real question is: who does that language really serve?

Thursday, September 29, 2011

You May Say I’m a Dreamer

But….I am not the only one

And thus, Pandora's Box is opened.

scooping it up: Stirring the Adoption Pot

It made me sit up in bed, fire up the lap-top to post after a 15 hour shift.  Come on back and give me your thoughts.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Mean Girls

Teens! This weekend my daughter (a high school freshman) was with a group of girls and one was spreading a rumor that another girl in (being ostracized from) the group had had 2 abortions. When I got wind that this conversation had taken place I was stunned and furious! I asked my daughter about it, she said that yes, her friend did say it…but that people had been saying it for a “long time”.

I told my child that saying, repeating or even listing to rumors like that was just plain wrong whether it was true or not. That I am confident in this case it is not. That if somebody did happen to get a high school freshman pregnant it was a CRIME…illegal and that person could/should be in jail. That needing to have an abortion in high school would tragic, and is something that would affect someone for the rest of their life. And any girl who had actually had such a heartbreaking experience deserved compassion, not scorn. Getting pregnant as a teen is something that can and does happen, even to the “best” of girls, that they should all be careful of throwing stones because we never know what mistakes are coming our way, or what tough choices we may have to make. That these kind of rumors are the kind of thing that could push a kid over the edge, how well everyone who started, told or listened to this rumor or one like it going to feel when they hear that the real person behind it gave up one day and hanged themselves in their closet? And last but not least – since that was the 3rd rumor-ish mess from this particular “friend” over the weekend, she had best believe that when your “friends” show the viciousness they are capable of rest assured, you are not exempt. It is just a preview of what can happen to you.

I am so bothered by the whole thing…I hope my child understands the gravity of the situation. I can’t imagine being THAT girl right now…or her mother. I just don’t feel like I said or did enough…

Monday, September 12, 2011

We Needed A Formal Study To Figure This Out?


4-year-olds soak up wrong message from SpongeBob in study

Lindsey Tanner/ Associated Press

Chicago— The cartoon character SpongeBob SquarePants is in hot water from a study suggesting that watching just nine minutes of that program can cause short-term attention and learning problems in 4-year-olds.

Health | 4-year-olds soak up wrong message from SpongeBob in study | The Detroit News

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Sweetbutterbliss: How To Tell if You Are an Adult


At work when a girl turns 18 we call it "aging out." Essentially they are "adults" and have to start living a more independent life.

Sweetbutterbliss: How To Tell if You Are an Adult

Is My 5 Year Old Money Laundering?

I ran a crossed this when I was hanging up clothes in Amélie’s closet the other day… oh, that girl is gonna be a challenge.


“Hey, Amélie, what’s this about?”

“I was trying to hide my money from CoCo.”

“But WHERE did you get it?”

“It just appeared there…”

“I think maybe it was Maddie’s babysitting money. Is it?”

“Yes, I think I saw her put her money in my room” Huge innocent grin.

“Maddie, did you put your money in your sister’s room.”

Laughing, “No!”

See what I’m saying? What do you do with a child who is so adorable and charming that even her big sister can’t be mad at her even after she realizing that she stolen her money? What do you do with a teen who thinks that the way to keep her money is crumbled up in wads on her bedroom floor? And do you say about a 5 year old who is laundering money?

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

I’m Still Alive

I am here…I haven’t been scared off…I didn’t runaway…I am not hiding…just busy…I started a new job…I am still working my old job…Juggling…Juggling…Juggling

I still have lots to say…don’t you go worrying about THAT!

What are you juggling these days?

Monday, August 15, 2011

CoCo’s Big Gym Adventures

On Wednesday I work during the day. Mr. Sunday has to work and the big girl has had summer school. I bring the two little ones to work with me. They do day camp while I coach. Well, Amélie does day camp and CoCo sits off to the side and watches everyone else play…that is the way it has been going all summer.

CoCo at the gym “Don’t jump, don’t jump!”

But, this week was a big week. CoCo walked a crossed the big squishy mats (she usually crawls or insists on being carried).

Walking on Squishy Mats With Sister

She got into the pit (ok, on a mat in the pit)

In The Pit

and the biggest surprise…she got on the “jump-o-lean” (got on…not jumped).

On The Tumble Track (jump-o-leen)

That may not seem like much, but for that kid it is huge…and I am one proud momma.

Yea Me!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Full Circle: The Talk


We told him it's okay to feel the feelings that will come up.. he can be angry, sad and happy, reiterating as we always do that it's not their fault.  Their mom loves them dearly she just can't keep them safe.  We talked about me being adopted and my family, as well as their older brother (9 year old "Freckles") and what it all means.

Full Circle: The Talk August 6, 2011

I meant to link to this post a week ago when Melissa first posted it…I think it goes a long way in explaining the complexity of emotions that surround foster care adoptions. And ya’ll know I DO support adoptions from foster care, and the amazing parents who work hard to help their kids through a sometimes ruthless system, and lasting losses.

But today I am linking to this post because last week Melissa was blogging about The Talk and loss and today. She tweets:

fullcircle_melMelissa@FullCircle - Headed to the mortuary to make arrangements for my beautiful husband's services. Pls say a prayer for all of us-Is this really happening?!

Life can change on a dime. If you are the praying type please remember Full Circle Mel and her family today.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The Little Things

Sometimes you just have to stop to smell the roses..Or watch the biggest spider you have ever seen kill and eat stuff.

One Big A$$ Spider

Wrapping up a little snack for later

The pictures really don’t do her justice!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

The House That Built Me

It was a country music kind of day…

You leave home and you move on and you do the best you can

I got lost in this old world and forgot who I am

I thought if I could touch this place or feel it

This brokenness inside me might start healing

Out here it’s like I’m someone else

I thought that maybe I could find myself If I could walk around

I swear I'll leave. Won't take nothing but a memory

from the house that built me.

written by Tom Douglas and Allen Shamblin


The thing is there is no house that built me. There is only a collection of places I never really belonged. They say you can’t go home, but I don’t even know where that’d be.

Yes, it has been that kind of day, if I had a home I would have gone there.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Fostering Connections

“Under proposed legislation named Fostering Connections, I would have been able to enter an independent living environment, where I would have had access to a variety of resources. Additionally, DHS would have helped me establish a support system, sent a caseworker to see me, aided me with my job search, and helped me with other services. If I'd had that help, I would be in a different situation than I am in now.”

From The Detroit News

As a sixteen (about to be 17) year old going into my senior year in high school I was granted independent status by Michigan’s Family Independence Agency (DHS). At the time that decision was made there were no independent living programs in the state. I was seen as too old and independent to live in a foster home placement, I had out stayed the usefulness of my group and RTC placements, and going ‘home’ to one of my parents was not an option. I was in school full time, getting acceptable grades and I had had the same job for a year, I seemed pretty stable on paper. So the decision was made that I would receive my own foster care payments, keep my state medicade and move in with a group of college students in the area I had been living in placements in for years.

While my roommates were a great group of girls and did their best to keep me from getting myself into too much trouble, as sixteen and seventeen year old on a university campus I did a fine job of finding plenty on my own. While the decision to allow me independence was rare, if not unprecedented…I was in no way shape or form ready to face the world alone. I got myself into a lot of jams, I made a ton of mistakes and it took me YEARS before I even felt like I was treading water. And the day I turned eighteen what little support I had disappeared, as some kind of magic happens that day that makes one a responsible adult. It does not.

Legislation like this Fostering connections proposed here in Michigan could go a long way to helping foster children reach true independence and avoid many of the pitfalls that I myself and so many of us who have aged out of foster care find ourselves drowning in.

Please become an advocate for continuing support and services to foster children here in Michigan and your home state. We don’t stay children forever and we deserve a fighting chance for a stable future.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Maybe You Should Do It Yourself

You know that thing our husbands do where they do something so bad that you would be an idiot if you ever asked them to do it again? Well, my 13 year old girl is apparently trying that strategy on for size…


Because this is her idea of how to put dishes away and….

Yester day:

“This bathroom is STILL not clean”

“I have told you I cleaned it three times and you keep saying it is not good enough. Maybe if you want it done right you should do it yourself.”

“Maybe if you wanted to do anything other than clean the bathroom today, you would have done it right the first time.”

Friday, August 5, 2011

I Don’t Belong Here

What the hell am I doing here -  I don't belong hereThose of you have followed along for a while know that Algebra 1, was the bane of my parental existence for the entirety of my big girl’s 8th grade year.

I mean I tried everything I could think of to get that kid to just turn in her work. I begged, I pleaded, tried empathy, I remained calm, I lost my cool, I threatened, I followed through, nope, it wasn’t gonna happen, she would do her work but she would NOT TURN IT IN. I emailed the teacher, I set her up with a tutor, I took her to a professional tutoring place, both of which informed me she didn’t need help…she completely understood how to do it. But still she would not turn in the work. I called the school counselor (many times), I meet with the other school counselor, and I took her to a private counselor. Still she refused to just turn in the mother freaking homework we watched her do!

It always came back to it wasn’t her fault and my big girl insisting that she didn’t belong in that class in the first place.

I would pull out the letter from her 7th grade teacher explaining why the big girl had been placed in 9th grade Algebra, rather than 8th grade math. I would show her where the letter outlined the test score and grade requirements; I would show her where it showed her grades and her test scores and how hers were well over the minimum requirement to be placed in the advanced class. But she could not be dissuaded from her insistence that she was wrongly placed in the class.

I knew that her belief was at the root of her lack of effort…But, It. Made. No. Sense! It was a mistaken belief, and I had no idea where on earth it came from. I was very worried, that she had somehow lost confidence in herself for no apparent reason, with no logical explanation.

That is until Mr. Sunday and I went to school on the day before the revoked Chicago trip to see if our big girl had turned in her work, which she hadn’t. Me being me, I looked the teacher in the eye and said

“I just don’t understand what is going on here! Does she understand the work or not? She has always loved math and excelled in it until this year. Did she hit a wall or something? ”

“I have no idea, she doesn’t speak in class and she refuses to ask for help.”

At this point my big girl chimes in crying with, “I keep telling you that I DON’T BELONG IN THIS CLASS IN THE FIRST PLACE!”

As I start with “No, honey we have been over and over this and that is just not TRUE”

Her teacher, that she has had all freaking year interrupts me with,

“No she is right. Mrs. So and So put a LOT of kids in this class who don’t belong here because she was retiring and she wouldn’t have to deal with the fall out.”

I was stunned…Me stunned…into silence…yes, I am sure my eyes were bugging out and the vein in my neck was popping…but I could say nothing. Oh, My Goodness, so this is what she has been telling her class all year. This is why my daughter who easily qualified for the class was insisting that she didn’t belong, and all of the king’s horses, tutors, and counselors or mommy could convince her otherwise.

Now, I clearly understood what had happen and how, but I had no idea how to fix it. I had no idea how to give her love of math or self-confidence back, or how to combat a solid year of being given the message that some of them weren’t good enough and didn’t belong and her willingness to internalize it and take it on as her truth. Oh what a mess.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

What Were They Thinking?

I’m not sure they ordered my big girl’s warm-up big enough…


I am not even sure it will even fit her as a senior…four years from now.


Because it fits ME…over my clothes. 

Tuesday, August 2, 2011


Kitty is sleeping.

Amé and Ginger

Does the shot remind anyone else of LeBron James?

Sunday, July 31, 2011

When I Say My Kids Are Climbing The Walls…

I mean they are CLIMBING the walls….

Seriously folks, I am a trained professional over here. Don’t let your kids do this at home…unless you don’t mind grubby footprints on all of your doorjambs.


Feel free to comment on my serious lack of judgment and parenting skills below. 

Did I mention I let them eat ice-cream and bacon for breakfast this morning?

Mr. Sunday, is on the hunt for an ice-cream maker so we can make our own bacon flavored ice-cream, he is sure it will be a big hit.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

I’m Still Standing

After all tomorrow is another day…Scarlett O’Hara

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Therapeutic 101

Obviously I still have lingering “big feelings” that revolve around food and not being properly fed, because I found this part of [C - - - - - - -‘s first name removed 8/01/20011 4:11 pm] post to be quite triggering. I find the thought of messing with a child’s food to be unimaginable, regardless of the circumstances.

This is the space where I had the quote  that [C- - - - - - First name removed 8/01/2011] asked me to remove, even though I believe that the way I used the quote was permissible under fair use. I have no interest in being involved in blog war. I was merely trying to have a discussion.

[S- - - - - - U- T- - - - - - - Blog name removed on my own accord 8/01/2011 4:18 pm] Therapeutic 101 [link removed with out being asked 7/29/2011 12:01am] 

And this is what I have to say about that:

“I found this post interesting and informative. In our household we are a family, we eat as a family and the right to eat as a family is inalienable. Being the child of an adoptee who *I feel* had lingering food issues, having been not feed when said parent always managed to feed herself well, having ended up as a foster child myself….I *personally* see feeding my children as my obligation regardless of their behavior. And the thought of using food on any level as a consequence for behavior which is not directly food related is completely out of the question, *for me*. in our house everyone has the right to eat whatever anyone else is having or chose off the [kid’s] menu wherever we are, and if they chose not to they have every right to makes themselves a PB&J (including Mr. Sunday) as I am not a short order cook and I do not go out of my way to present food that I know some doesn’t like. I believe in equal access. Furthermore, it would seem to me that messing with the food of a traumatized child struggling with deep-seated and understandable trust and survival issues, would in my humble opinion be counterproductive.”

I guess, I just have a very hard time with seeing a child’s access to food as a privilege.

[Updated 8/01/2011 4:30 pm:  I am saddened about the way this has been handled, but again, everyone has the right to their own opinions and perceptions, and while I do not agree with everyone’s, I do respect their right to have and express them.  I would like to thank everyone who has commented on this post and I would hope that we can all move on from here, with our own individual lessons learned.]

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

CHILDMYTHS: Adoption, Trust, Complacency, and the Barahona Case


In this report, while acknowledging all the many problems of caseworkers, including poor training and heavy caseloads, the jury members emphasized a problem that is prevalent but rarely mentioned. They referred to it as a bias of trust and complacency.
The bias of trust stressed by the grand jury report is the assumption on the part of the social work profession that adoptive parents are by definition good people, and that they cannot be the source of harm to the children in their care. Without wishing to accuse an entire professional group, I must agree strongly that this belief characterizes many adoption caseworkers and the staffs of adoption agencies. All adoptive homes are described as loving and nurturing, as if adoption were synonymous with excellent child-rearing. Adoption-oriented web sites describe adoptive parents as “awesome moms”. When adoptive families are functioning poorly, there is haste to say that someone, somewhere, did not tell the truth about the children, who are considered the causes of any trouble. These common beliefs may be the basis for the caseworkers’ bias of trust in adoptive parents which the grand jury report points to so explicitly.

CHILDMYTHS: Adoption, Trust, Complacency, and the Barahona Case

Monday, July 25, 2011

Of Kids, Kittens and Attachment

058As I mentioned in my last post we brought a couple of kittens home the other day. My kids have been asking for a cat for a long time. So when a friend mentioned that she had kittens (well, she didn’t have them herself…her cat did) I packed up all of my kids and took them to pick out a kitten. Actually two, because even kittens need company and just like kids two together are always easier to care for than one by themself, at least the way I see it.

Obviously my kids were very excited to go and bring not one, but two kittens home to love and have for their very own. For me and my friend the process of going and taking two kittens away from their mother was bitter-sweet. She couldn’t keep them all, they would be taken care of and loved at our house, but as mother’s we were each a bit sad about the whole process. And knowing that later their mother would be searching for her babies and they would not be there and she would have no idea where they went or what happened to them. Yes, it would seem that even cats grieve the loss of their children. *sigh*

They (the kittens) cried for the whole ride home, which bummed my big girl out,

“but mom they are so scared…”

“And you would be to if some strangers just picked you up put you in a box and took you away from your mother and everything you have ever known.”

“the whole being away from my mother thing wouldn’t be so bad.”

071“Ha, that’s what you think now! Who’d wash your clothes, who’d bring you a glass of water in the middle of the night, who’d scoop your ice-cream? Huh? You would have to do all of that for yourself!”

And being thirteen, she scrunched up her face and rolled her eyes…but at least she stopped talking and that ain’t no easy feat.

But the little girls were completely unaffected by the mournful cries of their new, beloved kitties. Oh, no the only thing they could think about was getting them home and loving them up. (as it probably should be at three and five. Empathy is tough enough, let alone to transfer human emotions to the plight of animals, just a little too sophisticated for them at this point)

No sooner than we get in the door does the squealing, chasing, petting, hugging, kissing and the badgering with cat toys commence. The kittens are hiding and tiny hands are reaching and grabbing and pulling out from under and it all starts again. I am gently trying to explain, that the kittens are scared, they have never been here before, they have never been away from their mother and we need to just let them BE. They more we pull at them to try to love them up, the more scared they will be, the more they will run away and the more they scratch because those are the only defenses they have when they are scared. We have to leave them alone, and let them hide so they can learn to feel safe in our house. You have to be calm and not react when they come out of hiding. They will learn to love you if you let them come to you, but if you keep chasing them and trying to MAKE them, they will never learn to trust you.

We have to just let them BE.

031Feeling like a good mom, I left the room. Only to return to discover my precious angels attempting to jam our terrified kitties into the cardboard box they rode home in and fashioning a lid out of towels and clothes pins…at which point I completely lost my shit and started yelling, “don’t touch the CATS! If either one of you touches these g-d damned cats again I am taking them back to their mommy! Do you understand? Don’t touch them again!” And I scooped up the kittens, the litter and their bowl and put them in my room, where they slept like babies smack dab in the middle of Mr. Sunday’s pillow for the rest of the night.

Things have been much better for Fred (Astaire) and Ginger (Rogers) since that first night, they are not hiding, and while they still don’t come to the kids, they are not running away either…I call that progress.

…and that is the thing about kittens, kids and attachment, sometimes when we want someone or something to love us back the best thing you can do is let a creature BE.

RAD Behavior Checklist

Have you ever read a RAD check list?

A behavior checklist for RAD symptoms was taken from Liz Randolph's RADQ assessment.
A professional assessment is necessary to determine whether or not a child has an Attachment disorder. This checklist can help you identify areas of potential problem. It is not meant to substitute for a professional assessment and treatment plan. The best person to complete the checklist is the main female care giver of the child, answering the items according to the child’s behaviors seen over the past six months.
Circle the items if they are frequently or often true.
If you find that more than a few items (more than five or so) have been circled, your child may be experiencing difficulties that require professional assistance. If, in addition to several items being marked, any of the last three items is checked, your child may be experiencing attachment related problems.
RAD Behavior Checklist

I did this one for my non-adopted, not traumatized children I gave birth to.
1. My child acts cute or charms others to get others to do what my child wants.
Absolutely, and so does almost every child I have ever meet, with the exception of the kids I know on the autism spectrum.
2. My child often does not make eye contact when adults want to make eye contact with my child.
Yep, especially if they are in trouble or feeling ashamed. Same goes for most kids I have ever met or worked with.
3. My child is overly friendly with strangers.
Yep, my 5 year old loves chatting up anyone who will listen.
4. My child pushes me away or becomes stiff when I try to hug, unless my child wants something from me.
Oh, goodness yes! 13 year old!
5. My child argues for long periods of time, often about ridiculous things.
Ok, what child doesn’t argue with its parents about things that parents THINK are ridiculous? A parents ridiculous, is often a child’s very important. Really, you must have your milk in a princess cup and not the butterfly cup?
6. My child has a tremendous need to have control over everything, becoming very upset if things don't go my child’s way.
Hells yeah! ALL of my kids!
7. My child acts amazingly innocent, or pretends that things aren't that bad when caught doing something wrong.
Um, yeah, hello!
8. My child does very dangerous things, ignoring that my child may be hurt.
Yes, and so do I and every kid I coach!  (If it was easy they would call it football)
9. My child deliberately breaks or ruins things.
Again, just about every little boy I have ever met…I wonder what would happen if…
10. My child doesn't seem to feel age-appropriate guilt when my child does something wrong.
Not always. And unless you are someone with a lot of experience with lots of different children, do you really know what age appropriate guilt looks like anyway?

11. My child teases, hurts, or is cruel to other children.
Now, this can be a serious red flag. My kids are constantly picking with each other as goes on in most families. Many is the day that I feel more like a referee in the WWF than a mother…Again however, if you do not have a lot of experience with children it may be hard to tell what is run of the mill kids pushing boundaries, sibling rivalry, and figuring out how to fit into a group dynamic, self-advocating and real cause for concern which warrants seeking professional help. (In my own childhood I lived with the latter, which was never addressed. So I would never minimize child on child or sibling on sibling violence.)
12. My child seems unable to stop from doing things on impulse.
That describes a good chunk of the kids I work with, most little boys, every kid with ADHD and all kids I know at some point in time.
13. My child steals, or shows up with things that belong to others with unusual or suspicious reasons for how my child got these things.
Like borrowing clothes from friends which I loathe?
14. My child demands things, instead of asking for them.
Abso-freaking -lutely!
15. My child doesn't seem to learn from mistakes and misbehavior (no matter what the consequence, the child continues the behavior).
I have one word…Algebra!  There are other words, to be sure…but that is the one stuck in my craw at the moment.
16. My child tries to get sympathy from others by telling them that I abuse, don't feed, or don't provide the basic life necessities.
Yes, yes, yes! Do you know that we didn’t have ice-cream yesterday, that EVERYONE else’s parents let them go on the class trip to Washington D.C. and we couldn’t afford it, that I MAKE my oldest take care of her sisters, she has to get rides to after school functions when I am at work? I am down right abusive I tell ya!
I could do an entire blog post about the incredibly amusing conversation that my child told me she had with the school counselor! I’d have been mad if it wasn’t so funny…that poor lady!
17. My child "shakes off" pain when hurt, refusing to let anyone provide comfort.
Well…Um my oldest has broken her big toe, once in three places, and practiced on it for two weeks telling me that it ‘wasn’t THAT bad’ before I insisted she needed an X-ray…. I am not a big fan of “shake it off” ….my standard line is, “Are you hurt or scared? ‘Cause if you are just scared there is no need to be carrying on like that!”  because, in all honesty, when you are involved in something where injuries are just a part of what you do you have to know what is what quickly, there is no place for wigging-out over stubbed toes…..broken toes  well, some kids are just tough.
18. My child likes to sneak things without permission, even though my child could have had these things if my child had asked.
Well, she is 3… and she will just blame it on her sister or the cats anyway. 
19. My child lies, often about obvious or ridiculous things, or when it would have been easier to tell the truth.
Oh, man, my three year tells some wild stories, and will tell me she isn’t eating in the living room even as I am standing there watching her do it! And now, “the kittens did it”, is getting a lot of play around here.
20. My child is very bossy with other children and adults.
21. My child hoards or sneaks food, or has other unusual eating habits (eats paper, raw flour, package mixes, baker's chocolate, etc.)
You mean not everyone doesn’t eat paper as a kid? How many people didn’t have that kid in there kindergarten class that eat paste? By the way Pica is can be a medical condition and between 10 and 32% of children ages 1 - 6 have these behaviors.
22. My child can't keep friends for more than a week.
Ha! There are a couple I wish they couldn’t keep for more than a week…does that count?
23. My child throws temper tantrums that last for hours.
Like the energizer bunny! One used to do it, one is coming out the other side, and one has a long way to go…
24. My child chatters non-stop, asks repeated questions about things that make no sense, mutters, or is hard to understand when talking.
Really? Are you kidding?  I have three girls, sometimes I swear my ears are gonna bleed! Muttering?  Like saying she hates me and what ever else under her breath as she sulks off….um yeah. 
25. My child is accident-prone (gets hurt a lot), or complains a lot about every little ache and pain (needs constant band aids).
Yes, yes and yes! I have a gymnast, a daredevil and kid with Apraxia, strangely, around here a paper-cut causes more whining than broken bones.   I should buy stock in, ear-plugs, Johnson and Johnson, ice-packs and Arnica!
26. My child teases, hurts, or is cruel to animals.
Now, this CAN be another real problem…but, since we just brought home two kittens that my children are ‘torturing’ (in my opinion) with excessive hugs, kisses, chasing and bombarding them with cat toys and being generally menacing it is something that may definitely be in the eye of the beholder. A parent’s idea of torture may be a child’s idea of loving-up! Yikes! They are keeping me on my toes!
27. My child doesn't do as well in school as my child could with even a little more effort.
Oh. My. Goodness!
28. My child has set fires, or is preoccupied with fire.
Now, that might upset me.
29. My child prefers to watch violent cartoons and/or TV shows or horror movie (regardless of whether or not you allow your child to do this).
Seriously, my kids (even my 13 year old) aren’t allowed and have never been allowed to watch much TV, movies or even play on the computer in the first place. (We – I mean, they are having a media-free summer. Well, except for the big girl going to see Harry Potter on opening night for her birthday) Because so much media is so violent, and I believe that the more kids are exposed to it the more they crave it. You can’t even walk through the grocery store around here without seeing some little boy sitting in the cart killing stuff on his DS, while mommy picks out her organic fruit. But that is another rant completely.
30. My child was abused/neglected during the first year of life, or had several changes of primary caretaker during the first several years of life.
Not even close!
31. My child was in an orphanage for more than the first year of life.
32. My child was adopted after the age of eighteen months.
And wouldn’t you know it, it appears since I have answered yes to more than 5 of the questions on this particular RAD check list, my very own children just may have RAD. And only a professional assessment can determine if the children I gave birth to, have been with from their first moments, have breastfed until they were 2, carried in slings, co-slept with have an attachment disorder. However, with the exception of setting fires, cruelty to animals and cruelty to other children, *most* kids display many of these behaviors to some degree at some point in their childhoods, for some period of time.
I am not in a position to say that RAD doesn’t exist. And I do know what it is like to have a child who I knew had issues, and to have people reassure me I am wrong. What I will say is that I am concerned that foster and adoptive parents look at check lists like this and panic. I have concerns that children with run of the mill attachment issues and PTSD or other more likely illnesses are being over diagnosed with RAD, simply because they are adopted or foster kids and exposed to unnecessary and possibly counterproductive and coercive therapies in the name of RAD.  Some *most* kids are selfish, egocentric, manipulative, demanding, ungrateful, and entitled to some *a large* extent. Because a kid has been “rescued” into foster care or “redeemed” by adoption, doesn’t mean they aren’t a kid by nature…for the good and the bad.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Report: Foster teens fall through cracks, cost to society called 'tremendous'


The age group with the highest number of people entering the system is 15 to 17, he said.

"People think of Children and Youth as the abuse and neglect system," Mr. Cherna said.

Instead, it is older adolescents

Mr. Pertman believes programs like those in Allegheny County are an important part of the solution, though not the end goal.

That, he said, is getting even the older children in the system permanent homes.

"The new reality is that you don't have to form families with just little kids," Mr. Pertman said. "The way we've been doing [adoptions] is suited for little kids who look like them. It's not like that anymore.

"The idea of this report is to reinvigorate the discussion. We've got to do something today. If we keep waiting for tomorrow, all we're doing is wasting more lives and throwing away more money."

I have said it before and I will say it again…Families for older foster kids would be nice, but we have to face that adoption is unlikely and not a helpful or realistic goal for older children in the foster care system. Why is it that we can’t seem to face that fact and move on to trying to come up with some real- world workable ways to support older children caught in the system? The kids over 15 who are coming into the system for delinquency are rarely even available for adoption (parental rights having not been severed) but still obviously lacking adequate a support within their original families. We need to do much better with providing support and services for these kids, until the age of 24. It is the least we can do for OUR kids.

Report: Foster teens fall through cracks, cost to society called 'tremendous'

Wednesday, July 13, 2011


047Today I became an official mother of a teenager.

She was born on my ‘sister’ Jackie’s 40th, she would have been 53 today.

Today I am grateful to have had the opportunity to have known and loved them both.


The little girls went to work with me. 035

CoCo refuses to cross over any of the of the mesh covered resi-mats, and will only scoot (since she still doesn’t crawl) not walk over the the firmer mats.

Forget about getting anywhere NEAR the trampolines! 

Sensory issues…much?


Amélie on the other hand, made her first appearance at the gym the day after she was born. 

It shows.

You cant get her OFF the trampolines…or the rope.




Today is a good day.

Friday, July 8, 2011

The loneliest children in the world | Percolated Paradox


That people like me don't exist and that foster care is a magical healing place that saves children from horrible people.  People do not want to know what happens to American foster children because then they will feel guilty and no one wants to feel guilty.  It's easier if you just pretend it doesn't exist then you don't have do anything about it.  It's easier if you just pretend WE don't exist. But we do exist.  Foster care is creating thousands of scared, damaged, angry, lonely souls who can't speak the same language as the rest of the world so we end up drifting around searching for love and family.  We end up searching for "home" for the rest of our lives and never finding it.  No one will ever see us because we will forever remain invisible unless people choose to notice and change what the government is doing to it's most vulnerable children.  The statistics for former foster children are bleak, but they are not just crazy, lazy, homeless, drug addicts, and criminals.  They are products of the American foster care system.  They are scared, sad, lonely, damaged people.  They are products of YOUR government and your tax dollars.  So stop allowing us to be invisible.  Open your eyes and really SEE what's happening to children in your country.

The loneliest children in the world | Percolated Paradox

Please take a few minutes to click on the link and read the rest of Campbell B.’s excellent post!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

“Quit being so damn arrogant”


NO  Sunday, that does NOT give you a valid point of view. You were hurt and abandoned as a child, YOU were able to cope with YOUR child. Others have experienced pain/trama/abuse in their lives as well. Others have worked their asses off and given everything, literally, for their adopted child and it's just not working... Your point of view is not valid because it is warped and tainted by YOUR past negative experiences.
You refuse to see anything positive about adoption because from the get go you see a birth mom giving up their child as a negative thing.

Storing Up Treasures: It's not your fault.#comment-230438413#comment-

Shockingly, I managed to ruffle some feathers over at Storing Up Treasures with the suggestion that a parents job is to love their children unconditionally no matter their challenges whether they gave birth to them or not. I had no idea that I was making such a radical statement.

Of course I was informed that adoptive parents “disrupt” adoptions or rather re-adopt out their adopted children (I call it dumping) for the same reason that birth mothers make an adoption plan for their children in the first place…they do it out of LOVE for their child. I am obviously an idiot because I do not get it. After all it is so clear.

In what other circumstances does that logic make sense?

I LOVE my husband so much, I always want what’s best for him and goodness knows I want him to happy. I think I should send him over to my much younger prettier friend who is a much better house keeper than I am. I know he loves me, but I am sure eventually he would adjust. And I would just go on with my life. Maybe someday, I would find a less great guy. Right?

I also find it amusing that I was accused of not being able to see anything positive about adoption. WHAT?

For the record I am not anti-adoption. I am not anti-trans-racial adoption. I am all in favor of people who are capable, qualified and (as) prepared (as anyone can be) adopting abused and neglected children from foster care. I wouldn’t even have a problem with international adoption, if all the children in foster care in this country were finding suitable homes within reasonable amounts of time; If mothers in foreign countries were not faced with the choice of selling one child to feed another; if corruption and so-called irregularities weren’t rampant; if when people were referring to “orphans” they actually meant orphans, you know children whose parent were actually no longer living. If charities that concerned with “orphan” care were spending as much on providing family planning and birth control as they were on recruiting surrenders and perspective adoptive parents.

When I started this blog, even being aware of the pain of adoption, I felt that just about every child in foster care would be better off with an adoptive family, any adoptive family as long as it was their own. That view has changed quite a bit in the past year. “Oh, those gods dammed angry adoptee spewing their ungrateful venom all over the sainted act of adoption.” Nope! It is the very own words of segments of adoptive parents (similar to the ones quoted here) that has made me rethink whether that is really true or not. There some great adoptive mommas out there, who speak up, support each other, and attempt to educate, whether about ethics, race, special needs or parenting hurt kids. I love them and I am glad they are there, for their kids and for other parents who are trying to figure it out.  It is complicated and there is a steep learning curve.

I happen to believe that most people who decide to adopt think that they are doing so for the “right reasons” and they believe that they are doing a good thing. And (I believe) adoption can be a good thing. Adoption can give a child a family and a chance of a stable life.

However when perspective parents are not given accurate information, are not prepared for the long road of healing and the hard work and selflessness that entails, when they believe that all a child needs is new clothes, food and love, when they don’t have the practical experience to sort out what is normal trauma response, typical kid stuff and what is serious mental illness they run the very real risk of further damaging an already hurt, vulnerable innocent child. Those children would have been better off waiting for a more appropriate family.  And those families would have been better off doing their good deeds some other way.

Seventeen Pillows: Rising Above The System


(I wrote this to foster children who were in the Independent Living Skills Program in San Diego many years ago.  They were compiling some words of advice from former foster kids to put into their ILS booklets. I wanted to let them know that even though things may seem crazy right now, it will get better and many of the choices they make now will impact their futures.)

Seventeen Pillows: Rising Above The System

Friday, June 17, 2011

Who Stole The Cookies From The Cookie Jar…Adoptee…That’s Who…You Little Piggie-Pooh


He stole food from the cupboard, the refrigerator and the household garbage, Hardy said. One day, the boy scooped up from the ground and put in his mouth beans that were covered with ants from a picnic-ground parking lot, Hardy said.

That, though, didn't mean the child was hungry, the defendant said. It meant he had the habit of eating everything in sight.

adoptive parents torture trial guilty: Jurors find adoptive father guilty of neglect -  Brought to my attention by The Adopted Ones

There are a few things that come up when talking about foster or adopted children and child well fair that flat out Piss! Me! Off!

One of those being the premise that foster and of adopted children are stealing food.

Let us get this straight once and for all. Consuming food in your own home, whether you are naturally born, a foster child or adopted IS NOT STEALING. Consuming food in your own home without permission… IS NOT STEALING! It may be against the rules, defiant, or inconsiderate but it… Is not stealing!

Removing food from your home and selling it to friends…now that IS stealing. Whipping your ass with my toilet paper…IS NOT STEALING, it is here for the use of the people in my home. Taking rolls home without my permission…IS STEALING.

Moving food from designated areas and hiding it…IS NOT STEALING. It is hording.

Foster and adopted children can have issues revolving around food, it is true. Those issues are a direct result of past neglect, institutionalization and is a perfectly understandable coping mechanism and or survival instinct. Withholding or restricting the availability of a traumatized child’s food is not going to do anything to help them heal. It will in fact exacerbate their inability to feel safe and secure, and keep them in biologically driven desperation mode.

The only way for a traumatized child to overcome their deep seeded and perfectly understandable fear of starvation is to make sure that they learn, over time (a long time) that they will always have access to food, all of the time whenever THEY feel hunger.

If you don’t want your foster or adoptive children eating junk…how about you don’t bring it into your home.

You are tired of finding food hidden all over their room…try what LT suggests and provide them with nonperishable healthy food and an airtight container that they can keep their own safety stash in a designated place.

Afraid they will over eat…they may at first. But over time, and it may take a long time they will learn and retrain their brain and know that they will not starve, they will not be hungry again.

You think they will become overweight…welcome to America. Again, the types of food you provide are up to you. Ironically, by the time we the public hear about these so-called adopted and fostered food thieves, as in the above case or  this patient of Dr. Ronald Federici, they are malnourished, and their ‘parents’ are being charged with abuse and neglect.

Do you think that everything should be better and your fostered of adopted child should magically know that they can feel safe and secure in your love and care because they have been rescued and you brought them home…I am sorry to be the one to tell your this, that just is not how that works.

Food is not and has never been a discipline strategy, a bargaining chip, a reward, or the appropriate focus of a power struggle; it is a basic human right of every child, even those who are adopted or in foster care!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

When I Get Old Like Your Age

We were sitting at the dinner table tonight and I was telling Mr. Sunday that I had overheard the six year old neighbor boy tell my five year old daughter that he wanted to kiss her. I told them that there would be no kissing going on around here.

The five year old says, “Why did I see YOU kiss daddy the other morning?”

I say, “That is because we are grown up and we are married, so it is ok.”

The three year old starts listing off all of the things she will do when she is old like me, “when I am old like your age, I am going to drive, I am gonna kiss a boy and I am going to pay money and buy a baby.”

*me looking completely dumbfounded*

Always quick, the twelve year old says, “Oh, so you plan to adopt!”

Monday, June 13, 2011

Maddie's Poem 6 million

This is Madeline's narrative poem she wrote for her English class. She received a 12 out of 12 on it and her teacher asked if she could keep it as an example for a reference for future years.

6 million
Madeline Taylor

6 million killed,
6 million lied to,
6 million had the yellow patches,
6 million branded.

He though this was the solution,
To wipe out the Jews,
He honestly believed it would happen,
He wanted us gone, vanished, and killed.

Not only did he take the Jews,
He took the gypsies, gays, and injured,
Yet his target was still us,
The European Jews.

He was like Voldemort,
In charge, delusional, and convinced he would win,
His followers like the Death Eaters,
To scared to do anything but follow.

6 million were told to take showers,
6 million believed it was the truth,
6 million choked on gas,
6 million fell to the floor.

Some tried to hide,
They ran far and wide,
But not far enough,
Because when they heard the Nazi's knock they knew they were done, dead, and their dreams demolished.

But the war finally ended,
So the killing came to a stop,
But the wounds were already made,
Permanently etched into graves.

So let us never forget,
The 6 million killed,
The 6 million lied to,
The 6 million that had the yellow patches,
The 6 million branded.

Madeline Taylor© 2011


[edited to add that this post was written by Madeline Taylor, with my approval!]

Monday, June 6, 2011

Closer To Fine

Thank you My Birth Name is Allison for reminding me of this gem, my anthem of sorts as I have sought for some peace with and understanding of my life. The less I seek my source for some definitive…the closer I am to fine, yeah.

"Closer To Fine"
I'm trying to tell you something about my life
Maybe give me insight between black and white
The best thing you've ever done for me
Is to help me take my life less seriously, it's only life after all
Well darkness has a hunger that's insatiable
And lightness has a call that's hard to hear
I wrap my fear around me like a blanket
I sailed my ship of safety till I sank it, I'm crawling on your shore.
I went to the doctor, I went to the mountains
I looked to the children, I drank from the fountain
There's more than one answer to these questions
pointing me in crooked line
The less I seek my source for some definitive
The closer I am to fine.


Friday, June 3, 2011

On The Job

The last time my elbow hurt like this I went to urgent care because I jammed my finger and found out my wrist was broken...I think I'll just ignore it.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

The Logical Place to Begin

Something that has always bothered me is that the very same people who oppose sex education, funding for family planning and woman’s reproductive rights are the ones who oppose community mental health services, WIC, food stamps, equal education opportunities for the poor and minorities, free medical services for children and funding for foster care.

But they have no problem with capital punishment.

Wouldn’t it make more sense morally, ethically, and financially to help insure that people who don’t want or can’t manage to raise children not have them in the first place?

Oh, but there is adoption…I can hear that argument now. The truth is that people do not adopt enough from the US Foster Care System here or internationally to make that argument float. It just doesn’t work that way.

If we really want to end the orphan, foster care, and adoption crisis, here and worldwide shouldn’t all of our efforts logically begin with pregnancy prevention?

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Now That National Foster Care Month is Over

May was National Foster Care Month and I was conspicuously quiet on the subject. I did link up a post to Foster 2 Forever’s blog hop, and I did a post for Amanda over at the Declassified Adoptee, other than that I guess I would have to admit I have pretty much have been avoiding the subject. It is not that I don’t care about National Foster Care Month or the state of foster care in general. It has more to do with my general thoughts on the state of the foster care system.

On some level I figured, I’d leave the happy, happy message of national foster care month to those who can cheer “we need more foster parents!” and “adopt foster kids!” Both are true, worthy and important messages. But the fact is the quantity of foster parents is not nearly as important as the quality and training of those willing to become foster parents. The fact is we do not need more families willing to adopt children…there are plenty of those as well. What we need is more families willing to adopt from foster care in this country. We need more families willing to adopt older and special needs kids.

As a society we need more not less access to family planning. We need better sex education. We need better mental health services. We need common sense and compassionate family preservation efforts. We need to stop wasting the time and lives of children with unrealistic goals. We need to understand that there are no one size fits all children and no one size fits all solutions. We need to stop shuffling children around. We need to understand that permanence and consistence are what make children feel safe and that Feeling of safety is the single most important thing that children need to be able to function as adults.

We need to start thinking outside the box. We need to think about children long term. We need to stop selling our kids and society short with shortsighted goals. We need to think about the future.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Tradition, Honor and Remembrance

Yesterday Mr. Sunday the kids and I made our yearly pilgrimage an hour and a half away to my parents’ home town for the Memorial Day parade.


(That is not us or our kids.)

My mom went there when my grandparents adopted her at 12.


Memorial Day is a loaded Holliday.


My grandparents’ daughter, my aunt drowned in a swimming hole on Memorial Day weekend.


They adopted my mother and her sister soon after.


I remember sitting in my mother’s parent’s yard and watching my father’s father march in the parade with the other WWII vets.


There aren’t many left now.


I started taking my daughter down to watch the parade the year before my grandpa passed. He had moved down south many years before.


We go to catch a glimpse of small town life.


We go because it is our tradition.


We go to remember our history.


We go to honor those men and women who have sacrificed so much for their idea of the American dream.


We go so they know we care.


We go because their sacrifices are important.







Monday, May 30, 2011

Where The Heart is

Saturday, May 28, 2011

No Comment

Blogger is acting nutty…still…grr.. I can’t publish. I can’t comment…

I swear I have been reading all of your blogs and had really great insightful and witty comments for all of you….but alas…to no avail…I have been defeated by Blogger. Fiddely-dee, tomorrow is another day. XOXO

I hope they fix it soon.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Oh, No! She Made the Pom-Pon Team!

After the first two years of having my daughter in school and in completive gymnastics, I began feeling a lot like a pimp, or some kind of wrapping paper and pie pusher. …really I did. I started feeling like all of my friends and “family” were avoiding me and my latest super-duper fundraising order form. And who could blame them, who needs a $20 pie or a $15 roll of wrapping paper anyway?

And honestly what does the school or organization get for all of that pushiness anyway? 5-10 percent?

(Now Little Caesars Pizza-kits that is a different story, altogether….we love those…if you are selling I am buying…well, I would be buying if I had any money)

I quit. When a fund raiser comes around I try to give a few dollars (which is highly confusing to the organizers who have no idea what to do with THAT) and I call it a day. Personally, I call it a win – win situation. They get their money and I get to look my friends in the eye. All good.

Which all brings us to today – I pushed my daughter to go back to the second day of High School Pom-Pom tryouts. She refused to go to the first set of tryouts. When her friends made the squad, she was disappointed that she hadn’t even tried.

Anyway miracle of miracle, they had an odd number or something and opened another Pom tryout for the incoming freshmen. So she put her hair in a pony and gave it a shot…. She came hope sobbing…. “I suck, I have no idea what they are doing. I don’t get it, the kick line is so complicated…I will never get it”…and on and on she went.

Being the stellar mom that I am, I said “honey you can’t be that bad. You have good dance experience from gymnastics. You have your momma’s rhythm, thank goodness, it is a wonder I married your dad anyway. …Poor CoCo…. You just have to go tomorrow and try again. I am sure everyone else is feels exactly the way you are tonight. Auntie D said that CanCan was even feeling a lot like you are, and she made it.”

“But MOM, it is expensive. Remember I had to quit gymnastics because we couldn’t afford it anymore?”

“It’s MUCH cheaper than gymnastics.”

“But it is EXPENSIVE!”

[Here then comes the part where mommy should really read the stuff they send home from school and not just sign it]

“I think I can come up with $150 for pay to play, for a school sport. We are not THAT poor”

“No, mom! It is a school club not a sport! You don’t understand!”

[Well of course I don’t, I’m a mom, and therefore I don’t understand anything , and this is me rolling my eyes and dismissing what she is saying.]

“You just go back and try again tomorrow, after that if you don’t want to do it, I won’t make you. But I think it would be good for you to be doing something. This year you have been out of the gym has been so tough on you I think you need something that you enjoy and that you can feel good about. You do your part and I’ll do mine…that always has been and always be the deal.”

She went back the second day and made it.

She was absolutely right. Pompom is not a school sport. Our districts one hundred and fifty dollar pay to play does not apply. It is $725.00 and $375.00 of it for camp is due yesterday and another $150 for camp uniforms is due in a couple of weeks.


And I have no more rabbits left in my hat.

Can we all say, “Mommy should have let her give up? I should have let her flounder around in her fear of failure or successes or whatever?” I am never really sure which one it is with her. But no, I am just not built like that.

So if any of you happen to have a couple dollars you would like to donate to the cause of getting my oldest back off my computer, interested in …anything and into an activity where smiling is a requirement, she and I would be truly grateful. And I promise, I will not send you any wrapping paper.


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

After The Storm

060After the initial night of hysterics, my oldest handled her consequences pretty well. Maybe she just needed to know we were going to hold her accountable? Since we are out $400 for a trip that no one took I also decided it was high time she started doing chores around here. I decided she could start loading and unloading the dishwasher and cleaning the bathroom. Mr. Sunday doesn’t “like” the way she does the dishes. I suppose he thinks that men are the only people who do things so poorly that you will never ask them to do it again. Unfortunately it’s just that they are only the ones who do not outgrow it with adolescence.

Now let me just show you what I am dealing with here. When I tell her she has to clean the bathroom she says, “It’s not like you care if it is clean or not. It is always a mess” the way only an almost 13 year old girl can. “Oh, I do care, I do clean it, and I think YOU should experience for yourself what it feels like to clean up after other people, just to have them muck it up within seconds!” I supervised, and stood over her the entire time she was cleaning with helpful instructions. And even when she is at her worst, she is hilarious, singing, “it’s a hard knock life”, while she worked, she still has no idea. No sooner than she finished scrubbing the (white) floor, did her two little sisters come trotting in fresh from their mud hole and hopped their muddy selves into the shower. I couldn’t have planned it any better, that is if I had. As her proud face fell into an expression of exasperation, all I could do is smile, shrug my shoulders and say, “and that is exactly how I have spent the last 12 years – welcome to my world.”

The girl has even asked me to watch old project runway episodes on hulu and do her hair just about every day since we dropped the hammer. Neither has happened in a very long time. Who knows maybe she was she was feeling a little too disconnected to fast. Maybe with limits comes the feeling security. I still don’t think she will be thanking me anytime soon. But I am grateful that we were apparently able to give her what she needed and certainly wasn’t about to ask for.

Can you imagine? “Hey, mom I am nervous about going out of town without you guys and I am not sure I like having so much freedom. You think you could just stick a little closer to me?” That’s not gonna happen but it would sure make the life of a parent much easier.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Sun, Fun and Ice Cream

I think we can add sunscreen to the list of things that break Amélie out in hives. Thankfully she has Mr. Sunday’s coloring, Miss CoCo is not so fortunate.


Grateful to see the sun at last, my little girls have been outside from sun up to sun down.


CoCo likes to make shadow hand puppets, she is pretty clever.


Can you hear Amé screaming for CoCo to get out of the umbrella from there?


They are sisters… best friends. They will leave an indelible mark on each other’s lives…
And backs apparently.
The ice cream man came by the other day.
In Mr. Sunday defense (I suppose) I have a lot of shirts that color that I wear coach in.

So, Mr. Sunday asked me, “who took the picture?”

Um, so those of you who know me in real life probably have no idea why I was aghast. Bless her sweet heart my neighbor has 20 years and several a few dress sizes on me and the obvious my hair is RED! But that’s ok, I’m just gonna tag him as the stud with the plumber’s crack and knee socks. I am sure his high school sweethearts on FaceBook will be kicking themselves over what could have been all theirs. Right?


“Don’t touch my hair!”


This made me think of LT, I hope she is feeling better!

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