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Saturday, January 24, 2009

A House or a Home?

Is there a difference? I think so. To me a home is where families live. It is where you raise your children, perhaps even your grandchildren. It is the place your sons will bring their wives and own children to come home to for the holidays. It is the place where memories are made. A home is something you will fight for like crazy to keep. It means something to you. It represents your hard work, your family, your lives.

A house on the other hand is just a structure. Nothing more, nothing less. Sure it can provide shelter from the elements, it can even provide residence for a family. But a house is different from a home. A house may be one of many you live in during your life time. A house is someplace you usually aren't at long enough to create those loving memories that are made in a home. A house is someplace that while you may like it well enough, you aren't willing to fight for it like you are a home. When hard times hit, a house may not be worth sticking around and fighting for if you feel you may not come out ahead in the end, whereas with a home it doesn't matter the financial gain, or loss as the case may be, what you are fighting for are the memories, the love, the sense of belonging.

Me, I live in a home. My home is small, quite humble by most peoples standards. In all honesty it barely fits all six of us (soon to be seven!) comfortably. It is old. It certainly isn't very fancy by any means. Actually it's a little outdated. When we first moved it, the floor was avocado green linoleum(no, I am not joking, not just the kitchen floor, the WHOLE downstairs!) The kitchen appliances and counter tops were also avocado green(still are for that matter!). The staircase and upstairs carpeting was burnt orange. The best part was the powder blue walls! The house was far from pretty, but something about it felt like "home" the first time we walked through the doors!

Maybe it was the cute little wood burning cook stove in the nook of the kitchen. Perhaps it is the big brick fireplace with the indoor metal chimney. It could be the cozy cabin feeling(the original house plan was actually a "ski chalet") It could be the fact that it sits on top of a hill overlooking the small rural town it resides in. It may be the smells of the woods, the trees and fresh country air. I am not sure what it is exactly, but this is without a doubt a "home", my home!

The house is barely worth what we owe on it anymore. Actually I am pretty sure at this point we owe far more than what we could possibly sell it for. But that doesn't matter to me. You can't put a price on the memories that have been made here. There is no price for the love that lays between these four walls. Because of that we do what we have to in order to keep this home of ours. When times are tough, we get tougher and do what needs to be done to save our home.

Meanwhile I see people I know "letting their houses go." Why I wonder? But the answer really isn't too hard to find. They live in a house. To them their house is nothing more than another piece of property. There is no emotional attachment. It may be one of dozens of houses they've owned in their lifetime. Their reasoning is that "it's not worth what we owe" so they are opting to just walk away.

It's not really for me to judge whether they are right or wrong in what they are doing, but it does make me wonder...doesn't anybody long for a home anymore? It seems to me as I watch others buy and sale and come and go that houses are little more than a business venture these days. If you're lucky or do good in business you make some money and move on to the next one. If you're unlucky you lose a little and move on.

Actually, we were warned by many a well meaning friend that we would never make any money on this place and we shouldn't buy. We weren't and still aren't concerned about whether or not we will make a buck or two. What we were longing for was a home to raise our children in and to eventually retire in. A place the kids couldn't wait to bring their own families back to each year for a visit. And that is exactly what we got! Already I hear them often make plans of the future that involve this home! One of my children even recently asked if he could buy this place from us when he grows up! Now that's a home!

So what do you live in? Do you live in a house....or a home? Which would you like to live in?

Friday, January 23, 2009

The Taming of the Shrew

There is a very little known fact about me that some may find amusing or odd. No one other than my husband, children and 60 or so women I went on a homeschooling retreat with last summer know this about me.

I am terrified of......butterflies!! I know it seems odd as from what I am told they are harmless. As someone who is known to play with wild snakes, lizards, and other animals that some shirk away from it probably seems that much more odd that a butterfly can send me off running and screaming.

I guess it all started when I was a little girl of four or so. We had a little wading pool in the middle of the courtyard of the apartment complex we lived in. My mom would let me play out there pretty much unattended for hours at a time in the warm summer months(it was a different day and world back then!) Most of the time I was happy and content, but it seemed like without fail at least once every other day or so this giant, humongous, monster butterfly would come flapping it's thee foot wing span my direction!(well, it sure seemed like 3 ft. AT LEAST!) Each time it sent me off screaming and running. This thing was just so huge and seemed intent on landing on me! Not being near me, but ON me!

So, this memory and fear has lasted a life time. I try to suck it up and be brave and get over it, but it's just one of those things I can't let go.

To this day butterflies of all sizes and colors still seem to just want to flock to me! In the spring and early summer months I can hardly go outdoors without a butterfly or two coming my direction and wanting to land ON me!

So, today I am reading a wildlife magazine and there is a feature article on the shrew. I never really ever knew what a shrew was, nor have I ever seen one, but let me tell you, I now WANT one! Guess what they eat??

Oh yeah baby! They eat butterflies!! And they're kinda cute to boot! I think I need one of these, surely they can be tamed to make a fine pet? He'll go with me everywhere!


I hate it when someone gives good advice and it gets ignored. Worse yet is when it is me ignoring that good advice and it comes back to bite me!

Any blog, report, book or anything else you read about financial advice warns you not to give your bank account information to your creditors for payment. It makes sense, but I foolishly didn't see the harm in it. For years now I have been giving various creditors my account information either for a one time payment or for regular monthly payments to avoid having to write a check or like I am known to do, forget about the bill and not pay it on time.

Today, I found out the hard way why that advice is often given! I have two separate credit accounts with the same company that also owns the bank I keep two checking accounts and a small savings, who I will let remain nameless for now, but I'll give you a hint:

This morning I logged on to my account so I can balance my checking account and noticed a rather large withdrawal made to my husbands credit card from this company. This was just three days after another large payment had been authorized by us. This second large payment was not authorized by us and we certainly don't have the money to cover it!

So we quickly call the credit card and they tell us they made no such withdrawal. We had them look on our account and sure enough they had to admit that it said it was them, but that amount had never been credited to our account. So not only is money we can't afford to lose missing from our checking, but supposedly it isn't even credited to the account that it shows took it!

So now we're fuming mad and call the banks customer service and were told what we already knew, that it shows it went to the credit card. After we went rounds explaining not only was this charge not authorized, but the card is claiming they don't show a credit to our account. So where is our money and how do we get it back before my electric bill, phone bill, and cable bill checks all bounce later today?

It appears no one can tell us where the money is. They don't know?? And, here's the good part, it will take 10 business days to post to our account. So what about our checks that are about to bounce? To bad, so sad...

So, please, please people, listen to those financial advisers, NEVER, NEVER give out your account information for payment to a creditor! Do things the good old fashioned way and write out a check each month! Once these crooks have your account information you're screwed if they decide to access it without your authorization.

What are we going to do? Hope and pray they replace that money, or at the very least credit the card it was supposedly taken for(even though they already received one hefty payment this month!) Second, we are switching bank accounts ASAP. First, just about every creditor I owe has my account information and I don't want this to happen again. Second, this bank who also owns the mentioned credit account is being less than friendly or easy to work with, I will no longer do business with them!

Common sense...guess it was I who lacked it this time?

Thursday, January 22, 2009


Were we not just talking about common sense a day or two ago? I couldn't help but get a good laugh out of this one:

This is the label that came on my new curling iron! I mean DUH??? Of course it can burn your eye, if you're stupid enough to stick the thing in your eye, then perhaps you deserve to get burned!

I can tell you I have been curling my hair for over 20 years, and while I have burnt my forehead a time or two, I have never burnt my eye! It would be pretty hard at that!

Common sense...

Monday, January 19, 2009


Well, it seems even the state of California lacks common sense when it comes to working out their budget. It appears many a tax payer may be getting an I.O.U. from the state rather than a check! I kid you was on the news the other night, but you can check it out here: IOU

It would almost be funny, but I am sure many people, myself included, are counting on that money!

If even the government can't control their spending, ...... well....what more can I say? Other than, if we can't pay our tax bill, can we write an IOU to them?

What Ever Happened to Common Sense?

One can't look at today's world and wonder what happened to good old common sense? It seems to be lacking in all areas of life from child rearing, to finances and even simple things such as weight control.

Take weight loss for instance. I've posted before; Eat less, move more. Sounds simple doesn't it? It is, but that's all it takes to lose weight, period. No need for adding points, food combining, and all the other popular trends out there. Just eat less, move more. If your not active at all, start by walking a mile a day, or jogging in place for 15 minutes, that's it. No need for fancy workout equipment, just move. Eat less, if your eating two pieces of toast at breakfast, eat one instead. It really isn't that complicated, just common sense.

Finances, Spend less that you make. No need for fancy spread sheets, personal accountants, just know what your bringing in, and spend less. Common sense.

Child rearing, again common sense, but these days we have everybody from Dr. Phil to Dr Whoever, dishing out contradicting advice, who are we to listen to? Is it really all that complicated? It seems to be with behavior charts, rewards, behavior modification and more. Then of course there is all the labels children carry today, from ADD, to a million others, so of course that must change our parenting too. Or must it? Children are still children regardless of labels, but thanks to all the "experts" out there, none of who agree on which way is the best way, we are all so confused, and good old fashioned common sense has gone out the window!

Education is another area common sense has disappeared from. In the good old days schools concentrated on the three "R's" and most if not all children did fairly well. Teachers taught the way they were taught and there was none of this fancy "new math" or Whole Language" and all of this other stuff that has done nothing more than create a generation or two of students who are only slightly short of illiteracy! More money than ever is being spent on research, textbooks, teacher training and more. Students are spending more time in school than ever before and more hours than ever after doing homework, but are they any smarter for it? Research says NO! We are spending more money and time in school than ever before and yet our children are becoming dumber! Maybe the "experts" should take a look at what worked just a few generations back in the one room school house, and start from scratch from there! Not only would we produce smarter students, we'd probably save tons in the budget!

We have experts for every area of our lives, yet we are growing fatter, dumber, broker by the day. We should all spend some time talking to our grandparents and really listening to what they have to say. But that would be hard as grandma is most likely not living with mom and dad or next door like she used to a generation or two back. Grandma is probably out of sight and out of mind in a "retirement home."

Let's bring Grandma home, and with her some good old fashioned common sense!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Kids + TV= Aaaahhhhhhhhh!!

We only recently got satellite TV back, and already I am beginning to regret that decision.

About 2 weeks ago the two year old of the household started throwing himself on the floor for no apparent reason and tried to get across the floor on his belly. He looked like a fat baby seal stuck in the sand. It was kind of amusing at first, but he keeps repeatably doing it and we can't figure out why. He is quite impressed with himself and can't figure out why we're not as amazed at this incredible ability.

Yesterday, I discovered the source of this bit of mischief; Little Einsteins. This is his very favorite Disney show. On this particular episode the Little Einsteins are trying to help some caterpillars that later turn into butterflies. So he wasn't a fat little seal after all, he was a Caterpillar!! Cute, but annoying, as I get called away from what I am doing several times a day to watch him re-enact this scene from the show.

The real fun occurred just the night before last. If I wasn't so annoyed at the time, it would have been hilarious, but who has a sense of humour at midnight anyway?

I am sound asleep, in a deep peaceful sleep when my 17 year old comes running in hysterically screaming for me to turn on the light, something is wrong with his eye! After murmuring a few expletives I tell him to wait a minute and let me get my bearings. He then turns on the light anyway not giving my eyes a chance to adjust before he is right in my face pulling his bottom lid down shouting something about worms in his eye.

After a moment or two when I was finally fully awake I got the whole story. His bottom lid was swollen and he was convinced he had worms in his eye?!? I tried explaining I had never heard of such a thing and I highly doubt that is what is wrong with his eye. But that didn't comfort him in the least, or calm him down. He keeps insisting I take a closer look, because he is just sure there are indeed worms in his eye, and he knows it happens because he's seen it on TV!

No, son I try to assure him, there are no worms in your eye. Maybe you got a sty starting in your eye or just good old fashioned pink eye. Still borderlining on full blown hysteria he couldn't be comforted.

Now, I am normally a good, kind, and very patient and concerned mother, but at midnight awoken from a sound slumber, I have to admit at this point in this conversation I was anything but. I basically told him to get over it, go to bed and leave me alone.

In the morning, I get the full story. A night or two before he had watched the Science Channel on TV and they did a show on bot flies which laid their egg larva in peoples eyes. By this time he seemed to almost be convinced that this isn't what happened to him, but then started ranting that the wind blowing can blow some into his eye and he was quite worried about that happening. At this point I am laughing! Not that I find humor in my kids ridiculous fears, but this one was beginning to be somewhat humorous. He just wasn't willing to let go of it at all.

I do believe he is still closing his eyes when out of doors and the wind is blowing out of fear of dreaded bot fly eggs landing in his eye!

So, the moral to this story...don't let your kids watch TV, or you may end up with one who thinks he's a Caterpillar and another who thinks there are little worms or maggots in his eye!! If you value your sleep or sanity, DON'T let your kids watch the Boob Tube!!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Seeing The Bright Side Of Things!

One of my favorite quotes is; If you can't see the bright side of things, then polish the dull side.

It seems I have to do lots of polishing around here! Things could certainly be better for my family right now, but in all situations I try and find something positive and focus on that.

I try to teach my kids the same thing. It must be sinking in as I couldn't help but laugh last night while watching American Idol.

The auditions are always our favorite, I don't know why, as I think it is pretty sad that we take such pleasure in others short comings. I have to admit I find some of these more than amusing. I mean, really don't these people have friends or family who love them enough to NOT let them go on the show? Every year it never fails there are poor people who can't sing at all(like me!) yet for some reason they think they can(I know I can't!) They really think they stand a chance and end up embarrassing themselves miserably while providing a good laugh for those of us watching.

Last night was no exception, there were plenty of these types of people. Some you really have to wonder if they know they're that bad, but go on anyway. I mean bad publicity is still publicity right? But there was one young man with this unusually bizarre low voice. He sang terrible, I mean really terrible.

My youngest didn't laugh, didn't boo, but clearly realized this man had no talent. His only comment "At least he has really white teeth, that's good."

After having a little chuckle I had to stop and really admire him. He was so sincere in his comment, no hint of sarcasm what so ever. If only we could all extend that much grace to one another; to overlook each others short comings and genuinely find something positive to say.

I guess it goes along with "If you can't find something nice, don't say anything at all." That is exactly what my nine year old did last night! An example we can all do well to follow!

Saturday, January 10, 2009

A Mile In His Shoes...or Moccasins

Oh, Great Spirit, grant that I may not criticize my neighbor until I have walked a mile in his moccasins." - Old Indian Prayer

Friday, January 9, 2009

Our Day In Court

Yesterday we finally had our day in court in regards to where our granddaughter will be placed until/if our daughter is able to regain custody. It was an emotional roller coaster just like the rest of this ordeal has been.

This was a whole new experience for us as not only was this in a different state(with different laws and procedures) but a different kind of custody/guardianship issue than we have dealt with before. With our first grandchild, while still difficult, in comparison it was quite simple. His mother had already given us temporary physical custody in our own state, so to get court ordered permanent guardianship wasn't too difficult. There were no outside agencies involved and while the guardianship wasn't consensual, it wasn't contested either, so we were fairly easily granted said guardianship. There were no other family members wanting involvement, so that too simplified matters. Don't misunderstand, nothing about that case was simple in the least, but compared to what we are now going through with our granddaughter, it now seems like the previous case was a cake-walk!

This time, there was outside agencies involved. CPS involvement definitely complicates matters. With our grandson, we simply filled out the required papers, served proper notices, appeared in court representing ourselves, and the case was completed. No lawyers, advocates or anyone else making things overly complicated.

With CPS involvement, there are many players in the court room. The day began with the liaison meeting. This is suppose to simplify things in the actual courtroom. The goal is to have everyone in agreement on what will be requested and ordered before entering the actual hearing. First there was the CPS caseworker, her supervisor or the worker who will take over the case. Then of course they had a lawyer representing them. Then there was my daughter and a court appointed lawyer representing her. Of course even our little granddaughter had her own lawyer. Then there were specialists who had evaluated our granddaughters physical and emotional development. There were at least one or two other people from the involved agencies. The big surprise occurred when the alleged fathers parents and sister showed up wanting to take part in the proceedings. I certainly don't blame them for wanting to be involved and respect that they are willing to be involved this early in the process even before paternity has been established, but it was a bit of a surprise. Of course my husband and myself were present.

The meeting went well considering all of the players and each with their own vested interests and agendas, thoughts and ideas. There were disappointments for all involved. Until paternity is established, the potential paternal family was excluded as a potential placement. Due to our living out of the state, the process for our grandchild to be placed here is a lengthy one and she will need a placement until that time. We were hoping and praying she would be placed with our family friend who cared for her in the past, but that didn't and wont work out. That leaves a foster home. We also got disturbing news about our granddaughters state of being. She appears to be going through drug withdrawal and suffering some apparent attachment issues.

Then the involved agencies went over their charges against our daughter and came up with a case plan for her to work in hopes of re-unification. After this was all done we went into the courtroom in front of the judge.

Here in California all of these hearings take place in open court where all families cases to be heard that day wait and watch and listen to everyone else's case while you wait for your own. A bit uncomfortable and not very private. In Arizona, each case is heard in a private room with the option of each case being a closed case, meaning that no one other than the parties for that case can be in the courtroom. I like this much better!

In the court room the judge basically went over what we discussed prior and makes sure everyone is in agreement and then places the orders. In this case it is that my daughter work her plan, and our granddaughter will for now go to a foster home, while they do the required paperwork and background checks for her to come here.

For now it appears our granddaughter will come here probably by the first of next month after the settlement hearing. The only snag in this is that if paternity becomes established, the other family would most likely be considered above us for placement due to they are local within the county and state, and the alleged aunt is a licensed foster home with the possible half-sibling in the home.

The other family seems like a nice family and I believe all only want what is best for this child. At this point all we can do is pray and have faith that it will all work out according to His will, what is best according to His purpose.

This has been a long and emotionally tiring process, but interesting as well. As a family that has for a long while considered foster care, it gave us a little taste I believe of what the inside processes are. It almost makes us wonder if we'd be up to such an emotionally reeling process intentionally! I really have gained a whole new respect for those who take this upon themselves and do it not once, not twice, but over and over! It's one thing for those of us that are fighting for our grandchildren or other relatives, but to do this just out of a sincere love for children is something quite special!

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

A Profound Quote...

A deep, profound, thought provoking quote from a favorite movie of mine;

You know, Mrs. Buckman, you need a license to buy a dog, to drive a car - hell, you even need a license to catch a fish. But they'll let any butt-reaming asshole be a father. ~Todd to Mrs. Buckman

Move Over Duggar's...

Make way for the Debolt Family! For those of you who like me love BIG families and especially those who have adopted, boy do I have a movie for you!

Who Are The Debots and Where Did They Get 19 Kids is an older documentary about the real life Debolt family. Not only did they have 19 kids, 14 of whom were adopted, these were very special kids. Adopted from all over the globe these children had various physical special needs ranging from paralysis, to missing limbs to blindness.

What was so amazing about this family is that there was no pity or feeling sorry for yourself. The Debolts worked hard to help all of these children become self-sufficient. Not only did they all have chores, many of which plenty of able-bodied children would balk at, but they also took care of their own physical needs in amazing ways. Here is a short clip which you must take the time to watch young Karen Debolt as she alone puts on her artificial arms and limbs with no help what so ever!

Many of these children had never stood on their own legs before coming to the Debolt household, several of them older children. In time, all were able to climb the families staircase, hence the title of a book also written about them; 19 Steps Up a Mountain

All of these children were happy, lovable, and enthusiastic about life. As you can see on the family website, linked above, they all have gone on to live fulfilling productive lives.

As someone who has considered adoption and foster care, yet all but ruled out taking in children with special needs, I must say this film and story has worked on my heart and definitely changed my views on special needs quite a bit.

The Debolts actually started an adoption program; AASK to help assist those interested in adopting or fostering special children. Today, I found this video at YouTube with one of the adult Debolt children discussing this group and also what life was like as one of the biological children of the Debolts. I get the impression she felt her life was deeply enriched by the whole experience. Sometimes as prospective adopters or foster parents we worry so much how it will effect our biological children, mostly giving consideration to the negatives. It seems to me there are so many more positives!

I highly recommend this film for all, especially those who are fans of such large families and those who are considering adoption and/or foster care. The music, narration and filming are definitely a bit dated, but it certainly doesn't take away from the message of this film at all!

You can download it from Netflix if you are a member, or for a fee of 2.99 from Amazon or Itunes to rent or 9.99 to purchase. If you want a hard copy DVD, it is a bit more.

If any of you can make it through the whole thing with a dry eye, you are certainly hardened! I am not known at all to be sappy, yet my eyes welled up a few times watching this incredibly amazing family!

I NEED One of These!!

A Nose Warmer!! My house is freezing cold, and with our electric bill through the roof this month, we are relying on only our fire place for heat, and it is a bit chilly in here. Layers work great, but my hands and nose are still quite cold. Gloves take care of the hands just fine, but what about my nose? I was joking with my husband that I needed a nose warmer not thinking they may actually exist, and a quick google search brought up THIS site and guess what? Yup, they make them, and I want one!!

Monday, January 5, 2009

I'm Raising Neanderthals!

Apparently my boys belong back in the stone ages, with their views of the roles of women. I thought I have done a fine enough job teaching them that in today's progressive age men and women can be anything they like. Women are just as capable(if not more so!) then men for just about any job or career there is.
I guess either I failed in my teaching, or they just plain old don't listen because today I was quite taken aback by the response I got today from our History lesson from my nine year old!
We were reading in this book; one of our many History selections for this school year.

I was quite excited as today's reading was about Elizabeth Blackwell.

Elizabeth Blackwell was the first woman physician in America. She endured many hardships and ridicule in obtaining this position. Actually her even being accepted into the Geneva School of Medicine of Western New York was a joke played by the students on the professors of the school!

So, as I am finishing up and explain to my dear ones that Ms. Blackwell paved the way for all women today to be able to become doctors, my son then tried correcting me by dare saying "no, Mom, you mean nurses." Men are doctors and girls are nurses."

Huh?? What?? EXCUUUSE ME?? I set him straight pretty quick, yet I wonder where he got this stone age thinking from?

Perhaps our next unit will be on the Women's Suffrage Movement? That outta be fun for them!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

The Nightmare Of Mental Illness

I think everyone knows someone affected by mental illness in one way or another. It is such a common thing these days, depression, Postpartum Depression, Bipolar, Schizophrenia, and more. It has got to be extremely difficult for those who suffer, I can't even begin to imagine, I really can't. But I don't have to imagine what it is like to be a loved one of someone who suffers. Those who have to stand by helpless and watch as their loved one suffers is it's own kind of personal hell. The emotional roller coaster that you constantly ride on is never ending.

I have mentioned before that my oldest child suffers from Bipolar Disorder. I haven't shared too many details about what we have all gone through until this recent incident that resulted in my grandchild ending up in CPS custody. While this may be one of the most tragic incidents we've had, it is by far from the worst.

I don't think it would be too fair to my daughter to post details of everything here publicly without speaking to her first about it, but I will say it has involved SWAT Teams being at my home, suicide attempts that have left her on life support more than once, us having to wrestle a gun and knives out of her hands, homelessness and more.

While I am sure those all have been hard on her, what it has done to us is horrendous. Decisions we've had to make in order to keep our smaller, younger children safe, steps we've had to take to keep our grandchildren safe and more.

But none of that is even a fifth as bad as what it does to us all emotionally. My daughter has been ill since she was a very small child. This was in the days before they even labeled children with such disorders. This was before Childhood onset Bipolar was even in the books. As a parent we carried a huge amount of guilt. Did we do this? Was it our fault? And the professionals didn't help much in reassuring us it wasn't our fault. We were scrutinized for years before we finally got the right kind of help.

The guilt we carried when we failed to keep our other children safe. The guilt we still carry that our other children haven't had a "normal" life either. While they don't suffer from a mental illness, they still suffer. Friends whose families wouldn't let their children play with them, the gossip, the mixed emotions of loving their sister, yet hating her.

We always thought it would be easier once she turned 18 and we didn't have to deal with the system ourselves anymore. No, it doesn't get easier, it's different, but no more easy, maybe harder in some ways. Thanks to wonderful right to privacy laws, we don't always get to get information from doctors on our daughters care. And as any parent knows just because your child grows up and leaves home you never stop loving them or worrying about them.

My daughter very recently got on some new medication which seems to be almost like a miracle cure. She is the most reasonable and rational I have seen her in years. Sure it's only been a day or two so I am not getting my hopes up to much, but they are up.

I have gone from being mad and angry at what she did with our granddaughter to feeling bad for her and wanting to support her and help her as she herself is now in a bad situation with housing and such right now.

People seemed shocked, stunned, surprised, even upset that I still have any sympathy for my daughter. As any parent knows, no matter what your children do, you never stop loving them. Why should it be any different for me?

Then there are the facts. She has done some horrible things. But how much could she control? How much was a result of her illness? These are questions we've been asking for 20 some odd years. Even as a child. How much was the illness, how much is just behavior and being naughty?

I quote Mother Teresa often, and I really take to heart all she says. She always said it wasn't for us to ask what got a person to where they are(homeless, alone, whatever)only to love them. If we can't extend that to our own family members, how are we suppose to do that for anybody else. I admit sometimes it is much easier to extend grace and love to a stranger on the street than your own family, but that doesn't make it right!

It's harder when it's personal, a stranger on the street hasn't hurt you on a personal level so it is easier to love and help them. But I don't really think that excuses us from trying to love those who are closest to us and have hurt us the most. We are told to love all, not just those who are easy to love. We all have done wrong in our lives and hopefully we all still had someone rooting for us, caring. I made plenty of mistakes, and God still loved me, how can I do any less for my own flesh and blood? So, the answer to how I can still love and care for my daughter after she has done so much wrong is simple. She's my daughter and I love her.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Mmmmm Good!

Equal Rights For All?

Black, white, male, female, gay, straight, we're all suppose to have equal rights, right? Well, we know it doesn't always work that way regardless of what the Constitution and law books say.

But everybody is suppose to have rights, even criminals have rights. Many groups have advocates to make sure their rights are granted. There seems to be one group in particular in our society who in my opinion deserves to be protected more than any other, yet because they don't have a voice of their own their rights are rarely granted and protected. These are the smallest most innocent members of our society. Our most precious natural resource, our children.

Sure there are agencies that are suppose to be looking out for our children, but on any given day you can open the paper or watch the news and it quickly becomes apparent these systems and agencies are failing miserably. But who suffers? The children.

Sadly many children in our world today are daily being abused, neglected and even abandoned by those who are entrusted to their care. When these agencies step in supposedly to protect these young victims, what then happens quickly becomes a nightmare for all involved.

There seems to be a lot of headlines all over the U.S. about children wrongly being removed from loving homes. Arizona in particular seems to be hardest hit with these sorts of headlines. Well, I have a little bit different of a story...

My dear, sweet grandchild clearly has needed protection from the get-go. Did she get it? Eventually, but while she finally is safe from her unmedicated mentally ill mother she sits one of dozens of babies in an emergency shelter. This precious baby has loving grandparents who are fully capable of caring for her, who already raise her brother, yet she is a state away, alone in a shelter. This innocent victim of unfortunate circumstances also has a dear friend of the family who is more than willing and also fully capable of caring for her, yet in the shelter she stays.

Why? Because of "policies and procedures that must be followed." Because of "laws and regulations." See, we are a state away, and my dear friend is a county away, so apparently the process for my friend to be approved to care for my grandchild could take up to a week, and for me to get approved will take up to a month! Where will this child go until then and who will care for her? A shelter, strangers?

Don't get me wrong, I am thankful there are wonderful foster parents out there who take in other peoples kids in such circumstances. It is often a thankless job with little reward. I am thankful for licensed caring shelters and those who work there. These both are much needed sadly in today's world where people just throw away our most precious resource like a piece of garbage or a kitten who is no longer fun to play with. But my grandchild has many, many people who love her and want to care for her but aren't allowed to do so because of red tape!!

This child has already had multiple care givers and homes in her short 5-6 weeks of life. She most likely in the near future will be moved 3-4 more times, not even counting the fact that her mother is being given yet another chance to regain custody!

CPS had my grandchild just days after birth, but because of dishonest mental health advocates who only showed the good things my daughter has done lately(and she has done some improvements, I wont take that from her) but neglected to share the hospitalizations and breakdowns requiring police intervention, and arrests during her pregnancy, and promised to provide oversight prompting CPS to close there case, my grandchild was returned.

Where was that promised oversight? My daughter remained unmedicated even though I know she was actively seeking help in obtaining proper meds for her illness. This lack of promised oversight put my grandchild at great risk, to the point she was literally abandoned!

I honestly don't blame CPS in this case. They are trying to do their job, but advocates like these make it hard on agencies like CPS that are trying to protect children. My grandchild's rights weren't considered, only my daughters.

CPS clearly did the right thing yesterday in determining that my grandchild shouldn't be returned to my daughter at this time. I am pleased with the actions being taken. My only concern or gripe is the red tape to get my granddaughter here with us where she belongs until/if my daughter can pull it together enough to raise her herself.

I feel like CPS is pushing for a foster care placement within their county. I understand that makes it easier for my daughter and CPS to work on a care/action plan and have my grandchild more easily accessible for visitation. But this shouldn't be about what's more convenient for my daughter or CPS. This should be about the child! The child's best interests are what should be on the top of the priority list!

Why would it be at all better for her to be in a foster home, no matter how loving and well suited it may be, when there is willing, even anxiously awaiting family? Why should she be with strangers, when she could be here with not only her grandparents, but her brother? For convenience? I don't think so, over my dead body!

What happens when my daughter no matter how hard she may try and no matter how noble her intentions may be, just can't follow through on the care plan and regain custody? At that point, sadly for all involved the child becomes available for adoption. Wouldn't it be better for her to already be here with her family? How many times do they think they can move this child before there are attachment issues? Sure she is a tiny infant and not really aware of what's going on, but these first months and years are crucial for bonding and attachment. But let's not worry about that, let's think about what is convenient for the mother who requested just 3 days ago to "get rid of her."

Sounds like the systems working to me, what do you think?