The tapestry of the life of a medically complex family

Archive for the ‘foster children’ Category

Truth Hurts

Today I told my kids the truth. An ugly truth. A truth that as the words flew from my over-tired, fed-up, beat-down mouth, I wanted to un-say. A hundred times your children ask- the same things, over & over, about family they miss. And the only truth, is a horrible truth, an ugly & dark & hurtful truth.

It is not my truth, nor a truth held true in our view, but a truth to one day face.And I hate myself for speaking it aloud.

Those I Love

It’s been hard to keep up with blog prompts for this month of blogging every day! Today they want to know who I love- well, I’ve already written so much about them I can’t imagine you’d be very surprised. My kids are the most wonderful people to ever happen to me.  :) My oldest  is a terrific emerging adult. He’s back in college and working his way into a routine with it. He still makes me smile whenever he Skypes his younger brother & sisters – chatting with them about nothing, the objects they can see in the room behind him or answering all their young sib questions.

The twins are doing wonderfully well. Health is still an area of challenge but I’m able to keep these loves of mine home with the help of some terrific home nurses. Growth is a slow & lengthy uphill battle, but they are happy & developing. Can’t wait for their sixth birthday in 2 weeks!

My youngest is a love all her own. She is compassionate & caring and my companion on all errand runs. She adds a level of noise and energy to the playroom. I love her laugh and smile. My kids warm my heart every day.

Children who wait

Have YOU ever thought about adoption from foster care? It isn’t always easy but I highly recommend it to anyone who is considering adoption. There are challenges with the children, the workers, the process and within our own lives. BUT it is the single most rewarding thing you can do if it is in your heart to become a parent through adoption.

The US Department of Health and Human Services compiles statistics on foster care and foster adoption for every calendar year. Last year’s data indicates that 115,000 children were waiting in foster care to be adopted as of the last day of Fiscal Year 2009  http://www.acf.hhs.gov/programs/cb/stats_research/afcars/trends.htm . Although 57,000 children were adopted during FY 2009, nearly TWICE that many live in a non-permanent placement awaiting placement with their forever Mom and Dad.

Children who grow up in foster care suffer repeated upheaval of their home-base & other significant losses. When these children age out of foster care, even if they are dedicated enough to go to college, rarely have a place to call home for Thanksgiving break or a winter holiday. Is it any wonder that the statistics show that greater than 3/4 of them “fail” in future life challenges- going to prison or dying young? Recently,  former foster children have overtaken war veterans as the single largest population in homeless shelters in the State of California.

If it is in your heart to foster a child, or to pursue adoption through foster care, please go to http://www.adoptuskids.org and click on the link to find information on foster-adoption in your State. “You don’t have to be perfect to be a perfect parent.”

Life Paradox

When I was younger I was given a book by a friend called “Do It Anyway” by Kent Keith. In it he details the Paradoxical Commandments; the first two are as follows:

“People are illogical, unreasonable, and self-centered.
Love them anyway.”

“If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives.
Do good anyway.”

I live my life by many of the principles he described within his book and am reminded almost daily of these first two- today was no exception. I find that no matter how well people purport knowing me, they certainly never seem to get why I have adopted from foster care, and why I care to again. They misunderstand my relationship to my children and cannot fathom why I do what I do.

I love my children. People who regularly read my blog may understand this, but some people do not understand loving a child who was not grown within you. I cannot explain it to those who do not understand; I can only say that I feel the same love & protectiveness for all my children, biological and adopted. I have always known I wanted to mother multiple children and that some of these children would be adopted.

As a mother of children with complex medical needs, there are challenges- daily – but these do not diminish how I feel about my children. They are not the only events in my children’s lives, but they are often what I write about. WHY is that? Because I tend to have more to write about things which challenge, things which are unsettled, things to which I need give more thought. In no way does this mean that all there is in our lives is challenge.  It may be that you read about every challenge we have- and I write only twice or so weekly. So much of my time is spent living and enjoying that I don’t get a chance to write more often.

To get back to where I began, nearly every day we come into contact with someone who represents some part of the first portion of Paradox 1 “People are illogical, unreasonable and self-centered” – sometimes that person is even US!  But we keep on. We continue to reach out, develop friendships, take risk, love. Thankfully it is often worth the effort to us- because the feeling or support is returned. Even when it is not, it is worth the effort, because without the risk, there would be no return.

The second Paradox, describes the way I live every aspect of my life: “If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives. Do good anyway.” It is the paradox of my career path as well as my family life. There will be those who judge whatever I do. People will think I try to gain attention or acclaim, or have some other self-serving motive, but I will continue to “Do good anyway”.

I parent my children because they are my children. The good that I do serves no purpose other than its needing to be done- for my children, for their future, for my own fulfillment. It is my own purpose. Judge away: it will not change me. I will continue to “Do good anyway“.

To read the complete list of Paradoxical Commandments, please go to Dr. Kent M. Keith’s website at:      http://www.paradoxicalcommandments.com/

the balance

There is a tightrope. It is the rope I walk each day. It is the path I take to balance the challenge with the celebration, the medicine with the childhood, the angst with the joy. It is a delicate balance, taking concentration, determination & focus. The tightrope is so thin, observers seldom see it; focusing instead on one side of the balance or the other, from their perspective.

When asked to report on my children’s challenges & success, I try to represent the balance, give inquisitors the view they need to do their job most appropriately. With a pulmonologist, you give the data on breathing & response to treatment, sometimes touching on the ability of the “patient” to participate in life’s activities- but not always. With the State adoption stipend division, you focus on the challenges- the tasks above and beyond those of the parent of a “typical” child- one without medical & developmental challenges. You give them the data they need to approve the continuation of the subsistence on which your family relies to access adequate medical care and housing resources.

And then their role changes somewhat. Their role suddenly becomes dual in its nature: suddenly there is a sibling who needs a home and the same stipend approval worker wants to see how your home functions in a way that could support another child. Suddenly they need to see BOTH sides of that tightrope- seeing the celebrations, the childhoods, the joys- without losing sight of the challenges inherent in this balance.

There is a fear growing within me that this view cannot be achieved from their vantage point; that a view of the good that is our life will obscure their understanding of the work it takes to achieve it. I feel as though our house is made of cards and the wind is picking up…

Protected: “The System”

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