Friday, June 4, 2010
Monday, May 10, 2010
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Sunday, April 18, 2010
Thursday, April 8, 2010
Saturday, March 27, 2010
Friday, March 26, 2010
Thursday, March 25, 2010
- they accept affection on their terms
- they spend most of their time ignoring you
- they have sharp claws
- they will turn and scratch/hiss at you seemly without provocation
- they want you to clean up their messes and if you don't they will make messes out of the proscribed area
- they sleep all day
- they want to go out all night
- they don't want to tell you where they been
- Some have an aversion to soap and water
- they want to eat on demand
- they can be picky eaters
- they act as if they are in charge
- your sole purpose in life is to serve them
- they can be cute fuzzy and fun to be around
Sunday, March 21, 2010
Thursday, March 18, 2010
Tuesday, March 16, 2010
Monday, March 15, 2010
Saturday, March 13, 2010
Friday, March 12, 2010
Wednesday, March 10, 2010
This is an excerpt from FS#1 college essay; all identifying information has been removed. The essay is reprinted here both with his permission and in his language (I edited the final copy for grammar). The imagery that he invokes nearly brought me to tears the first time I read it.
I was raised around a lot of people who went away and came back. They were not the best people to influence a child and throughout my life I’ve had to rise above much of what I have experienced. I have come to know the meaning of hard work after participating in a lot of extracurricular and life activities. They became my escape from the environment I have worked so hard to overcome. With so much negativity around me, I’ve learned how to listen and learn from the mistakes of my many foster parents.
People around me made a point to say that I could not succeed. I was told that like most, I would become a product of my environment. College was far off for me, something I would hear about only while watching television. My street was filled with “has-beens:” high school basketball players with talent who believed they were going to the big show. Even for my gifted neighbors, college was not an option because of grades and our horrible school system. I felt as if I was going to become like them -- just another statistic. Starting over was something I had gotten used to in my life, having already moved to my third foster family by then. I’ve handled those changes and have come to depend on the unsteady nature of my home life. Most of these sudden changes I had little control over. Leaving on somebody else’s terms was the theme of my life.
During high school I had another family switch and decided to play sports as a means of coping. Since 10th grade I have managed four varsity sports in three seasons. With the challenge of home and school, sports helped me to balance study and a busy schedule. It gave me skills in problem solving and in expressing myself, but more importantly, it was a great distraction to situation.
My goal is to create the circumstances of my life and going to college is the first step. As I’ve gotten old enough to think about my future, it has become important to me to live on my own terms with healthy goodbyes and encouraging support. I want the chance to be happy and I know that going to college will propel me into an environment where that is really possible.
Tuesday, March 9, 2010
- NOT religious--God did not call me to do this work or if god did it is not the Christian God. I have been know to show up to church, an open and affirming UCC church, which I like to say are UU's who believe in Christ through that is not a requirement. I association with this church because of their social justice work. I believe in the philosophy that you can be part of the problem or part of the solution. I choose to be part of the solution.
- Black, or African-American or person of color or whatever the current PC term is. The titles may change, I however, stay the same.
- and a foster parent to two teenage boys
Monday, March 8, 2010
So, after FS#1 went to college, I decided that I could have another foster kid (ok so I was experiencing empty nest syndrome!). Ran the idea by FS#1 and he was concerned until I assured him that the new kid would not be put into his room. New kid would have his own room. Funny story, FS#1 sw, Wonderful, was also concerned what would happen to FS#1 if new kid moved in. I had to assure her too, that I was still committed to FS#1 and that his place in the house hierarchy would not be altered. So it was all cleared for FS#2 to move in.
Now since FS#1 is at college, for all intents and purposes, FS#2 is an only child except for school breaks when FS#1 comes home (Oh and when I travel all over the state to attend FS#1 athletic events; he is playing sports in college). The problem comes in that both boys are used to being only children and having 100% of my time and they still behave that way when they both are in the house. It is subtle, there are no fights or confrontations between them, in fact that are quite courteous with each other. But do not be fooled they are still competing for my attention. For example, FS#1 wrote on my christmas gift tag “From your first born”. A not-so-subtle reminder of his place in the hierarchy. They are always checking to see if I have given the other something they don’t have or I’m doing something for the other that I didn’t do for (with) them.
Trying to balance both of their needs is exhausting, emotionally and physically. I hate to say it, but as much as I love having FS#1 home, it is always a bit of a relief when he goes back to college. I always feel like I need to sleep for 24 hours, but of course I can’t ‘cause I’m busy helping FS#2 become a ‘real’ boy (traveling all over the state for athletic events, helping him get his driver’s license....)
Sunday, March 7, 2010
Saturday, March 6, 2010
Friday, March 5, 2010
Thursday, March 4, 2010
Wednesday, March 3, 2010
Thursday, February 25, 2010
Oh that desire to be liked, to have friends and to be just like everyone else is going to get these boys swallowed by the sea monster.
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Social Workers; can't live with 'em, but that doesn't stop them from interfering with you parenting your foster child! I know, I know, that when I signed up for this gig that I was opening my life up to scrutiny and unwanted, ridiculous and interfering helpful advice from the 'professionals', but if they don’t want this child blowing out of this placement too (FS#2 blew out of two placements in 9 months), then they need to stop undermining my authority!
FS#2 goes to the alternative school because of his behavioral difficulties. I finally got a meeting schedule with the school to go over his IEP (or the ‘I know he has behavioral problems but that is no excuse not to teach him’ meeting). The meeting was schedule for the first day of track practice. Due to my nagging advocating, FS#2 is going to be able to run track at the Mainstream HS. FS#2 is VERY excited by this; FS#2 longs to be just like everyone else, i.e. not a foster kid. He doesn’t want to miss the first day of track practice. I explained to him that he would make practice, would only miss the first 15 minutes or so of practice. So...FS#2 went a changed the meeting to the day before the first day of track practice. Of course the first time I heard about the meeting change is when FS#2 sw, Eager, called to inform me. And by now of course the meeting change is a done deal and Eager doesn’t see what my problem is. In this same conversation, Eager also mentioned that it was time for FS#2 quarterly review, which maybe we shouldn’t schedule after school because of track practice. Now I explained to Eager that track practice is EVERY DAY OF THE WEEK and with the number of appointments that FS#2 has, he will occasionally miss some practices because between missing practice and missing school, I’m going to pick practice every time. I guess I’m just weird like that. It’s not like I’m at rookie at this, FS#1 ran track for Mainstream HS for 4 years! And this includes the year he was in a group home and you can just imagine how difficult it was for him to get to practice then. The coach understands the situation and gives latitude.
And speaking of which, FS#1 holds Mainstream HS records in the events he ran, so....guess what events FS#2 wants to run! Talk about sibling rivalry!
On top of this, FS#2 went off on me about having to attend the quarterly meeting. He doesn’t understand why he has to go to all these meetings (we just had the home visit last week and the school meeting this week). All these meetings just remind him he is in foster care and he wants to be a ‘real’ boy. Ah yes, the Pinocchio Syndome
Friday, February 19, 2010
Tuesday, February 16, 2010
Last night was the Think Pink! basketball game for raising awareness about breast cancer. FS#2 loves to go with me to the women’s basketball games. Sporting events are one place where his over the top ADHD behavior will be tolerated and he gets to hang out with The Village. So when I came out wearing a pink race shirt over my long sleeve shirt, he complained that he didn’t have anything pink to wear to the game. He ended up selecting my pink Ann Taylor blouse to wear to the game. As I stood there watching FS#2 model his snazzy sartorial outfit (my pink blouse, over a black t-shirt, wearing a hat and sunglasses) I had conflicting emotions:
That FS#2 is wearing MY Ann Taylor blouse
That FS#2 is wearing a woman’s blouse and I’m finding it disconcerting
That I’m disconcerted by this
That clearly I need to work more on my cultural competency and acceptance
That FS#2 is FREAKIN' FABULOUS!
So off the the game we go. It was a fantastic game (my team won!) and FS#2 was, well....FREAKIN' FABULOUS! All the middle school girls thought he was charming and was taking his picture (little did they know their girly charms and flirtatious looks had no effect on FS#2). At one point he was running up the stairs of the arena, I swear he was channeling Roy Schneider in a dance number from “All that Jazz”. It was most definitely Showtime!
It always amazes me how much my attempt to be the best parent for my foster sons have changed me. In order for me to parent them better, I have been forced to confront and resolve some of my deep-seated issues. In order for me to parent them better, I have struggled to overcome prejudices I didn’t even know I had. In order to parent them better I have had to let go of control so that they can become the best people for them and not who I think they should be.
Sunday, February 14, 2010
to take advantage of your child’s neurosis for your own personal gain?
FS#2 (whose story I will eventually get around to summarizing) had a chaotic childhood. One of the outcomes of this chaotic childhood is his need to keep his personal space neat and organized. Almost obsessively so. Now I am only an average housekeeping (as mentioned in another post), quite frankly I usually have better things to do than clean, and now the FS#2 is becoming more comfortable living here, his personal space is expanding beyond his bedroom.
So when he becomes a little stressed, like after being trapped in the house because of back-to-back-to-back snowstorms, he cleans. Yesterday, he reorganized the junk room, cleaned the living room and kitchen (Ha! He now just demonstrated that he CAN indeed put dishes in the dishwasher!). Now I should add that FS#2 has a few issues with ADHD, so he cleans like a whirling dervish and if anyone has worked with ADHD kids, they know that sometimes attention deficient can translate into unreasonable focused, so it is hard to direct or guide his cleaning efforts. So he has a tendency to clean what he thinks needs attention and not where I would prefer. Also remember that his cleaning jags generally only occur when he is stressed, the rest of the time I still have to nag him to pick up after his self, put the dishes in the dishwasher, put the milk away, take his clothes upstairs etc... you know typically kid behavior. That all being said...
is it child abuse to loll around the house while your child cleans?