Thursday, October 30, 2008

A Tad RADish

What was reported to have happened.

I was swinging higher and higher and I could see over the top of the house. I jumped out of the swing and hit my chin on the roof. It didn't even hurt.

What really happened.

I was running out of the house, trying to beat my brother and sister to get the newspaper even though I had volunteered for another job, the first job offered, before I waited to see which would be the most preferred job. In my rage to win, I tripped over my own two feet and scraped my chin on the sidewalk. I cried inconsolably for the better part of an hour.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Never Mind

Two weeks ago, you'll remember that we had an issue at McD's. I would like to rescind my thank you.

Guess who had a great social building experience today? Yes, that's right, my not so much babies. Yes, last time they were all yelling and screaming and testing boundaries, and you all thought I was a mean ol' mommy who was both over reacting and not reacting enough.

Well, today, we walked in. No parking lot issues. We went straight to the play area. No stopping to flirt with customers and beg for food. No crying at the soda machine. No crying on the floor regarding the Happy Meal toy we had to have. Just a nice orderly duck waddle to the back. Shoes off, neatly stored. Followed by a briefing on everyone's expected behavior.

"This is the boundary.
You will not scream, you will not take your food away from the table, you will not push each other."

And for 1.5 hours they ate appropriately, stayed where they supposed to, played with four other kids, Boog had to be reminded once that there was no taking the food in the play land. We had only a slight issue when it was time to leave. But again, we walked quietly through the restaurant and through the parking lot without histrionics.

So, there! I did have a plan all along. It just took two weeks to see the results. Of course you weren't there. And the parents who were there today, had no idea I was a horrible parent. Of course I am fully expecting that there will always be issues. Next time might go well, or it might not. The rules will remain the same, even if it means I look like a permissive tyrant to all of you. I would like to reconvene this meeting in the year 2025 and compare the results.....

Saturday, October 25, 2008

20/20 Rant

First of all my rant isn't with 20/20, I think they reported the story accurately, which is something that has been missed by the local media. First off, let me say, that I do NOT know this family. I know people well, who know them well.

That prosecuting attorney really irked me. "I did the right thing in convicting her." What the crap? You didn't even give the jury proper instructions. They found her guilty of omission. Guilty of not getting medical help. What you failed to tell the jury is this, in order to find her guilty of capital murder you have to know BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT, that she withheld medical treatment knowing he would die if she did. One of the jurors they interviewed kept saying "we'll never know" when asked that very question. DING DING DING DING DING, we have reasonable doubt.

If you go to you'll see in the appellate papers that at least one juror has issued a statement to the fact that they were unaware that the standard to be met had to be that Hannah knew the boy would die.

As for the camera in the bedroom. I have been asked by many a caseworker to put them in our bedrooms. We've always refused, but they particularly urge it when room sharing is going on between children not biologically related.

In my opinion Hannah is the scapegoat for the incompetence of our system. Both the foster system and the legal system. People were outraged that a child died while in foster care. More importantly, the biological family still had legal rights to the boy and you can bet they were filing lawsuits left and right, convicting Hannah alleviated some of the liability of the state.

The local media focused on Hannah's emotional state in the Urgent Care Center. She was performing CPR when they arrived and wasn't upset enough. So had she been too hysterical to perform CPR that would have been better? Apparently she didn't think he was going to die.

Something else they tried to put out in the media was that Andrew had cigarette burns all over his body. Turns out they were mosquito bites he'd picked at obsessively, and if you've ever been on the south coast of Texas in September you know all about mosquito swarms, they are quite literally the size of house flies.

I hate this whole case. I think that the prosecutor needs to become a foster parent for about five minutes, her whole attitude will change. I think someone needs to bring her a baby that lived for two years with a meth addict and then two years in the foster system.

and another little tangent here, the former foster parent saying "he didn't act like that when he lived with me." Yeah, he was probably attatched to you, but since you didn't want to adopt him, you perpetuated the breaking attachment cycle and amped it up a notch or two. I know attachments can be transferred but neither the state nor most foster parents want to take the time to do it properly. Especially to a family who has never fostered before. It takes four to six months to do it properly, four to six months of the caseworker working with two families for one child. Four to six months that the foster family has to deal with another intrusion in their life. Four to six months seems for ever when all you want to do is bring your child home, but no one explains this to the adoptive parents. When Felpsy came to our house, I specifically begged that they do it as weekend respite for about a month then more frequent visits. They wouldn't do it.

Sorry this is so poorly written and non objective, but I'm emotionally involved here. I'm stuck on the fact that she'd have gotten off with probation had she been driving through the neighborhood and had "accidentally" killed him by shooting 20 rounds into his house. It makes me sick.

But, from what I can gather she is making the most of her time in prison, her husband and church are standing behind her. Let's all pray that in two weeks they'll agree to accept her appeal. I'm also going to find out where I can send her some cards and letters. Her website is asking that you submit your letters online in the contact us portion, they print them out and deliver them to Hannah that way. I'll contact someone here locally and see if we can send actual cards and letters. Let me know if you are interested. In the meantime let's all pray for them.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Local BOTH Family on 20/20

20/20 will be running a story on this family tonight, catch it if you can. Also go over and read their story. They tell it much better than I could.

The Overton's were adopting a child from foster care, the child died and the mom was sentenced to life without parole, leaving five bio children, one of whom was born after the incident but before her conviction.

This case makes me crazy, from the detective who investigated the case that was married to a CPS Supervisor, can you say conflict of interest, to the inconclusive autopsy reports, to the lies reported by the media. Throw in poor jury instructions and take away the option of lesser included charges and you have injustice at its best.

This mom, barring legal relief, will spend the rest of her life in prison. Gang bangers don't even get that for shooting up houses and killing multiple kids. I encourage you to read their story and watch 20/20 tonight.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

But it's the best invention since boobies

I was waiting in line at Target today, Princess and the neighbor girl decided last night that they HAD to be cheerleaders for Halloween. So, Princess and I went out on a girl date to Target, where else, in search of the ever elusive cheerleader costume. Found one. This is when I realized that Princess had no clue what a cheerleader was.

"NOOOOOOOOOO, that's gross."

$20 bucks saved. Apparently her version of cheerleader is a $4.00 tiara and necklace set. With "bootiful jerls".

So, back to the line, there was a very new mom behind me, complaining to her mother that there were no convenient ways to pack formula while out.

But there are, those little preportioned packs, or better yet the tupperware type containers with the flip top that is the exact right size for dumping premeasured portions of formula. I turned and offered my advice.

"I have those and I don't like them."

Well, I'm sorry, but they are the best invention for feeding a child since the boobie, but if you'd like to haul $30 of formula around in a flimsy topped formula container, be my guest.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Hello? Is there anybody there?

I got the kids' case file from our attorney today. Mostly the court reports, psychological's boring stuff.

Starting in October 2006 every court paper had the finding that "the children are available for adoption". It repeats that once more in 2006, at least three other times in 2007, and in February of 2008 there is an initial placed next to that finding, and that finding is absent from further filings.

So, one of two things have happened. Either the kids have been available for adoption for two years and no one knew. Or the court and the county attorney, the parents' attorney's, CPS, the ad litem and the fostering oversight department missed a crucial finding for at least 16 months.

I don't know which would be worse.

Also, for those of you who don't believe there are adoptable babies available from foster care, I met a foster parent at the dentist today that has been caring for a child since birth, he is now 18 months. She has no intention of adopting as she is in her early 60's, but they cannot find a home for him. Sad news is that he's bonded to this woman who will not care for him his entire life, because there are people who are too afraid to take the chance on at risk babies.

Now, I know that everyone has to come to terms with what they can handle, but statistics are on the side of adoption if a child stays in care past the initial hearing. There are a lot of kids who are available for adoption. A lot that leave the hospital in foster care. There are also a lot of parents who cannot, for whatever reason, check the box "at risk placements". Fact of the matter is that all children in foster care are placed at risk.

Anyway, with the incompetency that is running rampant in the foster care system, it's amazing that any person would sign up for it at all.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Thank You

To the Mothers at McDonald's today,

I would like to thank you all for the wonderful advice you all gave whispered to each other while rolling your eyes today during our visit. Regardless of the fact that Felpsy looks normal, he is in fact NOT. What you may call "over reacting", I call setting a rule for the conduct I expect and sticking to it. While you saw a kid running past a boundary to tell his Mom "I love you so much," what was really happening was he was testing that boundary and my commitment to it. While I can see by the way your children conducted themselves today, that you are exceptional parents, it takes some of us a little longer to get things right. I, along with many of my friends here, would be interested in attending your next class on dealing with disorganized attachment and intermittent explosive disorder.

And yes, a four year old yelling "shut up I hate you" may need more severe punishment than "we can no longer play here," I cannot, nor would I, take his food and spank him. Getting such an emotional response from me is what he was looking for, we set up the rules and I followed them. Next time, or the next, or the next.... he'll understand that the rules also apply to him. Had I had him for the first 18 months of his life, I'm sure we'd have covered it by now, but he has very ingrained trust issues, and I am not perfect.

Again, your kind comments and empathy have made my day, and I appreciate your loving support.


Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Good Parents

So, over here we were discussing all of the things we would never do as parents. I for one have never notgiven in to whining and such things, nor have I eaten candy while forcing vegetables on the kids. I would be the first to say that I may be the worst parent ever, just ask the teenagers, they'll agree. When it comes to some things anyway.

I was always concerned that my kids were perpetually bruised and scratched, but having seen ER photos of kids who are really bruised and scratched, I know that there is definitely a difference. My kids are at the age where they can wander off to the next room and play. Of course one of them is shrieking right now, is this just trying to get someone else in trouble, or do I need to go check? I've found that when there is blood involved it will find me so that I'm not running to the back of the house every 14 seconds.

There are times when I feel that I'm putting a little too much energy into my current project and neglecting the kids. Of course when neglect hits the radar of the authorities, it's usually because the kids spent the weekend locked in an apartment alone with a remote, 10 sippy cups filled in the fridge and two bags of family sized chips, if they are lucky. I also know that being present does not necessarily mean being present.

I don't read to the kids every single night, I don't bathe them every single day. They don't always get 11 servings of bread, nine servings of fruits or vegetables, one hour of exercise and some days spend too much time in front of the tv. Sometimes they have to wear dirty socks, and mismatched shoes. I loathe the PTA, and soccer. So, does this make me a bad parent?

I sure hope not. My eldest just came home for the weekend from college. She seems to be a functioning adult. If not for the food we are serving here, she might be content to never hang out with us oppressors again. Stark contrast to the other adult children on the block. When we moved into our house six years ago, there were two men living with their parents. One parent quickly told us it was temporary, he's still there, with his kid, who is 11. The other "man" just moved out, but not without stealing all of his parents power tools.

So, I guess I'm at least an ok parent. I won't be winning any awards for being the best, or pretending to be. Who knows what really goes on behind closed doors? But I'm hoping that my children will be functioning members of society when they grow up. I'm hoping that they are healthy about their eating and exercise habits, without being obsessed. I hope they can put the first things first. I hope that I never have to change the locks and install extra security measures to keep them from ripping me off. I guess I won't know if I really am a good parent until I can look back. By then I'll probably Monday morning quarterback the whole thing and see where I went wrong and what I could have done better.

Well, I guess I'll just love them, and do the best I can every day. I'll teach them the things I know. I'll live my life knowing they are watching, and leave the rest of it up to God.