Category Archives: Allenah Manzanagrano

Too Good To Be True


This continues the story of our journey to have a family. The time frame for this chapter of our story is March 2008.
If you continue to read along, you will see first hand the reality of how broken the Foster Care system truly is.
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When the battle was won in the last case, I was completely at peace when they came to pick him up. There was no inner struggle. For a long while I struggled within myself that there was no struggle. I was not opening the door and throwing him to the CPS Case Worker, but I was truly happy he was going home.

It took me a while to realize that this is truly what it is about. Many people will not understand. Most biological parents who have lost their children to the system because of their own bad choices cannot accept responsibility for their actions. So when I have previously said that these children should never have gone back to their biological parents, there are people that do not understand how I can say that. I have a friend who totally disagrees with me.

The previous little boy’s case proved to me that my heart was in the right place. After a while, you truly start questioning this whole process. Am I just angry and bitter that I have not been able to have my own children, so I am seeking to take children away from their parents? This previous little boy’s case showed me that this was not at all what this was for me. I truly was fighting for each individual child, for what was right for their lives. This little boy belonged with his biological parents. He just needed medical attention.

I did not mourn his leaving at all. I truly was happy that he was going to be reunited with his biological parents.

We went back to life as normal. Waiting. Wondering if we would ever receive another call.

During this time, the children’s therapist asked me if we were still interested in adopting more children. When I told her that we were, she told me that she counseled another sibling group- a brother and sister- who were already free to be adopted. She thought they would be a wonderful match for our family. I told her that I was definitely interested, but I would have to talk to my husband, and if he said yes, then we would have to increase our license again, because we were only licensed to have three children.

I talked to my husband, and he was all for it. So I made the call to increase our license yet again. But this time I had them license us for five children. It was better to be prepared. I still knew that I had heard God’s voice, but I could not imagine how this was going to work out.

I talked to the therapist a few days later to let her know our licensing was taken care of, and she told me that there was a family member that had come up out of nowhere who wanted the children.  She told me not to give up though, because she counseled a lot of children who needed good homes full of love. She told me she would help us find our children.

With that door closed, we waited to see what God had planned for us. Would it be another call from our therapist? Would we get a call from the Agency?

It was not long before we found out. I received a call from our Agency Case Worker telling me that there was a 7-week-old infant needing placement. She did not need to say anymore. I probably literally screamed in her ear, “YES!” I was so excited!

This Case Worker with the Agency was number five or number six for us, and we had not been in the Foster system but 8 months. This Case Worker knew the heart break that we had gone through when the 1-year-old was given to a family member, and she told me she would try desperately to help us get a baby.

Not only was this an infant, there was no real question whether or not he would be available for adoption. His biological mother’s rights had not been terminated at this point, because the court process had to take place, but it was next to impossible that she would not have her rights terminated. She was a foster child herself, and the baby was born addicted to cocaine.

As soon as I hung up the phone with the Agency I called my husband. I was so excited I could not sit still.  I told him I would let him know the details as soon as I found them out.

Within a few minutes the phone rang again. It was our Case Worker with the Agency. I knew as soon as I answered the phone that it was not good news. I could hear it in her voice. She said she was so sorry to have to inform me that the baby had already been promised to another couple. I thanked her and hung up the phone.

There were no words for me at this point. I called my husband and told him. I told him I had to go. He asked me if I was ok and I told him no, and at this point I just did not have any words. I am sure you have read enough by now to realize that it is very rare that I have no words. I could not even pray. I could not muster the strength or emotions to say anything or feel anything. My husband told me not to worry, that if the other family backed out we would be the first ones they would call. Sure, fat chance. I would not hold my breath, I told him.

When I hung up the phone, I just sat silently on the couch. The other two kids were in their rooms playing.

I sat there that day for almost an hour. All I could do was think about what had just happened, and the years of trying to have a child. Why would this happen? It was like dangling a gourmet meal in front of a starving person. As I sat dwelling on how this could have even happened I became very angry. I knew that my heart was in the right place, and yet time after time my heart was being broken. I am very much in tune with the fact that life is not fair, but we had gone beyond life not being fair to life being downright cruel! I just could not understand why God would allow this to happen! I would rather have never received the call than to have had this happen.

As I sat there by myself, my thoughts racing around in my head, my heart breaking once again, the phone rang again. It was the Agency. The other couple had decided they would not be able to take the baby. Did we still want him? Again I screamed, “YES!” And I begged her not to let him get away from us.

My husband had been right! I asked him later if God had spoken to him that day and he said no that he just had a feeling. Why did all of this happen? I do not really have the answer to that question. Maybe it was God’s way of showing me that He really is involved in our lives. There could be a million other reasons or explanations why. I don’t think I will ever know. But thankfully, this time it really was true! We were finally going to have our baby!

As we waited for them to bring him to us the next day I could not sit still. I had so much pent up excitement, knowing that we were really going to have a baby!

When they brought him to us, he was so very tiny. When they put him in my arms, I was so scared I would hurt him. He had been born 6 weeks premature, so he was just now gestationally 1 week old. He was still red and wrinkly. His little fingers and toes were so tiny. His nose was so tiny. But he was beautiful! And he was ours! Immediately I began calling him my Angel Baby.

Not only was he very tiny, he was also going through withdrawals from the drug addiction. If you have never witnessed a tiny baby going through drug addiction withdrawals you are blessed! It is one of the most painful things I have ever witnessed in all of my life! His entire body would shake as his body craved the drugs. His eyes would get so big, not understanding what was going on within his body. We would swaddle him tightly and hold him close until his tremors would pass.

I found a song that I began to play for him when he would start going through his withdrawal tremors- “Angel Baby” by Linda Ronstadt. I had never heard it before I went searching for a song with that title. Since this is what I called him from the first day, I thought it would be fitting to find a song with that name. This became our ritual. As his body would begin to shake from his withdrawals, we would swaddle him tightly, hold him close, play the music, and rock with him. We went through this process the first two months or more.

It is very rare occasions that I have seen my Dad cry. He cried at both of his parents funerals. Other than that, I do not recall any other time where he has actually cried, until he saw our baby during one of his withdrawals.

It is amazing how much we remember. After we got through the withdrawal tremors, we did not play our “Angel Baby” song as much. After a while, it had been months since I had played it for him and danced with him.

Probably 8 months or more had passed that we had not played the song at all. One day I decided to play it. As soon as the music started, he looked up at me with the biggest, most beautiful grin in the world! He was playing in his playpen and he stood up, reaching for me to take him. He wanted me to dance with him! He remembered! I was so amazed that he remembered our song!

It is now a very common thing that is heard in our home. My baby loves to dance with me. All of my children love to dance with me, but my baby has a very special bond with me, through this song and me dancing with him. It will forever be one of my most beautiful memories of his infancy. Once again, God has taken something traumatic and turned it into something very beautiful in my life- and my son’s life as well!

Just a few days ago I played our song. It had been a month or so since I played it for him. As soon as the music started he stopped what he was doing and came over and climbed up into my lap. He would lay against my chest for a while, just listening to the music with me. Then he would sit up and look at me- look into my eyes. It was the sweetest, most beautiful, most moving thing for me. The way he was looking into my eyes was like he was remembering. It was a deep, soulful look that you don’t expect from a child so young. He just turned 3-years-old; how does he know what this song is? Yes, I know he remembers…. but it was much more than just remembering. Though we have listened to this song quite often, and he always snuggles up to me when we are dancing or just sitting, there was something different about this time. I will never forget that look as long as I live!

This will be something that I continue to do all of his life.

I am now searching for a special song for each child. Since they all love to dance, I want each of them to have their special song. It is not a process that I am rushing through. I’ve listened to hundreds of songs, and have found 2 that are perfect.

I want each one of my children to have many wonderful memories of their childhood. Since they have endured so many bad things, anything I can do to help them have beautiful memories is a bonus. I do not ever want any of my older children to feel left out because they do not have a special song like the baby does. It is not their fault they were not with us as infants. So this will be a gift to each of them that will last a lifetime.

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The Purpose Of  This Series:  Who Hears The Voice Of The Children?

The next chapter in this series: Full House

The previous chapter in this series: Fighting For Another Child

Foster Care: A Broken System- Video

 

 

 

 

Political Correctness Wins Again

Rise and shine, America!

Once again you’ve been had! Political Correctness has won yet again!

When will we learn? At this point I am thinking the answer to that question is, “Never”.

I was not aware that actually being in the vicinity of Christian symbols was such an overload to the sensibilities of those who are not Christians. Now, a 70-year-old tradition is thrown out the window in the name of appeasement.

No worries, though, America! A compromise has been reached! Now, students in Neptune Township, N.J., can walk down the aisle to receive their diploma without having to see…… wait! You will never believe what these high school seniors of the past 70 years have been subjected to! Are you ready? Two signs! Yes, we are saving these seniors and those who attend their graduation from gazing upon two signs! Such horrible things, I know!

So what were on these signs, you ask? “Holiness to the Lord,”  and “So Be Ye Holy”. Yes, I know! Cover your eyes, America!

Yet once again the ACLU has bullied their way in and the high school in New Jersey “compromised”. No, they didn’t compromise, they CAVED, plain and simple!

Every single one of our traditions and freedoms are being threatened. The more we bow at the alter of political correctness and sacrifice our freedoms we lose another foothold on this great nation. We are literally handing it over to the enemy. Yes, I said it… the enemy! ANYONE who wants to restrain our freedoms is an enemy!

I am not a Buddhist, but when I walk into a Chinese restaurant and see a Buddha statue it does not offend my sensibilities. So I ask this question: What if my child were going on a school-sponsored field trip and they go to lunch at a Chinese restaurant where there is a statue of Buddha. Should I file a lawsuit against the school district for offended the sensibilities of my child? Of course not!  I do not agree with their beliefs, but Buddhists are free to believe whatever they choose to believe. Who am I to tell them they cannot have their statue of Buddha?

We are weakening every facet of our society by allowing the disease of political correctness to dictate what we do. So you don’t agree with the statues, ornaments, signs or other things in a gathering place. Fine, you don’t have to agree with it. But is your mind that weak that you cannot just accept that someone else believes differently than you? Ohhhh yes, I get it! YOU want to infringe what YOU think, feel, believe and don’t believe on EVERYONE else! Political Correctness. It will surely be the death of this great nation.

If a sign offends their delicate little sensibilities, I wonder what will happen on this day- because ONE DAY, EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, EVERY TONGUE WILL CONFESS that Jesus Christ IS Lord!

Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:

Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross!

Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Philippians 2:5-11

 

United We Stand, Divided We Fall

We are nearing the end of the school year, with all the awards ceremonies, field days, game days and other activities.

Yesterday my kids brought home an “itinerary” of sort to let the parents know what is going on.

The first thing on the list is “Asian Pacific Islander Assembly”.

When I read that I could not imagine what in the world that meant. So I went to the Internet and found out that May is Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month.

Here is a quote from the About page:

May is Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month – a celebration of Asians and Pacific Islanders in the United States. A rather broad term, Asian-Pacific encompasses all of the Asian continent and the Pacific islands of Melanesia (New Guinea, New Caledonia, Vanuatu, Fiji and the Solomon Islands), Micronesia (Marianas, Guam, Wake Island, Palau, Marshall Islands, Kiribati, Nauru and the Federated States of Micronesia) and Polynesia (New Zealand, Hawaiian Islands, Rotuma, Midway Islands, Samoa, American Samoa, Tonga, Tuvalu, Cook Islands, French Polynesia and Easter Island).

Like most commemorative months, Asian-Pacific Heritage Month originated in a congressional bill. In June 1977, Reps. Frank Horton of New York and Norman Y. Mineta of California introduced a House resolution that called upon the president to proclaim the first ten days of May as Asian-Pacific Heritage Week. The following month, senators Daniel Inouye and Spark Matsunaga introduced a similar bill in the Senate. Both were passed. On October 5, 1978, President Jimmy Carter signed a Joint Resolution designating the annual celebration. Twelve years later, President George H.W. Bush signed an extension making the week-long celebration into a month-long celebration. In 1992, the official designation of May as Asian-Pacific American Heritage Month was signed into law.

The month of May was chosen to commemorate the immigration of the first Japanese to the United States on May 7, 1843, and to mark the anniversary of the completion of the transcontinental railroad on May 10, 1869. The majority of the workers who laid the tracks were Chinese immigrants.

So now we’ve gone from being hyphenated to all out leaving off the “American”.

The year I was born, the actor John Wayne came out with a record entitled, “America- Why I Love Her” that my Dad used to play all the time. It was re-released on CD in 2001 after the attacks on The World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

The above video/poem/song defines what has been going on for years in this country. It frustrates me because there is one man that could have gone down in history as the greatest unifier is instead the greatest divider of all time. Barack Obama has made history. He is the first black man to be President of The United States of America! His life and attitude is living proof of how our actions bring about consequences. Rather than working diligently to unite a country that has been growing more and more divided over the years he is in fact intensifying the division and playing on it from his leadership position. He is outright exploiting every American- black, white, brown, yellow or red.

If you have never heard the entire CD I strongly encourage you to purchase it. Memorize it. It is embedded in my memory from years and years of being played in my home.

At this new “classification” shows, we’ve now skipped right over the hyphen. Now we are celebrating “different people in the United States”, not different people coming together as one united United States. The “official” name of  Month is Asian-Pacific American Month. In one place it is called “Asian-Pacific Heritage Month”. Now, the common name it is known by is “Asian-Pacific Islander Month”.  Hmmmm… what is missing in that last one? Yes! You noticed it too, didn’t you?! There is no “American” in there! It is a slippery slope, indeed, when you start to hyphenate and divide.

I am the first person who is all about celebrating and learning about the different heritages of our nation. As a mom of five adopted children of a different race it is vital to me to make sure my children know their heritage. However, my husband and I teach them that though their heritage is different, they are are AMERICAN! We do not hyphenate their heritage, just as we do not hyphenate our heritage.

We are ALL immigrants of some kind from some where.

My question is when are we going to have an AMERICAN HERITAGE month where it’s not about race, color, creed, religion, sexual orientation or anything that divides us? When are we going to drop the hyphens- period?! If we seek to divide for any reason- heritage or otherwise- we will NEVER be united!

 

Loughner Deemed “Not Competent To Stand Trial”

You have absolutely GOT to be kidding me!

I should have known. We have reached a point in our society where nothing makes sense anymore! Up is down, right is wrong, wrong is right, white is black, black is white…. and I could go on and on with analogies. However, that will get us nowhere, really.

I try to be an optimist. I am a Bible believer, so I know the power of prayer. I also know what Scripture says about what will come in what we call “the last days”. Have we reached “the last days?” Well, I do not know for certain, but all signs sure seem to be pointing that way!

Where my faith, knowing what Scripture says will come, and reality clash are my feelings with everything. I am not one to give up in the sense of, “there’s just no point in going on.” I KNOW I have to keep fighting the good fight until my last day comes, whether it is by my death through old age or other occurrences or if it is by way of the rapture of the Church which yes, I do most certainly believe in.

I know that God says, “Vengeance is mine, sayeth the Lord”. (Romans 12:19)

I also believe that there are consequences for our actions. I believe there are certain actions in this life that are punishable by death. Yes, I have Bible Scripture that I use to base this belief on. (Romans 1:28-32 ; Acts 25:10-11 ; Romans 13:1-4) but that is not the point of this article.

Now we have a man who will get away with cold-blooded murder because he is feigning incompetency! Yes, I am calling him a liar, a manipulator, and a game-player playing the system.

This very same man went into court sneering the first couple of times he appeared in court. Now, according to one report I heard on TV, all of a sudden he is “rocking back and forth”.

Please do not get me wrong. I absolutely believe he is a mentally disturbed man. I believe that is quite obvious from his initial actions of murder and attempted murder back in January. I believe there is proof of that from other incidences that have been reported after the attack happened.

Now there will be no justice for Ms. Giffords, the other survivors, and those who were killed that day. Now our tax-paying dollars will have to be used to keep this man alive until the day he dies.

I do not for one minute believe he can be rehabilitated. He has shown absolutely no remorse- even today in court. He is relishing in the fact that he killed people. To me this speaks volumes for his mental well-being, or lack thereof.

So what is the answer? I will be called “inhumane” because I would rather he be put to death.

I will be called selfish, cold, uncaring, un-Christ like for thinking he deserves the death penalty.

I believe justice should be served.

Today that did not happen.

Thankfully this was just the federal case. Maybe the State of Arizona will not be so politically correct!

God help us all.

My continued prayers are with Ms. Giffords, her family and friends, and all the other lives that were affected by this tragedy.

 

 

 

I Am So Angry

Once again I am veering off the ongoing saga of our story to adopt children through the Broken Foster Care System.

If you’ve already read my Mother’s Day story, you know that our adoptions were finalized in July of 2009.

After the adoptions it took some time for the kids to adjust to the fact that they were in fact adopted, not foster children any longer.  Thankfully, our youngest child didn’t know any difference at all.  When he would have visitation from his case workers it was just another friend coming over to visit. In reality, I do not believe the next two children (age wise) truly comprehended the difference either, as they were so young when they came to us, as well, that it was more like just a visit with friends when their case workers came over.

However, the oldest two children definitely knew the difference. In fact, I do not believe the reality has set in to this day. They “know” they are adopted, that this is their home, we are a forever family, but what does that really mean to a child who has been cast back and forth within the system all of their lives?

Dealing with the aftermath of things settling down and us finally becoming a family was overwhelming in many ways, yet like a breath of fresh air all at the same time.

Today, we are almost 2 years past the final adoption. Things are the same, yet different. When things would come, and questions were asked we’ve always addressed the questions directly and honestly.

One of the issues we have had with three of the four older children is being destructive. It doesn’t matter what it is, they will destroy it. They have LITERALLY peeled paint right off the wall. They tear up almost every toy they’ve been given. Our youngest daughter destroys her clothing.

At the current time I am removing absolutely everything from their game room with the exception of a couple of plastic buckets of toys. Until I am able to move things around, there is a bookshelf with books, games inside, and just general kid stuff. There is a TV and TV stand. I have already removed the quilt rack, which they destroyed, and the blankets that I had for them to cover up with when they watch TV. I have removed some of the blankets because they were given to them as adoption presents by a local church who makes quilts for each child that is adopted.

I am flat out exhausted from trying to replace things that are broken; caution not to climb on the bookcase because it will fall and either hurt someone really bad or literally kill them; cleaning out broken toys, and other variety of clean up from their destructive behavior.

Our youngest, who I refer to in my writings as “the baby”, just turned 3-years-old. It is amazing to see the difference in his playtime behavior from the other four children.

We learned in our classes to become foster parents that the most formative years is birth to 3 years. That amazed me, since their language skills are not developed, coping skills are not developed, and other things that seem like they would be more important than the first three years.

However, our family is a prime example of how true this is. Our baby- the three-year-old, has been taught from the very beginning how to treat toys, clothing, our home, and how to take care of things in general.

Very recently, after dealing with the aftermath of yet more destruction, my husband made an observation that had never crossed my mind. He said that maybe no one ever taught the other four children how to play! This struck me as odd, since I play with all of them. However, their “most important formative years” were already passed when we got them.

I wonder how much of this truly has an effect on how they treat things now. They see the positive examples, get in trouble when they do destroy things, yet they still do not seem to learn. They still keep repeating the very same behaviors.

So why am I angry, you ask? Because I feel like the system has set my older children up to fail! My husband and I are doing everything we know to do to UNDO the bad parenting that they had by their biological parents, as well as foster parents that did not care and try to RETEACH the PROPER way to play and treat things. This goes beyond just “messy kids”. This goes beyond the “kids will be kids” excuse. It is literally to the point that buying them toys is just a waste of time and money.

This past weekend is a prime example. We took the kids shopping, and I decided to try one more time with new toys. We bought them Lincoln Logs, because they love to build stuff with blocks. They did well the first day. Then, what do you know… the next day, they are in the game room throwing the Lincoln Logs at each other and the window! Now, they had been warned that these were not to be thrown, because throwing things is one of the frequent offenses that they get in trouble for. Oh, I know, all kids throw things. However, there is almost a systematic destructive intent to the actions of at least two of the children. One for certain, the other one has come a long way. (She actually was not involved in throwing things this time, so we are making a little progress!)

There’s a well-known saying in the foster care system, although it is breathed in hushed tones. It reminds me of the scene from “St. Elmo’s Fire” where Wendy’s mom whispers everything that she finds “too horrible to utter”.

So, what is this phrase that is “too horrible to utter”?

Too old too adopt.

This is not true, in the sense that you are never truly “too old” to be adopted. There are adults who have been adopted.

what this simply means is that most people want to adopt a younger child- a baby most preferably.

Our oldest two children were almost “too old” to adopt. I will try to explain this more as I go along, because I do not want this to be misunderstood.

I love ALL of my children very much. And yes, I know all children- biological or not- have issues. I know… kids will be kids. I know all the cliches, true as they may be. However, there is a “magic age” that once passed, it becomes a great deal more difficult to get past the “issues” of being in foster care. That “magic age” is about 5-years-old, give or take a bit.

Our oldest child was 6-years-old when we got her, and 7-years-old once she was finally adopted. She had already learned to “play the system”. However, she met her match with her mommy and daddy! She may have been allowed to play her previous foster families to get her way but it didn’t work that way with us! We were told this is why they (the case worker and therapist) wanted us to meet them, because they both knew needed parents that would be firm yet loving, not push overs as they had previously had.

And yes, before it is suggested, they have been through YEARS of counseling- that did absolutely nothing to help them resolve these issues or help us deal with things. Basically it was just a “system requirement”. Don’t get me wrong- we had a WONDERFUL counselor! But to actually help get to the core matter of the issues it did nothing!

I am angry that the system did not expedite the cases of my older children in a more timely manner so they would have had a more settled life before they did.

I know that this will just make them stronger in the future. I know that challenges grow us.

But that does not make me any less angry.

What makes me the most angry is that in my almost 4 years of being involved in some form of the foster care system, not one single time has an elected official responded to my various correspondences.

I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to sit down with a MedicAid investigator about 6 months ago and share some of my experiences and complaints regarding the Medicaid fraud within the foster care system. He was quite intrigued, yet was not very hopeful that anything would ever come of my complaints. I told him I have absolutely no problem testifying in a court of law about our experiences. I am MORE than willing to be the voice, the hands, the feet… the whole BODY in this fight for these children stuck in this broken system of foster care!

Tax payers are being fleeced by doctor’s who prescribe unnecessary medications to children in foster care because it is “easy money”.

My two oldest children were two that fell into the above category. It makes me wonder if the fact that they were being “doped up” has caused lasting affects on them.

I am angry that no one seems to care enough to really get involved.

It makes me angry that even now, in my writing, I have comments directing me how I should leave parts of my story out- whether it is my faith or my political stance.

While I appreciate the input and comments, I can’t change who I am. I won’t change who I am! My faith is one of the most significant facets of who I am! Without my faith I have nothing. Jesus Christ is my Strength.. my very breath that I breathe. There’s no way I can continue in this fight without standing on my faith in Christ. If that offends people, so be it! I accept the fact that there are those who do not have faith in Christ. I don’t try to force my beliefs on them. I don’t ask them to change. I do not say I will not continue fighting this fight with people who do not believe as I do. I will GLADLY join with ANYONE who will join in this fight- a fellow Christian, atheist, Buddhist, Hindu, you name it! So if I’m not requiring that they change for me, why is it being suggested that I leave out this part of my story? I refuse. If that offends some people, so be it! That just makes me angry!

I am just angry! As you can see I am angry about a lot of things! These children do not deserve to have to deal with the burecratic crap that they are being dealt right now! Something should have been dong a LONG time ago to solve these issues!

Fighting For Another Child

This continues the story of our journey to have a family. The time frame for this chapter of our story is March 2008.
If you continue to read along, you will see first hand the reality of how broken the Foster Care system truly is.
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It was hard to pick myself up by my boot-straps and carry on, but it was what I had to do.

It was not long before we received a call on another baby. We once again knew from the beginning that he was just a foster child. He would not be available for adoption, and it was very likely that he would go back to his parents very quickly.

You may be wondering why we agreed to take each child that we have taken, when so far the majority of these children were not even available for adoption.  Yes, we went into this program fully knowing that our goal was to adopt, not just foster. But when we started this process, my husband and I agreed that there was no possible way we could turn down a child. If we received a call from our agency, we would accept that child. These children have already faced so much rejection in their lives. Though most of them that we have fostered and lost are probably too young to really remember what was going on in their lives at the time, we believe that if we received a call to take in a child, God had a plan for us in the life of that child. We may not ever realize what the purpose of each situation was, but God is in control.

So the next baby was placed in our home.  He was 15-months-old. From the very beginning there seemed to be something wrong. This child just did not fit in our family. I really struggled with this, because I do not believe you should ever reject a child. Each child- each person- is uniquely created by God for a specific purpose. So for me to say he did not fit felt like I was rejecting him. And the strange part about this was this child was the first Caucasian child we had ever had placed in our home. With the exception of the first two little boys who are black, the rest of our children have been Hispanic.

I now question whether this child should have ever been removed from his home. It is an internal struggle for me. While I definitely believe everything happens for a reason, there is only one remote reason that I can see why he may have been removed. I think the only reason he was taken was that God allowed it because He knew that I would push in the system that this baby be checked out for medical issues. The parents were refusing to do this, and there was something definitely wrong with him. He would not play at all. I would get down on the floor with him with toys, and he would just look at me. He wanted to just lay in his play pen and sleep. We only had him for 3 weeks. By the last few days he was playing a little bit with our little girl. He still would have nothing to do with our other little boy. But then he was taken back home, and part of the requirement was that they get him medically tested to see what was going on with him. So, he went back where he belonged. I had fought for him. I truly believe that was the only reason he was removed from his home.

I believe it is my job to fight for every single child that was placed with us- I believe this is EVERY foster parents job- to fight this fight for each child that is placed with them. But so many- most- do not do this.  They simply do the barest minimum that is required, if that.

With every child that came into our home I documented, I made calls, I emailed and I fought the system for these children.  They have no way of fighting, except through me. This calling is not just about becoming a parent, though yes, I am so grateful that I have been given this opportunity and privilege. It truly is a gift beyond measure. However, I was called to fight for each one of these children. They need an army on their side, but since the system that should be the army standing up for them, is not fighting the battle so often, I will be the warrior that fights their battle.

Even now, with our journey in the actual system being over, I fight for them. I WILL be the voice for these voiceless children! Somebody has to!

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The Purpose Of  This Series:  Who Hears The Voice Of The Children?

The next chapter in this series: Too Good To Be True

The previous chapter in this series: Do Not Be Afraid

Foster Care: A Broken System- Video

Taking A Stand May Mean You Lose Friends

I was put in the position just a couple of nights ago where I had to take a stand. You know the saying, “If you don’t stand for something you’ll fall for anything.”

As a very solid supporter of Israel I write articles, tweets, and speak out very boldly of my support for Israel. I had a friend who is a liberal, who as it turns out is atheist, but her parents are Muslim. Obviously we are as different from each other as night and day in our beliefs.

However, we had found a way to remain friends without letting our difference cause issues. I had to draw the line with her a couple of times and tell her certain things were not up for discussion. I was never disillusioned enough to believe I could change her mind or beliefs and I know for certain she was not going to change mine.

That all changed night before last when I posted the link to my article “Come Hell Or High Water I Will Stand With Israel“.

I doubt very seriously she even took the time to read the article. Instead, she started ranting that while she could sympathize with Israel it was not right that they go “bulldozing down homes.” This was just the beginning of the rant.

Israel is one of the topics that was off-limits for us. I warned her, as nicely as I possibly could, that I would not discuss this issue with her as I refused to do in the past. She persisted. I told her I was giving her one last warning. I drew my line in the sand. The topic of Israel just was not up for discussion with her. Still she persisted. So I blocked her from my twitter account.

That was the last thing I wanted to do. However, she did not respect me and my stand. She refused to let it go. She continued to bait me. I stood strong. A friendship was ended.

It is sometimes tough to take a stand. These days, it is often very difficult to take a stand, most especially if it involves supporting Israel. However, if you don’t stand for something, you WILLfall for anything! Not I, says the Lady Warrior who knows the Blessings of Freedom! I will fight forever- until my dying breath, if that is what it takes! To paraphrase my favorite movie, “Braveheart“, they may take my life, but they will NEVER take my freedom!

America, we must be prepared. I strongly believe that the actions of President Obama today will bring down the wrath of God Almighty on this nation. He has turned his back on Israel. He spat in the face of God’s chosen  people. God will not take this lightly!

I stand united with you, Oh Israel! Lift up your eyes unto the heavens. Yes, as Glenn Beck just said, I do most certainly believe the very gates of hell have just opened up against you! But I also believe just as Glenn Beck just stated that the very gates of heaven are standing wide open for you! YOU, OH ISRAEL, are the apple of Sovereign God’s eye! Do not despair! He is with you always. My heart and prayers will continue to be with you, Israel! May God bless you and keep you always!

Come Hell or High Water I Will Stand With Israel

I sat watching the “Glenn Beck” show just an hour ago with a mixture of emotions. My city made Glenn Beck’s show once again! Not only did Glenn highlight a news story from our city, but there were other elements that made me stand proud. A church service supporting and honoring Israel was the main topic of the news story. And then I became enraged!

Glenn told his audience of a letter he received from Pastor John Hagee, the pastor of Cornerstone Church in San Antonio, Texas, describing the details of a disturbance that happened in the middle of their worship service this past Sunday.

Pastor Hagee is a staunch supporter of Israel, who has written several books in defense of Israel, giving clear, Biblical proof that to stand with Israel is the only answer. He founded Christians United For Israel, a non-profit organization which provides a national association that allows every church, organization, ministry or individual who supports Israel the venue to connect in support of Israel.

This past Sunday morning, May 15, 2011, Cornerstone Church had a special service to show their love and appreciation for the State of Israel and the Jewish people. It was during the nationally televised11:00am service that 11 anti-Israel protesters reared their hate-filled heads and hearts. They were not actual “Palestinian” people, they were simply radical, extremist activists from the San Antonio area.

One of the radical protesters chose to start the commotion the moment Pastor Hagee stood to give his sermon on Sunday morning. She did not scream, she chose instead to throw propaganda leaflets from the balcony proclaiming to the church members of Cornerstone Church that their tithes were “supporting the deaths of 1,500 children since the year 2000″. Very interesting that she accuses Israel of murdering children. You know what they say about people in glass houses! Was it not just a few months ago- March, 2011- that a Jewish family- the Fogel’s- were murdered in their sleep by Palestinians simply because they were Jews? A 3-month-old baby was murdered because of her heritage!

Being that Cornerstone is a very large church, coupled with the fact that Pastor Hagee has had numerous threats and attempts on his life, they have a Security Team that is well-equipped to handle any emergency situations that may arise. The Security Team acted swiftly, removing her from the sanctuary.

Pastor Hagee continued with his sermon. It wasn’t long before another protester stood up in the congregation and started screaming loudly that the people of Israel had no right to the land they “occupied” and should leave, among other hateful things. Once again, the Security Team acted swiftly, removing her from the sanctuary. This time the congregation reacted by standing and applauding the Security Team for the protesters removal.

It wasn’t but five minutes later when the third protester stood up, this time spewing the typical hateful rhetoric that is common around the world to condemn Israel. Once again, the Security Team successfully removed the protester.

It was at this point that Pastor Hagee says he realized that this was an organized protest intent on shutting down the service. He proclaimed to his congregation that he would not be deterred, he would preach until 6pm if that is how long it took. In response to this, the congregation erupted in applause and cheers as if it were “the Super Bowl”, Pastor Hagee said. He also made the statement that the actions of the protesters UNITED the congregation rather than dividing it! They DID NOT succeed in their mission!

The protesters continued to stand every five minutes, repeating the same actions as the previous protesters. Each one was swiftly escorted away by security, and the service continued on. In the end, this congregation was more united than ever before. They has witnessed first hand just a tiny glimpse of the hatred Israel sees and experiences every single day!

Each protester was taken to another area of the church where their pictures were taken and they were issued trespassing citations. If they return to the church they will be taken to jail. There were a few of the protesters that had outstanding warrants and were whisked away to jail on Sunday.

It was later determined that one third of the staff of staff of Esperanza Peace and Justice Center- a San Antonio based non-profit organization, were participants in this invasive disruption of a church service. That is quite contradictory to the name of the “organization” they work for, I would say! “Peace and Justice” is quite the opposite of what they are doing, standing for and supporting.

As a tax-paying citizen of the State of Texas, and city of San Antonio, I am outraged to learn that this so-called “peaceful” organization- Esperanza Peace and Justice Center- receives funding from my tax dollars! They not only receive funding from the State of Texas, but they also receive funds from the City of San Antonio as well!

You can rest assured I will be contacting my Congressmen, Senators, Governor and anyone else in leadership to make it very well known that I want an IMMEDIATE stop to their funds! I am a STRONG supporter of Israel, and the thought of my tax-paying dollars going to a blatant anti-Israel organization is appalling to me!

In Pastor Hagee’s letter to Glenn Beck he stated why he and those who stand with him will continue to support Israel. I am one of those he speaks of.

1. Standing with Israel is not about politics, it is about obeying the Word of God. The Bible is the only Truth there is. Your feelings and thoughts do not make something true. To quote Pastor Hagee letter regarding this issue, “The truth is, Israel is the only nation created by a Sovereign act of God in the Book of Genesis. Israel was not born on May 15, 1948…it was born 3500 years ago when Almighty God made an eternal covenant between Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and their descendants (see Genesis 13:14-15 and Genesis 17:7-8).” Amen, Pastor Hagee, AMEN!

2. Psalm 122:6 commands us to love and pray for Israel. If we claim to beleive the Bible and follow what it says then standing with, praying for and loving Israel is a must!

3. All blessings and curses come to us from how we treat Israel (Genesis 12:1-4). In Pastor Hagee’s letter he gives 2 distinct examples of how this plays out in the lives of past Pharaohs actions. I choose to be blessed by God rather than cursed by Him.

4. Jesus- a Jewish Rabbi- healed a sick Gentile because this man “built a synagogue” in the land of Israel. Messiah of the World healed a Gentile because of he supported Israel. (Luke 7:1-5).

5. Romans 15:27 tells us it is our duty as Christians to minister where needed. This especially applies to Israel. If you take away the contributions of the nation of Israel from the Christian faith there would be no Christian faith.

6. Jesus tells us whatever we do to the least of those we do unto Him. (Matthew 25:40) God made a covenant with Israel and her people and we are to honor that covenant in our beliefs and actions.

7. Obadiah 1:15 and Joel 3:2 speaks very clearly that any nation that tries to divide the land of Israel (Jerusalem IS included in this land covenant made by God with Abraham) will receive judgement from God. America is not immune to the consequences if we insist on being a part of trying to force this division. When we as a nation take our “final stand”, so to speak, against Israel, and join the  ranks of those demanding the creation of a “Palestinian State”, God will swiftly remove His hand of protection from this nation. He will turn His back on America just as she has turned her back on Him and His chosen people- Israel.

8. Israel has every right to exist! Who are we or anyone else in the world to “demand” that she give up land promised to her by Sovereign God? The wrath of God Almighty will be seen by all who follow through with this “demand”.

Once again I quote Pastor Hagee from his letter:

We call on the President and Congress to demand that Hamas and the Palestinians recognize Israel’s right to exist or to cut off all foreign aid immediately. Israel has the right to defined and defensible borders. Israel has the right to defend itself from any nation or group of people that attack them.

I personally stand with Pastor Hagee and demand that our leaders in Congress and our President support Israel and stop pushing to divide Israel.

I agree with every single reason Pastor Hagee gave in why we will still support Israel. For me it goes much deeper than that. It goes to the very depths of my soul. Yes, the Bible reasons are more than enough for me. But there is a longing in deep in my soul to do what is good and pleasing to God. It goes beyond just not wanting to receive the wrath of God. I am honored to love the nation of Israel and her people with a spiritual love that reaches beyond the constraints of time. When I read the Biblical account of the Jewish people there is a stirring within me that I cannot explain. I know without a doubt God has chosen this nation and people to be blessed for many reasons.

People of the world- be warned. You will be judged on how you treat Israel. Scoff and mock me if you will. As for me and my house, we WILL serve The Lord God Almighty! (Joshua 24:15) He has commanded us to stand with Israel and I will obey! I know all too well the consequences of being disobedient to God. I will not ever make that mistake where Israel is concerned!

I am a proud Christian, Texan, American who stands with Israel come hell or high water! May God have mercy on the souls of those who don’t!

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Update: I have started a Facebook Page to contact Texas Lawmakers to demand that an immediate stop be put on the funding of Esperanza Peace and Justice Center- a San Antonio based non-profit organization that participated in this disruptive invasion. If you are on Facebook, please stop by the Page. Use the link to contact your Congressmen and Senator. Forward it to your friends and have them contact their Congressman and Senator. We must stand united for Israel!

Do Not Be Afraid

This continues the story of our journey to have a family. The time frame for this chapter of our story is November 2007-March 2008.
If you continue to read along, you will see first hand the reality of how broken the Foster Care system truly is.
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When we first heard about the Foster-To-Adopt Program, it had been our intention to adopt a baby. One baby. I wanted to have the full experience of raising a child from infancy. Since I would not have the experience the actual pregnancy, I wanted to at least experience the infancy process.

We realized very quickly that baby’s are hard to get in the system. There are so many older children who need homes, but there is very often a wait for infants. Not only is there a wait, it is also not guaranteed that you will be able to keep this baby- or any child you are placed with who’s status is still classified as Foster rather than Foster-to-Adopt. The difference in the status is whether or not the parent’s rights have been terminated. 

We decided that we would broaden the age range for children we would accept. This is how we came to have the two sets of children we had already been placed with rather than infants.

But I still wanted to have a baby. It was still something my husband wanted as well, but I do not think it was as important to him as it was to me.

We had almost increased our license to four children when we found out the first two boys were back in the system, but I was so unsure of being able to handle four children at one time. But the longing was still there. Though I had children, I still long to have a baby! I did not know at this point whether or not I could handle more than the two children we already had.

One evening I told my husband I needed to spend some time with God. I went into our room and shut the door. I spent a while in prayer, wrestling with God over whether or not I could handle three children, one of which would be an infant. As I lay silently before God, just meditating, I heard a very distinct voice. I sat up very quickly, expecting someone to be there. Who I thought it would be, I do not know. I knew that it had not been my husband’s voice, and there were no other adults in the house. It then occurred to me that I had not heard the voice with my ears but with my heart.

God had spoken to me again. But there was no way that what I had heard could be possible!

I sat for a few moments, just taking in what I knew I had heard. After a few moments, I left our room. When I walked back into the kitchen, my husband asked me if I felt better. I chuckled and he asked what that meant. My exact words were, “God is crazy!” He looked at me as if I had literally lost my mind. I’m sure he was wondering what in the world had caused me to say that!

I told him that God had told me not to be afraid to go ahead with three children, I would be just fine. In fact, He told me to be prepared because we would have a total of five children. When I told my husband this, I laughed. But even then, I knew that God has spoken. And I knew that I would not disobey. I had made that mistake too many times in my life before. I just did not know how in the world I was going to be able to handle five children!


After discussing all of this with my husband, we decided we would increase our license to three children, and hold the spot for an infant. We were not ready to step out in faith at this point and just accept that God had spoken. I believe we were both in shock. My husband knows I do not tell him that God has told me something very often. In fact, I have been frustrated many times in the past because I did not hear God’s voice when I would pray so desperately for answers in various different situations. We just were not quite ready to accept that this would be our reality. And there was the possibility that I was just imagining things. To say that you know God has spoken to you is nothing small!

The next day I made the call.  Our license would be increased so that we would be able to have three children in our home.

It was not long before I received a call. There was a baby available. However, they told me right up front it was a definite we would not be able to adopt this baby. She would not be coming to us from the State Foster Care system; she would instead be coming to us through a private adoption agency. There were legal issues that had to be cleared up before she could be given to the adoptive parents. We agreed to take her.

Although we knew from the very beginning that she would not be ours, we loved her as if she were our own as we did all of our kids. We were told before we ever picked her up that we would have her anywhere from one day to one month at the very longest. I went to the hospital and picked her up from the hospital nursery when she was just 3 days old. That was one of the most beautiful experiences of my life. To be in the hospital nursery, the nurses giving me instructions on care, feeding her, rocking her… I cannot even tell you the emotions that were going on inside of me!

Over the next month, I got to know the adoptive mom. We talked on the phone every single day, if not several times a day. We built a relationship over that month that still exists today. We are getting to see her grow up, experience her birthday parties and other special events of her life. I am truly honored to have been there the first month of her life. I would not have it any other way, because this little girl is exactly where she is supposed to be! Her life is one of those strange stories you hear where the adopted child looks exactly like one of her adoptive parents. She is literally the spitting image of her Daddy! We know without a doubt he is not her biological father, but it’s one of those strange little quirks that happen in life.

It was one of the greatest experiences of my life to be a part of bringing our friends their child and caring for her the first month of her life. This child is the reason we are all friends today. But, even knowing from the very beginning that we would not have her long, and knowing that she was going to a wonderful, loving family that wanted a child so desperately- just as we did– it still killed my soul to let her go. I had bonded with her. So, I was very happy for the family, but my heart was breaking. There is just no preparing your heart for such a mixture of emotions. I kept my emotions together to be a part of this very special moment in our friends’ lives- laying their new baby in their arms-spending a few minutes with them, and walking back outside to leave the adoption agency office. I made it around the corner- because I knew they could see me through the window. I had the other two kids with us, and of course my husband was with me. As soon as I made it around the corner so I could not be seen, I collapsed and just fell to pieces crying. I did not want to take away from their special day in any way. My husband had to help me to the car. I realize now a lot of my issue was that I was scared- yes, of being a good mother, but also of my heart breaking.

That day, my heart broke. I was so very happy for my new friends. But my heart was breaking, because I still wanted a baby.

A couple of weeks later, we got a call for our next child. He was 9-months-old. I was told that he was foster, not foster-to-adopt, but it was very likely that his biological parents’ rights would be terminated and he would be available for adoption. Of course said yes, and once again, we fell in love. This baby stole my heart from the get go. No, that’s not true. The first day all he did was cry. That was why he was removed from the previous foster home, because they could not deal with his crying.

Between my husband and I, we finally got him calmed down. But it took a couple of days. After that he was the most loving, most beautiful child. And he was a great fit with the other two kids. We began hoping. This was our mistake. The court case was not going that well for the parents, and we were told it was very unlikely they would get him back. In fact, there was a CASA advocate assigned to the case- a non-partial child advocate that talks with all parties involved in the child’s life. She told me that she saw absolutely no way how the biological parents would not lose their rights. There were drugs found in the same room as the child when he was removed from the home, and there was absolutely no remorse from the biological parents. Add that to the fact that they were not attending their classes. After talking with the biological parents it was the recommendateion from the CASA advocate that he not be placed back with the parents.

We were told that there was one other possibility, but it was highly unlikely that this would happen. There was another family member- an aunt- who had said she would take him, so they were pursuing the possibility. However, the CASA advocate told me that there was a person in the home that had a drug conviction, so she would not recommend at all that he be placed in that home.

But, once again, I got a call one day. And just like that, they took him with just a 2 hour notice. Once again, we had no idea there was even a court date scheduled! This time, my husband did not even get to say goodbye. Our other little boy was with me when I had to drop the baby off for visitation. We realize now that this traumatized him more than we could have ever known. I go to drop the baby off, but never go pick him up. we explained to the other two children why I had not gone back to pick him up, but how do you truly explain something like this to a 3 and 4-year-old? There are no words that make sense in a situation like this to an adult, much less a child!

They took him on his first birthday. I cried. I cannot tell you how much I cried. Literally, I cried for 3 solid days. It finally got to the point that I told God, “You have to take this pain and help me to stop crying. I have 2 other children to take care of, and I am not doing a good job of that right now, much less being a good wife.” I finally stopped the continual crying, but the sadness would last much longer.

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The Purpose Of  This Series:  Who Hears The Voice Of The Children?

The next chapter in this series: Fighting For Another Child

The previous chapter in this series: Jumping Head First Into The Fight For My Children

Foster Care: A Broken System- Video

Excuse Me For Harshing Your Mellow

I am once again taking a detour from our personal story to shake my head in sadness and disgust.

We really have reached a very sad point in our country.

In trying to get as many voices as possible to join me in speaking out for these voiceless children I have been posting the link to this series in several different places. One place I posted it was on a Christian site. It was fine… for a while, and then all of a sudden they stopped approving my posts. My thoughts were, “Fine… so be it. I will continue elsewhere.”

Today I went to update another site that I post to- a site DEDICATED to Foster and Adoption. It seems as though I “broke a rule” because I discussed politics in my posts and the link I posted is a “Conservative” site. We don’t want to “alienate” anyone because of political views.

It’s interesting to me though that I had one person respond to one of my posts from last week saying I had “lost her” because of my outspokenness of the liberal mentality that the government should be involved more. Her response to me was very respectful! She was honest with me, but was in no way demeaning. I appreciated her post, and even told her so. As I said to her, we do still live in a free country (well, at least for now!) and are all entitled to our own opinions. I also told her that I thought she would be surprised to know how much we do agree on if we could just get politics out of the way completely. She never responded to my post, which was no problem with me at all. Hey, it’s a free country, she’s entitled to her own thoughts as well. My response back to her was also very respectful.

So it was a complete surprise to me today when I went to update the discussion and post the articles I’ve posted since last visiting the site that I see my links have been removed. There was a post from one of the administrators telling me she “appreciates” my fight for foster care and “wanting to get involved” they do not allow political sites to be a “vehicle” to get cases heard.

Hmmmm…. This is not a case. The case has been resolved- finally! Thankfully! This is a story. A real life story that real people lived through. The experience has taught all of a lot! Our story is also a story of triumph in so much brokenness.

I was told that I could simply post the article in one specific forum, but I could not link back to the site. She agreed with me that my fight isn’t about politics but about getting ALL people involved to change this broken system, and we wouldn’t want to “alienate thousands of people” who are not Conservative. She wished me all the luck in my journey, stating that she could tell it is a topic I feel very strongly about.

Needless to say I was once again appalled. In my response I asked her to please understand if I sounded a bit jaded, but that I would not be posting my article any longer, given the stipulation I was given.
I explained to her that I was very thankful to have been given a forum in which to write this series to bring attention to this broken system, and to not link back to the site takes away capital that allows the site to extend this offer to me at no charge to me. I explained to her that nothing is free- everything costs money.

I also explained to her that it is true- it’s not about “politics” in that these children are much more than that. However, it does have to do with politics due to the bureaucracy that’s been put in place on BOTH sides of the aisle.

I closed by telling her that until people realize these things we will never get anything changed. Hey, she has that right as well! It is her site. It is just a very sad and disgusting mirror of what our society has become.

So I fight on. Many thousands, hundreds of thousands or even millions may refuse to listen to me because I believe that each person is responsible for themselves and their own actions. I do not believe the government should try to make my life any “easier”. I believe in the old addage, “that which does not kill me makes me stronger.”

I do not believe the government should have a say-so in the lives of these children. I want LAWS CHANGED to protect these children and their rights over the “rights” of their biological parents! I want judges to be held accountable for making horrible decisions in the lives of these children. They already have their biological parents making poor decisions, why would we want to add yet another person to make bad decisions for them? I want people to wake up and smell the coffee! We do not live in a fairy-tale land where every day is filled with rainbows and lollipops! The only way we are going to be successful in making these changes is to address the politics that have become so intertwined in the lives of foster children.

Excuse me for harshing the peace loving mellow of those who refuse to address the issue of politics. This is reality. And reality is harsh!

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The purpose of this series:  Who Hears The Voice Of The Children?

An Open Letter To All Senators, Congressmen and Governors

Foster Care: A Broken System- Video

Jumping Head First In The Fight For My Children

This continues the story of our journey to have a family. The time frame for this chapter of our story is October -November 2007.
If you continue to read along, you will see first hand the reality of how broken the Foster Care system truly is.

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Our October court hearing was supposed to be a pre-trial hearing for the Termination of Rights. At this hearing, the biological mom’s attorney asked for visitation rights to be re-instated. They had not had visits with their biological mom since they were removed from her- the second time- the previous April. So here we are in October, and her attorney is asking for visitation rights right before her rights are to be terminated. I assumed it was a formality. How very wrong I was! It never occurred to me that the judge would actually grant visitation to her again, but he did.

I was devastated! I did not understand what this meant! If she was being granted visitation rights, did this mean the judge was not going to terminate her rights? No one could answer that question for me. Our CPS Case Worker was just as stunned as I was. The State attorney, our children’s attorney, everyone involved was at a complete loss as to why the judge had re-instated her visitation rights.

These two children are child #5 and child #6 of their biological mother’s. At this point she had already had the previous four children removed from her. Her rights had already been terminated on all four of these children and they have been adopted. These two children- my children- have never even met their four older siblings.

My children were taken from their biological mom when they were just 2-years-old and 1-year-old. They were removed from her for physical neglect and abuse. My little boy (the 1-year-old) had cigarette burns on one eye-lid, and on the corner of his other eye. The day they were removed, it was winter. The month of December, though not exactly the coldest here in South Texas, still requires long sleeves- especially for a child! When the CPS Case Worker arrived at the home, the front storm door was open. The screen door was closed, and a chair was propped up against it to prevent the children from getting out. There was also a chair propped up at the back door to prevent the children from getting out the back door.

Both of the children were dressed only in diapers. No clothing at all. They were on the floor, eating from the trash can and the floor around the trash can.

Biological mom had been given temporary, semi-supervised custody of the children the spring before they came to us. She was living in a facility where she had her own apartment but there were “supervisors” on site. By this time, they were 3-years-old and 4-years-old. In less than a month they were removed from her care once again, and placed back into Foster Care, because she left them unattended in the bathtub while she went outside to talk with the other residents in the facility. My little girl was trying to shave her brother’s legs, and she sliced his leg open.

With her previous history, the judge granting their biological mom visitation again did not make any sense at all.

 I knew from the very beginning that this was a bad idea. However, I had no voice in the matter. I had no choices. The judge had spoken and I had to comply with his orders. So we went to our first visit at the CPS Office.

 I had never actually been to the CPS Office building. It shocked me to my very core when my little girl spoke up from the backseat, “Right there, mommy, that’s where we need to go.” I had not told them what was going to happen. I wanted to keep the anxiety down for them as long as possible. But at 4-years-old she could tell me where she was supposed to go. She knew it well. How a child so young can remember something like the location of the local CPS office is beyond me.

The after effects of the first visit were excruciating. The children had not seen her for 7 months, and then suddenly, out of nowhere, there is a visit. When it was time to leave, my little girl cried. She did not want to leave. My little boy did not care, until he realized that his sister did not want to go. All I can guess is that he realized he was “supposed” to not want to go either. This is when he started crying.

That night, they both had accidents in their beds. We had not had a single problem with accidents during the night our entire month that they had been with us. But the very first night they had a visit, they both wet the bed.

This continued for a week and a half. We finally got back on track, only to have another visit the next week.

This visit was even worse. Their biological mom had arranged to have her mom be able to come to the visit as well. I was very confused to hear her talk. While CPS was telling me that they were still set to terminate rights, their grandmother was talking about her daughter getting the kids back. My heart was being ripped apart right in the middle of the CPS office, and all I could do was plaster a smile on my face and nod politely. I tried to be light hearted and encouraging to the grandmother, but it was one of the most difficult things I have ever had to sit through. 

Once again, that night, both children had accidents. The accidents continued for a week and a half or so and then stopped.

And then we had our third visit. The visit went the same. Their grandmother was there again, so I had to put on the cordial smile and be encouraging once again. She was telling me that she was planning to buy the kids a little plastic swimming pool to put in the back yard for when they returned home. The grandmother told me that she had told her daughter she had to stop losing her grandkids. Remember- my children are her fifth and sixth child to be taken from her.

I guess it would not have been very wise to tell the grandmother that I hoped the children never were returned to her daughter.

Again, it is not at all that I have something personal against this lady. In fact, it is quite the opposite. I respect her as the mother of my children. If it were not for her, I would not have these two beautiful children to love. But when is anyone in this entire process going to stop and actually think about what is best for these innocent children?

The aftermath of the third visit was worse than the other two combined. While we had the bed-wetting again, my daughter became aggressively violent. We had been informed that she had violent outburst when we were told about them, but we had not witnessed it at all to date. She was definitely rambunctious and did not know her boundaries, but she was not aggressive or violent.

After the third visitation with her biological mother, we not only saw it, we experienced it!

My husband’s oldest sister and her family were in town visiting for the Thanksgiving holidays. All of the children were playing together, and our daughter suddenly grabbed the glasses off of one of the other children. With one swift move she snapped his glasses in half.

When I talk with my children, I try to always physically get down on their level by bending down and looking at them in their eyes. I feel that this prevents the feeling of fear that is caused by someone towering over them. So when I bent down to get on her level to talk to her about what she had done, she pushed me. When she pushed me, she pushed so hard that I literally fell back on the floor. There was such hardness and anger in her beautiful brown eyes! I completely understand why. She had no way of understanding what was going on in her little life.

I knew immediately that this had to stop. These visits were not healthy at all for my children!

I am a documenter. My dad has taught me from a very early age to document everything. You never know when you are going to need the dates or facts to refer back to. So all along I had been communicating with all parties involved in our case.

After this event, where she broke the glasses and pushed me, I got angry! I documented the events and emailed it to all of the attorneys, case workers, and therapists involved. I was about to come unglued by this point.

After this incident, the judge finally stopped the visitation.

We soon found out that the biological mom was not doing all of her counseling and other classes.

But even with this knowledge, the court did not terminate her rights. They set the court date off for 3 more months.

And so the waiting continued.

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The Purpose Of  This Series:  Who Hears The Voice Of The Children?

The next chapter in this series: Do Not Be Afraid

The previous chapter in this series: Our True Battle Begins

Foster Care: A Broken System- Video

Mother’s Day- Mourning Turned To Joy

On today- Mother’s Day- I dedicate this to all ladies who long to be a mommy but their dreams have not yet been fulfilled. I know the pain of Mother’s Day when your heart desperately longs to hold your child in your arms but you have not been given that opportunity. I pray that you will continue to read this article to the end. My sincere prayer is that somehow, some way, my journey will give you hope. I have learned that everything- and I mean everything– happens for a reason!

Over the years of us trying to have a family I have written different things, and been a part of a couple of groups for foster and adoptive parents. I had to write a short biography in these groups. This is a revised copy of our biography. If you would like to know more about our journey, I invite you to read from the beginning.

A day of celebration. Or so it was for most. But for me, my heart ached so desperately that the celebrations were like a hot white knife of pain twisting in my heart. Mother’s Day. Why would this beautiful day of celebration be so painful for me, you ask?

It is not because I have a poor relationship with my mom.  In fact, my mom has been my biggest champion all of my life. Oh yes, she has made her mistakes along the way as a mommy, but she is a wonderful mother and friend, now that I’m an adult.

The cause of the deep pain in my heart on what should be such a happy day is because there was a huge hole in my heart crying out to be filled. That fateful day was May 14, 2006.

At this point in my life, I had been married to my husband for 3 ½ years. By this time we had been trying to conceive a child for 3 years. First, we had to endure surgery for my endometriosis. Then I had to be put into chemical menopause, due to the endometriosis. Then we began the real road to trying to conceive, where doctors were involved in the process. The medications and procedures I have been through have cost us not only monetarily, but physically, mentally and most especially emotionally.

So as I sat in church on that fateful May 14 in 2006, I tried to hold back the tears that were threatening to pour in buckets. We had just had another failed round of medication and procedures. The pain was intensified through my hormonal roller-coaster ride, another year of failed dreams, and more and more unanswered questions. Why, God? Why will You not bless us with a child? As soon as the service was over, I ran out as fast as I could find the door. I had to get out. I had to scream. I had to cry. I just could not be around the joyous occasion of Mother’s Day any longer.

It would be almost a year before we would come to realize that God’s plan was to bless us more abundantly than we could have ever imagined! But just as Isaiah 55:8 says, my ways are not His ways; my thoughts are not His thoughts.

We had talked about adoption, but it seemed like such a far-reaching dream, because we are not financially wealthy. To pay $20,000, give or take a few thousand dollars was not an attainable goal for us.

So when some of our best friends told us about the foster-to-adopt program, we were intrigued. Or, if I am being honest with you, I should say my husband was very intrigued. I still had my hopes set on conceiving our own child.

We decided that I would have one more procedure before we started the process. When it ended in no pregnancy, I called to make an appointment for the informational meeting. Within a month we had started the process to become foster-to-adopt parents.

Less than five months later, we had children in our home! Talk about whirlwind! Most mom’s have 9 months at least to get ready to be a parent!

I will not tell you it has been a bed of roses, with rainbows opening each day and a winking moon closing out each day.

 After almost two years of being in the foster care system, we were able to finalize the adoption of all five of our children.

 Hearing the giggles and laughter of my children each morning lights up my life.

 I never thought I would hear a child call Mommy. Yet now I have five children calling out various forms of mommy at any given moment of the day.  Every now and then I still get a shiver down my spine as I hear that name- me! Mommy! You bet I am! I am a mommy! And I am blessed beyond my wildest imagination!

Though our children are adopted, this is not over for us. We do not know where God is going to lead us, but we know that there are many other children are stuck in the broken system of foster care.

Today I am very grateful to my Editor here at ConservativeDailyNews.com for providing me the space and opportunity to tell our story. No, I can’t save the world, but I can certainly change the world of countless little lives that have no voice. No matter how long it takes I will continue to fight to make changes and fix this Broken System!

I pray that God will use us and our experience to help many other children find a loving home. There are many empty arms this Mother’s Day. There are many children who need loving arms to hold them.

I believe our struggles are not without reason. God has called us for a purpose. We have been allowed to experience this system first hand. We know the hurts. We know the frustrations. We know where things need to change. So we are here, surrendered to do whatever He would have us do.

My mourning that Mother’s Day in 2006 has turned to boundless joy!

Thank You, Jesus! I am now a mommy!

My heartfelt prayers go out to each and every hurting heart just longing to be a mommy this Mother’s Day.

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The purpose of this series:  Who Hears The Voice Of The Children?

An Open Letter To All Senators, Congressmen and Governors

Foster Care: A Broken System- Video

An Open Letter To All Senators, Congressmen and Governors

I am going to take a small detour from the continuing story of our journey through the Foster Care system to address you, Sir and Madam- our elected officials.  You are the ones who have to make the changes necessary in this Broken System.

While I do not mind at all sharing our personal story, the main goal of this series is to fix the Broken System of Foster Care. To accomplish this goal I am going straight to the top-you- the lawmakers of this nation.

Over the last 4 years I’ve talked to many people about my concerns. I’ve started all the way at the bottom, and gone all the way to the top. I’ve made phone calls, I’ve written letters, I’ve written emails, I’ve filled out online forms and I’ve actually sat and had conversations in person. I’ve talked to Case Workers, Supervisors, Investigators; I even contacted one of my State Representatives, but never received so much as a “thank you for contacting me” email.

I am now going straight to the top and I am not going to stop until somebody, somewhere, listens to me and commits to helping me bring light to this Broken System.  I am determined to be the voice for these children who “slip through the cracks” way too often!

There are simple things that can be done immediately that would cost nothing, yet would streamline things drastically!

One specific thing is requiring that all communications be shared with all parties involved with the child’s case. I was shocked when I found out that it is not a requirement as a foster parent to send weekly reports to all case workers, attorneys, etc. I was required to send a report once a month to my private agency case worker.

I am a firm believer that communication is the key to the success of any relationship. Without communication a relationship- no matter what it is- will fail. Invariably.

As a foster parent, when I would send my monthly reports to my private agency case worker, or any other correspondence that dealt directly with the child, I automatically copied the ad lidem assigned to the child, the CPS case worker, and anyone else who may be involved in the case. Without fail, I was told by every single CPS case worker that I was the only foster parent who had ever included them in correspondence regarding the child. This bewilders me to this day!

With the technological capabilities that we have today there is absolutely no reason at all why everyone involved with a child should not be on the same page. If you are following our journey, you know that with our first two foster children, there was a court case deciding their case , yet neither my private agency case worker nor myself knew that a court date was scheduled! When the judge ruled that the children were to go to a relative immediately I was given 1 hour to collect their belongings and explain to them that they would be leaving our home. To children who have already had their lives disrupted this is just another upheaval in their lives!

Had I been aware that there was a court date I could have better prepared myself, the children, and their belongings. As it were I was the one that informed my private agency case worker as to what was going on, not the CPS case worker!

As I stated in my opening article for this series,  the ENTIRE system needs to be completely overhauled! We must start with changing the laws that are written to protect the rights of the biological parents more than the rights of the children.

We must weed out judges who give these abusive parents chance after chance after chance to get their lives together, all the while the children are left with their lives in limbo. Every child needs permanency! While the “goal for permanency” is touted in the Foster Care system, the implementation of making permanency happen in the lives of these children in an acceptable time frame is missing!

Too often CPS case workers are just there to “do a job” rather than making a difference. Don’t get me wrong, there are many case workers who do have a true passion for the children they work with. However, there are many who see their position as simply a paycheck. Because they are government employees they are protected more than they could dream of in a private sector job!

I have experienced personally how private agencies often view these children as nothing more than commodities rather than the precious lives in upheaval! As I continue to tell our story you will get a first-hand account of this actually happening!

I know of foster parents who see these children as nothing but a paycheck. They do the absolute barest minimum to care for these children, yet take advantage of the system at every available opportunity.

It is my hope and prayer that by telling our story someone, somewhere will help me completely overhaul the Broken System that consistently fails our children in Foster Care. We have to be their voice! I will not be silent until someone listens to me!

I ask you, Congressmen, Senators, Governors- will you listen? Will you step up to the plate and fight to make the necessary changes?

You ARE being held accountable!

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The purpose of this series:  Who Hears The Voice Of The Children?

Foster Care: A Broken System- Video

Words Really Do Make A Difference

What a difference the choice of wording makes!

On September 14, at Ground Zero, President George W. Bush declared:

“I can hear you! I can hear you! The rest of the world hears you! And the people — and the people who knocked these buildings down will hear all of us soon!”

Simple words from the heart and soul of a man who was tireless in his fight against terrorism. These words struck a chord so deep within me and inspired me so much that this quote is now framed and hanging on the wall in my home office.

While I did not agree with everything that President Bush did in office it was not hard to see that he was committed to take whatever action necessary to make sure the perpetrators of the most heinous act of terror on American soil were punished. In the midst of the most horrific terror and most overwhelming sorrow our nation has ever faced in modern history, I saw resolve in our nation’s leader.

It is most unfortunate that the same cannot be said for the current administration.

Words are no longer simple and from the heart and soul, they are instead pretentious, flowery,  calculated and pre-determined at an attempt to “soften the blow” of the reality we face as a nation. This administration fails to realize that calling a lion an overgrown cat doesn’t change the ability for destruction that a lion is instilled with.

In 2009, in her first testimony to Congress, newly appointed Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano sought to diminish the steadfast determination of this nation’s military men and women who were and still are sacrificing their time, blood, sweat, tears and very lives to bring justice that Americans so rightly deserve for the terrorist attacks against us. During her testimony she couldn’t bring herself to breathe the “t” word, opting instead to rename the attack and others like them to “man caused disasters”. I guess it just sounded “cuter to her!  When asked by the German news site Spiegel Online if Islamic  terrorism “suddenly no longer posed a threat” to America, she stated that this administration wanted to move away from the “politics of fear”, opting instead to “be prepared for all risks” that can occur.

It appears as though she missed the mark on that one! This administration is not at all prepared for any risk that comes along! Investing in the stock market is more risky now than it was in the previous administration. In today’s housing market, it is quite risky to buy a house. And one of the biggest risks Americans take today is driving up to the gas pump! The price of gas is rising at a rate of overwhelming proportions! Personally, I would never have called any of these situations terrorism, but it does most definitely resonate with Ms. Napolitano’s newly defined terminology. President Obama and his administration are most certainly causing an abundance of disasters. But isn’t this just running headlong back into the “politics of fear”? They would probably do better if they chose to call it more along the lines of “politics of conspiracy.”

President Bush was very clear that we would make no distinction between the terrorist themselves and the countries and leaders who harbored them. Not so with President Obama, because there is no longer a “War On Terror”, it is now downgraded to an “Overseas Contingency Operation.” What does that even mean?

According to the definition given at dictionary.com, this is the last term in the world that would give me confidence that we have things under control.

con·tin·gen·cy
dependence on chance or on the fulfillment of a condition; uncertainty.

Thesaurus.com gives synonyms for “contingency” as: accident, crisis, crossroads, emergency, event, if it’s cool, incident, juncture, likelihood, occasion, odds, opportunity, pass, pinch, predicament, probability, strait, turning point, uncertainty, zero hour

Plus there are a few more listed.

So, I could essentially rename President Obama’s Operation as “Across The Ocean If It’s Cool Operation”.

Or how about “Transmarine Crossroads Operation”?

Hmmm…. We could go with “On The Other Side Of The Very Large Body Of Water Uncertainty Operation”. No… none of those combination of flowery words seem to give me true confidence that yes, we will take whatever means necessary to see this to an end!The latest member of Obama’s administration to try his hand at flowery rhetoric is Eric Holder. Testifying before the House Judiciary Committee, when asked if enhanced interrogation methods were used in obtaining information that led to the eventual killing of Osama bin Laden, Mr. Holder simply could not bring himself to affirm that yes, our country succeeded in killing the mastermind behind the most horrific terrorist attack on our land! In true fashion that is this administration, he said, there was a “mosaic of sources that led to the identification of people who led” our military to Osama bin Laden. He said that assuming enhanced interrogation methods were used is hypothetical. OK, if you say so, Mr. Holder! Come on now, let’s be real! I guess this is what he had to say, because the sensibilities of the left just cannot handle the truth in this matter! And  my goodness! What if Muslims found  out that we indeed used some form of enhanced persuasion on these enemy combatants!? They might just retaliate…. or something! But wait! We can no longer call them “enemy combatants” !  Let’s instead call them “Bad Person Contenders”. Or we could even say a “patchwork” of things led us to identify the “Revolutionary Serviceman”? Yes! Much better! That will work indeed! It’s all good. Just look it all up at thesaurus.com!

And finally, in an effort to make everyone feel better about events in history, I guess we will now have to reprint all the previous books that use that horribly offensive word “War”. Hitler was bad enough! We don’t want to have to utter that horribly offense “W” word! So now we will just call it “World Kinetic Military Action 2”. And we really must use the written number rather than the Roman Numeral to keep things from appearing so barbaric! Oh hey, look! Now it makes it seem almost like a movie sequel- right?  Things weren’t so bad after all!

See now?  Changing the words to “tone down” the harsh reality makes you feel allllll better now… right??!!

Our True Battle Begins

This continues the story of our journey to have a family. The time frame for this chapter of our story is September 2007.
If you continue to read along, you will see first hand the reality of how broken the Foster Care system truly is.

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It was not even a full month after we first received these two beautiful little boys that I received a call from the CPS Case Worker saying that she had just left the court proceedings and they would be at our house in an hour and a half to pick up the boys! What?!. I had never even been told that there was a court hearing scheduled that day. It was not until later that I found out that our Agency Case Worker was not even aware of a court date that was scheduled.

This is one of the MAIN reasons why Foster Care is a Broken System! In this day and age with the technology we have there is no reason in the world why communication cannot be streamlined so EVERYONE involved in the life and care of that child is aware of what is going on with their case!

At the court hearing, the judge ordered that the boys were to be taken out of foster care and placed with their grandmother. We had not been aware that this was even a possibility. From the time I received the call to the time that they came to pick the boys up was 1 hour. This is all the time I had to get them packed up and tell them that they would be leaving. I also called my husband frantically, telling him they were going to be leaving. Thankfully, he was already on his way home from work, so he would be able to tell them good-bye.

When the CPS Case Workers arrived to take them, I showed her the storage bins I had for them to take with them. One of the first things we were told in our classes is that anything that is bought for the children while they are with us goes with them when they leave our home. Most of these children have nothing that belongs to them. While I would have automatically done this, knowing that it was one of the main things that had been stressed to us in our classes made it even more important to me.

I am sure you can imagine my bewilderment when the Child Protective Services (CPS) Case Worker asked me if I was sure I wanted to send all of these things with them. I assured her that yes, I had already bought the storage buckets for them so I would be prepared whenever the time came for them to leave. Thankfully I had this taken care of the first few days so I did not send them off with a garbage bag of belongings.

I  reminded the CPS Case Worker that the oldest boy had celebrated his birthday with us, and that many of the things were his presents that he had received at his party. She told me once again that it was not necessary to send everything with them; I could keep some stuff for the next children we would receive. Once again I insisted that these things go with the boys.

By the time the boys were loaded in the car and buckled in their seat belts, this CPS Case Worker had asked me a total of 4 times if I was sure that I did not want to keep some of the things I was sending. By the last time, it was all I could do to keep my composure.

While we knew from the very beginning that these boys were not up for adoption, it was not easy at all to see them disappear down the road. These two little boys- our first sons- will always hold a very special place in my heart. Every time I see a bottle of Ranch Dressing I smile and think of the oldest one. My, how that little one loved his Ranch Dressing! I can still hear his little voice now- “Miz ‘Llenah, I want my ranch dressin’, please!”

That little boy stole my heart from the very first moment. I struggled more with the youngest one, because he cried for hours. He craved attention. While I would spend time throughout the day holding each of them, rocking them, playing with them, it was never enough for the youngest one. He would scream throughout the night. I was so mentally, emotionally and physically exhausted by the time they left, but I missed them before they were out of sight.

The next day, I called our agency case worker and told her we were ready for more children when they were available. She was bewildered, wondering what was going on with the boys. She was not even aware that they were being taken to the grandmother!

Our home was open once again.

It was at this time that she told me about another set of siblings- a little girl, 4-years-old and her brother who was 3-years-old. They had been placed in 9 different places, if I remember correctly. They were about to be moved again. She told me they should be ready to be adopted in December (this is now end of September 2007).

I did not hesitate! I told her absolutely we would take them! To know by December we could be finished with the Foster Care system and start just living life was a dream!

So we made arrangements to meet them. We decided it would be best not to just place them immediately, since they had been moved so many times. When we met them, we fell in love immediately. And they immediately began calling us mom and dad. That was a bit strange to me. In fact, they thought they were going home with us that day. They were so used to being moved around to different homes and different places they just naturally expected that they were on to their next stopping off place.

They came to spend one night with us the next week, and we made arrangements for October 1 for them to be placed with us. They didn’t want to leave to go back to the other home. So, October 1 came and they were brought to their new home.  Thankfully, this would be their last home. They would never be moved again! But, I am getting way ahead of myself here.

The day after the first two little boys were taken to their grandmother is when we agreed to take the next set of children. While we would not get them immediately, we were committed to taking them.

The next week, while discussing the brother and sister that we would be receiving with our Agency Case Worker, I found out that the first two little boys were back in the system. We did not know it at the time, but when they were removed from our home and taken to the grandmother, they were not taken to her home- they were taken to her place of employment! The grandmother had them only 4 days and discovered she could not handle them. She took them back to the shelter. This is now the second time the baby has been abandoned. His biological mother had left him literally on a street corner and drove off. Thankfully, it was on the street where the biological father lived, but that really does not make it any better. My prayer is that this baby is too young to remember what he has gone through.

I did not know what to do! Our little boys needed a home! But we had committed to the other two children! We were only licensed for two children. My heart was so very torn!

We discussed increasing our license to four children. I just did not know if I would be able to handle them all. I prayed and prayed, searching for an answer, but I did not receive one. All I could do at this point was trust that God would take care of these two little boys.

We had been told horrible things about the two children we were about to receive. They were destructive, no one could control them, there were major behavioral issues, and they were mean to animals. While some of the things we were told were true, not all of these things were. True facts or not, it does not hurt my heart any less to realize now that  ALL these two children wanted and needed was to be loved, to feel secure, and be given loving discipline.

From the very beginning we realized that these two children were not going to be nearly as easy as our first experience was.

Our Agency Case Worker had told us that their biological mother’s rights should be terminated by December- just two months away. Their biological father’s rights had already been terminated, and the final court date was scheduled in December.

There was a pre-trial date set for the end of October, to prepare for the Termination of Rights hearing in December. Never could I have ever imagined that our battle for these two children had only just begun.

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The purpose of this series:  Who Hears The Voice Of The Children?

The next chapter of this series: Jumping Head First In The Fight For My Children

The previous chapter of this series: Love Plain and Simple

Foster Care: A Broken System- Video

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