Thursday, July 31, 2008

My New Little Advertisement...

I have been playing around with photo and graphics for the past little while and decided to make a small button advertisement to use on So far I have come up with this one and when I have time to use my imagination side of the brain I might play with that stuff again.

If you don't know what is all about then you are missing out on some of the fun, behind the computer screens... Really, there is this whole network of people dropping Entrecards on each other. This is a fun way to earn points and spend time reading other blogs about things you might actually find interesting.

I dragged my feet about getting connected with Entrecard but was really inspired by meeting other wonderful Blog writers who were excited to be part of this fun social network. I decided I just had to get around to joining after I started reading LisaReviews I just love this Blog so much and once hooked I decided I wanted to drop an Entrecard on her when I visit her blog...

Imagine how happy I was to read her review about THIS BLOG! Thanks for all the great compliments and I will be sure to write an About page soon!

Picture Memories 2008 Odds and Ends

Just a few more of our picture Memories for 2008! (actually a little of 2007 too!) I had hoped that my life might slow down a little this summer but, NOT! It seems things are only getting more hectic! I needed to get some pictures off my Camera and Sorage disk space freed up for the next 10-days... We will be working hard at the Clark County Washington Fair at the Job's Daughter Potato Booth... I am sure I will be snapping a few pictures of all the Hard-Working young ladies (accompanied by their hard working morhers, fathers and guardians....

You can make a picture Widget too by going to... Be sure to visit

If you are reading this by way of a FEED here is a link to see my Picture Slide Show.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Call Washington TODAY Urge the Senate to Reauthorize the Adoption Incentive Program!

Be sure to visit the Adoptive Parents Network blog to stay up-to-date on the current issues that affect Foster and Adoptive parents and our children.

Today--call your Senator and urge them to reauthorize the Adoption Incentive Program! July 28 and 29, 2008

The Washington Hot Line number is 1-888-686-8191.

Thanks for doing what you can to help some of the 129,000 children currently waiting in Foster Care find a permanent family by reauthorizing the Adoption Incentives Program which helps support families meeting the needs of children who may not otherwise have been able to afford to do so.

Our Taxes help fund the costs of meeting the children's needs no matter how we end up paying for it SOMEONE has to and WE WILL anyway! The Adoption Incentives Program helps to provides Adoption Assistance (subsidy) funding, and post adoption support programs just to name a few things!

It is most often in the best interest of a child to provide that child with a permanent family. The Adoption Incentive Program helps make it possible to find good families for children to grow up with! This program supports those families and parents in a variety of ways.

Many of our children have been born effected by prenatal drug and alcohol exposure, neglected, abused and traumatized. Without the additional supports offered by this program many foster and adoptive parents would be unable to meet the significant needs of many of the 129,000 children currently waiting for an adoptive placement.

It requires a strong, committed and loving family as well as assistance and support for the needs of our children.The Adoption Incentives Program also increases the accountability level of both the states and adoptive parents. The support services are there to be accessed and the states have funding to oversee it! The adoptive parents have the ability and responsibility to access and recieve the appropriate services and supports.

Related Links:

Friday, July 25, 2008

Memory Walk and The Old Grandstand!

Some people know that my husband Andrew and I met when I was a waitress at this neat little Sports Club in Oregon--The Grandstand. The owners were several guys Andrew had gone to college with and there was a large following of Alumni who hung out to watch all the games on satellite back in the day seeing all the games at home was not possible.

After we were married the guys moved on and sold the club to one of the "regulars" a man not much older then we were with the money and talent to transition the club into the next generation of Sports Fun. Everyone was excited about the changes and happy that Perry had taken over the aging club to modernize things. At the old age of 50 he was ready to do something different with his time and saved money and spent a fortune making the place top-notch.

Not even a year after all the work was done, and the crowd was large Perry started showing some strange behaviors... We all knew it couldn't be a drinking problem since most of us had know Perry too long and spent too much time serving him Pepsi instead of beer. At first it was subtle like forgetting our names, or not ordering something for the club and then we started to notice his walk had changed, his voice had changed and in many ways Perry seemed very childlike.

Those of us concerned about what we saw happening to Perry decided to call his brother on the east cost and have him come out and check on Perry. We were worried when he was spending money on things that made no sense and he didn't seem like the same grounded and logical man who had made our place the place it became. Perry's brother arrived and was saddened to see his brother in such a state--even suggested the purchase of the club had been a sign something was wrong.

After some testing we were all devastated to learn our friend who was just a little over the age of 50 had early onset Alzheimer's. None of us really cared as much about the club as we had grown to care about Perry... and for the next year or so we all did our best to protect his investment and help him get the club sold to someone else. The progression was quick for our friend who by the time we all walked out of the club the last night it was ours had became little of who we knew not too long before. Apparently the same thing had happened to Perry's father and Uncle and now it was happening to him.

Today, we still see Perry around town now and then. His brother will take him out to the club and Perry will have a Pepsi with those of us who remember who he was even though he seems to have forgotten us. His brother seems to be escaping the fate of their father but, living with the reality his brother can't be left alone.

This is a horrible way to spend the end of your life and for us to watch a Young Man suffer long years with Alzheimer's is something none of us can really comprehend. Every year members of the old club get together and take part in Alzheimer's Memory Walk®.

As the nation's largest event organised to raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer care, support and research all the old regulars of the sports club take part in our local events.

The clubs old head-cook usually volunteers as a team leader and past employees and patrons still meet up once a year to walk for A Memory Walk and the fight against Alzheimer's the very thing that took our place and friend away from us.

There are walks across the country in over 600 communities. The usually Memory Walk is about a 2-3 mile walk held on a weekend morning in the fall. The same time of the year we all met at the club the most and watched all the Football games with Perry the dude who was once one of the most fun customers and later owner of Our Spot--The Grandstand.

Teaming up with the Alzheimer's Association, has given us all a reason to meet up once a year for a purpose – at the same time we hope by doing so it will move us closer to a world without Alzheimer's. Together, even a bunch of old sports fans who hung out and enjoyed games on the weekends can MOVE a nation.

Sponsored by Alzheimer's Walk

It's Personal and to be honest it hurts my feelings...

It's been about a week and a half and things are just starting to settle in and be real to me. But, my honest feelings have boiled down to: I take it personally, and my feelings are hurt.

I am not writing this Blog Post to bad mouth anyone--or to call anyone out. I am writing it because I have feelings too and sometimes they do matter. A lot of people view me as some kind of Rock or someone who can pull myself up when things are difficult and move forward without batting an eyelash... I can do that and have had some good practice during my 45 years of life on earth.

Once in awhile however--I am not the rock some might view me to be. Sometimes I am just a person who does have feelings and sometimes--right or wrong, of me--my heart is hurt by the actions and choices of others...

Often my feelings seem to be hurt the most when God is used as part of the reason someone else can do or say what they feel at peace about. It's hard to argue with someone who says that God Blessed a decision they made. It's not my position to ever judge how God Himself led someone to a place they find themselves standing.

I guess, the part I have never understood is how the same God would have someone else feel at peace about the actions that cause that person to hurt me? It's easy for someone else to feel at peace with God when the decision they make doesn't Hurt themselves but, only another person. I am at peace too when my choices in life don't harm me--and offer me relief from a commitment I made.

There isn't much I can say or do when someone tells me they are fine with their own choice and feel at peace with God about it. What Friend or Christian could even debate that issue? I just have never understood how God would make one person feel so at peace with their own choice and not compel that person to consider the fact that the decision they made doesn't make someone else feel at peace about much of anything.

I don't have to share who I am with anyone else--except God and my family. I can make choices that make me feel at peace--but, now and then put myself out there and give up too much to someone else. People seem to think sometimes that they are doing me a favor when all along I MIGHT feel I was the one giving them a chance and doing them a favor.

The lime-light isn't where I strive to be, fame and money have never much mattered to me. There isn't much in the world I want for--there isn't much I am not willing to share with those I care about. The problem is that sometimes I let someone in and give more than they even know or understand was even given.

Not that I even think I might get much in return. But, because it makes me Feel at Peace with God to share what I have, or know how to do with others. Generally, it works out well for me. Sharing and growing with another person is not difficult and brings a bit of pleasure to my heart. Fancy clothes, fine jewels and looking special are so totally not what I live my life for. My life is about quality connections with other people walking this earth along side of me.

People who know me understand that most of the time I would walk to the end of the wolrd to include them as a part of my day, my life and my business. I love to have another person be part of the things I do and enjoy. I cherish those connections with other's who seem to have things in common with me.

Usually, I am not a quick friend to be had. Life has shown me to move slowly and often I move too slow and miss chances to have a friend that may have lasted a lifetime. I have a guarded heart and don't often open myself up on the deepest personal levels. Not that I have been hurt by friends very often, maybe because I don't just jump into new relationships feet first. Not that I have lost many friends along the way either.

In 9th-grade I lost Carla. We had an argument about which end of the street we were going to practice Tennis... Her end or mine. In one day, a friend I had since 3rd grade was gone forever. All over angry words and the fact that my, "I'm sorry" was not accepted.

When I divorced my ex-husband I lost my best friend Becky. He ex-husband liked me and because he did I lost her from no fault of my own other than the fact that I was now single too. I could understand on one hand how that friendship ended even though I didn't have the slightest interest in her ex or the fact he liked me. We never even went on a date! But, I know being a female myself that jealousy is an ugly-green eyed-monster.

In my life I have only lost two friends. I still talk to some I have known since my earliest memory. I'm one of those people who have a membership and have posted pictures and bios and contacted people all the way back to Kindergarten. Leave it to me to be the one who still has the 8th grade class poster of all of us, in mint condition, scanned and posted for all my classmates to remember! Leave it to me the High School Annual Editor to be the keeper of the Memories for all of my friends--and even those who didn't much like me.

So, yes it hurts when I feel taken for granted. There isn't a lot I can say when I am hurt on the heels of God making peace for another to do or say things that hurt me. It's easy to say you are at peace with a decision that doesn't hurt you! Why wouldn't it be easy to leave something that wasn't really yours to begin with?

I suppose I am supposed to be Happy that someone else is at peace with God for a decision that crushes my heart. I suppose I should not feel hurt to have been asked to be part of something important to me--and to have let go of my own selfishness and shared 50-50 without question because God leads me to not be selfish.

I guess, that doing whatever it takes to make sure that I share Half of something with someone else and then having that person say they are at peace with the decision to Toss-Back their half of everything shouldn't hurt me. Especially, when it is sugar-coated and made to sound as if the toss-back is somehow because my Vision of something is too grand to accept half of...

The funny part is that the thing I shared was never really all that important to me and only became important when someone else wanted to share it and invested their interest while working as a team... The sad part for me is that sharing it in the first place only made my own life more hectic and frustrated. Only added work and caused me to make a commitment to someone else who was interested. I could have done a million different things for the year while I was sharing...

Instead, someone I shared with tells me she is at peace about wanting to share in the first place and then walking away when her life took a different path...

So--I have taken it personally and to be honest it hurts my feelings... I am glad You are at peace with God about your decision... I would have been too had my decision a year ago only effected YOU.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Keep your eye out for this Missing Child!

This is about the missing son of a friend of a friend of a A blooger Friend of mine who is in search of a missing child.

Blogges have readers from all over the world and this is why we are joining together and trying to Post this information on our Blogs and/or forward it as an e-mail to as many people as we possibly can. The Hope is that someone--any one--somewhere may recognize Amedeo Cuomo or his mother and contact the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children">

The FBI and Interpol are also looking for the mother, so they can be alerted also if anyone has any information as to their whereabouts.

Please pass this information along or Blog about this missing Child!

The Child Foundation Charity

My oldest child had a terrible accident when he was 9-year-old. He was sledding and hit a mailbox post and severed his left leg just below the knee. Thankfully, LifeFlight and the most wonderful surgeon I have ever met was able to re-attach his leg. In a few weeks he will be 25-years-old and while it isn't perfect his leg works and he still has it.

When we were in the hospital all of those weeks after his accident I was able to meet and get to know many other parents there with children. While each of us were in our own state of concern the parents I felt most compassionate for were those who had children born with physical birth defects.

My son had a terrible looking leg but, he didn't have a cleft-pallet or other physical impairment that caused people to take notice. I recall having a difficult time looking at one little girl I met before she had surgery. I'm not sure what was wrong but she had a very ugly growth on her face.

The little girl was about three-years-old and she had been born with this physical defect. On the day of her surgery her mother and I were talking in the hospital cafeteria and she told me that medical insurance wouldn't cover the surgery as it had been considered a "cosmetic" procedure. The mother told me they had saved and worked hard for nearly all of those three years just to be able to afford the surgery her daughter needed so that people would turn away in shock--sort of the way I had when I met the little girl the day before.

Child Foundation Charity Donate to Children in Need Thank goodness for organizations like The Child Foundation Charity. They help children with physical birth defects be able to afford surgery so they can look "normal". 100% of their donations goes towards these surgeries.

I learned about this The Child Foundation Charity by reading a Friends Blog. be sure to pass along this information and if you have a Blog take a moment and consider writing a post about them too.

As much as I will never forget this little girl and her family what I will remember the rest of my life was the look of joy and happiness I could see in her parents face a few days later when they were getting ready to leave the hospital. I will also remember that while their little girl still appeared to be "different" I wasn't compelled to look away when I watched them leave the hospital that day...and I was able to smile back at a pretty little girl I would have never seen without the help of cosmetic surgery!

Child Foundation Donate to Children in Need

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Do You REALLY spend that much time paying attention to your Children?

It's the middle of the summer and easy to allow the days to pass by without much thought. Being a stay-at-home mother who happens to enjoy writing and working on websites offers me flexibility with my time. The goal being that my family gets my time first and my writing and websites fall down the list someplace after cooking dinner and putting band-aids on boo-boo's.

I have never had too much difficulty keeping my priorities in order and getting the things done that need to be done. Some people work well punching a time-clock and others work better meeting a dead-line. I am a dead-line meeter and would rather swim through polluted waters then punch a clock to prove I can get my work finished.

Staying at home bringing up children has always been a joy in my life, that might be why I decided to adopt two more for another round just as the older children left for college. But, I learned with the older children that sometimes a busy mother forgets how much time passes between breakfast and bedtime.

That's why along with the things on the grocery list, the chores I need to finish and the work deadlines I also make sure to keep a little reminder that children need more than a warm body mopping floors or punching keys on the computer. Children need interaction from that warm body they call Mom!

I think the most difficult time of the year for me to keep everything in perspective is the summer. The children are busy playing in the sprinklers and running around and it's easy to just let them play while I get one or two more things done.

It's been a real eye-opener for me to occasionally take time and keep a little record of just how much REAL attention I give to my children. Not including the daily reminders to put away toys, take baths and finish their supper--but actual time--engaging with them for no reason other then being with them. It's just too valuable to interact about Nothing important except learning about who they are.

I generally find that about this time in the summer my actual face-time with my children has dwindled to less then what I would expect from the mother I claim myself to be. The summer routine has set in and everyone is doing something but, am I really doing the job I say I like the most?

The great news is that it isn't very hard to adjust and correct when a mother finds she has been a little neglectful of just sitting with her children for no particular reason. The best news is that it doesn't cost a dime or require a drive to someplace to give a child some quality mom time. It is as simple as eating lunch together at the same table or having a child help make a Peanut butter and Jelly Butterfly Sandwich! A few cookie cutters and the ordinary ingredients makes it a little time engaging with my children in a real way, directly feeding their hearts with a Memory.

My blog is called New Memories because each and everyday I have been blessed with the chance to help my family Make a New Memory... memories don't always need to be big trips to Disneyland or anything that requires great effort. My best memories of my childhood include mostly those special moments when my mother was giving me some Face-Time or holding my hand while we talked. Yes, those Christmas mornings and trips to Disneyland are memories I look back and recall as special--but, not the same as feeling my mother's thumb pet a spot tender on my hand, as she has the habit of doing.

I just spent a few weeks visiting my mother and on the last night we fell asleep holding hands... If I have no other memory of my mother made for the rest of my life this one will live with me forever. It was not just the flash-back to childhood her hand in mine caused, but the fact that it was her hand holding mine for those moments before we both drifted to sleep. It is sometimes the smallest things that can make a child FEEL the love most... even a child who is 45 years old!

My goal and my hope as a mother is to be remembered for the little moments I spend with each of my children between all the work that parenting is. My goal in the morning is to make sure and give my children a small memory of tomorrow they may not even realize I have given. It's simple to hold a kids hand or look into their eyes and be interested in the little thoughts of their minds.

What memories will you make of yourself for your child to realize they have about you when they are 45 years old?

Monday, July 21, 2008

Adoption Assistance Subsidy--A New Form of Welfare?

When the Adoption and Safe Families Act was passed in 1997 one of the most important issues it was designed to address was to make it possible for families to adopt special needs children who may not have been able without additional financial support to help cover the special needs of the child. The Special Needs Adoption Assistance or financial subsidy was designed to help families that would be a great home afford to parent children with extraordinary needs.

When we pursued adoption we didn't even know about Adoption Assistance Subsidies and if we had heard about this during our training or home study we likely didn't pay much attention thinking we wouldn't ever qualify. As with other money given for social needs we wouldn't have thought we would be given money to take care of our own children. To us it seemed logical that a family would need to qualify for assistance like most other welfare programs...

In fact, we were surprised when the kids case worker told us to complete some paperwork for the Adoption Assistance Subsidy and told the case worker we wouldn't qualify. He urged us to complete the paperwork anyway and let us know that qualification was about our children's needs and not our own personal financial stability. We went ahead and applied and on one hand are very thankful we did so, as the Needs Makala has have been far more extraordinary then her profile and history would have ever led someone to believe. I can say with full confidence that every penny of Makala's Adoption Assistance has been used directly to meet her needs!

What bothers me the most however, about the whole Adoption Assistance program is that in so many cases it reminds me of the old days when Welfare mother's would have another baby to get a pay raise! When my older children were little before Welfare reforms I personally knew several single mothers who actually had more babies so they could recieve increased and extended benefits.

Sadly, I feel that in some cases there have been similar abuses of the Adoption Assistance Subsidies. The media has reported a number of stories of Adoptive Parents collecting more and more children in order to gain financial support. In some of the most horrific cases the adoptive parents have been neglectful or abusive. In some cases children have been very hurt or even died as a result of them being not much more than a pay raise.

As much as the Adoption Assistance has made a difference in our **FEELINGS** about all the extra costs associated with parenting a child with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders -- FASD and Reactive Attachment Disorder -- RAD along with all the added social issues I believe WE Should Not have qualified to be paid to provide for our children. With the Income and standard of living my husband and I have there should be no reason we would qualify for Welfare.

When Makala was placed as a Foster Placement she was attending Head Start and was eligible to continue once placed with us UNTIL the adoption was final and then we would need to qualify. Since we would Not have ever qualified for Head Start we chose to put her in a private pre-school program and pay tuition. I personally believe that the states should provide the supports needed for the children but, not by issuing a check to the parents.

I also believe that Adoption Assistance has given the States the ability to Claim that they have provided services for special needs children by issuing the checks. The funny part of this for example is that even with the subsidy funds sometimes the issue being covered can't be found to pay for.

Take Respite Care for example. We recieve subsidy funds based on the need to have some qualified respite providers. I would much rather have the Services Provided then the money to pay for them--since so far finding someone certified and qualified to actually pay for respite has been impossible.

The State has the ability to claim that they have provided for Respite Care because they give us some extra Adoption Assistance. This means the State can claim they provide respite by giving us the money. The fact is that we would never have a claim with the state to say they promised this service but didn't deliver it because according to their records they have!

I hope that when the current funding policies for Adoption Assistance run out in 2010 that some serious consideration is made on the Federal Level. I believe that Adoption Assistance is an important issue and that in many cases if it makes a difference in a family being able to adopt one or two children then by all means these families should recieve the support.

But, I also feel that the adoption assistance subsidies should require a higher level of accountability and that families who do recieve them should prove the funds have been used specifically for the reasons that they are being issued. In our case, for example the amount we recieve for Respite should be proven to have been used for Respite...

I also believe that the adoption assistance should not be allowed to be considered Income when completing a mortgage application or other income qualifying need. I find it disgusting that I personally know people who managed to purchase a house they could NEVER afford based on the fact they have adopted special needs children and get the check from Adoption Assistance. These funds should NOT be used to purchase a larger home. Some might argue that the larger home is needed to accommodate the child.

I think that there might be a way to demonstrate that a home with an additional bedroom might be needed in some cases. For example if we had two daughters and they were sharing a bedroom the issues Makala has might require us to purchase a larger home in order to protect the other daughter from her. In a case like that I might agree that assistance could be used to finance a home... But, for some of the people I know the subsidy has been used to finance homes that are just all about status or to pay for certain makes of cars or fantastic vacations the average family can't even take.

I don't usually judge but, often get sick to my stomach when I see with my own eyes an adoptive family add more children because the house payment increases or they want to purchase a new car with a certain emblem on the back of it. I find it disgusting when it is clear that more children equal another check and that check is needed to maintain a certain lifestyle of the parents.

But, what gulls me the most are those who do this and then make it look like it's about wanting to parent special children or claim it is inspired by God. The truth of the matter is that for some people a pay raise happens with the small intrusion of the Home Study process and the availability of a child who needs adoptive parents. Of course, some of these children-collectors would Never show their cards or let anyone know that in the end it was the money that motivated them after all how could anyone judge the hearts of people led by God to provide a family for a special child?

I am just thankful to my God that I will never have to look into the eyes of my child and see them as the ability to have the standard of living that we provide for them.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

My laundry room makes the whole house Smell--Like a Breeze from the Sea!

Thanks to Renuzit TriScents I think I may have found the solution to my stinky laundry problems. I got my new Renuzit TriScents Transform Your Home Kit last week and plugged it in right away and so far it has been the only air freshener system that doesn’t seem to fade out at least as far as my nose smells. The unique thing about this system is that it alternates between three different scents every 45 seconds so no single smell just becomes just part of the overall smell created in my laundry room.

It’s been just over two-years since I moved into Our Dream House. Aside from all the extra floor I have to clean the only other disappointed with our home has been our laundry room.

I didn’t start off feeling this way in fact my first impression was that my new laundry room was made for television commercials! The problem has been that it was also made for the stinky stuff that happens in a home… Well, not all but a good share of it.

I thought having a big sink in the laundry room was going to be nice--it seems to always be filled up with whatever needs to be cleaned or has gotten wet. The cats litter boxes seem to belong in there since they go in an out from that laundry room door… The kids often run in from their outside play and seem to have the amazing skill of hiding something just wet enough that within a short time I can smell the mildew starting.

But, the worst part is the fact that our home is two-stories and there is an interior window type cut out on the upper floor into the laundry room. I can only assume this was made part of the house plan so that laundry could just be dropped in through the cut out? Either way, I have found that my sensitive nose seems to keep picking up laundry room smells all over the house!


I have tried a couple of room freshener systems but most of the time they seem to lose there effectiveness or we just get used to smelling litter-box and laundry smells mixed in with the flowers. I am sure these things are working but, haven’t been that happy with the scents of Lavender and Mildew wafting up and out through the opening upstairs.

I am enjoying the Sea Breeze Scents and there is also a Morning Meadow scent. You can get a coupon to save money trying this new product by visiting Renuzit TriScents and printing it out.

Sponsored by Renuzit TriScents

Fireworks for the 4th -- Illinois Vacation Memories

My family and friends know that my favorite holiday is the Forth of July! To me there is nothing better than the heat of summer, a huge family barbeque followed by the pops, bangs and delight of exploding fireworks!

This year was especially fun since I haven't spent a 4th of July with my family in so many years I don't dare try to add them up but, would guess it may have been 1981 the last time I was with My People on this most awesome day we celebrate the birth of the United States and what it means to have the freedom we do.

Between thunderstorms and tornado warnings the day turned out just perfect! The children were able to enjoy playing with Sparklers that are hard to come by on the West Coast with all the risk of wild fire. Not in Southern Illinois however! And not only did the children have fun with the sparklers--but, they had fun will the really good ones!

The last 10 years I have spent this holiday with my husbands immigrant family. The came from Austria to Canada after World War II and then moved to the US when my husband was a teenager. I have missed this holiday with my own family as our roots go all the way back to the very birth of this country and spending my Independence day with immigrants has been interesting to say the least. Especially when my mother-in-law's idea of potato salad is far from the version my mommy makes!

The day turned out perfect and Mom's Potato Salad and Backed Beans filled my tummy and heart with the childhood memories I have so long ago forgotten. It was nice to share a non-major holiday with MY FAMILY and remember some of the small traditions we had that I lost track of over the years. I made an all day video of everyone that needs to be edited because my brother Jamie felt the need to Moon the Camera (I have threatened to upload it someplace on the Internet since he has spent his entire life mooning me any chance he can get!) and I will need to edit out the part where Aunt Terrie (the ministers wife) does her little routine and it could be viewed as somewhat inappropriate (actually only in the context of the fact she was a minister's wife ;)

My Adult Kid has Huge Debts!

My oldest child is all grown up and just completed his Masters Degree in Computer Engineering and now he is in for the rude awakening so many college graduates face once they are finished with school and sent out to work with all the grown ups. It’s good that he has found a job, even though it isn’t the one he dreamed of or even one he feels was worthy of all the years of education he suffered through. I am sure when he gets his first pay check his attitude will change at least until his student loans are due.

He is starting to feel the real implications of what it means to pay bills and have a huge debt. A mother can only hope that her children don’t make the same mistakes she did and so far it looks good for my adult children except for one area of big concern. Their financial debts are huge and must be paid in order to avoid credit problems in the future.

I have always been a little concerned about the amount of debt my college children were adding to their lives and do hope that their education is something they never feel buyers remorse about.

Buyers remorse is something I learned at their age, except that my regrets were about different kinds of debt. As a young adult starting life in the recession of the early 1980’s I did pretty well with my money until just about the time the economy bounced back. It all started to go down-hill when the Super Stereo Store offered financing to anyone who could show they had a pay check that week! At some horrible rate of interest my only concern was the monthly payment amount.

Over the course of a year I calculated my debts based on the actual monthly payment requirements and ended up with a nearly $10,000 debt for junk that was gone before I even started making payments on the principal loan. Just when I was at the point one blip in my life would cause the whole house of cards to tumble--I hit the blip!

A second baby was due and this time there was no medical insurance. By the time we brought my daughter home from the hospital there was another $12,000 due to cover the costs of her C-section delivery. I was a 22-year old mother of two babies and not much college education--married to a 22 year old father of two babies without much education.

We struggled for a few years and then the car broke down. Our credit was hurt just enough that buying another was not an option so we managed for 9 months without a car. It was miserable I pushed a stroller with my two babies 2 miles to leave them with a babysitter and walked back a mile to work a minimum wage job. Eventually, we were able to buy a new car which was really mandatory in order to earn a living and take care of two little children.

After years of rolling the debt around and robbing Peter to pay Paul we decided there was no end in sight and that our debts were not only never going to get paid but, the stress was going to destroy our lives. We made the poor choice to file Chapter 13 Bankruptcy the kind where you still pay your debts but ruin your credit anyway!

It didn’t help our problems as life just kept moving on and we had bills to pay and children to raise. We filed chapter 13 in 1988 and didn’t finish our payments until 1992. A full 10-years of adult life and nothing of any real asset to show for it.

Once a person learns how to run from bill collectors it can be a hard habit to break so our financial behaviors didn’t actually improve as a result of taking the so-called easy way out. We had just become skilled message takers when bill collectors called. I knew when the Bankruptcy was settled that We Needed to make some changes.

It was difficult and took great effort to learn to live within our means. Thankfully, life had also given us some experience that merited more then minimum wage but, making money was only a little part of being financially secure. We needed to learn how to spend our money and budget.

We ended up getting support from the local credit union. They offered consumer counseling and helped us develop a plan where our only payments were a weekly deposit of a specific amount that was needed to cover our bills. It was the thing that changed our lives and within a few short months we were on track… Two years later we qualified to purchase a home… Which I ended up getting in the divorce!

Today, I don’t have financial problems and I know how to use my money. I still own that house and rent it to other young families--some pay rent on time and some have been deadbeats or people like I was once way back when!

I have some huge remorse over the day I financed the cool 100-wat Stereo system with the big speakers… If I could rewind time or there had been computers back then I might have found help sooner! Today there are solutions that I was not aware of back then…

For_opportunities One Internet site I sent my adult son to visit offers several services for Debt help Including Debt consolidation and Debt relief advice and service. My son may not be able to avoid paying back the loans he took for his education, but he may be able to avoid making his life more miserable with his pocket filled with credit cards.

Sponsored by

Friday, July 18, 2008

Understanding Attachment: Stranger Anxiety

With normal child attachment development a baby would normally develop Stranger Anxiety at about the age of 6 months old.

This Video has some great information about the normal development of stranger anxiety.

Understanding how the average baby or child develops is sometimes difficult as adoptive parents. There are times we might question if our adopted child is showing normal developmental behaviors or if our child is dealing with an adoption or attachment issue.

I find the more I take time to understand the common developmental issues the more I can spot issues that fall outside of normal. It's easy to assume that anything unusual must be related to the fact that I am loving adopted children. I believe that as much as it is important to recognize the real issues it is also important to understand that not everything is about adoption and attachment and some things are really just normal.

Please feel free to visit the Adoptive Parents Network Attachment Forums and leave your comments on this blog!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Washington State: Children's Mental Health Survey

The Washington State Department of Social and Health Services, Health and Recovery Services Administration And Mental Health Division is conducting an online survey about Children’s Mental Health Services.

Last year, the Washington State government passed a bill to aimed to improve the Children’s Mental Health System. The Washington Mental Health Division contracted the Washington Institute for Mental Health Research and Training (WIMHRT) at the University of Washington to create and administer the survey. The results if the survey will help shape the Mental Health Division’s advice to the 2009 Legislature and provide information on to move forward with improvements.

2008 Children’s Mental Health Survey includes 11 basic questions, 3 questions for parents only and 2 optional questions on the survey.

The survey includes questions about accessing Mental Health Services and asks if Better access to services needs to be made for specific groups of children based on:

  • age groups,
  • ethnic backgrounds or cultures,
  • Native American children,
  • Children not eligible for Medicaid insurance,
  • Children not eligible for services because their diagnosis or behaviors are not as serious as required in order qualify.
  • Foster children who are not eligible for services because their diagnosis or behaviors are not as serious as required in order to qualify.
  • Children exiting the Juvenile Justice system or a long-term residential psychiatric treatment program.

Other questions covered issues such as:

  • The best way to get help at the first sign of a mental health problem
  • Which types of services need to be more available
  • Which professionals providers need to be more available
  • What training for mental health providers would improve the quality of services

Participants of the survey are also asked which problems do you think need more services available to treat children?

  • Co-occurring mental illness and substance abuse
  • Co-occurring mental illness and developmental disability
  • Oppositional defiance, disobedience or running away
  • Attention Deficit Disorders and other learning disabilities
  • Problems resulting from past trauma
  • Autism spectrum disorders
  • Traumatic brain injuries
  • Fetal alcohol syndrome or effects
  • Eating disorders
  • Criminal behaviors resulting from mental illness (Conduct Disorder)
  • Sexually aggressive behaviors

Several questions discuss Wraparound Services which is a team-based planning process. Wraparound service are designed to helps families of children with serious and complex mental health problems work with a team to meet their needs. Survey questions included a list of which services the participant believed would be most helpful.:

  • Mental health services delivered in the family home
  • Mental health services available in the evenings or on weekends
  • Mental health services for parents
  • Behavior management training for parents and caregivers
  • Parent and Youth Partners to support and advocate for families
  • Parent Navigators who help parents link with the right kinds of services across systems
  • Respite services to give parents a break

Several questions asked about Evident-based and Promising Practice programs and included this statement:

Evidence-based means a program or practice that has had
multiple scientific studies which show that it is effective for a specific
population. Promising practice means the research is less complete, but it shows
potential for becoming an evidence-based practice.

The Survey offers specific questions to parent questions were designed to get feedback from parents about their involvement with their child's mental health treatment. The focus on issues that would help them be more involved, and how well the parent felt they had been included in their child’s mental health treatment. Parents who feel they were not included have the ability to write an answer in directly.

Information from this survey will only be used to study how people who responded to the survey feel about the issues in general, and will not be used to describe or predict the opinions of specific groups of people.

People who have shown an interest in children’s mental health are being selected to participate in the survey because of their participation in past committees and conferences, work role or other involvement with a system serving children. The surveys are being distributed through available listserv and electronic mailing lists.

If you are a Washington resident and have received a request to complete this survey please take the few moments to do so. If you are a Washington resident and have not received an electronic link to this survey please leave a comment on this blog or email me.

The Washington Institute for Mental Health
Research & Training Department of Psychiatry and
Behavioral Sciences University of Washington

The Washington State Department of Social and Health Services,
Health and Recovery Services Administration And Mental Health Division

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Benton -- Illinois Vacation Memories 2008

We had a great time visiting or at least I did! As usual we drove into Benton and stopped at some of the important sites. Makala, Marty and Travis in front of my Great Grandmother Aileen's house.

We of course, also went down to some of the other important sites...

On our way into town we stopped and everyone had a great Catfish lunch. The kids were not too happy about it but, that's too bad for them. I honestly believe that once when I was young visiting **Someone** told me I was eating Squirrel? I still don't know but have always hoped it was just one of the fun little jokes family likes to play on little blond California cousins... Catfish is okay but, I must say living in the Pacific Northwest means I am accustom to the best--Salmon... and nothing is as swell as Dungeness Crab... ummmm!

We visited the Black Smith shop of my great great Grandfather and the prints of the horseshoes can still be seen in the sidewalks.

I can't believe how much more I still have to write about our Illinois Vacation 2008 and all the picture I still have to share!

New Memories and SocialSpark

There is about to be another huge round of changes to happen with my business Adoptive Parents Network LLC and in the near future we will be making some announcements about the future.

One of the major things I have wanted to see the Website become is an official Social Network. My vision is to be not only a support and information site but, also a networking tool for a variety of opportunities.

I believe that everyone has something they can do in order to be skilled, educated and wonderful parents and earn an income or create a business of their own. I have been typing the keys of computers and typewriters most of my life and never been able to take the opportunities I have during the past several years to build a solid income simply by writing and sharing information.

Recently This Blog, New Memories became a part of another Social Network Community--
SocialSpark. I have never made any secret of the fact that I do consider my writing as a marketable skill. I have long been a "paid" writer on the Internet. What I like about SocialSpark is that I have access to paid writing on my own Blog and websites.

As a website owner I also have the opportunity to offer some positions for other's to add to the site. Right now I am keeping things simple and working as a writer here on this blog.

SocialSpark has a simple and honest code of ethics:

  • 100% Audit-able In-Post Disclosure
    SocialSpark wants their network members to maintain the trust of their readers by insisting on full in the post disclosures of all sponsored posts. This policy means that being paid for a blog post on a certain topic, even those I may have written about anyway could risk giving the impression of a conflict of interest. I personally don't have any thing to hide about the fact I like to earn some income writing and I hope other's might find their own way to make a few dollars too. Disclosure is a proactive method of letting my readers know, that I am being paid for that content. This allows me to maintain the trust of my readers and avoid any appearance of impropriety.
  • Each sponsored post opportunity within the SocialSpark marketplace provides
    the blogger a small snippet of code for a Disclosure Badge. The Disclosure Badge
    must be placed at the end of each post without exception. This badge protects
    both you and the advertiser, providing an audit-able disclosure trail that
    exceeds compliance standards based on FTC and WOMMA guidelines.
  • 100% Transparency

  • Every member participating on SocialSpark can be viewed by the public. This is how bloggers and advertisers keep the community an honest place to do business. The public can read which bloggers are working with which advertisers and on which opportunities the bloggers and advertisers have accepted. Transparency keeps everyone honest and open about the transactions that occur.

  • 100% Real Opinions

  • I especially like the fact that I am free to write or say whatever you want working with the SocialSpark community. Unlike some of the other types of paid blogging positions I have investigated SocialSpark has no restrictions about how I express my feelings about an advertiser's product or service and makes it possible for me to pick the Opportunities that fit my blog and style the best. Not only am I never asked to write about something that doesn't feel right, or about a product I don't own but I am expected to be honest and pass on those Opportunities.
    Dishonest or completely off-topic posts can ultimately hurt your blog's
    credibility. We strongly encourage you to only take opportunities that relate to
    you and to alert us if an advertiser ever suggests that you be dishonest.

  • 100% Search Engine Friendly

  • The sponsored links used by SocialSpark automatically carry the "no-follow" attribute so there will be no affect to search engine rankings. The "no-follow" is designed to protect both bloggers and advertisers from search engine penalties based on paid linking. Bloggers and Advertisers participating in the marketplace agree not to circumvent this practice and manually remove the "no-follow" attribute.

I am looking forward to all the exciting things that are going on with Social Networking and having a great time with SocialSpark. I have found that the community members are filled with some excellent ideas for Blogs, and creative ways to communicate. The opportunity to connect with other people interested in writing and sharing ideas is what I have always been all about.

I find it fun to meet other bloggers who have their own way of putting it all out there and the same need to develop the talent. SocialSpark offers interesting ways to connect with other bloggers by messaging, leaving comments and offering props and drops. I am just starting to learn my way around the community and investigating everything but already know that for those of us with the need to make words a value SocialSpark is my kind of place.

Once I master the skills of my own personal blogging I look forward to offering opportunities to those who might want to write about some of the important issues we have over at

Sponsored by SocialSpark

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Summer School for My Special 5th grader!

I thought today might be a great time to take a moment and update how things have been going with the Free and Appropriate public school education Makala is receiving. I don't have very many good things to say about our public school system and hate to believe that everything has deteriorated so much over my lifetime.

I suppose the best thing I can say is that it is FREE--sort of! The truth of the matter is that I can't believe we pay so many tax dollars and spend so many tax dollars and what I find it the best anyone can come up with?

Either way, I don't want to complain too much right now because it's summer and I will be up to my eyebrows with the schools in a few short weeks...

I am still not sure the Day-Treatment program in the other school district is the right choice for Makala. The greatest concern is the fact that Makala is the only girl with a bunch of behavior problem boys... I really do have a huge problem with this! Especially, after we found the website address of an adult site folded up and hidden in her room...

I do like the teacher for the most part. She does seem to recognize some of Makala's finer skills and recognizes the disability to a better degree than most have in the past. The teachers seems to understand some of the limitations that Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders -- FASD has with Makala's daily function. The teacher has reminded me that Makala WILL NEED to learn how to cope with and manage the Negative Behaviors especially those that boys may use...

Most woman have to learn to deal with the rude and nasty things boys and men have to say or want to do. I suppose giving Makala all these Extra years immersed in sexual harassment can only make her stronger--or pregnant!

The great thing for Makala is that she likes to learn new things academically. She seems to be doing very well with reading and math. A little behind but considering the number of mental health interventions everyone agrees that she isn't have too much trouble learning the important skills. I just wish it was possible to teach her these important skills without the other junk going on in the public schools--and wrose in a Behavior Day Treatment public school!

We are getting ready to start the 5th Grade! Wow! As I have always imagined the next few years are likely to lead to some huge conclusions. The way I see it is that Makala will show and take her own path during the next few years. She will either decide to be a teenager who wants to cause problems--or decide to be a strong leader. I don't believe she will just be a regular kid but, rather difficult or amazing. It just isn't in her nature to be ordinary so I suspect she will be extraordinary for something. My Goal is to help her find a way to do this without it hurting her... That really is the main goal I have as a mother.

Understanding that FASD and the nature of Alcohol-Related Neurodevelopmental Disorders -- ARND means Makala needs a little extra time to mature helps me keep things in perspective. Where I may have expected a certain maturity and understanding to be here at the age of 10 years old, I hold out hope that it might be seen when she is 14!

The Day Treatment programs help to a great degree with the fact that she is always being watched and has therapeutic treatment. But, I wonder how she will ever learn to depend on herself with all of these supports? She will not have behavior guards with her when she starts going out on dates--or leaves for college. If she leaves for college?

There is also the return of the Nagging Voice in the back of my mind that wishes we could try life without medication--again... Just to see? I so hate medicating children and wish that it wasn't part of the job requirement with Makala.

So, for the next few days Makala is at summer school which is a nice transition from our vacation. Marty has been a stinky handful and we are starting to become very concerned with his delays. It seems to always be something in this house!

I have had the post-vacation Blues! Missing my family so much and wishing that nearly my whole life wasn't holidays with in-laws. I can deal with the In-Laws but really wish I had my Mommy closer all the time.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Aunt Terrie -- Illinois Vacation Memories 2008

Whenever I get around to writing the book Uncle Eddie asked me to write--Aunt Terrie has a lead role! Aunt Terrie is my mother's slightly older sister. When she was a very little girl Aunt Terrie developed an infection which caused serious heart damage. I was always told the infection tore holes in Aunt Terrie's heart. My mother was born into a life with an older sister who "might" die at any moment! When the girls were about 2 and 5 years old my grandparents moved from Southern Illinois to San Diego California... In order for medical treatment for Aunt Terrie. She had open-heart surgery at the age of 14 and is alleged to have been one of the very first Heart-Lung patients. It's funny how my mother and aunt were raised in California yet chose to return to Illinois to spend the end of their lives... Right where their parents had met, fell in love and started their lives.

It is an ironic twist that the little girl who was supposed to die before the age of 30 years old managed to live longer than both of her parents and return to the place where our family is still so deeply rooted. Mom, and Aunt Terrie both claim they feel "grounded" living in the place of their birth. I guess, it isn't very difficult to understand considering the majority of the people in Mt. Vernon are somehow related to me! Aunt Terrie is living right on the edge of Cousin Richard's Ranch... The corn was doing pretty well considering all the rain this spring and summer. The rule of thumb is that the corn needs to be "Knee-high by the 4th of July." Things looked very good while we were there!

Aunt Terrie spends a little too much time talking to her Chicken's (I was a bit concerned while we were visiting....)

Click to Play Movie

But, in the end I guess she really isn't that crazy because we were able to welcome three new Chicken's to the family when: Wing, Thigh and Biscuit were Hatched!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Health News: An Alternative For Stem Cells

Recently on our local news a story of a family who saved their child from leukemia by storing cord blood aired. It seems that medical science advances at a remarkable rate today. As Adoptive Parents many of us had no opportunity to save cord stem cells for our children. This may be something very few adoptive parents have the privilege of doing.

I had a partial hysterectomy just over a year ago. Which means I have missed yet another opportunity to possibly plan for a need of stem cells. Today, I found a press release about a New method of collection. While it sounds a little gross and might not be something many people would consider it's funny how you think twice about these things when the opportunity simply isn't there to even be taken.

Taking Control: Future Therapies for a Host of Serious Diseases May Be Found in Women's Menstrual Blood

July 07, 2008: 01:28 PM EST

OLDSMAR, Fla., July 7 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- With today’s hectic lifestyle, where most women are juggling careers, family, relationships, and a host of activities, the idea of possibly facing a serious illness in the future is not something that readily comes to mind -- especially when a woman is in the prime of her life. But what most women don’t know, is that the key to treating a number of possibly life-threatening diseases that she, a parent, a sibling or even her children may face in later years, such as osteoporosis, heart disease, stroke, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, may be found within her own body -- in vital stem cells, which can now be harvested from her own menstrual blood.

Now, thanks to the revolutionary research and technology of C’elle, a service dedicated to providing women with a safe and easy method of collecting and preserving stem cells found in her menstrual fluid each month, even the busiest woman can take control of her future, right in the privacy of her own home. With C’elle’s non-invasive collection process, menstrual cells are processed and cryo-preserved (stored at a very low temperature) for potential cellular therapies that may be used in the future. These self-renewing cells one day may even be used for sports medicine or cosmeceutical treatments, such as anti-aging therapies.

"C’elle enables and empowers a woman to take control of her future health, and possibly of those genetically closest to her, in a fast, painless and stress free way," said Michelle Kay, Marketing and Sales Manager for C’elle. "We live in exciting times, as science and technology are discovering how extremely valuable menstrual blood stem cells really are, and the enormous treatment potential they represent for future therapies. C’elle’s ongoing research is supporting these promising findings."

For more information about C’elle, please call 1-877-892-3553 or visit

I honestly would consider doing this today--If I still could! I have seen several medical miracles during my life and know that our science is part of the amazing things God made in the minds of humans. I am sure that in the future another story will be heard on the evening news about a mother of children being saved by the use of her own stem cells.

You can learn more about this program by reading the Celle Client Testimonial

Civil War History -- Illinois Vacation Memories

Makala may have had her highlight of the vacation at the Mt Vernon Raceway But Marty had his most eventful memory when we went with my cousin Charles to a re-enactment of the Civil War.
Marty was very impressed with the battle we watched from the field and...

When the battle ended we were able to go up close to the cannon's and talk to some of the men and some of the boys. Our family history goes very deep in this part of the United States. There were cases in our family where Brother fought brother. The Civil War is a huge part of our personal family record. My mother was born with deep roots. Aunt Terrie holds a box filled with Civil War letters written home to a great great great someone we love.

I made a rather long movie of what we saw that day:

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Shopping Vicariously

Most people who know me personally understand one thing I am not is a big shopper... I am a stay-at-home person to the core and shopping is work to me! From the planning, getting ready and to the walking out the door, I will do almost anything to find a distraction...

The wonderful Part about being a homebody in the year 2008 is that I can take part in the fun of finding the bargains, interesting treasures, and routing needs by using the Internet.

In truth, I have been an Internet shopper for years, generally with the big companies and auction sites. Lately I have been looking at interesting items for sale on websites and some interesting coupon, discounts, survey and networking blogs.

One of my new favorites Shopping Related Blogs is SunEGrl Loves To Shop This blog is just my kind of Vicarious Shopping I don't mind finding the right things to use or buy I just don't like doing all the leg work... SunEGrl's Blog is a great resource with topics about home ownership, coupons - discounts and mystery shopping.

Mt. Vernon Race Track -- Illinois Vacation Memories 2008

There is No Doubt that the Mt. Vernon Race will be the vacation memory for Makala! Every Saturday the Mt Vernon Illinois Race Track is a Hot-Spot for the rough and tumble action of Dirt Track Race Car Driving. During the half-time two Jr. Fan Club Members are drawn from the bucket and win a Picture and ride around the track with the driver of their choice... Leave it to Makala to win the Night we attended the races! Thank goodness I had my Camera and was ready to take a mini-movie...

Makala was on top of the world to Win this Ride around the Track with the cutest driver that night!

The Ride Starts (short video)

Around The Track (long video)

Related Links:
Summer 2008 (Soon!)

New Memories -- Blog Tags

abuse (1) acceptance (3) adoptee (1) Adoption (1) Adoption Committee (1) Adoptive Parent (3) (2) Advocate (4) Alcohol-Related Neurodevelopmental Disorders (ARND) (18) anxiety (2) At Risk (1) Attachment (3) Attachment Disorder (2) Attachment Therapy (AT) (10) Attorney (1) Behaviors (2) Bill of Rights for Children's Mental Health Disorders and their Families (1) birth mom (5) boundaries (4) Case Worker (3) Child Identification (1) Child Rights (1) Christian (1) Christmas 2008 (1) communication (1) consequences (4) Contact (1) DHS (4) diagnosis (4) Disruption (2) Dissolution (1) divorce (3) documentation (1) domestic violence (3) door alarm (2) DSM IV (1) eating disorders (1) employment (2) Family (2) family preservation (2) FASD Resource (2) Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders (FASD) (24) foster family (3) Foster Home (3) Fund Raisers (2) Funding (1) goodbye (2) grief (3) home (3) Home Study (1) honeymoon (2) impulsive behaviors (3) Individual Education Plan (IEP) (15) loss (2) Marty (4) Medicaid (1) medication (6) mental health (4) mental health services (2) Missing Children (2) Mt Hood Oregon (2) Nancy Thomas (1) negative attention (3) Neurobiology (1) Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) (2) oxytocin (1) Parent Advocate (2) Parental Rights (1) parenting (4) police (2) Post Adoption Family Therapy (1) Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) (1) processing (3) propaganda (2) RAD Cult (6) RAD Mom (7) RAD Research (2) Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) (23) Research (8) Residential Treatment Center (1) Residential Treatment Center (RTC) (3) Resource (9) Respite (1) Safety (1) School (10) Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) (1) secondary behavior (1) Services (1) sexualized behaviors (4) short term memory (1) social (2) special education (7) Special Needs (2) Statewide Action for Family Empowerment (SAFE) (1) stealing (1) symptoms (2) tantrums and rages (4) Termination of Parental Rights (TPR) (1) The Brain (2) therapist (4) time outs (4) transition (8) Triangulation (1) Trust (1) Understanding Attachment (1) Understanding FASD (6) vacation (6) violence (2) Washington (2) website (8) When Love Is Not Enough (1) wraparound (1)