Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Fantasy of Some... Anti Adoption

Adoption Reform is a very important issue to me. There is always room for improvements and changes especially when something is identified that can be changed. Most people working hard to advocate changes do their best to gain the ear or eyes of those people with the power to make changes... But, there is usually a small group who think that attacking the wrong people or group of people will accomplish something. Generally, those who attack the people who just follow the rules lack the logic to present a real argument to anyone or any group that might have some way to actually accomplish something.

The Anti-Adoption group has a tendency to make mountains over the most silly little issues... While in many many areas I AGREE and Support some of the advocacy they fight hard for. I share the same disgust for newborn trolling and overbearing Potential Adoptive Parents - PAP, who think a year of poppy diapers, midnight feedings and the so-called clean slate is so important as to pass over the 129,000 (recently updated number) of Foster Children Waiting for families... Even though I was part of the effort to collect signature in order to Open the Original Birth Records in Oregon... There is a element of the well-meaning people who just go off the deep end.

There are people within this group who seem to live in some kind of bazaar fantasy that if Adoption were completely abolished that mothers might have no choice but, to step up and become the kind of mother a child actually needs... A form of reverse "coercion" to right the wrong of those mother's who allowed themselves to be manipulated into placing a baby for adoption... While I believe that there are a number of mother's who have been coerced to place babies for adoption--I don't believe that there are thousands of mothers who were forced to place their baby for adoption... I don't doubt it happened or even that it may still happen in some cases.

I just have this attitude that if a mother could be forced to place a baby--or pressured to put her baby into an adoptive family What the HECK else would that mother be susceptible to? I say, "Great, because now the idiot man you bring around your child won't coerce you into God knows only what!"

Thank God, those mothers were coerced into adoption because I have seen a lot of coercion when it comes bringing up children and I have seen mothers be convinced to allow or do things to their children that are far more horrible then giving them loving parents. My attitude is any mother who could be coerced into adoption made a Great Choice to go with it! Thank God the damage was caused to a newborn and not the 10 year old molested by mommy's boyfriend or the mother who buckles to "peer presure" and becomes a doped up parent with children who have nothing at home worth calling mom...

In this day and age MANY pregnant woman claiming her baby was manipulated out of her care Opened the DOOR to adoption herself. Which means at a BASE level she wanted to be convinced it was Okay to place a baby for adoption. There are just far too many pregnant woman who Never Think Twice about adoption as an option and are Not Coerced because it isn't even a possibility! I have been around far too many women and girls pregnant with unexpected and unplanned babies to know that the Coercion for Adoption doesn't happen unless the pregnant mother dials the phone, makes the appointment or considers it as an option.

Today, there are just too many choices and no excuse to Not keep a baby if it is what is right for the mother. There are the rare odd exceptions of the disgusting PAP's who make offers to any pregnant woman they happen to see, and just like this disgusting people are in reality RARE so to are those who actually believe outlawing adoption would make mom's out of those who really never wanted to be mothers and waited too long in denial to get the EASY Abortions.

Both are simply EXTREMES hyper focused on one of two FACTS and then driving to act like crazy loons over it. To me it is equally disgusting to run across the obsessed potential parents who think that only a newborn will do and act insane by leaving cards with their tips for the pregnant waitress--and those who live in the extreme fantasy that a pregnancy makes a woman a mother.

We can all look at the PAP's and see they are often driven by circumstances beyond their control such as infertility or years of miscarriages... Something inside telling them only a newborn will be acceptable. They start the process and get carried overboard looking for the baby they will adopt. Agree to compromise their feelings of wanting a baby of their own and make open-adoption arrangements they never intend to keep, advertise, build website pages, and some troll the Internet looking for the mother of the baby they hope to adopt....

But, this fringe of Anti-Adoption people are equally NUTS in my book! Generally, they are not the 5 year old's who were adopted from Foster Care and live with some memory of WHY Adoption is good... No, the most extreme are Adults who were adopted as newborns and raised in loving homes where they received a decent education and have enough talent to "Copy and Paste" any little dribble they think makes a point for their argument. Generally, these people are NOT drug or alcohol affected and often come from mother's who cared enough to place them before they abused them and actually consider the life and at least TRY to avoid crippling the baby by boozing it up....

Actually, sometimes I wonder if that might be half the problem some of these WHACK jobs are really dealing with? Poor prenatal care because their birth mother's didn't care about them in the first place. I have seen it a thousand times! The parents adopt what appears to be a healthy newborn who later is found to be Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder - FASD because they grew in the womb of a woman that never wanted them. At least those mom's had sense not to keep the baby they Pickled in Vodka and abuse them more!

In fact, some of the greatest Special Needs Adoptive parenting classes are taught by adoptive parents who thought the newborn would spare them the reality of what so many Foster Adoptive parents expect as a possibility. Our original trainer adopted a "Healthy Newborn" and her child remained a "Healthy Newborn" the rest of his life due to the damage caused before birth. She made it a mission in her life to help potential adoptive parents understand that when a mother isn't interested in being a mother she may not actually care while pregnant. The risk of adopting a special needs child is NOT absent when adopting a new baby placed by a mother who says she never drank or used drugs.

Assuming an infant is a clean slate is not a wise choice. There are recent studies that imply Reactive Attachment Disorder - RAD may actually be more about Genetics then broken bonds and child abuse. While adoptive parents face RAD most often the lack of any clear treatment or proven therapy just may indicate the fact Genetics play a huge role in bonding--and one might ask themselves, Why is it that Adopted Children suffer such high rates of Attachment disorders? Have we ever stopped to consider the fact the our children are adopted might indicate a mother who lacked natural bonding or was unable to attach to her baby as most believe is instinctual? New studies are leaning toward an implication that failure to develop normal attachments might explain WHY a baby or child ends Up Adopted in the first place?

I totally believe there is No Reason to amend birth certificates. As the biological mother of children with an adopted father, I know well the feeling of Not Knowing medical history, cultural identity and the issues of wanting to know the REAL roots of heritage. I support the efforts to change the re-writing of birth certificates and fully support the use of Adoption Certificates being made enough for our children to use last name, be part of a family and remain who they originally were. When I got married I didn't have to amend my birth Certificate in order to use my new last name and support a different method of legalizing parental rights and family names.

The only problem I have with the Anti-Adoption group is that a great many do little more then attack potential adoptive parents for following the laws and methods that are available. Looking for whatever way to take a Bashing approach and offer no logical debate of any issue. I have offered several people involved in Adoption Reform, adoption advocacy and the anti-adoption voices invitation to provide information, articles and links to the AdoptiveParentsNetwork.com website as well as this blog and my others. Personally emailed and invited any of them a spot to present their arguments...stories...views...advocacy stands...whatever... Not one of them have taken the invitation.... instead of actually doing anything that might make a difference they sit on their Blogs and Babble.

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  • Waiting and Waiting for anyone to offer any good resources for ways that people might take part in their cause--a few links--a Senator Letter--a personal statement---whatever....You would think that someone who really wanted to see change might take a moment and put something in a spot that adoptive parents might see it---but, so far no--notta! I just don't have the time to Advocate for another thing! I am far too busy advocating for Foster Children, mental health services, education, community support and the other needs of actual children maybe I might have time to research when they grow up?

Get Ready--Get Set!

It's too late to do much more than pack what we have and sleep before the flight to visit family in Illinois... Marty is so anxious and now using any excuse he can to think of a reason not to go! Missing Daddy is the only one I am giving him any room to cry about! At the same time daddy appears to be looking forward to the 2-week break from reality he is about to endure.

I'm not sure which details I am forgetting or what won't get done before I leave! I will likely remember someplace over Kansas! Trying to get the pictures off my digital camera I found a few I want to share and keep safe!

Marty last week at Kindergarten Graduation!

Closing Cross from Job's Daughter Meeting...

Tori going into her interview for her Masters Program Spring 2008

Monday, June 23, 2008

Grand Bethel Memories...

Just a quick update this time! We got in late from our long four-day weekend on the other side of the state at Washington Job's Daughter Grand Bethel. Makala and I took off at 9:00 AM on Thursday morning and got home late last night with our bags filled with dirty formals and pantyhose, and just need to drop the dresses at the Dry Cleaners and put all the stuff we need for our trip back east. We leave before the sun comes up in less then 48 hours and won't get home until after July 10th!

Grand Bethel was so exciting for Makala. On Thursday night we went to the Miss Job's Daughter Pageant. Makala was so excited and we had such a great time participating. Friday we had Grand Bethel Open and it was fantastic to see a fully seated Bethel Meeting.

The convention center was great with a neat sky bridge from our rooms to the center where all of our fun activities took place... Eating fancy dinner's in our prom-type party dresses with sparkling Terra's and all the girls from 10 to 20 being complemented and honored for the nice young ladies they aspire to become. Friday night the pool was filled with screaming girls having the time of their lives...'

Saturday morning the new Grand Bethel offices were selected and three of our Girls were given offices for 2008-2009... One selected as the representative to the State of Indiana and another selected as the International Representative to Queensland Australia (Ironic if you ask me all things considered--some people wonder if there is Karma--I sure thought this must have been one of those situations!)

But, the icing on the cake was the fact that our Honored Queen was selected as the 08-09 Grand Bethel Honored Queen... Which meant that as soon as the selection meeting ended Polly and I had to take the 3-little ones out and find what we could to Pack Monica up for her world-wind summer and year ahead as she was not returning Home but, rather being whisked off to the next Masonic event along with Miss Job's Daughter. The two will be gone the better part of summer, and traveling all over the world for one thing after another.

When Monica was picked as Washington State Grand Bethel Honored Queen our whole Bethel was in complete shock and the race was on--Hotel Door decorations, everything she needs to travel, Roses for the ceremony and everything we needed for a party. Monica's Dad grabbed her grandmother and raced the 5 hours from Vancouver to the other side of the state to witness her Crowning Installation Ceremony and say goodbye!

With three of our girls selected for Grand Bethel Seats it left the other's to fill the obligations for the rest of the weekend... And Makala needed to step up and take a HUGE part for the Crowning Ceremony--she needed to be her Guardian's Escort for the huge ordeal! It was so stressful for her as she was informed 5 hours before the ceremony and we had all the shopping to do... She had a bit of a melt-down before the ceremony and Our Guardian and Mason were not real sure Makala was going to get herself together and be ready for such a huge job...

But, that is "Makala" she always amazes and is Grace Under Fire to say the least! I don't think I have ever been so proud of anyone or anything in all my life as to see her step up and do the job that in most cases is reserved for Honored Queens... She walked into the room filled with huge party dresses, tuxedos and a fully seated Bethel of Job's Daughters in their Robes and did her part perfect with the biggest smile on her face--and it was clear she was as proud as I was and the melt-down was over and behind us...

Makala woke up this morning and told me she dreamed all night--and was so busy even in her dreams. I asked her if she was happy when she was busy in her dreams and she told me that she really was because they were about the future and she was always learning a part, or getting her robe ironed and that she was busy because she was in the Pageant to be Washington Miss Job's Daughter and her platform was to talk about the 129,000 kids who just want to have a family! She said, that she wants to be the Grand Bethel Honored Queen one year and then be Miss Job's Daughter after that because she can't decided which is most important to her because she wants to do both jobs!

She told me that she was so busy learning her parts and remembering what way to walk that she didn't even have time in her sleep to think about doing something naughty and that she thinks she never wants to do those naughty choices any more because Job's Daughters don't do Naughty things they are too busy doing all the good stuff for other Job's Daughters to think about getting into trouble!

I sent her to the shower and I think she may just drain the water heater as she appears to be standing in the water still dreaming about her Future! If I had any doubt in my mind that Job's Daughters was a good choice--that doubt is gone today with these kinds feelings coming out after the weekend we just had... If she didn't just Love all this Pomp and Circumstance I am sure she would not be glowing and beaming today but, rather in some kind of fowl mood and not interested in talking about what we just spend 4 days doing..... I can hear her singing upstairs and talking to herself... and it's clear that as I suspected she likes Job's Daughters as much as I did.

Our Trip was Not without it's traumas... In the middle of Lunch on Friday my dental implant broke--Not the surgical part but the part above... Polly and I wanted to slip out and get some supper glue for my teeth but, as we left Makala made it sound like she had just gotten her period for the first time--which would have made complete logical sense after all isn't that how things go!?

Anyway, we ran and got supplies for both of us and then she learned that she wouldn't be able to swim so she Changed Her Story after I tried to get her set up only to have her refuse... And just when I was ready to fix my dental issue the repair kit was missing the most important ingredient... So I had MY OWN Melt-Down! Thank Goodness Polly was with me and she could see I was in one of those rare states where I just couldn't figure out Makala and what was going on... One of those spots where I couldn't help but think she Plans to make me crazy...

Thankfully, by dinner I was able to slip away and walk downtown to get the supplies I needed and a cup of soup... That night I told Polly I wouldn't have had the melt-down had it not been about my teeth--the biggest "inner child pain" I have in my life... I am so irritated with the Dentist office because after $15,000 of Implants the equipment made for the implants was NEVER right in the first place at least the good thing is that the part that broke doesn't affect all the real implant work...

I was so happy Polly was with me when I had my melt down... The whole next day she kept telling me she was worried about me and that she could see I needed a break and some respite which only made me cry more because as the day went on it was clear that without Me Makala is so misunderstood that she is mistreated without me being able to step in and help her...

When the big Ceremony was about to start we had a seating problem and Makala filled with anxiety... Our Mason came over to let us know that "Mary" had solved the problem and that she would help us get to the right seats... Makala was feeling she needed to fill the shoes of Our Honored Queen and started looking at name tags... She saw "Mary" and went to address her as such when "Amanda" one of our Grown Up Job's Daughter helpers started to rip into Makala about calling adults "Mr., Mrs., and Miss!" I stepped in and really snapped on "Amanda" letting her know that all Makala had known was to look for "Mary" and that if she wanted to be responsible for a Psychiatric Melt-down she could continue to act like a B-Word! And by the way why was Makala calling "Amanda" by her first name and not "Miss" or "Mrs" ? considering I didn't even know how to address her!

I need to send "Amanda" an email and let her know I am sorry for snapping her pretty head off but, come on -- Makala had no clue and really didn't need to be chewed out 10 minutes before taking on the job that Honored Queens were doing!

Anyway--now we need to get packing for Illinois and I just spoke to the dentist office about the fact their work fell apart during the middle of a fancy dinner 300 miles away from home....

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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Almost Summer Vacation from the Day Treatment Public School

Well, we only have one more day of the Day Treatment Public School where two different school districts have decided that Makala is best placed. As many who have followed this chapter of my story may recall the educators have decided to discount her doctors request of NOT placing her in a setting that is Primarily for children with Behavior Problems.

I worked hard and called in anyone I could with any authority to insure we managed to get the correct Individual Education Plan - IEP and after a year of war and an attorney we were able to get a her IEP written as Medical-Health disability because that is have Brain Damages is.

The local school chose to use the tactics that would lead to Secondary Behaviors for children with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders - FASD, and are particularly common with those children diagnosed as Alcohol-Related Neurodevelopmental Disorder - ARND. Once that school had pushed her to a point of exhibiting the secondary behaviors and her special education teacher ended up with bloody scratches on her arm. Only to be put in the rubber-walled time out room for a period of time where she was able to process and walk out 20 minutes later as if nothing had happened.

It was the first time anyone outside of our home had seen that kind of stuff, the things we had been dealing with for years until we came to accept and understand the implications that Brain Damage were for her little life.

Following that event the local school decided she could not be educated with the skills they had to offer so her case was moved to the neighboring larger school district which decided the best plan would be to attend the K-12 Behavior Problem Day Treatment School, which has only one other Girl that attends...

Today, Makala came home upset having been playing with the boys who are there because they have behavior problems and her behavior modifications daily Progress report has some low scores. Makala asked me what the word "FAG" means and told me one of the behavior problem boys had said it to her and she repeated it--where the action was for both children to be disciplined.

I have just emailed the teacher the following letter:

I really am not sure how to approach this issue as this is at least the 3rd or 4th time it has happened to Makala over her years of life.

Last year she was given detention because a Boy in the class flipped her off and she reacted by flipping him off... The Problem Is that Makala has NO IDEA about these things as they don't happen any place in her world except Public School.

She came home asking me what "FAG" means and we only recently had to even tell her what "Gay" was.... We simply don't teach our children every slang-word or finger action there is and would find it inappropriate to sit her down and do so.

We have a daughter who is FASD and generally lives at the emotional age of around 4-5 even her own 6 year old brother asked her the other day if she has been 6 yet? And told me that he thinks his sister has a "baby brain"

We are parenting a child who has brain damage that Will Never go away no matter how much behavior modification anyone wants to attempt our role in her life has been to attempt Behavior Management rather than expect her to suddenly act her age. We understand that she requires repeated teaching of even some of the most basic things in life. I teach her how to wash her hair about every other month because the information simply does not stick.

The fact that she has a medical disability was confirmed with the consistant evaluations indicating that she has very limited Processing and Short Term memory. Even if we did decide to teach her every dirty word there is we would need to do this 10 or 20 times.

Add to this that she was sexually abused by an adult man and the implications of our teaching her what to expect from a school filled with Behavior Problem boys is wholly unacceptable. If Makala said the word FAG it means nothing to her except that she heard it---and not at our home or in any other place we have ever taken her.

I am not feeling sure that it is in her best interest to continue being subjected to the disgusting behavior of boys with behavior problems. I can only imagine how I will need to deal with any learning of the words "Blow-Job" considering the fact that her description of her sexual abuse was that a man went pee in her mouth.

I am finding it difficult to understand why the school systems seem to feel this is the place for One Girl who was sexually abused and has a medical disability. Her doctor specifically advised that she should NOT be placed with children who had a primary issue of Behavior Problems yet--two school districts have decided this is the only place her educational needs can be met?

It seems the education that has impacted my daughter the most has been all the inappropriate ways boys behave and slang words she has no clue what mean. We are not the sort of parents who sit around and allow our children to be exposed to this stuff in our home or where we go Yet, the Free and Appropriate Education she is guaranteed seems to consistently provide this as her primary lessons in life.

You are educating a child with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder FASD specifically Alcohol-Related Neurodevelopmental Disorder ARND who was sexually abused before she was 5 years old. Her primary disability is Not a Psychological, Emotional or Behavioral disorder and can only be diagnosed by a Medical Doctor. She is on a Medical IEP not a behavioral IEP. All the therapy, and behavior modification in the world is not going to repair the damage in her brain.

Isn't there any place that a child can simply learn to read and write as well as possible without learning every bad behavior on earth?

I have also talked with her doctor about your statement that Makala has "dry period" or the idea that this is all PMS or Puberty and the doctor told me he has never heard of "dry periods" and that would mean Makala has been having them since she was 5 years old.... He does not agree with this evaluation in any way and feels that she continues to be placed into the category of children who can be fixed with the right therapy and treatment. She Cannot be fixed there is No Cure for brain damage and as much as we all want to teach her how to behave the expectation that she can be Modified only caused the Secondary Behavior issues that are well know as a component of this Medical Disability.

We may need to consider some other educational situation as I need to teach her how to brush her teeth every night, and how to load a dishwasher every evening and where to put her things so she can find them... we just don't have time to figure out all the bad words boys with behavior issues might say and cause her to be punished for having No Clue what they mean.


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SUSPENDED UPDATED: Sex and the 4th Grade

John McCain and Adoption: Part 2

To my readers in far away lands I hardly think that Dadmag.com is the place a man might promote his run for election as the President when there is CNN, FOX, NBC, ABC, CBS and just about any other media outlet that would love to run with this story. It would be a bigger way for him to let us all know he thinks the adoption of his daughter is a thing we should consider when we cast our votes.

Not sure there are too many people who have as many platforms to make themselves look like something special in order to get a vote. Everyday it seems the News is trickling down to those of us who never heard this news until long after it would have been his best card. Gee--It's June and the primaries are over you would think if the act of loving a child was a great way to win he would have been beating that fact into our faces months ago.

The Discovery of this Fact seems to be isolated to the Internet and hardly in a huge way. Those of us who have been writing about adoption seem to just be hearing the News. Today, I found This Blog as another example of just how much Senator John McCain has "Used" his adoptive parent status to win our votes.

I just love how some people from the other side of the Earth think that we have all been in Awe of his decision to adopt a child! Funny that only those people around the world seem to think:

If you never thought that Politics and Adoption were related or that Adoption was in Politics then I'm about to change your mind.
Q. Whats worse than a Me me me Self entitled person wanting a baby ?

A. A politician that uses the Adoption of a BLACK Baby Girl to garner support?

Of course, I find it rather funny that the way this blogger even found this information out was by reading the Blog written by another Adoptive Parent who was just finding this news out themselves. Jeanette Moll on Zanesville just posted this on June 15:

I have heard of John McCain for years but not the story of his youngest daughter. I believe it adds dimension and comprehension of who he is. I commend he and his wife for making a difference, one child at a time.

Seems we are all just discovering this Fact. Which to be honest surprises me considering every other President I have known has paraded their child or children in front of the Media in order to let us all know they are parents. The other candidate has had his children in the Media over and over, I think one of his little girls has even stood up and spoken at some point... They really are cute little girls and any parent should be proud of how well they have done in the Spotlight.

But, add Adoption to the equation and some people seem to think a presidential candidate should do the very thing so many Adopted Adults claim caused them pain and caused them to feel Not Included. Too bad the fact we are all just finding out has nothing to do with the fact that a little girl was adopted and everything to do with people saying junk like this:

The adoption of a Black Baby from The pits of Bangladesh is what this is about. Because for some reason people think that adopting a child puts you on the status as GOD. Its all just Politics. Its all just Bulls**t--And it Makes me want to heave!

So, lets all be sure we Do Not Treat an adopted child as all the other President's children have been treated--after all it was only because he wanted to be President and this would look good on his resume! I guess even the angry adult adoptees want us to treat our adopted children as if they are not a part of the family... Can't win for losing when it comes to Anger I suppose?

I just wonder when someone is going to accuse the McCain's of adopting a child of a different race as just another way to "Play the Race Card" I think John McCain should pick Hillary to be Vice then in One quick election we can have leadership that represents, The Oldest Man to be elected as president, with the First Lady as Vice and a multicultural family! Wow wouldn't that be History! Oh, the ways that Senator McCain could actually make himself Look Like something Amazing! I wonder if he even knows how much he could use to be the Man we all want to lead?

The problem for me is that I really didn't want to Like Him for President but, his honor is making that a little difficult for me right now.

If you read the Comment left by Marley Greiner on the Anti-Adoption blog Some people actually think they know everything.

...many adoption policies are state matters, a few, such as record access are not. The federal government is very much involved in policy. The Adoption and Safe Families Act, The Indian Child Welfare Act and the Multi-Ethnic Placement Act are hardly "guidelines." Federal funding to subsidize and bonusize foster care and permanent placement are one of the chief causes of foster care corruption. The child welfare system, largely funded by the feds is the civilian arm of the police using threats and
intimidation to scare parents into submission to the government.

I guess that is why in Western Australia they seem to think it's a good thing to move a child under the age of 6 between 16 different foster homes! I find it interesting that our system is so horrible that at least we TRY to do something to make a difference. Bill Clinton is the one who passed the Adoption and Safe Families act of 1996 and as flawed as some things have turned out to be at least Someone has given a care about the Children in Foster Care and looked for some way to Not allow children to be moved that many times... Not sure why people with bigger problems then ours seem to point at the US as the people who only adopt children to make us President!

I found the interview with Dadmag.org interesting

Dadmag: You have co-sponsored legislation in the Senate
to streamline the process.

McCain: Yes, but it is largely a state responsibility. We have tried to encourage the states to review their adoption procedures. We can not do much at the federal level.

Marley Greiner clearly has no clue about much of anything considering it is actually the STATES who determine the Open Records issues and Not the Federal Government. I should know, I worked very hard to see it passed in Oregon for my ex-husband and our children as I actually very much support the right to have an original birth certificate!

It's just sad when you see people on an mission twist the facts and act like they know everything Just because they use a few examples of something they don't even have accurate! I'm sure this writer would rather see our children linger in Foster Care and be moved 16 times before the age of 6! After all the mission is to Abolish Adoption so--everything is a target to be used for propaganda!

In the DadMag.org interview Senator McCain was directly asked about the process of adoption:

Dadmag: You had to go through an extraordinary process to adopt Bridget. A very intrusive process by the bureaucrats. They came to your home and rifled through your drawers. According to what I've read, adoption agency officials even asked about your sex life.

McCain: They were very intrusive. Unfortunately it is a disincentive to some parents because it's so much easier to go overseas. And that leaves us, in this country, with thousands of children who want parents and thousands of parents who want children. One of the goals I've had for a long time is to try to encourage a much less convoluted process in order for parents to adopt a child.

Dadmag: Is this necessary or is it just the bureaucracy gone a little mad?

McCain: A little of both. They want to make sure that those who want to adopt are fit to do so. I think sometimes bureaucrats stretch it out for fear of getting in trouble or getting something wrong. And I also think that there are state laws, probably the result of some bad things having taken place, that are legislative overreactions. I just wish that every state would review their laws concerning the process of adoption, to expedite it but at the same time protect the child.

I didn't realize that as Marley Greiner put it our president had so much power!

There is no doubt in my mind that if McCain became president that adoption would come under further control of the globalist-neocon-evangelical axis in Washington.
Of course, it is a little easier to see what the problem is for some people the fact that feel such a loss is not about their Mothers--but, possible about their missing Heavenly Father? Since it's clear the thing they hate at least as much as adoption is anyone who believes that Jesus asked us to take care of the children.

It's sad to see that the missing hole is filled with so much anger that child abuse is skyrocketing right under the nose of some people who only want to destroy the very thing that might help some of the children being shifted from one home to another. But, I get it now since the only important thing to those who have no faith is themselves... it all makes since to me somehow after all why bother to care about little children when on a mission to satisfy your own needs. I might expect this kind of thing from the average 12 year old adopted child as a part of their processing what adoption has been for their lives but, at some point one would think a child might grow up and see the children suffering right around them...

I have just decided to add this education right next to the warning I read in the Bible about the Christians being attacked as a sign of the end times... or at least a sign of another part of history about something along the same lines.

The really hysterical part in the comment is that our government is some kind of extension of the Police threatening parents... Tell that to Number 2 and 3 of 5 or 6 babies all born drug and alcohol effected and moved to a permanent home in less then a year in foster care thanks to the Adoption and Safe Families Act and a few good Christians who are wallowing around in the trauma's they suffered as children and decided to make sure a few of the 120,000 had a place to go for Christmas when they grow up and hopefully prove the cycle for at least one family might be changed.

Like the police had any power to make a mother submit enough to not cause forever brain damage and all the other horrible things those of us who adopt children from foster care understand. If being pregnant with a baby isn't enough to care I think there are a plenty of us who understand that the police and government are not going to make much difference in that plot-line. Which is exactly why the Adoption and Safe Families Act - ASFA also mandated relative placement searches, thus offering every member directly related or married into or 4th cousin removed three times the chance to keep their families together...and at the same time discover a little more about the chance of a power grab taking place...

If the government could EVER find a way to Police the mothers of our abused, drug and alcohol damaged children into submission and be Just Scared enough to actually not allow this to happen to their children I would be the first to jump in and say--Hell Yeah lets go!

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Monday, June 16, 2008

The Count Down Starts!

It's hard to believe that in a short 9 days the little ones and I will be flying over the United States to see family back east. It's even harder to believe that between now and then Makala and I will be on a 4 night mother and daughter retreat with hundreds of other Job's Daughters. To top it all off there is Kindergarten Graduation today and a big Masonic Tribute tonight...

I am not sure I am ready to even pack for Two vacations let alone go on them!

Yesterday a friend of mine and our daughters spent the whole afternoon looking for the four formal dresses they will need this week. Has anyone ever tried to find a pretty Prom type dress for 10 year olds who don't have bodies made for them? Both of our little girls have too much in the wrong spot and not enough in the right spot to find anything that is appropriate for little girls this age. I wonder if there isn't some big business in Pre-Puberty Fashion Design for little girls who are not women and don't fit into anything let alone a fancy party dress! I knew I should have gotten the sewing machine oiled up. Problem is that when I made the last dress for Makala even the pattern wasn't designed for the body of an almost ready to mature little girl. This really cannot only be a problem for our daughters. We are tempted to just buy yards of fabric cut a hole for their pretty little faces and tie it on them with big pink bows!

To be a 10 year old today is sure not the way it was back when I was growing up! Actually, when I became a Job's Daughter the age was 12 and I seem to recall my mother having a hard time finding the right dress for me even at that time. Nothing seemed to fit right so apparently this isn't a new thing just that I may have to work with it for the next several years.

We have two and a half days until school is out and summer is full swing. You would never know it from the lack of warm sunshine here. I am having a hard time deciding what to pack as I know when we get there we will Not be dealing with things like Snow in June! Only a lot of flooding and tornadoes...

I am sure that once these getting ready days are over and we are all flying to visit family that I am going to be glad for the change of pace. I would still rather drive but, can't even estimate the cost gas would be--it has gone up so much the past months that it has yet to fully register with me. All I know is that what was originally planned to be a nice long drive seeing things about America along the way turned into an Air Travel several weeks ago. DARN It! I wanted to stop at Yellowstone with the kids and spend a few days.

I am not exactly sure how I am going to pull off this 4 day retreat and turn around a pack for two weeks? I guess flying might make it a little less difficult since it seems that I keep finding myself telling Makala and Marty that whatever they want to take needs to fit into "This Bag" and that is all we can take on our vacation. Not to mention the fact that they will need to drag their own Carry-On's with them since mommy can't carry it all on a good day and isn't able to with the back injury.

Yesterday was Father's day and it was one of those Nicer ones. The children and I went shopping for Daddy and found there is a Bird of Paradise Plant that has been conditioned to survive our climate!?! I never would have spent the money on one without the one year guarantee. Andrew never pays much attention to Plants but, every time we have been in California or Florida he has always stopped and asked my what the Bird of Paradise is and commented that he thought it was a cool plant.

Somehow my husband seems much less stressed than I am about the vacation. Maybe because he is not going with us on this one! Seems he feels he is about to have a two week vacation of his own and isn't even a bit concerned that he might need to find a way to feed himself. Lucky Dog! I have told him I think it's a good idea when we get home that he take the kids for two weeks over to the Rental House that will soon be vacant and give me a two week break. For some reason he didn't think that would be a great idea! He wasn't any more excited when I suggest that I might take two weeks and clean the rental house on my own...without the kids and him always asking me what's for dinner.

Great--I just realized that when I get back I have an empty rental house to turn over and then rent. Well, the renting part isn't so difficult as we have always offered the houses for people with Housing provided by the state. We have had better tenants under these terms as they are not stressed out over rent that to me seems really height--since I haven't rented in so long. Last rent I paid on a 3-bedroom house was $620.00 and our now we rent that house out for nearly double. How do people manage to rent a house when it rent is so high!

Related Link:

John McCain Did You Know He is an Adoptive Father?

I have never really put my nose into the business of any other countries regarding how they run their governments or deal with social issues. I have always preferred to look at the Log in My own eye rather then point out the splinter in someone elses. I think that it is best for me to clean up my own messes rather then paying attention to the mess someplace else.

We all know the States need to overhaul the Foster Care system and do a better job keeping children safe and providing them with healthy loving environments and most Americans spend time working on the problems we are responsible for rather then looking all over the Internet and making comments about the policies and situations in other civilized countries.

Apparently other people have nothing better to do then surf the Internet looking for something to criticize the United States about we are after all a target for all those who don't enjoy the greatness of our democracy. Some Non-American Bloggers believe they understand our government enough to write about it as if they do.

Reading some of the American Hater Blogs and especially those about our system of social welfare, foster children and adoption issues makes me wonder why these people even care about what our government does? And makes me want to look at what they hide in their laundry baskets...

I was inspired to take a look at a few little issues not In My Own Pile of junk to fix and just see what these nosey people have to be busy working on rather then talking about the adopted daughter (and I just learned from some foreigner that there are actually two adopted daughters) of John McCain's. YES--In case you missed it John McCain is an Adoptive Father! How many of us actually Knew That? Apparently this Blogger Does

I was aware because I have admired John McCain since I was a child and watched him walk out of 5 1/2 years of captivity as a Prisoner of War and act like the honorable man we know today. You don't have to agree with his politics (and I don't in many ways) to have respect for a man like this. Some people spend their whole lives crying about things they don't even remember or circumstances of their own birth Yet John McCain is running for President of the United States of America! No PTSD excuse for this man... no whine and cry for years about what happened to him.

Instead he stood up and decided to become a part of the government he stood for and was tortured and held captive as a young POW for five and a half years! For me, that is nearly enough to get my vote as I Love Survivors who come out wanting to make things different even when I don't always agree with what they want to do or change.

Anyway, back to the point... There is some blogger in Australia who seems to think that she can blogger on and on about all the horrible things Americans who adopt children are. Actually telling us that John McCain is Using the fact he adopted two children as way to make himself God Like? I don't know about you, but the fact he is an adoptive father is not something I hear him talking about. I only saw one media report at the start of the election about his oldest adopted daughter. Mr McCain wanted to end the left over junk form the time he ran against Bush and put those rumors to rest that he was raising a child from an affair and worse that she was an Black child. It was what ended his last run as at the time he didn't want his Adopted daughter to be harmed by the Hate.

Which I actually do remember and remember Believing was true at the time due to the lack of media coverage about the Truth. I am sorry but, if John McCain had ever wanted to elevate himself anymore than being a POW and fine senator he didn't use his daughter's adoption to make himself appear "God Like" had that ever been on his mind I am sure we all would have learned it then and it would have been something the media covered in-depth today.

I wonder why it is that some people need to sit around and point their hateful fingers at someone else. It always seems to be those people who sit and cry over nothing who would fantasize that John McCain adopted children in order to feel like some kind of God... Give me a Break! Funny how everyone always knows the pain of the weak because they plaster it all over the place and accuse other stronger people to be using something to look better...

If John McCain wanted to look God Like adopting little children is not exactly going to accomplish much. To think that angry adoption haters would be so shallow as to think he needed to adopt little black babies to be a bigger man then he is. I am sure he decided he would adopt just to be sure we all thought he was an honorable God Like man... Really! I don't personally think he really needed to adopt to make himself any bigger a man then he actually is.

If he wanted to look like something none of us could ever measure up to he would be talking about those 5 and a half years much more then he does. Can you even imagine what he suffered as such a young man held for that long? I don't think many of us can even imagine what that must be like... I do think that there are thousands and thousands of people who have adopted and don't see the fact that John McCain adopted as any big Deal... Been there done that and John has nothing on me when it comes to being an adoptive parent.

The only people who think that parents adopt children--especially children in other countries who would benefit from our medical care would do this are negative hateful people with an agenda. It was probably some unhappy adult adoptee who wanted to blame their whole life on the fact that they were adopted who made the attacks in 2000! For some reason there are a few angry adoptees who want to change the world by attacking adoptive parents and making the fact they adopted children who were abused, or lived in horrible situation around the world as some kind of thing we do just to gain admiration.

Of course, while they busy themselves attacking our War Hero's and write that they needed to adopt children in order to advance their political careers in their own country children suffer horrible things we just would Never allow in the United States.

I was personally horrified at several things I have dug up whilst I took a peek at their dirty situations. You sure won't find this kind of Horror in the United States--after all we are busy gathering up the children to give them better lives so we can look like Gods and run for President but apparently in some Modern countries they Don't even care about their own children while claiming we are terrible.

We may not have a perfect Foster Care System but can you believe this report:


New figures have revealed nearly one third of Aboriginal children under six years old in Western Australia state care have been shunted between guardians.

The figures, which were revealed in the Upper House of State Parliament last night, show about 150 children have had four different guardians or more.

In one case, a one-year-old child has had 16 different homes, while in another, a four-year-old has been moved 17 times.

The Opposition's spokeswoman for child protection, Robyn McSweeney, says the Department of Child Protection is being negligent in not providing stable environments for the children.

Notice that this report is talking about children under the age of 6 years old Not children who have grown up and been moved 16 or more times but children under the age of 6 years old! moving 16 or more times! We all know what this implies... Either really BAD Foster Parents or children who have very horrible needs that are not being addressed either way it is Sick.

If that happened in the United States there would be a riot! We have worked years and passed many laws to prevent children from being Left in Foster Care any longer then possible and if any state had children being moved that much before the age of 6 there would be some action and we just wouldn't allow this to happen!

Poor little babies...

I have a hard time understanding how someone could point a finger at a War Hero and say he adopted children to become President in a different country yet sit by and watch this kind of horror go on right under their own nose. Too bad John McCain is getting a bit to old to go over and actually help the children in a country where at least one blogger I know spends all her time sniffing our rear-ends and trying to make our country her business...

Can't wait to write more about the Horrible things I am learning about the way other countries treat their children. Personally, if I lived in Australia I wouldn't have time to blog about how I hated adoptive parents and what I think America should do I would be too busy demanding that these little babies were actually being cared for rather than shuttled from one home to another 16 times before age 6! The Last thing on my mind would be what God Like people adoptive parents try to make themselves appear...at least we don't look like a bunch of selfish people bawling about being adopted when there are children who need care and governments that fail their own.

I guess some people can only think of themselves and if they look hard enough they can find something to rip up about someone else... I can't wait to post more of the dirt I find about someplace not in my own back yard what a refreshing break!

When You Attack me I can let it go as something personal but when people from other countries spend their free time attacking my Country well that's when I get dirty. This really should be fun!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

My RAD Mom Suspicions about Over Diagnosis...a continued journey

We adopted Makala and Marty in 2003 and it didn't take six-months before I started hearing "People" suggest and imply that my beautiful five year old daughter must have Reactive Attachment Disorder - RAD. At that time of course, the people who were offering their "diagnosis"primarily did so over the Internet. Not one professional I took my daughter to see had jumped on the diagnosis which led me to suspect that RAD had to be one of those "new" things everyone thought they had. Or at least everyone thought an Adopted child must have.

I spent time on the Big Adoption website talking on the forum. Where other "RAD" parents told me I must be in denial...and another member a Dr. (I did confirm he is) brow-beat parents into believing their child would never heal without a Certain and Correct treatment. I watched other parents with adopted children who had some issue be told the same thing. And Worse, some were told if they didn't get the Correct treatment they either didn't LOVE their child or would be murdered one day by the child.

After some time of living in my "Denial" and apparently not loving my child enough to drive 200 miles and spend $2,000.00 in order to be instructed on how to HOLD her against her will and make her give up to my control I learned the reason that I had not been told by any of our professionals that my child might have RAD was that my state had passed some very strong guidelines.

Several children in the United States had died, or reported abuse as a result of the Cult-Like movement that parents and a few doctors and therapists had decided was the root of all evil in any adopted child. My state had mandated that Only Specially Certified people were to hand out RAD Diagnosis and only approved providers would be able to provide services.

About 14 months into the brain-washing and brow beating I was getting at the BIG Adoption website, my state announced that the first class of certified RAD and Attachment therapists had graduated from the program. I thought to myself, this must be why no one in real life said anything like the people on the Internet. So we signed right up with a member of the first class of certified providers.

Not to bore anyone with the details but, it turned out to be that I got the same feeling with that provider as I did the people screaming RAD all over the Big Adoption website. We attended therapy for several months, and frankly I saw no change in my daughter--but, a lot in myself.

I needed to become a controlling mother over every little thing... I needed my child to give up her own will and let me take charge of her life. I needed to make everything a big ordeal. Anything that wasn't perfect had to be her RAD. Anytime she said or did anything that wasn't MY WAY is must have been RAD... We finally left our sessions with this therapist when she decided that a RAD child should have two stray cats for pets. This therapists had gotten too old to be an Adopted Child Collector so she had moved on to be a Cat Foster Family.

When one of our cats died she suggested she might have cat just perfect to live in the home with a RAD child. It was female--I only like male cats but--who am I to pass up the perfect cat for a RAD Kid? When we met to get the cat, not one but two rescued stray cats were dumped in my hands to care for. One had never even been around people and I never actually touched that cat--one day I watched her sneak out the door and walk down the street never to be seen again. That left me wondering just how an Attachment Expert thought a wild cat that would run away could possibly be a great cat for a RAD kid?

All it taught my little girl is that things you love go away.

So, we quit. I couldn't see paying for treatment with someone who would just dump stray cats on their clients--let alone cats that would behave in a way that could not possible be healthy for a RAD child.

But, the label had been placed and the diagnosis was just about the only thing we had to help prove we were doing all we could to help our child overcome WHATEVER it was that was making her life so filled with RAGE and all the other Junk. When I was asked I would say she has Reactive Attachment Disorder... So it stuck through hospitalizations following horrible and scary events. Through Day Treatment for 14 months. Through more hospitalization and Residential Treatment in another state--RAD stuck on her.

It was Always RAD.

Records of my postings all over the Internet can clearly demonstrate that while I did see that she had attachment issues--I never accepted the fact that RAD was the Only thing that mattered for her needs. When I have said, "I think there is More..." I have been harshly reprimanded and told that Unless the RAD is Healed the other issues cannot be addressed. RAD must heal or the child cannot benefit from any other therapy, treatment or service. It is Life and Death to heal the RAD! Don't dare minimize this!

Once I was forced out of the Big Adoption Website (as most active members eventually have been) I was free from the constant input from a few people on a mission. One day I will write what I think the root of the mission these people are on is all about... But, for now I want to say I am so glad I got away from the environment where these people were permitted to practice medicine over the Internet and make diagnosis without the qualifications or even meeting my daughter.

I was not the ONLY parent feeling this whole RAD focus was going a little too far. When I left the BIG Adoption site several of us had been talking and several of us were feeling the same way. Another family I know spent $2,000 to see one of THE LEADING RAD experts... The mother was thrown on the floor and screamed at for 2 hours so that she might understand their Twist on Rage Reduction Therapy. Another family I knew was just about ready to give up on two little boys and disrupt their pre-adoptive placement all due to the hysteria of RAD and the fact that complete strangers decided they had the right to tell others their children were RAD.

It has been YEARS since I decided that MUCH of the stuff being forced on adoptive parents by a few professional Adopted Child Collectors ended in my life. I started my own first website in March of 2005 with the hope that other families might not step in the same Poop so many of us had.

It's been almost 2 years since my beautiful daughter was diagnosed with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder - FASD a Medical Disability that can only be diagnosed by an Actual Doctor not someone with a 4 year degree who thinks they know everything. I have learned so many things since I have come to understand that Brain Damage doesn't heal and that parenting a child with FASD the way the RAD Cult suggests will only bring on the secondary behaviors which just make the so called RAD look worse--or in reality only confirm RAD even more for all the know-it-alls who think parenting 9 "sick children" makes them the one who knows everything.

It took me several months to let the "B-word" control freak every RAD mom needs to be, disappear and for me to come back to the mom I really am, and the only kind of mom I ever want to be. Things are getting better for our daughter since we figured out that she IS NOT being RAD when she doesn't act Fast and Snappy--she is Processing and her Processing is often delayed. Very Delayed. Treating her like a RAD kid never helped and only made everything worse. Treating her like a child with a real medical condition that will never go away--has made everything completely different.

Our daughter has progressed ten times as much in the last year then she ever did for those nearly 5 years that I walked around with my RAD Glasses on! I feel better knowing that I don't have to stand around telling people how "Misunderstood" I am as a mother or that my child lives to make me look bad...or that she does things intentionally just because the is Reactive to Attaching to me. It has been nice to not belong to the "RAD Mom" club where I get to act like Hitler and then prove that my child's reaction to me is Part of RAD. It is so nice to no longer be a Martyr Mother.

Long story to get here, but today I was looking at different searches that have led readers to my blog and saw a listing just above the one to my blog... I clicked on it to read: This Blog

An interesting read on it's own, however I also noticed that the writer said, "I’ll admit that it feels awkward, as the Director of Marketing for the Attachment & Trauma Network, to write a blog that implies that RAD may be “overmarketed” in some circles."

Not recognizing the Who the Attachment and Trauma Network was I went ahead and clicked her link and found myself at a site I have often visited--looking for What On Earth there was on the site that made so many people Refer suspected RAD parents to it. Back in the day I think they actually did call themselves RADZebra. The 600 times I visited it I could hardly find anything of any real value. So I emailed them once about why all their pages had been "Under Construction" for the past 5 years... And if it was under construction for that long what was it that so many people saw important enough to refer adoptive families too?

I got an email back and it asked me to call them. I did and that was when I decided that the site wasn't anything all that important--Just a gateway to be verbally told that I was in denial and if I didn't get the Correct treatment for my child she would never heal.

When I visited it today--I noticed there has been some actual construction to the site. It looks like more people are involved and it appears they may have some information about Fetal Alcohol and RAD... But, alas I was disappointed because when I clicked on that Link it led to an "Under Construction" page...Again.

I am really not surprised as FASD and all the other names people call the damage caused to a child when their mother drinks before their birth has amazingly similar symptoms--behaviors and issues. The Attachment and Trauma website has apparently not been able to get anything that actually helps families dealing with FASD and RAD. I personally have my own feelings as to why the page sits blank year after year... I believe it is impossible for those who are on the RAD Bandwagon to come up with any possible way to Act Like a RAD mom and help and FASD child heal.

The approaches are completely different... What a RAD mom needs to be (according to the RAD Experts) only makes a FASD child worse! There isn't a lot that can be added to a page that conflicts with the websites standard ideas. It is also funny to me that FASD would even be classified in the same category as ADHD, Autism and RAD considering that FASD is the only one of these issues that is an actual MEDICAL condition and any diagnosis is Axis III not Axis I as all the other's are.

The only thing I wish now all these years later is that I had not believed the only chance my child had to heal was to become the thing that in the end hurt her the most and delayed her development.

***Disclaimer: I don't know much about the Attachment and Trauma Network because there has never been much published on their site. I don't know if they offer the kind of services that are not what I call "cult-like". They may be a fine group with great services and support. I personally didn't take the time to find out. If you find out more I would love to hear from you. I do know that they recommend Residential Treatment and that my state No Longer views Residential Treatment as a healthy way to manage child mental illness. There is NOT one single RTC center in the state of Washington... and I have NEVER been referred to Any of the associated businesses by any official of the state of Oregon or Washington, nor has any of the Level-3 Crisis Mental Health services we have received ever once suggested that this site would be a great place for information.

I suffer SAD

I can hardly believe there are only 3-days of school left before Summer Break! It would be a little easier to comprehend if our weather wasn't so Januaryish. Aside from the one heat wave several weeks ago the Pacific Northwest has had one heck of a cold and wet spring. Last week we had SNOW! In JUNE!

Since I moved here from San Diego in 1989 I have noticed that the citizens of the Pacific Northwest have winter induced amnesia. While I will be the first to agree that this year has been a long, wet, and cold year so far I have not been completely disappointed. I have been saying since 1989 that Summer here doesn't officially start until July 5th as there have been more rainy Independence Day's than Not. In my own effort to survive this climate and complete lifestyle change since leaving my HOME of San Diego and relocating to the Portland Oregon area I have psychological skill of NOT expecting the Sun to Show until after my favorite holiday. The 4th of July!

This year I have decided I will not suffer another 4th under clouds that settle so low the fireworks are hardly worth packing a picnic basket to watch. I am in no mood to bring along the rain slicks, umbrellas and build a campfire just to pretend we are having a Nice Summer Holiday... This year I am outta here until after July 10th! Hopefully, giving just enough time for my garden to unfreeze and the sun to act as if it remembers this part of the earth.

I suffer from Seasonal Affected Depression - SAD and for me the past 3-months have been complete agony. The only thing that keeps me going at this time of the year...

Is knowing that SAD is a real condition many people in my part of the country suffer and that the only hope there is will come out from behind the gray clouds SOON! That is it! My greatest problem however is that my husband also suffers SAD and if I look around the people I see living life it's pretty clear that a good many of them suffer from SAD also. A trip to the shopping center is all it takes to see the Zombies people with SAD become the longer we have Wet Air and No Sunshine.

I watch as people go through the motions of life--as if we all are waiting for some big thing to happen and the blanket to be lifted. Mother's hardly bother to comb their hair at this time and go shopping in baggy sweatpants, with that look in their eyes I know so well. Clerks at the stores are sluggish and it takes all the effort in the world to smile and engage with anyone. Customers walk about the store with shopping carts that drip rain all over the floor and cause the cardboard holding our packages to get soggy.

The other night I wanted to make some "Easy" box dinner with Hamburger added--something I almost never do because I personally don't like those box dinners. I was all ready to whip up something for the family and get out for a meeting when I turned the box over to read the instructions... Which of course were half missing because apparently that box was on the bottom of the wet shopping cart and someplace along the way the wet part of the box was scraped off. Honestly HOW do the natives not understand how terrible this wet air and no sunlight really is?

Usually, I take my trip to Illinois in August after the Tornado's have stopped visiting because frankly there is only one thing I hate more than rain and that is a tornado. But, considering that I faced a Tornado on January 10th here in my own wet place I am over my fear of being hit by a big one!

I wasn't very happy with the way this picture turned out because it isn't what I actually saw. Apparently a still photo doesn't catch the Spinning and because we have so many clouds anyway the tornado is masked by all the clouds around it. I took this photo about 10 minutes after putting Marty on the school bus, and about 3 seconds before I suffered a panic attack and ran to the closet under the staircase with my phone to call mom and ask what I should do?

This tornado was a F-2 and thankfully it didn't kill anyone. It struck about a 3 miles away and was on ground for about a mile--coming my direction. There was a good deal of damage in our community and several people found dead Fish in their yards and trees after it touched down on a lake sucked up the fish and tossed them around town.

I can say that it was a very surreal experience to see a tornado and turn slightly to see the top of Mt St Helen's...

I have been fine living with the Mountain Steaming now and then with the crater only 28 miles from me as a Crow would Fly. But, I am not okay seeing a tornado and the mountain at the same time!

It seems rather odd that every year about March I am blue and go running to the Shrink because I don't seem able to pull out of the blue spell. Every spring I seem to start some new Anti-Depressant which seems to help a bit, but by the time July 5th rolls around I am Fine--Happy and don't need to put on socks to keep my toes warm. Socks! People in San Diego don't really even know what socks are. Well, we all had two pair one white the other black just in case we had some reason to need dressing up. Here there is a load of laundry every week that consists of ONLY SOCKS!

So, there it is the outburst of a person living in the gloom of what some might call the beauty of the Pacific Northwest... The beauty of green moss and damp hair... The beauty of washing thousands of socks and shopping with dripping wet carts. The beauty that only the most depressed person could point out as a silver lining. I hate to pop any bubbles but, I could drive to the Snow and See the tallest Trees in the country from San Diego on a day trip. One way to the Sand Dunes, one way to the Beach and one way to the Snow and tall trees. There is no drive here that escapes the view of Moss and Wet Air and on a good day I might see the beauty of the trees behind the dripping moss and wild ferns.

I wish that I was not at such risk for skin cancer... I would go home today if I could just see the sun and not die for the burn it gives my pasty-white, freckled skin. Some days, knowing the damage has been done makes me want to be suicidal for the sunshine...

They say it is the damage to the skin in the first ten years of life that makes skin cancer a reality. If this is true I have no idea why I ever left San Diego? My blisters, and repeated sunburns were sever as a young child. If it is true then I am already doomed as both my mother's parents died from Melanoma and both my parents have the scars from the removed Basil-Cell Carcinomas... Being only 16 years younger than my mother, I see the road ahead of me.

I wonder today if SAD is worse in the end then Melanoma would be? I know I will not die from this depression but, sometimes I think a little sunshine on my journey to eventual death would actually be a better life for me. On one hand, day after day of rain and gloom and on the other hand an inevitable fight to keep the blotches I am seeing from turning into Melanoma... A fight it appears I will need to make regardless of where I live. Monday I have another skin screening where I will be told this or that should be biopsied to rule out cancer.

I imagine I will go to the appointment in the Middle of June with a jacket on, and use my windshield wipers as I drive to my appointment. Where someone will inspect every freckle or abnormal appearing skin mass and dig into it... Test it and tell me if I should have something removed. The problem I have is that I know they could look over every cell of skin I have and NOT actually find the cancer. It could be on my scalp under my hair... It could be between my toes.. it could be that brown spot under my left eye on the cheekbone I grew up sporting blisters, pealing and then blistering again. It could be that tiny freckle on the top of my right ear, or as mom suffered It could be some cancer that won't kill me--but, will cause me to need to have my nose cosmetically re-constructed.

And....then I still might suffer the same journey Grandpa did at the age of 48 or Grandma did at the age of 63 and just find out I have a few months left to live. I could suffer just the same as Uncle Eddie and find out just days before I die. Or I could be like my father's brother and just drop dead one day at 49 because my heart stops...

Either way I would rather drop dead in San Diego.... I wish everyone I know and love had not moved away for fear of skin cancer. I would be planning my vacation there instead of Illinois if it were not for Melanoma. Anyway--Thank Goodness summer is nearly here...hopefully, when we return in mid-July we might see a few sunny days before it starts all over again.

Related Links:

  • Seasonal Affective Disorder

  • 2007 Skin Cancer Facts

  • Friday, June 13, 2008

    Understanding FASD: Secondary Behaviors

    In the first blog of this series Understanding FASD: Some of the Basics The Video presented went over some of the basic scientific research and statistical information about the effects of alcohol on an unborn baby.

    When the issues of Fetal Alcohol Syndrome - FAS first became an issue of public awareness it was assumed that the most sever damage of a mothers alcohol use while pregnant was shown in certain facial features and other physical signs. Over the years since Prenatal Alcohol Effect were first identified further scientific research has proven that in many cases a baby exposed to alcohol may suffer neurological and other damage without the facial and physical signs being present.

    As the years have passed and science along with parents have made note of the deficits some alcohol exposed children display it has become more clear that a child may suffer equal deficits without the physical signs. In fact, it has been determined that many Fetal Alcohol Syndrome FAS children meeting the criteria of showing the physical signs also suffer slightly lower IQ's which in some cases might be a blessing...

    As Makala's doctor recently discussed with me, It is the mere fact that Makala has a slightly higher IQ then many FAS children, however that IQ and her ability to Think in some ways makes it more difficult as a parent. Where an FAS child might display the same negative behaviors they may lack the ability to think of new ways to accomplish and impulsive behavior. This means that in some cases the child's behavior is more predictable. Add a few IQ points to the situation and the child may have more tools to work with. This might mean that the parents are able to predict the behaviors but are constantly unsure of just what way the child might try to accomplish an impulsive goal.

    My daughter has an IQ of 82 which is just about 10 points higher than the average child with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome FAS which means she has just that much more to work with when it comes to getting what she wants and that Right side-Left side brain connection to impulse and rules connections.

    My daughter has very few outward physical indications that she is a child with Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders FASD, but her neurological testing in combination with the clear Secondary Behavior issues makes it possible for anyone viewing the video below to confirm there is no doubt her primary disability is caused by her birth mother's choice to use alcohol and drugs while pregnant.

    I will be writing several blogs about FASD and Secondary Behaviors in the future as these issues appear to be most frustrating not only for parents, teachers and therapists but most of all for the FASD child.

    Below is the second video of the this series of Really Scientific Information. This video outlines several studies about children with FASD and some of the secondary behavior issues FASD Children face and some of the research about FAS with physical signs and the difference found with FASD who do not show the physical symptoms of prenatal alcohol exposure. This video goes in depth about secondary behaviors.

    Offered as part of the public domain this video is 11:44 long I suggest that you first download the video and then pull the view back to the beginning in order to have the bast sound quality.

    Video Credits:

    • Produced by:
      Lecturer/Dr. Ed Riley
      Department of Psychology
      San Diego State University
      Center for Behavior Teratology
      6363 Alverado Court, Suite 209
      San Diego, Ca 92120

    • Editor:
      Dr. Carrie Randall
      Medical University of South Carolina
      Institute of Psychiatry
      Center for Drug & Alcohol Programs
      171 Ashley Avenue
      Charleston, SC 29425-0742

    Understanding FASD Series:

    Related Link:

    Thursday, June 12, 2008

    The Brain: The Neurobiology of Trust

    I have always been interested in the Mind and Memory however the majority of my interest has been in the area of psychology. Parenting a child with a Neurological Disability has put a whole new spin on how I look at research of the Brain. Psychology is not as effective when applied to a person with a neurological disorder, for me to only consider psychology as a foundation is to ignore the fact that there is much more to the human brain then simply the mind.

    Parenting children with Neurological disorders is much different then a child with the typical emotional or psychological issues to consider. It seems to me I would be expecting a child to learn ordinary skills, thoughts, emotions, social and behavioral skills and demonstrate normal development based on psychology from children with more then just the ordinary causes for these issues to become a problem.

    It has not been an easy process for me to come to understand that expecting results from the psychological and behavioral modification approach is not exactly effective when my children have a Neurological Disorder. It would seem similar to telling a paralyzed person that because there are crutches and many people are able to get up and walk with crutches that they should be able to do the same.

    No one would ever expect a paralyzed person to muster the will-power, self-control and courage to face their own limitations by getting up and walking on crutches. Most people would find any suggestion to be completely insane!

    Yet, it seems clear to me that teachers, psychologists, therapists, case workers, social workers, doctors, and most other professionals involved in my life parenting children with Neurological Damage expect the paralyzed children to pick up those crutches and walk!
    The odd thing about Fetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorders FASD, Alcohol Related Neurodevelopmental Disorders ARND and many of the other disabilities connected to drug exposure or other neurological disorders is that our children may not always be paralyzed that day. They may do well one day and not the next. It ends up looking like our children really could use the crutches but, they just don't want to.

    If our children happen to be adopted, and display this kind of on and off behavior or ability however due to frustration develop any secondary behavior issues connected with the fact that they ARE SOMETIMES Paralyzed the first conclusion is to call it an Attachment Disorder or when the secondary behaviors are extreme and dynamic it may be considered Reactive Attachment Disorder RAD.

    Looking at the situation and deciding that certain behaviors or inconsistencies are due to a psychological disorder means that the burden is on the child to develop coping skills and learn to manage an emotional or psychological problem. Since we all know the child can walk--the fact the child won't walk is considered to be part of the attachment disorder. It seems strange to me that other people can't seem to notice that sometimes it is not because the child Won't but in fact it is because the child Can't at that moment. It may not be about defiance or RAD behavior--it really may be about the fact that at the moment the child is having neurological difficulty, it might not be possible for the child to respond because the child may be processing information and may need time to do so.

    This morning I was reading Scientific American Magazine June 2008 Issue and stumbled on the most interesting article The Neurobiology of Trust By Paul J. Zak published on page 88. This article has been so fascinating to me that I plan to write several blog about it during the next few days.

    While you wait you might be interested in some of the background research and information I have found about the study and author of the article that has inspired the coming blogs.

    According to the Abstract of an article The Neurobiology of Trust the Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences Reports:

    This is the first report that endogenous oxytocin in humans is related to social behaviors, which is consistent with a large animal literature. Subjects are put into a social dilemma in which absent communication, cooperative behavior can benefit both parties randomly assigned to a dyad. The dilemma arises because one participant must make a monetary sacrifice to signal the degree of trust in the other before the other's behavioral response is known. We show that receipt of a signal of trust is associated with a higher level of peripheral oxytocin than that in subjects receiving a random monetary transfer of the same average amount. Oxytocin levels were also related to trustworthy behavior (sharing a greater proportion of the monetary gains). We conclude that oxytocin may be part of the human physiology that motivates cooperation.

    In another publication Found HERE I found this excerpt to be very interesting:

    In my cross-country work, the most highly correlated variable associated with generalized trust is self-reported happiness (see Figure 4; correlation different than zero at p < .01, two-tailed t-test). Why are happy people trusting (or vice-versa)? The evidence presented in this chapter strongly suggests that nature has designed us to be conditional cooperators because it literally feels good. This positive feedback is how OT facilitates bonding of mother to child, spouses to each other, and my experiments have shown, causes strangers who are shown tangible evidence of trust placed in them to temporarily attach to each other. (Page 17)

    Be sure to check back often for future blogs about this subject which may be found in The Brain tags.

    Related Links:

    Tuesday, June 10, 2008

    Memory and Words: RAD vs. FASD

    I have always been fascinated with Memory. As a young child I recall telling myself that when I grew up I would not forget what if felt like to be a little kid! The first time I recall marking a memory to keep forever I had to still be in diapers because the memory I wanted to keep telling all the grown-ups about was that it wasn't nice to knock me down when I was trying to walk around the table. My feeling was that the crossed legs of the people sitting on the sofa purposely "Smerfed" me.

    Several years ago I learned that a child isn't able to Keep a memory unless the child has connected that memory to a word or to language. Reviewing my own record of memories and going back to my earliest I recognize that is a true fact. As a toddler back in the day of cloth diapers and rubber pants the sound I made when I fell learning to walk was the air rushing out of the rubber pants--and it sounded like "Smurfed" to me.

    Over the years I have watched how important Language is for memory and by my own non-scientific study of four children I personally confirm that language and words are vital for a child to retain a memory. My approach with anything that my children have needed to keep in their memory has always been to help my child first connect to words or language what memory they need to keep. With my older children learning the spelling word, or remembering their US History dates were always a slight bit easier since I would coach them and find ways for them to connect the information they needed to retain to words or groups of words they knew.

    There is no way to prove that my casual efforts really have made any difference in my older children's ability to retain or remember important information especially the information that wasn't part of their life experience. But I can say they always did very well on academic work where we approached study by connecting things to word or language.

    It has been a remarkable experience parenting at least one and it appears perhaps two children who have suffered neurological damage as the result of prenatal drug and alcohol exposure. Memory has been one of the major disabilities Makala has faced. Interestingly enough so to has language, speech and vocabulary.

    Most of the issues a child with FASD and Alcohol Related Neurodevelopmental Disabilities ARND resulting in behavior issues seems to revolve around short term memory and the ability to recall the next step--or what has just been asked of the child.

    For example, I might ask Makala to go to her room, get her jacket and shoes and come to the car.

    Depending on several factors her ability to retain and recall my instructions can vary widely. If she is well rested and in good spirits she might be able to do exactly what I asked without a glitch or problem at any point along the way. However, if she has had a difficult time that day, is tired or we have just been dealing with some kind of conflict she may get to her room and Not be able to recall what I had just asked her to do. She may stand there and try to think or she may even get to her room and start playing with something...not recalling at all that mom is waiting for her so we can go.

    Other times she may need to go to her room and get her shoes...bring them downstairs and then turn around and go back to get her jacket and bring it downstairs. At that point she may or may not remember what she was supposed to do with them... ?

    It can be completely frustrating for parents, teachers, peers or anyone attempting to communicate with a child who has this glitch in the short term memory and processing.

    The lack of consistency can also add a great deal of confusion to the overall situation especially when Mom is standing there thinking that Yesterday, she minded me right off the first time I asked and today she acts like she didn't even hear me!
    Or worse--today she is being a naughty child and won't mind me...after all we just had a huge argument about not using the phone to call a friend the 12th time today. She is really trying to irritate me Now!

    It is very easy for people with the ability to always process and recall short term memory to view the behaviors of someone like Makala as completely defiant and as a "Behavior" problem instead of a neurological disability caused by permanent brain damage.

    Parents may respond with the old, "I told you to get your shoes and jacket! What are you doing standing her turning on your radio and acting like I didn't tell you to get your things so we could go to the store!"

    At that point a child like Makala might look up and say, "We are going to the store?" Oh, now I remember to get my shoes and coat... I didn't know we were going to the store, why didn't you tell me that!"

    And a Mother might respond back with an answer like, "I told you to get you shoes and jacket and get in the car......" and in my case I might actually realize that I had said to get in the car--but, what my child needed in order to Recall the instructions I just gave was the information about going to the Store... Getting in the car wasn't enough to mark her memory to get her shoes and jacket.

    Before I learned about some of the ways Makala has been harmed by prenatal alcohol the whole scenario may (did) go much differently. There were times where I would find myself so irritated at her apparent lack of minding me. There were times I would find myself yelling the old 1--2--3! and expected her to jump up and do what I had told her "Fast and Snappy." Especially, when my mindset and her diagnosis was all about Reactive Attachment Disorder (RAD) and my perception of the situation was that she was simply Not Minding me...so she needed a consequence...

    I may have taken the time to give her a "Time Out" for not minding me when I told her to do something... All along she may have been doing her very best that day and there is Mom screaming--I told you to do something and you went up and turned on your radio... Clearly you are not minding so sit there until you plan to obey me!

    When I am acting as the mother of the RAD child firm and consistant and expecting the Fast and Snappy obedience to my request the behavior I see is all Radish. After all the behaviors I see are completely consistant with the nasty little things everyone with a RAD child thinks are to be expected. Being a RAD parent we all know the whole goal is to show us anyway they possible can to defy us, and need to be even more controlled by us. If the RAD was healing the child would get the dang shoes and jacket the first time I told her too... Clearly this will be one of those RAD days (I might think to myself). So as, I give a consequence to the RAD child and watch the rage, argument or denial of not minding... I see a RAD child being RAD.

    But, the fact is my child is more then a RAD child. She also has brain damage. Her short term memory tested Zero at school--she has difficulty processing. While developing in her mothers womb she was exposed to alcohol and drugs.

    My child with brain damage may go to her room and not remember anything I had just said. She may find herself in her room and might have thought she went there to play her radio. Or maybe when she knew we were getting in the car she thought she might want to grab her CD and Player too. She might have thought about the CD as her own choice, and by the time she was in her room the little things mom had just said were GONE!

    The only thing that stuck was Music and that she wanted to get or hear it for some reason.

    The RAD mom thinks, oh great I have to take some time and make sure she knows who is in charge around here. I just wish she would stop trying so hard to control everything. I call her down and drill her as to why on earth didn't she bring the shoes and jacket I told her to get and why was she up in her room listening to the radio while I was waiting for her to get in the car. Now you will not be getting a treat at the store--or you need to take a time out--or whatever other RAD mom trick I have been trying that week...

    The Secondary Behavior Issues of children with Alcohol Related Neurodevelopmental Disorder only happen when the child isn't understood. The behavioral issues are in large part caused and do to the lack of understanding people around them have for the fact they Just Don't REMEMBER and especially what you just said!

    Here is mom--all RAD Educated and Ready to pounce on the moment as a good RAD Mom should--not understanding that it was NOT RAD it was the fact my child just didn't have a good working memory that moment... Things can turn into this war of the will. Mom is trying everything to beat down the Attachment barriers with this child. Using RAD Mom tips...

    The child is in trouble and has received a consequence for something--They might not even remember until Mom reminds them again. The RAD mom says, "I told you to do something and you didn't obey!" The child still doesn't remember what... Won't answer to mom for what they don't remember--can't pull it out of their mind and answer Why they were listening to the radio!?! Which really irritates the RAD mom who sees this as those games RAD kids always want to play just to drive mom crazy! And it all goes from their whatever the RAD Memory of that moment will become.

    However, as the ARND mom it is a completely different life. The FASD or ARND mom sends her daughter to her room for shoes and jacket... and notices the radio is on...
    Thinking about what the day has been like and how much brain activity or lack of activity the child has had that day, or about how the day has been overall. The ARND Mom realizes that there was a Memory Blip!

    The ARND mother isn't all bent out of shape believing this child is intentionally trying to make her angry but instead the ARND mom simply says, "Makala, honey we need to get to the store will you please get your shoes and coat and come to the car!"

    The child upstairs suddenly thinks--"Oh, yeah I was supposed to be getting my shoes and jacket and wanted to get my CD Player too! Silly me I got sidetracked again!"

    She grabs the shoes, jacket and the last thing she remembered she wanted and skips downstairs with a smile on her face to a mother who finds herself delightfully relieved that the day of the RAD mom and Rages has given way to the day of:

    "It never hurts a mom to say something twice and give her child room to grow."

    When Makala comes down the stairs the ARND mommy just says, "Oh, you got sidetracked because you wanted your CD player Next time you will do a better job remembering what mom wanted you to do--and be able to think about what you wanted at the same time." Let go!

    Life has changed since I have learned what the difference is between being a RAD mother and the mother of a child who is doing her very best. Life has changed for everyone in our home. And interestingly Attachment has become much less of an issue and much more of a real thing. The simple fact that my child has a mother willing to not see everything as only one thing has changed her life completely. Now that I am the mom who is showing her that I understand her REAL difficulty--and will do what I can to help her manage her life with brain damage she is attached to me.

    She never would have learned to trust ME had I not learned to understand that she was far more then a child with justified reason to need proof that I was someone she could trust to attach with. The proof she needed was really as simple as learning to understand her and finding the ways to recognize what or where she was having difficulty and helping her in a loving way.

    I changed how I view everything just about a year and a half ago. Rather then seeing life through the RAD glasses I have been seeing it through the fact that there is much more involved then just her attachment issues. Once I learned that my child lives with real, life long and unrepairable brain damage I have learned to find the ways to spot her blips and glitches and help her overcome them. Of course Attachment isn't an issue any longer my little girl has someone on her side now why wouldn't she attach to someone willing to spend the time and energy to learn about the issues she faces--and develop the attitude and patience of someone willing to Love her Anyway!

    We have not had a single REAL RAD RAGE in our home since Mom has found the Real Button to push. She no longer needs to RAGE because there actually is someone who is willing to understand where all that rage came from. It would piss me off too if I just couldn't remember something and a nasty angry B-word decided to treat me like a criminal for something I could help and wish I understood was even happening. The last thing anyone wants to love is a hostile and controlling person who looks for anyway to teach a child life is all about Fast and Snappy and proving attachment to a mean person who didn't care enough to even understand me.

    Why would anyone attach to someone who was always waiting for them to prove they had Reactive Attachment Disorder?

    Yes RAD is real. Yes, Makala has Reactive Attachment Disorder and you better believe that she meets nearly every symptom she is old enough to be measured. No doubt about the fact she has attachment difficulties who wouldn't under her situation? RAD is a hard job for a mother or caregiver and children with RAD need to have clear and concrete boundaries... all the RAD blah blah blah stuff is pretty accurate in most cases.

    The problem is that so many people seem to think that the RAD is what is most important to help or force a child to overcome. There are even Attachment Therapies that suggest that unless the RAD is healed no other problem will be able to be addressed so all attention must be made on hyper-control RAD parenting.

    I would run from this thinking or this kind of attachment therapy. Wait I did run from it that is what this Blog and the Adoptive Parents Network is and has always been about!

    Makala is not just a child with RAD. She is a person a beautiful little girl who had a very horrible start in her life. She is a little girl who has walked around confused on most days of her young life. She is talented in so many ways--she is a Bright Person who longs to connect with other people and doesn't know how. She has every right to have Reactive Attachment Disorder in fact, I would think something horrible would be wrong if a person in her shoes didn't have RAD.

    But, under is all is Beautiful Makala the light of joy. A little girl who is a survivor and I love survivors because they are the kind of spirit I am. She doesn't need to prove to me that she is attached to me. All I need to do is prove to her that I am attached to her, will take time to understand and will always look for the good she is under all the hurdles her daily life put in her way.

    It is so funny how RAD goes away when a mother sees more then Just A Child.

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