Monday, September 19, 2011

Today’s Kids Are Tomorrow’s Future

I know it’s a bit early to talk about this. But before you know it, November will be upon us. Did you know that November is National Adoption month here in the United States. Although this cause is important everyday of the year, this is the month set aside to raise awareness about the adoption of children and youth from foster care. Years ago, I worked as the Clinical Director of a foster care agency. Most days I felt overwhelmed about the swelling numbers of children for which I had to find appropriate foster homes. At times it felt like there were not enough people willing to open up their homes to children in need. I soon burned out, and left to make an impact in the lives of children in a different way. Yet, looking at the recent statistics, nothing has changed.

Currently, there are over 510,00 children in the foster care system. While blacks account for 15% of U.S. children, they make up 32% of those in foster care, according to a May 2008 report by the Evan B. Donaldson Adoption Institute, a private research group. Other reports suggest that black children in foster care, especially older ones, are less likely than white ones to be adopted. Reports also suggest that Caucasian children in foster care are four times more likely to be reunified with their families than black children. This means that the majority of African American children will remain in foster care unless they are adopted by a loving family.

To address these statistics, a new federally funded ad campaign is looking to get more black foster children adopted. Television commercials will feature black parents and children in settings such as parks and schools. Similar ads will appear on radio and in newspaper. The ads were developed by the Advertising Council, which produces public service announcements and AdoptUsKids, a non-profit that helps connect foster children with adoptive families. This is the first time African-Americans have been targeted, according to project officials.

The theme for adoption month this year is, "You don't have to be perfect to be a perfect parent." I would certainly agree with this motto. I would add, however, that although you don’t have to be perfect, you have to be willing to help a child heal. Entering foster care and being removed from your parents’ custody is incredibly traumatic for children. This, I assume, is why so many people choose to adopt infants, as they assume that babies will not be cognizant of the separation. Yet, teens and younger adolescents are in desperate need of loving homes as well. So, I encourage those who are thinking if adopting to be open-minded!

Knowing how to maneuver the adoption system can be daunting. However, here are some tips on the steps you will need to take if you choose to embark on this fulfilling journey:

1. Make a Plan. One of the most significant steps you will take is to establish your general attitudes and philosophies about adoption.

2. Search for an agency in your area. Agencies typically offer free informational meetings on the type of adoption placements they offer.

3. Complete a Home Study. Once you apply to adopt a child, the laws of all states require that you undergo a homestudy. Homestudies are conducted to evaluate your desire and commitment to adopt, to explore the reasons why you want to adopt, to evaluate you as a prospective parent, and to provide education about adoption.

4. Finding a child. Once the home study is completed, you are ready to begin the placement process — the time when a specific child is identified for your family.

Deciding to adopt a child is certainly a big decision, and one that requires much introspection. You may find that you have a desire to open your home to a child who needs one. AND…you will likely discover that it is that child that brings happiness into your home!

An open and honest blog about what matters most...children and families!!!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Will Your Kids Sue You?

Have you heard about Kimberly Garrity? Me neither until just a short while ago! She’s an everyday mom who recently got sued by her two adult children for emotional distress. Now, y’all know as a staff member of Peas In Their Pods, I read stories daily about bad parenting. But this is different. Let me share…

The siblings were raised in a $1.5 million home by their father, and alleged that their mother was a horrible parent because she “failed to send money for birthdays, called her daughter home early from homecoming (If midnight is considered early in your book), and threatened to call the police on her son, then 7, if he didn't buckle up in the car.” Her son also accused her of once smacking him on the head, and says that he still suffers from headaches. Oh….and there is also the complaint that Kimberly did not buy her daughter a homecoming dress.

One of the exhibits presented to the court was a birthday card that Kimberly sent to her son. Inside it read, "Son I got you this Birthday card because it's just like you ? Different from all the rest! Have a great day! Love & Hugs, Mom xoxoxo." The "evidence" was presented by the plaintiffs to prove how “inappropriate” their mom had been because the card did not include cash or a check. (I promise I’m not making this up!)

What’s worse than the travesty of having her children accuse her of such silliness…the fact that her ex-husband (Steven Miner) and children’s father served as their lawyer. Kimberly and Steven divorced in 1995. Clearly, Steven needs to find a hobby. Not surprisingly, the Illinois appeals court dismissed the case, ruling that Kimberly’s behavior wasn't "extreme or outrageous."

Well, Parenting Pundits, since suing parents for crazy things seems to be in style, I figure I’d help my kids out by starting a laundry list of things they might be able to sue me for in the future:

1. Setting a firm bedtime….EVERY NIGHT!

2. Expecting that homework is done to completion…..EVERY NIGHT!

3. Showing up to EVERY parent teacher conference….EVERY SEMESTER!

4. Expecting that they treat others as they want to be treated…EVERY DAY!

5. Not buying every material item they want but picking some…IF THEIR BEHAVIOR ALLOWS!!!

6. Making them clean their rooms…and ANY OTHER ROOM FOR THAT MATTER!!!

7. Expecting that they eat something green…EVERY DAY:)


8. Kissing and hugging them as often as I am inclined….EVERY HOUR!