What Would You Do?

Here’s a little game I like to play from time to time called, “What Would You Do?”
All completely hypothetical (wink wink)…

Todays, WWYD…

What would you do if your foster daughter came home from a visit with her birth mom (first visit in over a month).

And your daughter is 18 months old…

And it is 36 degrees out and snowing…

That's right size 4! Reminder daughter is 18 months old

Reminder today in Wisconsin it is 36 degrees and snowing

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Imaginary Conversations with Birth Mom Today…and Biological vs Civil Right to Parent

Z was supposed to have a visit with birth mom today. And we had a scheduled CST meeting. I knew there was no way mom would make it to both meetings. Because, well, when you are jobless and have NOTHING to do all day it is really hard to make it across town in an hour and a half…

yeah, that’s sarcasm

Once I knew she did not make her court appointed visit (second week in a row. Last week she cancelled because it was “too cold”. For who? This is Wisconsin. You mean you get the option of opting out of “parenting” when it is cold?) I started having all these conversations in my head about what I would say to her if she was at the CST meeting or if she came late which is usually what she does.

My big conversation would have been like this, (after she walks in her usual 30 minutes to hour late):

“I’m sorry, but in the world I live in, the real world we need to be places on time. The world does not wait for us to arrive. If you have a sick kid and a Doctors appointment at 3:00pm and you show up at 3:20, guess what? You no longer have an appointment…and your sick kid does not get seen. I know it’s hard for you, being responsible for just yourself and all. YOUR only responsibilities are to:

  1. Wake up on time
  2. Participate in some type of hygiene
  3. Get to your appointment on time

My responsibilities include:

  1. Waking up on time
  2. showering, brushing teeth, getting dressed
  3. getting my children milk
  4. getting children changed and dressed
  5. getting children fed
  6. letting dogs out
  7. feeding dogs
  8. getting kids out the door and to day care
  9. working a full time job
  10. dragging my ass to the ghetto to go to a CST meeting that YOU arrive late to!

Yeah, I was bitter today. I was not in a good place. I get so wound up over this, I want to be done with this. Two years with this family and I have about had it. Granted I have had the opportunity to learn a lot about them so I can tell the kids quite a bit about the people who brought them to us…even some good things.

My whole tirade brought me to a philosophy that will cause me to now piss off a lot of readers (if I even have a lot of readers)…

Light bulb moment….Having children is a biological right NOT a Civil Right…this is my new opinion…hear me out…

We require people to get a license to operate a car. We make them prove they can financially purchase the car (if you get a loan etc.). We make them have insurance before they can drive. We make them prove in a written test and by physically operating a car that they can adequately drive a car safely. We make them learn the rules of the road. And if you are medically unsound, you cannot operate a car.

All because a car can be considered a “deadly weapon”, something that could cause someone else great bodily harm.

BUT there is NO test, no license to prove you can parent.

WHY NOT?

Why do we wait until something BAD happens for ‘ services to step in? What IF, instead of Home Economics in high school, you had to take a few serious parenting classes. And I’m not talking, the “keep your egg alive” crap here. That you had to get a license to parent. And if you did not, BAM children’s services takes your kid at birth.

Thats what I call early intervention. Because I am really sick of the state fighting for ‘parents’ civil rights to their kids. Because really, they likely never were a ‘parent’ to begin with. And I think once we got all convoluted in our thinking that just because our bodies CAN reproduce (our biological right) that we should fight to protect the parents rights before we fight to protect the childs rights.

DO YOU HAVE ANY idea how expensive it is for a state to go through the ‘ services route with a family? The number of professionals, lawyers, specialists, assistance that is provided? Do you know how long kids are left in limbo?

I know, I know, people are going to get all “But we need to be careful because the state could just come in and take our kids from us. There is nothing to stop them from making us a victim…blah blah big brother,blah blah.”

Bullshit! Children’s services does not take children for no reason. They do not have the money to do what they do now…they don’t work on commission, “Hey, Betty…how many babies did you detain today? ‘Seven!’ Wow, you totally are going to get the big bonus this month!” They are under paid, highly stressed people. Who want nothing less than to enter someones house and detain their “child”.

And I  am grateful to the birth mother of my kids, because out of her loss I gained. That whole paradox is still hard to grasp. But I think there are a whole lot of children who would be better off if we all had to be licensed like I do.

I have a license in my file cabinet that proves that my house is warm and safe. That I have utilities, running water, heat. That I have a refrigerator and food in it. That I have safe cribs for my kids to sleep in. That I have smoke detectors in every bedroom and on every floor of my house. That my closets and basements and garage have been inspected (every month for two years) to make sure I do not have exotic pets or torture devices in them. That I am emotionally, physically and financially able to provide. That I have insurance on my car. That I have health insurance for myself and my children. That my pets are all current on their rabies vaccinations. That I have a fire extinguisher. That I have emergency numbers posted. That I have locking bathroom doors. That I have bedrooms at least 8×8 wide for the children to sleep in. That I have a planned and mapped evacuation route for our house.

And I am not complaining…because really? Shouldn’t we ALL? You mean providing the above type of home is not on everyone’s list of “must do” or “must have”?

Driving a car is a privilege not a right.

Being a parent should be the same way!

AC 360 I love you!

Anderson Cooper is back in Haiti…when asked by people here why he went back he said because he feels that Haiti is being forgotten about already, that it has taken a backseat to other news…when asked by people in Haiti why he left…he felt guilty and said he really had no good answer other than he just needed a break. He admits in his blog that the whole time he was back in the states he felt bad about it, something just didn’t feel right…That’s why I like you AC 360! And since we are being honest here, you are also easy on the eyes…

Let’s not think that we have done what we needed to do for Haiti. We have yet to scratch the surface people…

He’s on his way to the USA!

If any of you have been following my blog the past few weeks you know how much this whole Haiti thing has shook me to the core and that there have been some adoptive children I have been rooting for to make their way back to the US to be with their forever families. Well, word is that Ronel and his dad got on a Military flight this evening and should be in the sky as we speak headed to Miami. Their wait to get home is not over, as there is additional processing here in the states, medical exams (and it sounds like Ronel and his father are both now getting sick…funny how sleeping on an Embassy floor in close range with hundreds of people, being stressed beyond humanly thinkable and eating MRE’s can weaken your immune system, huh…who would have thunk?!) but they will be on our soil…

While it is a little bittersweet to think that Ronel had to leave his homeland on such bad terms, I have no doubt just by reading the blogs of this family that the Parkers will do everything they can to help offset that loss of culture for him, talking about Haiti, eating familiar foods, music, etc. There will be struggles, but he will be home soon…and for that I am extremely happy for them and feel a small kernel of hope for humanity.

Dear Haiti, I have never met you…but you continue to inspire me and provide me hope. I hope to get to meet you someday.

Your Secret Admirer,
Anne

How to solve Haitis homing crisis…

The United States biggest export is air, that’s right air shipped in empty containers headed back primarily to Asia. Of the shipping containers that make their way to California alone, only 40 – 50% of them make their way back to where they originate from. This leaves a HUGE influx of empty shipping containers just sitting in container yards. Most often it is cheaper to use a new container then to ship an empty container back to where it originated. There are an estimated 17 MILLION unused shipping containers.

Facts about shipping containers:
Waterproof
Extremely durable
Easily insulated
Easily ventilated
Easily transported
Paintable
Modular = stackable
Made of metal, which can withstand shaking in an earthquake

Shipping containers like these pile up all over ports


This is a one bedroom, one bath and family room made with 2 20' containers

These could also be used for schools, hospitals and businesses…
What are we waiting for?

Doing our part…

We are doing our part as best we can to try to make life easier for other lesbian/gay couples out there fostering/adopting. We will next week be working with the company that is producing the training videos for the foster system here. They will be interviewing and filming us for the training series that sounds like it will be used through out the US…kinda cool yet I just realized that some people I know may actually end up watching this video which feels weird. But they are finally actually promoting Lesbians/Gays in their training and literature…

I Had a Moral Obligation…

I thought it would make me feel better, but I still feel upset about it…

Here goes:

I went to Gymboree today to spend what I thought was $100 because I had $50 in Gymbucks to redeem that my mother in law gave me…turns out I had $200 in Gymbucks, meaning I had to spend $100…I digress…

While I was in the store it waxed and waned between busy and not…I went to the register and someone started helping me but was told to stop so the clerk could go "check on things" to which the clerk excused herself (while the other clerk continued to ring someone else up) and asked the 4 people in the corner if they were "finding everything ok"…mind you we are the only 5 adults in the store. This is when I find out I really have $100 more worth of merchandise to shop for and I went and did that…meanwhile same 5 people are in the store…let me now mention that 3 of us are white and 2 of us are black…

I find my extra stuff…get in line, I am second in line, meaning there is one white person left and two black people left, and for whatever reason this whole time everyone has been in the same corner of the store…as I am at the register the clerk gets on the phone all quiet like and says to security, "Do you ever just make "walk thrus?" yeah I think I got something, thanks" and she proceeds to keep an eye on the corner…which I am now watching…because I have no idea what she thinks she is seeing…and then IT DAWNS ON ME…no, she can't be…is she? SHE IS…

Something started raging RAGING inside of me…I felt like I was trapped on that "What Would You Do?" television show…and I start thinking to myself…"Ok, half of my merchandise is already up there…and I have a handful of clothes and I am up next…do I throw them on the counter with no explanation and say I cannot shop here?" Do I call her out on it? 

In walks prepubescent "security guard"…he walks into the store and goes straight to the corner where the three people are shopping, looks, stops and then walks to the counter to go stand by the woman who called…Literally can feel my blood rising….Now the woman next to me is done checking out and it is my turn to check out…as I put my things down the black couple (a man in his twenties and his young mother and his child) are approaching to check out to the very woman who called security…I am shaking…I have to say it…

Me: (To clerk) "Excuse me (my hands are now shaking)…can I ask why you called security when you did?" (Security is still standing next to her)

Clerk: (visually shaken and back pedaling quickly) "What? Oh yeah, we do that sometimes when the store gets really busy and we can't keep an eye on…

Me: (inturrupting) "Really it didn't have anything to do with the fact that there was a black couple shopping over there? Because…

Clerk: (inturrupting me, eating crow, eating crow) "What? What no…we just do that when the store is busy…

Me: "Really? Because I have really been struggling with this watching this all play out and I feel I have a moral obligation as the mother of a black son to say something. I am very uncomfortable with this…

Clerk: "Oh no, that's not it at all…no you (directing her attention to the black couple who I am not sure heard this all) come in here all the time don't you…I sweetie (to grandchild) you're getting so big…I'm sorry you felt uncomfortable (directed back at me as I continue to talk)…

Me: "Well, I really hope that is not what I just saw…"

To which my transaction was completed, I was trembling handling my money…I was near tears…just trying to compose myself to get it all out…and walked away…I thought I would feel better…I feel a little better…but feel like I should have done more…and yet feel like I did a lot…more than most would have (including the black mother of a classmate of my son whom I told the story to…her words, "I would have been too scared to say anything.")…

Now…everthing in my fiber tells me she was lying…that she INDEED was racial profiling…my case:

1.  There were 5 people in the store…that is busy?

2.  She said to me, "We sometimes do that (call security to do a walk thru) when the store is busy (again 5 equals busy how?)" is what she said to me…but when she called the security guard she ASKED, "Do you do walk thrus?" meaning she didn't know if they did walk thrus…meaning she had NEVER done it before…meaning they DON'T call the security to do walk thrus when they are busy only when they see black people in their store and think they are stealing because they are black…

3.  The mom from my sons day care who I talked to about it worked at the same mall right across the way and told me that your not allowed to call security unless  you have a theft to report…not just for a walk thru…

I know there will be a day my son will be the only black child in an all white situation and he will be looked at as the potential trouble maker…the one to watch…and it sickens me…and I can guarantee you I will fight every battle for him…I'll be damned if I will let a Huntingdon Valley Swim Club situation happen without a stink on my watch!