Thursday, February 11, 2010

Re-opening wounds

It's been a long time since I updated this blog. A lot has changed in the meantime.

Rob and I are no longer together. People have asked whether having foster kids strained the relationship and my answer is always no. The kids we were fortunate enough to have were jewels that we both loved being foster parents to.

As noted previously, all of the foster kids have gone home. So the house is quiet. It's quite an adjustment but it is what it is.

One thing that continues to bother me as I move forward is that despite telling all insurance companies that the kids have gone home I continue to get mailings every month about the kids that are no longer here!

Talk about re-opening wounds. Just when you feel like you've gotten over the heartache of missing the kids, another letter arrives to remind you.

Not cool. Not cool at all. One of the unexpected and unpleasant realities of being a foster parent.


Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Out of the mouths of babes!

So Rob and I got invited to attend the pre-school graduation of our first foster child. She's been back home with her biological family for quite a while so it was a pleasant surprise to hear from the family.

I'll be honest, in that I had some concerns about us attending the small town ceremony in rural NJ. I was hoping to just shuffle in and sit in the back and celebrate with the little one quietly and unobtrusively as is my style.

So Rob and I arrived and the little kids classroom was already packed with parents and teachers. We looked and within seconds were noticed by the little princess, who is now 4 years old.

Immediately she hollered at the top of her little but loud lungs..."MY 2 DADDIES ARE HERE!!!" She then ran up to us and gave us big hugs and grabbed both of our hands and proceeded to parade us around the room to everyone who would listen, teachers and parents of friends.

She always introduced us as 'MY TWO DADDIES' and threw in a few "I HAVE 2 DADDIES BECAUSE I"M LUCKY!!" for good measure.

It was both surprising and heart warming.

As friends have noted, the little ones don't know prejudice or bigotry, they have to learn it. This was a perfect example of how much this is true.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Saying goodbye to the foster kids and winding down....

Well it's time for another big change in our house. The time has come to say good bye to the brother and sister (ages 12 and 8 now) that we've been foster parents to for a year this month. The process to get them back home has started with weekend visits and talking through the transition with all parties.

It's not easy saying goodbye but in this case the adjustment wont be so hard for us as there was never any pretense about them being anything but foster children. They are adorable and nice kids that any parent would be proud to call their own. We'll miss them dearly.

We're also debating putting a moratorium on foster children for the short term. We want to focus on adoption and it has been our experience that being foster parents has distracted both us and the foster care system we work with from our original goal. The reality is that there are SO MANY CHILDREN that need safe places for the short term (foster care) that it is overwhelming. There is such a pressing need to put these kids out of harms way that the adoption cases seem to get less attention.

When these kids go home it will be a quiet house and for the first time in almost 2 years, it will be just Rob and me in our home. Hopefully the tactic of not being foster parents will reinvigorate our attempts to become adoptive parents.

Stay tuned!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Can simply naming your child be considered an act of abuse?

If you name your 3 children:
-Adolf Hitler Campbell
-Joyce Lynn Aryan Nation Campbell
-Honszlynn Hinler Jeannie Campbell

Can that be considered an act of abuse? Is it free speech?

Here in NJ, two parents who named their children the above and were refused a birthday cake for little Adolf at a grocery store are getting a lot of press. After the article that reported the cake refusal was published, the parents soon afterward had their three children taken away by the Division of Youth and Family Services [DYFS].

While the facts are not yet clear, some are speculating that the kids were taken away simply because of their names. As a foster parent that works daily with DYFS, I find this very hard to believe. I am sure that the same parents that would choose to name their kids in such an offensive way are not the parents of the year, by any stretch of the imagination.

Either way it is a very sad case. Could you imagine going through life being named little Adolf Hitler?
What is the point of naming your children this way?
If you have opinions of a certain way, then name _yourself_ this way but your children? I really do not get it.

Read more here:

Monday, December 29, 2008

MILK - A review

You may be wondering why a film review on a gay adoption blog?

Well, Harvey Milk's story directly impacts our ability to adopt and foster children. Were it not for Mr. Milk's tireless efforts to get some equality for gay and lesbian people back during his short political life, I truly doubt gay adoption and foster parenting would be a possibility at all.


In case you were not aware, Gus Van Sant has directed a new film based on the life of gay activist Harvey Milk. The main character is played by Sean Penn and the film traces the beginnings of gay life in the Castro area of San Francisco as well as the election of the first openly gay politician.

Sean Penn, say what you will, is an incredible actor. He plays Harvey so well and never for one moment do you remember that this is the same actor that played the surfer dude in Fast Times at Ridgemont High.

As a young gay person coming of age, I heard of Mr. Milk only after he was assassinated. His murderer was a fellow politician from San Francisco who famously blamed his crime on a diet of junk food, the twinkie defense.

That's probably most of what people knew of Mr. Milk but in this movie, viewers learn just how much Harvey Milk accomplished in his short public life. Harvey didn't change into a public figure until after his 40th birthday and in the short time saved many young lives by providing support for young people contemplating suicide, encouraging gays to 'come out' of their closets, and encouraging everyone to support anti discrimination laws for gays everywhere.

The film is all about relationships and dedication. Harvey ran for office and lost multiple times but each time came closer and closer to winning. He sacrifices his own life and relationships for the ideal of actually holding public office as an openly gay man. Once he attains this milestone, he works tirelessly against the religious right and Anita Bryant who publicly demanded that gay people be fired and rejected in every way.

The film also shows Mr. Milk's tireless efforts to improve the lives of not only gays, but seniors, blacks, working people, and children in his district. Mr. Milk was a born politician, in the true sense of the word, forging alliances with unlikely partners like the teamsters union to begin the boycott of Coors beer when Coors would not allow unions. By successfully bringing gay purchasing power into the equation, Harvey was successful in getting unions into Coors and in addition getting Coors to be the first company to hire openly gay drivers.

In today's lens, such victories seem so minor but back then just being an out gay person with a job was an act of defiance.

As I watched this film and the battle against Proposition 6 that is portrayed in the film. Proposition 6 was the law that was up for vote in California that would have enabled the firing of all gays working as school employees as well as the firing of any non-gay people who supported them in any way. The film shows just how close this battle was when Anita and her religious zealots took the fight right to California after winning many state battles.

As one watches this battle for such an evil and draconian law, one cannot help but think about the recent victory by ant-gay marriage forces in California and how it must have hit residents of California who believe in fairness and equality for all.

Needless to say, this movie was deftly directed by Mr. Van Sant, expertly played by Sean Penn and cast, and is so effective in educating and inspiring you to understand just how much love and energy went into getting gay rights as a viable goal onto the world stage.

See the trailer here:

See the movie, you will leave the theatre changed in a good way.

Posted via web from sean808080's posterous

Friday, December 26, 2008

Dear God: Please give me...

Well it's the day after Christmas as I type this and today the kids get to go on their first weekend visit in preparation for going home. It's going to be very quiet around here without their fun loving kid energy around the house. Flexibility sure is key as a foster parent as we were being told up until 2 days ago that the visit would be postponed. It's a good thing at least one of us is flexible at all times. Although sometimes it does take some time for the other to come round.
I hope you had a terrific holiday! Was Santa good to you?

See and download the full gallery on posterous

Posted via email from sean808080's posterous

Friday, November 14, 2008

Quantity and Quality

Now that it's been over a month since we said goodbye to the 4 year old, we've turned our full attention to the older two kids. Brother and sister, they are bright, chatty, and charming kids full of love and light like kids should be.

When they joined our home, the little one was the little queen of the house. She required so much attention and would take it from anyone that walked in the door like little girls sometimes can do.

Now that she's gone, I am seeing some interesting changes to the dynamics of the house. For one, now that Rob and I have more time to focus on the brother and sister.

Observation 1: Now that school is in full swing, we've had to take the kids away from the TV and endless video games that they've been used to. Talk about withdrawal symptoms! They come whining into the room saying they dont know what to do and they're bored. Libraries are our friends kids! We go and take books out and they seem to be coming around in that respect.

Observation 2: While they're such obedient and respetful kids, especially in school and compared to other kids, they're not such great students. Their study habits give us pause and even more challenging is that when they're wrong with their work they dont take correction well. They pout and say they know they're right and of course at the end of a long day it's really the last thing a parent wants to have to deal with but deal with it we must!

Observation 3: Now that it's just the two of them they have turned their full attention on each other which means endless chatter and not being able to focus on _anything else_ whether it's the food in front of them, their homework, or getting dressed for school!

To deal with this we've taken to separating them for homework time, and getting them to eat separately if/when they decide that they want to re-enact the View at the dinner table. I think this is a good approach because there are benefits to having some time along and quiet time without someone else on top of you all the time.

I guess this is a long post to reiterate that each and every addition to a household is going to affect all members in different ways. Makes sense doesn't it?