This is so close to my that I'm not sure where to begin...
I guess maybe at the start of my experiences with the first little one of these
abused children that touched my life so deeply.
Before I tell you about these very special children, I must warn you that it may get
pretty graphic. I will cut out as much of the swearing as I can & try to word things
so they're not quite as bad as they were & are for so many of the children in our
society. The things I will tell you about are about just a small portion of the hurting
children out there.
When you become a foster parent, you give up a big portion of your heart
& sometimes it feels like your sanity too.
I'm no longer doing foster care.
After 12 years & 54 kids, I've decided that I need a break & want some time for myself now.
I guess I need some healing time too.
I would like to say at this point that if any of you are foster parents, GOD BLESS YOU!
And if any of you reading this are considering becoming foster parents, please don't let my page scare you off.
These kids need loving adults in their lives that they can LEARN to depend on, LEARN to respect & hopefully (and almost always) LEARN to love.
Besides, in the long run it's not so bad & I've managed to save enough of my mind to learn html & build my own homepage!
Open your as I share with you the horrific stories of these children.
In the beginning there was Jeremy.
(All of the children's names will be changed for privacy in case someone knows any of the children.)
We took Jeremy for 2 week-end visits before he moved in with us. He was already in a foster home that felt they couldn't deal with his problems & we were trying to make the transition easier. We brought him to live with us on Christmas Eve.
It was Christmas morning, the gifts were open & my husband was cooking breakfast while I sat at the table playing a game with Jeremy. He never even looked up as he asked me, "Why did Evan make me drink piss?"
There were many times when Jeremy would sneak one in when least expected! We bonded almost immediately, & soon I was "Mom". This actually made me quite happy except for one day in the grocery store... By this time I had acquired 2 more foster kids, both teens. The girl Tina, went with Jeremy & I to get groceries. Jeremy was being the perfect angel! (As much as a 5 year old boy can be!) He was very sweetly saying things like "Mom, can we buy donuts?" and "Mom, those fruit roll-ups sure look good". Then he looked at Tina & said, "Why did Mom make me suck her titties?" The store was packed with people and I can assure you, I was getting some pretty nasty looks from people who were smiling a moment before! I re-acted very quickly & said, "Honey, I don't know why she would do that, but that's why you're in foster care & live with me now!" (Whew!)
During the two & a half years that Jeremy lived with us, we saw him go through many changes. (Sometimes they gotta get worse before they get better.) He started to behave rather weirdly & we finally figured out that he was halucinating. His mother & her boyfriend used drugs & on several occasions, shot Jeremy up. (There were times when I would hold him on my lap & he would cry, "Hold me, mom!" I would tell him I was holding him as close as I could & he would say, "But I can't Feel you!")
He was put on medication to help his violent temper so his blood level had to be monitored. At the doctors office it took me about 30 minutes to sooth him & get him to trust the nurse with the . As he lay on the table & I held him as close as I could, his frail little body actually vibrated on the table as he said, "I don't wanna feel funny... I don't wanna feel funny..." The nurse explained to him that she was gonna take a little of his blood out to test, not put something in. When she was done she asked him if he wanted to see. He looked at the tubes of blood & said "Cool!" (No more problems with blood tests!
Jeremy's bio mom was still allowed weekly supervised visits with him. Since he basically listened to me better then he did the workers & seemed to need to know where I was at all times, I was asked to do the supervising. Let me tell you those were trying times! It helped to realize that she was borderline retarded & had a lower IQ then even Jeremy. She couldn't take care of or protect herself let alone her child. (She eventually signed away her parental rights to Jeremy & chose to have a tubal ligation so she wouldn't bring anymore children into the world.) It also helped to meet her parents who were very concerned & loving people. But Jeremy would get so out of control & so emotionally upset during these visits. He would cuss & scream & throw the most awful tantrums. When the visits were over, he would rock. After one such visit, we went to my grandaughters birthday party. As he reached for a plate of cake he sweetly said, "Mom can I have a F please"? (The word he used was NOT fork...)
Jeremy's halucinations were getting worse as he revealed more & more of the abuse to myself or his counselor. It reached a point where he could no longer be cared for at home & he was put in a state mental hospital for children. I talked them into letting him stay until his 8th birthday so we could have a family party for him. At this point they had stopped communication for him with his grandparents, so he was basically without a family & without support. He was no longer my foster child... As far as the courts were concerned, I no longer had any rights with him either. (The court system has a great many flaws.) They placed this child in my care for two & a half years & then expected me to just forget about him. After 3 weeks, I got a call from the psychiatrist at the hospital asking me if I would try something for them. Jeremy was not eating well, was having nightmares again & would not talk about his problems. They wanted to see his reaction when he saw me. I went down immediately. (It was about 80 miles away.) I talked them into letting me take him off grounds to get his hair cut. It was awful & since he had no family to pay for things like that, he went without. That day he also sat on my lap & talked to his counselor about the abuse. After that I was allowed 2 visits weekly. Once to sit with him while he was in therapy & the other when I was allowed to take him off-grounds for a few hours. This continued for almost a year. He was starting to make some progress but they said it would be years... Gradually I was fading into the background. My visits became less frequent until I stopped seeing him at all. He needed to develope relationships with other people who could at that point help him more then I could. I agreed.
He eventually was put into a group home & finally returned to foster care. His foster family adopted him. They only had older children & it seems to be working quite well. (He was very violent with younger children & at the time he was put back into foster care, I had 3 little ones under 4.) His grandparents keep me informed & say he remembers me & sometimes talks about me. Even when it's not a complete success, it's a good feeling to know you made a difference.
Jeremy was too messed up emotionally from the physical & sexual abuse he suffered to testify in court. Evan was allowed to plea bargain & recieved only 3 months in jail. Where is the justice? (After he was released, he molested 2 neighbor girls who told & testified. He was given 6 years on that case.)
Then there was Garrett
Garrett was one of the few teen-age boys that I had. He was 14 years old. He also came to me from another foster home. I recieved a phone call from the police in a nearby town asking me if I would be willing to take a temporary emergency placement. Garrett had forgotten his lunch & when he got home after school, wanted to make something to eat. His foster mom told him no, he could wait till dinner. It was his own fault he hadn't gotten lunch. They apparently lived near a grocery store & Garrett was caught shoplifting. He had stolen an apple. The police were called, mostly to scare him & his foster mother was notified. She refused to let him come back to her home. We decided to let him stay.
Garrett was definately a challenge! Most of the time he would do what he was asked or told to do, but he always told me I was not his mother & couldn't tell him what to do. He was very troubled & would not talk in counciling. No one through our agency seemed to know what had really happened to him. I can only imagine it must have been one of the worse child abuse cases in Michigan. (You read how little time Jeremy's abuser got.) Garrett's bio mom & her boyfriend both recieved 2 life sentences to be served one after the other. There were 5 other siblings also involved that we knew about. None of them were to have contact with each other. Garrett's father was in prison for dealing drugs.
The agency was planning on moving him to a residential unit. I'm sorry to say, he stressed me out one day. (Remember, I was new to this & I also tend to react in my own way... It has usually worked out though, even though the agency I was licensed through wasn't always happy with my methods. LOL!) My girlfriend & I were making her wedding dress & had the satin & lace spread out on the table. Garret came in from playing football & he was filthy! He deliberately was trying to get me going, & he suceeded. He would not wash his hands & kept touching & playing with the lace. Finally I told him to go to his room. He said, "You can't make me... You're not my mother!" I started across the room & he took off running up the stairs to his room. I followed close on his heels! He was yelling the same thing at me repeatedly... "You're not my mother!" I sat on the foot of his bed & I said, "You're right Garrett. I'm not your mother. I don't know what she did to you, but I would never do those things. I'm taking care of you like a mom should. And I will continue to take care of you for as long as I can."
Garrett was moved to the residential within a couple of weeks. For the next couple of years I would go get him on school vacations & holidays so he could be with a family. The second Christmas we picked him up a couple of days before the holiday. He had bought presents for everyone, including my new foster children. He insisted that I open mine early. Finally, I gave in & opened the present. It was a beautiful porcelan mask. (Which I collect.) But the most beautiful thing was the tag. He signed it "To Mom, Love Garrett."
Garrett eventually opened up in counciling & actually did quite well. The day he turned 18 & was released out on his own, he called me & asked if he could spend the day with me. Of course, I said YES!
This young lady was allowed visits at home. Sometime in the first few months she became pregnant. A beautiful baby boy was born. He was the cause of all of our new learning experiences. He was born with a cleft lip & palate. We were told it was one of the worse in Michigan. He required special feeding with a special bottle. We were very lucky. He really didn't have too many problems taking his bottle. Normally surgery is preformed on these little ones within the first couple of weeks after birth. Since he was covered by medicaid, & it was not at that point life threatening, it had to be approved. Medicaid turned his surgery down. They said since he could breathe & eat, it was considered a cosmetic surgery! After several months of applying for help through different organizations, Crippled Childrens Fund paid for his surgery & aftercare. We also had a nurse who came to our house to check on him once a week. He had 2 surgeries & will need more every few years until he reaches full growth, because as he grows, his features where he had surgery will not grow & will become mis-shapen again.
Links to sites & info on Cleft Lip
Some sites are graphic.
WIDE SMILES ~ Who to contact for help ~ "Chat" to learn more.
This little angel, I'll call Tory... Tory loved his grandma (ME!) so much... After they moved out on their own, we kept in touch, of course. I'm not sure how he came by his nickname for me... Mockman... (Sounds kinda Stephen Kingish to me... REDRUM or Richard Bochman...) Anyway, here's the story. At our house when someone is leaving, we all go to the window to say goodbye.
We use the finger signs for sign language to say I LOVE YOU.
When Tory was about 2 we kept him for a week while his mama was on vacation. After dinner I was playing with him on the floor, wrestling around & tickling & stuff. All of a sudden he got really excited. He said, "MOCKMAN! MOCKMAN! I LOVE YOU" and he held up his middle finger. My husband said, "No Tory, like this..." and did the I love you sign. (He'd been trying to teach him that earlier out at the swingset to surprise me...) It worked!
One girl I had used to cut herself with an exacto knife. They told me she was suicidal. I very much believe that you have to take these threats seriously. But I also believe that you need to be able to tell the difference between real suicidal tendencies & when someone does it as a cry for help or also if they are doing it to get attention. Patty fit the last description. She had several opportunities & always ended up with scratches on her wrists that would hardly even bleed. She was mad at me one night & made sure that I saw her take her knife to the bathroom where she locked herself in. She wouldn't unlock the door for me so I went downstairs & left her alone. After about 20 minutes, she came down & told me she had cut her wrists again. I looked & said "Yup." She asked if I wanted her knife. I told her no. That if she really wanted to kill herself, I couldn't stop her. Nobody could. All she had to do was cut deeper & into the artery. I told her that my husband & I would be hurt, her parents would be, the case workers & teachers at school all would be. We'd all feel real bad because we couldn't help her. But then we'd get on with our lives & she'd be dead. I told her she had to make that decision. When I told the case workers what I said to her, they were very upset. They told me I couldn't talk like that to a kid with problems like she had. (Patty has never cut herself again as far as I know.)
One young lady I had was expelled from school for violence. I paid to put her through modeling school. She never had any trouble in our high school & is doing wonderful!
Another one of my girls is managing a ladies clothing store.
I was blessed with the presense of a really tough, hard butt young lady who spent a lot of time taking care of herself on the streets. She was a runner & in fact I went three times to pick her up before I actually got her. I would arrive at the agency to find the workers in a panic because she had taken off again. The morning after we finally brought her home, she ran. My husband worked 3rd shift & just happened to see her on his way home. He pulled up beside her & asked her where she was going. She said she was running away. He told her that he thought it would be a good idea for her to get in the truck so he could bring her back to talk to me about it. She got in! And she never ran again! She's married now with her own baby & brings her over to see "Grandma."
Another one of my girls has been arrested repeatedly for prostitution. Pretty much lives on the streets. Her father is a doctor & had been sexually abusing her for years. She finally told her mom & mom did the right thing. Her parents were divorced but since there was no proof, just the girls word, her father was never prosecuted. Mom & the kids had to move from a very prominant home to a trailer in a mobile home park. This girl felt like all of the losses her family suffered were her fault. I guess you can't help them all. So many of them go through so much & it's so hard for them to overcome. I just thank God for all the lives that I was able to touch & make a difference in.
This is just a small sample of the children who have claimed a part of my life & my heart. I still have contact with a large number of them & I'm happy to say, most have grown to have pretty productive lives which wasn't easy for any of them. I'm very proud to have been a part of their growing process & a continuing part of some of their lives now.
We took training classes & worked with severely physically & sexually abused & neglected chidren. During our training we were told that in the last year only two of the children that were returned home had died. ONLY TWO! What's wrong with that picture? You see the parents have rights. Very seldom are they prosecuted, even when they admit to the abuse. The court allows them time to learn how to be a better parent & get help for themselves. They can't order them to get help, they can only suggest it. In the mean time the parents are allowed weekly visits, usually supervised, for a hour or two. Even if the children didn't want to go, I would have to bring them or I could get in trouble with the court.
I had one little girl who would poop her pants just before it was time to go to her visit & she would rub it in her hair. Then I would have to give her a bath & wash her hair before we could leave. It was her way of not having to spend so much time with her parents.
During training we were told about a case where a man committed sodemy on his 10 year old son. He admitted to it, but said he would never hurt his child. He always did it in the kitchen & used butter for lubrication. He got two years.
We also had a very disturbed little 5 year old boy. His family had been investigated since he was two, but he & his brothers weren't removed till 3 years later. He told us how mommy held him down while daddy put his weiner in his butt. He made it bleed & mommy & daddy pushed cotton up there but it was still bleeding. I asked him what mommy said. She asked his daddy if it felt good. They ended up taking him to the hospital & gave an excuse that it was done by a homeless man they felt sorry for. They said they took the man in & in exchange, he would watch the kids for them. They said they came home & found Tyler like that & the man was gone. Tyler said there was no man, daddy did it. Daddy & mommy were allowed visits for 1 year before their rights were terminated. Tyler went up for adoption. He has been with 4 different families who were interested in adopting him & they have all returned him to the court system before the adoptions were finalized. His behavior is so bazaar! He is another child who is damaged beyond repair, for life.
CAN YOU TELL HOW I FEEL ABOUT OUR COURT SYSTEM & THE CHILDREN'S RIGHTS?
I would like to dedicate this page to my daughter, Tanya. I will not disclose anything about her life, previous to coming into my heart, for obvious reasons. She was 15 when she came to live with me, & I adopted her when she turned 18. There is only one story I want to share with you about her. It happened after she was 18 & after our adoption. Being 18 she of course knew it all. But she has never been disrespectful to me. Of course the time came when she decided to move out on her own. Two weeks earlier, she was in a minor car accident. She was somewhere she was told not to go & she had one of my foster daughters with her. She owned her own car, but being mom, I decided to ground her from her car for 2 weeks. She could have left at any time, but waited till her 2 week grounding was over before she moved. She did not want to disobey me. The last day of her grounding was when she started loading her car. What a girl! (Who by the way has blessed me with 2 grandchildren!)
I will be adding more stories about the children, so please check back.
Kids are so precious & deserve all of the caring, love & understanding we can give them.
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