Sunday, October 31, 2010

Journey to Tigger

As some of you may know, November is National Adoption Month.  Since this month deals with that wonderful thing called awareness, I figured I would blog like crazy and just put some adoption themed posts out there this month. 

Before we start though, I'd like to just write about how Tigger and I came to be.  It's interesting how feelings and desires of a teenager actually came full circle even if in a different way than originally thought. 

I guess you can say I've always had a tender heart.  I would be the one crazy kid to cry at the end of "the fox and the hound" over that phrase "we'll always be friends forever" "yeah forever", tender moments touched my heart, and as I grew up I developed a tender spot for children.  I have no idea why, after all I was the tomboy girl that hated wearing dresses, played with matchbox cars, ignored the dolls my mom would give me, and trains along with Lincoln logs were my choice of toys...not really into playing house or anything innately mothering of dolls and such.  But individuals are crazy, neat, and astounding constantly morphing in their likes and their path of life. 

As a teenager I vaguely became aware of baby girls in China that were in orphanages.  I decided right then and there that I would adopt a child and not only that, I would adopt a baby girl from China that needed a home.  I proclaimed this mantra to anyone that would listen and I'm sure I scared off a boyfriend or two by the time college rolled around.  I had too much fun in college.  Dreams of adoption went on the back burner and I did what any good college kid did away from home...I made friends, made stupid decisions, and for some reason still managed to graduate in four years.  Moving back to my home state, I quickly settled into a routine of work, Grad school, and learning about life.  I started dating an old high school friend of mine and that went well for a while.  I then remembered my dream of adopting a child and shared that we could do this!  Boyfriend wasn't at all on board with this idea so in my disappointment I became at peace with the idea that adoption wouldn't be a part of my life.  Well this boyfriend and I broke it off and then I just dated here and there, never really becoming serious with anyone else again. 

By this time I was done with Graduate school and was working hard in the school system.  As a Speech/Language Pathologist I assessed many preschool kids.  I also assessed many children that actually were in the foster care system.  I learned a lot about the foster care system and quickly became an annoying voice of advocacy for the children in the system...whether or not I knew about issues in the foster care system or not, I just knew that if I ever were to adopt, I decided that international was not my way, but I would pursue foster care. 

It would be a few years, two casual dating relationships later, after purchasing my townhouse, that I began my quest to be a mom.  Most people that knew (which were primarily my co-workers) were supportive.  I don't know what it is about the people working in the school system, but many that adopt do so from foster care.  Maybe working in a system that is flawed somehow lessons the fear of working with another system that is flawed?  I don't know, but in any case, I had nothing but support.  I only had one person that thought I was too young to be "throwing my life away". (apparently one has to be older than 30 when deciding to be a single mom????????)  Family was also very supportive. 

I started my quest to get licensed in November of 2008.  Was homestudied and licensed by June of 2009.  I received my call for Tigger in December of 2009 and I completely panicked...I was ready for a toddler or a preschooler, I had no idea they would actually call me about an infant.  Nevertheless, I accepted, called my parents in a panic and we spent over $1,000 at Babies R Us that night.  Tigger came to me December 15, 2009.  She was 4 months old.  I love looking at pictures of last Christmas as it shows two things....Tigger's unsmiling face, and my 'deer in the headlights' look.  I love what we have become this year.  A family of two.  I will write more on attachment and our bonding experience later, however, this year with all it's surprises, moments of panic, and absolute joy, I would not trade it for anything. 

People ask me all the time whether or not being a single mom is hard on me.  I can honestly answer "I don't know" it's what I'm used to and it's pretty dang great.  Yeah do I wish I had an extra set of hands so I can cook, clean, keep Tigger from stunts that cause imminent death? Sure....but I will tell anyone that being a mom is the best thing in the world.  I still advocate for foster care, I still talk about fost/adopt programs with anyone who will listen.  The scary part is that I may decide to do this crazy business again...I haven't made up my mind though, but choosing to be a mom, however it comes about...the best thing that I have ever chosen. 

And that is my very summarized version of how Tigger and I got together.  November is National Adoption Month.  It's a time to share awareness of many issues surrounding adoption...many issues that the average person may not think about.  I hope that my random writings may be of some use this month.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

TV Crime Drama Procedurals and Foster care/Adoption themes

Well that title should just say it all, but since I just finished watching an episode on my DVR of a new crime drama procedural titled Detroit 1-8-7 I figured I'd blog about my thoughts. 

The particular episode is called "Lost child; murder 101".  In it a woman is murdered in her SUV and a preschool age child is found hiding in the backseat.  While all the wonderful actors try to figure out the crime and where the child belongs they find out that this woman is NOT the mother of this child....then they find a couple with a medically fragile son....a wonderful family that just happened to have "adopted" him but then mysteriously won't talk about why this recently murdered woman was on her way to see them with this other child that they have found out isn't hers....yes the plot thickens. 

In this intricately woven mess of a plot, we find out that the murdered woman is an ex-social worker that swoops in and kidnaps kids that are in bad foster homes and doctors up papers--termination of parental rights and adoption papers so that the kids aren't left in bad homes and end up with 'good' people/homes along with phony adoption papers.  The birth father of the girl was the one that ended up being the killer and the lead detective takes initiative with the DCFS supervisor and scurries this girl secretly with that family that "adopted" their other son (you know the one with fake adoption papers) so that she won't be lost to the system forever.  (I'm assuming more forged/fake adoption paperwork was in the mix as well)  Of course everyone thinks this is the best answer to beat a broken system...even the DCFS supervisor ended the hour by saying her last line "the day I get in trouble for this is the day the system is fixed". 

Now while I know that TV drama shows are there for emotional appeal and to make situations extreme so that your favorite actor/actress can melt your heartstrings..and then there is a following....crazy love-struck fans living in fantasy, all that good stuff I have some major problems with this storyline both as a soon to be forever family and because I did pursue adoption through foster care. 

1.  The portrayal of foster homes here....well it really feeds the myth that most foster homes are evil, bad, and out for the money.
*while some foster homes may indeed be a hell hole, (heck Tigger had to be taken from her first emergency placement due to some unfortunate circumstances in the home and yet her second foster home was warm, inviting, friendly, GOOD, and I still keep in touch with them), not all foster homes are like this.  I do feel that foster homes do get the short end of the stick in the media....

2.  Contrary to popular opinion, not all birthparents are evil psycho killers.  Yes in foster care/DCFS/CPS, the home life is more than likely bad if not children would not be taken away and put in foster homes, but a cold blooded killer all the time? no.  Would it surprise you that some families that have adopted children from foster care maintain some somrt of semi-open to open adoption with family members and/or a parent?  Well it does happen.  Does it surprise you that some foster parents and/or adoptive parents carry around a great deal of sadness and sympathy for the biological parents?  well they do, it'sa complicated situation that can't be wraped up in 60 minutes. 

3.  Because the system is broken it's ok to be vigilantes.....oh no.
*there is nothing right about kidnapping.  There are rules, policies, and procedures to follow.  Do we like all of them?  no, but does this make it ok to take the law into your own hands because the foster care system sucks?  That's a dangerous path to follow. 

4.  Can someone please enlighten me as to why we think it's ok to falsify adoption papers and court proceedings just because a family is a "good" and "deserving" family?
*First of all this is wrong....on all levels.  I don't care if you are a "good" family or not.  Working the system, throwing money around so you can get what you want and what you think you deserve is not right.  Not to mention that in the heat of the emotional moment on tv, you will have people saying that the 'ends justify the means' and agreeing that a good home was way better and it was right to falsify everything for this little girl. 

Sometimes a TV show is just a TV show.  However, as I look and ponder my favorite TV shows, foster care and adoption are never put in a positive light.  Most of the time it's the "bad seed" mentality or the evil biological parents, or the child with RAD that kills everyone.  It's kind of frustrating. 

Sure, adoption needs to be something that can be talked about.  Maybe seeing more on older child adoptions may cause a family to think, but these types of plots in tv drama shows only cement long held myths that are usually not true, which is unfortunate because many people do get their 'adoption education' from the TV and I shudder to think that this is the message that they are seeing and remembering in their brains.

At the end of the day.....they all tantrum

This will be a short blog post. 

No matter how educated you are, how many books you've read on it parenting in general, or parenting through adoption, the baby whisperer, this method, that method....the truth will always be.

There are times when your kid is crabby and will throw a fit because things are not happening to their liking.  They will throw themselves back and hit their head causing you to freak out and think of the many bad things that come with a TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury) and as you're preparing to look and see if it's ER hospital worthy, they stop....look at you....and laugh at something obscure.

Monday, October 25, 2010

National Adoption Day

In case ya'll didn't know, November is national adoption month.  This year in 2010, Saturday November 20th is National Adoption Day. 

Today I was told that Tigger and I will finalize her adoption on Saturday November 20th.  There will be a huge celebration in our county and we will be one of at least 12 families finalizing in the courthouse. 

Thank you God for the ways in which you have worked with us this will have been 11 months and 5 days since placement.  Tigger and I have grown as mother and daughter.  I have matured in many ways I didn't think was possible.  My emotions have gone from the depths of sadness to the joys and frustrations of everyday life.  I have met amazing people on similar journeys, and I can now see that my "parenting advice" prior to life with Tigger was a bunch of crap.  LOL

Thank you to all those who have been praying for our family for whatever reason, not just adoption related.  I ask you now to pray for us as we embark being a forever that will include heavy topics of adoption, foster care, and whatever honest and hard conversations that may bring between us, as well as the usual stuff associated with growing up female in this day and age.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Why I don't make sense to people

Yes you read that title correctly.  Sometimes people don't know what to make of me.  I guess for some people I'm full of contradictions.  Case in point.  When you see the list of blogs I read or have read, you'll notice some of the writers are more conservative with their topics and some other are way out to the other end.  Some are Christian and some are not.  You may ask why I don't just "hang" with like-minded people...the answer is I am a "middle of the road" person.  I am a for all intents and purposes 'moderate' in my thinking, opinions, and yes religious beliefs.  This confuses people, because sometimes they want you to identify in only one way....and try as I might I'm never hard-core one way or the other. 

Adoption:  Oh my, I never thought there was so much in the world of adoption.  It's a whole other have international, domestic, foster care, private and there are terminologies and thought patterns for adoption, semi-open, closed, culture camps, foster care reform, birth parent rights, adoptive parent rights, children's rights, how open should you be, what is age appropriate information, trans racial adoption, how to be or how not to be a parent to a child of a different race, special needs, RAD, attachment parenting...what should one do or not do....and on and on and on. 

As if we didn't have enough "normal" parenting worries, we also have to take cut and dry sides on any variety of issues?  Lord have mercy.  Lord help us.  I've come to the conclusion that even in adoption, I still don't subscribe to one extreme or the other other in any given topic...and while it may be the new research or the new thing or what not, I've come to peace with the fact that I learn from the past in adoption and I am competent to make decisions I feel are appropriate for my daughter without making it an extreme. 

PoliticsHa ha ha, that's a good one.  In this day and age of our politics I think it's safe to say that most people are not true Democrats or Republicans in thought patterns but will most likely just pick a "team" that they can identify with in a few issues.  This is where I catch the most slack because my personal preference is to vote more liberal state wise and more conservative nation wise.  Yes there goes that contradiction again....very strong.  This year's election in CA is just a hot one.  I'll be glad when it's over but my goodness...I may have conservative leanings in some aspects, but I also hate being vilified as the "evil" public school really gets old.  If it were just my job and people not liking what I do, I wouldn't really care, but when it trickles down to MY students?  well I get all mama bearish about while people may have their passion issues like abortion, health care, social services, gay marriage/domestic partnership benefits, parent rights, yup you guess it, my passion has always been and will always be education, especially education in Title 1 schools....mostly because the children I work with have so much more to deal with than just going to school.  What some people need to realize is that a parent that cares....doesn't matter if rich or poor will advocate for their child, do charter school lotteries until they get in, work 3 jobs to get them into private school, apply for scholarships to get into a private school....I will continue to advocate and speak for my forgotten children, the ones that don't have anyone to speak for them and who truly are forgotten in the midst of talking about whether unions are evil, whether or not charter schools should be more available, how we should grade teachers and on an A-F system (which will truly attract teachers to teach in Title 1 schools by the way [sarcasm dripping])

So yes, my own belief system is mainly conservative, however I can't just subscribe to one party or the other...which irritates many people. 

Religion:  Ah this is a fun one.....I belong very happily to my denomination.  If I did not believe in some of our doctrines I wouldn't be here.  That does not mean that it's an all or nothing belief system.  Don't get me wrong, as a Christian there are certain beliefs that are all or nothing.  Belief in Jesus Christ is one of them.  Belief in heaven and well whatever form of lost you believe in (hell or final annihilation).  It's the nitty gritty that I don't get too stuck on....why?  because kindness and treating people with respect even if you don't think they are "religious" enough is more important to me than following all of my church's rules.  Again this makes for a lonely life sometimes as you have people on one legalism extreme and others wanting you to be completely open-minded to the point of ridiculousness.  (e.g. before I started this adoption journey, one guy I dated thought it was great I was an active member of the church, he loved that, he loved that I wasn't "legalistic" and then wanted to know when we were going to move in together or at least start sleeping with each really people? really? again I state just because I have some different beliefs and may not be the most conservative thinker you think everything is fair game and I don't hold some things as important??? oh my)

When I look at my circle of close friends, it is a small bunch.  Not because I don't like people, I really do, but because this moderate life view I take confuses people.  I write this not as a complaint but as a spring board of how to go about parenting.  It seems as though it would make the most sense to be more one way minded as it will mean Tigger will "fit in " better with like-minded people, but I don't know how to commit to that....I also know how lonely it is to not be committed one way or the other on issues or areas in life....instead carving out a very interesting belief system.  It is something I never thought about before becoming a parent.  What is good for me may not be good for my daughter, which is why I probably switched my membership to another church we've been attending to for a year (same denomination) that is more conservative than the church I was attending which was more open and people were always having differences of opinions which is awesome in my book but not so awesome when raising a child...she can choose her own way of loving her belief system when she's older. 

Thoughts to ponder....and maybe with these thoughts I also further the point as to why I don't make sense to people.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Rain and Picture day

Ugh....picture day at my work.  You'd think this madness would stop after you graduated high school but no, if you choose to work in the schools, picture day comes every year and because everyone needs their staff ID including service providers like myself, I had to look pretty and put on that happy face!

I love the rationale my mother makes for loving that I have an updated picture every year. 

Reason 1:  I love how your hair changes every year (well this is true, my hair grows super fast so some years it's shoulder length long and some years like this one, it's an A-line bob) 

Reason 2:  In case you go missing I can have a recent picture of you to show the police

ummmmmm really mom?  that's a lovely thought!  So much for positive thinking lol.  And of course we staff are supposed to get here at 7:45am to take the group staff picture....oh yeah because having a baby in the house means I can get there 15 minutes earlier without issues right?  sigh, so I made the best effort, got here at 7:50 am (which is really great, I"m usually cruising in at 8:00 or 8:05am) and because of the rain and the change of where our normal group staff pictures are supposed to be, the picture people weren't set up and the group photo was cancelled.  Double ugh, do we not know that it is NOT easy for me to get here before 8am?  I worked my rear off to get here and look pretty and this happens. 

And even though we did HAVE to take individual pictures for our staff IDs which must be worn every day, I woke up with a HUGE zit under my I took this year's photo with my glasses on...oh joy!  This picture day was just disasterous.  At least I'm way past the tween hormonal stage where this would have been the "end of the world as we know it".  Oh well, not the end of the world.  I hate our weather right now.  I am a lizard in that I love the heat.  Bring out the sun any day...this rain business is not my thing, not to mentioned it totally made our picture day suck! 

Before I leave this blog though, i'll have you know that I smiled pretty for the camera.  What can I say, I'm a team player and one has to smile to make it through, zit and all.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

The big bad school system has feelings too!!!!!!

You know I get it!  I really do.  The public school system isn't the best sometimes.  Special education and all that it entails is also another system where things can go right or things can go awry. 

However, the people working with the kids, sometimes YOUR kids....they have feelings too.  Sometimes it just gets old to hear people venting away about how evil the school district is;  how people in special education don't care about their child, how they aren't doing anything.....people are people, some people are very good at their job and some aren't.  It's really that simple....then it gets complex because us laypeople in the schools (Special Education Teacher, Speech Therapist, School Psychologist) are doing what we can do in adherence to the law and to our districts school policy.  Then if a parent isn't happy with their child's educational plan they can take it up with the special education department, and then there are parent rights that let you file against the district if you think your family/child has been wronged. 

It's in my nature to be a people pleaser, to sit down and listen, to try and come up with a better plan if a parent is upset, but I draw the line at rudeness.  *I* am not the enemy.  *I* am not the evil one.  *I* am not part of a big conspiracy to keep your kid from learning or speaking.  Believe it or not *I* am tired of being 'god' (if your child begins to talk and use language and progress in that area) and *I* am tired of being the evil speech therapist (if your child is not becoming verbal in a quick amount of time).  *I* am not a robot and *I* don't like to be ragged on and be made out to be an evil part of a conspiracy that is hell bent on making sure your child doesn't learn.  Yes parents, *I* have feelings too and they can be hurt. 

If you are feeling angry or frustrated with your staff at your child's school site or think your special education team isn't listening to you, here are some things to try:

*Call an IEP meeting and beforehand make a list of concerns you would like to discuss
*Ask for a special education administrator or program specialist to attend so your concerns are documented not only with the school but with the special education
*Read your parent rights.  If you really are not happy with a particular service or services ask where the directions are to file for a due process hearing....if the team is shady and doesn't want to tell you, call the department of ed. or the district's office of resolution
*attempt to work out differences with the individual....if there is animosity or you do have a special ed. team member that is rude, cease contact and speak to that person in the principal's office
*seek and inter or intra district transfer....sometimes things are better at another school.

Above all, remember we who work in the public system are people too....and we do care about your kids and their success. 

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Sometimes laughter IS the best medicine

So do you find that you get so caught up in your immediate family/problems that you fail to see outside the box?  I do that.  I do that a lot!  Most of the time it's worrying about adoption and how things will progress in the future.....

However for comedic relief I go online.  And I found this awesome website that comes up with comic cartoons related to adoption.  The site is manned by two Vietnamese international adoptees....some of their stuff is great. 

Sometimes it's just great to sit back and just laugh....I know I act like this comic too!  Can you relate? 

Look here at Parent Worries for some laughter! 

Monday, October 18, 2010

We emerged from the house!

Part of adoption entails working on attachment.  No matter how young a baby is, contrary to popular opinion, they do not come to your home with a blank slate or automatically happy.  This is actually good information for a different blog entry but I digress....there is a point this this opening paragraph!

This year I've made mistakes as in going out too soon to places (the first outing to the zoo involved too many relatives and Tigger hated it crying loudly for the first hour), taking Tigger to see way too many reatives at the start etc....however, once we settled down our world became small.  We would follow our routine.  We have a weekday routine and a weekend routine.  Yes recently (since the beginning of summer) we've stretched what we have done, hung out with friends successfully and gone to gatherings at my aunt's house. 

I had just realized today that neither Tigger or I have emerged from the house through the front door (aside from letting my friends in from out of state in the summer).  The garage is attached to the house so we always leave from the garage already in the car.  Well after dinner we decided to walk!  We EMERGED from the house through the FRONT door!  Tigger was in awe first of all because it was new and secondly because she was walking while holding my hand and that was just too exciting!

We started to walk around the townhome complex and then it hit me how sloooooow it is to walk holding a toddler's hand.  There are birds chirping and flying so we had to stop to listen, the wind was blowing in the trees so we had to stop again to listen and look with our mouth open in amazement.  Then there were chipmunks running and ducks quacking and a brisk 1 minute walk turned into a 15 minute extraveganza......Tigger was also exhausted by the time we got back. 

It's kind of amazing!  I hope we get to do it soon.  Hopefully after the rain....according to the weather, it's supposed to rain for a few days starting tomorrow!

News in CA regarding Foster Care

Well this is news to me, but as I was surfing around during my lunch break I came upon some interesting and quite frankly 'common sense' news regarding foster care.  It seems that now in California teens in foster care will not age out at age 18, but will age out at 21.  See news blip on this issue here.

While some people will complain that it's a waste of money and we're enabling kids, the reality is at age 18 it is rare that any teen can support themselves much less without any support system (e.g. family).  The stipulations for help through foster care will include the individual going to college and/or trade school. 

I think it's a fine idea.  It's about time something makes sense in the foster care world!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Weekend ramblings

It is 11pm on a work/school night....that means tomorrow I'll be feeling it.  Lets face it, Sunday night is the hardest night to go to sleep....why?  because usually you can catch up on sleep on the weekends....well I usually do.  Tigger is a good nighttime sleeper and nap taker so I join in....and because of the time we get up on the weekdays, we sleep an extra hour or two on the weekends. 

Time flies:  Tigger has been home since last almost a year....I can't believe it!  She is 14 mo old and took her first unassisted steps on Friday evening. 

Weekend fun:  Since I was mostly working on attachment when Tigger came home, I didn't spend as much time over at my folks as I used to do prior to Tigger.  It's been a month now that both Tigger and I have spent the weekends at my folks.  I find it serves two purposes.  1) my parents spend time with Tigger so I can rest for a few minutes...and 2) my parents really enjoy having their granddaughter around...and since I'm single, it's nice for Tigger to spend some time with my dad and in a home that has a 2-parent dynamic so as she grows, it's not a mystery to her how marriage can work. 

Change:  This weekend I asked for my church membership to transfer to the church we've been going to for the past year.  I made up my mind Tigger will grow up here and since she will be attending one of the two private schools nearby that most of her church friends will go to as well, it seemed to be the obvious thing to do.  It still was hard to fill out that paperwork though. 

Work:  This past week at work, I had a difference of opinion with a person at work.  I called my supervisor to talk to her about it and she was very helpful.  It makes me feel valued to know my work counts and that my supervisor has "my back".  I am getting letters of recommendation in order to possibly apply somewhere closer to home and Tigger's daycare, but on weeks like these, it's hard to think of switching to another district where the people in administration (special ed. that is) and your supervisor don't know you, and all that work at showcasing your character in your work has to start from scratch again. 

Housework:  Tigger is amusing and loves to help me do laundry....well she loves having to throw clothes, so in a basket, or in the dryer it doesn't matter.  This is good because as of right now, she hates picking up her toys so at least this is something positive LOL.

Patience:  this waiting for finalization is killing me.

Those have been my random thoughts/actions this weekend

Friday, October 15, 2010

Adoption or Something Else?

You may wonder why when most of us end up getting placed with our children, then move onto finalization, we get all gun ho about adoption, what's new with adoption, support groups etc. 

I won't try to answer for all adoptive families out there, but will share what goes on in my brain from time to time.  All mommies form cliques (much to my dismay...see my last entry) whether it's because they join a local "mommy and me" group, "playgroup" "gymboree group" etc. or whether it's because they share organic meal tips, or maybe it's because they are hoping to make homeschooling happen and so that's what joins them.  
I do believe sometimes we adoptive parents join groups and make friends is because we want to know if what we are experiencing is typical kid/family behavior or is this something "adoption related" that needs to be discussed, researched on, get counseling on how to deal and how to help....I do believe sometimes we do go overboard....I compare mothers like myself not only like momma bears, but more like momma dragons, firing and burning people alive with our eyeballs, because in our minds we hope some behaviors are typical kids stuff and not out of feelings of abandoment and anxiousness due to early beginnings.  We worry we won't be enough, we worry about the future, we worry about future family tree projects in school, we worry about everything (like all mothers do I suppose) and sometimes we need to vent to other like minded people. 

So since mothers of all kinds have an incredible bond just by being mothers....let's be mindful that every mother has her worries.  More accurately has her mind full of specific-minded worries and lets not be so quick to chalk everything up to "oh everythings typical...everyone will be fine"....pat phrases like these won't help the mother secretly worried her child may have Autism or SPD, it won't soothe the mother that is worried her child is speech delayed, is worried their child won't fit in at school due to xyz reasons, and won't soothe the mother that wonders if genetics is playing a specific role right now and will this mean for the future. 

Wow!  I sound like I'm getting pulled into Adoption education...something I swore I'd never do....Never say Never. 

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Mommy Wars

I have little patience for cliques.  So I guess it's not surprising to hear that my high school days were not glorious yet not horrible either.  I played sports, yet wasn't one of the 'jocks', I loved to sing in the choir but definately wasn't in the 'theatre crowd' or like those kids on the Fox tv show Glee.  I would read 3 books in a weekend but wasn't part of the 'nerdy' crowd....I wasn't popular but I was the class clown and I was in Student Council junior year and a Class Officer that all important Senior year. 

All in all, no cliques means really no lasting friendships out of the tons of acquaintences....I have a couple of friends that I would consider good friends from those days. 

Then in graduate school OMG, there is a definate culture to being an SLP....I found I didn't fit with the rest of my classmates except know the 'down to earth' 'working while going to school' girl while the rest were "omg I didn't get an A on my paper...that is just so wrong" and "how on earth can you work while going through this rigorous program" type classmates.  Oiy, graduation was the best thing that happened and I really don't want to go back although I toy with it occasionally but just to learn about different things (right now my current obsession is a 2 year program for English/Spanish translation....since I speak Spanish so much at work anyways)

There are cliques between SLPs at work....I find I can be "friends" with all because of my personality, but I don't really fit in with one group or another.....thank goodness there are 2 others that are kinda like me so we hang out I guess by default. 

Then the worst group of all....what I call the den of mommies.  And with mommyhood comes the mommy wars.....did you breastfeed, do you co-sleep, do you homeschool, do you eat organic, do you spank or time out?, do you enroll in gymboree, baby Einstein IQ builders, genius children camps etc.  I mean the list goes on and on and on and why do we feel the need to talk "bad" about choices other moms make?  I highly doubt that a families choice in whether or not to eat organic is going to be the end all/be all to whether your child has a high IQ or ends up in jail.  During times of stress, moms should be there for each other rooting, supporting.  Let's not get entangled in solely identifying with a clique, but let's reach out to others and broaden our horizons. 

I'd like to take some time to recognize a couple of people that don't fit the "norm" of what one thinks, but I love their choices and what they do and they really are nice to talk to and read about. 

My friend Ticia is a mommy of 3 and homeschools.  She is down to earth and has love for all as well as enjoys what she does for her kids.  Read about it here.

From my online support forum, I met a particularly strong single woman that deals with her daughter's RAD (Reactive Attachment Disorder) daily and is just doing a good job being involved and plugging away all for the love of her daugher.  Read about it here

I hope that in the grand scheme of things we can move past the "mommy wars" and make the den of motherhood a haven of rest and friendship.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Short Summary of the diversity of the SLP

So what usually happens when people find out I'm a Speech/Language Pathologist?  I get tales of lisps, badly articulated /l, s, r/ stories and then am asked if I do that all day long.  Really?  is that really what the general public still thinks we do [only]?

Let me start by saying....I love my kids with articulation problems....yes I have a couple of kids with a lisp, or if going a little more professional a lateral /s/.  and couple with /r/ issues that make them sound like they belong on the East Coast....but let me also give a rundown of my caseload and show you how diverse we really are in our work....there is a reason why we MUST have a graduate degree in order to work in most states. 

Apraxia:  Very challenging and keeps me reading and researching better methods to help out one of my kids.

Rett Syndrome:  Working now with AAC devices to help out my girl who is a 6th grader. 

Fragile X Syndrome:  Like any syndrome, kiddos can range from mild-severe.

Stuttering:  Can come with secondary characteristics as well.  I have both a child with mild suttering and one with severe stuttering.

Autism:  Covers a wide spectrum and is very "hot" right now in the media and news articles. 

Cerebral Palsy:  While children can communicate and usually are of average intelligence, if a child is severely affected, I help with the AAC devices.

Down Syndrome:  My babies make up a good percentage of the moderate/severe special day class.  Focus is primarily on functional language skills.

Intellectual Disability:  What used to be called MR.  These are the children where no syndrome is found and are cognitively impaired. 

Language Disorder:  My most common dealings.  Usually are also seen by another Special Education teacher as well for learning disabilities. 

Articulation/Phonology:  Surprisingly not my highest on my caseload.

Well that about covers what is on my caseload right now.  As you can see it can be pretty diverse and this is why we are always attending new conferences and always reading our journal articles.  Lots of information to reseasrch in order to be better at our jobs.

General Adoption Information

Since some of the people I've run into on this blog have shared an interest in adopting....I figured I would find some good reading material that I can link to.  As I was researching tonight I hit the motherload.  I will add this site that has many articles on different aspects of adoption on my blog, but thought I would highlight some of the good ones. 

*When one thinks of adoption it can be a daunting task.  Here are the options broken down and an easier read than some of the adoption books out there.  Adoption Options

*In this day and age Transracial adoptions are becoming more common so it is good to familiarize oneself with the issues surrounding that....and keep reading different blogs, articles etc.

*My obvious interest and subject of much read information...Single parent adoptions.

*As with any subject Terminology exists.  While sometimes being immersed in adoption language can be confusing and frustrating...these are just the basics, not the everyday terminology that sometimes we get bombarded with in the adoption world

These links are from the same source...I highly recommend reading more if adoption is something you are interested in.  Save it to your favorites pages.

New Beginnings

Well if you've seen my blog before today, you know I've just made some changes.  I've decided to really try to do justice to blogging and so last night after Tigger went to bed, I looked at many of the editing features and was able to come up with some additions I felt really made my blogging page come alive. 

So, I hope you come, check out links to other blogs that I read....some are really a lot better than mine on adoption and adoption issues, come check out links that I have on adoption information both general and for single people.  And of course come and read about our simple adventures...and while you're at it, leave a comment....I'd love to get to know you!  And if you blog, I'd love to read your blogs as well :)

Monday, October 11, 2010

October fun

It's October....woo hoo....the first of October brings the first paycheck of the year, yup our district pays us in 10 months instead of 12, so our first check comes in Oct....last one in July so Aug and Sept are basically from great savings and/or summer school work.  I prefer to eat meagerly and save for summer so I can have the 10 weeks off nowadays. 

October also brings fall and Halloween type stuff aound.  So this past weekend we ended up at our pumpkin patch.  Man was it hot outside....Tigger drank water like it was going out of style....However, days like these are preparing  me for how expensive some kid's entertainment can be.  For the rides and petting zoo, one must buy tickets...., Tickets are a $1 each.  Most things are anywhere from 4-6 tickets....hmmmmm so I invested 3 tickets for the petting zoo, 5 tickets for a cool ride all around the pumpkin patch (which is owned by a family so plenty of pumpkin acerage), 6 tickets for a pony ride.  Tigger wasn't so sure about the pony ride and most of her photos were of a very serious girl on a pony.  The only thing that was cheap was the pumpkin(s) itself....we got 2 pumpkins.  One pumpkin is a baby one and I'm going to let Tigger paint it or color it....the other big one is our annual pumpkin one that my dad and I carve. 

Coming up later this month we have our eye on a church's 'Trunk or Treat' and another 'Fall Festival' so Tigger can wear her costume which ironically is a 'tigger' outfit.  Should be fun.  We'll see how it all plays out!