Thursday, June 26, 2003
  We became the proud foster parents of two girls a couple of weeks ago. R is eight years old and MR is ten. Both are moderately retarded, R being in worse shape than MR. We are doing respite for their usual foster mother, who has been in the hospital with pneumonia and will require several weeks to get back up to speed. To say it's been an interesting couple of weeks would be an understatement. Both girls have had a bit of adjustment to make, being in a house with four boys, plus both of these young ladies are, to put it nicely, big for their ages. MR is almost a foot and a half taller than J, and J will be thirteen in a few weeks. Can you say intimidation?

The Better Half has had a time of it with these additions. Usually, she would have said no if the agency had asked us to take them in, because we deal with medically fragile infants almost exclusively. However, not having a placement in almost five months makes her crazy. If she's not busy with children, she'll find other things to make her busy. Unfortunately, the other things she finds usually end up costing us a buttload of money. Just the other night, The Better Half and I actually had a short conversation about the kids. It went something like this:

TBH: Now I remember why I prefer to take babies instead of older kids.
Me: Let me guess . . . babies can't talk back?
(Sounds of World War III waft down from upstairs bedrooms)
TBH: (wearily) How'd you guess?

This, however, is not always the case. Take our smallest one, KC (please!) (Sorry, couldn't resist that one). KC is the three year old with extensive brain damage (caused when his mother's boyfriend decided that he would make a good football at three months of age). KC can't swallow, so he was being fed through a G-tube (for the uninformed, a G-tube is actually two parts: a "button" inserted into the stomach through the abdominal wall, and a bag/pump/tube combination that pushes liquid food into the stomach) up until about a year ago, when his reflux developed to the point he couldn't have anything on his stomach. So, the doctors inserted a J-tube (same as a G-tube above, except the J-tube is inserted into the small intestine, thereby bypassing the stomach). It must have worked, because the little bugger has gained almost 18 pounds in the last year. Anyway, KC has decided that he doesn't like the J-tube, so he keeps trying to grab the tube leading to the button and pull it out. This usually makes a mess, because when he pulls on the tube, he loosens the button and milk spills out around the button stem. (I'll explain how the button is inserted some other time.) This in turn soaks the bandage around the button, which necessitates changing the dressing, which in turn drives The Better Half nuts, especially after the third time in a day this happens. The discussions we've had about how to keep the little snot from disengaging his food source have been interesting, to say the least, not to mention nauseating at times. Not much progress yet, but something tells me I'll get home one night and find out that The Better Half has encased KC in a suit of armor. Wouldn't surprise me a whole lot.
Tuesday, June 24, 2003
  I was going to put a subject line over this thing, but every time I try that, I end up going off topic before the end, so I figured why bother? Besides, I like to ramble. So here goes!!

Emperor Misha had a post several days back about another abuse of child protective services. I was going to comment on this, but I was afraid that I would eat up the Emperor's bandwidth, and you don't want to piss off the Emperor. So I figured I'd talk about it a little over here in my little corner of the kingdom.

The Better Half and I have been foster parents for over twelve years now. In that time we have taken over 60 children into our home (no, not all at once). Most if not all have been abused in some way, either physically, mentally, sexually or all of the above. Yes, we get paid to take care of these children. As a matter of fact, the more horribly a child has been abused, the more we get paid to take that child. The Better Half and I figured it out once; at the rate for the most abused of the children we look after, divided by 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 30 days a month, it comes out to about $.25 an hour. If you're looking for a way to make quick money, this ain't it.

We have also adopted three children over the past twelve years, and they are now 12, 11 and 5 years old. The problem we've had is that we would have liked to adopt more, but the ones we'd have liked to adopt end up going back to family members, not always the parents. In NC, the emphasis is on trying to reunite the family, always keeping in mind, of course, the best interests of the child. What this boils down to, in my humble opinion, is that unless the child's parents are serial killer, drug dealing, cannibalistic terrorists, the child will go back to his/her parents eventually. The state practically bends over backwards and kisses its own ass in order not to violate the parents' civil rights. Meanwhile, we as foster parents have practically no input as to the child's welfare.

There are perks to this job -- like being told that a baby will never walk, talk or be able to feed himself, then when that child leaves your home three years later he's walking, talking and eating like a little horse -- that make it worthwhile. Sure, you take these children into your home with full knowledge that they're leaving, and you try not to get attached, but nine-tenths of the time you end up loving the little guy/gal as much as if he/she were your own. Then when they leave, it's like having your guts ripped out. The only thing that keeps me going is knowing that once a child leaves, there is another one in the wings that needs us as badly if not more than the child that just left.

Just wanted the two people who actually read this thing to know that all foster parents are not money grubbing jerks who take in kids just for the payment. If that was all there was to it, I'd get a part time job at Wal-Mart and make a helluva lot more money. 
Friday, June 06, 2003
  Hot damn! That crazy-assed Muslim woman in Florida can’t wear her burkha (or howeverthehell you spell it) on her driver’s license photo! Check out this link. Another blow struck for freedom and against idiotarians! 
  Wow! I’m part of the North State Bloggers! Trojan Horseshoes is trying to organize all the North Carolina bloggers into a confederacy (no, not THAT confederacy!). If nothing else, it’s a good way to get to know other bloggers in the home state. It also gives me a good excuse to keep the site updated.

You have GOT to go to Emperor Misha I’s site to get some Cluepons. They are the funniest things I have seen in days. I personally printed out about a dozen.

That’s about all I’ve had time to do today, what with work kicking my ass and all. Oh yeah, if you want to read a really good essay about the KKK (and I am NOT advertising for that group, believe me!), check out Clubbeaux’s post. It really made me stop and think. I had to stop after a while, though; it made my head hurt.

My apologies to Trojan Horseshoes about not "pinging"; I know absolutely nothing about HTML and don't have time to learn at the moment. If anyone would care to take a couple of minutes to help me out here (Bigwig??), it would really be appreciated.
Thursday, June 05, 2003
  I haven’t read anything in the mass media (surprise, surprise!) about the mass grave found in Iraq that contained over 200 children’s bodies. Somehow this hits closer to the heart than finding a mass grave with adult bodies in it. In the last dozen years or so, the Better Half and I have been responsible for over 60 children at one time or another, so to say I like kids is like saying Michael Moore likes to eat.

I think I’m gonna be sick. Meryl has this link at her site. There is nothing further that CAN be said about this. THIS is why we removed Saddam.
A small town guy from North Carolina trying to get by in the modern world with caveman viewpoints.

Location: Wendell, North Carolina, United States

Ramblings about a middle-aged guy in NC trying to raise a family without totally losing his mind in the process

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