Sunday, August 21, 2016

4th Time is a charm?

Went and met with "J" on Friday.   He's 12 and a ball of energy.  He had all kinds of questions, some of which made me wonder about his previous homes.

Will I need permission to go to the fridge?  (No, unless it's 10 minutes before dinner. Otherwise, just eat at the dining room table.)

Will I need permission to get food from the cabinets? (See above answer)

Can I go anywhere in the house?  (Wait, what?)

Can I go outside ? (If you don't, I may throw your butt out to play.)

Can I have a party on my birthday ?  (Of course !!  Who doesn't give a kid a party on his birthday?)

So he's excited.  We're reservedly excited.  There's some paperwork, and services to be setup out here for him, but hopefully all that will be handled within a week or so.  As it stands, since he's under 14, he can't say no to a placement with us.  So baring any unforeseen problems, this one looks to be a "Go".

Again, I'm keeping my fingers crossed... 

Sunday, August 14, 2016

Well, Crap.

I knew he should have gone with us to South Cackalackey. 

After initially saying yes, "A" changed his mind and now wants to stay in Chicago.   Which is a shame, I really think he would have flourished out here away from the gangs and shootings and drugs and everything else going on in the city.   I think he chose a short-term gain (staying with friends and whatnot) versus coming out here and having a real shot to really make something of himself.   He will always be in my prayers.

Anyway, the wait for the phone call begins again.  The son that needs us is out there, it's just a matter of time.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

And it's a boy !!!!!

Actually, almost a man.   5'11' and plays several sports.  He said "This feels like home." when we told him to take his time and think about whether he wanted to come live with us after we talked for over two hours.

So the official move-in date will be 15 August.  He thought that coming home now and then heading to SC was a little quick.  He wanted some time to say goodbye to his friends where he is currently living.  Which is understandable.

So 15 August looks to be a very busy day.  School starts 17 August, so getting everything there set-up and going will be a race.   But do-able.  There will be lots of other things to get done, but we can do it.  There is nothing that's a show stopper.

While everyone is excited now, we also realize that there's much work to be done and a transition to endure.  But in the end it will all be good and worth it.   Nothing worthwhile is ever easy... 

I'm pregnant!!!!

And it's going to be a boy !!!  Probably 10-15 years old, but it looks like he'll be 15 when he arrives...

Wait.....What?!?!?! You're probably saying to yourself at this point.

Let me back up and explain.

Back when we were in Germany, my ex- and I were ACS (Army Community Service) Foster Parents.  At that time it was for infants and toddlers, since my ex- was a NICU nurse down at Landstuhl.  We did it a couple of times.  Gave me some experience with changing diapers and giving formula, which stood me in great stead when my two biological kids came along.

But I'm well past the diaper and getting barfed on stage.  So back in October, Robert and I were talking over dinner, when I was talking about my siblings (I come from a blended family.  We were the Brady Bunch before it was a TV show), and I mentioned that he needed a brother.... Then a couple of times while driving around in the car, I caught the PSA's about "You don't have to be a perfect to be a perfect parent."   Well, if there's anyone who is as about as far from perfect, much less being a perfect parent then me, I have yet to meet them.  Finally, one night in November, we went out to eat at Wendy's and there on the tray was a liner that talked about "Wendy's Wonderful Kids" and Adoption.  Bingo.  I took the tray liner and called them the next day.   It took six months of talking to my docs, the licensing social worker (and I will admit that in our first few meetings, discussing my health and medical conditions, I got the impression that she felt she would go through the motions, but I had about as much chance as getting approved as I did of sprouting wings and flying around the moon.  Not to mention, the "You're a single guy, okay Dad, why are you wanting to do this? Hairy-eyeball vibe.)  Anywho, I took the 29 hours of classes of dealing with kids that have endured all kinds of trauma in their lives, many simply unspeakable, and how to help them.  I learned how to become an educational advocate for these kids, how to be patient with their emotions, most of which will have nothing to do with me.  And to fight to get these kids the help they need and to provide a loving and stable home for kids who have been uprooted (some many times) from people they trusted.

I've been to one foster parent support group meeting, where I learned it's not the kids.  They adapt rather quickly (kids are fairly resilient), but most of the problems are caused by the adults (birth parents/families, overwhelmed/worked caseworkers, and a legal system that is well, farked beyond belief.)

But through it all there are the kids.  Most of the folks I went to class with were looking to foster/adopt infant or young girls, mostly young couples, I don't fault them for that, but having raised a daughter, I wouldn't go through that drama-filled nightmare again, even if you said I'd get the winning lottery numbers at the end....

So that first day of class when we went around and introduced ourselves and whether we wanted to foster or adopt, and what sex and age range we were willing to bring into our homes, I said "A 10-15 year old boy, to adopt."  The instructor/facilitator, got a huge smile on her face as she said "OH!!! We LOVE you, there are tons of teenage boys that no one want to even foster, much less adopt." I felt that I had made the right decision.

So much to the surprise of everyone, including me, (I did feel at every step they would come back and say "Thanks, but no thanks"), I got my license three months after I started the process in earnest.   Up to two boys (in the case of siblings) from 0-18 (which is the "standard" license). However, my licensing agency knows I'm looking at boys age 10-15.  I'm soooooooooo done with diapers.

Two days before I got my license in mail, I got a call from a caseworker.  She had a young man, but his needs were simply beyond my capabilities.  And I was crying when I told her that "No, I don't think he'd be a good fit for me or us."   I felt cold, cruel, and callous.  Here was a young man that needed a family, and before I even met him, I had to say "No."  I had signed up to do a job, and the first-time I was asked, I failed.  I failed him.  I hope that wherever he is, that his family is doing right by him.  I still feel guilty that I couldn't.  The caseworker was very understanding.  She explained that the last thing she wanted to place him in my home, only to discover in a few months that it was a bad fit, and would have to find him a new home.  She said my "No" truly was an act of kindness, even though I felt otherwise. The worst thing would be to place him here, with us, only to move him again, and destroy the bonds he would have formed.   Permanency was and is the goal, not bouncing around.

Then while we were on our way to Kansas City in early August, I got another call from a different caseworker.  She had a boy that would probably be a good fit.  A little behind in school, but had an Education Plan (I wouldn't have to start from scratch with his school), and he likes sports and the outdoors, and when could we come met him?  "Ummmm, in six days, we're out of town and won't be back until then."  A meeting was scheduled upon our return, but I was told that she had to keep looking and calling to find him a home.  I understood and hoped that he would still be "available", because I (we, Robert and I) were ready for him to come live with us, if he was agreeable after the meeting.  When we got back I called the caseworker.  Sadly, she had found him a home in our absence.  I had failed another child, and felt even worse.  I hope he is happy and healthy wherever he his and with loving a caring family. 

I again felt like a pathetic failure.  Here, once again, I was being asked to do what I had volunteered to do, and had worked hard to make happen, but when the call came, I dropped the ball.  I really should have turned around and gone back.  Robert moved out of his room and into the back bedroom, mostly because "I'll be the older brother, I get the bigger room." but also so his new brother would have a room to make his own.  I agreed that he could pick out paint, a new bed, and other "stuff" like bedding for his room.  Plus I/we had gone through several home visits/inspections to get to this point.  Not to mention the staggering amount of paperwork to be submitted, fingerprints, and more paperwork.  Strike Two.  I really suck at this Foster Parent thing...

So today, I got a call.  "We have a boy that needs a home, and think you might be a good fit."  She gave me his background (the good, the bad, and the ugly), and what did I think?  "When can we meet?"  Tomorrow?  "Great.  Set it up.  Give me a time and location and let's see what everyone thinks."  BTW, We are planning on going to SC on Saturday and we will be gone for a week.  If everyone agrees, I want to take him with us.  So you'll have to bust your hump on getting all the paperwork done, especially for us to take him out of state (Yes, you have get 30,000 signatures, stamps, and approvals to take a ward of the state across state lines.)   Oh, and I'll be damned if I leave him behind.  Once we all say yes, he's family, he goes with us.  Got it? 

And yes, I'll have to get permission for him to play sports, or go on Boy Scouts campouts or other outings. I can't sign any waivers, only the agency can since he's their ward, until I legally adopt.    Which means I will probably be a pain in someone's ass.  But I'm reeeeaaaaallllllllly good a that.  Get between me and MY kids and I swear by my pretty floral bonnet, I will end you.  My understanding is it has gotten better, but it used to be that they wouldn't even let foster kids participate in park district or school sports or other activities because the state/fostering agencies refused to take on the liability.  What utter and complete Bullshit.   These kids have already been through enough trauma and heartbreak in their lives, and now you want them to be treated even more like "other" then they already feel.  Again.  It's the adults that are the assholes in this mess. Thankfully, there has been a 180 change and they want these kids to be as "normal" as possible and to go and do the things that their peers, family and friends are doing.  And you can bet your ass, that if my kid wants to play sports or do Boy Scouts or something like that, I will be dancing on someone's desk to make that happen for them.

One final note to those foster families that put their foster kids in "respite" care while they go on vacation with the rest of their "families"  There's a special level of hell for you bastards.  Especially the family that had their 5 year old foster daughter placed with another family for "respite" care while they went to Disneyworld.  Over her fifth birthday!!!!  You deserve to be repeatedly throat-punched, you heartless, selfish bastards.  I hope and pray you end up in the special level of hell they reserve for people who talk in the theater...

So if all goes well, I'll be the proud parent of a bouncing, baby 15 year old teenage boy tomorrow.   I do hope we choose each other, I'm looking forward to this journey....

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Why I won't be voting for Dictator....

I've been thinking about Kipling's poem "If".  And it I came up in dinner conversation when Robert was asking about the conventions and what they mean and what's going on. 

One question in particular he brought up "Why did almost everyone boo Ted Cruz?" 

Because he did the hardest thing there is to do in the world.  He stood up for his principles.  He devoutly believes in the US Constitution.  And he was willing to become a pariah, to his party, and the current voters, to put country ahead of party.  He clearly said "Vote your Conscience and for the those you believe who will faithfully uphold the Constitution."  That's very unpopular now.  Everyone wants a dictator.  Obama has pushed the boundaries of Presidential power and now people expect that the next person will be able to rule by fiat and decree, bypassing Congress and the Courts and the system of Check and Balances established by the Founders.

Everyone is screaming that "If you don't support X then Y will win !!  Then fear and terror will rule the land."   When it doesn't matter who wins (of those two), fear and terror will rule the land.  Especially, if Congress remains neutered.   Neither one shows the slightest inclination to obey the Constitution.   Which is one reason why Cruz was booed so loudly.  "We want our guy to rule just like Obama did !!!"

Sorry, that's not what I want.   We have a owner's manual, a guide book to running a country.  We have the contemporary thoughts and writings of those who created this country.  There's not a a lot to guess at how it was meant to be run.  They were all pretty much in agreement that the government that governs best governs least.   They could not begin to fathom the changes in this country, especially the technology (Ben Franklin would be astonished and amazed.)  But, I fear, they would be sadly disappointed in the fact that we let government become our master and not the servant it was meant to be.   They would be more so be saddened and disappointed, not in who was running, but that we have two sides clamoring for their person to be crowned as "Ruler of America".

"But if you vote for J then T or H will win !!!"   But if all us who don't want a dictator for the next four to eight years don't vote for T or H, and J wins then hopefully we won't have a dictator.  Ad some of the governmental excess reduced.   But it seems that too many want a Dictatorship and maybe that's where we are headed anyway or to another (un) Civil War. Although I do find it hilarious when unarmed liberals call for the rounding up of all gun owners.  Good luck with that Sparky.  Because if Gersh Kuntzman is a typical representation of the men on your side, the next Civil War will last all of 37 seconds.  With the next 40 years of you losers whining about PTSD.

But back to my point.  I'm not even sure that J winning will do much to change things.   And even then his policies and actions  have not sent a tingle down my leg, that makes me want to stand up and defend/advocate on his behalf. 

This may very well be the first time ever (and I voted for Reagan in 1984) that I just skip over the P/VP part of my ballot.

Besides, I'm in Illinois.  No matter who I vote for, there are cemeteries of Democrats in C(r)ook county that will nullify my vote.  Not to mention the van loads of homeless folks going from polling place to polling place giving the names and addresses of voters (possible deceased) on the roles, and voting 10, 15, 20 times a day for $5 a vote. Maybe I could sign up to do that.... 

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Nugget August 1999-12 April 2014

My silly dog.

The one that not only outsmarted Grandma, but then trained her.

My son's best friend.

And mine.  The one who was left behind with me.

The one who was there everyday after chemo.  Who laid at my feet as I went through that chemical hell twice a week.

Who followed me from room to room and would look at me as if to say "Are to going to be in here for a while?  If so, I'll be laying in that corner over there."  And I would feel guilty if I had to get up to go get something and accidentally wake him up.

When we would build a fire, he would come and lay between you and the fire, soaking up all the heat.

And on those mornings when the yard was wet from dew or rain.  He'd step through the grass like a ballerina.  He hated being wet.  I had stopped giving him baths long ago because of the look he would give me though soaked fur of:   "How can you do this to me?"  The ladies at Petco got to endure that stare, I wimped out after about the third time.  

30 MPH was the max I could drive with the window down, anything above that and the wind in his face got to be too much.  I'd hit 35 and he'd pull his head in and give me a look that said "Hey, slow down.  I'm enjoying myself here."   I'd explain to him that doing on 30 the interstate would get us both killed, then he'd turn around a few times, settle in and sleep until we got to about the Keystone exit on 65.  At that point, he'd wake up and get hyper-excited.  Whether because the trip was over, he had to pee, or he knew that he was about to snooker Grandma out of all the dog treats and food she had, I never knew.

He was my best friend and loyal companion.  He deserved a better owner then I. And leaving him on that table today was the hardest thing I ever did.  I'm glad that Robert was also there and holding him as he went.

He never was on the right side of the door.   Or maybe it was me that was on the wrong side.

Sunday, March 30, 2014

A Less Modest Proposal

How about this:

Make Tax Day, 15 April, also Election Day.

It's also a national holiday.

Everything (except police, fire stations and hospitals, those folks will have to rotate) is closed by law.  Everything.

Everyone goes to the polls in their county/township.

You go in and there's a long table with representatives from each taxing body there. 

First you pay your Local Taxes, like Property, School District*, and any other local taxes.
Next station is to pay your State Income taxes. (if any).
Finally, you pay your Federal Income Tax.  (This will have to be flat.)
You have to write a check (or money order, or credit card) for each one.
The balance.
In full.
There will be no withholding from paychecks.  No escrowing property taxes with your mortgage payments.
No slight of hand bullshit.

Every last dime.  Right then.  Right now.

Once you've paid, then you are handed your ballot to go in and vote.

Now each level of .gov knows exactly what it has to spend for the upcoming fiscal year and cannot spend more then what it has taken in.  They have from 15 April to 1 October to hash out what gets paid and what doesn't.

No borrowing, no bonds, no accounting tricks.   You have X dollars.  You can only spend X dollars.

Elected Reps:  Have at it.  And you have 4.5 months to figure it out. 

Also, no borrowing, no projections.  No "outyears".   You want a new school/road/Navy Destroyer?   It all gets paid for upfront.  In full.  That will sure control for "Cost Overruns", if the GC or one of the subcontractors has to eat the cost overrun, you know damn well, it'll get done right the first time.

I bet having a bunch of highly pissed off people going into the polls, would solve quite a few of this country's (along with several states and locales) problems.   And keep them solved.

"But Dave", you say, "What about people who don't or won't go to the polls# on Tax/Election Day?'

Failure to show up and pay on Tax/Election Day and your taxes automatically double, and a warrant is issued for your arrest.

# - You don't have to vote, but you do have to pay all your taxes.

*- Did I mention vouchers?  Good for any school you want to send your kid: public, private, parochial, or moonbat.  You, as parents, choose.  Liberals are Pro-choice, right?