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wellstone dem

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Member since: 2002
Number of posts: 4,460

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"Rehoming" kids adopted from foster care when the going gets tough

So I read this article http://wonkette.com/578427/lets-meet-justin-harris-the-arkansas-houses-godly-child-abandoner#yZMzSJRuEJyeZfqe.99 and then I started to cry

I get that raising a child is hard.

I get that raising a child adopted from the foster care system can be really, really hard.

I took two days of classes telling me how hard it could be.

It almost scared me out of adopting. But I went forward. I filled out pages and pages of forms. I had my fingerprints taken. I signed away rights to confidentiality of medical and counseling records. I had to get a physical.

Then a social worker came to my home twice, once meeting with my parents, and a sister and her husband. My brother in law suggested that I probably should have just rented a new place rather than doing the cleaning I did to prepare for these visits. My dog obeyed the "stay command" for a half an hour and then stood up leaving a pile of hair on the floor, having shed most of his coat--probably because he could sense how stressed I was.

I heard about children that I though I couldn't handle and I said no. I wouldn't say yes to a child that I couldn't be sure I could be the mom they needed for life. And then I heard about this "delightful 8year old, who even looked a little like me." They said she wanted to be a vegetarian (like I mostly am.) But it turned out she wanted to be a veterinarian.

After my daughter and I became a family, social workers visited our home once a month. And then 8 months later we "finally became a very funny family." (As my then 9 year old daughter described finalization day.)

I will say the first two months were easy, just like they told us they might be in the class. Then there were some really hard months. For a while it seemed like the more certain she was that I would be her mom forever, the more secure she was in showing how her life before had hurt her. One doctor said, "She didn't show anxiety before she lived with you." And I had to point out, that being able to show it now might be a good thing.

Then there were the years where she came to understand that what had happened was really bad. There were days I sobbed in the back yard so my daughter wouldn't hear me. There were days she picked a fight so she could sob in my arms.

But there were so many good times. Like the April 1 where we did the day backwards, eating a big dinner at 8: a.m. and eggs and cereal for supper. Or the camping trips. Or making cookies. Or doing volunteer work. Or laughing. Or reading together. Or watching her piano recitals....

When I hear about this story, about a child who was rehomed and then raped, I am in tears.

My daughter once told a group of people taking the class to adopt children from foster care, "Don't do it if you think it will be easy. But what's the good of only doing what is easy." And as hard as it was some days for me, I chose to adopt. She didn't choose her life. It was thousands of times harder for her. And I was the grown up.

I had family to help me. But there are all kinds of post-adoption services in these adoptions including counseling, support groups, therapeutic living settings, and respite care.

Rehoming means giving kids with so much hardship to parents who haven't had the benefit of those classes, or the benefit of those visits to their family, or the benefit of fingerprints, or the benefit of respite care. If we wouldn't let birth parents give their kids away, we absolutely 1000 times more shouldn't let adoptive parents give kids away that have experienced so much loss in their life, without services, without support. I get that sometimes it just doesn't work whether a child is born into a family or adopted into a family. But there are services. Rehoming is just another word for abandoning and in the case of this family, just another word for trafficking.

My daughter is 27. She works in a fast food restaurant and lives in a state without expanded Medicaid. So she doesn't get some of the support she needs. I am so proud of her. She is an amazing young woman. And she is loved.
Posted by wellstone dem | Sat Mar 7, 2015, 10:06 AM (21 replies)

So tonight I went to my garden

On the day I had planted my garden there was a Somali woman and her daughter in the park that my garden is in. We had talked briefly about what I was planting and when I showed her a picture of the carrots, she told me they planted carrots in Africa. I told her that if she came back in August I would give her carrots.

Tonight, she was there again, sitting at the picnic table watching children, and I said hello. It was a beautiful night to work in the garden. And there were so many children, all Somali, playing in the park. There were two boys on the merry go round, when I looked up one was laying on the ground. His friend helped him up, they laughed because the boy had got dizzy and fell while trying to walk.

There were two girls playing, then one said, "You're being mean." "Am not" the other replied. "Are too." "Am not".... Kids were playing soccer. One boy yelled out. "I am a legend!" Two girls went by, one pushing the other in a stroller. They saw me watching, and the girl in the stroller started to pretend she was a baby.

It all made such a wonderful evening in the park. Then a car drove by and two young men leaned out the windows and yelled. "This is America!" "America" "Yeah, this is America!" And they drove off. I walked over to the woman I had spoken with and told her I was sorry that people yelled things like that. She looked at me and smiled, I don't think she understood what I said. But a girl who was standing nearby seemed to be explaining as I left.

I went back to my garden. I planted more carrots. As I left, I leaned out my car window and waved at my friend. She waved back with a huge smile on her face.

I'm not sure why I still feel like crying.
Posted by wellstone dem | Fri Jun 13, 2014, 10:07 PM (36 replies)

Yesterday my 93 year old WWII vet dad told me this story about how he went around the world

My dad, never made his service in World War II sound like a big deal in comparison to that of other soldiers. He more often talked about his brother's service in Europe as meriting respect. So when he ended a story yesterday about how he traveled from North Dakota to where he was stationed in India with "and that's how I got one of my battle stars," I was really surprised. I didn't know he had a battle star. He has two.

He traveled from North Dakota to a number of bases in the United States including Florida, but departed from Los Angeles. That ship took them to the South Pacific, with a stop in Tasmania, and another stop in Perth, Australia. The ship then took the men to India. When they got to the base, it was late in the day. The base had been attacked that morning. Anyone on the base that day got a battle star. That was his first.

Later, the squadron that he was assigned to bombed Japan. He was a weatherman, so remained in India providing information to those in the air, he got his second star because his squadron got one. As a result of having two stars, he was able to get home earlier at the end of the war. Dad says he was never shot at during the war, "Not like what my brother went through." (His brother once had to drop from a bridge into the Rhine because the Germans were shooting at him.)

Dad circled the globe in his service to his country. On his return home nearly 4 years later (with no leave, no visit home during that whole time) the ship went across the Indian Ocean and then up to the Mediterranean Sea. Two soldiers had to sit at the front of the ship and shoot mines out of the water. They traveled across the Atlandtic Ocean and landed in New York Harbor. They were deloused in NY. The soldiers went to a base in Wisconsin where they were discharged, and he finally returned to North Dakota.
Posted by wellstone dem | Mon May 27, 2013, 07:22 PM (0 replies)

I'm having difficulty coming to terms with how boring I am.

Could someone please put me on ignore so that I feel controversial.

Thank you.
Posted by wellstone dem | Sat May 25, 2013, 08:29 PM (52 replies)

VAWA matters

It matters to the woman who sobbed in my office having just learned that her husband beat her children while she was at work. And I could say, "You will be safe."

It matters to the woman who met with me, and the prosecutor, and the victim's advocate because we all believed her husband would try to kill her when he got out of jail. And I could say, "We will get you a security system." And the prosecutor could say, "The police will watch." And the advocate said, "You can stay with us."

It matters to the daughter who told her mother after she got an order for protection, "Safe never felt so good before."

It matters to woman who showed me the brake cables her mechanic gave her, before we went to court to get her custody of her kids.

It matters to the woman who moved three times just to stay safe, who learning her mother-in-law had changed the address at the bank so that her statements were sent to her ex-husband, now has a "safe at home" address.

It matters to the wife, the "mail order bride", who told her English as a second language tutor, "He hits me." And it mattered to his second "mail order bride" as well.

It matters to the woman who sat in the office at the women's shelter with her knees up to her chest, her arms wrapped around knees, shaking as I said, "We will get you custody of your kids."

It matters to the 16 year old girl, brought here from South America at age 12, who was sexually abused from her first night in the country as I tell her, "I can help you."

It matters to the woman who told me, "You gave me my voice. You gave me my dignity back. Do you know what it is like to not have dignity."

It matters to me.

VAWA helps Legal Aid represent victims of domestic violence and sexual assault. It helps prosecutor's develop new systems to hold abusers accountable. It helps shelters keep victims safe so that the system has time to work. The word unconscionable is used frequently, but not always accurately. But I choose it purposefully when I say, "Failing to pass VAWA is unconscionable."
Posted by wellstone dem | Wed Feb 13, 2013, 08:28 AM (11 replies)

If you want to have faith in your fellow human beings, read this thread.

I'm in tears.


Thoughts from Chief Sjolander...

Today I want to write about The Andy Griffith Show and what we have in common with it here in Kenyon. So this past Monday I travel to see my son Bryant, and on the way I stop to visit my father-in-law. He is one of the greatest men I know, and I wish I was half the man he is. As I walk towards his apartment I can hear his TV from way down the hallway...he is hard of hearing so the TV is super loud...now he could get a hearing aid, but he feels that would be a waste of money and money does not grow on trees!

I sit with him and we visit about what is going on back at home, with my work, and my band. (He says we play too loud) and how he misses "Lover" his wife who will be gone 1 year on Feb 9th. My mother-in-law was larger than life before she became ill. She was the typical farm wife who raised kids, helped on the farm, always looked great, and was an amazing cook. I miss her so much..we all do.

Ok...so as we are visiting the Andy Girffith Show is on and it's the one where some big city guy is driving through town on a Sunday and his vehicle breaks down. he tries to get someone to fix his car, but it's Sunday and the town is pretty quite...like Kenyon. He stops the Sheriff and asks who can help fix his vehicle and when he is told that on Sunday no one is really around he becomes upset and can't believe that just because it's Sunday and the town is so small he is stuck there. Andy stays calm and suggests to the man that he is more than welcome to come stay at his house until he can get his vehicle repaired. The man ends up at Andy's home and is irritated about the slow pace and lack of services in town. Everyone from Opie, Aunt Bee, to Goober are friendly to this man, but he is still grumpy until his vehicle is repaired. Once it's fixed and he is given some home cooking in a bag to eat on the way, and Opie gives him a coin for good luck in his travels does he soften up. So what else does this show and the Kenyon Police Department have in common...

Last week, while I'm heading home from training, I get a call from our city hall asking if I have any suggestions for a person who stopped there looking for shelter. I'm told this person has no where to go and they are looking for any assistance we can offer. I ask to have the person phone me and we can try to figure something out.

I get a call from this person and they explain that they just found a job, but have no where to live. I'm told that are sleeping in their vehicle and are torn between making a car payment, which they need to get to work, and are now living out of, or trying to find some where to live. They tell me they have never been in trouble, but life has dealt them some curve balls and they ended up here. They tell me they tried looking into staying at a shelter in a larger city, but after seeing some of the illegal items around, they could not stay there. I ask them to stop at our office and speak to the staff member working and we would see what we could do to help.

I phone my staff and advise them that this person who be stopping in and they needed assistance. I feel it's very important for everyone in law enforcement to know how to deal with everyone and not all people are bad, and a lot of people look to us for help with all kinds of situations. I stop in the office, meet this person and see that my staff are doing a great job trying to help this person out. We end by buying them dinner at our local diner and giving them my cell number. I ask that they call me and check in during the weekend.

I visit with them during the weekend and on Sunday I'm told they are sleeping in their vehicle in town. I'm told they work Monday morning and the roads are bad, they don't want to miss work, so they are here. I speak to my family and we decide to invite them over to our home. It's not fancy, but it's warm, safe, and we have food. They say no, they don't want to impose, but we state we want them to come here and we will not take no for an answer...they come over.

So now we have a guest in our home...just like Sheriff Andy. They are nice, clean, work hard, and I think a little surprised at how we work in small towns. I'm just glad they are safe and I hope that they one day willl pay it forward when they can.

I'll end with this...According to Forbe's, you can't be a great leader without trust. I don't think I'm a great leader, I think I'm a guy who knows a lot of us are just a couple of paychecks away from being like my house guest.

Stay safe,
Posted by wellstone dem | Mon Feb 4, 2013, 10:54 PM (9 replies)

When Pigs Flew and a man found a home

My true story that helps me make it through a lonely Christmas Eve......(This happened in 2010)

I work for a non-profit agency that serves the poor. What we specifically do, does not matter for this story.

In October, we began working with a mentally ill homeless man to get him housing.

He did not want people to know he was mentally ill. He would not go to a shelter, because of what that did to his mental illness. He refused to sign the releases necessary to get the medical records that we could use to prove his disability and then get him into subsidized housing. One co-worker told me that she could read a paper he was holding, and could see the language we needed to get him housing, but he wouldn't give her the paper.

Co-workers met with him, and talked with him, and never judged him. He kept coming to the office, and staff kept telling him what we needed. In November, it was getting cold, and one day I met him at the doorway, he'd stepped into our building to get warm. I got him a cup of coffee and asked him if my co-workers were treating him well. He told me the people in our office were good people, but that he did not have housing. I told him, "You are right, they are good people. You can trust them." And he was warm for the morning, but didn't have housing.

The Wednesday before Thanksgiving, another co-worker came to me and asked if it was o.k. to pay for a room. He said, "I'm not doing it for him. I won't sleep at night, knowing he is outside when I'm supposed to be celebrating Thanksgiving." More than one of my co-workers kicked in a few dollars, and he had housing that weekend.

But he still did not have a home.

Last week, on Tuesday, I got to the office a bit early, because I had a meeting. He was sitting outside the door to our office suite, shivering. I told him I would get him hot coffee. As I said that, yet another co-worker brought a space heater and a blanket. He told us that when he had got back to his shelter under the bridge that he had found mice in his sleeping bag. He had tried to get blankets or another sleeping bag from other sources, but could not sleep and could not keep warm.

I went to my meeting, where directors of many non-profits were in attendance. As we introduced ourselves, we were supposed to say something about our work but were asked to select something that provided optimism in this difficult time. I told them that after talking with the man without a home, that I didn't think would have housing, I could not be optimistic.

But on Thursday, the staff person who had worked with him on almost a daily basis for 6 weeks, got word that a property manager for housing for the disabled was willing to accept a signed document from a doctor, without the details of the disability. This man still needed the money for his damage deposit and first month/s rent, but if he had it, he could move in on Friday.

And on Friday she came to the office and found that office staff had raised the money, and had brought in sheets and pillow cases, towels, and dishes, and groceries. One person had an extra bed. Someone brought a coffee maker. There were chairs from the basement that had been put in storage when other chairs were donated. Everything was to help make sure this man did not just have housing, that he would have a home.

But when we brought the items we had collected, we found that he had a recliner, a table and two chairs already in the apartment. And there were groceries in his cupboard. He had moved into the apartment with nothing, and others in the apartment building saw that, and they called their kids or friends, and "a TV is on the way too." While we were there, the on-site managers brought a pizza.

This man gave us a tour of the apartment before we left, and then he thanked one of the primary staff people in private. She told me that he started to cry, and didn't want to join the rest of us with tears in his eyes.

That night we had our office holiday party. One of our staff brought me an ornament of a pig with wings. She said, "At the start of the week, we all would have said that pigs would fly before "____" had housing, so I guess pigs must be flying today."

So on this Christmas Eve, I am so grateful for flying pigs.

Edited to add: Two years later he still lives in this same apartment, though there have been a few weeks when it was touch and go, he made it through those tough times. And still stops up to get a dose of respect and kindness.
Merry Christmas to those who celebrate that holiday. Peace to all.
Posted by wellstone dem | Tue Dec 25, 2012, 12:24 AM (22 replies)

My Small Business Saturday Shopping

I spent $32 on Black Friday, mostly on groceries.

Today I spent more than $600.

I needed a new dryer and had planned to buy it from a Big Box company, but decided if I believed in shopping local, I had to shop local. So today, I went to a local appliance store. I bought my dryer, they will deliver it and haul away two appliances for me. Although the dryer was a little more expensive, I came pretty to close to breaking even because of the difference in charges for the installation/appliance removal. But the best part, was when the saleswoman said, "If you have any problem, you call us. Don't call the number in the manual or the number on the box. You call us, we will make it right!" That's when I knew why shopping local isn't just about the business, it's about the service. It is good for the business and the community, but is good for me too.

Then I went to a local jewelry/gift store. I was able to use my AmEX card which has a small business promotion, so got $25 off. I got the earrings I was looking for, but then I tried on these amazing, recycled wool, made in Minnesota mittens. And let me tell you, that Minnesota knows mittens. I spent a little more at the store, ($43 after discount) than I had planned.

Then to round it out, I bought 6 pounds of coffee from Muggsey's Beans. A local business that does most of its business on-line. http://www.muggsysbeans.com/ It feels a little weird to buy on-line from a store that I could drive to, but this is truly a small business, so its either on-line or at one of the coffee shops or churches that stock these beans. I've been buying beans from Muggsey, ever since he was one of the first non-Minneapolis/St. Paul, businesses to come out forcefully for same-sex marriage. He posted it on his website, and on his facebook page. And when someone said it would cost him business, he said some things were more important. It ended up boosting his sales a bit, as word of what he did spread. http://www.muggsysbeans.com/

It was a good day! Now I have to clean the house so I can let the delivery people in on Wednesday Or maybe I'll just have a beverage.
Posted by wellstone dem | Sat Nov 24, 2012, 07:47 PM (6 replies)

We need a constitutional amendment

That allows a governor to veto a ballot amendment, and would then require that legislators ha e enough votes to override a veto, if they want to get something on the ballot without the governors approval,

Or, just require a 2/3 vote of legislature to put anything on the ballot. Governing by amendment is decisive and inefficient.
Posted by wellstone dem | Wed Nov 7, 2012, 02:48 PM (7 replies)

AP is reporting Marriage Amendment in Minnesota FAILS!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sorry, no link but reported on NBC local channel. Oh MY! I am crying. Minnesota Voter ID also loses!!!!
Posted by wellstone dem | Wed Nov 7, 2012, 03:52 AM (16 replies)
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