Adoption

10 Ways to Help a Child in Foster Care

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10 Ways to Help a Child in Foster Care Without Being a Foster Parent

  • Pray

This goes without saying.  Prayer is the #1 thing to do.  Intervene for that child, that child’s family, and the foster family to Jesus.  Place them on church prayer lists, call your prayer warriors, set up a designated time to fervently pray for God’s direction on the lives of these children and families.

  • Collect new or gently used stuffed animals/toys

When you go to clean out your child’s belongings, save those that have been gently used, whether they are stuffed animals, books, or toys.  When a child is taken from their parents (not by their choice), a lot of time these children will throw whatever they can gather, quickly, and put them in a garbage bag.  Their whole little lives…..in a trash bag.  My first set of kids came with the clothes they were wearing, a bottle, and a coat.  That was it.  My second set of children had their belongings in a giant black trash bag.  Most of those things needed to be thrown away because they were disgusting.  Also, drop off some of these items at the police station.  Officers carry small items to give to children when they go on calls to help ease their fears.  Take your junk and turn it into a child’s treasure.

  • Hygiene Bags

This is a good homeschool/church activity.  Get a gallon sized ziploc baggie and fill it with make up, lotion, deodorant, man spray, a razor, shaving cream, soap, shampoo, conditioner, a brush/comb, mirror, hair ties, a mini first aid kit, fuzzy socks, toothpaste, toothbrush, mouth wash, baby wipes, or a bandana.  Tailor it for for boys and girls and label it clearly.  You have

  • Respite Care

Offer to take the child/ren for the afternoon, overnight, or a weekend.  Please ask the foster parent what the rules are because these kiddoes will not be honest with the respite care giver.  That is just part of the beast.  Be respectful of the time you have with the child and let them know that the rules at foster parent’s house is the same at your house, but you love them and want them to have a good, appropriate time at your house.

  • Fill a Duffel Bag

This is from, my sister, who has begun “Restoring Dignity” in her hometown.  This program can and SHOULD go anywhere, any town, any state, at any time.  This is an excellent church/coop/homeschool project.

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  • Donate money

Money speaks.  Money helps.

  • Be an ear for a foster mama

Listen.  Actively listen.  Do not offer to fix it, just listen.  Hug.  Bake a pie.  Offer to do her laundry.  There are so many things you can do to help out a foster mama/family.

  • CASA

Please go to the CASA PROGRAM

  • Talk before you judge the child or the foster parent(s)

Be *so* mindful of your mannerisms, eyes, mouth, thoughts….we foster mamas know when we are being judged for treating those poor, sad foster children “differently” then we treat our neuro-typical kids.  We are too hard on them.  They deserve whatever they want.  They’ve been through *so* much.  I agree with that part, but the fact is, is you do parent a foster child differently.  They have so much grief/loss on their shoulders and they can take your ounce of kindness and twist it a million ways.  They need more structure. More time.  Lots of love.  Lots of hugs, if they will allow.  Just listen.  Don’t judge.  I think that is why a lot of my experience was negative because when I tried to talk to “friends,” they judged so quickly….they stopped coming around….they wouldn’t let their kids play with my kids out of fear.  Sad.

  • Provide a meal train

When a family gets a placement, take them a meal to freeze or eat.  Set up a meal train with your church or community.

These simple acts can be a way that YOU can help with these children that have been taken into foster care because of poor choices made by their biological family.  You do not have to actually be a foster parent, or a foster to adopt family, or an adoptive family only…..you can just be a human that sees/meets a need.

Be Jesus with skin on to these children/families…..these baby’s will remember YOUR kindness.

Adoption

Facts About Foster Care

DID YOU KNOW?

  • Over 437,000 children and youth are in foster care.
  • 45% of foster children live in non-relative foster family homes.
  • 32% of foster children live in relative foster family homes.
  • 23% of foster children live in institutions, group homes, trial and pre-adoptive homes.
  • 118,000 children and youth in America are waiting to be adopted.
  • 18% of Children in foster care wait 3-4 years to be adopted.
  • On average, a child can spend almost 12 to 20 months in foster care.
  • 10% of foster children spend more than 5 years in foster care.
  • The average age of a foster child entering foster care is 6 to 7 years old.
  • The average age of a foster child exiting foster care is 7 to 8 years old.
  • 51% of children in foster care reunify with their parents or primary caregivers.
  • 52% of foster children are adopted by a foster parent.
  • More boys are in the foster care system than girls (52% to 48%).
  • 44% of foster children are White, 23% African American, 21% Hispanic.1
  • 26% of children entering foster care are under the age of one.
  • About 22% of youth in foster care are age 13 or older.
  • 61% of children removed from their home due to abusive neglect.
  • 32% of children removed from their homes due to parental drug abuse.
  • 14% of children removed due to the inability of the caregiver to cope.
  • 12% of children removed from their home due to physical abuse.

2018 Foster Care AFCARS Report 24 - Reasons for Removal

NEGATIVE EFFECTS OF FOSTER CARE

  • Over 20,000 youth are emancipated from foster care without reunifying with their families, or being adopted.
  • Of youth who age out of foster care, 1/4 are incarcerated within 2 years and only 1/2 graduate from high school.
  • Children and adolescents with foster care experience are diagnosed with PTSD at twice the rate of U.S. war veterans.

STATISTICS AT A GLANCE

Foster Care AFCARS Report 24 Numbers at a Glance

Cleaning, Debt Free Living, Organization

Debt: Money Making Tip

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As I am decluttering my mind and working on my FACTORY RESET, I am also physically decluttering.  I do not know why my mind is working this way, but as I look at my attic, my garage and just the stuff around my house….I think I do not want my kids/husband to have to go through all this crap and make decisions for me when I die.

Morbid, I know.  LOL

Maybe, the older I get, the more I think about mortality.  My sister just lost her mother in law.  Granted, she was in her 80s, but still….it still hurts even though we know she is with Christ and would never want to come back to this Earth again.  Maybe it is the fact that my son took a nap and then woke up to our lives changed forever.  Maybe I just want to live a more minimalistic life.

I don’t know.

I love Jesus 🙂

Anyway, as I was decluttering my bedroom, I decided to go through my masses of books.  Bibles, school books, devotionals, kids books….so many books.  I read once, that your bedroom (couples bedroom) should be free of clutter, have nothing under the bed, only peaceful things on the walls, and no sign of your kids LOL…no pictures or anything.  I can’t quite go that far, but I did clean out from under my bed.  I even vacuumed under there (nasty).  I gave away 2 pieces of large furniture that we do not use.  I condensed the entertainment system to just a tv and our router boxes.  I hung up some things on the wall (we are planning to paint and get a new ceiling fan).  I’m working on the closet.  I have decluttered and gotten rid of SO many things from the attic.  I organized all of that and now I have this massive bookcase full of books and books in my closet.

I have homeschooled for 18 years and I have decided to get rid of all my old schoolbooks (with the exception of the math books).  They are all gone.  Glorious day.  Next, I tackled that bookcase.  I kept all my Bibles and some devotionals that I matriculate to quite often.  The other books…just collected dust.  I didn’t read them and there they sat, helping no one.  Someone else could get use out of those.  I donated 98% of them to our local library.  The other books, I sold on a website called BOOK STORES.  You put in your ISBN number and then they give you a price they will pay.  It is free shipping (on a refund of $35 or more) and money in your pocket.  Not a lot, but it is better then taking up space and collecting dust.

As for the mass of DVDs that I had and didn’t want anymore, I sold some of them on DECLUTTR.  They also provide free shipping (no minimum refund).  All you have to do, for both sites, is print off the shipping label.  I ended up making almost $80 on stuff that was taking up space.  I took a van load off to the local consignment shop, so I will, hopefully, make some money with that. All the extra money is going towards debt!

It feels SO good to have this stuff done and gone.  The more I declutter, the more clear my mind is.  Isn’t that crazy.  Just too much.  My kids have too much and they have SO much that they don’t even know what to do.

I have finished the kitchen and the living room. The pantry and the laundry room are done.  I have done my bathroom, my van, and attic.  I think I have the garage left, the downstairs bathroom, and the kids rooms’.  Onward and upward….tomorrow, I shall tackle the school closet and the game closet.  If I have enough moxy, I will work a bit on the garage.  Everything is in the middle of the garage, I just do a little bit at a time because it is hotter then Satan’s armpit outside and I don’t like to sweat.

Happy Decluttering!

Homeschooling

Kindergarten Agenda

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Please realize, this is what *I* teach my kids…..if they do not master a concept, we do it until they do, regardless of if they are in K or in 12th grade.  I have many kids with learning disabilities, so keep that in mind also.

  • Sight Words (Dolch word list)
  • Bob Books, beginning readers
  • Calendar and weather
  • Simple math (addition, subtraction)
  • Learning about different cultures (food, clothes, houses, family)
  • Community helpers (adding in field trips to those places)
  • Animal habitats (adding in field trips)
  • Continuing with rhyming
  • Reading poetry and writing poetry
  • Journaling….topic of the day (Prompts)
  • LOTS of reading
  • Basic spelling (Fry word list)
  • Creating sentences
  • Story Writing
  • Basic grammar beginning (noun, verb, adjective, conjuction, article)
  • Beginning punctuation
  • Tangrams
  • Counting up to 500 or above
  • Telling time
  • Leaf collections and learning about different types of trees
  • Continuing on our rote memorization from Preschool
  • Audio books
Medical

FDA Warning for Ethiopians and Codeine (& Morphine)

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WARNING against the use of Codeine in Ethiopian Children!

FDA Drug Safety Warning for African/Ethiopian Children

Codeine is a medication that is used to relieve mild to moderate pain.  I have used it and some of my children have used it (before we adopted our son).  We discontinued using this type of pain relief, after a procedure or serious illness, after my daughter began hallucinating.  It also makes me violently ill.

I would rather hallucinate or be violently ill….

Then the alternative of taking it and it killing me because parents or doctors (our local doctors), for that matter, were not informed of the dangers of this drug when we brought our son home from Ethiopia when he was 6 yrs old.

This article Codeine Therapy and CYP2D6 Genotype explains this phenom to a degree that is mind boggling to me, so I will put it in “Brandi Terms.”

In my terms, when my son had surgery, at the gentle age of 7 (he had been home less than a year), the doctors prescribed him Tylenol with Codeine for pain.  I mentioned to them that he was Ethiopian, and they did not bat an eye.  They asked me why I was telling them this.  I kindly told them about the FDA warning and the anesthesiologist told me she had never heard of that before.

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I gave her the website and the warning and she proceeded to research it, as she looked at me like I were a crazy person.  I tried to explain that he could be an “ultrarapid” Ethiopian and by the time the meds took effect, he could be dead.

“Thirty percent of Ethiopians studied had multiple copies of the 2D6 gene (up to13) and increased eynzyme activity resulting in ultrarapid metabolism.Ultra-rapid metabolism results in lower blood levels following a standard dose of any drug metabolized by this enzyme. Therefore these patients may have an inadequate response to standard dosages of ß-blockers, narcotic analgesics, or antidepressants and may require higher dosages for clinical effectiveness.”  Preventable Adverse Drug Reactions: A Focus on Drug Interactions

Please be aware, do your homework, as questions, and do not assume your doctor knows all the answers because they are humans too.  Our doctor was shocked in her findings and very apologetic.  I know that that seed, from that moment, has been passed onto other doctors at that hospital and even further from there.

If your doctor hasn’t yet notified you of this, please make sure this information is entered into your Ethiopian child’s medical file. Our doctor advised us to NEVER give use codeine for any situation/reason. Maybe someday we can get genetic testing to see if he has the (enzyme) gene, but in the meantime, I plan to enter it into his file as a fatal drug allergy to ensure he is never given it, even in an emergency situation.