Mental Illness Labels : Alphabet Soup Poem

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Yesterday I commented on a post by blogger Myloudbipolarwhispers about mental illness labels. In the comment, I explained how one of my foster kids once had a therapist who talked about the dangers of “alphabet soup”, which is when people start collecting so many labels (ADHD, ADD, ASD, PTSD, SAD, OCD, DID, BPD, RAD, and so on and so on) that they lose sense of themselves as a person or even worse, those treating them lose sight of their humanity and just see them as a list of diagnoses.

I shared in the comment that I even wrote a short poem about “alphabet soup”, which ended up in my book about foster care (From Both Sides). Myloudbipolarwhispers mentioned that she would like to see the poem, so I figured I would just share it in a post here, since it definitely fits the themes of this blog:

Alphabet Soup
By: Maranda Russell

Some good old-fashioned RAD,
a touch of PTSD,
just a hint of OCD,
a generous helping of ADHD
and a pinch of ODD
to taste.

Add it all together
and what do you get?

Alphabet soup…

and a kid
made entirely
of labels.

New YouTube Video – “Behind the Scenes of My Foster Care Book”

This week’s video is a “behind the scenes” look into my popular book about foster care entitled “From Both Sides”. In this vlog I discuss the inspiration behind the book and share a few short excerpts.

I hope you will check it out! Feel free to comment and let me know what you think. You can also suggest future topics if there is something you would like to see me talk about.

Interview with Jennifer, foster and adoptive mother

For my second personal interview, I have chosen Jennifer, a devoted  mom who has fostered over 40 children in the past six years, and ended  up adopting 5 of those kids.  Though she has been through a lot,  Jennifer keeps a positive outlook and has been able to help many kids by  offering her home and heart to them.

Q: How did you become involved with adoption/foster care?

A: I had always been interested in these children that needed help. A  couple from church fostered and adopted and I always looked up to them. As an  adult, all I wanted was to be a mom. When I found out I would never have  biological children I knew it was just meant for us to help these kids. We  called our local DCS and began classes almost immediately…

Continue reading on Examiner.com Personal Interview #2 with Jennifer, a foster and adoptive mother from Indiana – Dayton Adoptive Families | Examiner.com http://www.examiner.com/adoptive-families-in-dayton/personal-interview-2-with-jennifer-a-foster-and-adoptive-mother-from-indiana#ixzz1NK0xel4Z

Right about now wishing we could change judges for our foster son…

It may not be the same everywhere, since counties and states often vary  widely in their children’s services laws, but in many counties here in Ohio,  when a judge is picked for a case, you are pretty much stuck with them.   Nobody, including the family, foster family, caseworkers, therapists or  attorneys can request a different judge.

So why is this a concern?  Well, first of all, judges often go against  the wishes of all the professionals in a case and just do whatever they  want.  For instance, even if the caseworkers, therapists and attorneys  are strictly against a child going home, the judge can ignore all of those  testimonies and send the child home right away if they wish to do  so.

This may not seem like such a big deal, but when you look more closely it  creates an alarming pattern…

Continue reading on Examiner.com: Should children’s advocates be able to request a different judge? – Dayton Adoptive Families | Examiner.com http://www.examiner.com/adoptive-families-in-dayton/should-children-s-advocates-be-able-to-request-a-different-judge#ixzz1MlL3rw3n

Interview with a real adoptive family #1

Although social workers and other experts can tell you a lot about the foster  care and adoption process, they can’t give you the nitty gritty details about  the experience.  Only someone who has been through the foster care or  adoption process can tell you what it is really like.  Of course, each  individual experience will vary, perhaps to a great degree, depending on  the personality and unique problems of each kid.

Our first personal interview in this series will be with Rebecca, an adoptive  mom who stepped in to help out her own nieces and nephews…

Continue reading on Examiner.com: Presenting the new foster care and adoption interview series – Dayton Adoptive Families | Examiner.com http://www.examiner.com/adoptive-families-in-dayton/presenting-the-new-foster-care-and-adoption-interview-series#ixzz1MRVxXOIH

Stupid foster care stereotype #1

Sometimes it really makes me mad when I hear people make blanket statements  about foster or adoptive parents.  Such as the popular, “Most foster  parents only do it for the money.”  I don’t know who started this rumor,  but I wish they could really see the inside reality of what foster parenting is  like.  Don’t get me wrong, I know there are a few lousy foster parents who  take in five or ten foster kids and then lock them in cages or closets just so  they can collect all the money, but those foster parents are few and far  between.

For the majority of us foster parents, taking in a foster child is almost a  24 hour job.  If you take in a child that isn’t in school yet, it is  definitely a 24 hour job…

Continue reading on Examiner.com: Doing it just for the money? – Dayton Adoptive Families | Examiner.com http://www.examiner.com/adoptive-families-in-dayton/doing-it-just-for-the-money?fb_comment=33009086#ixzz1M4Xuyp00

Feeling guilty…

Today we had a call to see if we were interested in taking in a 4-year-old foster child.  Due to the child’s particular problems and visitation schedule, I felt that we had to say no.  I really wanted to give it a try, but on the other hand I didn’t want to bring a kid into our house and then have to have him removed within a month or two because we couldn’t take him back and forth to visitation or stay home with him all the time due to our work schedules.

Even though I know we probably made the best decision for him and for us, I still feel bad.  I keep imagining a sad little boy who might end up in a bad foster home or who really wants a family.  It was even harder to say no because we have really been wanting another child.  It’s days like this I really wish that we could be there to help everyone who needs us.  I know we can’t, but I wish we could.

Should you consider doing respite care?

Do you have an extra bedroom available and want to do something to help kids?  Believe it or not, foster care and adoption aren’t the only options available.  If you would prefer short term stays and want to meet lots of different kids, respite care may be the way to go. 

So what is respite care?  Put simply, it’s just giving parents or foster parents a break for a day or two (although some respite stays may go longer depending on the situation).  Foster parents send their foster kids to respite when they have special plans that aren’t child-friendly or when they go on vacation (especially if they go out-of-state since it can be hard to obtain permission to take foster kids with them).  Sometimes regular parents are also allowed to use respite, particularly if they have special needs kids…

To read the rest of this article, please visit Examiner.com: http://www.examiner.com/adoptive-families-in-dayton/would-you-be-a-good-respite-caregiver

Saying goodbye to your foster kids

Saying goodbye seems to accompany the foster care lifestyle. Sometimes the goodbye is bittersweet because the child is being adopted, or gets to return home. In those cases, you still worry about their future, but you are happy that they will hopefully have a chance at a more stable life.  Sometimes we still get to stay in touch with these children if they live here in Dayton, which can make the adjustment a little easier, since we can see for ourselves that they are doing ok.   

What is more heartbreaking is when the parting is not happy in any way. These are the children who you request to be removed because you don’t feel that you can handle the severity of their problems, or because you fear they pose a safety risk to yourself or others in your home. I have had this happen more than once in my foster care experience and each time it tends to leave a scar…

To read the rest of this article, please visit Examiner.com: http://www.examiner.com/adoptive-families-in-dayton/so-hard-to-say-goodbye