Poetry: A World Like This

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Winnie the Pooh
and Tigger too
couldn’t have dreamed
of a world like this.

A world where kids
stay doped up
on Ritalin and Prozac,
while drug dealers
work the swing sets
and slides
of a local playground.

A world where kids
with guns and the will to kill
run the streets
with cold, hard eyes –
their consciences seared
by the flames of abuse
and neglect.

A world where the innocent
pay for the crimes
of the guilty, and justice
has become a four letter word.
A world that I once loved
but now only seek
to escape.

No, Winnie the Pooh
and Tigger too
couldn’t have dreamed
of a world like this.

But the funny thing is,
I think our dreary friend
Eeyore
saw it coming
all along.

(Poet’s note: This poem was written back when I was a foster parent, inspired by much of what I saw in the lives of the kids I took in. This is not meant to be a strictly anti-psych-meds poem, but unfortunately, I saw many of these kids unnecessarily or overly drugged just to keep them quiet or avoid dealing with the effects of their trauma.)

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.

To spank or not to spank – what kind of discipline actually works?

ErziehungsmethodeIt’s been awhile since I have written a blog post related to foster parenting, but something has been weighing heavily on my mind and I would like to share it and allow others to share their own thoughts on the subject. As a foster parent, it is absolutely forbidden to give a child any physical punishments. No spanking, no standing in the corner, no hard physical labor or military-type exercise. In fact, sometimes it feels like as a foster parent the only type of discipline left to use is privilege removal and time out.

Unfortunately, I find that most of the discipline options we are allowed to use don’t seem to actually work. It leaves me wondering, what if anything would work? I have heard some foster parents swear that if they could just spank the kids or make them do physical drills like they are in boot camp, that they could “fix” these kids. However, I’m not so sure about that. I have known regular kids who were spanked or raised with military-type parents and some of those kids still didn’t turn out well.

So what is the real answer? Unacceptable actions do certainly have to have some kind of consequence, but what kind? Even our foster childrens’ therapists and counselors seem stumped sometimes as to what will help. They often have us trying one behavior management program after another just to see them all fail. This also leaves me wondering if it helps to constantly be changing your gameplan when it comes to discipline, even if a certified therapist recommends it. Sometimes I start to get confused about what we are supposed to be doing because it gets changed so much…so imagine how the kids must feel!

So now I am asking all parents, whether foster, biological or otherwise…what have you found that actually works as discipline? What seems to be totally ineffective? Are you for or against spanking?

What’s going on…

Cue the Marvin Gaye song.  Just thought I would write a list of stuff that has been going on in my life lately.  Feel free to comment or even share what is going on in your life!

*The biggest news, at least recently, is that I am now involved in a lawsuit 😦 I can’t really say much more than that at this point, but let me say that it is the first time I have ever been sued for ANYTHING and it has not been a pleasant experience.  For a worrywart like me is feels like some class action lawsuit Xarelto we all heard of.  I do want to specify that this has absolutely nothing to do with my writing career…so don’t worry about that.  It’s just one of the personal inconveniences that is life.

*On a more positive note, my picture book, “Ode to Icky” is going to the printers within the next couple weeks!  It should be available before the holiday season, so keep it in mind for a great gift!  I also have another children’s ebook entitled “Weezie, the Elephant with Allergies” that is almost ready for publication.  I plan to publish it in October, so keep a look out!  It will be available on Smashwords, Amazon and Barnes and Noble (just like my last ebook “In Memory of Dad”).

*We just celebrated our one month anniversary with our new foster son who is 9 years old.  He has been a great kid so far, even if he is an EXTREMELY picky eater.  Hopefully he will grow out of that.  He recently joined the Boy Scouts which has been as much fun for us as it has for him.  At the last den meeting we even played dodgeball, parents vs the kids.  The parents won, although my foster son did manage to get my husband out of the game.  I survived till the bitter end though, even if I did it by hiding behind the men 🙂

Well, I think that’s everything that is important for now.  Please drop me a line and tell me how your life is going.  Would love any advice on how to deal with lawsuit headaches and picky eaters as well!!!

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

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

Which popular fictional characters were adopted? Part 1

I had such a good response to my list of famous people who were adopted, that I decided to make another list of popular fictional characters who were adopted.  I was surprised to see how many of our favorite childhood heroes were adopted or raised by someone other than their parents. 

The reason I decided to make these lists is so that all of the kids in foster care will see that they aren’t as alone as they may often feel.  As one foster child from Nexus Fostering in Birmingham said, “Sometimes I feel like I am the only kid who wasn’t wanted by their parents. It makes me feel better when I hear that I’m not the only one going through all this.”   

The list below comes courtesy of Wikipedia.com, and is only a partial listing of adopted characters…

To read the rest of the article, please visit Examiner.com: http://www.examiner.com/adoptive-families-in-dayton/fictional-characters-who-were-adopted-part-1