Thursday, August 11, 2011

All Growed Up

I've always said that since "normal" kids grow up and move on, so my mentally and physically disabled children would also move on when they reached 18.

Well, they are "All Growed Up." Jay, the "baby" turned 18 om July 28.

We are in the process of getting all 9 of the remaining adult kids into supported living apartments. It's really cool how it's coming together. The oldest three will go into a 3 bedroom apartment probably around September 1. Then Oct 1 the next three and Nov 3 the third group of three.

All 3 apartments are in the same complex and the complex is wonderful. It's newer and the apartments surround a lake and there is a big pool, and the boys are excited about the exercise equipment room!

We've managed to get them all into first floor apartments so that the boys with spina bifida can visit everyone else. So now we've got to furnish all three apartments (with no funding for THAT PART.) The state funds only the staffing the apartments need to help the kids. When the kids are there, there is staff there also.

Everyone has a bed here, of course, but at least three of them need a new mattress. And we certainly don't have any extra/functional chairs, tables or sofas in this house. Everything has been beat to heck and is headed for the dump.

The kids will share the rent and use their SSI to do that. Some of them earn a small salary, too.

Some of the kids are sooo excited. Others haven't got a clue. I'll tell you who is excited: MY HUSBAND AND I! We haven't had any kind of freedom in 43 years. We're already planning vacations. Like to the Smithsonian, the Gettysburg Battlefield, St. Augustine...well that's as far as we've gotten. Although we've enjoyed being parents to so many kids, and would do it again (if a time clock were wound back to 1968, that is. I wouldn't now at age 64 want to start over!)

These apartments are only available because our kids got on Med Waiver. The biggest advice I can give a parent of a disabled child is GET THEM ON THE LIST FOR MED WAIVER IMMEDIATELY. Even if they are only 3 days old. It take many years to get your name to the top of the list. Don't wait until they are 18 to do that. Took our kids 15 or more years to get there. (I'm talking FL here, and I don't know how it works in other states, but find out now.)

We've applied for social security for my husband and I, and guess what? It's just as big a mess to get that done as SSI and medicaid. My husband's file got sent to Alabama for some reason, while we live in FL. Now the FL office has to get the AL office to release the file to them. Want to guess how long THAT is going to take?

We're not going to have a lot of income, but we'll survive. Having fun looking at grocery store "apartments for rent" magazines. The hard part is trashing out this big old house. So much stuff to go through. We'll have to sell the big 15 passenger van with the wheelchair lift. Jay can use Palm Tran Connections service. We recently purchased a super 2002 Chrysler Town and Country minivan, and that will do us fine for many years to come.

Anyone interested in a 4000 sq ft house on an 1.15 acre lot in South FL? 8 bedrooms and four baths, a 28 ft $30,000 kitchen, den, living room and playroom. Wheelchair ramp, too? Cheap because it needs repairs. Probably appraise for about $150,000-180,000.

I'm rambling on. but then again, I probably won't post again for another year or at all. Facebook has killed blogging. Only two of the large adoptive family blogs I read now post regularly.

(Thanks, Cindy and Claudia,)

School starts again on the 23rd of August, but only for a few kids. Three work at the Habilitation Center. Two will go to the Goodwill transistions academy and three will go to a regular high school. They can go until they are 22. One daughter is going thru voc rehab to get a job.

It's a very busy time, but exciting, too. Our lives are about to change in marvelous ways. One of my daughters who is almost 20 says "I am SO ready to move out." My son Matt begs me every day to let him pack for the apartment. He's 26.

I'm sure that our family is not done with drama by a longshot. But it's going to get a lot less hands on for us. It's going to take a lot of getting used to for all of us, but especially for my husband and I.

Pray for all of us. I'll pray for you, too. I'll pray that when you reach my age that things will fall into place as easily as they have for us. It's been a great ride, and a lot of work. But, whoa, what a feeling that we can be (somewhat) FREE!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

From Neale Donald Walsch Today

I love Neale's daily messages:

On this day of your life, Amy, I believe God wants you to know...

.that everything you see, hear, touch, taste, smell, or

sense in any way is an aspect of Divinity.

It is when you judge it to be something else that it shows

up as something else in your life. Therefore, judge not,

and neither condemn.

For that which you judge, judges you; and that which

you condemn will condemn you. Yet that which you see

for what it really is will see you for what you really are.

And therein will be found your peace.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Pro Lifers for Mass Murder

Now I went to seminary, was a Presbyterian pastor for a while, until the end of the Vietnam war and we started adopting special needs kids. I believe in a loving God. One who values all life. But I've always had some problems with the ethics of ProLifers. This article says it all. Prolifers are largely a hypocritical group.

Pro-Lifers for Mass Murder

by Laurence M. Vance

Recently by Laurence M. Vance: Am I Being Unfair to the Republican Liberty Caucus?

"Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be. Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter? Can the fig tree, my brethren, bear olive berries? either a vine, figs? so can no fountain both yield salt water and fresh."(James 3:10-12).

Pro-lifers are dedicated to the idea that God values all human life, they are committed to educating women about the dangers to their physical and emotional health if they undergo abortions, they are relentless in pointing out the horrors of abortion – and they are some of the most bloodthirsty warmongers on the planet.

Beginning in 1984, the Sunday in January closest to January 22 has been designed by many pro-life and religious organizations as Sanctity of Human Life Sunday. This is designed to coincide with the anniversary of the infamous Roe v. WadeSupreme Court decision in 1973 that overrode most state abortion statutes and effectively made abortion a fundamental constitutional right.

Every year on Sanctity of Human Life Sunday churches of all denominations observe this day with special sermons, prayers, and presentations, testimonies from former abortionists, recognition of pro-life organizations, denunciations of pro-choice politicians, Planned Parenthood, and the Roe v. Wade decision, calls for legislation to restrict abortion, and distribution of anti-abortion literature.

As both a Christian and a steadfast opponent of abortion (see my articles "For Whom Would Jesus Vote?" and "Is Ron Paul Wrong on Abortion?" and "The Pro-Life Assault on Ron Paul and the Constitution"), I sympathize with the pro-life cause. But I go much further than the typical pro-lifer. I don’t think abortion is okay after the third trimester; that is, I believe in the right to life for everyone – including adults and foreigners.

How many churches on the recent Sanctity of Human Life Sunday mentioned the right to life of countless numbers of Iraqis and Afghans who have been killed by American bombs and bullets in unjust wars instigated by the United States? How many churches mentioned the right to life of U.S. soldiers who have died in vain and for a lie in senseless foreign wars? If the pro-lifers in churches that observed Sanctity of Human Life Sunday care about innocent children then surely they mentioned children in Iraq and Afghanistan who have lost their parents because of the U.S. waging war on their countries, children born with birth defects due to the U.S. military using depleted uranium, and children in Iraq killed by brutal U.S. sanctions? Surely they mentioned the orphaned and emotionally scarred children of dead and injured U.S. soldiers?

Although some churches may have mentioned these things, I suspect that the number is rather small or, in the case of most evangelical churches, very insignificant. And if it be argued that the churches that observed Sanctity of Human Life Sunday should be excused because the day is just about abortion then what about the rest of the year? Do not adults have the same right to life as unborn children? Do not foreigners who are not a threat to this country have the same right to life as American babies? Do not U.S. soldiers have the same right to life that other Americans have?

But in some churches it is even worse. Not only is no mention ever made of these things, the U.S. wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are defended and celebrated. Although they may call themselves evangelical churches, they are warvangelical churches. They are churches that worship God and venerate the institution of the military; they are churches that preach Christ and promote warmongering Republican politicians. They are pro-lifers for mass murder.

It is only natural that most pro-lifers love Republican politicians. At the Family Research Council’s Values Voter Summit held in Washington DC this past September, Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN) was the top choice of conservative activists. This same group named abortion as the top issue they were concerned about. Pence was also the top pick for vice president.

The German Nazis fought for the fatherland. The Soviet Red Army fought for the motherland. Mike Pencewants Americans to fight for the homeland. He "supported creation of the new Department of Homeland Security, the largest reorganization of the government since the beginning of the Cold War." Because of the Department of Homeland Security, "our ability to defend the homeland is more effective, efficient and organized." Pence is a committed supporter of the bogus war on terror. He even repeats the ridiculous canard that "we must take the fight to the terrorists overseas so we don’t have to face them here at home."

The runner up to Pence in the Values Voters straw poll was the former preacher Mike Huckabee, who won the top spot last year. Huckabee not only supported the sending of more troops to their death in Iraq, he actually maintained that we should not withdraw from Iraq because "we are winning." This advocate of perpetual war in the Middle East had only one criticism for Bush regarding his handling of the war in Iraq: he was too timid and not sufficiently bloodthirsty.

Pence and Huckabee are no different from DeMint, Romney, Gingrich, Giuliani, McCain, Graham, Palin, and Santourm – they are all ardent supporters of war, empire, and police statism. Yet, any one of these individuals would get the support of most evangelicals as long as they played the pro-life card. Once a Republican candidate passes a pro-life litmus test (applied to just American babies), nothing else about them seems to matter. They could call for bombing Iran, Pakistan, or Yemen back to the Stone Age and it wouldn’t change anything.

Why are pro-lifers so indifferent to, and in some cases so defensive of, war, militarism, and nationalism? I think the main reason is ignorance. Ignorance of the Republican Party. Ignorance of U.S. foreign policy. Ignorance of history. Ignorance of the military. Ignorance of the Bible they profess to believe. This is especially true if all one does is listen to SRN News on radio, watch Fox News on television, and read news by the American Family Association on the Internet. The importance of must here be mentioned. I have lost count of the number of Christians that have written me about how LRC has been instrumental in changing their thinking.

Pro-lifers should be just as concerned about their government sanctioning the killing of foreigners on the battlefield in an unjust war as they are about their government sanctioning the killing of babies in the womb in an abortion.

It is hypocrisy in the highest degree to talk about the sanctity of life and the evils of abortion and then turn around and show contempt for, or indifference to, the lives of adults and foreigners.

Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. Pro-lifers, these things ought not so to be.

January 24, 2011

Laurence M. Vance [send him mail] writes from central Florida. He is the author of Christianity and War and Other Essays Against the Warfare State and The Revolution that Wasn't. His newest book is Rethinking the Good War. Visit his website.

Copyright © 2011 by Permission to reprint in whole or in part is gladly granted, provided full credit is given.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Christmas Peace and a Revelation

I grew up in the 50's an 60's in working class Pittsburgh. I had 4 brothers and sisters. We absolutely loved the holidays. My mom would ask us what we wanted and she would buy it for our main present. Then she'd also buy us 3-4 other gifts (toys, not clothes) and then my grandmother from Scotland would come over and bring us gifts, too. She was born in 1898 and gifts when she was growing up were items of clothing.

Mom Mom would give us white full slips that we'd never use, but in her Scottish Christmases were something she only got then and were dearly appreciated. We'd also get something she had knitted for us, like a sweater, which was always nice.

My mother would give Mom Mom gifts that she probably never used, like scented soaps or bath powder.

Christmas was a time in my family which seemed like a dream
. And because I can't give my own kids that kind of dream I've felt bad. This year each kid is getting a $20 gift and that's all we can afford. I've got a lot more than 5 kids here, and four grandsons as well. I can't remember the last Christmas present my husband or I got each other. So it tends to depress me.

But this year, I'm not letting it bother me. It helps that my kids are all MR (ok intellectually disabled -couldn't they have picked a shorter politically correct term?) My kids are so very happy with anything they receive. I swear I could go to the dollar store and buy them each a $1 figurine and they'd be happy.

I need to take their attitude and make it my own.

The greatest gift I have is my wonderful husband of 41 years. If I never got another gift in my life this would be enough.

The second greatest gift I've been given are my children. Sure there have been bad times, lots of CPS visits, jails, hearings and hospital stays. but I can't imagine my life without a single one of them. When I look past their problems, and the problems they have created, I see that innocent soul there. That God-sent spirit that no matter what is going on, still resides within them.

This year I'm happy just to dwell on that. The Holy Spirit resides in each one of them. I have to remind myself of that at times. The Holy Spirit runs through me as well. We all are part of that Holy Spirit, as if energized by the same electrical cord. We are One.

When I have bad feelings about them I am ignoring that fact that they are a part of God just as surely as I am myself. I need to keep expressing that unconditional love that runs through my veins. I need to brush off the negative crud and see them as children of God.

I've been able to do that with my dear sweet husband. Nothing he could do would even make me the slightest bit angry anymore. I'm beginning to be able to do that with each of my kids as well.

To see the people we love and live with as anything other than expressions of the Holy Spirit is to deny ourselves that profound peace found only in the love of God.

I can do this! I can do this! And that revelation is my greatest Christmas gift ever!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

It's All About Forgiveness

It's been a rough two and a half weeks. Sent me into a tailspin. So much more drama than we've ever had before, the potential consequences unbelievable. Ended up getting very depressed, saying things I shouldn't say, not doing things I should be doing.

It came to me yesterday, that quiet voice that brings truth, that in your heart you already know, but haven't been honoring.

Life is all about Forgiveness. It's about forgiving people who wrong you and yours and forgiving yourself. Both may seem difficult at first, but truly shouldn't be.

It's not up to me to change others. They have a life path that they are following, just as I have. I might be able to model what I personally would like to see in them, but it is their life path they are following. I need to forgive and not blame.

Forgiving myself is harder. But I'm working on that.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

What To Tell The 911 Dispatcher

Here's a heads up for all of you who have mentally handicapped or otherwise disabled children. When our child is missing or takes your car and you call 911 tell them "He is Autistic/has Down Symdrome. He doesn't understand, won't understand what you say to him. DO NOT SHOOT HIM!"

Wish I had known to add the last part. Never crossed my mind.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Crimes Against Your Family Home

My big 8 bedroom 4 bath home was in foreclosure. We owed about $309,000 on it, and in today' s market it's worth less than $200,000. We were paying close to $3000 a month on it PITI.

Now, we could have just given it back to the bank, but where would we find another 8 bedroom house at a price we could afford? Nowhere. So we asked the lender for a loan modification backj in August of 2009. We made payments monthly.

In July of this year we decided that we were not going to get a loan modification. At that time through my work I heard about a small legal firm that had an impeccable track record of having your mortgage completely expunged. Like gone. As if there never had been one.

So in July we applied for help from this little company. It's now Oct 1. Last week we got notice that they were at the stage where they are asking the lender for a release of the mortgage and a summary judgment from the judge.

By this time next month that mortgage will be dead and gone.

The legal firm has you put a new mortgage (non qualifying) on the property at 50% of today's value. We'll make payments on that only. The firm also puts a lien on the rest of the property to secure their profit. We have to refinance or sell the house in 3-5 years, but that's OK as by that time we hope to have all the kids, who will be adults by then, placed into good group homes and assisted living facilities. We'll just sell and move on.

It's the only way that we could have stayed in this house. A short sale would have meant we HAD to move. Foreclosure would have damaged our credit so that at our ages we'd probably never be able to get another mortgage. Who's going to rent to a family with 9 special needs kids?

This works on any house where the mortgage is higher than the house is worth. It brings your payments way down and you get to stay in the home.

I'm posting this because I absolutely know that we can't be the only large adoptive family out there who has a home being threatened with foreclosure. I know the despair that I felt before this program came along. That despair has turned to peace. My HOME is safe.

This legal firm has expunged the mortgages of 200 homes out of 200 attempts. They want to stay quiet, because they could easily get overwhelmed with requests.

I'm trying to get the word out to a few friends. Don't give up hope. We can give you back your home and your peace, even if the final hearing is scheduled. Even if the auction has been scheduled. Just get in touch with me and I'll point you in the right direction.

Email Dustyheart @

While you're waiting, watch this video. It shows how bad things are. The feds, who are basically controlled by the banks, won't help you. They can't. This solution is so much better than anything the government could come up with, and quicker.