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C.A.S.A

Court Appointed Special Advocates.

These people are a far and few in between! These sweet humans volunteer their time to meet with and get to know the kids in foster care to help make the child’s voice is heard in court. The sad fact is they (CASA) estimates that 60% of the kids in the system (400,000 kids) will not have access to a CASA.

Can you donate? Money or time? Could you volunteer? Please reach out to them to see what you can do to help, even if that is just adding a link to your websites or tagging a few lines on Twitter or Facebook!

CASA of the Ninth
www.casaoftheninth.com

970-987-4332

Advocate SafeHouse Project

There is an unfortunate truth in this valley that domestic violence is a common occurrence. What is even more tragic few victims will reach for help. Now if I am honest I know that men can and have been the victims, however there are limited resources for these men. I recommend contacting Mind Springs Health 970-625-3582.

The group that I want to recognize today is the Advocate SafeHouse Project, these amazing people help with many different situations for women, but the general portion I want to cover is; Women; IF YOU NEED OUT, THEY WILL HELP GET YOU OUT!

Contact them or check out their website today!

970-945-4439 or 970-285-0209

www.advocatesafehouse.org

 

My Take on “13 Reasons Why”….

First thing I have to say is pay attention. However if you have not watched the show and would like to; STOP READING! I will be spoiling several things! Follow my blog and come back after you have finished watching Season One!

I want to mention these are my own opinions gathered from finishing the first season. I would like to also make clear, I do NOT believe this show romanticized suicide at all, rather it makes you think; have you done everything you can to help save those around you! The show takes us through Clay’s perception of Hannah’s reasons for why suicide was her choice. Now while as a parent I want to tell my children that it would NEVER be their fault if their friend or classmate took their own life. I also recognize what I think is point number one, if someone had just cared more about Hannah’s well being she might not have taken her own life. Now Clay and her parents loved her, but even love gets stuffed behind current events and we don’t always make time for those in our lives, our we tend to live behind our own hurt or embarrassment. I believe Hannah just needed someone to drop their own drama and swim in hers with her for a day! I call it drama because honestly that is the perception we place on other’s when they walk through emotions.

Point number two; Clay asks Hannah “is this ok?” While engaging in the makings of a love scene. Now while as an adult this is not common bedroom talk, this needs to be taught to our children, male and female. Our kids need to understand EVERYONE involved must feel safe! This show talks about the abuse that Hannah and Jessica endured, it depicts how even the rapist was not beating these women and torturing them, but he takes complete advantage of these girls in different situations, he also never asked “is this is ok?”

Hannah depicts several scenarios where she felt taken advantage of, while the people she calls out for each event recall things slightly differently, they can each see their role in Hannah’s death. What the show shares further is three students are able to get their hands on firearms. One attempts suicide and the cliff hanger we are left with is he is in critical care. The second has several firearms and tactical equipment, it appears as though he may be planning a school shooting. While the third has left us with no other information, I feel as though he might be running away.

The season ends on the note of Clay taking interest in Skye’s life, a girl that he is concerned about. As she asks him if he is okay, he says “no, is that okay?” The scene transitions with her saying yes and leaving with him. This scene moved mountains for me, I received the message as; It is okay to be damaged or have mental issues or illnesses, that we can work through those things together.

If you are worried about someone TALK to them! If that does not ease your mind call and ask professionals for help!

 

A local and great resource would be Mind Springs Health!

Their Crisis line 888-207-4004
Local 970-625-3582

www.mindspringshealth.org

Join Us in Parachute

I am so excited to tell you about this AMAZING program that is going to start Monday May 15th at the Parachute Branch of the Garfield County Library! It is put together and taught by some of the most amazing people I have ever met!

This Nurturing Program will last 15 weeks (Every Monday, except holidays then the course will be on Friday!) 5:30p to 8p with child care AND DINNER!!

If you are a foster family these hours will help renew your certification! If you are starting down the foster road these hours will help you too! If you are a parent looking to help your children, and train yourself new skills then THIS is a GREAT place to start!

Please let these ladies know you will be joining us by emailing Alicia at astanley@garfield-county.com

 

NP Flyer Summer 2017 (1)

When the Honeymoon is Over…

There is this strangely familiar phrase everyone knows, but rarely do we know what we are expecting in the end; The Honeymoon Phase. We refer to it when we talk about relationships, jobs, religion, oh and foster care. In training I heard several women talk about how tough your kids will test you once they get past the honeymoon. Well I thought we were all there. I thought the rough, ugly dragon resting in each of my children had reared (Her) ugly head. *I refer to the dragon a lot, and when I use her as a reference she is a girl because the dragon in everyone reminds me of myself.*  She has encouraged some challenges along this road of parenting, however nothing could have prepared me for last night….

While we had set up a new bunk bed, two of my precious small humans were arguing as to which one had the rights to the top bunk, both arguments were decent, so I left it in their hands to determine the best course of action. Rock, Paper, Scissors. While the game progressed to the first person reaching 10 winning rounds earns the top bunk, I knew and was preparing for the let down of the ‘loser’.  When the game was over and the winner took their place upon the castle, my dear strong, independent, cuddle monster lost control. The dragon then appeared, and she was fierce. Spewing harder words then I could have imagined, at me and at the Throne holder. Finally momma bear had hear enough and I barked them both off too bed.

Only to realize 10 minutes later that the child laying on the bottom was kicking the mattress and giving air to the child on top. I quickly removed the angry child with their feisty dragon intact, the battle was just beginning. I gave up my bed and sent this child there, while the dragon screamed and screeched, “I WON’T GO TO SLEEP THEN, YOU CANNOT MAKE ME!” I calmly agreed, and that seemed to make the dragon angrier, she started to spit sparks, hoping to catch fire to someone or something, all the while I kept reminding myself, stay calm momma, stay calm, they need to see your grace, find your grace!

It went on for ten minutes, which felt like forever, it all hurt and then the dragon screamed, “I hate you, I hate living here, everyone else hates living here, I hate my life”. I collapsed at the foot of my own bed where the dragon had clearly taken over my child, I rested my hands in the lap of the beast, and I said, “That hurts my heart, I love you SO much, I will give you my phone to call our workers tomorrow, I cannot force you to live here, but I need you to know I LOVE you, and I LOVE having you here.” We sat in silence for 27 minutes, when the dragon finally loosened her grip and we went to bed on a sharp note, she snapped “YOU HAVE NOT WON.” While quickly rolling over and tossing the blanket over their head I retreated. I found myself sobbing in my pillow, asking myself over and over do they hate it here? Have I screwed up somewhere? What did I do to hurt this child so badly. Considering it was already three in the morning I crashed hard. I awoke this morning with overwhelming amounts of peace, I went and woke my sweet warrior from the night before, I calmly rubbed the back of what could be the beast, and explained my love for them, and that we will gladly start the day as normal if they were up for it. This child practically leaped out of bed, threw their arms around my neck, “Mom I am so sorry, I didn’t mean it, I don’t want to leave, I love you I really do”.

Mom… they called me mom.. they said sorry… the fight is over? The peace was all around us, not just me. This child needed to know they could push, harder then I ever could have imagined, but I was still here, and I was still level headed, I never exploded, I let their emotions develop and I kept mine in check. This was a household win. I really think I understand the honeymoon phase now, but call me crazy, I like it better this side of the phase!

 

 

The Cost of ‘Adulting’

Maybe this is poorly titled, maybe it should say something along the lines of “The Cost of Parenting” or even “The Cost of Owning a Business”. However I often list the two in a category only easily described as ‘adulting’.

Now mind you a wrote previously about the car that I owe $13,000 on needing major repairs, I am not going over the frustration of that again, I will tell you, my business partner (mom) and I have agreed to have the engine replaced. The problem here is they want over $6000 for a USED engine that has a very small guarantee, and A LOT of risk, for a car they should have never financed at such a steep rate. So please think and pray on a good DRIVE-ABLE outcome!

Now beyond these astronomical  vehicle expenses, can I talk for one second about how hard it is to feed FOUR growing humans! OH MY! Now obviously I have tremendous amounts of help from those around me, and I am GRATEFUL! We are fine and getting by on our meal plans and budgets! I just never realized how much growing humans could consume! We go through more vegetables then one person could believe! I am blessed however, they all enjoy the veggies more then anything else!

Now I don’t want to sound naive, I knew owning a business would cost, and I knew taking on extra kiddos would cost, I am so proud of both my business and my growing family, it is just hard to account for such dramatic, life altering, leaps of faith all at one time!

Why Foster Care.

Without a single shred of doubt, I decided to foster because of Christy Cleveland! She showed me that my cup had the potential to always be overflowing.

It is hard to say when it all clicked in my head and I heard God’s calling, but at some point I just heard it. “This is why I won’t give you another ‘baby'”. That is not to say I fought infertility, and it is NOT to make light of those who struggle conceiving. It is to say, I wanted more kids, but I am a single mother, who refused to date just anyone, and found myself happy in my independence, but with only one child! My standards were, maybe are, too high, but my (birth) son and I have only benefited!

I was hesitating for over a year to apply to foster care, because I am a single mom, but also because I don’t own a home. I was sure that ‘they’ (DHS) would laugh in my face for trying. Now crazy as it seems I started dreaming about my ‘big’ family, no faces no real details to mentions, other then I had a BIG family. In an obsessive manner I started thinking about what it meant, or how I could make it true, to the point I found myself on the good ol’ WORLD WIDE WEB. What came next was way too much information and very little of it local. I found a breakdown of FAQ on The Heart Gallery (a site developed to help foster kiddos find adoptive families). In their own Q & A’s I found that I didn’t have to own my home OR be married! I WAS SO EXCITED! Then terrified, what was my excuse all of this time? Why hadn’t I figured this out sooner?

Well honestly, it is hard to ask questions, and we don’t always know where to look! I want to change that! At least for Garfield County! My calling is taking in kids who need to be loved, my goal is to teach others how to do this! I wouldn’t have made it this far without an amazing leader named Lindsay, and an amazing teacher and inspiration named Susan, who taught me, “It only takes ONE person, to change ‘their’ (foster kiddo’s) lives FOREVER, for the better”. One heart at a time, we will teach them how to love and be loved! One family at a time, we will find, healthy and happy homes, that are ready to make hard decisions and reap the blessings and rewards. Trust when I say, the reward far out weighs the hurt.

With love,

(f)Mom