seekinggalilee

April 13, 2017

“Its 3AM I must be lonely”

Filed under: Uncategorized — by seekinggalilee @ 1:09 am

This weekend my cousin gave me a hard time that I did not know the Matchbox 20 classic 3AM. But this morning reaffirmed that 3AM has never been my friend. 3AM calls are the worst calls you get, too late that you aren’t asleep and too early that you want to be awake. This morning’s 3AM call came complimentary of one of my 18 year old girls, her foster mother had been awoken at 1AM by her standing fully dressed with her backpack in the kitchen trying to turn off the home’s alarm system. The foster mother told her it was too early to be going out, especially on a school night. At 3AM she was woken again, this time the girl informed her she was going, she had a man she had met online and she had to go meet him. This young lady coined the term “sex maniac” to help me and my coworkers describe her interests. So at 3AM she walked out of the home and was picked up by a man in a car, she is 18 and we cannot stop her legally. At 5AM she was brought home by the police after being spotted trying to break into cars…

So next time you are awake at 3AM say a prayer for those CPS workers still out responding, the foster parents who are up worried and the kids/young adults who are sure they know everything, but are realistically putting themselves in very dangerous situations.

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May 27, 2014

Although I’m not their mother….

Filed under: 25 kids at 23 — by seekinggalilee @ 6:06 am

Last week a young girl left my care for a more permanent place, a new start and hopefully somewhere she can find out more about herself. This little girl had spent time with me before, between the foster homes she was shuffled to and from, and then again this time. For her tween age she had a lot of spunk and was very sure of what she wanted, a forever family, along with some high end electronics, but really just a family. She had grown up with abuse and when it had been discovered it was too late to prevent a lot emotional scars. When she met someone new she was friendly and out going but had very little guard with what she shared with them. She loved playing on tire swings, having her hair fixed,  plays a fierce and very competitive game of UNO, collects stuffed animals, and sometimes after the other girls went to bed she very quietly would come asked to be tucked in and kissed goodnight (because the hug and kiss 5 minutes prior wasn’t enough).  Many nights she told me that  being with me and my coworker had been the first time she had felt safe and wanted since before everything started. On the last evening she was with me she told me that we (a couple of my coworkers and I) were the closest thing she had to family and she wondered aloud if she would ever find a forever family. I can’t be that forever family for her, but as I’ve learned from experience like all of my kids, she is forever in my heart!

April 11, 2014

“Will you be my Mommy?”

Filed under: 25 kids at 23 — by seekinggalilee @ 6:39 am

I have had many girls, and a few boys, call me some variation of “mom”, “mamma”, “mommy”. But for someone to ask, I was speechless. This little girl was one of my very young girls and she had a sister who was preschool aged. Both girls were smiley, playful, full of stories and on one more than one occasion needed reminded that if they talk through dinner they were going to be hungry later. The preschooler drove the cafeteria nuts as she narrated (from across the room) my dinner activity through song (they finally asked if she could sit with me with the deal that she would stop singing about me). She loved having her own style- skirts, leggings and a side ponytail, she loved the attention she got when she would swing her pony tail and put her hand on her hip before making a statement. The older sister learned to ride a bike with us, she loved playing with the Barbies and climbing up into someone’s lap for a story or while she watched a movie. She was very bright and did well in school. Both girls were in care because their family no longer felt like they could take care of them. The older of the two was born with a group of birth defects which included several heart conditions and then intestinal oddities which included/extended to having to have surgery at birth so that she would be able to have normal bodily functions. What the doctors could not do for her was give her control over all of it. She had to constantly be in diapers, she would go to the bathroom but be unable to clean herself, and the tube in her tummy from one of the hospitalizations continually needed to be tucked back in or closed. The younger girl had some vision trouble but was mostly just active and needed someone to be able to run after her. The two were a spectacularly sweet pair!

 

So as I tuck her in to bed one night, she asked me, “Can you be my mommy?” I gently remind her that she has a mom and that someday she may be going back to live with her mom (soon after being dropped off, their mom had decided she wanted to be in their lives). Without missing a beat and in a matter of fact tone, she looked at me and respond, “My mommy does not want us and you are better at being our mommy anyway.” In that moment my heart broke– for the little girl who thinks it is her job to find a mom for herself and her sister, for the mom whose child is convinced they are unwanted and unloved, and for myself because I can’t take these two beautiful and perfect little girls home.

So as you tuck your little ones in or as you tuck yourself in, pray for those little ones who need our Heavenly Father to heal their family.

October 3, 2013

CAMP

Filed under: 25 kids at 23 — by seekinggalilee @ 7:15 am

CAMP

Best movie released in 2013

As I walked out of my local grocery store recently, I was horrified to see a life size black and red cutout of a person and attached to it a gender, age and description of a person and the crime that was committed against them, next to it was a child size cutout with a similar description card. I am not easily unsettled nor am I sheltered from the truth of what happens in the world around us, but to have this in my grocery store where I go on my time off was too much. When I complained to my mom later she reminded me that many people are unaware of the crimes and the abuse that goes on daily in their community and how she thought this campaign was a great idea, I felt completely guilty.

I do not have an answer to solve the cycle of abuse, I also am blessed with the curse that I don’t need to see a written description and cutout because I see the effects of it on the faces of my kids every day.*yes the children I work with our “my” kids, for however long they are with me I will love them and teach them as if they are my own- sometimes they don’t like that… The story the cutouts don’t tell is what wonderful blessings and huge opportunity awaiting those who seek out the victims of these crimes. CAMP was a wonderful movie and the true stories behind it similar to the happening everyday at shelters and foster homes all over the US. I encourage everyone to watch the movie and I challenge you all to find a shelter or organization where you can go and spend just a small amount of time whether it be part of a day or a couple of hours every week. It  will be good for your self esteem, suddenly a free throw becomes as cool as playing in the MBA and teaching them to ride a bike gives them the confidence of an Olympic medalist, most importantly though- the kids will love it!

August 2, 2013

The gift the hospital gave me.

Filed under: Uncategorized — by seekinggalilee @ 8:43 pm

Well to begin, I have only one living grandfather now and if you had asked me a year ago he was the grandpa who had so much to teach and show the boys but had little time or need for granddaughters. When I was nine my maternal grandfather passed away, he had taught me how to ride a horse, drink coffee, feed the cows , drive a truck and be part of a community. When he passed away I thought my days of having a grandpa were over. While mourning the loss of that grandparent , I had a lot of opportunities to get to know my paternal grandparents and particularly sought out special times with my grandmother. My Grandmother is a very typical 50’s woman, her family sits down at dinner at 5, there is a table cloth if there is going to be a meal eaten, the flowers are fresh from the garden and dishwashing was a task never left to the grandchildren, midnight snacks of frosting and graham crackers served nightly at 10pm. Tonight marks 15 weeks since that worldview came crashing down.

Fifteen weeks ago my Grandmother called 911 because my grandfather was non responsive in the middle of the night, 911 thought that it would be normal for a 86 year old man to be difficult to wake at 2am, but my Grandmother persisted. For the first few days it was a furry of activity, guessing, news from the doctors, more guessing, different and contradictory news from the doctors and more phone calls to family. Without knowing exactly what was wrong he was admitted to the hospital. For the next two weeks my Grandmother, a few aunts and my parents stayed with him 24/7. I started seeing the exhaustion and went over myself for the day more of out familial duty than devotion. This decision changed my life. After several hours of being with him a new nurse came on duty, my grandpa introduced me as his sweet granddaughter and called me by name, he had not called me by name for four months and I had been convinced he no longer remembered it. I started going over more, Grandpa started calling me by name more, and he started talking about how I was as a little girl more (I did not know he had even paid attention). As the weeks became months and the need went from for showing support and love to care taking and calming to prevent sedations my limits got tested significantly more. After scraping the bottom of every topic I could ask about without him being able to remember or relate much, I started asking about his life, my Grandmother, my dad growing up. He talked for a few minutes on some and much longer on others, repeating a lot, but he was always happy when talking about them. In these hours I realized he was behind most of my happy grandparent childhood memories.

He made Mickey waffles every Sunday we visited (although I mostly remember decorating them with Grandmother), he used his flight passes to fly himself and my Grandmother to wherever my family lived so my Grandmother and I could celebrate our joint birthday together every year, he kept kids games on his many computers before home computers were common just so we would have something to do so he could be with us while he worked, he taught my dad in the workshop (which is where my dad and I have had every important conversation from my tooth is loose to I may have just wrecked the car), and lastly he put my yellow rose corsage on my wrist before senior prom. Several weeks into visits and one of his last in the hospital, my grandpa was refusing his medication, he was giving the nurses heck and reminding me that I was ornery enough to know how to raise cane myself (a truth of my life but not one I would have attributed to him). The nurses tried numerous times, they had the nun who was going to sit with him for the evening try and then they asked me. He had made it very clear to the nurses that I was HIS granddaughter and that clearly since I was his son’s daughter I would know what was best. Needless to say he took his medication!

So while the 15 weeks have been stressful to the max, emotionally draining and the beginning of another mourning process, more than that it has been a journey to find the Grandpa I had had all along.

November 23, 2012

Trantrums and Traditions

Filed under: Uncategorized — by seekinggalilee @ 7:38 am

This is not going to be a typical run of the mill Thanksgiving post- I would say I apologize now but I’m not sorry that it isn’t.

On Tuesday morning I was browsing through my news feed and a friend had posted about a young girl who had been killed in his neighborhood. While any loss of life is tragic it was what was revealed to me today that brought this story home to me. She was a little girl whose case with DHS also made semi national news last year due to being chained to a bed. I did not work with her  but the story hit home because her parents stated it was for her own good since she was a sleep walker. This little girl has now been sent to the Lord’s merciful hands and I pray He will show her the love and compassion she did not receive here on earth.

Secondly, as many of you know I took a job at a children’s shelter for abused and neglected kids (which allows me to work less than 70 hours a week and apply for grad programs). Over the past year I’ve learned all sorts of things about tantrums, one thing I learned today is that adults aren’t immune to them and I’m ashamed to say I think the only difference may be that adults don’t scribble on walls or pull down their pants and threaten to wet themselves (if you are an adult and still do these things please seek help!). I was excited to work with my girls for Thanksgiving but had not gotten over missing all the Thanksgiving traditions and I allowed silly things to completely “ruin” my day. When I got to work and heard how excited the girls were about the day they had had, I felt completely humiliated. They were so thankful they got to have table clothes and could have seconds on pumpkin pie and that we got both Thanksgiving dinner at noon and a meal in the evening. In the words of a good friend “I know, I’m a brat” and unknown to them they drove that point home pretty quickly. Finding my balance and readjusting my mindset we cranked up the Christmas station on every radio in our part of the building and had a whole wing sing along dance party- it was perfect!

So this year I’m thankful for the simple things- for parents who dealt with my sleep walking and talking in stride without chains or locks; for a family who gave my generation traditions to love that celebrated the holidays and being together; and lastly for the opportunity to be completely humbled this Thanksgiving.

November 7, 2012

What the election has brought.

Filed under: 25 kids at 23 — by seekinggalilee @ 12:22 am

This election well most people overwhelmed their minds and imaginations with how the presidential election is going to affect America, I thought back a year. November 6, 2012 I had just finished moving into my new apartment, I found out that in small town America you can buy a gun but not a beer on Sundays, other than that my memory fails me.

A year ago, I had no idea that I would be more interested or intrigued by a neighboring state dissolving their Department of Human Services than I was to hear who would be vowing to protect and defend the constitution next… how a year can change things. On a chilly November afternoon I sat in a Ford Contour with a girl I didn’t know in my passenger seat, three car seats across the backseat and two of the sweetest boys I have ever meet, pretty much naked, screaming, buckled into five points for possibly the first time in their lives. The three cop cars behind me were a constant reminder that reality surrounded me.  I was under instructions to drive away as quickly and safely as I could, if I needed and escort one was available. I had already gotten the other siblings in this family from school and I had a 13 year old girl ask me what had taken us so long to come help, she said she had been calling the hotline on her parents for years.   Many hours later I sat in my car crying, I had just been a part of changing a that family forever. The oldest three had never met their youngest sisters to this day has never had their whole family living under one roof.

That was my first “pick-up”.  That was a year ago, the court date marking that year anniversary kept me up at night, provided moments of panic and elevated blood pressure more than any of the election coverage, polls, and what if-s combined. For those who do not know parents are given a 12 month period to collect their lives and make progress before termination can be looked at as an option (without aggravated circumstances).  Since I no longer work for the state I do not know what has happened in the case or where these kids are in their journey, except for the occasional “do you know” that pops up on facebook. Wherever they are I trust God has a guardian angel with them and that knowledge will have to suffice.

So as America focuses on Obama’s changes to our way of life, I’ll be watching Oklahoma’s removal and rebuilding of their DHS including their Child Protective Services.

July 26, 2012

Know, first, who you are; and then adorn yourself accordingly. ~Epictetus

Filed under: 25 kids at 23 — by seekinggalilee @ 6:03 am

While Epictetus may have a very practical outlook on the order in which one’s adornments should be chosen to suit, it seems that it is often the opposite case to some extent. For the past eight months I played “mom” to 39 children ranging from newborn to seventeen. While knowing the proper attire for parent teacher conferences, play dates, doctor’s appointments, birthday parties and court hearings came easily, the identity as a not biological-legally responsible-as good as it gets mother did not. To say it is a full time job is an understatement- try a full time lifestyle. It was not until a friend mentioned their recent wardrobe transformation that the realization came that in society today it is often times more about “looking the part” than having a comprehensive knowledge of what part is even being played. How backwards! Epictetus was a very intelligent man; however, today may be better suited with something closer to “Since you already know the type of person you chose to dress like, pray then that within that adornment you can find a path to holiness, or a new wardrobe.”

Cherubs

Filed under: 25 kids at 23 — by seekinggalilee @ 5:36 am

A high school teacher I know calls all of her students Cherubs, even those with clearly unangelic habits hindering their brain from fully using common sense. When questioned on this not only politically incorrect but down right strange practice the teacher responded, “If I do not believe they can be than who will?” and this very sweet and moving answer was quickly followed by some statistic about how able to be molded the teenage brain is.  Hope that a statement will become a self-fulfilling prophecy if ever there was one.

This specific instance of an attempt to brain wash youth has not crossed my mind for several years until a late night phone call from the JDC. The call was regarding a teenage boy who had placed himself into a position where he became very familiar with all sorts of authority systems very young in life. While we sat and tried to find a place for him to stay this young man began to play his cards, and the first he played was the annoyance card and quickly moved through the deck of flirting, anger, “no one understands me” and finally settled into a disrespect mingled with a distrust of all. His reactions were typical and while no one legitimately understand him every adult has seen this behavior in youth before. As the early morning hours approach and the sky is getting much too light for my taste (when I am not happily in bed) we loaded him into my car to drive to placement, the first words out of my coworkers mouth included something close to “just make sure to check and make sure your car is empty before we take his stuff and him down to your car, we don’t want anything to go missing.” The sentiment itself is not uncalled for or unprecedented, he did just get out of JDC for stealing or physically abusing someone, I forget what that specific stay was for, but that set the tone for the rest of the trip and what a pitch followed.

Maybe our kids are not quite to sainthood, yet, but now I understand why even just calling the student “cherub” or the teenager “a young gentleman”, even if it is just wishful thinking on the speakers part, can change their standards and maybe even their actions for the better.

May 27, 2012

I’ve been watching you-

Filed under: 25 kids at 23 — by seekinggalilee @ 10:37 pm

While many may be unfamiliar with the country song which illustrates nicely the inevitable impact parents have on their children, specifically men on their sons, regardless of if this song is your favorite or if the catchy tone has never rung your ear drum I’d like to expand on this idea. I have many thoughts on this topic so pardon the lack of a logical progression…

This past week I had the opportunity to drive across the state, through the winding highways and on the roller-coaster dirt roads with a couple of boys. This trip started out infuriatingly with a detour that cost forty five extra minutes, and at 5:30 am that is never desired. So much for the built in nap I had planned… By the time I was picking these boys up I had already spent an hour plus praying that I would have the grace to be in a cheerful or at least pleasant mood. Those prayers accompanied by some upbeat “happy” music had returned my attitude to just past content and was working toward cheerful. The check out procedure took longer than expected and by the time we were in the car we were again running late. At the intersection of two “major” highways in the rural area of the country I was faced with a turn, three sets of directions and three different suggestions of how I should proceed from that point. Without a clue of which to follow and the incessant questioning of the teenager, I proceeded with my best guess, what else can you do when a teenager is asking you if you know where you are going- you just say yes and hope you are correct. Two hours later, 51 miles of holding back car sickness on the part of myself and the younger of the two, the three of us sat 23 miles in on a dirt road and I had finally regained cell phone reception, I was on the phone with several people who supposedly knew this area and the older of the two boys was taunting his brother with food he could not eat without it soon retracing the path it had just taken. Younger boy did not have the pleasure of skipping. Upon my reproach of this insensitive and just mean behavior, the teen boy reiterated to me that life was in fact a competition and who was I to stand in the way it it. Without a second thought I bluntly retorted back “you really are your father’s son” and with a puff of the chest he said “yes, thank you”. The younger child become distraught over this exchange and made it clear that he was not going to make the choices like his father  had before him. For background, these two boys are the son of a man who has always chosen substance abuse and self gratification over the needs of his children- the teenage boy was sent to live with his grandfather and was sheltered from many of the harsh experiences. The drugs have worn away his father’s fine tuning of motions, he had put all of his resources into obtaining drugs to the point where their was no food for his children or there were canned goods unable to be opened due to the disappearance of the can opener. Drugs impaired this father to the point that when I went to pick up the children he could not match a name to the child, even when I held the child in front of him and gave him two names (one of which I knew was actually the correct name) he was unable to make an identification. There are so many times that we judge people too quickly- one of those times was when I told the teen he sounded just like his father. Regardless of how his father acts around me or the decisions that seem imprudent to another adult, the teenager has a father who has been in his life and whom he loves. For those of us who have wonderful, holy men as our fathers we can be thankful and for those whose fathers struggle we can be thankful that the naive eyes of children shield their perceptions and we can pray that they are able to become men who can guide and raise their children into a safe and healthy adulthood.

For me as an unmarried young lady this encounter made me think of my own life, I have a father who I am very proud to be his brown eyed girl (my mom, sisters, and nieces all have mom’s beautiful blue eyes). When someone tells me I am just like my dad I always sincerely respond with a “thank you!” In twenty years will I have a teenage son faced with a backhanded complement and if so how will he respond? Thankfully, a lot of that is up to me, if I marry and have children, I will  marry a man who I hope my son will be just like his father.

As apparent as it has become sons are like their fathers because those are the actions they see and the logic that they learn– so how can we, as a people of faith, become like our heavenly father if he isn’t sitting at the dinner table with us showing us how to use a fork and knife or holding our hand and talking us through our first good apology for sneaking into our sister’s drawer and eating her girl scout cookies?

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