Siblings and Older Foster Kids Need Parents

Regular readers will find this to differ from my usual post, at first glance.  Social action that sees light on this blog is often political, but at this time of the year, when everyone is thinking of family, family gatherings, and tradition, I’ve decided to take a moment to consider youths whose family structure is so fragmented that they essentially have no family or are in danger of being torn apart  by the foster and adoptive systems from the only loving relationship they know – that of a sibling.

This week U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, AdoptUSKids and the Ad Council are unveiling a new series of public service advertisements (PSAs)  to encourage the adoption of children from foster care with an emphasis on the importance of keeping siblings together.  This is legit.  The program itself is 10 years old. The gist of the idea is that no one needs be perfect to be a needed, appreciated, and loved parent.

I said good-bye to a brother last month.  But I had him 57 years before he died at age 66.  I cannot imagine how I could have survived without family, even my imperfect big brothers.  I know there are many mid-lifers who have aged out of biological parenting almost accidentally.  It isn’t too late to provide love and all the imperfect parenting you have to offer to older kids and siblings who desperately need you.

Give yourself the gift of checking into adoptuskids.org.  Consider:  Older parents, older kids.  Successful singles of a certain age who thought about being a parent but never found the right partner.

Growing up I knew a brother and sister who were adopted together.  I thought that was wonderful then, and I think it is even more wonderful now.  I have a friend who lost both parents in High School but she and her brother were not separated.  My cousin was adopted.  People I care about had people who cared enough to make them family.

Check out AdoptUsKids on Facebook.  There are currently 402,000 children in the foster care system in the US.  102,000 children, under 18 years of age, are waiting for adoption.  They are waiting to have you share your life, your regular old life, with them.

Four Weeks in February

I previously have written about being the hostess for a posted writing challenge that is not all overly challenging.  No, it should not be challenging just to complete, the challenge should be to write meaningfully and add to the group’s voice, if you are one of the people for whom the challenge will be designed.  I should say, IS being designed.

The challenge will be in February 2015 and called, simply, Four Weeks in February. 

Four Wks in feb

Why?

Because I can.  Because we can.

Blogging challenges can be fun, but blogging challenges as camaraderie|by fire are a bit too grueling for those of use who did grueling several times through the past few decades.  At some point in our lives  the need to be heroic fades away.  The need to connect and the need to share does not fade.  So the month long blogging challenge has some great components that can and should be highlighted as well as the simple act of hitting publish every day.  

General Good Things

  • I have already alluded to networking.
  • Shared voice can be powerful too.
  • Group actions are both encouraging and reinforcing.

Specific Good Things

  • February is a short month.
  • February is not as busy as the Holiday Season.
  • 2015’s February has a compact symmetry.

I am fashioning the event around symmetry. The symmetry that the coming, sooner than we expect, month of February 2015 offers just called out to me. It is such a neat and tidy month: 28 days, starting on a Sunday and ending on a Saturday, a little square of a month.

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To post every day of the month would be Herculean, but also be the shortest every day for a month blog post challenge.

The challenge is for the intelligent, concerned, old enough to know better woman writer.  Women who know enough to ask, “To what end?” as my friend Sandy Mauck, founder of Life’s Third Trimester blog and group suggested we ask ourselves for Four Weeks in February at the Tucson Women Bloggers Meetup this past weekend.

I am blessed to know many wonderfully enlightened women who have managed to make their lives in their 50s and beyond be richly textured adventures in living, sharing, and learning.  I want to hear more from these women when they are writing about things that truly matter to them now and beyond.

As I told my friend Jane in a comment on her comment to my last post, “Sometimes I feel as if I am culturally a bit older than my years while being a bit younger mentally than my years. The familial space I am in is that of a person more typically in her late 60s or early 70s. I’m losing many of the anchoring points in my life and sometimes I just lose the reason for writing.”

I hope many if not most of my friends never have to gain some of the wisdom about families and aging that I have accumulated.

I know we have the ability to build networks that will transform the aging and sage-ing process and much of the world along with it.  So, let’s think of topics and approaches for a month of brainstorm blogging and reflective musings, not necessarily deep and heavy writing, but real expression of what matters to us.  How’s that sound?

Each participant should have to agree to write on a schedule, a schedule committed to prior to Groundhog Day.  A schedule that is rigorous enough to show commitment, but not so demanding that it creates stressful. last minute, slap/dash writing.

I think I will probably commit to writing/posting every weekday, and leave my weekends open for commenting, and writing for the upcoming week.  Others might want to commit to this challenge and post on weekends with posts carefully crafted during the week.

What do you think? 28, 20, or 16 posts as options?

  • 28 days:  every day
  • 20 days:  weekday, Monday – Friday
  • 16 days:  4 times a week for 4 weeks

The tag can be #4wksFeb

I am now working on prompts.

Plotting and Scheming Out of the Darkness

I cannot seem to finish the posts I am writing.  I lose interest with tasks if I do not complete them in one pass through.  It is not exactly disinterest which I associate with depression. It is sort of a numbness.  Rainy and cloudy days in Tucson, Winter’s arrival, might explain my blah-ness.

Reacting to a life in which I am, almost daily, realizing things I should have asked of someone in my family before there was no one left to ask might explain it.

I am disturbed by police getting off without even a ruffle of a real brush with justice for murdering young boys and men with dark skin.  The racism that is everywhere in America along with the relatively recent militarization of police forces combines into a really frightening and alien landscape.

My innermost, Pollyanna, self  still believes in the goodness that all humans are born with, no original sin for me, nope, and no matter how lousy things get, and believe me, I know lousy, I have to believe that people are inherently better than they seem to be if we get our information about humanity from the airwaves and digital papers rather than from the individuals that make up humanity.

I know that individuals are good, mostly, and that individuals can have substantial influence and change the course of major processes, sometimes.  I also learned many moons ago in school that behaviors rewarded by intermittent reinforcement are the most difficult ones to extinguish.  The fact that something does not work all the time does not deter me from trying to make it work.

Somewhere deep down inside, I also know that women can successfully change the  negative course of where our world seems to be heading.  If my voice can motivate or encourage one person to act to build a better world, shouldn’t I do it?  I’m wondering what I can do that will be or promote the most significant and positive change in the world.

I keep thinking that the amazing women I am lucky enough to know could do amazing things if we engaged in a collective effort.

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I want to get re-involved with NOW that has sagged a bit here in Tucson with the new chapter’s founder’s ill-health.

I also have thoughts of organizing a month long blogging fest that caters to the intelligent, concerned,  old enough to know better woman writer.  Not necessarily a write every day blog challenge but a “challenge” with options to engage every day, every weekday, or on weekends.

Or maybe to organize a get together of women to discuss writing, wisdom, and what they feel they as yet have to write at a lovely Tucson resort.  NOT a “conference.”  More like an intimate brain trust retreat of sage women writers that happens to take place by a pool with drinks.  No how to sell your writing for cheap to corporations.

I will plot and scheme my way out of the darkness into a better world.  Been doing it all of my life.

 

 

Posting On vs. Writing About Life Stages

You can tell the academic in me is on home turf when I start talking about structure and function, about la lengue and la parole, about emic and etic.  ( Note: This is a most semiotic post.) 

I have been writing posts non-stop this month.  These past week has seen a lull in my posting.  So I failed at Na Blo Posting Mo.  There needs to be Na Blo Wri Mo.  Writing is distinct from posting.  The thing versus its label.  Maps and territory.  Process and praxis.  I have written some personally significant pieces over the last couple of weeks, but they require rumination and reworking before posting them or works derived from them.  Some things are just too raw to share.  They are elemental pieces.  These need to be crafted into examples of the thing rather than the being the actual thing.   But it has to be real.  A real example.  I think I am finding my way into being able to write about my life without bleeding ink all over the page.  I think personal writing is about allowing others to connect with enough of your experience that they can emote their own stuff all over your stuff without having to own it completely.  That, too, is about the thing, versus of the set that contains all the possible permutations of those things, versus an example of one of those items in the set that is not the raw, essential thing itself.

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Photo credit: pixabay.com

At one point I also had some concern about creating ill-will, or embarrassment, within my family should my personal writings be discovered by them.  I do not have to worry about that any longer.  My natal family is no more.  All but two of us are gone and the other person besides me cannot assimilate new information.  I attended the funeral that no one thinks about attending until the experience unfolds. The the body in the casket had belonged to the last person I knew well, who knew me well, as child.   The solitary, isolated childhood,  being the youngest of five with a huge space of 9 years between four and five, and being born to parents in their forties, as well as being in a family with a genetic predisposition to cancer that was apparently triggered by many of the agro-chemicals that were used on the farm before awareness of the carcinogenic nature of them eventually became known; these all contributed to my experience of what is not talked about prior to the event.  A cultural taboo.

My eldest brother who lives does so with an impaired memory.  Traditional old folks senility at age 75.   He knows who I am, and I cherish that recognition, but his being the eldest of the five kids with me being  the youngest means the 18 years between us created a family relationship more akin to that of a niece with her uncle than a little sister and brother.

My parents and all the siblings I remember living in our home when I was small are gone.  I knew this feeling a few years ago when severe dementia took hold of the youngest of my brothers.  Great care at the VA hospital, next to the military cemetery where his body now lies, allowed my brother to recover a bit and regain some of his mental functioning.  But that initial experience of knowing that all the shared memories of youthful home and family were hit me hard back then.  I grieved.  But then there was a reprieve, and some of my brother returned.  So when he actually passed away this month, I had already had time to accept his inevitable outcome.  But I had not realized how alone I would feel, how strange it would be when I was only person from my natal family left to attend a memorial service for another member.

Sometimes I feel like I am twenty years older than my peers.  Being sandwiched between generations was years and years ago for me.  Now I am watching my sibling pass on.  A nephew has already passed on.  Most of my friends are not in this stage of life.  Many still have vital active parents.  I think this is exacerbated by my husband not understanding the impact of this phase on me.  He was an only child.  His father passed away when he was 16.  His mom died when he was 30.  He cannot quite grasp this family connection thing.  Even dysfunctional families are family.  Looking back on what should be with you is just weird.  The anthropologist in me would say that I am emerging from a liminal phase.

recursion, mirror, window,

photo credit: pixabay.com

 

I think I am coming to terms with this new state of being.  I have written a great deal about it.  I am just starting to post about it.  I may pre-date some posts so they are in a sequence that makes sense.

And that is okay.  My writing friends will understand if I cannot complete this Nablopomo.  There will be other opportunities.

Missed Comic, Cats and Coats.

I wanted to go see Sandra Bernhardt tonight, but I am trying to force myself to get everything ready for traveling back to Indiana.   I have these mounds of clothing to go through.  The new washer has been installed and in use for a week, but this has not been a normal week by any standards,  and I have not caught up with laundry.

I have to pack and remember all the electronic items and cords, but I cannot seem to focus.

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IBGK is 11 years old, scruffy to the core of every bit of her 6 and 1/2 lbs, and she has the heart of an alley cat. She is a house cat. The owls and coyotes would have her in an instant.

 

Itty Bitty Gray Kitty keeps trying to insert herself into my makeup case because I closed my suitcase after she spotted pristine black pants… synthetic with lots of static electricity.   Only her head can fit in the case. Very frustrating.

Coats.  I have to find coats.  I am leaving for a place where it is winter.  My coats are like 20 years old.  One long black wool. One bumblebee yellow ski jacket.

Packing for a funeral is the antithesis of fun.  I wish I could take a pet with me to cuddle.   Hubby offered to go with me.  But I did not see any real benefit from him coming with me.  Am I too pragmatic?  Nah.  Unfortunately I’ve just been through this too many times.

Going on auto-pilot keeps me from  thinking too much.  I’m just going to get through this next few days.  I hope.