Posts Tagged ‘foster care’

Molly and The Fairy Godmother Project

I was going through my closet this weekend, looking for  dresses to donate to The Fairy Godmother Project. A woman I work with turned me on to them, and we are having a Summer Social today to collect gowns, cocktail frocks and bling from the other career girls we know.  The Fairy Godmother Project will hold these items until prom season, and invite high school girls to come “shop” their collection for free. Some of the girls are in foster care, and others cannot afford a dress to the prom. I feels good to give them what I can. 

I love to do things like this. I believe there is immeasurable wisdom and inspiration in each of us, and it’s our collective work, as strong open women, that makes us more powerful together than individually. (Think Wonder-Twins!).

As I was going through my stash, I started to think about my own childhood experiences, and why this event means so much to me.

Growing up, my family was rich on love, support and laughter. But we were not rich in the material way. The recession in the mid ‘80’s threw everyone for a loop and my father’s business was hit hard. I wanted to think of a creative way to get through prom without having to ask my parent’s for money they couldn’t spare at the time.

I had just seen “Pretty in Pink”, where Molly Ringwald whips up her own dress, and goes to the prom looking like a puff of pink merenge. I CAN DO THAT! I thought, (although the only thing I had ever sewn in my life was a square pillowcase in home ec., and even that was a little wonky!). Aaaah, the fearlessness of a teenager!

My mother and I set out on this adventure, bought a cheap Butterick pattern and a ton of bright royal blue poly satin (hideous in retrospect). Cutting the pattern on the floor of our kitchen, and piecing the dress together, I felt like a costume designer! It wasn’t until our first fitting that I realized Molly lied. I didn’t look like a puff of frosting but a cake that’s been left out in the RAIN- for a LONG TIME! My leg o’ mutton sleeves lost their zing and the bust darts made my  teenage boobies droop like a geriatric grandma. I was low hanging fruit! Prom was in four days and I looked like someone out of the movie “Carrie” (after they were set ablaze), not my beloved muse Molly.

My mother, bless her heart, was quick to react. She called a friend, who called a friend, whose daughter had just returned from a party, and she leant me her dress. Now I looked more like a shiny piece of tin foil than a sagging blue blob. But it was 1986, so that was certainly a step in the right direction!

That special day finally came and for six hours at the Diplomat Hotel in Hollywood, Florida, I was a PRINCESS. It didn’t matter that I grew up on free lunch and that my date was 4” shorter than me. At that moment, we were ALL Princesses. Rich or poor, fat or thin, raised by parents married or separated, WE WERE ALL BEAUTIFUL!!!!

I think of how clothing can sometimes mark a rite of passage. That dress you wore to the prom, that suit with the pinchy shoes you put on for your  first big job interview, your wedding gown….These things STICK. Those experiences stay with you forever and mark a passage of time from one doorway into another.

I see the rack outside my office door. We’ve collected 18 dresses so far, with many more to follow at our happy hour tonight. I think about how every bit of what we give to these girls will help to bring them  BLISS for a day.

Sometimes it’s the small things we can do, that make the biggest difference.

Wishing you joy, love and MANY PRINCESS MOMENTS!

M

 

In Houston:

In

http://fairygodmotherproject.com/

 

In Massachusetts, two locations:

http://www.northshorefairygodmother.org/

http://www.fairygodmotherprojectofma.org/

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Baby Chronicles 3: A Single Girl considers adoption through Foster Care

Baby class was cancelled today…whew !

The only problem is that means class will need to be
rescheduled and we will graduate 1 week later. It’s
like the bittersweet anticipation of a snowday. Great
when it happens, but sucky when you are sitting in
class during summer on one of those lamentable make up
days.

See, if I impregnated myself (immaculata), I would not
need a “make up day”. Harvested moms don’t need to do
embarrassing reinactments  or sit vulnerable in a room
of strangers and explain why they want their child.
They don’t need to fill out applications or take
physical or psychological exams. This process is
almost as painful as squeezing a melon through a straw
(you know what i am getting at) !

I admit I am cranky. I am scared. There is a woman at
work who is also going through the process to adopt as
a single mom. I think she’s strong for doing this, but
sometimes I stare at her and think…. what does this
say to the future men in her life ? Why is she really
doing this ? Is she crazy ?

I am sure these questions could be asked about me as
well.

I find myself talking to everyone I am close to about
this process. It is almost as bad as if I was indeed
PREGNANT. I get strange cravings for moochi green tea
ice cream and cry for no reason. I have Motherhood
magazines in the bathroom (a kind donation from a
friend) and read Adoption books at the local cafe,
instead of spending my time scouting out hot single
men. So far I have read about lactation, and stretch
marks and that funky smell I shall not discuss – none
of which MY birthing experience will bring forth (well
maybe the stretch marks and stench, if I keep eating
too many moochi balls). I daydream about my baby
shower – for a 4 year old ! “Please Welcome ‘Little Y’
to the world, 41 lbs, 9 oz, 32″ tall ! ”
Crazy!
(By the way you are all invited)

I think about money, and that I have to trade in my
new convertible. I worry that I won’t be able to get
to work on time, since I can hardly wake, bathe and
dress myself now- let alone take care of someone else.
Someone who might not be like the little kids on the
cereal commercials – all smiles and good teeth.
Someone who might be a TERROR on occasion, and even
more high maintanace than ME (is that possible ?).

I think about my shoe collection. It will be a long
time before I sache in my Prada snake and satin
stilettos again! Will I still have time and pocket
change to keep a revolving stock of silk camis and
thongs? (they keep you so warm in the winter and are
great for a last minute rendezvous.)

Oh yeah, and I can forget about those last minute
rendezvous, cause all overnight visitors will need to
have a background check from the State. 

You know, I was never a loose woman, but I kinda wish
I had been so I would have something to be remorseful
of setting aside. 
Ok, maybe no pool boys, but what amazing memories.

barcelona- remember T ?
nice-how nice
cannes – hiking in France alone
monaco- the beautiful people
santa fe- healing and growing
palm springs- finding the healer in me
sri lanka- when everything changed
new york- when everything changed again
st. louis- that unfortunate year of denim jumpers and
too much blush
thailand- transforming journeys  taken alone, to scary
places so  differrent than my “own”
hong kong- witnessing a monsoon
seoul, korea- the “grossout” eating contest where I
came in second place because I would not eat the
strange moving jelly cube fish thing.
bolton- borning
london- ok
canal street- groped by the scary asian man in the
secret room of the counterfeit handbag shop- no fake
gucci is worth that !
jerez de la frontera – mi corazon es contigo siempre
rangely lake- TO LIFE!

Precious.

Maybe it’s not goodbye to my life but a jorney through
another chapter. I am sure with time and courage,the
new memories will be even more dear. More real. More
precious.

Since there was no baby class, I thought I would find
you a poem instead. My heart goes out to each of you.
Thank you for your support and love.

 

Poem: “How to Live” by Charles Harper Webb, from
Amplified Dog. © Red Hen Press. 

How to Live 

          “I don’t know how to live.”
                                                
Sharon Olds

Eat lots of steak and salmon and Thai curry and mu shu
pork and fresh green beans and baked potatoes
and fresh strawberries with vanilla ice cream.
Kick-box three days a week. Stay strong and lean.
Go fly-fishing every chance you get, with friends

who’ll teach you secrets of the stream. Play guitar
in a rock band. Read Dostoyevsky, Whitman, Kafka,
Shakespeare, Twain. Collect Uncle Scrooge comics.
See Peckinpah’s Straw Dogs, and everything Monty
Python
 made.
Love freely. Treat ex-partners as kindly

as you can. Wish them as well as you’re able.
Snorkel with moray eels and yellow tangs. Watch
spinner dolphins earn their name as your panga slam-
bams over glittering seas. Try not to lie; it sours
the soul. But being a patsy sours it too. If you cause

a car wreck, and aren’t hurt, but someone is,
apologize
silently. Learn from your mistake. Walk gratefully
away. Let your insurance handle it. Never drive drunk.
Don’t be a drunk, or any kind of “aholic.” It’s bad
English, and bad news. Don’t berate yourself. If you
lose

a game or prize you’ve earned, remember the winners
history forgets. Remember them if you do win. Enjoy
success. Have kids if you want and can afford them,
but don’t make them your reason-to-be. Spare them that
misery. Take them to the beach. Mail order sea

monkeys once in your life. Give someone the full-on
ass-kicking he (or she) has earned. Keep a box turtle
in good heath for twenty years. If you get sick, don’t
thrive
on suffering. There’s nothing noble about pain. Die
if you need to, the best way you can. (You define
best.)

Go to church if it helps you. Grow tomatoes to put
store-
bought in perspective. Listen to Elvis and Bach.
Unless
you’re tone deaf, own Perlman’s “Meditation from
Thais.”
Don’t look for hidden meanings in a cardinal’s song.
Don’t think TV characters talk to you; that’s crazy.

Don’t be too sane. Work hard. Loaf easily. Have good
friends, and be good to them. Be immoderate
in moderation. Spend little time anesthetized. Dive
the Great Barrier Reef. Don’t touch the coral. Watch
for sea snakes. Smile for the camera. Don’t say
“Cheese.”

Baby Chronicles 2: Single girl considers Adopting through Foster Care

Today marked the second meeting of baby class. Its making me wonder why I don’t just get drunk and pick up the cutest sailor at the bar. . How much easier would it be if I just knocked myself up ? I’d have a little one that would look like me. People would not make judgements on the street because our skin and hair colors did not match. I wouldn’t be “married” to social workers, therapists, and “the state”. I could be a really bad parent with minimal repercussions. So why am I going through with this ? So much red tape, long invasive interviews and epic waiting. 

Because somewhere out there a child is sleeping in a bed that’s not his. He’s been separated from his parents because of abuse or neglect. He floats between foster homes and temporary caregivers. He has little that is his beyond his memories (some good and others not so good) and the clothes on his back. Tomorrow the system can decide he is better at another temporary home , and they’ll move him quickly without notice. He will be ripped again from everything he knows and thrown into a new situation. Hopefully a better one. Sometimes he dreams that he can fly, sometimes he dreams of his momma’s smell. But he never dreams of growing up, of going to college or “belonging” or  being happy. That idea floats above him like smoke and its best just to think about today so as not to be disappointed again. 

He is what the State calls “legally free”, which means he can never go back to what he called home again and his parents no longer have the hope of reuniting with him. The state gave them 2 years to get it together but they couldn’t, as hard as they tried, and in the end they were forced to sign away their parental rights. He is legally orphaned in some ways. 

What would it be like to give him another chance ? A permanent home where he is loved and cared for. A place where he can grow, make mistakes without repercussions and grow into a boy, then a man, an possibly one day a nurturer to children of his own. 

One house, one kid , one chance. 

I think I can do that. 

Hope is what we both need right now. 

Baby Chronicles 1: Single girl considers Adopting through Foster Care

I am sending this to my girls.
 I need to share.
>
 Yesterday was my first night of baby classes. When considering adoption or
 foster care through the state, it is required that you take 24 hrs of
 classes to help prepare you for the long road ahead. I hope to start a
 journal (this might be entry numero uno) during the process, some of which
I plan to share , other bits I will just hold close to my heart.
 Read what you want, I just hoped to share it with those strong women I
 adore and admire. (Those I might need to count on in the future for
 guidance or reassurance during this long and emotional process- don’t say I
 didn’t warn you ! )
>
> I rushed out of work with my google map in hand, only to get lost 3 times
> in the maze of Boston traffic. Frantic and worried about time (would I be
> considered “unfit” if they knew about my Habitual Lateness Disorder ?) I
> made an illegal u turn across 4 lanes of manic traffic. “Come get me
> coppers !” I cried. . How many times over the next few years will I be
> rushing about to meet a daycare pickup or attend an after school event?
> Better start getting used to it now : the single girl transitions to a
> schedule not quite her own. This is someone Else’s clock, and these new
> “must do’s” do not conclude with a celebratory martini at the end of the
> rainbow.
>
> Bouncy and in working girl style I arrive as the bell rings. I run to the
> Loo to freshen up. A weight watchers meeting is happening in the same
> office plaza and it is hard to discern the hopeful future-moms from the
> aspiring weight losers in the ladies’ room. Everyone has this weird glimmer
> of hopeful anticipation which is scary when you think of it. Can loosing 15
> lbs be as exciting as evolving a future family ? Ask me in the summer when
> I try to squeeze into my swim suit!
>
> A woman in the bathroom chats me up, assuming we are going to the same
> weight watchers meeting, further exciting my awkwardness. Instead of
> listening to my social worker, I spend the next half hour wondering “do I
> need weight watchers?????” . And I can’t even blame my midlife tummy on
> “baby weight” …..shucks.
>
> But the vanity and the paranoia are only a mask to distract me from what’s
> really on my mind….
> AM I READY FOR THIS ?
>
> Knee high black boots, my skinny jeans a belted tunic sweater (which after
> the weight watchers incident made me feel as if I looked a little more like
> santa and a little less like a MILF) I wondered, am I mom material ? Can I
> still be coquettish with baby spittle on my blouse ?
>
> My classmates- “Mr and Ms” , very cool. It took me a while to see them
> clearly. Older, amazing hearts, hopeful to adopt a young person they know
> with autism. “Talulah”, earth mother if I ever met one. Her kids are grown.
> She is hoping to be a foster mom to a baby girl and is open to one who has
> special needs. She has the warmest eyes and a melodic voice and I want to
> crawl into her lap….. Our teachers- “J” our leader. She reminds me so
> much of my sister. This gives me great comfort and strength. “Red”
> boundless energy, the drama queen, she is an adopted mother and shares
> advice and humor. When she laughs she wrinkles her forehead and nose, and
> her whole body shakes. “Twinkle” a social worker who works in intensive
> foster care. Very luscious and energetic with a rhinestone studded tank
> top. Not at all what I expected for a social worker.
>
> These people are cool.
>
> I was hoping class would be quiet, full of yuppies with cross pens and an
> opportunity to hide in the back and process as we go. Instead we are
> expected to PARTICIPATE. To role play and reenact deeply emotional things.
> At first it feels more like group therapy than a class put on by DSS. I
> really had to take a moment and shed my eggshell heart-armor I was wearing.
> It was so real. I think we all cried at one point or another.
>
> Here’s what I learned today. (Aka- things that scared me):
> *Sometimes the kids that come home with you are afraid of you and don’t
> understand why they can’t be with their birth parents.
> * its good to create HOUSE RULES as it helps the child understand what is
> expected of them. Never assume they know what you want.(Even if the house
> is on fire)
> * Its important to encourage the child to speak openly about his history
> and maybe even put a picture of his birth mom near your family photos. It
> makes him feel like it is okay to talk about his past and he does not need
> to choose between you and the birth family.
> * a lot of social workers and people you will never meet will be deciding if
> you are the “right” parent for this baby. Kind of like yentas with the
> baby’s best interest at heart.
>
> My head is spinning and I am a little overwhelmed. I sat by my fireplace
> eating mango ice cream and realized… Wow. What a new, scary and beloved
> thing to do…
>
> And this is only the beginning.
>
>