Project Linus | How You Can Help Kids In Foster Care

Project LinusAre you familiar with Project Linus? I had the opportunity to see this organization’s effects directly last month. We got the call to care for Jack Jack on a Thursday morning and by that evening we were foster parenting an adorable little 10 month old boy for a week. Our state office was able to provide us with the essentials to care for him… a Pack N Play, a couple outfits, diapers, wipes and formula. Thanks to the awesome people who give their time to the efforts of Project Linus, Jack Jack also received this beautiful handmade quilt!

I had heard of Project Linus in the past, but honestly had never given it much thought. My passion is foster care and I don’t know how to sew so Project Linus didn’t seem to be a good match for my skills. After receiving this blanket, I contacted my local Project Linus chapter and have offered my non-sewing skills including my time and graphic design skills.

Did you know that there are several ways you can get involved?  The local chapters not only collect and distribute blankets but they also organize several blanket-making events throughout the year. Project Linus chapters depend on volunteers to help in every facet of their activities and are always welcome to a “helping hand.”

If you happen to be crafty,  all blanket styles are welcome, including quilts, tied comforters, fleece blankets, crocheted or knitted afghans, and receiving blankets in child-friendly colors. (Always remember that blankets must be homemade, washable, free of pins, and come from smoke-free environments due to allergy reasons.)

I know that not everyone is called to become a foster parent, but everyone can assist children in foster care. Project Linus is just one more way you can help children in care!

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Please Help Together We Rise With Your Vote!

Together We Rise

Dear Friends,

Your vote will give Together We Rise the opportunity to win $25,000 which will help them prevent kids from moving from home to home in a trash bag. Please take the time to vote for Sweet Cases at this link! You can cast up to 10 votes each day (all ten can be for the same cause) from April 4th through April 22nd. 

What is the mission of your cause?

To transform the way kids in our community experience foster care.

How would you use the $25,000 to address an unmet need in your community?

Our cause would focus on providing youth in foster care with duffel bags and suitcases in order to prevent them from traveling from home to home with only trash bags to carry their belongings. Every day, almost 1,600 kids enter the foster system in America, most with only two trash bags. In Los Angeles, there are roughly 30,000 foster kids which is one of the largest in the entire U.S. These kids deserve more than a trash bag, they deserve something to call their own. 100% of the funds will be used for goods that will directly benefit these kids and not for staffing or overhead. It is our desire to utilize these funds specifically to buy duffel bags, suitcases, teddy bears, hygiene kits, and other items. We want to provide over 1,000 kids in foster care with our suitcases.

Please share this with your friends and family because only the 40 causes with the most votes win!

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Begin Again

Begin Again

A very wise friend and fellow foster parent said to me yesterday ” Those babies are with you as long as they need you. Not as long as you need them.

She nailed it. It’s time to begin again and remember why I do what I do.

To back track a little bit, here is the email I sent to the worker on Tuesday regarding what had been going on:

Hi WORKER,

I am not sure the status of your case, but wanted to email you to keep you updated.

MOM has come off her seroquel cold turkey and refuses to go back on saying it attributed to her weight gain (which was admittedly severe in such a short period of time). To say she is a space shot does not even begin to describe her. She is not capable of caring for even herself, let alone her child.

She is deteriorating quickly.

We initially told her she could stay a week. Thursday will be two weeks. She has made almost no effort to find a place for herself. My son and I have made all the phone calls and I have driven her to numerous apartments. She has a complaint about each, though she did agree yesterday morning to finally apply for one (no idea if she will actually get it as the gentleman who we spoke with said he didn’t like the type of people that PROGRAM tends to send).

We are very close to the point where I will be taking her to a shelter and dropping her off. I understand the need for her to have “natural supports” and I care very much about her and JACK JACK, but I am not able to parent both her and JACK JACK while also driving her to several appointments per week and searching for an apartment for her. I took her in to provide shelter. The rest of her needs are too much to ask of me and should be handled by professionals. She needs help.

She ran out of formula Sunday night due to poor planning on her part. She refuses to carry her own baby citing her arthritis. She hands him off the majority of the time. She leaves him unattended often and twice he has rolled down the stairs (2 stairs). I think part of this is her incoherence and and forgetfulness because of the medications. I don’t think she is intentionally neglectful, but the end result is the same.

She is destined to fail if she does not receive supports once she is on her own. I BEG you to stay involved for her and JACK JACK’s sake.

I understand that this email may cause my relationship with her to end, and I will accept that as I know what I am saying is in JACK JACK’s best interest and honestly, that is all that matters.

Honestly, this email didn’t even BEGIN to describe how odd Mom’s behavior had become. One morning, she was pouring a cup of coffee and held up the Half & Half and asked Daffy “Is this Orange Juice??” Another time, she placed the baby in the car and as we drove she frantically asked me “Where’s the baby???????” She asked me to buy her a newspaper and when I handed it to her she asked “What’s this for?” These are just a few tiny examples. Her frame of mind was way beyond forgetful.

Long story short, the worker called me that afternoon and said that Jack Jack would be moved to foster care. Obviously I was sad since my point in taking her initially was to AVOID him going into foster care, but I also felt relieved because I knew in my heart that the two of them could not make it on their own with Mom in her current state. Since a voluntary case is not available in our state, this was really the only option for Mom to get the supports she needs to be successful.

The state called mom the next morning to discuss the many concerns I had shared with her. She let Mom know that they would be moving forward with a case. I’m not clear how exactly things changed from the state’s perspective, but Mom decided to move in with her sister (the one who had no interest in helping her or Jack Jack in any way over the past 3 weeks and has previously thrown them both- literally – on the street). Jack Jack and his mom moved out within just a couple of hours.

The worker told me yesterday afternoon after they let that this buys Mom a few more days. I don’t know know if the worker thinks that Mom can pull it together in just a matter of a few days or if they may still bring a case. I’m pretty certain she can’t keep it together without major changes, especially living in such an unsupportive environment. (The sister told me yesterday that if Mom makes one false step, she will throw her sister out and keep Jack Jack. Uggggggh.)

Mom says she wants to stay in touch with us, but who knows what will really happen. I still have some things she couldn’t fit in the truck yesterday which guarantees me at least one more visit.

I cried quite a bit yesterday. This was the hardest good bye I have done. I didn’t realize that 20 days was enough to fall in love, but I guess it was. I love Jack Jack. He is a totally awesome baby and I hope and pray he will have a bright future and get the love and nurturing he deserves. I also hope his Mom will get the help and support she needs. She deserves much happiness herself. It takes a village to raise a child and right now, she is very much alone.

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