Advocacy — 5 Minutes for Special Needs



A startling 7,500 children on any given day can be in foster care across Yorkshire and Humberside. Each year more and more children enter foster care or residential care facilities. At least 890 children are currently being looked after in Bradford, UK, with 627 of these children being fostered. The numbers are startling as are the costs it can take for children to be in residential care as opposed to foster care. Residential homes require a building and staff costs. Foster care allows a child to go to a home of the foster care families. It is still 2,000 pounds a week or 21,840 pounds a year to look after a child in foster care; however, this is significantly less than the 104,000 pounds spent on residential care facilities.

happy boy hugging parents

Bradford revealed 41 million pounds per year are spent looking after children in residential and foster care situations. Bradford council members and the Fostering Network Charity are asking for help.

Children who are eight to 18 years old are less likely to be adopted or even fostered, yet they need care. The request for help simply asks for experienced parents to think about becoming one of the many foster carers in Bradford as a second job or a new job.

Parents who have grown children have experience in raising well behaved and successful children. It is this experience which is needed for fostering. Many of the children come from broken homes or a hard start, and are just looking for a place to fit in. Some of the children need more care than others and definite boundaries to help them enjoy a more rewarding social experience.

Fostering is a worthwhile situation to get into for anyone who has some extra love to give to a child and the experience necessary to raise a young person no matter their background. For parents in a situation of an empty nest it can be rewarding and help bring back the enjoyment of having children around.

Fostering children is a way to save a kid’s life. By giving back to children they have a place to go. They can have dreams and feel the confidence to achieve those dreams. Bradford has a promising record with fostering children compared to other boroughs and areas of the UK.

Certainly fostering a child is not an easy decision. Anyone who wants to become a foster parent has to be committed to the situation. They have to understand one or more of the foster kids they take on may not become adopted. It is a commitment to take care of a child through their life, as a steady and loving home is truly needed. Moving foster children in and out of new homes can be difficult . Good health and a strong desire to help children in need become wonderful adults is how anyone can help the rising number of kids entering foster care or residential care.


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Now She Knows She’s Different

When Zoe was little I spent a lot of time thinking  ( and writing) about about how different she was. Then she grew, and through her grade school years blossomed with the encouragement to try and do her best as I made sure she was always included, and treated just like everyone else.

Zoe will be starting sixth grade next year, and growing into who she is meant to be. She is quick to laugh and smile, full of pre-teen sass.

I have always maintained my own set of rules for Mothering Zoe. Many of them involve not making a big deal about her disabilities, within our family ..

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Disclaimer: I am writing this as a woman, so it’s going to have a womanly slant. No, I do not hate men. Yes, I know there are plenty of great Daddies who do a good job of helping out–and I salute you, Good Daddy!


I spent the majority of the past 3 weeks in a haze of Christmas frenzy, family, and…trying to avoid the news. I really think if I hear the word “Fiscal Cliff” one more time, I may have to go find it and fling myself over it!

As I was driving this morning, I thought of something.

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Attitude Adjustment

Happy November, Friends!

(How did this happen? Wasn’t it just January?)

The past few months have been sort of rough for us. For some reason, it seems like everything we’ve done, or tried to do, went horribly wrong. When things don’t go the way I envision them, I tend to get–shall we say–moody? Maybe not moody, but it makes me upset, because I am such a perfectionist (character flaw) that I want everything to go just the right way!

Boom. It hit me.

That is how it is to be our children. I’m sure that, somewhere in their bodies, they think “I want things to go right…for once!”

We focus so much on how to make the world better for them…and I think we sometimes forget to acknowledge the difficulty and emotions they must conquer daily.

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The Chicken

Life sucks sometimes, right?


In the past few weeks, lots of heavy stuff has been going on (in my world and in the world at large). We’re still having testing done on Jack for school. My daughter is hormonal and vacilates from angel to devil in mere moments. I’m struggling to muddle through my final classes while taking care of Jack’s needs, my family’s needs, and still act as taxi driver, head chef, and laundress. If I see one more political ad, I might break the television.

So, I snapped.

(Do you know the story of Beyonce the Chicken?

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Antibiotics: How Do YOU Roll?

My Sick Little Man

Need a little help here, PLEASE: My Big Little Man (who is smaller by 5 lbs now than My Little Man) got that back-to-school cold going around. For us, that means an imminent sinus infection as his compressed sinus cavities — a trait common to those with Down syndrome — makes him prone to this particular affliction. In addition, he’s inherited my lousy sinuses, which I got from my mom, so he’s got a double whammy! This is his thing!

So there I was at my VERY trusted Doc on Tuesday for a preemptive visit. My Big Little Man was already congested to the point of no in- or out-going passage in either nostril — read: no drip, no air… just STUCK.

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Being the Parent

I sat in the developmental psychologist’s waiting room just simply observing the behavior of the parents. Some were busy filling out paperwork, one was reading a book, another was totally in to playing Angry Birds. Not a single one was watching their child.

I watched these children, who were obviously there for a reason, as they screamed, hit one another, and ransacked the poor bookshelves—while the parents were oblivious. You know, because Angry Birds is more important…

One mother (the one filling out paperwork) finally looked at me, who was staring at the child who had a hold of another child’s ponytail, and said, “You know, I try hard.”

I gave her a nod and a smile and continued reading to Jack to keep him calm.

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Leaps and Bounds in Baby Steps

The Boys are swimming underwater like frogmen. Doing underwater headstands, flips and dive-toy retrieval as well as sporting an admirable breast stroke… though they clearly prefer being UNDER the water versus on its surface. (They get that from Mom and Dad being SCUBA divers, I guess.)  The Boys are competent dead-man floaters (face down in the water, breath-holding). But that won’t help them pass the Red Cross Level 2 swim test OR, more importantly, stay afloat if they suddenly find themselves in water over their heads. They’re confident but careful in the pool; Big Little Fishes improving daily. Two days ago, their “typically-developing” friend Nick showed them how HE can float on his back in our pool.

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Give ‘Em More Credit… BELIEVE!

You and I know, but does everyone else know? Our kids are smarter than we think. So much smarter than even we give them credit for. WAY smarter than what it says on their report card. And, smarter than any test can possibly measure. I know this… I KNOW IT! And, you know it too!

Graduating Kindergarten: The Big Little Man with the Principal, his gen-ed teacher, the classroom aide and his 2:1 aide.

I just wish everyone else — especially their teachers and the CSE administrators and the critical strangers that we sporadically run into who judge them so harshly — knew it in the same way.

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The Bubble Bursts…

Sometimes, I lose my words.

Like someone popped my beautiful bubble that I worked so hard to get right.

Or I feel like the sky is closing in on me.

Actually, I feel like I’m the kid with the black cloud that only rains on me.

(Pity party, table for 1?)

So many times, on this journey, I have these huge highs….that are followed by the lowest lows. I fight hard, I play hard, I love hard…and then I get kicked in the teeth.


YAY: the insurance approved the wheelchair!

BOO: they’re not sure when we can actually have it (4-12 weeks is the estimate).

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