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Friday, August 3, 2012

Day 4 of our vacation: beach fun, trouble at home, and Universal Studios

     It is the fourth day and we have decided to go to Huntington Beach and see the ocean before heading to Universal Studios to have fun until it closes and then leave California. My family has been up early every morning of the trip, and even though we are having a lot of fun closing down Disneyland every night it is wearing us out. We wearily wake on this last day of our trip to visit a theme park and a beach. 

     My wife has an assignment to fulfill in her college course and the Hotel does not offer free Wi-Fi. It is the Hilton! Gods even Super 8 offers free WI-FI. I paid for it the second day we were there because I had two assignments due in my college course. I thought it was $9.95 a day. It was, only this pricing was per device. I found this out when I picked up my Motorola XOOM for an excursion on the toilet. When I turned it on it found the signal alright, but that damn screen came up to pay for usage per day. After finishing the paperwork of my current task, I called down to the lobby and asked if the pricing was setup per device. 

     The answer was, “yes”, to which I replied, “You gotta be kiddin’?” 

     Devices we have in our Hotel that require WI-FI: (2) XOOM’s, (2) laptop computers, and (my son’s Ipod). That adds up to $50 a day. NOPE!! We spend all of 5-6 hours sleeping and maybe 1 hour of prep time per day at the Hotel. That one hour of prep does not leave much time for the use of it anyway. On the fourth day, we travel to a nearby Starbucks to use their WI-FI for my wife to be able to submit her assignment. We do not go in. We could have, but we chose to stay in the comfortably air-conditioned van instead (away from potential idiots). I would feel the same if I had homework to finish. After a while, she finishes her work and we are off to the beach, which is about 11 miles from our location. Alright! This is closer than I thought it was.


     It takes longer than 10 minutes to get to the beach, because there is no freeway that leads to it. The route takes us through many stoplights, until it ends at a paid parking lot about 35 minutes later. We could park and pay $2 if we want to walk half a mile to the beach. We do not. Therefore, we park in the parking lot that is right on the beach for $15. I don’t care if we are there for all of 30 minutes. It is worth it! 

     We park, tell the kids to go change and check out the beach, and then my wife and I follow shortly after they have walked down onto the sand. I think to myself that it would be nice to feel the sand between my toes so I decide to walk down barefoot.  I roll my pant legs and walk with my wife to the beach. We walk across the black top and cross over the concrete path that winds like a snake as far as the eye can see in either direction. There are a few skaters, joggers and bicyclists traveling in both directions as we pass. As my feet touch the sand I wiggle my toes so the grains go between them and the feeling calms me inside. The light tan sand looks like tiny rolling hills in every direction from the constant steps of people and animals walking over its surface. There are white flecks poking out here and there and as I look harder, I see that they are small shells. As we continue to walk towards the ocean that we can see but not yet hear, I notice a long pier stretching out over the water to our right. The sand is hot and it is just below the point at which I might increase my pace to get to the water to cool my feet, but I remain silent and forget the heat with the views entering my head. There are people flying kites as the cool wind from the sea provides the perfect breeze for their use. Many others are sitting under large colorful umbrellas with their shafts stuck into the sand at different angles to shade the sun. Some are lying directly in the sun on large towels as their skin bakes to a golden brown. I notice one guy who has baked for too long in the sun and has gone from golden to dark brown. He almost looks burnt, as the discolored brown appears darker on certain portions of his body. 

     We have crossed the point where we can see the waves rolling into the shore and their sound is amazingly soft and powerful. My daughter is already wading into the wave’s end that reaches out as far as they can before receding back into the large body of water. My son stands looking out on the ocean close to where the water stops on its journey inwards. We are about 20 feet behind him where the slope of the beach starts to head down towards the water. There is a white wooden Lifeguard hut 30 feet to our left manned by a young man wearing red trunks. He sits staring out like a statue through sunglasses at the crowds inhabiting the beach. After my wife and I take a few pictures, we sit digging our feet into the sand that turns damp a few inches below the surface. The coolness of the sand is comforting and it feels good to be able to sit and not have to walk feverishly to the next location as we were at Disneyland. The breeze is constant and cool. My son removes his shoes rolls up his pant legs and lets the waves roll over his feet as he looks around. My daughter is now jumping into the air as waves cross her path. She is waist deep in the water and having fun. My son tells us that the water is freezing. My wife has to see for herself and verifies the same information after walking to its edge. We don’t know how my daughter can stand it but she is having a great time. In the far off distance, looking out over the sea, I notice large oil drilling platforms that are barely visible through what may be fog, smog or both. There are at least half a dozen scattered throughout the water that I can see. I can see a flock of pelicans about one hundred yards off the shore directly in front of us; some diving out of the air, as they tuck their wings into their bodies to help dive deep into the water and catch prey. Many others are floating close together most likely eating the fish they have caught or already full from their hunt.

     We hang out here in the same place taking pictures of seagulls, my children and each other. It is close to 1:45 p.m. when we leave the beach. It is now time to travel to Universal Studios to finish out our vacation in more long lines while waiting for rides. The trip there should be about 40 minutes, but the traffic slows down considerably while going through Los Angeles, and turns it into one hour and fifteen minutes. I will not go over the trip again as I described it in an earlier post. We arrive at Universal Studios and drive past the entrance unknowingly. I make a U-turn down the way after a few blocks and then turn into a parking lot. I figure this is where we need to go, as there are many signs that say “Universal Studios”. It is the wrong place and we turned around again. 

     While we are exiting this lot, my wife receives a call on her cell phone. It is our friend in Arizona letting her know that the school my six-year-old son attends called her to let her know he was not picked up by transportation to be taken to his bio family visit. It is 3 p.m., which means he has been stranded for 20 minutes. I travel to where we made the first U-turn because I remember parking availability so we can stop and get the mess figured out. First, why the school called an emergency contact instead of the respite providers is beyond any of us. They have had their information since well before we left town. I wrote it down on the school’s own information sheet about such things. People just cannot seem to do their job properly. Secondly, this is the second time the poor child has been left to wait long after school let out because the transportation people cannot route properly to arrive on time to pick him up. 

     My wife says, “Why don’t they just hang a sign on him that says foster kid?”

     Why don’t we make the boy feel even more unimportant by making him feel forgotten?  He must already feel this from time to time, because he was taken from his mother. Thanks for the help on self-esteem CPS! My wife calls the respite provider who says she will do what she can to figure out what is going on, but my wife wants to speak with someone as well, so she begins to call our CPS caseworker – No answer. She then calls the caseworker’s supervisor – NO ANSWER! This is going well so far isn’t it? The respite provider calls back with information from the transportation people about not knowing if the visit is going to be cancelled or not. Either way you still have to pick up the child at the same time because everyone else is counting on you to do it. Instead, they let him sit there half an hour after school has let out. The respite mother is at a previous engagement, and we are in California. Hmmmmm….. You might need to get off your butts and go pick him up at least. The school official having to wait after hours was not happy either. What a bunch of inconsiderate people. It is simply unbelievable after a supervisor in transportation has told us that this would not happen again, here we are. By the time my wife has spoken to everyone, and finally my boy is picked up, she has spent an hour that we could have been inside Universal Studios on the phone with us parked in our van behind some business in Universal City. Even on vacation, we cannot escape the problems that are consistent with the child welfare system in Arizona. 

     Now that we are stressed, we travel back to the correct entrance, park the van, calm down for a bit and then enter the park. This is no easy feat either, because we have one pass for 4 people that must be converted into 4 tickets for entry. We go to the location that it states on the single pass and it is closed. It’s around 4:30 p.m. now and the park closes at 10 p.m. We ask one of the people guarding the exit to the park where we need to go and she refers us to another place. After standing in line for 20 minutes at this place, we are told that we need to go to another area. Wonderful! At least when we get to the other place there is only one group ahead of us and we have our tickets 10 minutes after arriving at its line. 

     We enter the park finally and thank God, the lines are not nearly as bad as the ones at Disneyland. We end up having a great time in the 5 hours we have to run around the park before it closes.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

2012 Vacation: My Outlook of Los Angeles on the Way to Universal Studios

     Driving into Orange, CA, on Interstate 8 things appeared clean and well kept. We exited on Katella Avenue and found our way to the Hilton Hotel on State College Blvd. I am starting the recollection of the trip between the beach visit and Universal Studios on the fourth day. Disneyland filled our first three days and we still did not get to see the whole thing. Leaving Huntington Beach we drove onto Interstate 5 heading north towards Los Angeles. 

     Things were fine until you are about 10 miles out of L.A. then you start to notice the pavement is severely damaged. Is this from earthquakes? The green signs indicating which exits are coming up and the different lanes an individual needs to move his or her car into to be ready to exit the current freeway are becoming dirty. Black soot covers the white reflective letters and darkens the green here and there on these signs. With the deteriorated pavement and the dirty signs it feels like you are driving into a city that has suffered the demolition of war. I do not know if it was just this freeway or if they are all like this when closing in on L.A. but it wasn’t a good way to see the city. You know that saying about first impressions? The vegetation around many different areas was poorly kept inhabited by large dead weeds overgrown with new green weeds and grass sporadically sprouting up here and there. This alone was disgusting. Before driving into the war zone the smog surrounding the city could be seen in all its glory like a fire was burning around the entire city. Smoke filled air made the view a haze of filthy skyscrapers and trees. I never heard many people talking about this picture forming in my head in songs. It’s always about how great it is and blah blah, yada yada…. It is not the view they are talking about! The feel was of desolation and leaving your vehicle meant you would be ravaged by zombies.

     Californians or should I generalize and just say most people living in larger cities think that anyone from another state cannot drive properly. No matter who you talk to it is the same. Tucson not being included in the larger of the large cities is still pretty big, but I am talking about: New York, Detroit, Los Angeles, and the like. These oversized cities claim their way of life to be an accelerated existence that we from smaller cities cannot keep up with. Well decelerating from 70 M.P.H. (miles per hour) to 15 m.p.h. on a freeway proved that wrong as my van breached the inner streets of L.A. while driving slowly in back to back traffic. It only lasted 30 minutes and then things picked up. “Only” was a funny word like it didn’t matter, but 30 minutes of constant break and go driving at a slow pace will drive you insane. L.A. you can keep that bit of “fast paced” life. At least the view could be better, but at the slow pace it was amplified because it gave you a chance to look around. If you don’t want others to view your city as dirty then fix the freeway situation so the cars are always traveling fast and cannot study this substandard view. I know this will probably piss some people off but, it is said that the truth hurts. We didn’t step out into the air while going through, but I can imagine the smell of burning tar filling the air. This I assumed because of the black soot all over the place. Another feeling was that my feet would stick to the ground like in a movie theater everywhere I walk. 

     What exactly are tax dollars in such a large state spent on? Not improving the freeways I can attest to that. The only other comment I have is about the on/off ramp situation. This is largely due to unfamiliarity of the roads I was traveling but it seemed that there was an inordinate amount of 360 degree turnarounds to get onto the freeway. Isn’t it easier and more efficient to create straight access ramps that lead in the direction of travel? Turning north to get onto a freeway and head south has always boggled my mind. I know it exists in other areas even Tucson, Arizona and I chalk it up to poor planning. Sorry one more thing. I witnessed what Ron White mentions in one of his stand up acts. Two different speed limits on the same road do not make sense. Please, go pull your head out of your butt people! Traffic should travel at the same speed on the same road for easily seen reasons of traffic impediment. The more traffic is interrupted the more accidents will occur.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Back from Our Disneyland / Universal Studios Vacation

     We just drove into Tucson, AZ at 6:30 a.m. and I have drama to share while we were there both good and bad. Some of it from home and some of it will be from California. I hope to update late tonight, so check back to see new posts! It will be full of stories about disrespectful people, sad children from the home front, comments on California, fun and sore bodies.
     I am backed up on homework too, but will try to get something in before midnight-ish.

     Sorry, it has taken me longer than anticipated to be able to post on the Blog. I will have a posting soon and am thinking about assigning a day out of the week to accomplish this as my life is going to become very busy now that I am back from vacation.The slow months at my job are ending as August starts up the University of Arizona's return of many students which adds many event setups. not to mention all of the other events we have scheduled already. I will update the Blog on Wednesdays each week. Stay tuned!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Unexpected loss on March 1, 2012

     On February 23, 2012 we have a 5 year old boy and a 2 yearold girl placed in our home. Things seem to be going alright with both adultsand children adjusting to this new union. During their initial drop-off wenoticed that both of these children had bad coughs. The foster parents leavingthem with us tell us that the boy has had strep recently and is at the end ofhis antibiotics.  A couple of days laterthe coughs are not getting better so we take the kids to Urgent Care where theyare both diagnosed with strep throat. The doctor knows that the 5 year old hadjust been treated for this illness from the information we submitted, butstates that the contagion can remain on toothbrushes, beds, and other items. Heprescribes antibiotics for both children and tells us to get rid of their oldtoothbrushes after the second day of taking the medication. We also washeverything that they have touched after this second day to make sure it doesnot come back.

     During the tripto the Urgent Care while sitting in the waiting room filling out information onboth children a woman accosts my wife.

     She asks, “Isn’tthat (mother’s name) kids?” 

     My wife isstunned and how unlikely is it that on our first time out of our home with ourfirst set of foster kids we would run into one of the mother’s ghetto buds? 

     My wife responds,“I cannot disclose that type of information to you.” and walks away from her. Shecomes to where I am sitting with the children and tells me what happened. Wenotice that the woman exits the room towards the parking lot and my wife walksover to apprise the person behind the desk of the situation. As she walkstowards the desk she can see outside through the glass doors that the otherwoman left through. This woman is on her cell phone and enforces my wife’sdecision to tell the establishment in case the police need to be notified. Mywife feels the woman has gone out to call the mother of these children to letthem know where they are. I agree and we are on high alert watching for any signof the mother who we have not seen at this point and for the other woman tocome back in and continue to act inappropriately. We are called back quicklybecause the office treats the matter as seriously as it should be treated. Ilove when people fully understand the situation. We are told that they willcall the police if they notice other people rallying with her and that we canleave through a back door for safety if needed. By the time we receive thediagnoses and prescriptions we have decided not to use the back door. If themother is stupid enough to jeopardize losing her kids forever by coming to thislocation then let it happen. We can handle the situation and it will only harmher in the long run. We never see the other woman again and the bio mother doesnot show up.  

     The next day mywife starts to feel ill and two days after that I begin to feel it too. We arecatching the strep from the kids. What a wonderful way to start out in thesystem. I am going to be starting the setup of the largest event in SouthernArizona at the University of Arizona in a few short days. It is known as “TheFestival of Books”. I am sick and extremely busy at work. My wife is feelingthe effects worse than me at this point and at home taking care of two sickchildren on top of the illness. On Monday, February 27, the 5 year old is ableto go back to school. I drop him off at 7:30 a.m. so he can eat breakfast thereand then hurry to work. The 2 year old stays at home with my wife who is stillsick. I will pick up my son (5 year old) from school at 2:40 p.m. and return towork each day except for Wednesday. He gets out at 1:40 p.m. on this day.  

     One problem withus getting sick is that we do not have insurance to ease the cost of going tothe doctor anytime we want. We always tough it through instead of paying hugebills for medical, but it is not the best way to get rid of strep. We end upfeeling its effects for over a month before we finally start to feel better.

     Thursday, March1, 2012 is the starting day of the event setup. I need to get down to theUniversity and begin to paint out the placement of tents on one of the largerlawn areas before my crews show up to start building tents. I route the day,assign people last minute things to load and hurry down to the U of A. My hurrywas due to having to take my 5 year old son to school because transportationhas not been setup for him yet. I finish the marking of the first area that wewill begin to setup and my employees start to arrive in huge box trucks filledwith pipe to form the frames of the tents, metal fittings to fasten the pipetogether, and many other pieces of equipment needed for the process. 

     My wife calls andtells me that she cannot tell me why, only that I need to get home as quicklyand safely as possible. I tell her that there is no way I can leave becausethis is our largest event of the year and it is important that I am here tomonitor its progress. She tells me that she has already spoken to the owner ofthe company and that he is on his way to relieve my position at the University.I now know that it is more serious than ever because she has never had to callthe owner before calling me on issues. I tell my lead men that I have to leavebecause of an emergency, and give them items from my work truck that they willneed to fulfill the job ahead of them on this day. Not knowing that I will notbe returning until the event is almost underway the next week. 

     Now my mind iswandering through different scenarios of what has gone wrong. I immediatelythink that it must be the children, but hope not because they have not been inour care for long. Other things cross my mind: my parents (only because mymother has Lupus and her health has been failing for years), maybe my biochildren, or my father’s mother (my last living grandparent). For my wife tonot want to tell me knowing I have a twenty five minute drive home adds to theseriousness and I know the news will certainly be bad, but never could havepredicted the end result.

     It has been justover one week since we received the placement of our first children in thefoster care system. You wouldn’t believe it and I still have a hard time comingto grips with the reality, but it happens anyway. My father is 64 years old, inseemingly perfect health and suffers a stroke / heart attack while driving an18 wheeler on the interstate in Utah. He has been driving these trucks eversince the coal mine he worked for caught fire at least 10 years before. Therewas no autopsy performed, so there is no exact knowledge of what befell him onthis day. He must have suffered one of these as he was driving for his truckended up on the other side of the highway on its way up the side of themountain. Had he gone the other direction he would have ended up down in acanyon and that would have most likely ended his life. 

     It is reportedthat my father was walking around his stuck vehicle waiting for a tow truck tocome and pull it down from the hill it had partially climbed. It had been twohours since a paramedic had checked him out and found no immediate danger orthreat due to injury. It sounds like my dad walked over to the EMS peoplestating that he did not feel well and then collapsed before anyone had a chanceto see what the matter was. He was already gone at this time, most likelybefore he hit the ground which left a huge bruise on one side of his face. Theytransported him to the nearest hospital but he never regained a heartbeat afterthe fall. I love and miss him dearly. I arrive home and when I first receive thenews I break down in my wife’s arms and cry uncontrollably. This is the secondperson I have lost in less than a month. Each I hold deep feelings for in myheart. It would make more sense had it been my mother, but not my dad. 

     My good friendand ex-assistant, dies on February 11, 2012 in an early morning rollover thatwent undiscovered until later in the day. I miss his celebration of lifebecause I am in Utah with my family to attend my father’s funeral and to celebratehis life. I have never lost someone I held dear until this year and now two occurrenceshave shaken the foundation of my world. When I heard the news of my friend itwas a Saturday, things were quiet, I was in my office at work when I was askedto talk to the father of his ex-girlfriend, who works at Arizona Party Rental.He met me where the warehouse meets the front offices, eye red from crying andI knew something was wrong. He spoke softly holding back the tears and randomjerks of the face when people are extremely upset. After telling me the news I wasin shock. I told him I was very sorry. I didn’t know what else to say and thinkI said I can’t believe it. He said he would be taking his daughter home and Itold him to do whatever he had to do. My friend had been a family friend ofthis man for many years as he dated this man’s daughter. She was the one whoinspired us to hire him in the first place. I walked into my office, lockingthe door behind me and started to cry as I looked up articles on the accidentonline.

     My wife does mostof the planning for the trip we are to make to Utah. She calls my 20 year old sonover to tell him the news. He cries off and on for hours. My 17 year old daughtercries silently, her eyes red and stressed. 

     The young childrenthat we have only just begun to care for will need to go into a respite homeand this makes us feel so badly because they have been moved around enoughalready. There is no way around it. Preparations are made. My wife did anawesome job of it all and we were in Utah in a couple of days.

An intermission of thought:

     If anyone out there takes this blog as a negative motivation towards becoming a foster parent it may be that this cause is not one you should pursue. There are many things wrong with the system and I have only hit on a few here. If the small amount that I have mentioned in this Blog over close to two weeks from its beginning is enough to deter you then seek another avenue to apply your energy. Social responsibility lies not only in the care of foster children. You could address homelessness, global warming, the mentally ill, racism and peace to name a few. Find something that holds meaning for you for this will keep the passion towards its purpose alive.

    If you feel dedicated enough to continue down the path of fostering children then own it. Do not let anyone tell you that you cannot do it. This includes the agencies that have been formed to recruit and monitor foster parents. Do not except substandard efforts by them to give you the attention you deserve when you are helping out in society. It has taken my wife and I three of these agencies to find the right one, so take the time to find the one that will benefit you the most. We open our lives fully, to them in order to help out with the children that need stable and loving environments because their own parents could not provide it for them. Demand respect because you deserve it.
We have three beautiful children in our home that we did not conceive biologically. These three children are like any other. They laugh, they cry, and they need love and guidance for them to become great members of society. Just as we deserve respect for taking them in, they deserve it for having to deal with grown up issues so early in life. They do not need pity. Don’t waste this on them as it doesn’t help raise them. They need to know that they matter and that they are loved each and every day. 

     Frustration will build inside you as your hear them cry out in the night because they miss their mother or father. While comforting them feelings of my own inadequacy crossed my mind. At first I felt ashamed that this feeling of frustration flared in me. Was I not good enough? Does this child not see that I am here to help them? Try not to think of yourself as bad when this occurs. It is normal. We are their parents at the current time and we love them fully as our own. It does slap you in the face after taking such good care of them to hear them cry for someone that could care less about their welfare. You cannot share this with them, but share it with your partner, best friend, or even your licensing agent. You have to vent somehow or it will fester inside shadowing the good you are doing. 

     Enjoy the smiles, laughter and love they offer as they grow more comfortable in your home. My six year old son constantly tells my wife and I that he loves us and want to see us when he returns to his bio family. My two year old daughter slips calling me dad or my wife mom at different time and it has become more and more frequent. At first we had reservations about them calling us this but after speaking with CPS and our licensing agent find that it is normal and she not be discouraged. We did not want to tell them not to call us that anyway. It is who we are for them. Both children will hug us tightly when scared displaying their trust that you will protect them. We love these moments of pure love shown by the children. 

     One last comment here, “Be able to let them go without the emptiness of losing a child.” Is this possible? I doubt no form of emptiness will surface. We have not yet experienced it but it may come sooner than we think. The baby has been raised since 2 months old by us. We are mom and dad. My wife is her main focus on this planet. Her favorite person alive. She is hers. Just know that loss will happen and do not let it suppress the love they deserve. You will get attached if you are fostering for the right reason.

Friday, July 20, 2012


I found this article on the internet while desperately looking for information that may help us cope with our little one's meltdowns. Some of this may be helpful with others who are experiencing these symptoms, but most of them have been unsuccessful for us.


There are as many as 750,000 infants born each year to mothers who used drugs or alcohol during pregnancy, according to the National Resource Center for Respite and Crisis Care Services. While most of these children will turn out just fine, the first few weeks and months of life may present some distinctive challenges for both baby and caretaker. Drug-exposed infants tend to cry more, have more difficulty eating and sleeping and may require more overall care than other children.

Step 1
Provide a calm, quiet environment for your baby. Choose soft-paint colors and minimal lighting for your baby's nursery. Drug-exposed infants cannot tolerate stimulating environments.
Our foster daughter sleeps in our room, which is dimly lit and calm (aside from her).
Step 2
Massage your baby. A gentle massage can help comfort your baby and ease irritability.
She doesn’t seem to enjoy massages at all. Just recently she has begun to allow us to stroke her arm, head, and face gently, and it seems to relax her a bit.
Step 3
Swaddle your baby in blankets. Many drug-exposed infants find it soothing to remain tightly wrapped. Consult a doctor or health-care professional about proper swaddling techniques.
She has been swaddled every night since she has lived with us. Even for daytime naps she cannot stop her arms and legs from moving for long enough to sleep.
Step 4
Rock your baby as much as possible. Place your baby in a swing or carry her in an infant carrier when you cannot rock her.
She hates every swing we have tried, and rocking does not seem to help.
Step 5
Limit the number of caretakers for your baby. Drug-exposed infants do best with consistent care and familiar faces.
This is why she has never been in daycare (even though I am struggling to complete my college coursework while caring for her 24/7)
Step 6
Give your baby a warm bath when she seems anxious. Warm water works to soothe the nerves.
She does seem to enjoy baths or showers with foster mom, but this is not always convenient during busy days when she has a meltdown.
Step 7
Take care of yourself. Caring for a special-needs child requires stamina and energy. Make sure you eat right, get adequate rest and ask for help when you need it.
This is simply not an option. Paul and I are both full-time college students. Paul works a full-time, very demanding job. We are foster parents to 3 children under 6 years old (two of which have severe behavioral issues) and parents to Paul’s biological children (17 and 20), one of which lives with us. We are very limited to who can care for the children and respite care is not always available. We cannot even do our monthly grocery shopping without taking all 3 kids with us. Our own well-being is last on the list, unfortunately.
Step 8
Allow your baby to use a pacifier to soothe herself. Even if your drug-exposed baby has a weak suck reflex and struggles to maintain a grip on the pacifier, she will likely find this activity soothing.
She doesn’t always want the pacifier, but we allow her to have it when she does, and almost always during any sleep time.
Step 9
Feed your baby small, frequent meals. Drug-exposed infants may require more calories than other infants to compensate for increased activity levels.
She is definitely a hungry baby. She eats when and however much she wants.
Step 10
Talk to your baby's doctor about medications to control withdrawal symptoms. According to Children's Hospital Boston, a doctor may use methadone to ease the pain of heroin or opiate withdrawal in drug-exposed infants.
This is our next step. Up until now, the pediatrician has brushed us off with statements like, “Some babies just cry a lot.” Or “It sounds like normal colic to me.” We’re sick of it. This is not normal, and if she doesn’t take us seriously at the next visit, we will start shopping for someone who will. Paul and I would prefer not to medicate her if possible, but watching her in this much distress is not working. Also, we cannot continue to succeed in anything if we don’t alleviate some stress soon.

Current issue with sleepless baby girl 7/20/12

     For the last 3 weeks our 6 month old baby daughter (foster) has been in a state of sleeplessness. The screaming at the top of her lungs fills most of her day as my wife is drained further and further of energy. The child is rarely happy. Leaving her with toys on her stomach to try and get her to strengthen her arms and legs to crawl lasts for all of 10 minutes before she is crying and if not addressed she will continue to cry for a couple of hours finally falling asleep. My wife and I believe that holding a baby all of the time ruins their ability to self soothe, and this is an important learned trait if you ever want to accomplish anything during the day and sleep through the night. She is cuddled and played with enough throughout the day, but even this is short-lived and the crying continues. It is unbearable and wearing on our family unit. My wife experiences most of it as I have to work.

     This behavior continues through the night as well. The nighttime restlessness encompasses her body jerking awake from a dead sleep and then crying out loudly until she is comforted which doesn’t always stop it. Sleep is only taking place for an hour before this happens, so my wife is constantly awakened by the young child if she is even able to get to sleep. Another issue with the baby is her constant grunting during her short lived sleeping moments. She cannot just sleep easily. She will even cry out loud then stop and be quiet for some time. We are not quite sure of what to do, but had hoped it would subside and it hasn’t. We know that she is teething but I and my wife have both been exposed to many babies in our lives. We both babysat from the time we were around 12 years of age and have never witnessed such behavior. My wife has also been a nanny to several babies. My own daughter was a colicky baby and it was stressful enough, but the way our 6 month old girl cries constantly makes that look like a day at the park. 

     Originally, when she was 3 months old we discussed with her pediatrician that she had irregular bowel movements. They were not as often as they should be and harder than normal. We were given some remedies to try (switching to soy formula, gas drops, watered-down juice) and still to this date she has never had regular movements. I figure this issue causes a lot of pain, and can account for much of the crying; however, not all of the crying can be attributed to it because it continues after one of these movements. The doctor told us that some babies are happy and some are not, but this is an extreme case that leads us to believe there is another issue.

     One thought of ours is that the baby's meconium tested positive for cocaine directly after she was born. This test was performed because of the past history of her bio mother. The baby girl was not said to be addicted to this drug, but it had to have affected her brain, growth, or something in a negative way that is causing this turmoil. This is not the first baby that this "mother" has done this to. Her tubes should have been tied years ago; prior to these three children being conceived. This is part of our system that is flawed, in my opinion. If you are as irresponsible as to have lost multiple children in the past then you forfeit the right to bare more. I don’t care if they change themselves in the far off future. The penance should at least be no more innocent lives affected by your ignorance. If you fix yourself, adopt children to help out the society you failed earlier in your life. The negative impact of these types of individual resonates throughout history. The affects can last for generations from just one individual. It is each of our social responsibility to stop this madness and forbid people like this from hiding behind a constitution that was not meant to protect them in the way we let it.

     Alight now that I have gotten way off track here, I will stop the rant. Our current plan of action: 1) take the baby in to the pediatrician to address this issue 2) both of us will have to speak to convey the seriousness of the issue 3) if the doctor does not agree with our plight and chalks it up to colic we will get a second opinion. Hopefully someone can help. There has to be a test or some form of baby valium or something out there to help both the baby and us. If all else fails, we will research it ourselves and use whatever natural techniques we can find to help her through this pain.

     In three days, we start our one-week vacation, and the children are being placed into respite care as I have mentioned in another post. It is due to their bio mother not giving the permission for them to go. Yes, even though she cannot be trusted to raise them herself, she gets to choose if they have a vacation with us. We are going to Disneyland, and with the last three weeks of uncontrollable crying of the baby we feel it is best now that they did not get the permission. As unfortunate as it is, the break will be nice; but, we would love for the 2 and 6 year olds to experience it. They may never get the chance again, but it was already decided over a month ago that they could not go with us. The action plan mentioned will occur when we return from this trip. Something has to change.