Letter to My Mom

Hi! I have so much to tell you. I have had such a fun year. My favorite color is pink. My favorite food is McDonald’s hamburgers. My favorite TV show is Little Einsteins. 
I love to play. 
I love to play hide and seek. No one can see me in my tunnel.
I’m really good a building with legos and blocks.


I like having a tea party with my stuffed doggie. 

I love to play with water,
And climbing trees.

Best of all was playing at the beach. 
I go to speech therapy.  
At speech, I play game

and I play bubble to build my muscles.  Good thing I love blowing bubbles.
Maybe I’ll be an artist when I grow up. 

I love to paint

and color with markers

and play with play-do.
I love to help cook. 
I love making cookies with my friends. I crack the eggs
and pour the sugar and stir the batter
but best of all is licking the batter off the spoon. 
I just learned how to peel carrots.

I even like washing dishes.

I love to dress up. Everyone says I’m a “girlie girl.”

I love tutus

and pretty dresses
And I love wearing make-up!

I love animals

I have friends with goats and chickens. I like to chase them and to collect the eggs. 

Horses are big, but they don’t scare me a bit! 

My best friend is my dog, Spartan. I like to chase him and pull his tail. I like to share my food with him  under the table. And I like to lay my head on him and use him as a pillow. I love him.

I love to give hugs and make people smile. I smile and wave at everyone I see whether I know them or not. I love when people smile back.

One of my favorite things to say is, “Rose happy” because I am. 

Love, Rose

A Special Love

Abuela thought we were crazy to adopt a baby. “You have kids who are married. You’ll be a grandma soon. Why adopt?”
Then she met Kymee. It was love at first sight. The only baby of mine who she hadn’t been in the delivery room with – then again, I hadn’t been in the delivery room either. No matter, no loss of “bonding.” 

She made up for not being in the hospital delivery room, by being in the hospital for each of Kymee’s operations. She maneuvered around Kymee’s breathing tubes and IV as she sang “La linda monita” to her.

Abuela crocheted her a blanket, and a hat, and bought her little dresses at garage sales. And when Kymee grew out of medically designed bottles, and no longer had to eat through a syringe – Abuela made her hot cereal, arroz con leche, and tembleque. Kymee’s first solid food was a bowl of Abuela’s beans and rice, which to this day is her favorite meal.
Before she could speak, we would pull our van up in front of Abuelo and Abuela’s house and Kymee would smile, squeal and clap.  Abuela was completely dejected when Kymee learned to say Abuelo before Abuela, and would pout if Kymee choose to give Papi a hug before she got one.
But no matter how sick she became, Abuela would light-up the minute Kymee entered the house. Kymee loved trying on Abuela’s hats and shoes, and playing with Abuela’s baby doll and Abuela would share her teddy bears that she’d received from loved ones as she was in the hospital.
Kymee and Abuela shared a love for gardening.  In the spring, when Abuela felt up to it, Kymee would help her water her flowers in the backyard. Kymee would walk around the garden and talk to all of Abuela’s ceramic turtles and frogs which were hidden under the bushes. Abuela would smile, laugh and hug her.
When Abuela was too sick to play, Kymee would sit and cuddle with her, and run around her, and hug and kiss her.  Kymee got scared when she saw Abuela in bed, too sick to play. Abuela told us to take her away and not scare her. Kymee left the room, a few minutes later, she crept back in and laid her favorite stuffed animal on Abuela’s chest, then ran out of the room. The precious gift was received and treasured all day as it remained on her chest.

Kymee may never remember these precious times with her Abuela, but God blessed Abuela through Kymee and gave her joy immeasurable in her final time here on earth.  

A Chord of Three Strands

Reprint: In honor of Kymee’s Birthday

Preface: I am in awe of God. How he sets things
in motion and carries them out to his glory. I am honored that just once he has allowed me to witness the different avenues he works in and ho
w he brings things together to fulfill his purpose. This is His story of His actions and how He has blessed me through working in various people.

“A cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart” Eccl 4:12

Strand One

“You need to abort the baby.” Both the second and third doctors encouraged the same thing. “She really can’t physically or emotionally deal with the

birth of this baby.” “Besides, the medications that she is on will harm the baby and the baby will surely be born deformed, have serious issues, or it could even be a stillborn birth.” “It’s cruel to make her go through the pregnancy and labor, you have to abort.”
I looked at my grand daughter, who I had legally adopted
when she was 10. She had grown into a beautiful young 21 year old woman, yet she still had the mentality of a child maybe of 7 or 8. She had been through so much in her lifetime. She was beaten up when she was little. Now she’s got both mental and emotional challenges. She’s bipolar, and can never get off the medicine, or
she becomes angry and violent and could hurt herself or someone else. Now she’s been raped. I know who’s done it, but the police say she ain’t got the mental capacity to testify. But now we find out
she has this baby inside her. What am I going to do? What is best for my little girl?

“Mama, I want to keep it.”
“Honey, you know you can’t keep the baby, you can’t even remember to take a bath or brush your teeth.” “I don’t want to kill it.”

But I’m too old to take care of a baby. Besides that, I’ve got enough people to take care of without this one. I adopted both my grandkids, and neither one of them can care for themselves. I watch my other three grandkids, cuz their
daddy works nights and just ain’t home with ‘em. And Papa, he ain’t in the best of health. He’s just not doing well. Lord, I know I can’t take care of this young ‘em. Besides, I think the doctors are right, I don’t know if My Baby can handle going through this. I think we better do the abortion.
I told ya Papa wasn’t too well. He had a heart attack and had to have surgery. They put in a pacemaker. By the time I got him home from the hospital, she was way past the point to do the
abortion. I guess we best just give the baby to a good family.

“Honey, I think we should give the baby to a good family.”
“But I want to take care of the baby, Mama.”
“I got you a Chihuahua.”
“I’ll name her Sugar. She’s more fun than a baby. But
can I name the baby too? I always wanted to grow up and have a Baby Rose.”
“Sure Honey, we’ll name the baby Rose.”“And I’ll always be a Mama even if I don’t take care of the baby?”
“Yes Honey. No one can take that away from you. You’ll always be a Mama.”
“Come on, Sugar, let’s play house. You be the baby.”

“Mama it hurts. Make it stop.”“It’s almost over, Sweetheart.”
“Ma’am, you have a baby girl. She has a cleft palate, so her lip looks kind of different.”
“I don’t want to see her. She looks funny, and she hurt me. Take her away. . but please call her Rose. . . Mama, I want to go home and play with Sugar.”“OK, Honey, we will, as soon as you feel a little better.”

Strand Two

“Lord, I don’t get it.” Tears evaporated from my face as the steamy shower water hit them. “I am more than qualified to be a nanny. Why haven’t I

gotten a job yet? Others are getting jobs who are a lot less qualified then I am! I just don’t get it.”

“Yes, I am looking for a job, but I can take another baby until I have one.”
“The adoptive parents decided they couldn’t handle
it when they saw her cleft lip, so we’ll have to look for other parents. You may have her for a while.”
“As long as I’m available, I’d love to have her.”

“Oh, look at you. You are so beautiful, and so so sweet.That lip doesn’t take away from your beauty,it just adds to your character. It will be fixed, and you will be as good as new in no time. You’re new Mommy and Daddy will be shooing the boys away soon enough.”
“We haven’t found parents yet.”

“You are so special. Can I tell you a secret, Rose?
I have never loved another foster baby like I love you. I shouldn’t even have you – I should have a job. But I’m so glad I do. ” I promised myself I wouldn’t fall in love with my foster babies. Of course, I love them all, but you know what I
mean. I always somewhat guard my heart, so I can hand them over to their new mommies. But there is something special about this one. I don’t know what it is, but the walls of my self preservation have come tumbling down. I know she’s not mine, and I can’t keep her, but I can’t seem to stop myself from loving her.

“How can that be? Are you telling me that you have
gone through your list of possible parents registered in the agency, and no one wants this baby? That’s impossible. Did you tell them her lip can be fixed? Did you tell them how beautiful she is? About her perfectly round head, that looks like a baby doll mold? And her Big beautiful blue eyes? Did you tell them about her perfect fingernails, that look like she just had a professional manicure? How she is the sweetest little thing
ever? That she smiles, even though she is too young to smile? . . . I have a friend. . .”

Strand Three

Worthy is the,
Lamb who was slainHoly, Holy, is He
Sing a new song, to Him who sits on
Heaven’s Mercy Seat
“Be willing to take the baby.”
I’m trying to sing – why won’t this thought leave my head?
“Honey.. . “
“”Shhhhh. We’re worshiping.”
“Honey, I can’t get this thought out of my head. It’s like I keep hearing a voice say, ‘Be willing to take the baby.’”
“What baby?”
“I don’t know, but I can’t get the thought out of my head.”

Clothed in rainbows, of living color
Flashes of lightning, rolls of thunder
Blessing and honor, strength and
Glory and power be
To You the Only Wise King,

“Thanks to you, now I have it in my head too”

Holy, Holy, Holy
Is the Lord God Almighty
Who was, and is, and is to come
With all creation I sing:
Praise to the King of Kings!
You are my everything,
And I will adore You…!

“Let’s stop whispering and pay attention to the sermon.”
“LISTENING TO THE VOICE OF GOD . . . If God is speaking to you this morning, I invite you to come forward and pray with our Care Team.”
“Honey, I think we should go forward.”

We prayed. We didn’t get it. That was a year and a half ago. But we prayed because we thought we heard the voice of God.

Three and a half years ago God had called us to foster and adopt children – older children. There are lots of people who want babies, especially white ones. We wanted to adopted children the state deemed “unadoptable” meaning older, sibling groups or not white.

But after that day at church, I couldn’t get the idea of adopting a baby out of my heart or mind. I thought about raising another child. I dreamed about it. I imagined it. I researched it and planned all the things I’d do differently this time around.

“Honey, I really want a baby.”
“Why don’t we wait for grand kids?”
“I can’t wait to have grand kids! But it’s not the same. I want to raise another child. I love being a Mom.”
“That’s crazy, but why don’t we talk to the foster agency and see if they can place a baby with us.”

“We asked you 10 months ago to place a baby with us. Why are you telling us now, that you can’t put our name on the list for a baby, it has to be for a child between the ages of 0 – 5 years? And we have to take two? We already adopted one, doesn’t that count as half of two? No? We have to take two more? ”

We can’t do it. We talked to the kids. Both were overwhelmed with the idea of having two preschool/toddler/babies in the home. It simply isn’t fair to them.

“Honey, please take down the crib. I don’t want a visual reminder of not having another baby staring me in the face every morning when I wake up. I have to refocus on something else.”

I spent a day curled up in a ball and crying over the lose of a baby I’d never have, over the lose of a dream.

“Please God, take this desire from me. I feel like You opened up my heart to a baby that morning in church. I really thought it was You speaking to me. Maybe it wasn’t. Lord, take the desire or You give me a baby miraculously. If you can impregnate Sarah in her old age, or Mary in her virginity, you can give me a baby if you so choose. I promise to never again pursue a child on my own, if you want me to have one You make it abundantly clear that it is from You.”

“Hello. What do you mean that no one wants Rose?”
“Of course, I will talk to him, but I know he will say no.”

“Honey, about that baby. . .”
“Don’t you think we’re too old?”
“Speak for yourself!”
“What about the money?”
Taken care of.
“What about the medical expenses?”
Taken care of.
“What about our not being with the same agency?”
Taken care of.
“What will the kids think?”
Taken care of – in fact – the one you were the most worried about is begging to take the baby.
“Let’s call the agency, and if it is God’s will, it will happen, if not, God will put a stop to it.”

Clear sailing, just enough wind to carry us across a sea of paperwork.

“A cord of three strands is not quickly torn apart”

The Smile which Blessed our World

This is the Smile which blessed our world

Dr. Obaid is the surgeon
who God chose
to change the smile
which blessed our world
This is the surgery,that Dr Obaid performed,
Which changed the smile,
Which blessed our world

This is God’s healing
from the surgery
that Dr Obaid performed
Which changed the smile
Which blessed our world
This is the smile
after the healing
from the surgery
that Dr Obaid performed
Which changed the smile

Which blessed our world

This is the girl
who God will use
to bless not just our world
with her smile;
But the whole world
with her story.

Sibling RIghts by Mandy Alvarez-Pinero

My mom yelled, and I saw my mom’s water break, there was so much water on the bathroom floor! I saw my mom in so much pain, it was unbearable; I couldn’t even start to imagine what that would feel like! The panic started again.I could hardly breathe – I was so scared. I could hear the pain and fear in her voice and it stuck in my head and kept rerunning like a skipping CD. I called 911 as I checked on my mom. The paramedic was telling me exactly what to do if the babies were to be born before the ambulance got there.

My life instantly changed in those 10 minutes!

I started to black out once again, then I realized I had to right then become a complete woman! That was God’s challenge for me, he wanted to see if I could accept what he threw at me, or if I would let him down. The time was NOW! I knew God was using me to help bring my sisters into this world.

I did it – I had delivered my newborn baby sister. I was in tears! Crying so hard, not even knowing what would happen to this baby, it was not her time to come yet! It was too early! When I looked down at the little girl, whom I had delivered, she was so little she fit in the palms of my hands! No bigger! She was so tiny, barely crying, and her skin was so thin! Her hands were so little, her head was the size of my palm. Her eyes, as blue as the sky on a sunny day. Just like my mommas!

Would she make it? Would she live being the size she was? These type of questions kept going through my head. I remembered a quote by Desmond Tutu, “You don’t choose your family. They are God’s gift to you.”

I felt so close to her, I felt like she already knew me.

I had been there daily helping my mom look through baby books to find baby names for the triplets. I had been there daily rubbing my mom’s belly to feel the babies kick. I had been there daily to talk to them. I wanted to be there for them and my mom, now. I wanted them to recognize my voice. I was excited to have three new little sisters! I knew I would be the best big sister ever.

When the paramedics got there, and I handed my little sister to them. Little did I know that would be the last time I saw her alive. We named her Angel for the brief moment she touched our lives. Sarah and Kelsey were delivered shortly after, each weighing under two pounds. Sarah blessed our lives for 10 days before she joined Angel in heaven. Kelsey being the smallest baby born of the three, turned out to be a fighter and now she is living today as a normal bubbly 2 year old.

This event changed my life forever! This is the moment that Child Protective Services, or CPS. stepped into my life, and ripped my siblings away from me. To my frustration and society’s downfall there are no laws protecting the rights of siblings.

Laws must be enacted upholding sibling rights.

Today, though my own story, as well as experts in the field of child development, we will discuss the importance of siblings and the negative impact on them when they are torn apart; the lack of laws protecting siblings; and finally how we must solve this problem in order to uphold family values and rights in America.

First, sibling relationships are important, and when the relationships are damaged it negatively affects the children.

William Wesley Patton, and expert on sibling rights, stated that “Brothers and sisters spend more time together and have longer relationships with one another than children have even with their parents.” (Patton) I wish could say this is true for my biological family, my two older siblings Chris and Jenny, and my two younger siblings Jr and Kelsey .

“GO TEAM GO!” Ah, football games once again. I was a cheerleader, and I loved it! Every Friday I was go to school, go home and take a shower. Then my mom would pick me up, we would go to the pizza place she owned, and there I would eat, change into my uniform, and mom would help me with my hair and makeup. “Time to go! Come on, Mandy can’t be late!” mom, step dad, brother, sister, and I would hop in the car and head to the game. I loved it when I had the support of my whole family, for some reason it felt like I remember everything perfectly, and didn’t miss a beat! I felt so much adrenaline pumping through my vanes. I could hear my sibling yelling for me from the stands. It was perfect, I couldn’t ask for anything more.

Clara Ortega. is quoted as saying “To the outside world we all grow old. But not to brothers and sisters. We know each other as we always were. We know each other’s hearts. We share private family jokes. We remember family feuds and secrets, family griefs and joys. We live outside the touch of time.” (Bielecki) We may live outside the touch of time but when CPS becomes involved we also live outside of touch itself.

After the birth of the triplets, CPS investigated the whole situation with the well being of my sisters and me. In the meantime, I went to live with Jenny to give my mom some time to heal and have some alone time. A couple weeks went by and CPS did a home study of my sisters home. The results came back and said that she did not have enough money to support and raise me. I was then placed in a foster home, scared and confused. The state could pay a stranger but not my sister to care for me. To top it off my little sister Kelsey was placed in a different foster home than me! That’s not fair! I was now separated from all siblings! I was alone!

Look at me. Hear my story. But realize, I am a statistic! I am one of 35,000 brothers and sisters separated by CPS a year. None of these children, including myself and my siblings, did anything to come into the system. Yet we are the ones arrested, placed in strangers homes, group facilities, and given no rights. (Patton)

This is a national tragedy and it seriously harms children. Because of how important the relationships children have with their siblings, children in foster care may experience anxiety, trauma, grief, guilt and loss of identity. Gordon Johnson, of the Jane Addams Hull House Association, state, “When we split up foster children from their brothers and sisters, we are taking away the only connection they still have to the people they love, The pain literally drives children crazy.” (Kernan).

Secondly, there is a lack of laws protecting siblings, in fact there are none! That’s right -none!

A study done on siblings in the foster care system reported that no state has laws addressing all of the sibling rights issues.(Herrick and Piccus) Separating siblings is not a last resort, but has become the norm when deciding where to place each child.

In fact, the laws concerning adoption harm sibling relationships rather than uphold them.

The Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997 or ASFA’s goal is to adopted children quickly, this often forces strongly bonded siblings to be split up. William Patton and Amy Pellman, experts in sibling rights, argue that ‘the ASFA are antagonistic to siblings’ rights to association.” (Patton and Pellman)

And once adoption is complete- there are no laws requiring or guaranteeing sibling visitation. Adoptive parents are the sole decision-makers as to whether their adoptive child should have continued contact with siblings, and the courts won’t mandate ongoing visitation between them. So, at the moment of adoption of one of the children, all sibling rights are stripped away. (Child Advocate)

The foster family that I went to not only was willing to adopt me, they were also willing to adopt my little sister Kelsey. But the foster family which she was in, since she got out of the hospital, was wanting to adopt her too. So for 9 months Kelsey would live at our house for 3 days a week, and live at the other foster family’s home for the rest of the week. After those 9 months were up, my foster parents went to court with the other foster family that was trying to adopt my little sister. Hours had past, and it seemed like the court case would never end. Nervously waiting at my parents friends house. We got the call, we were supposed to meet my parents at a restaurant. Expecting to hear good news come out of their mouth; I was surely wrong! They told me that without a reason the judge had decided to split us up, and adopt us to two different families. I was in shock, and so much pain, I was not expecting that. Why again? I just didn’t get it. I had already lost 2 of my little sisters, and now it feels like she is gone too. My triplet sisters – the ones I helped deliver, I helped name, they were all gone from me now. Even though Kelsey lived, it was as though the judge ruled that she was dead to me. Visitation was never again guaranteed. Now the only thing I can do is hope and pray that God will keep this relationship between me and my little sister going.

So, what can and should be done to solve this problem?

First, from the moment children enter the system, siblings should be placed together unless it would harm one or more of the siblings.

Secondly, children in foster care, who are old enough to do so, should have a voice and be allowed to help in the decision as to placement (Leathers)

And finally, Sibling right of association must be recognized as a constitutional right

The first and fourteenth amendments upheld the family’s right to intimate association – but the Supreme Court has refused to rule on a case extending this right to siblings.

The National Center for Youth reported that “If sibling association is to be truly protected and promoted it must be recognized as a fundamental right, protected by the Constitution.” (Kernan)

The day that I held Kelsey in my arms in the neo-natal unit. I knew that she was my little sister and she was part of me. And that I would do anything I could to maintain a relationship with her, as well as my other siblings. But I may not be able to maintain and grow those relationships if laws are not enacted to guarantee sibling rights. Mine, and 35,000 other children’s, human rights are being violated every single year!

We must uphold family values, we must uphold the basic human rights of our children.

Let us not forget that in the entire history of our nation, the only institutions, other than CPS, which forced siblings apart, were indentured servant-hood, and slavery. (Bielecki)