Friday, April 11, 2008


I started this blog with one thing in mind, but am beginning to change my idea of what it will include. When I began here, my main blog was on Yahoo 360. I considered that blog to be my personal blog, since it was on a social networking site. In my mind, the 360 blog would be the one which detailed every day events and thoughts in my life for my circle of online friends. I saw this Blogger blog as something a bit more literary, a place for some of my favorite essays and poems. But Yahoo 360 appears to be in its death throes, so I've been spending more time browsing blogs on Blogger. I've found some fascinating blogs, many of which fall into the more personal journal category. So I've decided to make this one more of a personal log, and I realized that, if I'm going to do that, I ought to introduce folks to the cast of characters who might be appearing here.

In my earlier post of my obituary, I've already given an overview of myself, so I'll move on to my 10 "kids." First I'll introduce you to the kids who remain an active part of my life:

Jesse, 28, was adopted when he was 2o months old. He had a diagnosis of cerebral palsy and was considered mentally delayed as well.
Well, yes, he did have mild cerebral palsy, but he turned out to have an IQ in the superior range. By fourth grade, his vocabulary and reading skills were on a college level. But he never did that well in school, and by the time he was 11, he began to display serious behavioral problems. This was a long time ago, and not that much was known about attachment disorder, so I had not realized the serious effects of his early life experiences: born 10 weeks premature to a teen who had already planned on giving him up for adoption, spending months in NICU with no one to bond with, moved to a foster home and then to another a year later. I would later learn much, much more about attachment disorder. So he acted out, ran away, got involved with drugs, etc. He spent some time in residential treatment, got kicked out, came home, and ran away for good, eventually living with a much older partner. He cared for this man several years as he battled AIDS and cancer. When his partner passed away, Jesse went through a rough period, hooked on painkillers. But a couple of years ago, he suddenly decided to get his life together. He got his GED and enrolled in cosmetology school. He graduated a year later...the longest he'd ever stuck with anything! He's currently working full-time as a stylist. He has long been destined for this vocation. When he was 2 or 3, he was obsessed with Snow White. He dressed up like her, listened to the soundtrack for hours, staring at the pictured 33 rpm album spinning on his Fisher-Price record player, even went so far as to offer a plastic apple to a stranger in a doctor's office waiting room, saying, "Would you like a bite of my poison apple?" But at the age of 4, Snow White gave way to Cindi Lauper. He brought home a little book of nursery rhymes he made at preschool, with a memeographed page for each rhyme. Jack B Nimble had flaming red hair. "That's Cindi Lauper/Jack B Nimble!" he explained. Each time I see Jesse now, his hair is a different color, sometimes purple, sometimes blond, and, yes, sometimes Cindi Lauper red.

Marcus, now 27, came to me at the age of 3, ten months after he had been brought to the ER semicomatose, with a severe traumatic brain injury, 3rd degree burns, detached retinas, and broken-out teeth. This severe battering was the culmination of 2 years of ever increasing abuse at the hands of his birth mother. Tragically, CPS had had an open case on Marcus and his twin brother most of that time, but chose to leave them in the home, in spite of both boys having broken bones, numerous bruises, and increasing signs of emotional disturbance. Marcus' injuries left him legally blind, paralyzed on his right side, and with severe learning problems. He was also prone to unpredictable fits of rage, due both to the brain injury and to the emotional scars of the abuse. But for many months, each night I would rock him, and the bond of trust between us grew strong. At home, he was loving and playful, but at school he was often withdrawn, electively mute, and unpredictable. When he was in 4th grade, his PTSD reached its peak, and he began running away from school in a blind rage (and the school just let him go!). So I quit my full-time job and homeschooled him during his middle school years. It turned out to be the right thing for him. He felt secure and safe at home and was able to work through his PTSD. By the time he returned to high school in a vocational program for disabled students, he was mellow, got along with everyone, and, according to his teacher, was like her personal assistant, he was so helpful. At last the rest of the world saw the Marcus I had always known! Marcus lives at home and would like work, but hasn't had any luck finding employment. He developed seizures a few years ago and just had 2 operations on his foot, so medical issues still affect him. Of all my children, Marcus is the kindest, most loving one, so amazing when you consider the horror of his first two years.

Well, this introduction will obviously take a while, so I think I'll do it in installments. be continued.