Blog

Marco Polo

I grew up in Norwalk, California which is a city located 17 miles southeast of downtown Los Angeles.  In the early 1900’s Norwalk was home to some of the largest sugar beet farms in Southern California, but during my childhood in the late 70’s and 80’s any trace of the prior farmland was long gone.  I lived on Tina Street, which sat directly across from the largest mental hospital in the state.  The street was ...

Good…But Not Good Enough

“You’re good, just not good enough.” This is the message that a foster family in Polk County received from the Department of Human Services.  The words were not spoken literally, but the message was received loud and clear. The Smith family was thrilled when beautiful, six month old Lisa was placed in their home five months ago.  Lisa had been abandoned by her mother and her father had relinquished his rights.  She had no relatives ...

Coming Home

I love to go on vacation.  Who doesn’t love a good break from the routine and stress of daily life?  We are probably all in need of a good rest.  Life is busy and hard. Even getting away for a weekend can provide refreshment to the body, mind and spirit.  A change of scenery can do wonders to offer a change in perspective.  But, there is something great about returning home.    It’s wonderful to get ...

Gotta Sink Before I Float

It is the summer before my freshman year of high school and my friends and I are swimming at my neighbor Joey’s house.  We swim in his Nana’s pool almost every day of the long California summer as the water provides our only relief from the heat.  I am balanced on the end of the diving board, and am watching the water below for my opening.  As my feet leave the board I have no ...

Can One Person Change Their World?

As the plane exits the clouds and begins its descent into the Los Angeles area the city opens up beneath us.  I point out important landmarks to my kids who are seated next to me.  The Staples center is obvious with its bright red roof, and my son, a diehard Lakers’ fan points it out.  On a clear day the city almost sparkles with its buildings made of cement and glass.  It looks so much ...

The Best Things in Life…

The first few days of summer are checked off the books and done.  Since the weather here in the Willamette valley is not cooperating at the moment, and it feels more like spring, the kids are getting restless.  So in an effort to keep my children busy and reading this summer, I took them to the Public Library to check out books.As a kid I spent a lot of time at the local library.  My ...

What Exactly is Family Finding?

A Family For Every Child's Family Finding program works to re-connect children in the foster care system with relatives they've lost touch with.  Connecting with family members can give children a sense of belonging, a deeper sense of self and identity, and an important support system that can help them be more successful participants in society.  For teens about to age out of foster care, this can be especially important, as they might find people ...

Siblings Reunited

I never read magazines.  I scan magazines when I am waiting in line at the grocery store.  If a cover grabs my attention or a title looks interesting I will flip through the pages and skim the article.  It’s a dangerous way to obtain information since I never have the time to gather all the facts.  After the groceries are bagged and I am headed home only a small amount of the story remains in ...

Voices Behind Our Heart Gallery

The following story is taken from Lane DeGregory, Times staff writer When the fighting would start, Justice Smith would sneak into her little brothers' room to tell them everything was going to be okay. She was only 8 then, but she knew what to do: put in a Scooby-Doo movie, turn the TV up real loud so the boys couldn't hear their mother and her boyfriend screaming. Then Justice would crawl into the bottom bunk and ...

Where Everybody Knows Your Name

There was a popular TV sitcom which ran from 1982 – 1993 entitled “Cheers”.  For those of you who don’t remember (or are too young to remember) the show was set in a bar in Boston, Massachusetts.  The show was built around the lives of the regular patrons of the bar and those who worked there: Sam - owner/bartender, Diane - waitress, Woody - bartender, and Carla - waitress.  A regular of the bar was ...