Like A Boss

I believe that a man should manage his life in much the same way he would manage a business; more specifically, a corporation. Gone are the days when a man’s life was run like a ship captain on the open sea, acting and reacting to the perils of hostile waters caused by unforeseen weather patterns. Today’s modern man has to prepare, anticipate, plan, and execute according to his goals and appetites; his needs and the needs of those he is directly or indirectly responsible for. In the spirit of this statement, one could say that I am the CEO, COO and CFO of Me, Inc. I answer to a Board of Directors consisting of two 20 month old boys, who happen also to be majority shareholders, by default, with a vested interest in the successes and failures of their executive leadership. To this end, I am also the janitor, chauffeur, tutor, and chef.

A man without a plan is destined for ruin and a company without leadership will certainly fail. A sole proprietorship has far more latitude in the way it operates. For instance, a sole proprietor may choose to take a sick day, just because. He may choose to commingle funds from his business account with his personal account. He may choose to sell a company asset to pay for a new toy, and while any of these practices may be considered poor business management, there is no accountability for these actions beyond their impact to the individual’s bottom line. In a corporate structure, an individual commingling funds between accounts may very well be guilty of embezzlement and any action he takes is strictly scrutinized by a Board of Directors. He is held absolutely accountable for his actions by his shareholders, to say nothing of the IRS and SEC, etc., who are tasked with corporate oversight and accountability.

In the world of business, I have always had my act together commensurate to my positioning on the arc of a very steep learning curve, but on a personal level, discipline has lacked in the areas of personal finances, diet and exercise, and housekeeping. Put another way, as a business professional, I handled my affairs like a boss. In my personal life, I handled my affairs like a man with six months left to live, who would certainly be outlived by the consequences of his poor planning and decision making. This reality was a force to be reckoned with, once confronted with the responsibility of raising children as a single man. Suddenly, it wasn’t just my health effected by the dietary choices I was making; it wasn’t just my money I was accountable for managing; it wasn’t just the cleanliness of my home I was responsible for maintaining. Most importantly, it wasn’t just me who was privy to the undisciplined example I was setting. But, like all challenges in life, they bring about much needed change in individual areas of weakness, complacency, and procrastination. This has been no exception.

I feel fortunate to have developed the practice, early in life, of seeking out information that interested me and implementing it until it perpetrated lasting effect on my actions, and, eventually, my habits. This constant reinvention has allowed me to shape and mold my life into the image I’ve created, both internally and externally apparent. Recently, this practice has forced me down the path of transforming my personal life until it reflected my business life and, as a result, my personal finances are now budgeted out twelve months in advance, planning for bills, everyday spending needs, goals, and periodic responsibilities. It has also forced me down a road toward eliminating debt and becoming self-insured, rather than credit-dependent, in the event of an unforeseen financial crisis. I now have a plan for funding goals exceeding one year, out as far as five, ten, and twenty years. Why? Because the well-being of my children cannot be contingent upon the fickle and unstable nature of the economic climate or political landscape as it relates to my current professional life. If left to chance, I will have made very little provision for retirement or the creation of net worth, let alone wealth and self-sufficiency.  In short, I will have provided no legacy for my children.

Of all the things a man should seek to provide for his children, legacy should be chief amongst them. In this way, a boy learns what it means to become a man and put away childish things. Without legacy, what influence does a man have when presenting the importance of education — financial and social intelligence, manners and gentlemanly conduct, integrity and work ethic — to his children? In the absence of such things reflected in their example of a man, there is very little in the way of contrast for a boy to challenge the short-term appeal of professional snow sports, booze, and promiscuity (for example). In the absence of these things, “Do as I say, not as I do,” simply does not carry any weight.

In stark contrast to the way people shy away from doing business with a crooked enterprise, children grow up to model whatever standard has been upheld during their development with very little exception; although, exceptions do exist, in both positive and negative examples. But leaving this to chance is a wager a foolish man makes on the future of his legacy and the advantages he can hope to provide to his children. A wise man forecasts, prepares, and implements disciplined effort in the execution of his plan, adjusting where needed along the way, and then teaches his children how to do the same through instruction and example. Giving them a clear picture of what to emulate and what to root out. Of equal importance, giving them the tools necessary to emulate that example.  Tools that are smelted in the forge of self-discipline, delayed gratification, and personal sacrifice.


For My Boys

First and foremost, you need to know that I love you. Everything else pales in comparison to the joy of having you in my life. Second, you need to know that Gladiator is the best movie ever created. Followed closely by Brave Heart and the Godfather Trilogy.

Now, with the important things out of the way, you should spend your life in pursuit of one goal: To exemplify manliness in all it’s forms. Not just to be a good man, but to be good at being a man. In pursuit of this goal, I have gathered mentors and teachers, devoured literature in every form, and spent my life refining my character through a battlefield of internal conflict and insecurities.

“Vincit qui se vincit” is a Latin phrase which means, “He conquers who conquers himself.” You are what you are, right now. The past is vanity and the future is yet unwritten. A life is not defined by one mistake, but by what one does in light of his mistakes. Be men of action. Mindlessly drifting through complex thought has its place in philosophy and self-discovery, but action rules the day in the battle for self-mastery. You are the sum of your actions, not your intentions. Be mindful, however, of your thoughts, for they will surely become the fodder for the canon of your actions.

I have waded through the thoughts and actions of great men, both known and unknown by the fickle mistress that is fame. My life has been a refinement of these thoughts and the development of my own, and I have put together this text which, for me, has proven to be true to life. Much of the following text will be famous quotes interlaced with my own, far less famous thoughts. Read these, but decide what is true for you. You are your own men.

Lastly, there are three traits I despise in a man. None of which are deserving of respect: Dishonesty, Complacency, and Laziness. All three make for useless men; all three will destroy your chances of moving through life without victimizing others or becoming victims yourselves.

And you are not being raised to be victims.

Personal responsibility

An act of kindness is better than a thousand heads bowed in prayer. I believe in God but not in the notion that God is walking you through this life on a plus/minus system, waiting to reward or punish you based upon how good or bad you’ve been. I believe there are natural consequences, both good and bad, for the decisions you make and the actions you take or do not take. I believe there is a devil, and that devil should know your name and fear you. Never debase yourself to the place where organized religion lives. The place where God is responsible for everything good in your life, and the devil for everything bad. This idiocy is devoid of personal responsibility. If you can not take responsibility for your own decisions when the result of those decisions are negative, then you will never be able to take joy in your own successes, both large and small. Believe that everything is your fault. Bad things happen and it is your job to overcome them. Above all else, avoid entitlements. The world owes you nothing, boys. If you want something, take it. Use every legal means at your disposal, but go after everything the world tells you you can’t have. Remember to always play the hand you were dealt like it is the hand you wanted.


Be weary of the religious man, who cloaks his intentions with the veil of “God’s Will”. Often times, these are wolves in sheep’s clothing. They disarm you, and take no responsibility for the wake of devastation they leave behind. Guard your thoughts and tell no one what you are thinking. When you pray, pray silently. The devil can hear your prayers too, and he doesn’t always appear wearing horns and a pitchfork. Often times, he presents himself as everything you have ever wanted. Be cautious of generosity and the free lunch. People are not against you, but they are for themselves. To this end, choose your friends wisely. Better to have four quarters than a hundred pennies. Know that sometimes the person you would take a bullet for can end up being the one holding the gun.

There are five things that are difficult to get back: A stone after it’s thrown, a word after it’s spoken, an occasion after it’s missed, time after it’s gone, but the most difficult of all is trust after it’s lost. A man’s trust is a valuable thing. If a person cannot be trusted, they have no use. Be men of your word. Your word is truly the only thing that is all yours alone.


Never change yourself to make someone else happy and never engage in conflict that is not your own. A lion does not concern himself with the opinions of sheep.

Never help anyone who does not want it. It will be used against you. Trust me on this. Pay little attention to the opinions of others. Remember, you will never reach your destination if you stop to throw stones at every barking dog. When you care about what others think, you become their prisoner.

Don’t waste words on people who deserve your silence. Sometimes the best thing you can say is nothing at all. Train your mind to be calm in every situation and never raise your voice. Instead, improve your argument. Become a master at setting healthy boundaries and learn how to say “no” without feeling the need to explain yourself.

Stop being distracted by the things that do not bring you closer to your goal, whatever that goal may be. Some people will choose to hate you. Make sure it’s because hating you is easier than beating you.

Get off social media. It serves as a soapbox for the ignorant. Successful people do not waste time worrying about what other people are doing. Stop explaining yourself. People only understand from their level of perception. Do not compare yourselves to others. Things are seldom as they seem. To live for the approval of others is the lowest form of human existence. Said another way, if you live for the praises of men, you will die by their criticisms.

Don’t ever let the same person waste your time twice. And never stay committed to a mistake, just because you spent a lot of time making it. Don’t waste time hating people. Either choose to love them, or choose not to care at all. Hate is like drinking poison and waiting for the other person to die. Do not waste energy on revenge. To be good at revenge takes sacrificing your conscience, morality, and integrity. Instead, move on. Indifference is often far more effective at twisting the knife than retaliation.

Outside events have no power over you unless you give them power by allowing them to occupy your mind. Rather, we create our own reality through our own perception. The choice for how you respond is always up to you. Will logic or emotion prevail? When you cannot control what’s happening, control how you respond to what’s happening. That is where your power lies.

Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake. Remember this: A mistake that is made more than once is a decision. When somebody shows you their true colors, believe them the first time.

Live life as though it were rigged in your favor.

Read every day, but at some point it will be time to stop reading other people’s books and start writing your own. Today is always the day. Don’t put off starting your life for some later time or event. The world is changed by your example, not by your opinions. At any moment you have the power to say, “This is not how this story is going to end.”

Cancel out negative thoughts; not with positive ones, which serve only to draw attention to what you lack, but with productive ones. Focusing on positive thought is, in itself, a negative experience and embracing negative experiences is, in itself, a positive experience.


The most important thing I can tell you on the subject of relationships is this: You teach people how to treat you, based upon the things you are willing to tolerate. Disrespect should never be one of them. Consequently, your happiness should never depend upon someone else. Very little is needed to be happy, everything you need is already within you. Within the quality of your thoughts. If someone treats you like an option, help them narrow their choices by removing yourselves from the equation.

Remember that apologizing doesn’t always mean you’re wrong and the other person is right. Sometimes a relationship has more value than your ego. It’s okay to choose to disagree. People are entitled to their own opinions, and you don’t want to surround yourself with drones. Men sharpen men through conflict. Value this truth and never be afraid as a reasonable, thinking person to re-evaluate your own opinions when presented with new information. Avoid taking too strong a position. Instead, listen to everything, evaluate the information, and make a decision, giving yourself enough room in your decision to adjust accordingly to unforeseen circumstances.

When you announce your position, you become a target. Better to stay silent and let your enemies take shots in the darkness of their own ignorance.

Be a good listener. Your ears will never get you into trouble. If you are the smartest person in the room, you are in the wrong room. Be careful of men whose words don’t match their actions.

Be an encourager. The world has enough critics already. Never judge another because their sin is different from yours. Remember to be fair. A fish is a brilliant swimmer, but if a fish is judged on its ability to climb a tree, it will spend its whole life believing that it is stupid.

Talk to girls you believe to be out of your league. You might surprise yourselves.

Finally, stop letting people who do so little for you control so much of your thoughts, feelings, and emotions.


Find your passion and figure out how to get paid for it, but remember: You can’t have a million dollar dream on a minimum wage work ethic. You can either experience the pain of discipline or the pain of regret. The choice is yours.

Everything you’ve ever wanted is on the other side of fear. Take calculated risks. Be prepared to work and achieve on your own merits; The world doesn’t owe you anything. If you want to be successful, stop asking people for permission and do what you know needs to be done. Success isn’t owned. It is leased, and rent is due every day.

Continuous improvement is always better than delayed perfection. Champions don’t show up to take what they want; they show up to give everything they’ve got. Trophies are won at practice; they are just picked up at competitions.

Always keep your relationships, bank account, and next move private. Your success is a product of your habits. A thousand productive habits done over time is the only way to build lasting success in all aspects of your life.

Learn the art of delayed gratification. Debt is slavery when not used to leverage assets but, instead, used to purchase liabilities. Read The Richest Man In Babylon and start paying yourself first. Then give every dollar you earn a job. Your money works for you, not the other way around.

Be a boss. If you cannot climb to the top of your chosen corporate ladder, design and build a better ladder. Then own the view.


Consistency, loyalty, and respect. Pursue these things. Be strong; not rude. Be Confident; not arrogant. Be kind; not weak. Be humble; not timid. Be patient. It takes six months to build a Rolls Royce and thirteen hours to build a Toyota.

Never speak out of a place of anger, jealousy, hate, insecurity, or ignorance. It is far better to remain silent at these times. How much more grievous are the consequences of anger than the causes? Show people respect, even if they don’t deserve it. Not as a reflection of their character but as a reflection of yours. Take care of others, but remember that sometimes you have to walk away from people. Not because you don’t care, but because they don’t. Never gossip. Ever. Great minds discuss ideas. Average minds discuss events. Small minds discuss people.

Never let the influences of the modern world dictate your morals and who you are. Protect that which is weaker than you. The measure of a man is not in how he responds to those above him, but in how he treats those who have no power over him or ability to further his interests. Adversity is not the truest test of character; power is. On the subject of power, know this. Obsession with power has been the downfall of many a once moral man. If allowed, its pursuit will poison your mind and destroy your soul. Power should be wielded by those who use it to raise up those around them, not hold them down. If power is used in that way, you should despise it and undermine it at every turn. Unchecked, it becomes tyrannical, building its empire upon the backs of slaves. And in those times, it is your job to fight.

Summary and Final Thoughts

Never hit anyone unless they are an immediate threat. And then hit them to the ground, with enough force to neutralize the threat. No more; no less.

Learn to wet shave. It’s a manly tradition. Shave with the grain on the first pass.

Nothing looks better than a well-tailored suit. A well-tailored suit to a woman is like lingerie to a man.

When you talk to someone, always look them in the eye and greet them with a firm handshake.

Play, lift, run. Use your body every chance you get.

Brush your teeth before you put on your tie. Never wear a clip-on tie.

Pay yourself first. A small amount of your paycheck should always go immediately into your savings account.

If you aren’t confident, fake it. It will come.

You can tell the measure of a man by the things that bother him.

Be conscious of your body language.

Always stand to shake someone’s hand.

Never lend anything you can’t afford to lose.

Ask more than you answer. Everybody likes to talk about themselves.

Keep a change of clothes at the office.

Buy high quality. Buy right; buy once.

Manliness isn’t only the ability to take care of yourselves, but the people around you also.

Go with the decision that will make for a good story.

When you walk, don’t look at your feet. Look straight ahead.

Find your passion and figure out how to get paid for it.

No matter their job or status in life, everyone deserves your respect. Never tolerate disrespect from others. Remember, you teach people how to treat you.

Everything is your fault. Always take personal responsibility. Bad things happen. It’s your job to overcome them.

The first one to get angry loses.

If it needs to be done, do it. Complaining never solved anything.

Never stop learning.

Always go out in public dressed like you’re about to meet the love of your life.

Never change yourself just to make someone else happy, unless that someone is you.

If you’re the smartest person in the room, you’re in the wrong room.

Luck favors the prepared.

Women find confidence sexy as hell.

Do whatever you want in life, but be the best at it.

No one dies wishing they spent more time at work. Enjoy your life.

Talk too much and they’ll think you are a fool. Remain silent and they become curious.

Care about what others think and you will become their prisoner.

You will never reach your destination if you stop to throw stones at every dog that barks.

Train your mind to be calm in every situation.

Go after everything you’ve been told you couldn’t have.

A ship is always safe at shore, but that is not what it’s built for.

Don’t waste words on people who deserve your silence. Sometimes the best thing you can say is nothing at all.

A clever person solves problems; a wise one avoids them.

Never take anything for granted.

You earn your trophies at practice. You just pick them up at the competitions.

When you build in silence, people don’t know what to attach.

Never tell people what you’re thinking. Stay low-key. Not everyone needs to know everything about you. Stop telling people more than they need to know.

Dressing well is a form of good manners.

Be careful who you trust. Sometimes the person you’d take a bullet for ends up being the one behind the gun.

You can’t win in life if you are losing in your mind.

No matter what the situation, never let your emotions overpower your intelligence.

Learn to say “No” without explaining yourself.

Live life as though everything was rigged in your favor.

Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake.

A mistake repeated more than once is a decision.

No amount of guilt can change the past and no amount of anxiety can change the future.

Don’t cling to a mistake just because you spent a lot of time making it.

The key to success is playing the hand you were dealt like it’s the hand you wanted.

Ask yourself this question: What would I do today if I knew that I could not fail.

Truth is like surgery. It hurts but it cures. A lie is like a pain killer. It gives temporary relief but has lasting side-effects. The truth is rarely pure and seldom simple.

In order for someone to insult you, you first must value their opinion.

Be selective of who you allow in your world. It is better to have four quarters than a hundred pennies.

Success is not built on success. It’s built on failure. It’s built on frustration. Sometimes it’s built on catastrophe.

Never beg anyone to be in your life. If you have to, walk away with your self-respect intact.

When someone shows their true colors, believe them the first time.

Trust the journey, even when you don’t understand it.

Don’t judge people because their sin is different from yours.

You are a product of your thoughts. What you think, you become. It all begins and ends in your mind. What you give power to has power over you, if you allow it.

Shape your world or someone else will.

Things always seem impossible until they’re done.

Move on. Don’t waste time feeling sorry for yourself.

Keep control. Don’t give away your power.

Embrace change. Welcome challenges.

Stay happy. Don’t waste energy on things you can’t control.

Be kind. Don’t worry about pleasing everyone.

Take risks. Take action.

Live in the present. Don’t dwell in the past.

Accept responsibility. Learn from your mistakes.

Don’t be afraid to fail. Failure is a stepping stone to success.

Enjoy alone time. You spend the most time with yourself. Like the person you are or make changes until you do.

Be prepared to work and achieve on your own merits. The world doesn’t owe you anything.

Have staying power. Don’t expect immediate results.

Evaluate your core beliefs. Modify them as necessary.

Spend your mental energy wisely. Don’t waste time on idle thoughts.

Cancel out negative thoughts. Not with positive ones, but with productive ones.

Learn to tolerate discomfort. Accept your feeling without being controlled by them.

Reflect on your progress. Always be setting new goals.

The world is changed by your example, not your opinion.

Stop letting people who do so little for you control so much of your thoughts, feelings, and emotions.

You are responsible for your own happiness.

You set the tone for every relationship by showing people what you will and will not tolerate. Don’t let people take you for granted.

Exist on your own terms.


An Unexpected Gift

Since I began this journey, I have written posts born out of emotions such as frustration, anger, regret, sadness, etc. But the other night I got to experience something I hadn’t before, and it broke me in a way I haven’t been in years. It was at the Christmas party, put on by Social Services, and contributed towards by members and organizations within our community. Admittedly,  I had reservations about attending. I’m embarrassed to say that I believed these kids were probably run through a line where they received a cheap toy and a cookie; A charade of sorts so that people could throw money at a problem and ease their consciences, without ever needing to dirty their hands with the day-to-day grind of actually helping a child in need. I believed this long before the thought of becoming a foster parent ever crossed my mind. I honestly don’t know where I acquired such an ignorant mindset, and what I found there was anything but what I described above.

For starters, one organization alone had donated $10,000 in gifts. Additionally, others had donated hundreds, and the community contributions through the adopt-a-family program were anything but what my imagination had fabricated. They donated wonderful gifts. Children with nothing were given bikes, action figures, dolls, jackets and shoes, just to name a few. My twins were met with warm faces from different people who had in one way or time been involved in their lives, all excited to see them and watch them open and enjoy their gifts. All of which, by the way, were high quality and purchased by people who wanted nothing more than to light up the eyes on a child’s face. The donor’s names, no where to be found on the packaging. Given anonymously, from a place a true kindness.

As I sat there, grateful I hadn’t shared my cynicism with anyone else and could just choke on my ignorance privately as I watched my own children light up with each gift their names had been hand written on by some caring stranger, a little boy sitting across the table from us said something that broke me on a deeply emotional level.

This boy, no older than five or six years of age, anxiously clamored for my attention. I looked up and met his bright blue eyes, beaming with excitement as he held a batman action-figure and matching bat-mobile. What he said to me next changed my life. He said, “Look at what someone got for me. I didn’t get forgotten.” He grinned from ear-to-ear and added, “This is exactly what I hoped for.”

(I didn’t get forgotten.)

I gotta tell you, if you’ve never seen a grown man cry, that little boy would probably tell you it’s not a good look. As I choked back an audible outburst of emotion, the face of that little boy beginning to blur, I rubbed my eyes and showed more interested in that boy’s gift than I had ever shown for anything in my life. And still, I could not match his excitement. Somebody changed that boys life that day. They made a child feel remembered and loved and that experience changed my life forever. If I could have brought that boy home that night and raised him with my twins, I would have leaped at the opportunity. I wish I had been the person who had taken the time to buy and wrap that gift. I really wish the person who did had gotten to experience the joy on that kids face alongside me.

Before we left, I asked a social worker a few questions and learned about the three full days it took to wrap all those gifts, and prepare this event. I have never felt prouder to be a small part of something so big in my life. Both of my boys received a blanket on the way out that had been handmade by someone who had taken the time to hand-make dozens of them, and I looked once more across a sea of faces. Foster children from infants to early teens, social workers and community members, foster parents and biological parents, all in the same room with one, singular goal in mind: To put a smile on the face of a child. A goal they met with each and every child in attendance.

At the beginning of this text, I began by describing the various emotions that have birthed these posts. This post was birthed purely from the joy on the face of a little blue-eyed boy holding a batman figurine amazed that someone had taken the time to remember him and give him the one toy he’d set his heart on. It was birthed from the shame of my own cynicism. It was birthed from a broken sort of humility, grateful to a community who stepped up for children they may never meet, to put a smile on a face they may never see.

May God bless each and every one of you this Holiday Season.


Toddler Facts!

While it is widely believed that toddlers are best equipped to survive when in captivity, conventional wisdom suggests that they rarely remain subservient to their captors. When scientists observed a focus group known as parents, over 99.9% reported that at some point in the rearing of toddlers, there had been a drastic shift in the dynamic of power, wherein, the toddler demanded and the parent responded. These responses ranged from preparing meals to the toddler’s liking to wiping fecal matter from the toddler’s behind in an attempt to remove the presence of an offensive odor the toddler neither notices nor minds.

As a result, various books have been produced over the decades written by experts ranging from clergy, wherein shaming said toddlers became the mainstay for parents to guilt their child back into submission, to philosophers. A rare breed of narcissistic navel-gazers who express their feelings in terms of colors. Engaging in full-fledged negotiations with the toddler at his eye level, later to discover they’d been robbed of their inner peace and dignity, left only with the fresh scent of patchouli oil.

While both views have merit in some parallel dimensions, where panda-tear latte’s are served with every meal, there are really no 100% effective methods of re-calibrating the balance of power. Instead, there are a list of truisms that seem to reverberate across the board in this particular focus group. Understanding the facts surrounding toddlers is the first step to gaining insight into their tactics. They are as follows:

  1. Your toddler likely has a close connection with his more primitive animal kingdom counter-part, the monkey. Never is this more evident than at nap time, when placed inside his enclosure, which resembles a prison in every aspect minus a secure ceiling. That singular omission will cost you much of your sleep. The walls of this enclosure are generally polished to a slick sheen; this will slow your toddler, not one bit. The power to weight ratio of a toddler is 6:1. This finite math suggests that, even at full extension, a toddler can lift himself, using his heel as a lever-point, up and over a wall, taller than he, in just under seven seconds. Times vary based upon the weight of the diaper he is wearing at the time of escape. For this reason, it is not advised that you change your toddlers diaper upon request, as it is likely a tactic to lighten his load for a faster escape time and would, otherwise, remain perfectly content to sit in its contents.
  2. If your toddler throws his food, this means he has had enough of your sub-par cooking for one meal. This does not mean he is full, nor does it excuse you from your kitchen duties, as you will now be expected to clean up after him in preparation for his next meal. In addition, never should you think for one second that whatever you were planning on eating that day is suddenly yours. Even if the amount proportioned for your toddler, which was the exact same thing, was just swept from the floor, indistinguishable from what used to be a remote control (or clicker for anyone with a grandtoddler at home). On the contrary, any bite you consume will likely cost you dearly during the negotiation tactic known as The Tantrum. You may choose to ignore this tactic, but this will likely only prolong this tactic indefinitely and annoy you without recourse. More often than not, you will cave like the Minnesota Viking’s stadium lid, sacrificing the majority of your own meal into topping-off your little bottomless pit. For this reason, toddlers are often referred to as America’s #1 diet and exercise program, turning P90X into T24/7X, now available at
  3. If there is a single dirty spot or item in the house, it will be found and spread across all surfaces, starting with his cleanest shirt and freshly washed hair. From there it will be distributed in the following manner: Dry-clean only fabrics, electronics priced highest to lowest; finally, anything with sentimental value will get what remains. If they can’t find a dirty substance, they will manufacture one. For this reason, many parents have found that keeping a basin of rancid water in a small room at toddler level for easy access is the safest way to control the distribution of toxic waste. In this scenario, the above items will merely be collected and thrown haphazardly inside, making them easy to find and fun to retrieve for the whole family.
  4. Nothing shows off your personal class and sophistication like foam bumpers on the corners of your handmade cherry furniture. Where carefully placed items of value were once displayed, remote controls, cell phones, keys, wallets, open-top beverages, tissue boxes, and various electronic devices now lay. This not only keeps everything of meaning to you in one convenient space, it also motivates your toddler to monkey-climb your shelving to obtain these items. In fact, the simple act of placing an innocuous item, such as a half-drunk, cold cup of coffee on a high shelf, will immediately invalidate whatever distraction you previously gained with the $500 in colored plastic noisemakers, currently strewn across your living room floor. Those are garbage now, and your coffee is suddenly your toddlers sole purpose in life. Put it in a tippie-cup, you say? Go ahead. He won’t want it anymore, and will, instead, occupy his every waking minute focusing on removing the lid.
  5. Disposable income with toddlers will, most definitely, be converted into disposable diapers and wipes. An investment without a return, despite the fact that deposits are made routinely, usually upon the fastening of the final snap of a onesie or the securing of the final strap on a car seat.

The above is not an exhaustive list, by any means. Nor does it offer you a single solution to these problems. If I had the answers to these problems, I would not be writing this blog to you. I would be in robes on a mountain in Tibet. But, solutions aside, the toddler, with his messes and constant need for every ounce of your time and energy, is still, far and away, the most wonderful thing you could ever have your life turned up-side-down for. I have been blessed with two. A CTRL-C, CTRL-V of one another; yet, somehow, completely unique to themselves. Two identical individuals with two sets of needs, wants, and desires.

It makes life fun and sleep scarce. If I were to leave you with one piece of advice it would be this: Your stuff is unimportant and replaceable. The time you spend (jokingly) in servitude to your toddler(s) will quickly be your favorite thing in the world to return from work for. Otherwise, you would just point the nose of your vehicle North and drive until the engine consumes the final drops of fuel in the tank. From there, you would walk further in the same direction until you collapsed in exhaustion.

Then you would crawl.


The Joys Of Parenting

I am titling this post, ‘The Joys Of Parenting’, because, ‘The Nightmare Before Christmas’, has apparently already been taken. I guess this Timothy Burton fella has twin boys also.

Crazy coincidence.

It all began shortly after breakfast, when I cooked the boys pancakes and a childhood favorite of mine, eggs in the hole, or, eggs on the graph, as we called it growing up. The idea being that you cut a hole in a piece of bread and drop an egg into the void. When you’re finished, you are left with a fried egg fused to a piece of toast.

The boys had had a long day the day before, playing with other kids at the homes of some good friends of mine, and, as a result, were too exhausted for bath time that night. So, they slept with dirty feet and I settled for a baby-wipe wipe-down. Now, as any parent knows, the best way to do things is by grouping as many tasks together as possible, hereinafter to be known as multitasking. A compound word I just made up. A fact of which I am convinced because no sane person would ever come up with such a ridiculous notion. The theory of which makes perfect sense, and the application of which has about as much place in a parents vocabulary as would the phrase, that was easy. Nonetheless, the concept of washing off the previous day (and brownie a la mode) with the following morning’s egg yoke and syrup had Genius written all over it. 

(I know Sugar Nazi’s, I know. It’s the Holidays…Let this one slide, please.)

As fate would have it, however, the phrase, Best laid plans, came bubbling to the surface in much the same way as what happened next did.

The enthusiasm of my multitasking (trademark pending) was matched by enthusiastic twins, who joined in my efforts by grouping bowel movements into bath time. The first of which felt like a punishment for thinking I had gotten away with something after both boys woke up this morning with only wetness banked in their Huggies. But it began to feel personal, after taking the boys out of the water and sitting them on the tile while I dredged the murky depths below, sanitized the basin, and refilled the tub with clean water (which, for dramatic effect, I’m going to say I fetched, bucket-by-bucket, from a nearby stream…in the snow…barefoot). A process that clearly took longer than the bladder of an 18 month old could tolerate, and I suddenly realized that it hadn’t been the warm bath water I had been kneeling in for the past ten minutes.

So, the moral takeaway here is this: Do one task at a time. Multitasking (Great word for a fantasy novel) is for suckers and Windows-based operating systems, which require Adobe and system updates every time you power them on.

But bath time aside, this week has been pretty great. With the boys sleeping soundly through most nights now, we are able to get through the day with fewer naps. That gave us the time to explore the Christmas Tree farm with another buddies family, where we picked out and later decorated our first tree together. And, by, decorate, I mean the Webster’s definition: “verb; to make upright and strangle with colored lights.”

(Why are water-proofed diapers not a thing?)

And , that, my friends, is the news from Lake Wobegon (for all you Garrison Keillor fans out there).

‘Till next time…


Week 1

I wouldn’t necessarily say that this has been ‘about what I’d expected.’ I can say emphatically that it has been a steep learning curve. For starters, they are twins…identical in virtually every visual way. That alone creates a few unique challenges, and after changing the same child’s diaper twice in a row, I put a little pen mark on (we’ll call him, Chip, for the purposes of this blog) Chip’s hand to avoid this mistake for future diaper changes. In truth, the error was, in part, due to the matching pajamas only an inexperienced parent would put identical twins in, but the genetics, here, are at least partly to blame.  I’ll take that small visual trickery though, because those genetics also produced two of the cutest, happiest, and healthiest toddlers I could ever have hoped to care for.

I feel I owe it to other parents of twins to dispel the myth that twins are easier because, ‘they entertain each other.’ This is common to hear from people, presumably twin-less people, who make this seemingly reasonable statement. While it is true, at times, it is just as true that, while one is being pulled from a cabinet the other is elbows deep in a porcelain basin full of toddler-high cool water; While one is happy, the other, full tantrum; While one diaper is clean, the other is in full blow-out. Even as I write this, I’m watching one twin on the baby monitor attempting to nap, while his brother uses his body as a stepping stool to get his leg over the crib wall…Oh yeah, did I mention they can climb right out of the crib, at will? That was a fun surprise on night three, when I finally got them to bed and myself into the shower. Caught completely off-guard by (We’ll call the other one…you guessed it…Dale) Dale’s bleach blonde head, now wet to his ears, peering in around the shower curtain. The pitter-patter of Chip’s little feet stomping on the tile floor behind him.

Bath time is a whole different challenge. Fortunately, the boys love creating claims on my flood insurance policy, so there’s that, but, at the same time, they hate having the shampoo rinsed out of their hair and they fly out of the water on full tip-toe, hands clawing at my shirt like they’re being waterboarded, every rinse, which is protested, just prior, by throwing their heads in exactly the wrong way to avoid actually waterboarding my children. Somehow, I’ve managed to avoid the inhalation of soapy bath water, thus far, but it feels like a huge win for the three of us, each and every time. Their favorite part of bath-time, however, is the few minutes they get to splash around as the water slowly drains, followed by the naked run through the house as I attempt to re-diaper them both before one of them pees on the carpet (A race I have already lost twice in the first week, btw).

This experience has created a lot of personal growth as well. Not, as well…More, it has created a lot of personal growth…period. I went into this with zero parenting experience, while the two of them had a combined three years of experience being babies then toddlers together. I went from never having grocery shopped…not really, ‘shopped’, anyway, to making multiple trips to the grocery store in my first week. I’ve also turned my brand new three-year-old stove, into a thoroughly used appliance during the same time-span. A week ago I was a bachelor. My diet consisted of take-out and pizza. I didn’t cook. I bought the stove because it came in the set and there was a hole in the cabinets I needed to fill. Now, I have two boys who will eat almost everything I put in front of them, and continue eating until I stop.  They’ll eat a whole PB&J each, a whole corn dog, right off the stick, and a pound of tatter-tots between the two of them. Sadly for them, they only get those foods once in a while. Thankfully, they also eat half of a large chicken breast each and love peas. To get nutrients in them, we’ve gone to making smoothies. If I knew how to make money blogging, believe me, I would have an advertisement for the Vitamix 780 inserted right here, because that thing makes spinach and kale invisible in a frozen fruit and yogurt smoothie. Once we figured out they couldn’t get the fluid through the small holes in the tippie-cups and they weren’t reject the concoction, it’s become a favorite for the boys who have learned that the purple drink comes with the straw.

So, what’s changed in the past seven days? I now know that I love these boys like they were my own flesh and blood, both as twins and as individuals. I can now tell them apart by their facial expressions and personalities, their laughs and cries, and by which area of the house they return to for mischief. Dale calls me Dada and chip calls me Mamma, and technically, at least for now, they’re both right. I get to wrestle around and sword fight with paper towel rolls, but I also have to kiss the booboos and sing to them at 3 AM when they wake up scared. They deserve a mom and dad. They got me, and I will do my best to fill both of those roles as best I can.

This first week has been challenging in ways I never imagined and, at the same time, has been the most rewarding experience of my life. I look forward to the little breaks during naps, but can’t imagine going back to a quiet house all to myself.

I’m looking forward to seeing how this next week goes as I begin to reincorporate my work schedule into the mix. It’s been hard while I was with them 24 hours a day. It’s going to be much more difficult moving forward, but these boys are not my only responsibility. I still owe it to my employer and to my devoted crew to give them 100% of my attention during the hours I’m there. My employer, boss, and crew have been wonderful in allowing me the time to focus solely on these boys. Now, I owe it to them to move back into working full time, devoted to their success and our success as a team as well.



As is sometime the case in life, things fall into place in a way which oddly mirrors your version of “Best Case Scenario”. Far more rare, are the instances where circumstance exceed your wildest expectations. As it so happens, my best case scenario (as anyone who has been following my blog can attest) was to be licensed by Thanksgiving and have a placement before Christmas. For me, the idea of seeing the excitement on a youngster’s face Christmas morning — rubbing the sleep from his eyes, the cautious first few steps toward the living room in Santa-red footie pajamas and a wide-toothed grin as he approaches a lit Christmas tree towering over top gifts, his name in big bold letters. The excitement building as he spies an empty cookie plate and milk-stained glass, proving that Santa found him, even in his new home — is the greatest Christmas gift a new parent (or foster parent, in my case) could ever hope to receive.

But, as it would happen, my wildest expectations were exceeded when, ahead of the issuance of my license, I received a call from Social Services stating that two 18 month old boys had just entered the system and they were wondering if I would be interested in having them placed with me.

That’s right…Twins!

If you remember from an earlier post, I asked to be licensed for up to three children, in case there were siblings also needing placement. Twins are rare and I’d never even considered the possibility that I would be offered such an wonderful opportunity, especially for a first placement. But suddenly, I couldn’t imagine having anything else, and as soon as I enthusiastically accepted, I began ordering duplicates of everything. Cribs, car seats, high-chairs, pajamas, matching Jellycat stuffed animals, etc. The realization settling in that I had spent the past three months getting half prepared. Fortunately, there exists a perfect universe where my excitement fueled anxiety can stretch it’s legs:

This was far and away the most exciting phone call I can recall ever having received! Dwarfing past calls that said things like, “Escrow has closed on your new home”, and, “Congratulations! You’ve passed the California Real Estate Broker’s Exam.” It seems like only yesterday that, “You have my blessing to marry my daughter,” was the pinnacle of good news I’d received over the phone. Now a distant and fading memory of what, after this call, suddenly felt like a lifetime ago. So much of life has been this way for me: One chapter ends, the next begins. All to often, the people that occupied the pages of my story remain locked away, left behind for one reason or another in the story of my past. Separation may be the most difficult part of life for me, and my current choices suggest the future will likely hold more of the same, given the temporary nature of foster care in most cases. Adoption is less common and, until final, exists only in the form of hopeful expectation.

But with loss comes gain; with endings, new beginnings. And, these boys will be my life, at least for awhile, and that feels pretty great to say.

Within a half an hour, I had already begun making the transition from one kid to two, and by the end of the weekend, everything was in place. A complete top to bottom transformation in less than 72 hours.

A short few days later, I received a long awaited message. “You’re Official! Your license was signed today.” This was a huge milestone for me, but seemed somehow underwhelming in light of the news about the twins. Truth be told, I really like the Social Worker I’ve been working with for licensing, and am disappointed that we will not be in touch as often now. She has been a huge advocate for me, and has made this process far more enjoyable, not to mention, manageable, than I’d ever imagined it could be. Whether she knows it or not, she will be receiving updates on the kids from me from now on, and I hope we will continue to stay in touch. We’re friends now. Both she and her co-worker have been supportive of this journey since day one, and I hope they both know how much I appreciate the job they did. I wish I could acknowledge them by name, but that, unfortunately, would not be prudent. I am, after all, responsible for keeping the children’s lives as private as humanly possible. That includes the team of people responsible for bringing the boys into my life.

Today, I was shown pictures of the boys. They are beautiful, with the blondest hair I’ve ever seen. Identical twins. Both of them grinning from ear to ear. The pictures were taken by the family they were temporarily placed with. Two of the nicest people I’ve met; both of whom seem to genuinely care about the twins. It was a privilege to meet them and get a little insight into what the boys are like. I am anxious to have them with me, but could not feel better about where they are between now and then. Tomorrow, I get to meet the boys in person and spend the day getting to know them. This isn’t always the case. In fact, I would guess that this is rare. I leaped at the opportunity to meet them and hope I can sleep tonight, despite my excitement.

A few days from now, the boys will be placed in my home.

I can’t wait to tell you all about it!



Home Inspection

When people hear that you are getting licensed for foster care, there are really only three questions they ask:

  1. Why are you doing this? That’s a fair question, the answer to which can be found in my first post, “The Day I Decided To Become A Foster Parent.”
  2. How can you be a foster parent as a single man who works? The same way a single mother does. The same way I began selling real estate at the age of 18. The same way I’ve achieved everything of meaning in my life: Hard work and commitment. My life has been filled with difficult challenges; none of which are as meaningful or worthwhile as this, and none ever will be or should be, for that matter. Challenge is where I thrive. I’m as prepared as any natural parent has ever been; more than many, I assure you.
  3. Isn’t getting licensed a really difficult process? Yes; And it should be. Consider the “ask”. Please,  place in trust with me – a stranger – the well-being of another person’s child.

And, for this reason, question number 3 is the focus of this post.

I’m not going to make an exhaustive list of the requirements which have to be met for licensing. They can be found online, and differ by county and state. I’m also not a social worker, and am, therefore, not the best source of information on the topic. What I can say is, while the requirements are exhaustive and take a considerable amount of time to meet, it is worth it. Don’t allow your imagination of the looming requirements transform into a giant, weaponized gatekeeper, whose sole purpose is to defeat you at every turn.

The expectations are both reasonable and manageable. They need to know who you are, what type of person you are, what your motivation for doing this is, and, ultimately what kind of parent or legal guardian you will make, regardless of whether or not you have children of your own who have not yet died in your care. Keeping a child alive is — let’s be honest — the easiest part of being a parent and the bare-minimal requirement. What’s the hardest part? I’ll let you know when I get there, but I imagine it varies child-to-child, and there is no one single right answer. Any parent might have a different answer and each one of them would be correct.

The last of my requirements were met today, with the passing of my home inspection. I’m not going to tell you what is required to pass a home inspection, because that would be both tedious as well as boring. But here are a few things I did in advance, some required; some not so much. I turned my water heater down. My water temp is 102°, which I’m told is perfect. For additional help on this, it happens to be the “A” on the temperature dial. Not sure if that is consistent across all water heaters or not; that happens to be the temperature of that setting on mine.

All weapons should be out of sight: guns, locked; ammo locked in a separate container from the firearms. Knives, even displayed on a high shelf, need to be put away out of reach. Kitchen knives kept in a drawer need child safety latches to ensure they are not easily accessible. This makes sense, but catches me off guard every time I go to get a utensil and the drawer is yanked out of my grasp by the latch I forgot I’d installed a few days earlier. It sounds funny, but I’ve lived without child safety latches my entire life. I’ve been slow to adjust, like the time I microwaved a honey bear, not realizing that 30 seconds in a sealed contained would cause the pressure to squirt lava-hot fluid all over my face. Add to that the sticky nature of honey, and you’ve got an entry level napalm.

Try wiping that out of your blinded eyes in a panic…

I don’t really care for honey anymore, but you get the point. I’m a slow learner. And, also, I need to think about things now, that I’d never really had to consider before. Like medications. A Medicine cabinet is great as an adult, and a treasure chest of death for a child who discovered he can monkey-climb his way on top of your bathroom vanity and open the lids with his little monkey hands. Kids are smart. They only pretend they need us in order to keep us doing chores for them around the house. Don’t think this means you can call their bluff, though. They are very committed to their roles and will starve before they break character.

(Disclaimer: I am kidding. Do not starve your child. They are absolutely dependent on you to meet their basic needs for survival… Yes, we do live in a world where this needs to be explained. Where adults have to be told not to use electrical appliances in the bathtub, and where lead-based paint gives way to latex.) 

Fire extinguishers. Self-explanatory. I’ve never owned one; now I own two. Household cleaning supplies (as well as industrial strength if your name is Dexter, Bateman, or Heisenberg) need to be out of reach, locked up, or behind child (and, evidently adult) proof safety latches. Paint, etc.; same thing. Garage/storage; out of reach or locked in a cabinet.

Water features, including child-sized pools, are not allowed without gates to block access. Think about it. The county is responsible for making sure the child is safe where he’s placed; not their birth-parent(s). It’s a liability thing, and they take that responsibility very seriously. You’ll need to, as well.

Beyond that, the requirements are centered around your homes adequacy for sustaining human life in reasonable comfort. Can you heat and cool it? Can you see in the dark whilst inside of it? Will it keep the pitter-patter of Autumn’s rain from waterboarding a baby during the night? Again…All very reasonable expectations.

In short, while I did thankfully pass on my first inspection, I spent two months preparing for it. I had surveillance added to the exterior of my home and upgraded my third-party monitoring (not required). I bought diapers in every size up to 27 lbs (not required). And numerous other over-the-top amendments to my lifestyle in anticipation of this youngster. In short, this child will be safe, warm or cool depending on the weather…obviously, fed, well clothed, and loved. And when he reaches a point where he/she can read this, it will still be another decade before he/she will know who the above referenced fictional characters are (Walter white, I mean. Obviously Heisenberg was also a real person, who can rightly be learned about at a younger age).

Background investigation, interviews, references, documentation for everything imaginable; Finally, with the passing of my home inspection, I can now legally have a child placed in my care. It likely will not happen until my license is fully processed…but it may. And I am ready. More than ready…Ecstatic! I can’t wait to vaguely tell you nothing specific about this child, while explaining in vivid detail cherry-picked stories about our experiences together. Anonymity is the right of this child as well as a legal mandate. In a perfect world, this would not need to be the case. But, in a perfect world, foster care wouldn’t exist, so here we are. My goal, after placement, is to include you as much as possible. Out of respect for this child, names and details about him/her will be kept private. Out of respect for you, the reader, the rest will be told exactly as it occurs.

I hope you’ll stick with us.

‘Till next time…




Excerpts From “The Connected Child” with notes by Elijah Cain. -Part 1.5

Before I continue this series of posts, I would like to state that I am in no way qualified to offer advice on dealing with issues stemming from childhood trauma, give parenting advice, or pass judgment on anyone’s past, present, or future decisions, mistakes, or realities. Furthermore, not all of my conclusions are set in stone. Like any reasonable, thinking adult, I reserve the right to alter my opinions when presented with new and better information. This particular segment of posts dealing with the issue of childhood trauma represents a small part of the learning path I’m on to try and prepare myself for the road ahead. I’m sharing with you, my readers, as a way to better digest the information I’m taking in and pass it along to anyone who may benefit from the things I’m learning. Lastly, while I care very little for the opinions of others, especially of those who have no vested interest or stake in my eventual outcome, I care a great deal for people as a whole, and, by no means, intend for anyone to feel judged or offended by anything in these posts.

The issue of unwanted children in this country is heartbreaking to me, and, most likely, to anyone who is not a textbook sociopath. If you’ve read more than one of my posts, and did so because you’re interested and not simply because you know me, you know that there are things I struggle with internally, especially where it comes to the issue of child abuse. I was not abused, neglected, or molested growing up. If you’ve read my previous post, “Support System“, you know that I had a great childhood which I had the privilege of sharing with an amazing family, in which, I’m including my closest friends. With that said, I’m not sure that having experienced any one of those horrific events at some point in my life would have better prepared me for this challenge or given me a deeper understanding of how to help a child through it. But do not misunderstand me. I am not looking out of the window of my ivory tower, searching for some child lucky enough to be rescued.

What you have before you is a man who desperately wants to be a father, and if it is in anyway possible that I can help a child overcome some form a childhood trauma in the process, than I feel it is my responsibility, and, of equal importance, my privilege to do everything I can to prepare myself for whatever lies ahead. I owe this to any child I am blessed with, regardless of the length of their stay or whether or not the potential for permanency exists.

In short, I am not dispensing medical advice, parenting advice, or judgement. I hold strong feelings of frustration toward those who hurt children by way of neglect or abuse. But, I also believe that people can change and I believe in forgiveness. I believe in reunification and reconciliation. I believe in one’s ability to overcome insurmountable odds in order to achieve something greater than themselves. A parent who faces his or her own demons and seeks help for their struggles in order to reunify with their child, has done exactly that. And you have my respect; but, more importantly, you’ve regained  your own. And, God willing, you will have earned back your child.

If I lose the ability to adopt a hundred children temporarily in my care, due to reunification with a birth parent who has undergone such a transformation, I am okay with that. More than okay. Overjoyed.


Because, ultimately, I doubt that any trauma a child might experience could ever be more emotionally damaging or lasting than the feeling that they were unwanted or unloved. That they were not worth the effort. That nobody fought for them or cared enough to pay attention to them.

So, if you’re a parent who has been on the other side of Child Welfare Services and you want desperately to reunify with your child or children, I want to encourage you with everything inside of me. DO IT! Whatever it takes. Do it. You owe it to yourself and your child. Put in the work. You can do this! There are so many programs available to you. Will it be easy? No. Worth it? Absolutely. Like nothing else you could ever do.

And your child will forgive you.

Once they know you care enough to fight for them, they will forgive you.

They still love you.

Fight for yourself; Fight for them. ‘Till next time…

Continue this journey

Excerpts From “The Connected Child” with notes by Elijah Cain. -Part 1

In the orphanage, baby Donnie has the crib farthest from the nursery door. He lies in soiled diapers for hours at a time and is the last baby fed by the attendant. Left untouched and underfed, he does little but stare at the sterile walls and ceiling. The back of his head has become flattened from remaining in that position so long.” — (The Connected Child: Bring Hope and Healing to Your Adoptive Family by Karyn B. Puris, David R. Cross, & Wendy Sunshine.)

For the remainder of this series, all content taken from “The Connected Child” will be italicized. Please refer to the above link to purchase, or to find more information about this book. 

“An infant lying in a crib in a sterile institution may compete with forty other babies for the attention of a scarce caregiver. During the first weeks, the institutionalized baby will cry, but when no one responds, eventually the crying stops. Orphanage nurseries tend to be eerily quiet because babies there quickly discover no one comes when they cry. For these tiny ones, their earliest communications are effectively silenced.

Instead of receiving reassuring and nurturing embraces from a mother, the institutionalized baby experiences the world as a cold and impoverished place. There is no affectionate sensory bath, there are few sounds, and whitewashed walls reduce visual stimulus. An institutionalized child misses out on a great deal, and is at great risk.”


This is one of the most heartbreaking and troubling aspects of childhood trauma for me to wrap my mind around. Probably, because it’s so easy to avoid and the consequences of neglect in the early stages of childhood development can cripple a child, well into their adult life. In some cases, the lack of human contact has even lead to an infant’s life functions failing, resulting in death.

A baby who is well attended to, will spend the very first moments of life wrapped in the arms of a nurturing mother. Feeling her warmth, listening to her coos and she strokes his or her cheek. Early cries are met with comfort and feelings of security as his needs for nourishment are met. Already, the baby has learned to trust adults and begins to form attachments with them. When a baby is born premature, and spends its first few days — sometimes even weeks or months — in an incubator, Doctors have discovered that the mere act of someone reaching in and stroking the baby’s cheek a few times a day can result in the baby gaining weight twice as fast as one who does not receive this very basic human interaction.

As children grow, they form bonds with people based on the neurological pathways that are formed during these early stages of life, even before they can consciously articulate their need for affection; yet, their ability to make connections with others dictates the quality and depth of all the other relationships they will experience as they move through life.

I wish I could spend a few hours every afternoon visiting orphanages and holding babies for a few minutes a day, making eye contact with them, interacting with them, and quieting their discomforts. It would be such a small thing that could easily improve their entire developmental process. Consequently, it is for reasons such as these that the United Sates has moved away from orphanages in favor of the Foster Care System. Sadly, by the time some of these children experience their first loving interaction, it may be with a stranger, or, worse, from someone looking to victimize this child by taking advantage of this need to satisfy their own perverse desires. Some of the children in Foster Care have experienced both of these before finding a safe and nurturing environment, only to discover that they don’t trust their new family, and are unable to connect with them. Many Foster Families have become frustrated because their placement doesn’t seem to connect with them. They make minimal attempts, only to send them away in hopes of finding a new, less damaged child to love.

This is tragic on every level, when you consider how much of it can be avoided by the simple act of holding a baby close enough to hear your heartbeat and feel your warmth. To willingly deny a child this basic early need is, in many ways, the most hateful thing a person can do, short of physically hurting, starving, or otherwise abusing their infant child. But, furthermore, as a Foster parent, knowing that you have, in many cases, missed that early window for forging a bond with your child, patience and understanding are key. Almost no child is going to remember that early neglect, nor will they be able to understand or articulate their need for closeness. In most cases, they will have defenses in place to protect themselves from what has become a foreign and uncomfortable experience, and it may take months, or even years, before a child has become comfortable enough to trust you and begin to form a lasting attachment. Sadly, not all of them will be given enough time with their Foster Family to see such improvements, before being reunified with their birth parent(s) or before “blow-out” occurs in their current placement for failure to connect.

It is for this reason that I chose to borrow content from the above mentioned book, and share with you the need for understanding the various types of early trauma many of these children have been exposed to. It’s never to late to love a child or provide one with a safe place to sleep, where meals are readily available, where they can begin to learn and grow and trust again. But it will take patience and you will be stretched to the limit, time after time, for the possibility of helping a child work through their early stage neglect or childhood trauma. And, that possibility, alone, is worth the effort. That, alone, is worth the pain. That, alone, is worth the sacrifice.

This is the first of several posts dealing with childhood trauma. The content of each is unpleasant to say the absolute least. But, in trying to understand it myself, I am forced to think about these things and learn techniques to help a child work through them. As a result, I have been on an emotional rollercoaster ride where, at the highest points, I’m filled with tremendous joy, looking forward to this exciting challenge, to the lowest points, where I find my mind going to dark places, where I have a hard time not imagining police finding the bodies of some of these horrible people in shallow, unmarked graves, inside a world where abortion has been replaced with sterilization.

Just being honest.

To me, there is nothing worst than a human being who can willingly hurt a child or rob one of their innocence. And, I apologize for dragging you down this troubling path with me, but writing to you is my therapy. You are my coping mechanism. And together, I hope we can tackle these issues, one child at a time.

Until next time…

Continue this journey