This is the first ‘blog’ I will commit to. My own. I feel like I have a lot to say. I feel like I have a lot inside that needs to get out. So what a more fitting way to present these topics then to create my own blog site. Sounds like a wonderful experience. For some it will be. Others; not so much. When I decided I would do this, I decided to lay it all on the line and put everything out there. One can only make change for the better if one speaks up and stands one’s ground. This one will do that. If you know me, you know that I always ‘call it like I see it’ and I will continue to do this until the end of time. This doesn’t mean I’m being harsh or mean, this just means I look at the evidence and explain a situation as to my perspective. Everyone has a different perspective and my explanations of happenings are mine and only mine. I will write in my own language. The way I speak is how I will continue to tell this story. It will be filled with curse words and profanities. So if that is not your cup of tea, turn away now. I may insult you. If you feel insulted, please feel free to pick your coat up in coat check and not let the door hit you where the good lord split you. If you feel insulted, there may be a good reason for this so please feel free to look inside yourself and have the real doucebag please stand up. My teacher told me once that I may have ‘mastered’ the art of putting someone in their place ‘professionally’. I will try and hold myself to this standard but keep in mind it will not always be possible. That being said, lets skip the intro and get right into this. Let’s start from the beginning. I will explain to the many who don’t know me, how I came to be and try to let them feel how I feel and see what I see. It’s important to me to try and keep my readers engaged, and wanting more so let’s have at it.
When I was five years old, my father decided that throwing me on the floor and breaking my leg was a good idea for discipline. Then he lied about it. And tried to get me to lie about it too. But doctors are smarter than meets the eye so a few days later the Department of Community Services showed up at my door.
Enter the world of ‘The System’. This begins my 14 years in and out of foster homes, group homes and facilities.
You see, when I went to foster home #1, apparently an in home family worker went to work with my parents to try and make things better. There is no evidence of this, this is just what I heard. Once things would get better a small bit, I started going for visits at home and eventually I moved back home. This went on for years. I would get moved home. Something would break down again, and then I would get moved back to a foster home. Repeat. I can’t tell you how many times this happened as it is too many.
Question #1: Why did the Department of Community Services do this so many times and let it go on for so long?
Answer: I don’t have one.
Definition: Foster Home: Foster care is a system in which a minor has been placed into a ward, group home, or private home of a certified caregiver, referred to as a “foster parent”. The placement of the child is normally arranged through the government or a social service agency. This could be due to reasons such as child abuse or neglect in the biological family home.
Foster parents are supposed to care for the child, take care of them, and try and help them through some of the issues they have. They are supposed to provide and safe, happy, and stable environment.
However, my first, foster home: not so much.
Trauma can affect the human body and mind in many different ways.
Definition of Trauma: A deeply distressing or disturbing experience. A personal trauma like the death of a child. Emotional shock following a stressful event or a physical injury, which may be associated with physical shock and sometimes leads to long-term neurosis.
So I think its safe to say that being physically abused by my father and being taken to a stranger’s home to live, is a traumatizing experience. So my body reacted to this experience and I started to ‘pee’ the bed. But instead of caring for me and helping me through the issues that present, instead the foster parents thought it was a good idea to discipline me some more by making me stand in a corner. And no, I don’t mean for a minute. I mean for quite a long time. Long enough to make my knees weak and have me begging and crying for them to let me out before I fell over.
Question #2: Why are foster parents not better screened to ensure the well being and safety of children?
Answer: I don’t have one.
I was moved from home to home for years. In and out, back and forth. Up until I was about 12 years old. Then my parents decided to sign over their parental rights for me and hand them over to the government. I was called a ‘Ward of the court’. Great title eh?
Through the years I met good foster parents, and not so good foster parents.
Until I was at a teenage age where foster parent’s kind of ‘shied’ away from as they like to take care of smaller kids where they have a greater chance of making ‘change’ and behaviors have no fully settled in. At this time, I entered ‘Group Care’. Group homes and facilities. A huge place filled with kids, rules, expectations, staff and program to try and house kids and manage behaviors. Even though some of these places were considered ‘Treatment Facilities’, there was not much ‘treatment’.
On top of learning new negative behaviors from the other kids, and being a ‘Negative Nancy’ myself, I spent a lot of time going for walks by myself. I would always try and get a couple smokes from stranger on the street, go down to the water front and just ‘watch’ people. I would watch their behaviors and how they ‘carry’ themselves. Watch how they interact with others. This is where I began to learn how to ‘read’ people. I got very good at reading emotions, expressions and gestures and I used this to try and tell when people were lying to me.
Fast forward quite a bit.
I was homeless for a while. I chose, to sleep in graveyards, abandoned apartments and stairwells, because I no longer enjoyed the group living lifestyle, rules and expectations.
I ended up living in a rooming house at the age of 17, which was paid for by the government. There were lots of drugs in this house, and it was pretty run down. It was run by a ‘slum lord’. Same thing with the building next to me. The government refused to pay anymore than a coupe hundred a month for rent, so this is all I could get.
Then, I ‘aged’ out when I turned 19 years old. This means, that because I wasn’t going to school, (Because I was working to make money for food), they released me from their care. Just a sweet little letter in the mail telling me I was fully on my own. For the next few years I went job to job, and lived in house to house trying to make ends meet. I even travelled to Alberta for work. Had a couple kids. But life never really settled in for me.
Then when I was 28, I decided to go back to school and take a Child and Youth Care program. I did this to see if I could work in the system, and try to give back to other kids who were in situations I used to be in. I also knew what was wrong with ‘The System’, so I wanted to see if I could make some positive changes. Only thing is, is I didn’t know if the system would accept me, or decline me, because I used to be a client. I started school, and began telling my story to others. Others seemed proud of me and proud I decided to do this work. I got my first job in a place I was a resident in, but one of the supervisors didn’t make me feel to welcome. Then I got another job, and another one. Soon I had around five jobs in the system. To gain experience, but also to make some money. In a lot of the placed I worked for, there was no treatment of programming. Kids were allowed to do as they wish on a day to day basis, and there wasn’t much ‘Therapy’, so it didn’t seem as if things would get better for these kids. I got a job at a big Youth Center at one point. Another one that I used to be a resident in. I figured I knew both sides of the tracks so I could bring some real useful insight to the table. However, at this place, I really didn’t feel welcome. There was an elephant in the room anytime I went to work. And even the Executive Director posted a question in a forum on a youth care website, wondering other people’s opinions about hiring past residents. It seemed like he himself wasn’t too sure about his decision to hire me.
I wanted better for myself, and knew I was capable of being an amazing youth care worker, so I quit all the jobs and went back to Alberta. I began working as a Youth Care Worker at a treatment facility on a ranch, and could not ask for anything better. I worked so hard, that I became a supervisor in just 7 months. I learned a lot, and helped quite a few kids. Even if I help just one child in my lifetime, my goal is complete. I was a supervisor for two and a half years.
My biological mother passed away two years ago while I was here in Alberta. I miss her. I’ve keep in slight contact with her over the years. She lived in a group home and lived her life as a low functioning woman with mental health issues. I’ve always wished I could have apologized to her for what I put her through as a child. I know its not really her fault and I forgive her. But now, I’ll never have the chance. I helped pay for her funeral and cremation as I didn’t have enough money to make it back home for the actual funeral. I had her shipped out, and I laid her to rest in a place she would have enjoyed seeing.
Then; ‘It’ happened.
On the evening of January 8th 2016, I was arrested at work for assault with a weapon. I was informed of my rights and taken to the local RCMP station in handcuffs. I was informed that a child from my work place had filed a complaint with the RCMP that I assaulted him with a lighter by burning his arm. This was a child who knew me well and did not like me at all. This was due to me always putting a stop to him brining contraband to ranch, and him getting quite a few consequences from me for doing things that he should not. I had never been arrested before, so I decided to use my right to call a lawyer. The lawyer on the phone asked me what the charge was and I told him. The lawyer told me not to say anything because the officers might try and use it against me. So I listened to the lawyer. I told the officers I would not give a statement unless a lawyer was present. But they continued to try and ask me questions anyway. Each time I gave the same response. ‘With a lawyer’. Its not that I didn’t want to help the cops don’t get me wrong. I didn’t do anything to this kid, so I would have loved to have just helped out that night, clear my name and be gone with it. But I’ve seen enough cop shows to know that ‘some’ police officers are not very nice so I wanted to make sure I just followed the law and everything within my rights. After a couple hours I was released. I went home, called my bosses, and got a lawyer the next day. I was off work for 7 weeks due to the investigation. I eventually ended up passing a polygraph test, and due to this, the child admitted that he made up the story to get me in trouble because he didn’t like me. That child is now being charged with ‘Public nuisance’, because he wasted everyone’s time and resources.
The whole debacle had me so stressed out I quit my job and moved back to Nova Scotia. This was along with my wife being stressed about now having a job for so long and us not knowing what to do financially. So we sold everything and left.
Once back in NS, we did some renovations, spent time with family and had some fun. But something was amiss and something was missing. Alberta. We missed it. After we went through finances and job prospects to see there actually was none, we both realized we jumped the gun and made the mistake of going back to NS. We missed our Alberta friends and I missed my job. So after only two months in NS, we sold everything again, pack up and went back to Alberta. We ended up staying with friends until we got settled.
I started have really bad stomach pains a few weeks in. The doctor informally diagnosed me with Inflammatory Bowel Disease and explained I may have to get some of my intestines removed. I sit here in pain every day.
I am no longer a Supervisor at work. A good friend of mine got the position. It was filled while I was gone. I miss my post but now work as a Child and Youth Care Worker.
Another terrible thing is in the works but I cannot mention it yet.
Last week my wife secured a full time job so that’s a good thing. Now if we can save some money we can move back to our old neighborhood. Only thing that sucks is that were starting from scratch and don’t have anything.
This leads us to Sunday July 31 2016.
The evening my daughter started to crash was a scary one. I had no idea what was going on, but in my gut; well my gut knew and I don’t think I wanted to accept it. All the signs were there and had been for a while. Drinking an overabundance of liquid every day and filling her diapers with urine to the point they over flow. And this would be within an hour. She was not herself and I could tell. I just didn’t want to say anything. I didn’t want to freak my wife out, and didn’t want to think about it myself. I just did my job as a parent, and as the person I am. I sat back; and I watched. I paid attention to see where this was going to go. After a week of this, on a Sunday, my wife sent me a text I didn’t want to get. ‘Her breath smells like rubbing alcohol’. I knew what that meant. It was just another sign. I got the same text on Monday. But when I got home from work, things were different. I noticed my daughter was ‘trying’, to watch videos on her tablet. She would stand for a minute, and then roll around on the floor. After a few times of her doing this I realized she was having trouble standing up and had no energy. I paced around the house watching her. I contemplated waiting until tomorrow to take her to the family doctor or taking her to the hospital today. Part of me was worried about what the doctors were going to say. I didn’t want to hear it but; Enough was enough. I had to take her in. Regardless of what they told me, my job was to protect her. I am her father. So in to the hospital we went. We explained symptoms and after a few minutes a nurse came in to do a blood, sugar test. 24.9 I thought that was normal. Until they said that normal was between 4 and 8. Followed by a urine sample that confirmed she was chocked full of ketones. We were being admitted right away. Confirmed. Two IV’s for the night and a lot of tests. I was upset, scared, and so many other emotions I can’t even explain.
I was awake for 36 hours.
After all the tests; she was diagnosed with Type 1, and we were discharged. We were asked to come back every morning all week, to get educated on diabetes. Every day, all week, I learned about blood sugars, carbs, health, insulin, and checks. There was lots to learn and I was taking in as much as I could. Then on Friday, that was it. We were given emergency numbers, a boost of confidence, and we were on our way. My days are now filled with blood sugar checks, giving my little on insulin twice a day, counting her carbs and sugar at every meal and snack.
But yet, I cannot imagine what it feels like to be her. She’s the one getting poked all the time. She is the one that can’t eat what she used to. She’s the one that went through this whole experience, and now her life is flipped, turned upside down.
People I know far and wide sent their ‘apologies’ for this happening. My response was simple.
Please don’t be ‘sorry’ for me, Taylor, or my family. We are all fine. She is fine. Diabetes is only a tough lifestyle change that everyone has to get used to. She is still the same child with the same personality.
And I love her more today that I did yesterday.
I think its safe to say this year has been a piece if shit to me and my family and I don’t know why. A lot of terrible things have happened. Part of me feels like a higher power has it out for me.
I’ve been super depressed this year and this is my first mention of it. I push through as best I can. I do it for my family, friends, and my work. I just want everyone to be happy, safe and thankful for what they have. I am super busy everyday, have almost no time to myself, and work to live. I know people would say ‘But you have to take care of yourself’, but I don’t see anyways to do so. There is never enough time in a day where I can even find time for myself. I work and have a family.
I want to strive to help others, kids, and families in positions I used to be in. I would like to gain my supervisor position back someday at work. I wish a good happy and healthy life for my children and my family. I wish to travel the world someday and have a permanent place we can call home here in Alberta.
I just want the best for everyone.
I put all my cares aside for the needs of others. It’s who I am. It’s what I do.
And I will continue to do so until the end of time.
I hope you enjoyed my first blog.