I know - two posts in 24 hours is a lot -- but my heart is so grieved this morning. Our adoption support group is in trouble. The Sylvia Thomas Center for Adoptive & Foster Families has played an intrical role in keeping our family together. I have not shared many things that have happened in our home on this blog because I do not know how much a person who is not in the same situation would understand - so you get a taste of our lives -- but not the full course. I will tell you this - the last 6 years have been a nightmare at times. I have not known how to cope with some of the violence that comes along with a severely mentally ill child. But there was someone who understood - The Sylvia Thomas Center. They have been there for me in so many ways. They have provided emotional support of other parents going through similar situations. They have provided my stable children with outlets more times than I can count. They have brought a behaviorist into our home that we never could have afforded. Not just any behaviorist - a great behaviorist - one who thoroughly understands RAD and what it can do to a family. They provided a therapist for my youngest child who desperately needed to work out anxiety issues while not understanding her emotions. She loves her brother but was afraid. They helped her. They provided me with extra eyes in the summer time sending an intern to my house 3 times a week during the summer months when my RAD child had to be in line of sight at all times. They provided case management by developing safety plans and always being supportive and nonjudgmental. I cannot tell you the number of times I have sat in Sharon Due's office in tears because I simply did not know what to do. She provided a listening ear, a hug & real world solutions. For a couple of years when times were really tough financially they provided Christmas for my children - all my children - not just the adoptive one. They have helped me get my son into a facility when it seemed impossible to do so because he has both a mental illness and a physical illness. They helped monitor the facility. When the Department of Children and Families got involved in our case - they were there to vouch for us and say that we were good parents. They have done this for countless families. They provided all this at no cost to me. I can honestly say if it were not for the Sylvia Thomas Center it would not be likely that our family would still be together.
Now the Children's Board of Hillsborough County wants to cut funding to the Sylvia Thomas Center. Countless families will be affected. Countless families will separate and children will go back into foster care when there is no support for the parents and families. My heart is so sad. Below is the news article:
I ask you - if you live in Hillsborough County or if you are the parent of foster or adoptive child to write the Children's Board and tell them how important the Sylvia Thomas Center and agencies like them are. Ask them to not cut the funding. E-mail your letters to Sharon Dues <firstname.lastname@example.org> and she will forward them to the Children's Board.
Dancing in Sadness,