22 Aug 2013 / Posted by cr
Jed Maddalon entered foster care after he was found chained to a bed. While he now has a loving family, Jed’s journey through North Carolina’s child welfare system was harrowing. WCNC Charlotte featured his story and it begins with Jed almost dying:
“He was severely neglected to the point of dehydration and starvation, almost death. He was basically left to fend for himself, physically abused,” says Brooks Shelley, Jed’s dad. Shelley and his partner, Billy Maddalon, formally adopted Jed in 2010.
“He was locked in a room and fed from a dish on the floor in a pretty primitive way. I don’t know how else to describe it, except he was raised as a dog,” Billy says.
Jed and his family know this because Jed has his foster care files. The files show that he went through about 30 different placements–all before he turned 13 years old. The trauma of being moved around so much took its toll–Jedwould destroy things in his foster homes to see if his new parents would abandon him like all the rest:
“Once you’ve been backstabbed so many times, it’s just hard for you to trust and love,” he says.
Because Jed often ran away from foster homes, the state sent him to a mental institution. That’s where Brooks and Billy first met Jed, and their memories of that time show what it’s like for some kids who end up institutionalized. According to Brooks, ” “”He seemed lost and defeated.”
“That was a nightmare. Probably the worst place I’ve ever been to in my life,” Jed recalls.
“I’ve likened it to One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest but you know you see that kind of stuff on TV and you don’t actually think it’s real. I’m here to tell you, it’s the juvenile version of it,” Billy says.
Billy and Brooks soon decided to become foster parents and go through the challenging process of getting Jed out of the institution. While both of them had specialized training for dealing with Jed’s PTSD, they were stunned by the level of trauma Jed had been through:
Brooks says, “He liked to eat beneath the table. He would hoard food because he was convinced there wouldn’t be enough food.”
Jed tried to run away, but his new parents refused to give up. Instead, they gave him the love and help he needed. Jed is now 19 and knows that he’s finally with a family that won’t abandon him:
“It took me a while to say that I actually trust them and love them,” Jed admits. “Because I had never trusted anyone or loved anyone.”
Article Obtained From www.childrensrights.org
Too many children are trapped in foster care.
- On any given day, there are approximately 400,000 children in out-of-home care in the United States.
- During the last year about 650,000 children spent some time in out-of-home care in the United States.
- Children entering foster care remain there on average for nearly two years.
- Despite the common perception that most children in foster care are young children, the average age of the children in foster care is over nine years old.
- The median amount of time children spent in foster care increased between 2000 (12 months) and 2011 (13.5 months). On average, children in the American child welfare systems spend about two years — 23.9 months — in foster care. Ten percent of children in foster care have languished there for five or more years.
- While most children in foster care live in family settings, a substantial minority — 15 percent — live in institutions and group homes.
- Nearly half of all children in foster care have chronic medical problems.
- About half of children under five years old in foster care have developmental delays.
- Up to 80 percent of all children in foster care have serious emotional problems.
- More than 60,000 children living in foster care have had their biological parental rights permanently terminated. The assumption is that once parental rights have been terminated, the State should work as rapidly as possible to ensure that the child is safely in a new adoptive home and that the adoption is finalized. Yet of these children, the average time they’ve been waiting to be adopted is nearly two years (23.6 months).
- In 2011, 11 percent of the children (over 26,000) exiting foster care aged out of the system. Research has shown that teens aging out of the system are highly likely as adults to experience homelessness, poor health, unemployment, incarceration, and other poor outcomes.
- Sixteen percent of children in foster care in 2011 were in foster care for three or more years before they were emancipated.
Information Obtained from www.childrensrights.org
- Today, 400,000 kids… (peachypatchyblog.wordpress.com)
“Forever,” Lisa Cantanese whispered to her newly adopted daughters Ashley, 8, and Maryann, 5.
The two siblings sat around a courtroom table with Cantanese, her husband, Shaun Fryling, and two children they already had adopted: Justice, 12, and DeAndre, 7.
Together, they had officially become a “forever family” during a heartwarming adoption ceremony conducted last week by Erie County Family Court Judge Lisa Bloch Rodwin.
“I didn’t know we were having a party,” said Rodwin, kidding the girls before handing each their presents – a stuffed animal and big picture book in which the judge wrote: “Happy Adoption Day.”
“Believe it or not,” Rodwin said. “I’ve been working on this case for a long time, and I’m excited, too.”
November is National Adoption Month. Nationwide, there are more than 500,000 children in foster care, and approximately 114,000 children waiting for an adoptive family…Read More…
TULSA, Oklahoma –
Prosecutors filed charges of child neglect Monday against two former foster parents after police found their house infested with roaches, bed bugs and lice for the second time.
Police took four foster children away from Robert McElvain and Felecia Polk in July, and took away Polk’s three biological children last week.
The couple remain in jail on $100,000 bond each.
They’re due back in court on November 4.
- TPD: Kids covered in bug bites, scabies (kjrh.com)
Newport News, Va. – The adoptive parents of a 7-year-old girl who died in Newport News in April have now been charged with felony murder.
Police and medics responded to a report of a girl not breathing around 1:40 a.m. on April 4 in a home on Gallery Ct. When officers arrived they found family members performing CPR on the victim, seven-year-old Terrilynn Destiny Dennis. The officers took over the CPR efforts until… Read more..
I was just sitting here reading so many articles and posts from people that are absolutely amazing. My heart has smiled to read about all of you whom are so excited about the opportunity to foster or adopt a child that needs you. My eyes welled with tears as I read one post from a lady that so badly wants to adopt and to provide a safe forever home to an angel in waiting. For those of you whom have read my story, it may seem sad, however I have a very fond memory of one very special foster parent. She may well have been partially responsible for my faith in finding goodness in people, even when there didn’t seem to be any. This particular foster mom was from Venezuela, and I went to live with her for a short while, well before age 7. She was likely one of my first experiences with feeling safe, loved, and wanted. There were always infinite hugs, laughter, and comfort. She is, and will always be, my foster parent angel. I often wish I was granted more time with her, and that I could repay her for her kindness. I will likely never see her again as that was 35+ years ago now, but I still think of her often, smile, and quietly say thank you.
I believe that there are many wonderful foster parents out there, and many foster parent angels in waiting. I am hopeful that the guidelines and monitoring will improve so that the people that become foster parents for all the wrong reasons , and end up hurting the children they vowed to care for, are revealed quickly and the children in their care are saved…once again. Awareness, better screening, more intensive follow-up, and quick intervention are key.
I am a huge advocate for foster parenting and adoption, and it makes my heart smile to see so many full of optimism, excitement, and passion for caring for the children that need so much. My situation was unfortunate, but I hope to turn it into something positive. If only we each help one child learn to trust…we will manage to change the world for that one.
RN Writer 2013
I was watching a Dr. Phil episode the other day dealing with domestic violence. It brought me to tears, both sad and happy. Having been a victim of domestic violence and other forms of abuse from a very early age, I have a renewed sense of hope. Robin McGraw, wife of Dr. Phil, started a foundation: When Georgia Smiled. Not only is this a fantastic cause and one that hits home to many, but she has also created the Aspire program and an app. that has the potential to save many lives…including yours. I urge you to take just a few minutes to check this out for yourself, for a loved one, for anyone you are concerned might be in danger. Please go now…When Georgia Smiled
Please note I do not receive any compensation for promoting the Dr. Phil show, Robin McGraw, or her program/app. I have been a victim of abuse for nearly 40 years and want to help others in any way possible.
RN Writer 2013
Once upon a time, there was an old man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach every morning before he began his work. Early one morning, he was walking along the shore after a big storm had passed and found the vast beach littered with starfish as far as the eye could see, stretching in both directions.
Off in the distance, the old man noticed a small boy approaching. As the boy walked, he paused every so often and as he grew closer, the man could see that he was occasionally bending down to pick up an object and throw it into the sea. The boy came closer still and the man called out, ”Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?”
The young boy paused, looked up, and replied “Throwing starfish into the ocean. The tide has washed them up onto the beach and they can’t return to the sea by themselves,” the youth replied. “When the sun gets high, they will die, unless I throw them back into the water.”
The old man replied, “But there must be tens of thousands of starfish on this beach. I’m afraid you won’t really be able to make much of a difference.”
The boy bent down, picked up yet another starfish and threw it as far as he could into the ocean. Then he turned, smiled and said, “It made a difference to that one!”
adapted from The Star Thrower, by Loren Eiseley (1907 – 1977)