Friday, March 21, 2014
Tuesday, March 11, 2014
Thursday, February 27, 2014
Tuesday, February 25, 2014
Cafe for a time to share, support and relax together. Camielles is offering 50%
off in support of adoptive families. If you want to join the group, call Brian
and Sheila Kruis at 505-863-2645.
Wednesday, February 12, 2014
Many people contact the state when they come to the decision to adopt. Primarily, they want to add a child to their family- they anticipate the fun, the snuggles, the pride in having a son or daughter, the challenges of raising a child into an adult. They have probably looked at their options and have come to the conclusion that they want to give a kid from their own community a chance to have a stable, loving family. Maybe they’ve seen a Heart Gallery portrait that touched them, maybe searched out a child online, but usually they just have a general idea of the kind of child that would best fit with their family. Then they make the call and go to an orientation or Raft training and learn that CYFD only issues foster care licenses- not “adoption licenses.” This can be confusing, (“Don’t we hear all of the time about all of the kids that need to be adopted?”) or even infuriating (“I said that I don’t want to be a foster parent!”)
Thursday, February 6, 2014
Gallup families and professionals learned much about Truama behaviors
with Traci Trippett on Feb 1. We learned about what kinds of trauma
behaviors affect people who have suffered trauma and how we can respond to
help children with trauma behaviors. Thanks for the equipping!!!
>>> Brian Kruis
Tuesday, January 14, 2014
Monday, January 13, 2014
Friday, December 20, 2013
- Self Care- Do it. Taking care of yourself and your relationships is difficult when you have lots of kids, because their needs are endless. I’m now better at giving myself permission to shut the door, go to bed early, or rest. My limitations as a sick-parent are real and hard to swallow some days. But here is the thing- even healthy parents have limitations, ours are just greater. Grieve the loss and then form a plan- what is realistic for you to accomplish today, this week, this month, etc. Consider having an understanding friend help you sort out a plan. Consider joining the child-care swap available through FIESTA. That way if you are having a bad week, you have another pool of folks to help.
- Grieving. Parents living with chronic issues face a lot of losses. It is hard to acknowledge the “huge loss” of “this is not the life I planned for my kids”. Because you face losses everyday with your kids- I can’t take you to the park today, I don’t have the strength, or you have to go with me to this appointment because I can’t afford a sitter, I can’t do laundry and dishes today. I felt like I was failing on so many levels. But I needed to form new expectations as a sick/disabled Mom, and ditch the “high” expectations I had for myself. That process is grievous, I felt like I was always “compromising” which also felt like a loss. I learned that there are therapists who specialize in working with families who live with chronic illness.
- The NEW Normal??? Whatever that means. For years I had Doctors tell me to focus on a “new normal.” For us, this meant our kids couldn’t (currently) be involved in extra curricular activities. This breaks my Mama heart regularly, but it is necessary. We have learned to play more games at home, host more movie nights and do home-based activities. They do have a mom who, even if I’m on the couch, can provide emotional love and support. It also means my home and my car almost never look the way I want, because I can’t keep up. I can be upset about it and disrupt the emotional atmosphere of the house (we all know how well our hurt kids respond to that), or use the opportunity to teach my kids many, many lessons. For example:
The remarkable thing is we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past... we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We cannot change the inevitable. The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude... I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it.”
Friday, December 13, 2013
December can be a stressful time of year, not only for our kids, but also for us. Planning too many things to do can create anxiety on our families with too little sleep and loss of routine. Envisioning your kids delight while opening a hundred presents with shiny eyes and a grateful heart can cause us to resent them when they can't measure up. Not taking care of ourselves can make the whole month take on an ugly tarnish. Here's some tips for making it easier:
1. Scale back- only do those things that will bring your whole family joy. Don't get carried away with the feeling of obligation to friends and extended family. If you can't attend every event or party, send apologies and carry on without guilt- your child may not be able to hande every get-together.
2. Schedule in plenty of down-time and quiet time. Make crafts together if your child enjoys it, read holiday books, eat by candlelight. Take advantage of the quietness and sensory parts of the holidays with nice smells and tastes, playing in the snow, playing soft music. Avoid busyness.
3. Think about gifts as things that will benefit your child instead of only things on their lists. Remember that whatever you buy may get broken, so expect it. Don't buy expensive things that your child is not ready to take care of. Don't over-do it with numbers of presents either. Think of things that will help your child connect with you- for example, you could go ahead and buy that video game system, but commit to playing together and buy a timer to go with it :) Lay down ground rules from the beginning to avoid power struggles. Think of gifts that you can build together, read together, listen to together.
4. You may dream of taking your child to a special concert or program, you may have wonderful warm, fuzzy expectations of going to grandma's and letting the cousins all play quietly in the other room while the adults visit. But. Your child may not be there yet. And if your plans are ruined by a meltdown or power struggle, your disappointment may cause a problem in your relationship. Think about your expectations and dreams and modify them. It's not your child's fault that you have unrealistic expectations.
5. Pay attention. It's easy to get distracted during this season and not notice signs that your child is starting to get stressed or anxious. Make sure that you're mindful of the clues that something may not be exactly right, and take a few minutes to pull your child aside to make sure everything is fine with them. If it helps, make up a secret sign or code so that your child knows he/she can have your attention when they need it. In our family, if one of our kids says, "I need to talk to you in your office," it's code for, "Something's up and I need you alone." I always respond when they say those words and we find a quiet place to talk.
6. Schedule time to re-charge. Write it on your calendar- "sit on front of the fire with a glass of wine," "get a massage today," "get respite to have coffee with a friend." Not letting yourself get burned out can make all the difference between enjoying the holidays or seeing them as a burden.
Scaling back, re-thinking your expectations and focusing on your child's emotional temperature are three ways to keep the "Happy" in "Holidays." I hope that your family has a fun one this year with plenty of time to play and connect!
Monday, October 14, 2013
"I haven't read this book before now. So I just finished chapter one and I'm reflecting on my evening. I'm paddling down a lazy river on a nice calm evening when I realize that B, who was reminded to finish the dishes (maybe 40 times?) is talking on the phone, dishes undone. The other sweet littles are munching on cookies and generally being silly. Fast forward down the river. Bedtime and we notice that the rooms are a total (insert cliche) Pigpen and the closet floors are nowhere to be seen under layers of clothes. I would like to know how things can get so bad when they were just cleaned last night under the same circumstances. (Did I mention that the dishes still aren't done? And we used paper plates!) My lazy river has turned into raging rapids and I am slamming against the shores of chaos and rigidity as I become dis-integrated. My heart rate goes up and my voice gets mean and (sorry Dr Purvis) my eyes are not soft. There is a little voice in my head that tells me that it is my fault that I was preoccupied when there was cookie munching and phone-call-talking and that I need to be more aware of the state of the responsibilites before it gets this late. Again. So, I look forward to learning how this book can help me gain some mental health so that I can teach my kids to integrate their own brains. So what do you think? Is there a river? Are the banks called Chaos and Rigidity? Does this ring true with you? On to chapter two...."
Interested? Does this book sound like something that would give you more parenting tools by understanding the right-brain, left-brain, top-brain, bottom-brain integration? I know that I, for one, can always use new ways to see my child- new ways to improve myself and learn, or even review, information that can bring hope and healing. Pick up the book, order it on Amazon, or grab a copy from the Fiesta library and log on to the Facebook group page, NM Fiesta Book Club to discuss it with the rest of us.
Sunday, August 25, 2013
Thursday, August 8, 2013
Tuesday, August 6, 2013
Saturday, July 20, 2013
Saturday, July 13, 2013
Wednesday, January 16, 2013
Friday, December 7, 2012
"The holidays are just for kids."
"This time of year is always so stressful."
Have you heard these comments before? Have you said these comments before? I know I have. But really, what a waste of great opportunities for attachment and fun memory making. We have to be aware of creating the atmosphere. Here are a few ideas to help make this more of a reality-
1. Set a realistic budget and stick to it. Spending more than you have sets you up for stress and frustration.
2. Remember we parent to the emotional stage and not the chronological age. So with that in mind, are the gifts you buy your children/youth appropriate for their 'STAGE'? A question to ask yourself, "If I spend $100 on a gift and they don't have the capabilities to take care of it and it gets broken in five minutes, who is going to be upset? Will I be upset that my child couldn't care less?
3. Carl Jung said, "Our society is psychotic with business." Psychosis has extreme emotions and unfounded fears. The holidays can get crazy with wonderful and busy activities. What is it doing tho not only your child, but you too? What would it be like to slow down? Watch a holiday show, pop popcorn, and snuggle.
Sit and make ornaments together. One of my favorite times was when my mom and I cut ornaments out of card board and painted them. Buy a gingerbread house and put it together. Play a board game.
Are you kids overstimulated by all the business?
Are you overstimulated?'
Think ouside the box! What can you do to take the stress out and the fun and connection time in?
Friday, November 30, 2012
Monday, October 22, 2012
White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack
•Daily effects of white privilege
•Elusive and fugitive
•Earned strength, unearned power
"I was taught to see racism only in individual acts of meanness, not in invisible systems conferring dominance on my group"
by Peggy McIntosh
Through work to bring materials from women's studies into the rest of the curriculum, I have often noticed men's unwillingness to grant that they are overprivileged, even though they may grant that women are disadvantaged. They may say they will work to women's statues, in the society, the university, or the curriculum, but they can't or won't support the idea of lessening men's. Denials that amount to taboos surround the subject of advantages that men gain from women's disadvantages. These denials protect male privilege from being fully acknowledged, lessened, or ended.
Thinking through unacknowledged male privilege as a phenomenon, I realized that, since hierarchies in our society are interlocking, there was most likely a phenomenon of while privilege that was similarly denied and protected. As a white person, I realized I had been taught about racism as something that puts others at a disadvantage, but had been taught not to see one of its corollary aspects, white privilege, which puts me at an advantage.
I think whites are carefully taught not to recognize white privilege, as males are taught not to recognize male privilege. So I have begun in an untutored way to ask what it is like to have white privilege. I have come to see white privilege as an invisible package of unearned assets that I can count on cashing in each day, but about which I was "meant" to remain oblivious. White privilege is like an invisible weightless knapsack of special provisions, maps, passports, codebooks, visas, clothes, tools , and blank checks.
Describing white privilege makes one newly accountable. As we in women's studies work to reveal male privilege and ask men to give up some of their power, so one who writes about having white privilege must ask, "having described it, what will I do to lessen or end it?"
After I realized the extent to which men work from a base of unacknowledged privilege, I understood that much of their oppressiveness was unconscious. Then I remembered the frequent charges from women of color that white women whom they encounter are oppressive. I began to understand why we are just seen as oppressive, even when we don't see ourselves that way. I began to count the ways in which I enjoy unearned skin privilege and have been conditioned into oblivion about its existence.
My schooling gave me no training in seeing myself as an oppressor, as an unfairly advantaged person, or as a participant in a damaged culture. I was taught to see myself as an individual whose moral state depended on her individual moral will. My schooling followed the pattern my colleague Elizabeth Minnich has pointed out: whites are taught to think of their lives as morally neutral, normative, and average, and also ideal, so that when we work to benefit others, this is seen as work that will allow "them" to be more like "us."
Daily effects of white privilege
I decided to try to work on myself at least by identifying some of the daily effects of white privilege in my life. I have chosen those conditions that I think in my case attach somewhat more to skin-color privilege than to class, religion, ethnic status, or geographic location, though of course all these other factors are intricately intertwined. As far as I can tell, my African American coworkers, friends, and acquaintances with whom I come into daily or frequent contact in this particular time, place and time of work cannot count on most of these conditions.
1. I can if I wish arrange to be in the company of people of my race most of the time.
2. I can avoid spending time with people whom I was trained to mistrust and who have learned to mistrust my kind or me.
3. If I should need to move, I can be pretty sure of renting or purchasing housing in an area which I can afford and in which I would want to live.
4. I can be pretty sure that my neighbors in such a location will be neutral or pleasant to me.
5. I can go shopping alone most of the time, pretty well assured that I will not be followed or harassed.
6. I can turn on the television or open to the front page of the paper and see people of my race widely represented.
7. When I am told about our national heritage or about "civilization," I am shown that people of my color made it what it is.
8. I can be sure that my children will be given curricular materials that testify to the existence of their race.
9. If I want to, I can be pretty sure of finding a publisher for this piece on white privilege.
10. I can be pretty sure of having my voice heard in a group in which I am the only member of my race.
11. I can be casual about whether or not to listen to another person's voice in a group in which s/he is the only member of his/her race.
12. I can go into a music shop and count on finding the music of my race represented, into a supermarket and find the staple foods which fit with my cultural traditions, into a hairdresser's shop and find someone who can cut my hair.
13. Whether I use checks, credit cards or cash, I can count on my skin color not to work against the appearance of financial reliability.
14. I can arrange to protect my children most of the time from people who might not like them.
15. I do not have to educate my children to be aware of systemic racism for their own daily physical protection.
16. I can be pretty sure that my children's teachers and employers will tolerate them if they fit school and workplace norms; my chief worries about them do not concern others' attitudes toward their race.
17. I can talk with my mouth full and not have people put this down to my color.
18. I can swear, or dress in second hand clothes, or not answer letters, without having people attribute these choices to the bad morals, the poverty or the illiteracy of my race.
19. I can speak in public to a powerful male group without putting my race on trial.
20. I can do well in a challenging situation without being called a credit to my race.
21. I am never asked to speak for all the people of my racial group.
22. I can remain oblivious of the language and customs of persons of color who constitute the world's majority without feeling in my culture any penalty for such oblivion.
23. I can criticize our government and talk about how much I fear its policies and behavior without being seen as a cultural outsider.
24. I can be pretty sure that if I ask to talk to the "person in charge", I will be facing a person of my race.
25. If a traffic cop pulls me over or if the IRS audits my tax return, I can be sure I haven't been singled out because of my race.
26. I can easily buy posters, post-cards, picture books, greeting cards, dolls, toys and children's magazines featuring people of my race.
27. I can go home from most meetings of organizations I belong to feeling somewhat tied in, rather than isolated, out-of-place, outnumbered, unheard, held at a distance or feared.
28. I can be pretty sure that an argument with a colleague of another race is more likely to jeopardize her/his chances for advancement than to jeopardize mine.
29. I can be pretty sure that if I argue for the promotion of a person of another race, or a program centering on race, this is not likely to cost me heavily within my present setting, even if my colleagues disagree with me.
30. If I declare there is a racial issue at hand, or there isn't a racial issue at hand, my race will lend me more credibility for either position than a person of color will have.
31. I can choose to ignore developments in minority writing and minority activist programs, or disparage them, or learn from them, but in any case, I can find ways to be more or less protected from negative consequences of any of these choices.
32. My culture gives me little fear about ignoring the perspectives and powers of people of other races.
33. I am not made acutely aware that my shape, bearing or body odor will be taken as a reflection on my race.
34. I can worry about racism without being seen as self-interested or self-seeking.
35. I can take a job with an affirmative action employer without having my co-workers on the job suspect that I got it because of my race.
36. If my day, week or year is going badly, I need not ask of each negative episode or situation whether it had racial overtones.
37. I can be pretty sure of finding people who would be willing to talk with me and advise me about my next steps, professionally.
38. I can think over many options, social, political, imaginative or professional, without asking whether a person of my race would be accepted or allowed to do what I want to do.
39. I can be late to a meeting without having the lateness reflect on my race.
40. I can choose public accommodation without fearing that people of my race cannot get in or will be mistreated in the places I have chosen.
41. I can be sure that if I need legal or medical help, my race will not work against me.
42. I can arrange my activities so that I will never have to experience feelings of rejection owing to my race.
43. If I have low credibility as a leader I can be sure that my race is not the problem.
44. I can easily find academic courses and institutions which give attention only to people of my race.
45. I can expect figurative language and imagery in all of the arts to testify to experiences of my race.
46. I can chose blemish cover or bandages in "flesh" color and have them more or less match my skin.
47. I can travel alone or with my spouse without expecting embarrassment or hostility in those who deal with us.
48. I have no difficulty finding neighborhoods where people approve of our household.
49. My children are given texts and classes which implicitly support our kind of family unit and do not turn them against my choice of domestic partnership.
50. I will feel welcomed and "normal" in the usual walks of public life, institutional and social.
Elusive and fugitive
I repeatedly forgot each of the realizations on this list until I wrote it down. For me white privilege has turned out to be an elusive and fugitive subject. The pressure to avoid it is great, for in facing it I must give up the myth of meritocracy. If these things are true, this is not such a free country; one's life is not what one makes it; many doors open for certain people through no virtues of their own.
In unpacking this invisible knapsack of white privilege, I have listed conditions of daily experience that I once took for granted. Nor did I think of any of these perquisites as bad for the holder. I now think that we need a more finely differentiated taxonomy of privilege, for some of these varieties are only what one would want for everyone in a just society, and others give license to be ignorant, oblivious, arrogant, and destructive.
I see a pattern running through the matrix of white privilege, a patter of assumptions that were passed on to me as a white person. There was one main piece of cultural turf; it was my own turn, and I was among those who could control the turf. My skin color was an asset for any move I was educated to want to make. I could think of myself as belonging in major ways and of making social systems work for me. I could freely disparage, fear, neglect, or be oblivious to anything outside of the dominant cultural forms. Being of the main culture, I could also criticize it fairly freely.
In proportion as my racial group was being made confident, comfortable, and oblivious, other groups were likely being made unconfident, uncomfortable, and alienated. Whiteness protected me from many kinds of hostility, distress, and violence, which I was being subtly trained to visit, in turn, upon people of color.
For this reason, the word "privilege" now seems to me misleading. We usually think of privilege as being a favored state, whether earned or conferred by birth or luck. Yet some of the conditions I have described here work systematically to over empower certain groups. Such privilege simply confers dominance because of one's race or sex.
Earned strength, unearned power
I want, then, to distinguish between earned strength and unearned power conferred privilege can look like strength when it is in fact permission to escape or to dominate. But not all of the privileges on my list are inevitably damaging. Some, like the expectation that neighbors will be decent to you, or that your race will not count against you in court, should be the norm in a just society. Others, like the privilege to ignore less powerful people, distort the humanity of the holders as well as the ignored groups.
We might at least start by distinguishing between positive advantages, which we can work to spread, and negative types of advantage, which unless rejected will always reinforce our present hierarchies. For example, the feeling that one belongs within the human circle, as Native Americans say, should not be seen as privilege for a few. Ideally it is an unearned entitlement. At present, since only a few have it, it is an unearned advantage for them. This paper results from a process of coming to see that some of the power that I originally say as attendant on being a human being in the United States consisted in unearned advantage and conferred dominance.
I have met very few men who truly distressed about systemic, unearned male advantage and conferred dominance. And so one question for me and others like me is whether we will be like them, or whether we will get truly distressed, even outraged, about unearned race advantage and conferred dominance, and, if so, what we will do to lessen them. In any case, we need to do more work in identifying how they actually affect our daily lives. Many, perhaps most, of our white students in the United States think that racism doesn't affect them because they are not people of color; they do not see "whiteness" as a racial identity. In addition, since race and sex are not the only advantaging systems at work, we need similarly to examine the daily experience of having age advantage, or ethnic advantage, or physical ability, or advantage related to nationality, religion, or sexual orientation.
Difficulties and angers surrounding the task of finding parallels are many. Since racism, sexism, and heterosexism are not the same, the advantages associated with them should not be seen as the same. In addition, it is hard to disentangle aspects of unearned advantage that rest more on social class, economic class, race, religion, sex, and ethnic identity that on other factors. Still, all of the oppressions are interlocking, as the members of the Combahee River Collective pointed out in their "Black Feminist Statement" of 1977.
One factor seems clear about all of the interlocking oppressions. They take both active forms, which we can see, and embedded forms, which as a member of the dominant groups one is taught not to see. In my class and place, I did not see myself as a racist because I was taught to recognize racism only in individual acts of meanness by members of my group, never in invisible systems conferring unsought racial dominance on my group from birth.
Disapproving of the system won't be enough to change them. I was taught to think that racism could end if white individuals changed their attitude. But a "white" skin in the United States opens many doors for whites whether or not we approve of the way dominance has been conferred on us. Individual acts can palliate but cannot end, these problems.
To redesign social systems we need first to acknowledge their colossal unseen dimensions. The silences and denials surrounding privilege are the key political surrounding privilege are the key political tool here. They keep the thinking about equality or equity incomplete, protecting unearned advantage and conferred dominance by making these subject taboo. Most talk by whites about equal opportunity seems to me now to be about equal opportunity to try to get into a position of dominance while denying that systems of dominance exist.
It seems to me that obliviousness about white advantage, like obliviousness about male advantage, is kept strongly inculturated in the United States so as to maintain the myth of meritocracy, the myth that democratic choice is equally available to all. Keeping most people unaware that freedom of confident action is there for just a small number of people props up those in power and serves to keep power in the hands of the same groups that have most of it already.
Although systemic change takes many decades, there are pressing questions for me and, I imagine, for some others like me if we raise our daily consciousness on the perquisites of being light-skinned. What will we do with such knowledge? As we know from watching men, it is an open question whether we will choose to use unearned advantage, and whether we will use any of our arbitrarily awarded power to try to reconstruct power systems on a broader base.
Peggy McIntosh is associate director of the Wellesley Collage Center for Research on Women. This essay is excerpted from Working Paper 189. "White Privilege and Male Privilege: A Personal Account of Coming To See Correspondences through Work in Women's Studies" (1988), by Peggy McIntosh; available for $10.00 from the Wellesley College Center for Research on Women, Wellesley MA 02181 The working paper contains a longer list of privileges.
This excerpted essay is reprinted from the Winter 1990 issue of Independent School.
Thursday, October 4, 2012
Monday, October 1, 2012
S Search inside yourself to see why you are uncomfortable with adoption. Do you think that it is shameful? Second-best? Are you worried that your child will be hurt by stories surrounding the beginning of her life? You need to work through these questions on your own before you can discuss them with your kid. Take a weekend or an evening away for reflection, read some adoption books, talk to another adoptive parent or Fiesta family contact to sort out your own feelings. But don’t put it off.
Bring up adoption generically with your child for a few days. There are many books (available in our library or online) that incorporate adoption into the story. Make adoption language familiar. Talk about the many ways that families are formed. Go online to find pictures of families that don’t all look alike and discuss it with your child. Talk about where babies come from.
Watch a movie together that has an adoption theme that you like. Some might make you cringe. (No, Travis, we are not wealthy enough to ride in a carriage through Central Park to see a Broadway Show, breaking into song along the way.) There are some good ones out there that will help jumpstart the discussion. Fiesta staff will be glad to give you suggestions if you need some to relate with your child‘s developmental level or situation.
Don’t put it off any longer. Make it part of a natural conversation, not stressful or serious-scary. If your child is old enough to be upset that he or she wasn’t told earlier, apologize. We all make mistakes, you should have told him sooner, now it’s time to pick up the pieces and let your child know that your love is solid and has always been there, just as it will continue to be.
Friday, September 21, 2012
Friday, August 31, 2012
Sometimes when I'm around 'those other parents' who are overwhelmed by their kids’ C in math I want to scream, "You have NO IDEA what overwhelmed is all about!" Some days I'm so overwhelmed by the needs that are waiting to be met and the daily concerns for keeping everyone safe, that I sometimes I can't even make myself cry. My body needs to but my mind says "No Time For that!" I see these perfectly manicured mothers who are dragging their kids along while I'm blessed that mine are "timed-in” and safe to this overweight, sometimes-showered mom!
The point is... we keep going. We can't stop and get stuck. We can't consider defeat and I, for one, refuse to be backed into a corner. Somedays, all I can do is to decide to roll with the changes and make sure everyone is safe! The things that overwhelmed me a few years ago I don't even feel today. Life truly is good. Monica Cohu.
“I'm glad our house isn't the only one I feel should be wearing warning signs that say ‘Family Under Construction,’ ‘Things may get loud,’ ‘Beware: High Voltage-Emotional Overload Danger!’ Sarah McCord