OT -- Proud Mommy

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SoCaliLover's picture
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OT -- Proud Mommy

Please forgive me if I share for a minute! You may know this story so just ignore me.

While I was in college, I was a foster mom for several kids. In March of 1994, my first foster child (a very disturbed but sweet teenager) had set fire to my house. I had no kids and honestly was questioning if this was for me. (I was only 23 at the time) I still remember the call from my social worker about this little girl they wanted to place with me. Her name was Tiffaniie--but I needed to be aware that she was developmentally handicapped. What did that mean? Oh it means her IQ is within the re-tarded range.

This little girl came for a visit. She spent 15 minutes in my house, raced around to look at everything, asked a million questions. I have been around developmentally delayed people my whole life --that wasn't her.

Tiffaniie came to live with me. Her social worker and I fought over and over again about her "limitations" and my "inability to accept those limitations".

She entered third grade in the fall of 1995. Her third grade teacher "knew" everything about foster kids cause her mom had raised them. We fought over Tiff's limitations too. When I required Tiff to do her homework ...with many hours of tears ... Ms. Gresham stopped sending homework. So I bought her workbooks.

When her mother's rights were terminated, I applied to adopt her. At 9 --and with the so called intellectual deficiencies -- she was considered unadoptable. WTH was this single mom doing they asked? I almost did not get approved since I refused to call her re-tarded. We had to do a "bonding study" for them to realize the child was better off with me then in a group home.

Tiffaniie had an IEP meeting in the spring of 1996. I can still see her teacher standing there. "Amy, I know you love Tiffaniie so much, and I know you want the best for her. You need to recognize that Tiffaniie will never be an fully functioning adult. She may graduate high school with a modified program and a lot of support but there is no way she will go to college. I hope in 15 years you come back to me and tell me I am wrong but you need to focus her less on academics and more on living skills so she has some hope of being independent when she is an adult.

I went home in tears.

I felt I had to face that I may be wrong and Tiffaniie really did have significant issues.

I cried for days, picked myself up, said trust my instincts. In July 1996 --Tiffaniie became Tiffany and I became her forever mommy.

A month later we packed up my car, drove across the country to California. Since Tiffany's teacher never taught her anything, I made her repeat 3rd grade in a private school where I did not give them her records and never told them of her "diagnosis".

The years since have been a struggle but I have been very blessed.

Tomorrow, my baby girl graduates COLLEGE with a dual degree in Elementary and Special Education.

NEVER JUDGE KIDS, NEVER LIMIT THEM. Our kids will fulfil their own destinies whatever they may be if we give them the chance!

I am off to Arizona! See you all next week!

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Amazing and inspirational story Amy! I'm so happy for all of you. Your story has me in tears.

I really hope you are able to find some of the people that never had any faith in Tiff and send them her graduation pictures!

1aBABY's picture
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I'm not sure how I missed this post yesterday. But Amy! How amazing! I had never heard this story before and you truly are an amazing Mom to ALL of your kids.

"Jenn0113" wrote:

Amazing and inspirational story Amy! I'm so happy for all of you. Your story has me in tears.

I really hope you are able to find some of the people that never had any faith in Tiff and send them her graduation pictures!

THIS!

TFS and Congratulations! Smile

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"Jenn0113" wrote:

Amazing and inspirational story Amy! I'm so happy for all of you. Your story has me in tears.

I really hope you are able to find some of the people that never had any faith in Tiff and send them her graduation pictures!

THIS

mail your story and that picture to everyone who doubted her. Good job Mama you should be proud, so should Tiff

SoCaliLover's picture
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Thank you guys! It was such a beautiful moment -- I was crying! Tiff was telling me to chill out LOL.

Trust me, I am looking up those people and will be sending a note!

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Congratulations Amy and Tiffany! How amazing and have a wonderful time!

SID081108's picture
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I could have SWORN I replied to this way back when you posted it! Your story totally had me crying and I loved the picture on FB! How amazing that you had such a profound impact on her life. Just think where she might be if you had not believed in her???

SoCaliLover's picture
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:thanks:

But Tiff did much of it herself. No matter what I did, she had to meet me half way -- or more -- to get there.

The sad part is that I know exactly where Tiff would be without me Sad Exactly where her half sister is. Tiff's sister was not eligible for adoption --she had a bio dad --but that didn't work out and eventually sis bounced between bio dad's wife (not mom) and bio mom. She had the same issues and same deficits Tiff did and no one to advocate for her. She was such a sweet child (came out for Tiff's HS grad) but she wound up dropping out of school in 8th grade, prostituting on the streets for drugs and guys, and in and out of jail. My heart bleeds that they wouldn't let me take her too (she is 3 years younger btw) and it reminds me every time I hear from or about her exactly what could have happened to Tiff.