Category Archives: Baby G

State of the Blog: My Top 10 Most Popular Blog Posts of 2014

Delaware State Fair 2010

In some ways, 2014 was not my best year of blogging.

In other ways, it was excellent.

The not-so-good was in the quantity of posts.  I ended the year with 137 new posts. By my standards (admittedly, pretty high to begin with), that’s pathetic. How do you call yourself a blogger when you ONLY BLOG FOR A THIRD OF THE DAMN YEAR?!

But you know what? We’re not going to dwell on that. Another year is here and there’s always room for improvement, right?

Instead, I want to focus on the 10 most popular posts in 2014 here on the blog. By most popular, I’m talking number of views.

Unless you happen to be a big-name blogger with thousands of followers and a book deal (or three), every blogger wonders if anybody is out there reading. Even when you check your stats and see numbers that indicate that someone, somewhere in the world is paying attention, there’s still a lingering doubt that wonders if what you’re saying in this space makes a difference.

I’m not a big name blogger and I certainly don’t have a book deal (yet), but I know this: I’m incredibly proud of the 10 blog posts I wrote that received the most views in the past year. thanks to all of you. (Some of these were written pre-2014, but for various reasons, experienced a bit of increased traction over the past 12 months.

Links take you to the actual post.

10. The Sunday Salon: Yet Another Best Books of 2014 List
I love lists. I especially love lists that feature books. So, when everyone was sharing every possible incarnation of best books lists several weeks before the end of the year, I had to jump into the fray by offering up my list of “best books I read in 2014 that were published in 2014.” Apparently, other people like lists of books as much as I do. (That’s good because I have more such lists from 2014 in the works.)

9. Book Review: My Beef with Meat, by Rip Esselstyn
A post from 2013 that continues to get a decent amount of traffic. I’m not sure if this is linked someplace, but it resonates with people for some reason.  

8. Book Review: The Returned, by Jason Mott
I’m guessing that this review got some attention because of the TV show that it is based on. Of all the books I’ve reviewed, it was just okay … not one of my favorites.

Seinfeld - show

7. Punch Lines: On Jerry Seinfeld and Autism
When comedian Jerry Seinfeld mentioned in a November 2014 interview with Brian Williams that he thought he might be on the autism spectrum, several people saw Mr. Seinfeld’s statement as less than … what? Less than genuine? Less than heartfelt? In the ensuing backlash, I wrote, “If we truly believe that there isn’t one autism, then there’s no room for throwing punch lines when one of our own is vulnerable.  We need to truly reflect on what the meaning of “not one autism” means and we need to truly embrace the spectrum for what it is – as a place where we all need to co-exist together.  This isn’t a battle of who has the more difficult autism – because we are all fighting difficult battles.  And through it all, there is too much at stake for us, for our kids, for our friends and our loved ones.”

Kristin text

Text message Kristin Mitchell sent to her boyfriend, who was later charged with killing her. Photo credit: The Kristin Mitchell Foundation, www.kristinskrusade.org

 

6. forever 21: remembering kristin
I never met Kristin Mitchell, yet her murder at the hands of her boyfriend has profoundly affected me in a way I can’t quite put into words. I am humbled to use this space to remember her with this post (which has been repeated here several times) and to honor her memory however I can.

5. Book Review: Sea Creatures, by Susanna Daniel
My most popular book review, one that was written for TLC Book Tours in August 2013 but continued to get a lot of traffic this year. 

Philadelphia Flower Show

4. For Sonya
Probably my most controversial post, but one that I don’t regret publishing.  This case brings out the nasty in people in a way I never imagined.

3. #SaveDallas and a Piece of Our Childhoods
I was pretty active on Twitter during the six weeks after “Dallas” was cancelled by TNT and fans were trying to save this iconic show. Unfortunately, our effort wasn’t successful but I still think it was worth it.

Daffodils in snow 4

2. On National Adoption Day, Baby G. Still Waits
I am beyond humbled that this post is #2. Thank you for caring so much about Baby G. As we go into Year 4 of this ordeal, her story and that of my friends becomes even more heartbreaking and maddening. I hope and pray that 2015 is the year they are reunited as a family … because as we turn the calendar to another year without a resolution in this case, they are still waiting. (A disappointing update on this is that the ACLU of Wisconsin declined to take the case.)

And the most popular post of 2014?

1. Weekend Cooking: Hits and Misses with ALDIs LiveGFree Products
Seriously, I should send ALDI an invoice for this one because this has been my #1 top-ranked post since I hit publish on it back in May 2014. I even had the guy who worked on the LiveGFree packaging email me! For real. This has to be on some website someplace (I can’t figure out where) but it is has staying power. Who knew?

As I typically do at this time of year, I’ve been reflecting on the blog and my writing and what I want I do here. I have some thoughts and goals, but would like to hear from you. What posts resonate with you most? Do you most enjoy the book reviews? The food posts? The advocacy posts, such as the ones about Kristin and G.? What do you want to see more of in 2015?

Wishing you and yours a very happy, healthy and safe New Year!

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On National Adoption Day, Baby G. Still Waits

Daffodils in snow 4

Baby G. just turned 4.

You remember Baby G., don’t you?

If you’re a new reader to my blog, these posts might help fill you in. If the name Baby G. sounds familiar, these posts might help jog your memory about a little girl who is still waiting for a home.

A four year old girl who has all but been forgotten by the Wisconsin judicial system, including the Wisconsin Supreme Court which accepted G’s case on this matter – and then, inexplicably, dismissed it outright without a hearing.

A four year old girl who has been ignored by every Wisconsin child services agency and professional whose job it was to protect her legal rights.

A four year old girl whom a judge has bounced from one, two, three foster homes in her four years – and taken away crying from the adoptive parents who loved her in their home (that’s four!).

A four year old girl who knows the meaning of the words “court,” “judge” and “hearing.”

A four year old girl who wonders EVERY. SINGLE. NIGHT. if tomorrow is the day when she will go home to “her Mommy and Daddy” – the adoptive parents chosen by a birthmother four years ago to love her forever.

The adoptive parents who have, unlike a Wisconsin judge and a trial jury who voted for foster care without receiving all the facts about the adoption case,  not forgotten about G.

Not for one day, one hour, one minute.

The adoptive parents who have exhausted every dime of their savings, sold a car, tapped into retirement funds, held fundraisers, went through parenting classes, got certified as foster parents (although they are currently not G.’s foster parents), launched a crowdfunding campaign, borrowed from family and friends, reserved a spot in the best school district and, oh, after all that? Remodeled their home to not only accommodate G., but G’s TWO BIOLOGICAL BROTHERS AS WELL so that they could ADOPT ALL THREE SIBLINGS TOGETHER.

And still, on this National Adoption Day, when we’re bombarded by media images of celebrities telling us how blissful adoption is (and make no mistake, adoption is absolutely a wonderful thing when a system does its goddamn job and works as it should), there are three children among the more than 100,000 children in foster care who are waiting for permanent and loving families.

But here’s what makes these three different.

Here’s the soundbite of this blog post.

These three children in Wisconsin?

They have adoptive parents who are approved. Who are certified.  Who want them desperately.  All three of them.

These children? Their long wait can be over tomorrow.

Their adoptive parents will get in their car right now and start driving, all night long.

The hold up is a Wisconsin court that is woefully out of compliance with the Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997 (ASFA), enacted into law by President Bill Clinton and which requires that States move to terminate parental rights for children who have been in foster Care for 15 out of the last 22 months.

G. and her brothers have been in foster care for much longer than that.

Much longer.

That’s a violation of ASFA. Wisconsin has also not documented why parental termination is not in G.’s best interest.  Another violation of ASFA.

(Her birthfather is a convicted felon, serving a five year sentence. Her birthmother has never spent any unsupervised time with G.  Oh, and if you’re a taxpayer in Wisconsin? Your hard earned tax dollars were spent defending these birthparents in court for the past three years while the adoptive parents have sacrificed everything.)

The adoptive parents sent a letter to the ACLU of Wisconsin. That was on September 12, and still no reply.

Meanwhile, National Adoption Day ends and it is bedtime in Wisconsin.

And three children are going to sleep wondering why a judge still hasn’t said they can be adopted by the parents that have loved them for three years.

 

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For Sonya

Philadelphia Flower ShowI wasn’t paying much attention.

My friend Donna was being pretty damn persistent, posting incessantly about this on Facebook. She’s that way, my friend Donna is. Doesn’t give up easily, if ever. She’s scrappy, passionate. A fighter for her girl and children’s rights. She’s as Irish as you can get, the real deal.

I was tuning her latest mission out and I knew it.

I’ve known Donna and her husband since our college days. On several occasions, I’ve shared their heartbreaking adoption story about Baby G here on the blog, with their permission. Their story continues as it has for what has become nearly 2.5 years now: without answers and without justice, with empty homes and empty hearts.

I think that just maybe, just maybe, a small part of me didn’t want to hear this. I didn’t have the strength of heart to fortify myself to get emotionally involved. 

And I sure didn’t want to believe it was possible that in this country, a 9 year old girl named Sonya Hodgin could be taken from the loving family in Tennessee that adopted her when she was 3 years old and – with two hours notice – be sent to live in Nebraska with her biological father who she had never met. 

Because he had a violent criminal past and had been in jail.

Sonya’s first night with her biological father was spent in a motel room.

Think about that for a minute.

Think about when you were 9 years old.

Think about your daughter or your niece or your granddaughter or someone else you love who is or once was 9 years old.

Maybe that’s why you haven’t heard about this story yet. Maybe that’s why I wasn’t paying attention. It’s easier to stay silent than to invite the horrid thoughts, to take on the opposing views that think this is all perfectly fine and that blood is thicker than water. (Make no mistake, this is a hell of a controversial case and there are definitely folks who think that way).

But this is a 9 year old girl we’re talking about, which begs the question to be asked:

What the hell kind of country are we that thinks it’s OK to take a 9 year old girl from the only family and home she’s ever known – with five minutes to say goodbye – and allows her to spend the night in a motel room with a man she’s never met?

I’d like to say I hope I never find out.

But I just did.

To take action and learn more of Sonya’s story, including how you can help return Sonya to the only family she has ever known, click here.

 

 

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dust on my shoes, nothing but teardrops (awaiting a supreme court decision)

Baby G - Three Shoes

At 10 months old, the Wisconsin courts took Baby G away from a loving and caring home – and the only parents she ever knew. Now almost 3, she has been moved from foster home to foster home. Her story is being heard next month by the Wisconsin State Supreme Court. With your support, you can help bring Baby G back home to the adoptive parents who love her, who have never stopped fighting for her, and who she still calls Mommy and Daddy.  http://www.gofundme.com/3ev1b0

“Pictures on the nightstand, TV’s on in the den
Your house is waiting, your house is waiting
For you to walk in, for you to walk in
But you’re missing, you’re missing
You’re missing when I shut out the lights
You’re missing when I close my eyes
You’re missing when I see the sun rise
You’re missing …” ~ Bruce Springsteen, “You’re Missing”

They are so close.

So close after two years of sheer unimaginable hell.

So close after the oceans of tears.

So close after two years of sleepless nights of worry, of nightmares that don’t end in the daytime.

So close to seeing the power of prayer and the meaning of miracles, to having the test of their faith validated.

They are, as regular long-time readers of my blog may have guessed, my friends who are involved (still) in the now 2 year long adoption fight for Baby G.

I’ve written about them here:

The Real Victory That’s Needed in Wisconsin (2/5/2011)

 “That Sound You Heard? Was the Other Shoe Dropping” (4/27/2011)

“Sky Blue and Black” (4/28/2011)

“Mommy, Why Does Baby G Have to Go to Jail?”  (5/25/2011)

 and 

“What Has Been Lost”  (9/20/2011)

There are reasons I haven’t written much about this since 2011. The whys don’t really matter. What matters is that this is STILL GOING ON, TWO YEARS LATER and has gotten more complicated … and, as these sorts of trials do, more costly in every sense of the word.

“Children are asking if it’s all right
Will you be in our arms tonight?” ~ Bruce Springsteen, “You’re Missing”

Nothing will bring back the missing years, the un-celebrated in person birthdays and holidays, the milestones missed. Nothing will erase the pain, the hurt and injustice that my friends have suffered. There’s no excuse for what this innocent little girl has been through because of the mistakes of a misguided and misled jury and judge.

But there is still a chance.

The Wisconsin State Supreme Court has agreed to review my friends’ adoption case, and this is a very, very good thing indeed. It means that the mistakes that were made in the lower courts (and there were many) will see the light of day. It means that outdated legislation in Wisconsin for children’s rights will be changed for the better.

It means that Baby G might get to go home.

The case could be heard in a matter of weeks and this family needs our financial support now more than ever. That’s why a gofundme site has been established to help the family with the legal bills for this Supreme Court fight. The site also has information about the legal history and status of the case.

“Morning is morning, the evening falls
I have too much room in my bed, too many phone calls …” ~ Bruce Springsteen, “You’re Missing”

This is extremely humbling and difficult for my friends to do. If you knew them, you would know that they are the type who would do (and who have done) anything for their friends, family, and strangers in need. I know how tight money is these days and believe me, so do my friends. They are far from wealthy themselves; instead, their riches come in the abundance of love they have to give a child who would face a very different future if it wasn’t for the years that they have already invested in her and in other children like her who simply need a stable, caring, loving home.  

As a fundraiser, I know this is a daunting amount to raise. As a fundraiser, I’ve seen the best in people and how even $5 or $1 can really make a difference.

And that’s all that they want. A chance to make a difference in a child’s life.

I know we can help make this happen.

Thanks so much.

Baby G - Three Shoes

My friends’ shoes, with Baby G’s shoe in the middle, from when they were once together as a family.

 “I got dust on my shoes, nothing but teardrops…” ~ Bruce Springsteen, “You’re Missing”

Click here to read more of BabyG’s story and to make a contribution to the BabyG Legal Fund.

 

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What Has Been Lost

I wasn’t going to blog any more about my friends’ adoption case.  After my most recent post about it, I figured I had said all I needed to say. And then a gag order was issued in the case.

But that’s been lifted now.  Because the case ended this afternoon.

Tonight, little 10-month old Baby G. is in foster care.

Tonight, little 10-month old Baby G. is 764 miles away from the house that she has known since her birth.

And tonight, little 10-month old Baby G. has been taken away from the only two people she knows as her parents.

Baby G.’s in foster care tonight because a judge decided that is a better life for her while her biological father finishes his jail sentence and regains custody.

Sleep well, judge.

copyright 2011, Melissa, The Betty and Boo Chronicles If you are reading this on a blog or website other than The Betty and Boo Chronicles or via a feedreader, this content has been stolen and used without permission.

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What Has Been Lost

I wasn’t going to blog any more about my friends’ adoption case.  After my most recent post about it, I figured I had said all I needed to say. And then a gag order was issued in the case.

But that’s been lifted now.  Because the case ended this afternoon.

Tonight, little 10-month old Baby G. is in foster care.

Tonight, little 10-month old Baby G.is 764 miles away from the house that she has known since her birth.

And tonight, little 10-month old Baby G. has been taken away from the only two people she knows as her parents.

Baby G.’s in foster care tonight because a judge decided that is a better life for her while her biological father finishes his jail sentence and regains custody.

Sleep well, judge.

“The hurt doesn’t go away, the tears never cease to fall,
You cover them over with people and places,
Hoping you’ll want to break away.
Oh my darling, the pain doesn’t go away …
…All the nonsense of it and oh, the pain doesn’t go away.
The tears never cease to fall, the hurt doesn’t go away.
The pain doesn’t go away.” 
 
“The Hurt Doesn’t Go Away” ~ sung by Frank Sinatra, written by Joe Raposo

copyright 2011, Melissa Firman

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Well, That Was an Experience.



Ferris Wheel at Wonderland Pier
Ocean City NJ boardwalk ~ July 2010
Photo taken by me.


When the BlogHer people email you to say they’ll be featuring your post on their site, all you can do is this: buckle up, get out your Teflon suit, and hold on for the ride.

Having my writing broadcast in this way is uncharted territory for me and my little blog, which had nearly 500 hits yesterday due to the BlogHer appearance. (To put it in perspective, about 40-50 folks stop by on a regular day.)  So, this is new.  Most of the time, I feel like I’m talking to myself.

I appreciate the respectful (with the exception of one troll) commentary here and on the BlogHer site, and I’m grateful for those who have shared their professional and personal experiences.

I wrote that post from a place of raw emotion (as I write most of my posts, quite honestly) and from months of seeing photos of an always smiling and obviously thriving baby girl in the arms of two loving people who I’ve known for more than 20 years. It’s really hard to think of anyone more deserving of this little girl than these two, and frankly? It’s hard to think of another couple with the strength and the love to withstand such an ordeal.  (Because, you know, this parenthood gig can get messy under the best of circumstances and you need your Teflon suit if you’re going to play in this sandbox.)

I wish every one of you who have been following this story could meet my friends and could see Baby G. with them for even five minutes.

I wish you could see the love they have, in such abundance and in such grace.

I wish Oprah could have one more encore show where she would sit down with my friends and hear their story and cry with them.

I wish you could see the large, loving, Irish Catholic family that embraced Baby G. even before she was born.

I wish you could see the community of friends, bonded since college days two decades ago, who are coming together once again (as we have sadly done in the past, also with a sad outcome) to rally around and care for one of our own. 

So I’m coming at this from that perspective – the simple one of seeing this couple’s love for this little girl and each other.  I’m not looking at laws and rights.  I’m looking at this from what’s best for a 6 month old little girl.

And knowing what I know (some of which can’t be shared publicly), it is incredibly hurtful and hard to understand how the foster care system – followed by a broken home of very young individuals – will lead to a better life than with people who have already proven their love for her, who have proven that they will walk into the fire again and again for her, for the rest of her life and theirs.

I’m not convinced – and no law will ever prove to me otherwise – that anyone else lucky enough to raise Baby G. will do the same.

“May your strength give us strength
May your faith give us faith
May your hope give us hope
May your love give us love.”
“Into the Fire” ~ Bruce Springsteen

copyright 2011, Melissa, The Betty and Boo Chronicles If you are reading this on a blog or website other than The Betty and Boo Chronicles or via a feedreader, this content has been stolen and used without permission.

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