Quote of the Week

"If I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way" ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.

Happy Mother's Day to All of the Invisible Mothers - submitted by Daisy
Posted by:Jenn--Monday, April 30, 2012

Invisible Mother

It all began to make sense, the blank stares, the lack of response, the way one of the kids will walk into the room while I'm on the phone and ask to be taken to the store. Inside I'm thinking, 'Can't you see I'm on the phone?'

Obviously not; no one can see if I'm on the phone, or cooking, or sweeping the floor, or even standing on my head in the corner, because no one can see me at all. I'm invisible. The invisible Mum. Some days I am only a pair of hands, nothing more! Can you fix this? Can you tie this? Can you open this??

Some days I'm not a pair of hands; I'm not even a human being. I'm a clock to ask, 'What time is it?' I'm a satellite guide to answer, 'What number is the Disney Channel?' I'm a car to order, 'Right around 5:30, please.' Some days I'm a crystal ball; 'Where's my other sock?, Where's my phone?, What's for dinner?'

I was certain that these were the hands that once held books and the eyes that studied history, music and literature - but now, they had disappeared into the peanut butter, never to be seen again. She's going, she's going, she's gone!

One night, a group of us were having dinner, celebrating the return of a friend from England. She had just gotten back from a fabulous trip, and she was going on and on about the hotel she stayed in. I was sitting there, looking around at the others all put together so well. It was hard not to compare and feel sorry for myself. I was feeling pretty pathetic, when she turned to me with a beautifully wrapped package, and said, 'I brought you this.' It was a book on the great cathedrals of Europe. I wasn't exactly sure why she'd given it to me until I read her inscription: 'With admiration for the greatness of what you are building when no one sees.'

In the days ahead I would read - no, devour - the book. And I would discover what would become for me, four life-changing truths, after which I could pattern my work: 1) No one can say who built the great cathedrals - we have no record of their names. 2) These builders gave their whole lives for a work they would never see finished. 3) They made great sacrifices and expected no credit. 4) The passion of their building was fueled by their faith that the eyes of God saw everything.

A story of legend in the book told of a rich man who came to visit the cathedral while it was being built, and he saw a workman carving a tiny bird on the inside of a beam. He was puzzled and asked the man, 'Why are you spending so much time carving that bird into a beam that will be covered by the roof, No one will ever see it.' And the workman replied, 'Because God sees.'

I closed the book, feeling the missing piece fall into place. It was almost as if I heard God whispering to me, 'I see you. I see the sacrifices you make every day, even when no one around you does. No act of kindness you've done, no sequin you've sewn on, no cupcake you've baked, no Cub Scout meeting, no last minute errand is too small for me to notice and smile over. You are building a great cathedral, but you can't see right now what it will become.'

I keep the right perspective when I see myself as a great builder. As one of the people who show up at a job that they will never see finished, to work on something that their name will never be on. The writer of the book went so far as to say that no cathedrals could ever be built in our lifetime because there are so few people willing to sacrifice to that degree. When I really think about it, I don't want my son to tell the friend he's bringing home from college for Thanksgiving, 'My Mum gets up at 4 in the morning and bakes homemade pies, and then she hand bastes a turkey for 3 hours and presses all the linens for the table.' That would mean I'd built a monument to myself. I just want him to want to come home. And then, if there is anything more to say to his friend, he'd say, 'You're gonna love it there...'

As mothers, we are building great cathedrals. We cannot be seen if we're doing it right. And one day, it is very possible that the world will marvel, not only at what we have built, but at the beauty that has been added to the world by the sacrifices of invisible mothers.

Thank you to all the Mums who are looking down and smiling at the cathedrals they helped to build. And to all the wonderful mothers out there - God bless and keep you.  Happy Mother's Day!

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Sad News
Posted by:Jenn--Thursday, April 26, 2012

It saddens me to tell you that Kathie T just lost her mother today. Our deepest sympathies and heartfelt prayers go out to Kathie & her family. Kathie has been there for so many of us – through some of the most difficult times in our lives – so it’s not surprising that she holds such a special place in our hearts.  For anyone who wishes to join the PSST family in expressing our condolences, please click here to send an email with your interest and/or your suggestions. Click on "Read More" for funeral home information.

Marion Weber arrangements:
Rusiewicz Funeral Home
1400 Fifth Avenue
Arnold, PA 15068

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Teens Getting Drunk on Hand Sanitizer
Posted by:Jenn--Thursday, April 26, 2012

Thanks to Wilma for submitting this article!

Teens Getting Drunk on Hand Sanitizer

Teens have found a new way to become intoxicated, using a commonly found household product – hand sanitizer. While a bottle of vodka is 80-proof, liquid hand sanitizer is 120-proof. This issue has public health officials worried, as a few squirts of hand sanitizer could equal a couple of shots of hard liquor. Doctors say that ingesting hand sanitizer can produce the same side effects as consuming large amounts of alcohol – slurred speech, unresponsiveness, possibly falling into a coma state. Long-term use could lead to brain, liver and kidney damage. For the full article, click here.

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Marijuana. . . Where the Trouble Begins.
Posted by:Sally--Monday, April 23, 2012

Where did this picture come from?
We have attended a few of your meetings in the past, I need to get back to them to know that I am not alone… My story began two years ago- my son started using marijuana. Then the troubles began…… He started stealing from our house, stealing from his siblings-on to stealing from Greentree pool, locker room at school.-You know the story…. We have been through Ridgeview, Gateway Aliquippa in patient, Gateway Outpatient, Mercy Behavioral, WPIC program, Abraxas DNA in Erie…. THe had just got out of Abraxas on February 14th- We truly thought he was “fixed” – he was getting good grades, participated in the program fully with good marks. We saw such an improvement, even my fiancĂ© thought this time was it! He went back to Keystone Oaks- AWESOME grades, lots of Bravo emails from Teachers and principals. He fails a test- positive for Marijuana- okay- we can deal with this. The outpatient team at Gateway and his PO said he could have a chance since he was doing so good. A few weeks later he takes my car- gets a GPS ankle bracelet on 4/3 thru vision quest. 4/4 comes- he seems okay- another bravo call from vice principal. I am cooking dinner, as it is done I go to tell him its done, he is NOT in his room. As I am coming down the steps the phone is ringing it is Vision Quest- My son is shown to be on Saw Mill Run Blvd- HE TOOK MY CAR AGAIN. He cut the bracelet off and thru out the window. Our search begins- (mind you, I just had surgery too) Our car now reported stolen, he is only 15. After we get home we notice our safe is gone- it has my fiancĂ©s gun in it. He is a retired Nacotics officer(yes, what a coincidence ) Along with our laptop. We had searched and searched for a week and a half every sighting that someone would call us about – we ended up there too late. My oldest son got a call he was at burger king- he ran up there- held his brother, called me- I called 911- He kicked him and ran. We are off again…. A few days later we get a call from Pittsburgh Police that our car was found near PNC park- and was towed Come to find out the engine is blown! Well two more days go by – I get a call at 2am from Baldwin Police- they have him. HOWEVER – he has now stolen a truck of a person that went into a convenient store and left vehicle running. He also wrecked the truck into another vehicle and was caught with his friend at eat n park where they walked on the check. He told Baldwin officers where he sold the gun- to a not so good kid! The police recovered the gun AMEN! My son had court last week – verdict postponed until May 15th when the final charges come thru from Baldwin. I am hearing that he may get sent to Abraxas LDP for 8 months and his drivers license could be suspended for 6 years! Do you have any advice? I feel like a failure. The PO and Judge of course have tried to re assure us that we have done everything we can. We have been so involved in his recovery however I guess you just feel like something is missing as a parent. He is the sweetest kid, I am almost thinking there is just something mentally wrong with him. He does have ADD/ADHD- His father was an addict- he passed away 2 years ago. He was my son's hero of course… K-

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Naloxone Debate: Prescription verses non-prescription.
Posted by:Lloyd Woodward--Monday, April 23, 2012

FDA Hears Testimony About Making an Overdose Antidote Nonprescription Read mor


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Today's Agenda
Posted by:Lloyd Woodward--Monday, April 16, 2012

Julie and Alicia finish Internship.  Surprise announcement.  Val Ketter stopping  by.

Kathie's Wesley Spectrum Team was named Allegheny County program of the year!   And of course it was extra nice cause Val was back!!!!!  More information will be forthcoming soon.  

Today we had a cake for Kathie's team and recognized Kathie and Justin.  Jocelyn couldn't make it today.  Kathie also teams with Chris, Ray and Jerome.
It doesn't always come easy for therapists to let other therapists have input into their cases; however, the team approach, some call it triage, is an idea whose time has come.  Kathie is a pioneer for this new approach and we believe that therapists that agree to allow Kathie to have input will benefit in the long run.  And of course, it's really all about the benefit that the client will realize.  

Now it's official:  Juvenile Probation like's Kathie's team approach so much that Kathie and all her team is recognized as "Program of the Year."  Congratulations to Kathie's team for a job well done.   

Julie ran the meeting. Both Julie (Juvenile Probation Intern) and Alicia (Wesley Spectrum: "Kathie's Team") are finishing their internships. Both will be missed very much. I worked more closely with Julie but I noticed Alicia attending a lot of PSST and always willing to take on assignments. We wish them both good luck in their careers.

Type rest of the post here

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PSST All-time Hits List
Posted by:Lloyd Woodward--Monday, April 16, 2012

These links don't work but the ones on the right do.
For a while, our Most Popular Posts for last 7 days is changed to PSST all-time hit's list. These are our ten most visited posts ever. If you wish to link to any visit our strip on the right where we usually post the last seven days most popular.

Even though featuring the All-time hit's list is temporary, I was thinking of changing it to Most popular last 30 days. As you might have guessed, that's our three choices: last seven, last 30, or All-time. Let us know what you think.

If there are any of the all time hits that you haven't read, now's an easy time to catch a link!

Congratulations to Rocco for posting the most popular post! K2! And still, this issue is of growing importance. By the way, did we tell you that Juvenile Probation can now test for K2, and there are tests out there that parents can buy?

And then Max, way to go with the Wexford Recap. What it is about that recap that has brought in 2, 314 page views?

It's very well-written, it's informative and it's entertaining. And yet, we have other "recaps" some written by Max and some by Rocco that are also well-written, informative and entertaining. I read it over and I must say there's a bit of a mystery on this one. How wonderful that even on the internet, or maybe especially on the internet, you can still find mystery!

Wilma, there is quite an interest in your Nature verse Nurture also. It's a short post but very well-written. And I quite agree that you probably could not have prevented this. I think that could be said for non-adoptive parents as well.

I'm not surprised that Mary Chalburg's post was widely read. Mary was much loved and admired by people everywhere.

All in all, one thing that the All-time Hits List really hits home is the point that our little blog reaches a lot of people. Let's all give ourselves a hand. Our group of parents have provided the material and our group of parents have promoted our blog. It's an accomplishment in which we can be proud. And the nice thing too is that it sort of has a life of it's own.

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Bam Bam Back in Court - by Wilma
Posted by:Jenn--Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Today (Monday) we were back in court for Bam Bam's review hearing. Well, if he would have followed the rules of his consent decree he would have been OFF probation today and not even had to appear. However, with Bam Bam nothing ever goes the "usual" way.

Since our last update we have been on a wild roller coaster ride – one with all the loops and dips! Bam had gotten off EHM on February 24th and was back on by March 2nd! As you all know from the last post he worked REALLY hard to get back on. So for two weeks Bam was doing o.k., then on March 16th . . . FREEDOM!!! He played it cool that Friday and came home on time for curfew. The next day he went job hunting with his Wesley Spectrum therapist and – miracle of miracles – had a job interview scheduled for the next day.

However, life in Bedrock doesn't stay rosy for too long. That night, St. Patty's Day, Bam came home past his court appointed curfew. I told him I wanted to alcohol test him but he refused. At some point during the night (watch out anybody with a weak stomach, as this is GROSS) Bam vomited both in his bed and between his bed and the wall. He did get up the next day to go to his interview and got the job! However, he did not clean up the mess in his room and I refused. I did however alcohol test the vomit and it tested positive for alcohol. Fred took him to the interview and then dropped him off somewhere afterwards, so Bam did not get home until about 9 p.m. The two of them cleaned up the disgusting mess!

Another week goes by with more curfew infractions. Bam was going to have a weekend sanction at Shuman, but got a break so that he could go to work at his new job. Bam has been diligently going to work (supposedly) and then the weekend rolls around again. He tells us he is working all weekend. Saturday Fred drops him off at a local market so Bam's friend can pick him up and drive him to work. Later that evening he texts me – can I pick him up at 11, as he is working longer to make some extra cash. Of course I'll pick him up on my way home, I'm not going to interfere with him making some much needed cash! I'm driving to pick him up and he calls to tell me he has a ride home, hmm, suspicious, so I keep on going to see if he really comes out of the store. Well, about ten minutes later my sister calls to ask if I knew Bam was at HER house a good 35-40 minutes away, and there is no way Bam will make it home before curfew. I ask who he is with and it's his latest good friend, an older kid I strongly suspect is a drug dealer. She tells me my brother-in law found a water bottle that smelled like alcohol and the odor of weed around this kid's car. Bam comes home late, his friend dropping him off away from the house so he wouldn't have to confront me.

The next day Bam is too sick to go to community service, so he blows it off. The next week is filled with more consent decree infractions – missing school, breaking curfew and TESTING POSITIVE FOR WEED. Almost everyday he is "too sick" for school but just fine for hanging out with friends, having to work on "projects" for school and, of course, work. This time he is definitely going to Shuman for a weekend retreat – a wise person once said they always get another chance! Thursday rolls around and Bam is too sick for school, so I offer to take him to the doctor or ER but he refused. I inform probation and am told he has to go to the doctor or he will be going before his judge! Well that got him moving, and I get him to go to the doctor where he is told since he is too sick for school, he shouldn't be doing anything else. And no note for school, which I really was o.k. with, as for years I'm always working on getting the notes for excused absences for school. Meanwhile, Fred is also sick. I actually thought he might be having a heart attack, but he refused to go to the doctor so I just had to pray it was just a virus. I couldn't take much more!

Bam says he just has to go to work. I refuse to take him, so he leaves the house on foot and says his "friend" will take him to work. About an hour later he texts me that he is off at 6, his friend Bob is picking him up, and then he is going out to eat. During these last two weeks, Fred has been giving Bam money for his dinner breaks at work. Nothing has been adding up about this job, so I decide to stake out the store. Well, 6 o'clock rolls around with no Bam Bam sighting. I go into the store and try to see if I can see his name on a schedule in the restricted employee area. Fortunately, I wasn't busted while doing my recon, but I came up empty. When I was leaving a man asked if I needed help, so I decided to just ask if Bam had worked that day. WELL, Bam had called off (or came in person, I wasn't sure which). This guy then asks if I'm o.k. because the week before Bam had called off because one of his parents was in the hospital!! Nobody was in the hospital! I learn that Bam Bam has not worked a single minute at this place. He has not gone through any orientation or training. This gentleman was on the fence about whether or not to give him another chance, as here is this kid calling off before he has even earned one penny, and what would happen if he was truly scheduled to work a register! I was furious! For two weeks he had been telling us, his p.o., and service providers that he's been working. How ingenious – the perfect cover to hide whatever he was really up to.

Later I stopped at the local market to see if his friend who supposedly took him to work was working, and was going to ask if he had taken Bam to work earlier. Well, this kid isn't working so I leave. I'm getting in my car and lo and behold there is Bam sitting in the passenger seat of the car parked next to mine. The look on his face was priceless – guilt and surprise! He thought I was at home! I went over and asked him if he wanted to go home with me – no, of course. His good friend Eddie (of the social hosting house) was slinking in the back seat. Since I didn't know the driver, I took the liberty of getting his license plate in case I needed it for future reference. Little did I know I'd need it the next day.

Friday rolls around and Bam is just fine to go to school. This is the day he is going on his weekend retreat at Shuman, so he is going early if he doesn't go to school, after school or after his school activity. What he doesn't know is that, because of the continued shenanigans, he is having a detention hearing Monday morning. Of course I get a phone call that he needs money brought to school for dinner when his team is coming back to school later, so I graciously take $10 to school. Well, a little after 2:30 I get a call from the coach that Bam is not on the activity bus. I go home and he didn't come home on the school bus so he is MIA. What else could I do but call the cops! While the local police are at the house taking down information and running the license plate I got the night before, Bam Bam calls asking for a ride at 7:00 when he gets back to the school!! Fred hands the phone to the cop, who lets Bam know we all know he is not where he says he is, and if he doesn't get home in a half hour they will have to start going to his friend's houses looking for him, and that if they have to take him to Shuman he will be there a lot longer! I guess it made an impact on Bam because he was home within the half hour, smelling like weed with the overpowering smell of cigarette smoke. Fred and I take him to Shuman without further incident. We visited twice and on the first visit I confronted him about the job. He said he had to lie so he could get money from his dad. Fortunately on Monday he was detained until his hearing today.

And now, today. The hearing went the way we thought it would go. Bam's judge does not like to send kids to placement and his PD is a tigress working at getting this kid off! Probation recommended a new day/evening program that includes 24/7 gps monitoring, ACT 53 closed, and the judge accepted the program recommendation. ACT 53 made a statement that Bam needs long-term placement. I made the same statement, also saying that I am fearful for his life as he is mixing his 6 prescription meds with the illegal stuff. His P.O. gave the judge a very good detailed account of the last few months. What surprised me was the judge saying he feels Bam most likely needs placement, BUT he wants to give him a chance to finish school, so he went with the new program. The judge was really irritable with Bam and actually testy through the whole proceeding. Bam's PD made sure to get in the record that Bam is accepted to college and planning to go. I was happy that ACT 53 and I were able to get our views into the record also. I don't think it helped Bam's case that he had been detained at Shuman for over a week, but it helped us.

Bam is being sprung from Shuman tomorrow by the new program and we all will meet at their location tomorrow. He has to stay for awhile for programming and then we pick him up, so he will be home tomorrow night.

This is it for Bam. If he is unsuccessful in this program, he is going to go to placement. And his judge is on board with this, which was a huge development today.

Now we will see if Bam begins to take responsibility for his actions and can make this work for himself.

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Link to This American Life for Switched at Birth
Posted by:Lloyd Woodward--Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Click here to go to This American Life original story.

This true story complete with interviews of the prime players highlights the importance of hereditary factors. This is a compelling story of interest to everyone but perhaps with special importance for parents of adoptive families.

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