Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Our new site is officially up!!!


PLEASE come and check out the site, and help pass along the URL to everyone in the whole wide world... or at least everyone on your contact lists :)

The site is current with daily updates.

THANK YOU ALL so much for the support!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

They Stayed Home - Keep Them Home!


It is amazing. Absolutely amazing.

Monday, December 15th, was a frantic day. We wrote, we called, we questioned, and we feared. Monday night, close friends started to arrive.

Emily and her children Raven and Nigel showed up first, with snacks and sleeping bags in their arms. Then, Aunt Jenna and Uncle Tom came over with their children Naomi and Caleb. The children played, while the adults came together in support. We did not know what the next several hours would bring us, but for now, we were all together. Tavvi and Raven went into Tavvi's room and started to pack some bags....

Then Chris and his son's Sev and Alex came over. Sev and Alex are very close friends with Connor, Wes, and Michael. The boys bundled up and went sledding. Chris joined us in the living room, and our conversations ranged between how scary and unjust our situation is, what the next day may look like and what type of support the children will need the most, and tales of days past and things to come (as our minds and hearts had to wander or the heaviness of the situation would be just too much). Uncle Tom pulled Connor aside and had a "man to man" talk. Tavvi came and sat in my lap, and we had a talk about the power of love, and how no matter what happens the next day, things were going to be okay eventually.

We had no answers. We had no solutions. We were scared, but we were coming together, and there was support.

As the boys came back and made nachos and started watching movies, I pulled Connor and Tavvi aside to discuss the following morning. I told them that I did not know what the next day was going to look like, but that it was going to be uncomfortable and stressful no matter what. I explained that sometimes that most important times in life as stressful and uncomfortable, but that things can be important without being dramatic. I reminded them of how much they are loved and supported, and how many people were rooting for them and will be fighting for them, no matter what. I explained that it would be a good idea to start talking about plan b... and plan c and d while we were at it. Connor refused. He stated again, "I don't need to pack, I don't need to plan - I am NOT going anywhere. I am NOT leaving".

I hugged all of my kids. I hugged them tightly. I pet their hair, kissed their faces. Tavvi was playing with Raven, Zion was busy negotiating turns on the computer with Caleb, Naomi and Nigel were hugging and spinning in circles around doll houses, and the older boys were making super-mondo-nachos-of-doom. There was a warmth in the home and some hope in our hearts, based only on the love of those coming together. I held on to that moment; I memorized it. This may be the last time that we would all be together like this, and on the eve of unknown change, we were strong because we were together.

Morning came too fast. Mary and her family (Elina, one of Tavvi's best friends, "big" Connor, and baby Gage) arrived around 5am. Shortly afterwards, Amy and Chris (Sev and Alex's mom and dad) arrived, then Bruce (school councilor) and Scott (school executive) came through the door. There were many hugs.

Tavvi had Raven on one arm, and Elina on the other. Connor was surrounded by his friends and older brothers. A little bit after 5:30am, two people from the state of Virginia showed up.

I am so grateful that Jenna had a video camera. We have the whole rest of the morning on tape. Jenna is getting that copied to computer today and we will host and show the video for all to see and appreciate. It was a peaceful effort; all people were sitting or leaned back. Only non-violent communication was used. We were assertive and supportive. The children communicated for themselves and showed amazing calm and maturity. We all felt collected and supported. We were quite the loving and peaceful force to be reckoned with!

It was tense at times. But Scott and Bruce helped guide and support conversation. The children were scared, but also empowered. We were all in acceptance of the situation; they may take the kids, no matter what is said or what we do. But, we all knew that there was power in words, power in community, and power in peace.

It seemed, there at the end, that it was going to involve police force. Instead, the night ended with hugs and applause. The kids are staying.

We do not know what is next. We waited all day for calls or information, but there was nothing new to help answer questions. Will we have to go through this again in a week? Will this be taken to court in review for permanency? We do not know what really happened behind the scenes. We do not know what is to come. The insecurity of it all is enough to drive anyone mad! But we are not mad... we are in rejoice. We are TOGETHER. For today, we are TOGETHER.

Connor, Shorty, and Zion wanted to go to school yesterday. So did Caleb. As I drove them to school, Jenna sitting to my right, I had a heart on high. Here he is, Connor the Con-Man, in the flesh.... Just as angsty, silly, teen-ish, resentful, impulsive, and fun as any other day. I have never been filled with such gratitude. Zion was sitting right next to his Connor, as usual. They walked into school together, as usual. It was another day of family and life, as usual. I have never been so grateful.

I slept last night, Tavvi in one arm, Zion in the other. As I pet their faces and dozed off, I again felt overwhelmed with gratitude for our simply being together.

Now begins the fight to KEEP THEM HOME.

Monday, December 15, 2008

DHS Virginia are coming to our home tomorrow (TUESDAY) morning at 6am.
Virginia DHS will be here at 6am to take the kids away. We are so scared. 6am is the time..... I have no idea what to do. Every outlet tells me that there is nothing I CAN do and that I need to start packing and telling the kids to give up. My heart is killing me. This is the most scared I have ever been.

... emails... please. They are here in Oregon, and still plan to take the children. We are so scared.
We need media coverage - please, we need support. This is it; and it is miracle time. Please, help... this needs to be miracle time.

UPDATE: Article on KATU - PLEASE read and comment!

Support These Kids!

Below is a letter copied to me from our DHS case worker here in Oregon to the children's GAL in Virginia.

>> Kelly C INGLES 12/15/2008 12:05 PM >>>

Hi Pat-

As you probably already know, DHS-Virginia is on there way to Oregon to move Connor and Tavvi back to foster care in Virginia.

This is really concerning, since they have expected Stephanie to help with the transport of the children to the airport despite the emotional issues this will raise with the children. I explained that due to their short notice of their travel plans and my own court schedule, I would not be able to assist in transporting the children either.

The children are having an extremely hard time with this and Connor has asked for an emergency injunction to stop them leaving Oregon. After staffing this case, I realize that my hands are tied, and that there is no reasons with the powers that be in Virginia. The children are ones who are going to be hurt the most by this poorly planned move to foster care in Virginia.

Kelly Ingles
Social Service Specialist-Permanency
Beaverton-CW/SDA 16
Phone: (503) 277-6655

Sunday, December 14, 2008

A snapshot...

NOTE: Scroll to the bottom of the page, or click HERE, to read the full story - Connor and Tavvi do NOT want to be ripped away from their home, family, and life!

To know them is to love them, that is for sure. Michael (16), Wes (14), Connor (12), Tavvi (9) and Zion (5) are kids that no one ever forgets.

We are a unique family; we say that we are a "Photoshopped family" when people give us confused looks upon introduction. What we have is special - and it is at risk of being ripped away from us.

Here is a snapshot taken out of time:

Connor and his little brother, Zion (my biological son, age 5), colored their hair together earlier this year. It all washed out, but we have the pictures to remember it by!

One of Tavvi's best friends, Raven, came over this day. She brought her camera and took a few pictures that serve as a great snapshot into the special relationship between Connor, Tavvi, and Zion.

All 5 of the children in our family are very close - they all attend the same therapeutic school, and spend a lot of their time skating, going to the movie theater, going bowling, enjoying dinning out (that is a favorite for all of us!), and going over to Aunt Jenna's house to hang out with their cousins and their favorite dude, Uncle Tom.

But, there is a special and unique relationship between Connor, Tavvi, and Zion. These three "camp out" and slumber party in Connor's big bedroom or the living room - make snacks and watch cartoons... they share friends, play imagination games, and are hardly ever apart.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

The We Love Connor and Tavvi Party

The We Love Connor and Tavvi Party

  • When: Tuesday morning at 5am and all day
  • Where: 14894 SE Hemmen Ave, Clackamas Oregon
  • CALL: 503-658-6362

Come, bring the family, bring food and games and musical instruments! We are going to come together in play, music, and support. Our home is very accommodating for children of all ages.

PLEASE pass this on. Word-of-mouth... friends of friends and distant acquaintances are still our COMMUNITY.

******I want to be very clear: This is a support effort. We are NOT standing in the way of a court order, we are supporting two children with love, comfort, strength, and presence.

From my understanding, Virginia may have every legal right under State and Federal law to make this order and enforce it, no matter how heartbreaking and absurd it is. I also understand the obligation to provide reunification services to biological parents. Even though the children have been here for so long, because the parents both live in Virginia and there was pre-existing cases that question custody, they are thus the home state for the case regardless of where the children are and apparently regardless of the children's wishes, time lived here, and documented recommendations. I plan to continue to beg, plead, bribe, yell for a relinquishment and seek permanency with me, here in Oregon. What I do not want to do is harm any of the kids in any possible way, or have the courts refuse us based on our efforts being seen as illegally violating an enforceable court order.

So, to the point - give us your good vibes! Lets outreach, support, and make a fuss and hope that enough energy in one direction will help make things MOVE... but please help me in doing this with the utmost respect to the situation and basic politeness and an understanding that this is not a hostil standdown but rather a supportive party for two children facing a force that is so disproportionate to themselves.

Two Amazing Kids

I will update with more pictures in the following days when I get my other hard drives spinning!

Here are a few pictures...

Tavvi is 9. She is the sweetest, funkiest, funnest gal in the whole wide world. She loves to swim, watch anime, sew, and spend time with her best friends. Tavvi has a great sense of humor and her own unique style. She is very artistic and playful. Tavvi is NOT a quiet gal - she like to play hard and loud!

Connor is 12. Connor loves to skateboard. Included here is a picture of him at the Burnside skatepark right after it was remodeled. Connor has many friends and loves his classes at school. Connor is very computer-savvy. He researches different operating systems, different hardware, and changes his opinion on the best technology often.