What you can do to help abused and neglected kids in MT

This month, National Child Abuse Prevention Month, is almost over. The Missoulian’s been featuring a series on the topic for the past several weeks, and today we published our own entry. Hopefully, it’s at least as helpful as some of the other columns written by the experts on child abuse prevention in western Montana.

The editorial is aimed at encouraging people to at least get started thinking about the hurt children in our community and how to help them. To consider becoming a foster family or a court-appointed special advocate, or perhaps lending some volunteer time, extra household supplies or monetary donations to one of the several organizations that provide support to families at risk.

The long-term aim is to stop the cycle of abuse and give children the best possible start in life. The immediate result is making a real difference in the life of a kid, right here in Montana, who needs to know that he’s not alone.

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Missoula couple named Foster Parents of the Year

Wow, congratulations – and thank you – to Kim and Tyson Moore. The Missoula couple are this year’s Montana Foster Parents of the Year.  So if you see them around town with their kids – they have two bio kids, a foster kid and are adopting a 1-year-old foster child – give them a round of applause.

Another Missoulian you’ll want to applaud: Cori Stern, who is being given the CASA Volunteer of the Year award.

Read on for more details on the awards ceremony this Monday, as well as the full list of Montanans receiving awards for their work preventing child abuse and neglect:

Read the rest of this entry »

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Foster parent education sessions

As it’s National Adoption Awareness Month, all through November you can expect to see a lot of stories about the processes, challenges and outcomes involved with adoption.

TODAY, for one, is running a week-long series on adoption. Today’s segment, “Adoption challenges: It’s worth it – but it’s not easy,” includes some tips from adoption experts for prospective parents. The third tip made me laugh: “Keep your mind on your end goal. Therese thinks the pain of labor must be similar to the grueling adoption process: It’s horrible while you’re in it, but the memory of the pain fades away when your baby is in your arms.”

As someone who’s been lucky enough to experience both birth and adoption, I think that’s totally true. Although we finalized our adoption in August and I still have nightmares about missing paperwork.

If you’re interested in sharing my nightmares, another TODAY segment lists a few suggestions to help you get started. The first step, it says, is to decide which kind of adoption is right for you.

But how do you decide?

My family went with the Dan Fox Family Care Program at Youth Homes, and we highly recommend it. The awesome staff there offers a regular series of Foster Parent Education sessions, and it’s a great way to learn more about this particular kind of adoption without any commitment or cost.

Watch this short (eight and half minutes is all!) documentary featuring actual parents who have worked with the program, try not to cry, then call 541-1664 to sign up for the next session.

The next series will start in January. Here’s the full schedule.

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Our adoption story

One summer day, Willow and your dad and I were walking home from the farmer’s market when we passed a table. And who was at that table? Bill! You remember Bill, don’t you?

Well, Bill gave us all kinds of information about foster care and adoption. We took it home and read it and we decided that, yes, this is how we would find you.

So we took lots and lots of classes, and we filled out lots and lots of paperwork, and we got our house all ready for you, which was hard to do because we didn’t know if you were a boy or girl, or how old you were, or what kinds of things you liked and what kinds of things you hated.

Then we waited and waited and waited. One day we got a call about a little kid who needed a home, so we went to the office and read about this kid – but you know what? That kid just wasn’t the right fit for our family. That kid went to live with some other family.

So we waited and waited and waited, until one day we got another call about another kid who needed a home, so we went to the office again and we read about this kid, who was actually a newborn baby. But you know what? That baby wasn’t the right fit for our family either. That baby went to live with some other family.

We waited and waited and waited some more, until we were very tired of waiting. Then we got a call about TWO kids who needed a family. They were sisters, and they were the cutest pair you ever saw. We wanted very much to be the right family for these two, but it turns out, we just weren’t – and a good thing too, because those girls went to live with another family that actually is perfect for them. And if they had stayed with us, we might never have found you.

Anyway, we were done with waiting. Your dad and I said that’s it, we’re not waiting any more!

But still, we waited.

Until finally, one day, we got another call. And this call was about you.

We went to the office and read a little bit about you. We found out that you were 4 years old, and your name is Landon, and you like cars and trucks. We thought, hmm, we’d like to meet this kid!

And when we met you – when we met you! – we knew for sure that you were just right for us, and we were just right for you. You were the one we had been hoping for, and waiting for, all that time.

I remember the very first time I saw you. Your dad and I were walking across the parking lot to Kari’s office, and you were walking across that same parking lot with your foster mom, Momma Kim. We all went inside together, and you sat down at a little table and showed us how you could find letters in the newspaper. And then while the grownups talked, you played with cars. You lined them up all nice and neat, and then you and your dad played cars together, only back then, he wasn’t your dad yet.

After that I got to visit with you a few more times before you came to our house and met your sister – only back then, she wasn’t your sister yet. Willow couldn’t wait to meet you! She was so jealous because your dad and I got to see you before she did. She asked us and asked us and asked us, “When do I get to meet Landon?”

Well, she got to meet you when you came over to our house for the first time and you two spent the whole afternoon playing in the mud in the backyard. It was summertime, so it was hot outside.

Right after that you moved in with us for good. And now I am your mom, and your dad is your dad, and your sister is your sister – and you are a part of our family for ever and ever, no matter what.

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The Daily Kitten: Big Momma and some great news!

Last but not least, here’s the momma cat!

We’re not sure if her official name is Augustine or Hickory, but true to tradition we’re just calling her Momma Cat. She has the same calico coloring as two of her kittens, but she’s mostly white with soft, short hair.

She’s good to her kittens and good to us. She’s not at all possessive of her babies and just wants some loving for herself once in a while too. She does have an escapist tendency, although with eight kittens to look after who could blame her for needing a break once in a while.

Like seven of her eight babies, momma here is available for adoption through the Humane Society of Western Montana.

But one kitten is no longer up for grabs! That’s right, one of her kittens – Angel – will soon be going home with her new family. It’s a family we know so we’ll be able to visit. Isn’t that great news?

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The Daily Kitten: Jewel

The last of our eight kittens gets two pictures: one so you can see her beautiful markings; the other so you can see her beautiful personality.

Jewel here is a lap cat all right. Inquire with the Western Montana Humane Society if you’d like to cuddle this sweet kitty on your lap.

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The Daily Kitten: Halloween edition with Mister

If you’re wearing a hat, hold onto it – ’cause this kitten will blow. your. mind.

Heeeeeeeeere’s Mister!

Do you see that? Do you SEE that? Look at his little mustache!

Yes, this kitten comes wearing a year-round Halloween outfit (he’s dressed as An Absolute Gentleman, or perhaps someone from The Great Gatsby), which is why he’s Missoula Mom’s featured kitten of the day. That, and he’s awesome.

Seriously, I know we moms aren’t supposed to have favorites but … he’s my favorite. He’s my husband’s favorite too, and the kids’ favorite. He’s the smallest of the litter, but he gives the biggest love. He’s the kitten who, when you walk in the door, will pad right over and sit on your feet, looking up at you adoringly.

How can you stand it?! Tell the Humane Society of Western Montana that you want Mister and you want him now!

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The Daily Kitten: Tootsie

Tootsie is a sweetie with lots of energy. She likes to climb whatever’s handy – curtains, legs, you name it.

She’s not a very big kitten, but she gives big love. Contact the Humane Society of Western Montana if you want her to love you.

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The Daily Kitten: Winkle

Orange cats have a reputation for being mellow, friendly, undemanding felines, and Winkle certainly fits this description.

When the other cats are tumbling all around the room, falling in the water dish or scattering litter everywhere, Winkle can often be found snoozing in a pile of blankets or watching the action upside-down while laying on his back. If he’s feeling particularly participatory, he might raise a paw at something.

He’s a lap cat that purrs if anyone so much as looks at him.

The Humane Society of Western Montana can tell you more about orange cats if you’re interested in making Winkle a part of your family.

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The Daily Kitten: The Gray

The Gray is a beauty. The photo below doesn’t begin to do her justice. She’s a big, sleek kitten with blue eyes, a gray coat and white paws and chest.

This photo does, however, hint at her feisty nature. The Gray likes to attack! She’s a pouncer who stalks and takes down her brothers and sisters with stealth and gusto. She will also go after human hands and feet – but can be soothed into submission with a few firm pets.

Contact the Humane Society of Western Montana if you think you might be the right human for her. And for golly’s sake, do it soon! These kittens aren’t going to be kittens forever.

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