love

What Goes on Behind Closed Doors…

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In light of the recent events involving Baltimore Ravens football player, Ray Rice and his wife Janay, I feel completely compelled and obligated to express my deep concerns about the matter. In no way is this scripted or rehearsed; nor is it edited or revised. It is my raw account of the situation. At this time, I am sure just about everyone in the nation is aware and/or have seen the shocking video footage of the incident in the elevator. I don’t have to know “all the facts” in order to give my opinion. In fact, I don’t even need a video. I would like to first and foremost say that this is not about the fault of the National Football League Commissioner. Nor does the finger get pointed to the media and the general public. The blame lies solely on the coward. It really, REALLY upsets me to know that Domestic Violence exists. Some things in life are preventable; such as obesity or some types of cancer. I fell that DV is alive and well because of US. All of US. As a DV survivor, I can say first hand that there is a way out. No one is deserving of forced misery and fear. To be honest, I don’t know where the disconnect started; giving someone total control and power over your own well being. The mind is a powerful force and unfortunately not always for the greater good. It pains me to see a women give up a part of her soul and spirit, to strengthen someone else’s. As women, we are natural-born nurturers. We want to confront and protect. Maybe that’s why it acceptable to forgive. Where did it start for someone to have such a damaged self-worth?? I wish I could answer my own question, since I was once had that state of mind. I do not even know when or where I gained the courage to walk away. All I can account for are the excuses I made for him and HIS actions. I didn’t want anyone to see the external and internal bruises. I remember the incredible fear; fear of what will happen next; will he really hurt me next time. I was lucky. I am alive. For some people, the results are fatal. Men too are victims; and the numbers are rising. I don’t want it to seem that I am reaching out to just women, no, males too are subjected to DV. It is not socially acceptable for a main to be abused by a woman. But abuse comes in all shades; physical, emotional, finically and psychological. I don’t know a better way to say this: love NEVER hurts. Manipulation does. There should never be a time or an incidence in your relationship where you feel the “need” to get violent. NEVER. NO EXCUSE. No one can tell me differently. I don’t want to hear, “it was only one time”, “what if I served it”. ” shit happens”, ” it was an accident”. All of these are nothing but pathetic lies to cover up the ugly truth. If you are a victim of DV, I urge you to seek help immediately. You don’t have to be alone. If you feel stuck, reach out to me. I have plenty of resources. Just know that you are not by yourself; there are people that can help you and your family. It will take time to build your moral strength to finally comprehend that YOU matter.

Thanks.

R.

Sometimes You Don’t Have a Choice…

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Choice-noun.. /CHois-/an act of selecting or making a decision when faced with two or more possibilities.

Daily, people have to make  tough decisions that will dictate the rest of their day; and in some cases, the rest of their life.  Choice.  Many, rely on their  “gut instincts” to come up with a decision. You often hear people say  “I hope you make the right choice.” Who is to say what is the right… choice.  That’s how I felt when I had my career in Child Welfare. I held different job titles in the occupation, but the  denominator in my daily tasks were: choice.

ImageMy longest title I held in child welfare was in Adoption. If you like children, I do not suggest this career choice for you:  I earned a living following Federal and State rules;  under the microscope of Administration; sometimes looking out for the best interest of the Agency as well as the child; dealing with uptight attorneys who often wanted to set a precedent with their political views at the wrong time; and the toughest of all, retaining dignity and self-respect as you face scrutiny, ridicule and resentment from family members, the media,  Judges and the Community. Choice.   Instead of being the Case Manager, I should of been called the Choice Manager.  My role was simple, yet complicated:  ensure that a child that is in foster care is adopted to a suitable family.  That was the simple part.  It became complicated when you as the Choice Manager, had to use your professional opinion to achieve the goal.  Remaining objective often was challenging.  As I think about it, now that I stepped down from that role, I can see a different side; from subjective end. I recently watched the dramatic  movie Losing Isaiah which tells the story about a crack-addicted african-american child who was illegally adopted by an affluent  upper class caucasian family.  The birth mother did not formally sign over her parental rights, and the case was taken to trial.  The Judge made the decision to return the child to the natural mother; deeming that children should have the chance to be raised by their birth parents/family members.  Of course race, class and economic status were the factors that each party argued. What it the right choice? I’ve Imagewatched that movie dozens of times.  However, since I no longer hold that position of constantly watching with child welfare eyes, I was able to look at the movie with a different pair of glasses.  The numbness that I have been accustomed to for almost a decade immediately crumbled.  Tears flowed with ease as I watched both families struggle to love a child.  I was finally allowed to feel; and it was a bittersweet moment.  Then I started  thinking about all the choices I had to make in my career.  I personally choose specific families to be forever-parents to foster children.  I interviewed them face-to-face, ask them personal questions, as if they were applying for a bank loan to buy a home.  I saw the fear in their eyes,  I noticed the perfect fronts they put on for me.  They wanted to be the chosen one. I had to make the right choice. When a mother and father conceive a child, that child doesn’t get to choose their parents.  Those parents don’t get to choose their offspring. But I as Choice Manager, played an instrumental role in creating family units.  For the rest of their lives, their own choices would be stemmed from the foundation of MY choice. When I received the heart felt cards stating how much of an impact I had on their family after a successful  adoption, I would smile at the jester and move on.  Never would I treat it as nothing important, but unfortunately my heart would not allow me to feel the gratitude.  Today, while having a moment of refection of the lives I’ve changes,  I can say that I have made some of the most critical and live-changing choices of my life.  I still humble myself when I say that I created these life-changing choices.  I don’t want to take the credit of a system that often times works. But I will say that  it has been a true blessing to know that the possibilities that I was faced with professionally, were successful to someone personally.