Many times before I have said the hardest part of residential childcare is the adults, not the kids. I can also tell you from first hand experience that none of us have all the answers. Relationships, both child and adult, are difficult and complex. What is the right answer now, will not be in twenty minutes. To sum up the last few days of my existence I would have to say that I truly do not enjoy being around any HP that does not approach our line of work as a ministry and as a professional.

Without dropping dimes on any particular individual that is really irritating me at the moment, I would like to share some of my pet peeves with you all that have all seem to have filtered down into a gooey mess the last few days.

1. Treating your “Biological kids” different from the foster kids.-There is nothing in this world that infuriates me more than double standards between staff kids and the facility kids. Before you dish out a consequence ask yourself if you would, or have, given the same kind of “Justice” to your own kid. Better yet, think about how you would feel if you were forced to live in a house with people that were not your family and to be reminded DAILY that you come in second to other kids in the house. Not a pleasant thought is it?

2. Griping about EVERY kid that is to be admitted- In residential child care we deal with behavior and psychological issues, IT’S WHAT WE DO. What did you expect coming into this job?

3. Competition- This ain’t the freaking Olympics champ. There is no ultimate houseparent challenge so please, next time you start throwing out how many years you have been a child care worker, ask yourself if your actually trying to make a valid point, or your just trying to be a self inflating jerk.

4. Fortune Telling- Maybe you do see dead people and can predict when it will snow, just don’t do it with the kids. To walk around and say to yourself or others that a kid is doomed to be a addict, sexual predator, inmate or doomed for the burning abyss of hell, is to set a kid up for failure. Think about it, keep reinforcing a kid with nothing but negativity and your going to get negativity back, with change.

5. Job -VS- Ministry- To do what we do has got to be a calling from God. It’s not a glam job, you will live in poverty, and the vast majority of kids you work with are very ungrateful for what sacarafices you and your family have to make to help them. You have to believe God has called you to to be here in this moment, at this time. Or you just have to be completely loco and love the emotional drain and pain.

So there it is, my top five. I really hope my week gets better and the blogging is a little more uplifting. -Launch

Happy Anniversary

As I sit here working on this blog I am looking across the living room at my wife. Actually I have had to look at her non stop for the last few years. Every blasted waking moment (Just joking darling).

Being House Parents we work, eat, sleep, play and watch tv together. Does it get old? Yes. But that is where the bike helps me to escape for a few hours every week, pretend I am a bad boy living on the edge, and come back home to a hot dinner and a quiet evening to snuggle on the couch.

It has been an adjustment. Not many couples spend as much time with their spouses as we do. I am willing to bet that in the last two years we have spent more time together than the average couple that has been married for ten years. I think she is the only woman on the face of the planet that can put up with me also.

We discovered soon after becoming HP’s that our varied backgrounds helped to balance each other and work for the benefit of the kids. For example, my wife was raised in a great family, always had her parents around and made choices based on her very deep walk with Christ. I on the other hand grew up on the flip side. I was chain smoking by the time I was thirteen and made my choices based on how much available cash was on hand. To say my wife is the better half is a huge understatement.

This all relates to when we are working with the boys. My wife is all heart and believes everything they say. She is a mom all the way through. I look at every statement the kids say as a possible hustle. I have to check and verify everything, probably because I’ve tried pulling some of the same stunts they try on us. Needless to say I am usually the one that holds them accountable for most stuff.

We have had an odd relationship for sure. Both of us met as singles working in a children’s home in Maryland. It was a wild place that was very physical. I guess it was love from the first restraint with her. Our lives revolved around the group home and was just a part of the relationship. Most of our dates were done with 8 kids and a beat up 15 passenger van. We even got married on duty, with our kids decorating the church (with black balloons and streamers) and helping to put together our reception. Several months later when we found out we were going to have a baby, the kids were the first ones we told. When all is said and done, this is not a job, it’s a lifestyle. Not many people could do what we did, and I don’t know of any that would have enjoyed the experience as much as we did.

Since those days she has followed me a long ways. She has stood by through every “Get Rich Quick” idea I’ve had, bumping my toe and screaming obscenities in a church parking lot, embarrassing blogs, my motorcycle, late nights sitting on the computer messing with the HP Network and my obsession with gadgets. She is one in a million and I thank God everyday he made this woman loopy enough to be my partner.

Most of the time when I’m acting crazy or embarking on some hobby that could kill me, she just smiles and shakes her head. I use to think it was really supportive of her, but last month I found a $250,000 life insurance policy with my name on it. Oh well, if I’m gonna be stupid she may as well be debt free.

Amy, you have been the love of my life and my co-worker in one of the most important ministries on earth. I can’t wait to continue the adventure with you (After I sign the life insurance policy). Happy anniversary babe. -Launch

An Open Letter To Texas

Scary Hillary Clinton

Dear Republic of Texas,

You have always been regarded as being the ultimate tough guy state. I was raised to believe that only the hardiest of individuals could make a living there. I have admired from a distance how your judicial system takes care of it’s death row inmates by actually carrying out the sentence while the rest of us let ours die of old age. When Ozzy Osbourne took a whizz on the Alamo, y’all banned him from the state. That is the Texas that has become the stuff of movies and legend.

So what does this have to do with House Parenting or kids? Nothing, unless you consider the fact that Hillary Clinton scares little children. I’m just taking this moment to abuse my powers of blogging to let you guys know that it is up to you to stop the madness.

Please, in the name of the Alamo and for all the stars that shine bright deep in the heart of Texas, just say no.