Saturday, December 1, 2007

John Carr...a Tip of My Hat

I began working on a post for today but then I was reading a blog I check in on daily and came across something written by my union's former president, John Carr. It's not often you see someone put themselves out there as John does with this post but when they do it's impossible not to take notice. I've never met John but I've admired his ability to convey his passion through his pen for some time.

Whatever it was I had to say today can wait.

Very Important, PLEASE Read And Forward

I cannot get the thought of her out of my mind. I cannot sleep when I think of her. Which is why I am up now, typing this.

What? What must have happened to cause two parents to beat their adorable, blond haired, blue eyed TWO YEAR OLD daughter with leather belts, hold her head under water, fling her across the room in a rage that fractured her skull in three places, place her in plastic bags and a Sterlite box, leave it in the garage for two months, then toss it into Galveston Bay? Their reasoning---that the beating was designed to get the two year old to start saying "please" and "thank you" and "yes sir"---makes me unbelievably angry. A two year old should be wearing tiaras and looking for Santa and learning to use the potty and mimicking the Wiggles and giggling at Tigger and Pooh.

This story reveals that little "Baby Grace" was actually Riley Ann Sawyers, the young child of a Mentor, Ohio woman. This other story is noteworthy because I want to salute the dedication and professionalism of the Galveston Sheriffs Department in pursuing this case with speed and vigor. The picture of Major Ray Tuttoilmondo holding up the dead child's sneaker is another image I could have done without and will never lose.

Jill and I have talked about this before. Most recently when one of these hit the news here. In Cleveland just a few weeks ago a woman drowned her two beautiful daughters in the bathtub in the middle of the afternoon, then called the husband---no saint, but at least he was at work---to tell him the girls were at peace. When he got home they were dead. Jill and I both had the same reaction: we would have taken them.

We have the same reaction every time. Susan Smith, convicted of the drowning of her two sons. Andrea Yates, convicted of the drowning of three of her five children. Deanna Laney, called the "rock mom," killed her young sons by beating them with a rock. Dena Schlosser chopped up her baby girl. Melissa Drexler went out on the dance floor after killing her little newborn son and asked for Metallica`s "Unforgiven." Amy Grossberg's newborn son was found bludgeoned to death in a motel trash bin.

Jill and I have wondered if there is a place parents can go when they are out of control, or out of options, or out of their mind, or if they just don't want to be parents any more. If they go to Social Services they get tagged a problem parent. If they go to the police they may or may not get help, but again, with a judgment and a price. And if they reveal their true feelings, they may need a lawyer more than they need a respite.

We actually discussed opening a storefront for just this purpose, a safe house for babies, until more rational people reminded us of how quickly we would become a drop-off babysitting service. "Yeah, I'm thinking about beating my kids between seven and nine thirty on Friday night. Fandango two tickets to "Saw IV" for me and we'll pick the little brats up at ten."

But we are haunted by the hopelessness of so many, and we feel powerless to help unless we do something.

So here's the deal: If you, or someone you know, is at the end of their rope with their kids, or can't do it anymore, or for whatever reason is contemplating drastic measures or terrible thoughts---don't. We'll take your kid, or kids. For a day, a month, or the rest of their lives. They will be raised with love and Christian values in a house full of fun and laughter and tears and chores and hurt feelings and broken toys and "he's looking at me" and "she stole my singing turn" and 'Wow, Wow Wubbzy' and a ton of laundry.


We are not in the market for a child. We are not trying to be martyrs or heroes. We simply cannot let another day go by without shouting from the rooftop---my little Internet rooftop in this case---please. Don't hurt that child. Please. We are not perfect, but we do our best and God helps us out a lot, and we want people to know there is a credible, safe alternative to putting a child in a plastic box and throwing them into the ocean.

We won't tell anyone you don't want to know. We will not stand in judgment of you. We will not ask for anything from you. We will not place you or your family in danger or scrutiny. We will not blog about you, or gossip, or brag, or complain. We will do everything in our power to respect your wishes. The child will know you if you want them to. They will not if you do not. We will love your baby. Black, white, Hispanic, Asian, mixed, you name it. We will adopt them if you want us to, or not. Just don't hurt them. Please.

We're talking little kids here, really, sort of six and under, the ones that you always hear about getting hit or hurt or hurled. I know there are other ages in danger but honestly we aren't yet equipped to handle them...simply because we have not "been there and done that," and also because we don't have four closets full of pre-teen and up clothes!

What we DO have are Cereal Killers. Put a box of Lucky Charms in between them and it is dead. They are fun, hard, puzzling, cute, maddening, and more work than I would wish on anybody. And yes, they can be frustrating and difficult and incredibly complex and migraine-inducing. I go through the largest Band-Aid box Costco sells every month or two because of this owie or that boo-boo. They like to say "booty" because they know they are supposed to say "heinie." So what. I also taught them to say "succulent" when they taste something delicious, and that freaks out the pre-K teacher. But they are kids, and their happiness and anger and moods pass as quickly as their breaths sometimes, and they are the complete and utter joy of our lives.

And we wouldn't have it any other way.

This offer is completely serious, open indefinitely and you would be doing me a favor if you would cross-post it to other web sites, blog places and anywhere someone in need or desperation might see it. You can email me at or call me on my cell phone anytime at 440-986-0242. We are trustworthy, honest, sincere, and profoundly serious.

I'm going to leave this posting up until Monday morning, because the weekend traffic is lighter than normal and I would like it to get the widest possible dissemination. Please forward this message to people you know who have massive email mailing lists, and ask them to send it around.

And pray for all the little kids.

They're just little kids.

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