Tag Archives: Government

Good for My Kids, But Not for Yours

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Dear Moms of the World,

As we battle daily for all that is good for our kids, I have recently discovered a great disparity in our thinking. For many of us, we are mindful and cognizant of what we value in life. Our values are the foundation for our behavior. So, for example, if I value having fun in life, I’m going to do things that will bring a smile to my face and laughter to my heart, all the while making lasting memories.

If I value a clean bottom for myself and my kids, then we must learn to wipe well and make sure the TP is well-stocked. Values drive behavior, and behavior, culture. Let’s take this to task: The School Carnival.

So we’re straight, I do not abhor the thought of a school carnival. They make a lot of money for great after-school programs, equipment and curriculum purchases, and sending teachers to training and conferences. They create a neighborhood atmosphere that is fun, inclusive, fairly cheap (depending on how much you spend, of course), and allows families to spend time together.

But…why do we sell out our values for a dollar? I heard recently that a Mom in charge of a school carnival was deeply offended at the request to ensure healthy options be sold as part of the concessions. This situation intrigues me greatly. The value at play here is nutrition. Typical fare at a school carnival includes snow cones, cotton candy, pizza, pretzels-as-big-as-your-face, buttery popcorn, soda, chips, and hoards of baked goods. All yummy things when eaten in moderation.

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Virginia State Fair, October 2011

Oh, moderation – how you fail us! If society understood moderation, we’d be a lot better off than we are. Beyond moderation is the fact that this carnival-organizing Mom doesn’t let her kids eat the carnival food. WHAT? WHY? Because she values nutrition too, yet scoffs at the idea to simply provide 1 healthy option – an apple, orange, banana, carrot or celery sticks would do. In this whole conversation, the message that gets conveyed is, ” Proper nutrition is good for my kids, but not for yours.” What an arrogant way of thinking that only perpetuates inequity.

Schools are a key venue for childhood obesity prevention practices and policies. I’m asking all you who care about your child’s health and nutrition to also care about their classmates and friends, many of whom are already struggling with overweight or obesity, diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, or other chronic disease risk factor. And if you don’t care, then get out of the way for those who do.

Fact is, my health affects your health. Your health affects mine. We are in this together, folks. If a core value of motherhood is to raise your kids well by staying mindful of their growth and development, then why do we sacrifice that in the name of fundraising. Certainly we are smart enough, innovative and creative enough, to think differently about the environments we create for our kids. Make the healthy choice the easy choice!

Note: This post is not meant to offend, but simply challenge the status quo for healthier schools, students, families, and communities.

A Plethora of Paperwork

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I feel like I’ve killed 1,000 trees over the past year. Seriously. Adoption paperwork is nonstop. It’s grueling and arduous; it’s not for the weak. Add to it IRS paperwork and social worker paperwork, and you’ll see how I’ve killed some trees. Just today, I copied and printed over 75 pages of stuff…

1. Joel’s Child Study Update
2. Bank Statements
3. Tax Returns from 2006 through 2010
4. Copies of Checks
5. Home Study
6. Citizenship & Immigration/Homeland Security Forms
7. Jasmine’s Adoption Order

Pitiful Paperwork

Um, isn’t there a Paperwork Reduction Act? I am forced to believe after my frustrating evening with paper that no matter how sophisticated internet capabilities are and will become, we will forever be dependent on paper.  Because paper is proof. I’m in a fight with the IRS right now because of all the new adoption credit tax changes. They make it sound so glorious, but I call your attention to the fine print: “Taxpayers claiming the credit will still be able to use IRS Free File to prepare their returns, but the returns must be printed and mailed to the IRS, along with all required documentation.” I wish they would spell out what “documentation” they wanted. I already sent them a portfolio of things with our tax return back in February. Guess that wasn’t good enough.

See I discovered that the IRS Form 8839 is not well crafted for families who have finalized an adoption and carryover adoption credit each year AND are pursuing another adoption that isn’t finalized. It’s not a clean, easy process. By any means. I called the IRS and waited 15 minutes for them to pick up…then a voice appeared. IRS agent #123456789, or some string of numbers she recited as she identified herself, “May I have your social security number?”  We continued to converse for 15 minutes about what I needed to do. She highly recommended a letter of explanation about my TWO adoption situations: Jasmine and Joel, “along with all required documentation.”

So, 75 sheets of paper later, they are packed nice and neatly in envelopes ready to head out on their merry way tomorrow.

Paperwork Packages

I liken this paperwork problem to the time when I was at the end of my pregnancies and couldn’t get comfortable to sleep. I knew the end was in sight but the pains of progress wouldn’t let up. See the IRS paperwork might be holding up our approval of the I-800: Petition to Classify Convention Adoptee as an Immediate Relative. Highly frustrating.

The part of all of this that worries me is that we were going to use our tax refund to help purchase plane tickets. Now it’s likely we will not see any refund until at least September. I place my trust in God, knowing that He is control and will orchestrate the rest of the adoption process in the way that it should go.

I am thankful for my husband, who knows my obsessiveness with paperwork and details, who kindly gave me space (or sapce – inside joke) to breathe, and brought me a glass of wine. I was a fury of paper today but succeeded in pulling together every bit of it that is required.