Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Darrell 8/28/82 - 1/29/12

My adopted son, Darrell, was born a normal, healthy infant but within weeks he suffered two broken arms, broken ribs and a subdural hematoma that left him blind, with seizures, and profoundly retarded.

The courts found Darrell's birth mother guilty of shaking the tiny new-born infant. Was he crying too long or too loud? No one will ever know, nor will we know what potential was shaken from him.

I am writing as a memorial to Darrell who went to be with the Lord on Jan. 29, 2012.

Shaken Baby Syndrome is a silent, hidden form of child abuse that maims and kills. The condition is difficult to diagnose unless the child is admitted to the hospital with multiple symptoms. However, knowledge of The Period of Purple Crying, a new way to understand baby's normal crying, can help prevent shaking.The crying of many newborn babies will

Peak in the first couple of months, then decrease. Crying may happen at

Unexpected times, without apparent cause. Baby will

Resist all efforts to comfort him. He may cry as if in

Pain, but he isn't. Baby cries for

Long periods of time. And seems to cry more in the


Sometimes a parent or caregiver becomes so frustrated or angry because of the excessive crying that they lose control and shake the baby causing brain injury and even death. Often called colic, Purple Crying is a developmental stage, not an illness.

Darrell's life had profound impact on me, a single mom, and the lives of my children. I share his story to inform and educate parents and caregivers on Shaken Baby Syndrome. Using doctor's records and Children Protective Services case records, I wrote Adopting Darrell to encourage parents, teachers, and others who care for special needs children. I use this information as a platform for teaching parenting classes on child abuse prevention.

In Darrell's honor I am offering free copies of Adopting Darrell to anyone who contacts me by email.

The Period of Purple crying is a Shaken Baby Syndrome prevention program of the National Center on Shaken Baby Syndrome.


Wednesday, January 18, 2012

New Release

More than three years ago, I contracted with (and paid) a local publisher to edit, print, publish and promote an inspriational novel, Beneath the Surface. After many excuses, much procrastination and a visit to court, I received a proof copy with errors on 3/4 of the 200+ pages. Months later and another visit to court, I received the rights to my manyscript back. I decided to republish on createspace.com, changing the cover and proofing again. Within a week, I received a proof. My first order arrived in a week.

What cost me megabucks, time and headaches, I was able to do myself with books in hand within two weeks, not three (plus) years.

What a learning experience this has been! Writers beware. There are many unscrupulous publishers and editors/predators waiting for your money.

My book is available at Amazon.com, from createspace.com and of course from me. I will be hosting booksignings this spring.

Self published, print on demand books are not carried by major book store chains, but don't let that deter you, they won't carry any print on demand books, no matter who the publisher is.

Not to be discouraged, I'm working on my third inspriational novel.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Boy Scouts winter camp and bonus

Boy Scout winter camp at Camp Urland, near Woodville was an exciting volunteer experience for me. I arrrived Dec. 26th on a cold clear morning. By the following morning the temp was in the 20s.

We struggled out of bed by 5 am every morning for staff meetings and the flag raising ceremony before breakfast.

I taught the basketry merit badge to 11 young scouts. The weather was so cold that they had to work indoors. If they had tried to soak the basket reeds outside their hands would have turned icy.

The Scouts have a duct tape sculpture contest. The statue of Liberty and the indian were the winners.

The bonus this year is that I was able to take a 20 hour course in wilderness First Aid and CPR.

The CPR course was a review and for recertification. We became intimate with Annie.

The First Aid course was much more involved than any course I've previously taken. Special hands on experiences were provided by mock accidents. One of the leaders used stage make-up to add reality to" injuries" suffered by an explosion, a bike accident and a rock slide.

We adult leaders, who were taking the course, and to rush out of the classroom and respond to the emergencies with a packed First Aid kit, hoping we could remember everything we'd studied.

Rushing down the hill, I saw this boy's amputated foot. My first thought was that it was hidden in a hole. But no. He had actually had the foot amlputated the previous year. His mother used fake blood to make it look like a serious accident. Freaked me out.

Look at the smiles.

As the counselors were carrying our "injured" boy up the hill to a pretend ambulance, several campers started down the hill, saw the bloody injury, and ran the other way.

Missy, one of the instructors, pretended to be in shock after seeing her injured boys. The rescuer in the cowboy hat determined that she had hypothermia, and that the First Aid manual stated that he should undress her, and himself, and get under the space blanket with her to warm her up!

We vetoed the idea and declared her healed.

Winter camp was too short. Friday evening the final flag ceremony ended another enjoyable and educational volunteer experience.