On Advocacy and Gorilla Fighting

Foster Parenting

“When you are wrestling with a gorilla, you don’t stop when you are tired; you stop when the gorilla is tired.” — Robert Strauss

After asking for months about rumors of an IEP for one of our littles,  I finally got the whole report in my hands a few weeks ago. I read it all the way through and then started sending out emails as fast as I could. Why she wasn’t getting the resources she needed? How do we get them to her? Who should I call? What are our options?

“Well, if you have time, we’d love for you to call so and so at this number.”

“Oh and it looks like you need to transfer it to a new school district since it was done in a different one from where you live.”

So I did. I called. I talked to a very nice lady that was sure to help us out. And managed to start a ridiculous chain of events that I couldn’t stop.

The community liaison in our district set us up to attend a school on the other side of the county.  I communicated that we needed transportation and heard back that it was too far. Sorry.  You can get her here right? Every day?

No. No I can’t.

Then they told us they could transport her on the bus.

But now, the only opening they have at all, in the whole county,  is in the middle of the day. Right during nap. Right up until the time that she is supposed to be in a different county for something else. Which would mean leaving early 3 days a week. And I’d still have to pick her up to drive an hour every day. Because she would be leaving early.

It most definitely did not seem worth it for a girl that has been through way too many transitions and was finally feeling settled down.  So I emailed (instead of calling, because well, they can’t hang up on me) to communicate everything this little needs and see what we could do about it.

The next day I got an email back saying I needed to talk to someone else. Sorry. And no, they can’t give her resources in the preschool she is in now because it’s not a district school. And no, she doesn’t qualify for early services anymore because she’s 3. And no, she can’t go to the local school midyear because she’s not 5. And you still have to talk to so and so over at this other-other- place.

It was a mess, you guys. A mess. 

The CW told the parents she was starting a new school. Then I had to tell everyone that I thought this was a bad idea and we needed something closer. At which point the CW told me she trusted my judgement and to do what we thought would be best. So I told everyone that we were trying to get her somewhere but logistics weren’t working out.

We managed to get her a spot local that starts in the Fall and they *helped* me out by un-enrolling her from the school that I never enrolled her in.

We did it. *high five*  

Or so I thought. *bleh* 

Later in the week our CW realized that she was going to get dinged for not getting our little the resources she needed soon.  She promptly gave me a list of  “solutions,” including, but not limited too, enrolling her in the original county that the IEP was done in to see if she could get a spot there.

Which, apparently, I could do.

So that was kind of a waste of a week.

“..things are never as complicated as they seem. It is only our arrogance that prompts us to find unnecessarily complicated answers to simple problems.” Muhammad Yunnus (in his book Banker to the Poor: Micro-Lending and the Battle against world Poverty.)


We haven’t made any decisions yet. I’m waiting to hear back from our resource worker to see what funding we can come up with. Joe and I have talked about just paying out of pocket to get the resources she needs until we can get it sorted.

Because, well, she needs them.

And it’s only like an hour a week if we just pay for it ourselves.

And, if we are all being honest, we may not have until the fall anyway.

”Our challenge is not to educate the children we used to have or want to have, but to educate the children who come to the schoolhouse door.”
— H. G. Wells


I’m still trying to figure out where my role as advocate is.

I think some weeks it means making those hard decisions and holding my ground when I see something weird. I think other weeks it means asking the same question fifteen different times to the same three people. It means thinking outside of the box for what would really be the best for our littles.

This week may have involved a lot of running around our own tails but we are getting places.

And for that I am excited.

Even if it means fighting the gorilla for another week.

“When I approach a child, he inspires in me two sentiments — tenderness for what he is and respect for what he may become.”
  — Louis Pasteur, French chemist and microbiologist


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