Tuesday, December 23, 2008
PLEASE come and check out the site, and help pass along the URL to everyone in the whole wide world... or at least everyone on your contact lists :)
The site is current with daily updates.
THANK YOU ALL so much for the support!
Friday, December 19, 2008
This is a Call To Action.
Many people have asked “what can I do?”… I have really left it up to individuals to come up with their best way of participation, as I am not really good at asking people for things, and I am not sure what support is needed. As things have progressed, and through suggestions from others, I have come up with several different ways that our community (both locally and nationally) can help Connor and Tavvi in their struggle to stay with their family.
The following is a list of directions and a plea for help.
Case # is HN18847
Judge name: E. Preston Grissom
Presiding Judge Chesapeake Circuit Court
Contact Pat Cannon.
The children's GAL, Pat Cannon, can be reached at 757-409-8189 cell, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
She is a legal advocate for the kids in the state of
Due to the legal nature of this situation, Pat cannot give out much information, but she can listen. If anyone wants to offer their support to the children and have it represented in court, please email Pat Cannon.
What we need now is jurisdiction transferred back to
We need to be loud, assertive, respectful, and peaceful. Please mail letters to Pat Cannon the children's GAL, who is fighting this fight by herself in VA. She needs as much support as we can muster in OR.
Anyone who doesn't know the kids, but are moved by this story please write an opinion piece and send it to Pat Cannon. She needs all of this for court. Anyone who have any ideas for legal support, community awareness now is the time even more than before for action. We want to keep these kids home.
You can e-mail letters to Pat Cannon.
Help Get Legal Representation
I will be calling and emailing today. Timing is so horrible; I understand that it is going to be hard to get anyone’s attention right now, before Christmas. We only have a few days to move some pretty big mountains. I would appreciate help in calling and emailing legal aid and assistance people and groups. If these groups are contacted respectfully by a community, instead of just an individual, we may get a crack at some attention even during the holidays.
- CASA (child advocacy) contact Leslie Roemmer at 503-988-5115
- Oregon State Bar Problem Solvers (this is for kids to access from age 11-18)
- Attorney for Youth, contact email@example.com
- Lewis and Clark Legal Clinic, contact Richard Slottee at 503-768-6500
- St. Andrew Legal Clinic, Joel Overlund at 503-281-1500
- Helping Hands at 541-386-4808
- Bradley-Angle House, conact Karla McFarland at 503-282-9940
- ACLU, Jann Carson at 503-227-3186.
These are attorneys that work with family law/ child custody cases.
- Randy Phil Oetken 503-659-4440
- John C.
- Steven Edward 503-636-3595
- Jon Thomas Pixton 503-968-2020
- James Elery Carroll 503-245-5003
- Bruce Grant Thompson 503-226-6491
- Robert Harris 503-228-6099
Help us lift our voice up the chain!
Now, this one is a bit sketchy. I have put some thought into this, however, and I think that if the DHS system in Virginia is consistently reminded that there is a community loving, protecting, valuing, and advocating for these children, that it looks a lot different than two kids that can just be bullied and then snagged.
I IMPLORE you… I beg. Please, if you choose to contact Virginia DHS, use non-violent communication, respect, and be polite. What I am asking for is this:
Call and/or email.
Keep it simple.
“Hi, my name is __________. I am part of Tavvi and Connor’s community and I need to voice that I support them and value their family connection. I oppose efforts at removing them from their home. Thank you.”
If you email, please “cc” Pat Cannon onto the email (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Everyone on your contact lists are fair game!
Child Welfare Emergency
(You can add your own content, if you rather)
Two children, Connor and Tavvi, are being threatened with forceful removal from their family – right before Christmas.
Please, help us pass along this information by forwarding this email to everyone you know.
Thank you for the consideration.
Websites and Blog and Bulletin Repost
You can copy the email above, and keep it simple, or write your own opinion piece on this situation. When you post it, please ask others to do the same. If you are comfortable with it, I will post a link to your blog on http://www.helpuskeepthemhome.blogspot.com to show a chain of support. If you do NOT want a link to your site or blog posted on ours, please do not let that stop you – the link is optional.
I will work on a press release that can be posted far and wide. I will also update with more media contacts (numbers, specific names, more sites) as I do some research. If you have any ideas of media outlets (radio shows, etc), please let me know. I would be grateful if a
Evaluations and Conversations
Do you have a degree or certification in a field that can lend its legitimacy to our situation? Talk with us! We are trying to compile documentation, and connecting with help is very important to us right now.
Does anyone have experience with building websites or have webspace for hosting a site? I have some know how, but my resources are limited right now, and time is a factor. I will be trying to get an actual website put together in the next day. I would be grateful for any assistance.
Do you have a video camera or a digital camera that we could borrow this week? Our digital camera has some serious technical limitations, and we have no video capacity. We really want to create some video media on our own.Do you have a skill or talent that can help? I am totally open minded… If you have a website, please drop a small blurb with a link to our blogs.
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Hi Stephanie-I wanted to keep you up to date on the status of the children's case and Virginia. We have received notification that Tavvi and Connor will still be completing the transition back to Virginia. I am currently unaware of when they are planning to arrive in Oregon. The understanding is that Connor and Tavvi will be moving before Christmas.I will let you know any new information that I receive, and when the transition will occur. Please let me know if there is anything that I can assist with to make this easier on the children, such has having you come with the children to the airport. Our agency is open to suggestions.Kelly Ingles
Social Service Specialist-Permanency
Phone: (503) 277-6655
This is just breaking my heart.
It has been suggested to me by someone involved that the Virginia DHS never had a signed and enforcible court order, and that instead of "you do not want to leave, we cannot make you, have a happy holidays" it was more a logistic matter of going back and getting an order and coming here with a more forceful intent.
Why can't the children just relax and have their Christmas?!
I am beyond calm... beyond collected... stretched and forced far beyond acceptance and hope.... I am so upset. I am not sure if I have ever been this upset.
I knew that the struggle was not over. I was not so naive to think that is would all just simply work out now... but I must say, I was not expecting this. Not at all. My heart is breaking.
If anyone has any suggestions, I am desperate for them.
What we need now is jurisdiction transfered back to Oregon. We need any and all folks who know these kids, have seen their progress, or are moved by their situation, to write letters on their behalf (some of us have already done that and are on record with OR DHS, but need to do it again).
We need to be loud, assertive, respectful, and peaceful. Please mail letters to Pat Cannon the children's GAL, who is fighting this fight by herself in VA. She needs as much support as we can muster in OR. Anyone who doesn't know the kids, but are moved by this story please write an opinion piece and send it to Pat Cannon. She needs all of this for court. Anyone who have any ideas for legal support, community awareness now is the time even more than before for action. We want to keep these kids home.
You can e-mail letters to Pat Cannon.
And MEDIA. I think that letters to the media is a good idea. Up to this point I was wavering back and forth on if media would be a positive force or a liability.
I am SO UPSET.
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
It is amazing. Absolutely amazing.
Monday, December 15th, was a frantic day. We wrote, we called, we questioned, and we feared. Monday night, close friends started to arrive.
Emily and her children Raven and Nigel showed up first, with snacks and sleeping bags in their arms. Then, Aunt Jenna and Uncle Tom came over with their children Naomi and Caleb. The children played, while the adults came together in support. We did not know what the next several hours would bring us, but for now, we were all together. Tavvi and Raven went into Tavvi's room and started to pack some bags....
Then Chris and his son's Sev and Alex came over. Sev and Alex are very close friends with Connor, Wes, and Michael. The boys bundled up and went sledding. Chris joined us in the living room, and our conversations ranged between how scary and unjust our situation is, what the next day may look like and what type of support the children will need the most, and tales of days past and things to come (as our minds and hearts had to wander or the heaviness of the situation would be just too much). Uncle Tom pulled Connor aside and had a "man to man" talk. Tavvi came and sat in my lap, and we had a talk about the power of love, and how no matter what happens the next day, things were going to be okay eventually.
We had no answers. We had no solutions. We were scared, but we were coming together, and there was support.
As the boys came back and made nachos and started watching movies, I pulled Connor and Tavvi aside to discuss the following morning. I told them that I did not know what the next day was going to look like, but that it was going to be uncomfortable and stressful no matter what. I explained that sometimes that most important times in life as stressful and uncomfortable, but that things can be important without being dramatic. I reminded them of how much they are loved and supported, and how many people were rooting for them and will be fighting for them, no matter what. I explained that it would be a good idea to start talking about plan b... and plan c and d while we were at it. Connor refused. He stated again, "I don't need to pack, I don't need to plan - I am NOT going anywhere. I am NOT leaving".
I hugged all of my kids. I hugged them tightly. I pet their hair, kissed their faces. Tavvi was playing with Raven, Zion was busy negotiating turns on the computer with Caleb, Naomi and Nigel were hugging and spinning in circles around doll houses, and the older boys were making super-mondo-nachos-of-doom. There was a warmth in the home and some hope in our hearts, based only on the love of those coming together. I held on to that moment; I memorized it. This may be the last time that we would all be together like this, and on the eve of unknown change, we were strong because we were together.
Morning came too fast. Mary and her family (Elina, one of Tavvi's best friends, "big" Connor, and baby Gage) arrived around 5am. Shortly afterwards, Amy and Chris (Sev and Alex's mom and dad) arrived, then Bruce (school councilor) and Scott (school executive) came through the door. There were many hugs.
Tavvi had Raven on one arm, and Elina on the other. Connor was surrounded by his friends and older brothers. A little bit after 5:30am, two people from the state of Virginia showed up.
I am so grateful that Jenna had a video camera. We have the whole rest of the morning on tape. Jenna is getting that copied to computer today and we will host and show the video for all to see and appreciate. It was a peaceful effort; all people were sitting or leaned back. Only non-violent communication was used. We were assertive and supportive. The children communicated for themselves and showed amazing calm and maturity. We all felt collected and supported. We were quite the loving and peaceful force to be reckoned with!
It was tense at times. But Scott and Bruce helped guide and support conversation. The children were scared, but also empowered. We were all in acceptance of the situation; they may take the kids, no matter what is said or what we do. But, we all knew that there was power in words, power in community, and power in peace.
It seemed, there at the end, that it was going to involve police force. Instead, the night ended with hugs and applause. The kids are staying.
We do not know what is next. We waited all day for calls or information, but there was nothing new to help answer questions. Will we have to go through this again in a week? Will this be taken to court in review for permanency? We do not know what really happened behind the scenes. We do not know what is to come. The insecurity of it all is enough to drive anyone mad! But we are not mad... we are in rejoice. We are TOGETHER. For today, we are TOGETHER.
Connor, Shorty, and Zion wanted to go to school yesterday. So did Caleb. As I drove them to school, Jenna sitting to my right, I had a heart on high. Here he is, Connor the Con-Man, in the flesh.... Just as angsty, silly, teen-ish, resentful, impulsive, and fun as any other day. I have never been filled with such gratitude. Zion was sitting right next to his Connor, as usual. They walked into school together, as usual. It was another day of family and life, as usual. I have never been so grateful.
I slept last night, Tavvi in one arm, Zion in the other. As I pet their faces and dozed off, I again felt overwhelmed with gratitude for our simply being together.
Now begins the fight to KEEP THEM HOME.