News and Tribune

February 12, 2013

NEWS AND TRIBUNE LETTERS — For Feb. 13


Cancer support volunteer asks for health care dollars

This year in Indiana, an estimated 35,000 people will be diagnosed with cancer and another 13,000 will die of the disease. 

People without health coverage are more likely to be diagnosed with cancer at its later stages, when patients are less likely to survive and treatments are more costly.

Our lawmakers have an opportunity this legislative session to help in the fight against cancer. The federal government has allocated funds to increase access to health care through Medicaid coverage for hard-working, low-income families in our state. 

More and more states are taking advantage of this opportunity based on the fact that covering more people makes moral and fiscal sense. We can cover more people and save millions of taxpayer dollars that are currently spent to treat the uninsured in emergency rooms.

If Indiana makes the right choice and extends lifesaving health coverage, more than 400,000 people who cannot afford critical care will have the security of knowing they have access to proven cancer screenings and treatments.

I urge our lawmakers to accept the federal dollars already allocated for Indiana and be a leader in the fight against cancer.

— Mary Kost, New Albany, volunteer, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network

 

Parents write about joys of, need for foster parents

 

Today is a good day. We have been foster parents now for two years. Prior to making this life-changing decision, we never knew that there was such a need in this community. Such a need that after weeks of training, hours of one-on-one interviews, pages of handouts and background checks and reflections of our own childhood experiences, we were certified. 

The same day we got our license, a baby was brought to our home just shy of 4 months old, and a month later one night at 10:30 p.m., there were two young girls brought to us. There was certainly a need.

We cannot begin to explain how challenging and emotional these past two years have been for our family. We took our new job as foster parents as serious as any job that either of us ever had. We tried to follow the recommendations of our instructors, but soon found that it was impossible not to get attached to these children, especially when you hear the stories that follow them. 

We could see the heartache of their past traumas, felt the tension of courtroom hearings, sat in therapy sessions listening and tried not to show our emotions, provided structure, gave hugs, comforted them when no one showed up for a visitation and felt it was our job to protect them. Because after working hard to earn the child’s trust, they expected for you to protect them. 

The last thing we ever wanted to do was let them down; they had enough of that. Frustrations certainly set in for us as well as other families who live with these children every day and see the importance of having somewhere stable, especially for those so young. Reunifying families is a top priority but a higher priority should be the children. That’s why guardian ad litems and court-appointed special advocates are so important (we need more). We have been told so many times over these past years, “I could never do what you do.” But our response was easy — if we didn’t, then who would? 

But like I said, today is a good day. Today two young little girls have been given a chance at a better life. They have been given an opportunity to not be exposed to unhealthy activity, unhealthy people that will no longer be responsible for their own safety. Today, they get to be little girls — play dress up in their own rooms, learn how to play tee-ball, run through a sprinkler as daddy waters the lawn, laugh hysterically and lay in bed at night and have sweet dreams. Yes, today is a good day for these children and for those of us that love them, and we owe it to their CASA and child services case worker, who always put the girls first. We’re lucky and we know it. They stood up for these girls and supported us. I’m also honored to say that these little girls are now our daughters. I’m their mommy and my husband is their daddy. Today is a good day.

We hope there are many more good days in Clark County. We hope that individuals involved in child services, attorneys, judges and families see the whole picture, but focus on the fact that these children should be the center of that. It is a huge roller-coaster of emotions, but there are far more good days. 

Lastly, let us say there is a need for more strong foster families in the area. It’s challenging, but there are so many of us that can do it because the kids need us. Please contact your local Department of Child Services office for more information.

— Heather, Jeffersonville (Editor’s note, the News and Tribune agreed to withhold publication of this author’s last name to protect the identity of the children)