Posts in "Advocacy for Parents & Children" category

Integrity of Heart

You can count on one thing with me for certain and that is the integrity of my heart, because it belongs to God and is constantly being shaped by His love, mercy and grace.

This integrity of heart is what has kept me focused on the mission of My Advocate Center even through the trauma of having my own children wrongfully removed, as I was under attack and unable to see what was being done to me, by whom and how it was being covered up so I could not defend. As painful as that was and as worried about my children as I have been, I’ve known that there was a purpose in this and that I needed to remain faithful and to wait on God to guide me. Not easy for a type-A entrepreneur and advocate-turned-reporter (or reporter-turned-advocate, take your pick) to wait and see.

You can count on a second thing and that is I will always come back to this core focus, the needs of children. Sure, I might feel a competitive streak, a flash of anger or a moment of despair over experiencing what it is like to be oppressed and humiliated, but that’s being human. What makes us leaders – and good parents and advocates for others – is how we respond and then what we do with that.

And, as I’ve been told, good leaders help others learn to be good leaders; they give others that chance, and step out of the spotlight themselves. So I’m creating opportunities for professionals, parents, grandparents, teachers and others to show they can lead, be great examples, to make a difference with the mix they have in their bowls.

Watching what they do now with their own inspiration mixed with challenges (opportunities)…not looking for perfection, but for effort, inspiration, courage and for integrity.

Proverbs 11:3 and 1 Peter 2:13-17

Through These Experiences

I love the law and now realize that my purpose as I move through these experiences is to ensure that our laws are applied to the best of our ability in serving the needs of children and of safe, loving and available parents.

Children deserve the best of both parents.

~ Deb

Sweet Success and Overcoming the Desire for Revenge

It was a woman – a poet  – I studied in college as an English major at Belhaven University – who first referenced success being sweetest to those who didn’t succeed. I’ll supplement with this, whether it was in a personal relationship, in a sports competition or a business endeavor…doesn’t matter. It still stings and makes us want to counter-attack or jab back at that person. Our instinct says triumph over those who did wrong by us or to those we love and protect, or took a victory we believed to be ours.
 
Emily Dickinson doesn’t actually use the word revenge, but hints at it with words and phrases such as took the Flag, victory, distant strains of triumph, and agonized, suggesting an intense struggle or even war. Diehard golfers can relate to these words and thoughts about defeat and the satisfaction of winning the next round. They also know that the ugly desires of revenge don’t make for the best clarity during competition, and tournament winners don’t tell the crowd that wanting revenge is what helped them succeed that day.

What can I say?

You know if you’ve read my articles or pleadings that I am at war with those who would do harm to children, including my own, because it’s profitable for those who exploit and do wrong. Agony is assured for those targeted by the wrong-doers. Causing agony for innocent people because of greed and a lack of humanity is a terrible thing. Causing agony for children? Let’s talk off-line about that. But the messaging against those I refer to as bad actors, is – on its face – not in line with what children need to see and hear. And so goes the need for this post, as a qualifier or preface to my work. It’s also an admission that I struggle with work-life balance.

To our children

Should you stumble across this as adults, my wish for you all is that the messaging of this mission softens your hearts, opens your minds but does not cause you any worry. Empathy is good, but fear should be given to God, shared with a counselor you trust, and left behind you.  Allow the good in this mission to resonate for you as you come across others in life struggling with something that may not be apparent from a distance or publicly.
 
For so many years I’ve worked tirelessly, and for the most part without interference, to insulate my own children from the stress I feel from another’s angry need for control, desire to demean and destabilize. I do not want them to know the truth of this battle. They have learned on the positive side, however, that other parents and children need an advocate who really understands the situation they’re in, and a confident, calm voice because what they are experiencing is, let’s say, unhealthy at best. It is draining work on the personal front and professionally. It doesn’t pay well, either, but higher pay is not what drives those of us involved in advocacy work to improve society and systems. Regardless of pay, title or recognition, it is still important & rewarding work.
 
It is the morning of my twins 16th birthday and I do not know how they are doing or where they are; that information is being kept from me and it feels terrible. I say this not because I need your sympathy or because I am seeking vengeance against those causing this pain, distress and uncertainty, but because this is what thousands of parents like me across the country – and world – are experiencing. For the most part it is a silent suffering, an epidemic without a diagnosis, but I promise you it is real – and devastating. It is an infliction that harms children, which is easily understood by reading the language in a piece of legislation before the Florida legislators. Thank God someone of influence recognized the pathology and lasting damages to children to influence legislators to include these facts in a bill. Thank you, Florida doctors, advocates and policymakers. Whether the bill is passed and enacted this year or not, it is crucial to press forward as this recognition, or mandate for certified counselors, can save lives.
 
It is not unlike the kind of suffering, in a much different way of course, by parents torn from their children by Natzi Germany and by modern-day traffickers of children or the keepers of the global slave trade. Regardless of country or time-period or nationality, the impact is the same. It is ugly – and caused by ill-intentioned people motivated by hate and greed. The image above of what could be a holding place designated for isolating parents away from children should evoke harsh emotions in you, including a desire to do something to the controllers breaking the bonds between those parents and their children.
This is not the article I wanted to write on the weekend of my beloved twins’ 16th birthday. Even with this prolonged and deep pain, I am not seeking revenge. Justice would be great, yes. But revenge belongs to God.

Call to action:

For our children to rise above conflict and heal beyond their circumstances, they need our leadership. They need an example that doesn’t keep them mired in suspicion, doubt or threat. Be successful for the sake of leading our children and the children of others who, for the moment, are unable to be that example.
Thank you for reading and for lending your support to those around you,

Poem about Success being Sweet

Success is counted sweetest

By those who ne'er succeed.

To comprehend a nectar

Requires sorest need.

 

Not one of all the purple Host

Who took the Flag today

Can tell the definition

So clear of victory

  


As he defeated – dying –

On whose forbidden ear

The distant strains of triumph

Burst agonized and clear!
Reprinted by permission of the publishers and the Trustees of Amherst College from THE POEMS OF EMILY DICKINSON: READING EDITION, edited by Ralph W. Franklin, ed., Cambridge, Mass.: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, Copyright © 1998, 1999 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College. Copyright © 1951, 1955, 1979, 1983 by the President and Fellows of Harvard College.
Source: The Poems of Emily Dickinson Edited by R. W. Franklin (Harvard University Press, 1999)

Motherhood According to God’s Plan

 

 It’s no accident that God made labor and delivery difficult (for most of us) and the same goes for the emotional rollercoaster caused by the joy, the fear and those pesky hormones.

But in my experience there is no greater good to do in this world than to mother children.

What is your world view? How do you see mothers, and grandmothers, shaping how we react to new or strange circumstances, to uncertainty or to the delightful sounds and smells of home-cooked meals and holiday decorations?

We could go on for hours discussing all of the ways that mothers impact our lives and how we as mothers, as parents, make a difference for each of our children. For now I’m interested in your thoughts on what God says about motherhood, so please take a few minutes to look up the verses below in your Bible.

Motherhood: A Task Worth the Effort

Motherhood references are found throughout the Bible, borrowing here from my *Women’s Study Guide given to me as a gift when I married the man who is the father to my twins.

Exodus 20:12  says mothers are to be respected.

2 Timothy 1:3-5 Children are to be lovingly nurtured by their mothers. *Children do not come off an assembly line, nor are they the by-product of an impersonal biological process; they are not trophies nor are they tools for control.

Isaiah 49:15 When Isaiah the prophet searched for an illustration of God’s constant love for His people, the best example he could find was a new baby’s mother. (Yes, I do know many fathers who are bonded/nurturing and vigilant so you’ll see posts about fatherhood as well!).

1 John 3:16 This is a truth that will transform any suffering or sacrifice into reward and joy: mothers have enduring love that even the most trying circumstances or rebellious child cannot dim (as my own mother knows).

As a mother lets go of her own life for the sake of her child, she is reminded of the depth and height and breadth of God’s love for her, and in a unique way she experiences the true joy of motherhood. Again, this is a truth that will transform any suffering or sacrifice into reward and joy.

Exodus 2:1-10 God has a plan for mothers.

Deuteronomy 6:6,7 The high calling is an all-consuming task.

Proverbs 31:28 The reward is worth the effort!

Anyone want to debate the value of a loving, nurturing mother?

If you agree, please share, comment, and add your own thoughts and scripture to posts on social media.

 

If you come across a situation where a mother is wrongfully being prevented from giving of herself, her time, care, love and wisdom, to her child please let me know. And stand by this mother; she and her child need all the support they can get.

 

Rising Above It All

Can you imagine being asked to help someone who has fallen on hard times?  Yes, of course.

But what if you helped that person and they betrayed you?  It uncomfortable, but life happens.

Bear with me – this gets a bit more intense and strange.

What if the person you helped actually staged photos of your home, without your permission, and posted them online to use in promoting their cleaning services?

Doesn’t feel good, does it?

Now – imagine this person saw an opportunity to better their position in life and in business by using photos of your home to help someone else.  Think betrayal – as in the photos are given to your opponent in a court case while you are kept in the dark, unaware that this relationship has formed and that this person who made you believe she is here to help you is actually acting to cause you harm.

Where would you start?  How do you address such unscrupulous behavior?

Of course you turn first to how you can keep things peaceful for your children; the less drama the better, right?

But what if the person you trusted to help you at home decides to become involved in taking your children from you?  What do you do then?

Do you expose the situation publicly, or do you let karma take care of it?

#BuyerBeware

 

Early Intervention and Better Judgment

That’s what we all want as parents, grandparents, teachers and coaches for our kids.

To ask for help early on to troubleshoot  any challenges, including emotional burdens.

To use better judgment when choosing which company you keep, where you spend free time and how you treat your family, as a few examples. Each act of wisdom and each show of empathy and kindness may help prevent breakdowns and crimes as revealed in the news story below about a man who could not cope with the consequences of his addiction — set in East Cobb County, Marietta, Georgia.

After studying parent/child relationships for decades, analyzing hundreds of cases involving family conflict, I can say for certain that a parent’s judgment in how he or she guides children to treat other family members has a lot to do with preventing ongoing dysfunction, including addiction, family violence, abuse in relationships, etc.

Several cases in Georgia involve someone taking a life, their own or a family member’s life, committing arson and other crimes, because that person doesn’t have the coping mechanisms needed in relationships and in deciding how to handle uncertainty and disappointment.

A Marietta, Georgia, man turned suicidal, burned down his family home, ran from police and put many other lives at risk.

This story could have turned into a much greater tragedy, but fortunately no lives were lost and the perpetrator of arson and drug use is behind bars.

 

Below: traumatized father and neighbor talks about the scene. Other neighbors led from smoke-filled, burning homes adjacent to Matt Olson’s unit. We do not yet know the total damages caused by his addiction, suicidal behavior, arson and the police chase.

 

Photography and video credit: Fox 5 News, Atlanta, Georgia

Is Duty Calling?

Be original and unique, the little voice said.

A bigger voice said, “I wrote this here for you to follow.”

“Will you answer My call?”

There is no greater calling for me than advocating for others and for my children. Sometimes it comes with an uncomfortable price tag and maybe at the expense of some relationships, but it’s a duty that can’t be denied. Not everyone wants this kind of challenge, and that’s ok; God calls us all to serve in different ways.

When I’m asked, which is at least once per week, why I work as much as I do and why I won’t stand down in reporting on critical issues like I did on case involving a hedge fund  using kids from Newnan, and on cases in Fulton County involving exploitation and child trafficking, I often reply with one of two answers.

Someone has to. And, I don’t see why I should not…or why I shouldn’t ask you to engage as well. We’re in excellent company on this issue of protecting others, especially our youth and anyone who is vulnerable to exploitation.

Last year we passed the Safe Harbor Bill in Georgia – and this is just the beginning  – not a final achievement.

And God did more than just hint at what we’re supposed to do with our time and gifts.

Psalm 82:3-4  “Give justice to the weak and the fatherless; maintain the right of the afflicted and the destitute. Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.”

Romans 13:4 “For he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer.”

Do you know this one?

“Open your mouth for the mute, for the rights of all who are destitute. Open your mouth, judge righteously, defend the rights of the poor and needy.”

Yes, this was the founding principle for investing everything to broadcast Pro Advocate Radio beginning in January of 2015, the hashtag we launched #UseYourVoice, and why we are gearing up for another important series after the election!  This is when our hardest work begins…after the sensational, divisive news reports and debates die down, when the majority want to detox from discussing “issues” and move on…

When you’re ready, please help me keep the conversation going?

“Learn to do good; seek justice, correct oppression; bring justice to the fatherless, plead the widow’s cause.” Bring it…we have the data and the tools needed to make this possible.

Where in Ephesians is this verse found? “For if they fall, one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up!”

I haven’t quite figured this one out: “Like a muddied spring or a polluted fountain is a righteous man who gives way before the wicked.” Proverbs 25:26 …I’d appreciate hearing your interpretation or what this means to you.

Deb Beacham Driving Change

Do you have a favorite?  Send it to me by private message or email, please!

We have a lot more work to do, and I promise you it will be rewarding if you decide to lend a hand or devote some time.

 

Thank you!

Deb

 

Please watch and share to keep the conversation going about exploitation:

Our Most Important Role

I first wrote this post in response to seeing how children are reacting to their parents going at each other, choosing to fight and litigate in courtrooms rather than putting their time, energy and financial resources into being available and providing more of what children need.

Children need our attention, and they need to see in our faces that all is ok. That we are ok in spite of what is going on around us.

Can you tune everything out and focus on giving a child, your own or someone else’s, what they need in this moment?

If you can, that makes you a special someone to this child looking to you for understanding, for the right words or just for your shoulder, your ear or a hand to hold.

Deb Beacham_My Advocate Center

In almost every case or situation brought to my attention, there is a child at risk – at risk of not getting these basic needs filled. In some of those cases, the risk involves emotional abuse, neglect, physical abuse and even sexual abuse.

Often I see that basic needs are not being met, or there is emotional abandonment along with increased stress, and this is happening because parents are persuaded to focus their time and attention elsewhere, when the most important thing in their world…this child…is going without.

Stay present in the moment.

No matter how frustrating, difficult or lonely your situation may be, make a point to look regularly into the eyes of the child who needs you to be all in, connected to what it on his or her mind.

Listen and look into his or her eyes for your clue as to what it is you are supposed to provide to make things better. Sometimes it is just your ability to be patient and available that brings peace.

If someone or something pulls at you or tempts you to ignore, to be too busy, to be missing from this child, trust your love and your gut to instead provide what is needed now for this child, as this is what will last a lifetime.

Now, months after writing this post, I am updating it to add that when I began studying the impact on children of family conflict and what is worsening and prolonging conflict, it became apparent that more and more children are being destabilized, even being set up to fail in how their parents are treated in court cases. We can see how mental health is being eroded as parents become LESS available while uncertainty increases.

These are the children who are becoming vulnerable to exploitation and trafficking, and this path to devastation is one we can turn around. But we need your help!

Get involved with Safe Harbor and the organizations such as Youth Spark and others in your community working to stop exploitation of our children and to help victims of trafficking recover.

Thank you!

Deb Beacham

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