All posts for the month August, 2016

One More Step in the Wrong Direction

Published August 27, 2016 by Nan Mykel

I’ve worriedly blogged about the destructive disabling of developmental centers. Today I learned that:

“they just got word that GDC is laying off 32 workers, and plans to rehire half of them part-time.”

GDC is the Gallipolis Developmental Center in Ohio,  and in a nefarious plan that has been slowly encroaching  due to deliberate mis-reading of the Olmstead Act plus the monied interest of pivatizing, plain ignorance and the denigration of  expert, trained and longtime professional caregivers, “they” are winning.  At this time I’d like to re-blog a letter sent to Columbus more than a  year ago, posted on VOR:

(VOR: Speaking out for People with Intellectual and Developmental …  VOR is a national organization that advocates for quality residential options for people with intellectual disabilities.)

!!!!!!! January 25, 2015 Director John L. Martin Ohio Department of Developmental Disabilities 30 E. Broad Street, 12th Floor Columbus, OH 43215-3434 Open Letter to Director Martin Dear Director Martin, In his presentation at the ARC Conference on November 19th, Michael Kirkman, Executive Director of Disability Rights Ohio (DRO), spent 45 minutes citing various sections of the Olmstead opinion. He did so to justify his group’s actions to systematically dismantle the support systems in Ohio for the developmentally disabled that have been carefully put in place over the past 50 years by dedicated professionals working with caring families and good-hearted, decent citizens. It is quite remarkable that during his 45 minute lecture, Mr. Kirkman managed to steer clear of all six plainly worded passages of Olmstead’s majority opinion which emphatically state that the U.S. Supreme Court and the Americans with Disability Act (ADA) recognize the importance of institutions for individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities who require a higher level of care. In fact, the Olmstead opinion stresses that institutions are a critical part of an array of services that a state must provide in order to properly serve the diverse community of people with mental disabilities. Olmstead also recognizes that the wishes of the individual are paramount in determining residential placement. Let me provide these passages for you now:

“Such action is in order when the State’s treatment professionals have determined that community placement is appropriate, the transfer from institutional care to a less restrictive setting is not opposed by the affected individual, and the placement can be reasonably accommodated taking into account the resources available to the State and the needs of others with mental disabilities.” (Emphasis added.) “But remain available.” “For we recognize, as well, the States’ need to maintain a range of facilities for the care and treatment of persons with diverse mental disabilities, and the States’ obligation to administer services with an even hand.”

“We emphasize that nothing in the ADA or its implementing regulations condones termination of institutional settings for persons unable to handle or benefit from community settings…Nor is there any federal requirement that community-based treatment be imposed on patients who do not desire it.” “As already observed…the ADA is not reasonably read to impel States to phase out institutions, placing patients in need of close care at risk…Nor is it the ADA’s mission to drive States to move institutionalized patients into an inappropriate setting…”

“For other individuals, no placement outside the institution may ever be appropriate…for these persons, institutional settings are needed and must rehese reasons stated, we conclude that, under Title II of the ADA, States are required to provide community-based treatment for persons with mental disabilities when the State’s treatment professionals determine that such placement is appropriate, the affected persons do not oppose such treatment, and the placement can be reasonably accommodated, taking into account the resources available to the State and the needs of others with mental disabilities.”(Emphasis added.) 1 Justice Kennedy wrote eloquently in Part I of his concurring opinion, which was joined as to this part by Justice Breyer, that the ADA should not be interpreted as a means “to drive” people who require a higher level of care out of institutions.

“It would be unreasonable, it would be a tragic event, then, were the American with Disabilities Act of 1990 (ADA) to be interpreted so that States had some incentive, for fear of litigation, to drive those in need of medical care and treatment out of appropriate care and into settings with too little assistance and supervision.” “Justice Ginsburg’s opinion takes account of this background. It is careful, and quite correct, to say that it is not “the ADA’s mission to drive States to move institutionalized patients into an inappropriate setting…” (Emphasis added.) “In light of these concerns, if the principle of liability announced by the Court is not applied with caution and circumspection, States may be pressured into attempting compliance on the cheap, placing marginal patients into integrated settings devoid of the services and attention necessary for their condition.” Unfortunately, Justice Kennedy’s words are far too prophetic for the 6,000 developmentally disabled individuals in Ohio who rely on ICF/IID homes for safe and compassionate care. How is it that Mr. Kirkman, a man who professes to be an expert on disability law, the Olmstead decision, and the ADA, and who claims as his life’s mission to represent the rights of people with disabilities, could manage to miss these clearly written, oft-repeated themes in Olmstead’s majority and concurring opinions? How can it be that Mr. Kirkman can overlook these important findings of the court, but I, unschooled in the law, just a deeply concerned mother with a simple bachelors degree, am able to discover these passages upon my first reading of Olmstead? Could it be by design that Mr. Kirkman chooses to ignore the findings of the Court – findings so important that Justice Kennedy felt compelled to highlight them in a separate concurring opinion which Justice Breyer joined? Regardless, DRO’s distortions of Supreme Court precedent call into question its credibility to run around Ohio threatening to sue the State of Ohio while putting our most fragile citizens at risk and causing sleepless nights for concerned parents, many of them beaten down by the difficulties life has thrown at them and their precious children who are developmentally disabled. Twisting the true meaning of Olmstead and the ADA to advance a political agenda insults every person with developmental disabilities in Ohio and their family members. That the Department of Developmental Disabilities has chosen to enter into a confidentiality agreement with DRO to negotiate the future of my children and the 6,000 other individuals who rely on Intermediate Care Facilities Homes for Individuals with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities (ICF/IID) in this state is an abuse of the public trust. We are told that the Department must enter into discussions with DRO in confidence to protect the State from a lawsuit. How can the best interests of people with developmental disabilities be served when the Department’s actions are being directed entirely by fear? Could it be that the well-being of indidviduals with developmental disabilities is not the primary goal of the parties involved? And isn’t this just what Justice Kennedy warned against in Olmstead? DRO does not speak for my children. DRO does not speak for the 6,000 people in ICF/IID homes across this state. And apparently, DRO does not speak for the law that it brandishes about like a weapon instead of the tonic it is meant to be. 2 I urge you as the Director of the Department of Developmental Disabilities to protect the health and wellbeing of individuals with developmental disabilities in Ohio by not allowing the intimidation and malfeasance of Disability Rights Ohio to stand. I ask you, as your constituent and a parent who must speak for children whose welfare rests in part on your judgement, to properly administer the full meaning of the ADA as it has been written by Congress, and to carry out the findings of the Olmstead decision as it has been handed down by the U.S. Supreme Court. I ask you to do nothing but what the laws of this land and the oath of your office requires you to do. Sincerely, Caroline A. Lahrmann CC: Governor John Kasich Lt. Governor Mary Taylor Director Greg Moody, Office of Health Transformation Director John McCarthy, Ohio Department of Medicaid U.S. Senator Rob Portman U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown U.S. Representative Steve Stivers State Senator Jim Hughes State Representative Stephanie Kunze


Creativity : Koestler

Published August 27, 2016 by Nan Mykel

“All creativity is a kind of  do-it-yourself therapy, an attempt to come to terms with traumatizing challenges.,,In the artist’s case, challenge and response are manifested in his tantalising struggle to

express he inexpressible, to conquer the resistance of hisKoestler             medium, to escape from the distortions and constraints imposed by the conventional styles and techniques of his time….”

Discussing creativity in the sciences,  Koestler quoted Einstein who said, “The words of the language as written or spoken do not seem to play any role in my mechanism of thought, which relies on more or less clear images of a visual and sometimes muscular type. It seems to me that what you call full consciousness is a limited case which can never be fully accomplished because consciousness is a narrow thing.”

“There are always large chunks of irrationality embedded in the creative process, not only in art (where we are ready to accept it). but in the exact sciences as well.”

From Arthur Koestler’s  The Ghost in the Machine, Macmillan 1967.

Let’s Pretend

Published August 26, 2016 by Nan Mykel


Oh dear, didn’t realize I was dating myself with the mention of the Lets Pretend radio show!*

Does anyone else remember it?

Reviewer: larry76favoritefavoritefavoritefavoritefavorite – April 12, 2012
Subject: Old memories

I used to listen to Lets Pretend every Saturday
morning at 8am. I don’t remember what station it
was on, but if I missed it my whole day was not
I’m glad I found there are so many programs on it that I listened to when I was young.

*See The Jig’s Up written for D’vers 8/25/16

If not for the fame…then what?

Published August 24, 2016 by Nan Mykel


Quest for Whirled Peas

nobody writes poetry for the fame:
I doubt that I’ll ever
sell out a concert hall –
where adoring fans will scream
to hear me reciting free verse,
or swoon as they listen
to tight metered form poetry
I’ll never have gobs of money
thrust into my hands
just for the privilege
of having my autograph
on a note-pad
Chances are slim
that I’ll ever be stopped
on the street by someone who gushes
“Aren’t you Bryan the poet?”
or, “I recognize you from
the picture on your blog”
nobody writes poetry for the fame:
so what’s the point?
Why does the robin sing
as it splashes in a puddle
why does a baby coo when
she sees her favourite toy
why does a dog bare his teeth
at an approaching stranger
why does the nettle sting
at the slightest touch?
The bird, the baby, the beast,
even the plants…

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Best Adoption Blogs from

Published August 24, 2016 by Nan Mykel

Excellent infrmation!

Home » Adoption » Best Adoption Blogs

Best Adoption Blogs

Great list of adoption blogs

The sheer number of adoption bloggers online is overwhelming. We have attempted to help you out by weeding through and selecting our favorites. Please let us know via ourcontact page any of your favorites that we’ve missed.

+ Adoption (General)

  • Adoption Toolbox – Mom who adopted from China whose kids are now teens. Writes about general adoptive parenting, being an “older mom, parenting adopted teens/tweens.
  • Extraordinary Moms Network – This faith-based group provides support, love, encouragement and guidance for adoptive mothers and foster moms, mothers of special needs children, and all women who invest their lives in other people’s children.
  • Land of Gazillion Adoptees – Highlighting the expertise, accomplishments, programs, projects, and stories adoptees. It aims to be “adoptee-centric by: challenging the adoption status quo; challenging the traditional adoption narrative; challenging adoptees; and being challenged by all.
  • Stirrup Queen’s Mega Blog List – This is the mother of all blogrolls. Every blog on infertility and adoption ever created, or just about, is listed on this magnificent collection of blogs. The blogroll is actually searchable, which is wonderful.

+ Foster Care Adoption

  • Seeds of Hope – Great blog by a mom who adopted a singleton at 19 months from foster care in 1999, then a sibling set of 3 under the age of 6 in 2009, then another sibling set of 3 under the age of 8 in 2013. She mentors other foster/adopt families. Her experience covers lots of different age ranges and diagnoses.
  • Three Pink Diamonds – Mom of 3 siblings adopted from foster care in the UK. She blogs about becoming an instant family of five after years of struggling with infertility.
  • Journey to Josie – Mother to two children adopted as infants through foster care.
  • Fosterhood in NYC – Written by a younger woman who has fostered multiple children, and now is in the process of adopting a daughter that she is currently fostering.
  • Popp Life – A mother of five – three biological children, and two that are in the process of being adopted through foster care.
  • Foster Parenting Podcast – This is a podcast, not a blog, but it has helpful information about foster care adoption parenting. It is not currently adding new shows, but all past shows are available to listen through a computer or download to phone, tablet, or iPod.
  • Barren to Blessed – The author of this blog had a hysterectomy at age 11 to save her life from a bacterial infection. She now is a mom of two kids through foster care adoption, and is in the process of adopting a third child. She writes about her experience with both infertility and adoption.
  • The Lewis Note – Mother of two – one biological, and one that is being adopted through foster care. She also suffers from secondary infertility, and is going through the process of getting tested to figure out the cause.
  • From Instant to Forever – This lady is a veteran of dealing with the foster care system. She fostered a sibling group of six (chronicled on Instant Mama), and is now a mother to a sibling group of five through foster care adoption.
  • Word from the Wallaces – Family adopting from the Democratic Republic of Congo. Also foster parents to two kids and bio parents to two young kids. She’s a good writer and a prolific blogger. She also blogs about her faith and what God is doing in her life through adoption.  She also blogs at Light Breaks Forth.
  • Blogging for Baby Shayla – Mom of three by adoption from US foster care and China
  • Millions of Miles – Adopted a child from the Democratic Republic of Congo, and are beginning the process of becoming foster parents.
  • Hypervigilant – I love this blog! She blogs mainly on fostering, but she is also adopted from foster care and talks about that experience as well. This is a must read for those considering foster care or foster care adoption. Blog by a mom who adopted a 5 and 7 year old from foster care. She doesn’t hold back in sharing the joys and the challenges.


THANKS to for including Hypervigilant!  Check out the site directly for additional blogs and information. 


Published August 22, 2016 by Nan Mykel

Earth wears the cloud like a high-fashioned muffler.  Sensations rise up, above, high,  on top of the world, over the rainbow, heavenly, defying gravity, and buoyed by the breeze.  Only the seeds of rain pull her nearer, tugging at her underbelly, breaking free to water the Earth.  Cotton balls or muffler, the everpresence  of clouds high in the sky strutting their stuff, pacify, satisfy, an atavistic longing.  And then—

sudden effusion

bullfrogs jump and plop and croak:

the sky’s orgasm


Blog #144~Inspiring Books Related to Down Syndrome

Published August 22, 2016 by Nan Mykel

This is a great site that has slipped by unnoticed:

Down Syndrome with a Slice of Autism

Down Syndrome with a Slice of Autism

Blog #144~Inspiring Books Related to Down Syndrome

As Mother’s Day approaches, I wanted to highlight a few more books.  These books would make a nice gift for a mom who has a child with Down syndrome.  My son Nick is 22 years old and has Down syndrome and autism.  It’s been quite a journey, one that I’ve been writing about for several years.  Here are a few books highlighted in this month’s newsletter from the National Association for Down Syndrome (NADS)  Thank you NADS for the great list!  I also added in a couple of more that I found on Amazon:

Adams, Rachel, Raising Henry (Yale University Press, 2013).  A Columbia University professor reflects on raising her son with Down syndrome, on genetic testing and on the paradoxical role of disability in our culture.

Becker, Amy Julia, A Good and Perfect Gift: Faith, Expectations, and a Little Girl Named Penny (Bethany…

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