Information about Ryan Baldwin, a 16 yr old NC kid in foster care 90 days, has been posted on lists internationally. If you need background, please e mail me back or look in list archives.
The Baldwin family had 3 days in court this week. Here is a brief summary.
Dr. Paul Cheney testified the first day. In his usual eloquent style, he was well prepared for questions, and went way beyond the court's knowledge of CFS, POTS and the heart condition of this particular kid. My understanding is that Dr. Cheney thought that Ryan should not be climbing stairs several times a day to eat or to go outside and that Ryan definitely needs his power wheel chair.
The second day, the Department of Social Services (DSS) called Lisa to the stand. She had prepared a timeline for years of medical issues, appointments, medications and so on, so she said she was able to stay on track with the questions. That same day, the parents were sequestered with audio and video camera so they could watch Ryan testify. Lisa tells me that he faced the camera, was calm and answered the questions without a negative or hostile attitude. Lisa tells me it appeared that their attorney fashioned questions after Dr. Cheney's responses. Lisa told me over and over that said she and her husband, Rodney, were so proud of the Ryan! They were allowed to see him for 15 minutes at the end of the day, but not allowed to ask him medical questions or anything about the foster home.
The third day, several doctors testified. The DSS social worker was on the stand in the afternoon. Lisa tells me that the social workercould not answer specifics on many questions, but Lisa's atty produced the documents to help her remember. Lisa thought that the Judge might make a decision yesterday. However, he called a recess, asked both attorneys into chambers, and when he came out, the court dismissed until MAY 18th.
17 - 18 more days with no information and no social contact is a long time for a 16 year old kid. It is not like he has TV or computer use even to complete school work. His grandfather did get him a short wave radio. Ryan told the court that he loves to fool with it.
As a community we understand isolation. Ryan does not get mail, so how about we all send him a "Thinking of you card" or "Cheers", "Good Luck" something general like that. You could make a card from a cartoon or paste a picture, use a card you have, whatever you want. The cost is a stamp.
If you are not in US, you might sign several names onto a card and mail as one. I am thinking about how a teenage would feel should a bag of mail appear at the foster home which is fairly isolated in the mountains in North Carolina. It could be very fun for him. And a stamp from Belgium or Japan? Kids love that kind of thing.
I asked Lisa how Ryan gets mail. It all has to go through social services. Please, Please send a card to Ryan at the address listed below. Don't forget to sign your name inside with the place where you live in case he loses the envelopes. My understanding is that no one is allowed to ask him how he is feeling physically or mentally. Ihave no idea if the DSS will open mail.
Ryan Baldwin C/O SW Andrea Biffle PO BOX 7408 Dept of Social Services ( DSS ) Asheville, NC 28802-7408
LASTLY, please forward this note to any lists, friends, anywhere on the planet and feel free to shorten as you wish. The bottom line is to get a mail bag of cards to Ryan within the next week or so to help him know that he is not alone.