Guest Book and Condolences
Previous Guest Entries
This is intended as a Guest Book, for you to sign your name and share your thoughts, feelings, and condolences, just like you would sign a guest book at a funeral.
Since this website is also about proposed changes to the law, you are welcome to post comments about that, whether they agree with mine or not. I am especially interested to hear people's personal stories on all sides of this issue.
The Guest Book is for people to express their feelings. There is no rebuttal for someone else's feelings. Serial posting or off topic discussions will be deleted. Copy/pasted news articles will be deleted. One post per person, please.
I am very glad and rejoice in the fact that you taught her the love of Jesus. Her death will not be in vain because of your good works. Jesus has my son and I can tell you that He is a better parent then I am. On that day we will all be together again. I will join you in saying "Good Morning, Sunshine!" I will pray for your family and other children in Sirita's same life cycle. God Bless you for your love to this little girl. Jesus has given you a wonderful gift, don't lose sight of your purpose in life...to LOVE.
We are foster parents also. We have our home a 6 year old girl who could be in a similar situation as Sirita. Her mom has never worked, never had an actual address and has refused the whole gamut of services the state has tried to provide. After several years and numerous foster homes some of which made her situation worse, mom still has parental rights and visitations. My concern is not that the visitation be stopped although that would probably be the best, but in this totally confused society, it is conceivable might could convince some do-gooder social worker, judge etc to let her have her kids back and we the ones who have established a nurturing home have no rights to stop that. It is great to support parents and their families but somehow we need to use at least a little common sense. Putting Sirita back with her natural family is at least negligent and might be criminal negligence after all the facts come out. I too won't give my last name as we are in the foster care system and I am not sure how many really want to look at truth. I can at least a little bit understand your pain. Not totally, I haven't been there but some!!
Thank you for The Sirita Bill! Let's hope it gets passed!! :-)
Dear Gary, As a foster parent, my heart goes out to you. Just reading about the precious little girl you loved so much brought tears to my eyes. What happened to her is absolutely tragic. It is so good of you to take this tragedy and turn it into something positive. The ultimate gift you can give Sirita is this. If only there were more laws like the one you are trying to pass. My fd has been with us for 15 months, her mother had abandoned her (while she was sick and needing open heart surgery), and had a drug addiction. She is back now and we have started visits. My poor little one year old has no clue what is going on, just that every two weeks we go to this building and she gets left alone for an hour with people she has never met. If there was a law like the one you are trying to pass in my state, my baby could officially be adopted. I know of another foster child who was shaken by either her mother or father (no one is exactly sure, but many feel it was the mother) who has been in care for two years and may still be going home to the person who originally did this to her. All because they had a lousy case worker at the beginning and he didn't do his job or follow the laws. You and your beautiful fd are in my thoughts and prayers. My mother lives in WA, so I will be sending her your website and asking her to contact her legislators. Amy Garner
Gary, I cried when I read about Sirita. She was a beautiful little girl and so lucky to have you and your wife in her life (and vice versa). My husband and I are signed up for foster parenting classes and Sirita's story has touched us deeply. I just finished emailing our state representatives here in Oregon to see what we need to do in order to pass a law similar to Sirita's Law in our state. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your family. Katie & Rick Leventhal
I hope you get your law passed. The whole system needs to be fixed. The number of horror stories I could tell is more than any human should ever hear. God bless you.
I am a single foster parent in the state of PA. We need that law here as well! I have had 2 children with me for 29 months now. TOO LONG! Fight for Sirita! I am behind you 100%! Our though and prayers are with you and your family.
Dear Gary and Magda, I am so very sorry for your loss and the deep and profound grief you must feel at her senseless death. I pray for God to send you peace and comfort at this time. Your tribute to your daughter was beautiful. Your description of your daughter could have been mine--they sound so much alike. Our daughter, who just turned 5 is a foster child, but luckily, has only been in two homes. I would like to comment on your effort at passing the Sirita law. I am a foster parent in Florida. We are now pre-adoptive of our five year old daughter and her four year old brother. We have had them since December of 2001. TPR did not happen until August of 2004. In Florida, our laws/statutes give parents one year, but the average case lasts 3 to 4 years. The problem seems to stem from the fact that there is no real "teeth" to the statute that provides one year. In other words, there is no penalty to the department if they exceed the one year mark. Our judges have wide latitude to the interpretation of "special or extenuating" circumstances that allow them to extend the case plan. There seems to be no set guidelines. You may want your legislation to include some penalties so they are compelled to follow the statutes. In our state, foster parents are not allowed to become parties to the case, no matter how long we have had a child in our care. I believe that this inability to be advocates for these kids, helps perpetuate the time a child languishes in the system. If this is the case in your state, you may want to address this issue as well. I believe foster parents may very well be the best advocate for a child who has been in their care 24/7. I wish you much success in your work here. You and your wife are awesome. May God Bless you and send you peace.
Gary~ My heart goes out to you...you have my deepest condolences. Children very much need permanency. I speak as one who entered the foster care system at birth and ended up aging out of the system at 18...after 14 moves in between. All I ever wanted as a kid was a family to call my own...it was never to be. I have shared my story with a book published last summer and have another book coming out this summer. We who have borne the brunt of the system must speak up for change in the system. What you are advocating is one of the things I advocate in my second book along with many other changes. Our state, Michigan, conducted its first public hearing of its kind yesterday with our House Committee for Family & Children Services. We hope and pray it is just the beginning and will not end up being swept under the rung! I applaud you for turning your loss and grief into such a positive effort. I have always said "foster parents are the backbone & HEROES of the foster care system." My partial story and efforts can be found at: http://www.larrya.us Peace to you Gary! Larry~
I truly hope that you get this into law. I was a licensed family daycare provider for 13 years for the State of Washington. I know that stability is what every child needs. Children that are happy and doing well in a foster home situation should not be removed from that setting. If the foster family are willing to take these children permanently should be allowed to do so. Parents should have a set time to get their personal lives together so they can be parents to their children. I know that foster families can love these children and care for them as they were their own. I never have understood why children are returned to their abusive parents when they are loved and protected with their foster families. I hope that the loss of this precious little girl can truly help all those other children that need love and stability in their lives as they grow up and not just temporarily.
Gary, while I wholeheartedly agree with you and wish to extend my sincerest condolences to you and your family, I also have to make a point that seldomly anyone thinks about because the issue of child abuse and child victims is always so highly publicized.....and it should be!!!!. HOWEVER, my husband and I have 4 children, ranging from age 6 to 17 years old. We love our children with all of our heart and would never do anything to hurt them or let anyone hurt them. Yet, back in 1999, the school counselor of our 2 older children called protective services on us because our 2nd oldest child didn't listen to me, and behind my back put on the clothes that she wanted to wear instead of the clothes that I made her put on. Subsequently the school counselor thought that we didn't care about our children because our daughter came to school in shorts and short-sleeved shirt in the middle of winter. Do I blame the school counselor for thinking strange thoughts...not at all. What I do blame her for is the fact that NOT ONCE did this woman give us a call to find out what was going on, instead, she let the state loose on us. When CPS got a hold of us, they didn't want to tell us what the referral was about, so we insisted on our attorney being present since nobody wanted to tell us what was going on. The social worker didn't like that, made up all kinds of lies, even enlisted the help of the chief of police in getting him to say that I (the mother) conducted (unspecified) illegal activities on my computer!!!!! Needless to say that the court took their word over ours and issued an emergency ex-parte order to have our children removed from our home......we never got the chance to present our side of the story until 8 month later and my chldren being moved from foster home to foster home to foster home......after it was all over with, we filed suit against the state and lost because we were unable to overcome the states immunity. We filed suit in federal court against the police chief and the school counselor for violation of our due process rights, and reached a settlement.....so...who won? Nobody......After nearly 4 years of court-battles for justice, the stress that it put on all of us, literally destroyed my family...and my marriage. I am separated from my husband now, currently unemployed, and since he makes pretty decent money, I chose to let the children live with him...because I am financially unable to do so at the moment......it tears my guts out thinking about what happened to us. We were supposed to grow old together, stay together for better for worse....and look what happened.....because of the miscarriages of the so-called "justice" for families....Sometimes I don't care what happens to me anymore, you know? I am on anti-depressants and other medications because ever since all this happened to us, I suffer from panic-attacks as well, sometimes waking up in the middle of the night, screaming, unable to breathe or beating up on my pillow. I have night-mares almost every night. Sometimes worse then others. So you see Gary, there are always 2 sides to the stories.....I feel for you and others that have lost their children to violence and abuse or neglect. But what is never mentioned in the media, is the fact that a lot of innocent and loving parents are destroyed by some overzealous social worker that is on some kind of an ego trip just because the parents demand answers......can we establish a bill for that too? Well, just had to get this off my chest......God Bless you and your family and please hang in there. Publish my name. Sincerely, Sabine Skurnack, Walters, Oklahoma
i just wanted to say thank god for you and your wife. there are not many people who become foster parents for the right reason. i think whomever sent her back to her biological family ,( dcfs) should be fired and i hope they see her face and hear her in there solitude. these parents should never have had her back! its so sad she was a beautiful little girl and it was obvious she was well taken care of and loved in your home. parents all over need to realize that a child brings new responsibility and selflessness. your child comes first ,not drugs or booze. having a child is not a right it is a gift from god and you should bless it every day you have that gift, no matter what problems arise. god never gives a burden you cannot carry. shame on the parent who would rather do drugs and party than work and stay home with there child. i am just outraged as are probably millions of loving parents out there. thank you and god bless you.
I am so sorry of your lost little angel. I just stared that little beautiful girl and thinking why she was murder? It makes me cried and mad for what [ed: the person] has done to her. I am from Puerto Rico. I read your website and it touches my heart. I hope with God help, ur fighting for the right is to win and for the children whose are in abused situation life have a peaceful place. May God take care of you all. Love Mariana
Hi Gary, My name is Jesse and I’m Sirita’s cousin from California. We met at Sirita’s funeral and there are some things I would like say. I too am sorry about Sirita. I know you loved her like so many of us did. I do think that Sirita’s law is a great law and I hope it helps other children in situations close to that of Sirita’s. No child should die a violent death and should have to live a life so tragic. Especially when there are people out there that care for these children! Sirita was in your care when my wife and I tried to adopt her. Instead she went to live with her biological father. At that point my wife and I lost any rights to adopt Sirita and it kills me to know that she could have been with us. We wanted the responsibility of raising Sirita and making sure she was loved and was safe. We bought our new home with an extra bedroom hoping that it would be Sirita’s. I’ve read your site many times and I’ve read all the news articles and I truly appreciate what you did for Sirita. However, I do feel uncomfortable when you refer to yourself as Sirita’s Daddy. A daddy is a man who accepts the responsibility of raising a child forever. You were her foster parent, but were you going to take Sirita in permanently? I keep wondering where everyone was when Sirita’s little body was abandoned at the Snohomish Medical Examiner’s office. No one showed up to take care of her except one of Patricia’s sponsors. Her own biological father did not claim the body or anyone from his family. The hardest thing I ever had to do in my life was picking out the clothes that Sirita would be buried in, picking out her casket, selecting a headstone, what to put on the program at the funeral, and the list goes on. Let’s not forget to thank all those people who helped Sirita be laid to rest properly. Mark at the ME’s office, he told me how to claim Sirita’s body and gave me a list of funeral homes. Doug at Solie’s funeral home who went above and beyond to see that Sirita had an open casket and that the services were done right. Doug did more than just what I’ve stated, but I think he would not have me mention that. Margaret at Holyrood cemetery, Diana at The Herald, and so many others who helped during this difficult time. Especially Family and Friends of Victims of Violent Crimes. It’s impossible to list everything that they did for Sirita. I can only say that Sirita would not have had all she had without them. It wasn’t just financially, but emotionally as well. Thank you again for helping Sirita and our family through this difficult time. If I can be of help, just let me know. Regards, Jesse & Mary
Editor's Note: Hi Jesse. Thank you for your kind remarks. I have always referred to myself as Sirita's foster daddy, which is another way of saying foster father, which is exactly what I was. In answer to your question, yes, we were certainly prepared to adopt her, and we put a letter in her DSHS file before she left us stating that, if she were ever available for adoption, we were eager to do that. I made sure the bio mom and dad knew that as well.
Good Evening!! I've been following this too. No doubt, no one can fault you and your family Gary for all you did for this precious child. (Yet I too have heard, and read, as you refer to yourself as her "Daddy" not "foster Daddy". Don't get me wrong...I do believe Sirita would have been blessed to have been adopted by you. But I do think that Trish deserves more than being referred as the "bio mom"..... that made me wince. She was her Mother after all...faults and all.) I was briefly acquainted with Trish when she was REALLY really trying to get back on track with her life. She had a job, and was a great employee... and some weekends with her daughter...there is no question that she adored her daughter. I sat with her a few nights after work as she held her head in her hands and prayed for the strength to do right Sirita. I saw her in the days when a visit was imminent and Trish was beyond excited and joyful. She was clean then and working hard to do everything right. Then we lost touch but I often prayed that she stayed straight and that all her wishes came true. Ahhh....the evilness of drugs. Sadly, I've since learned they did not. And yes...that too is tragically sad. I was 'out of the loop' so to speak until I heard the dreadful news...and I was indeed shocked that she had been placed back with her Father. Please know Gary...I support and would vote for the Sirita Law and have written a letter already to the state. I wish you much success in this quest for justice for children...indeed you are a blessing to many children in an unjust system where they have no voice. So as I close, I say a prayer for your loss and for Trish's loss. No parent, or Foster parent should have to endure such a sadness.
Editor's Note: Thank you. To my knowledge I have always said "foster daddy." If I ever slipped and said "daddy," you will have to forgive me because I loved her like a daughter. I do not want to turn this into a debate; the purpose of this page is to talk about Sirita. I certainly meant no disrespect when I said "bio" instead of "biological" or "birth" mom. There are many kinds of parents, but only one kind of love.
Hello, Changes must happen within the foster care system. I work with Kinship families that are fighting the same fight. What a horrible feeling to see a child returned to a family when you are confident that the family is not stable! It is a helpless feeling. Our children deserve better. Laws need to be strict and current laws need to be followed more closely. Gary, we would like to join your fight. We will make a differnce
The messages I've read give overwhelming support and love for Sirita's foster parents. I'm sure they are very comforted by them. But please, LET US NOT FORGET SORITA'S MOTHER PATRISHA who also needs your support, your love, and your prayers. She tried with all her heart to work within the "system", to attend and embrace new parenting classes, to become clean and sober, to attend 12 step meetings. All so that she could regain a life with her daughter whom she loved so deeply. Unfortunately the "system" failed her no matter how hard she worked and it led her down a path of despair. Patricia has recommitted her own life to one that which will honor Sirita's life. If you wish to send any words of support you can send them to me at ForSiritasMom@hotmail.com and I will see that she receives them. Thank you for your prayers. Susan Benner My prayer for Trish is: Sirita's Prayer Though your life was short Your lessons given to me Will last my lifetime. Sirita, in your memory, And to honor your life, I will choose for today To live clean and sober. And to carry your message to others, So that they may find the gifts, Like the gifts you gave to me. I have always loved you. I will always love you. I will honor your memory, So you will be proud of me, When we meet again.
Gary, My heart and prayers go out to you and your family. Thank you for sharing and for all you are doing to get Sirita's Law passed. I too am a foster parent. We have a five year old girl that we are pursuing adoption on. She was born to a teenage mother who was a foster child. Our foster daughter has never known permanancy. We have been fighting for her for almost 3 years. There are days when I'm not sure if I have the strength to push on. Last September was the TPR heiring, however the judge did not issue a ruling. The judge took the case under advisement and just last week the final ruling was handed down. They tpr'd on the mom but mom has since filed an appeal. The fight continues on. After reading about Sirita, again, I have the strength I need to fight for our little girl. The county attorney warns that it could be another year to a year and half before we see an end. Six long years in limbo with no one to call her forever family. Believe me, when she is ours and I no longer have to worry about breaking the silence due to confidentiality I plan to fight in the state of Nebraska for the same type of law. I feel that by sharing your story about your little angel you and Sirita are, in more ways than you can imagine, making this world a better place. "Thank you from the bottom of my heart"!!!!!!!!!
YEH!! Rep. Jim Buck emailed me back the SAME day I requested how he was voting on the Sirita Law. Thank You Rep Buck for your quick response. THIS IS HIS EMAIL: I have reviewed the bill and will be voting for it. She was a beautiful little girl and deserved better. Thanks, Jim Buck EVERYONE EMAIL AND CALL YOUR REP. Your opinion COUNTS!
I would like to support the Sirita law but I also feel there should be some law about all the crooked social workers out there who fabricate lies and take children away for no reason other than to support the multi million dollar business they have begun. I am grateful there are loving foster homes out there like yours, so many people are in it for the money and just don't care. Sometimes the home where they were taken from was much better off than where they end up. I'm sorry for your loss Gary but I cannot support this law until there is something done with this DCFS system nationwide. They do have to much immunity but I wish you the best of luck!!
Shouldn't there be a law about all the children killed in foster homes every year? Is this something we all close our eyes to?
Editor's Note: The important thing this bill does is get kids out of the system and out of foster care, and into permanent placement. Another of my original proposals which did not make it into the bill, but I hope gets added as an amendment, would require all adults in the home responsible for child care to take parenting classes. This would raise the bar for foster parents, too.
I'm one of many of the members of the House of Representatives who are simultaneously thoughtfully paying tribute to Sirita by passing Sirita's Law. I, and others, are also praying for you in your time of grief for having the strength to carry this on in her name. Blessings, gigi Hopefully someone has alerted you to this debate on tvw. As of 9:00 pm Sirita's law passed the Washington House of Representatives unanimously. March 10, 2005.
I work with kids in foster care. I fully support the law you are trying to pass. Not only do too many of the birth parents I work with get too many chances - and end up abusing the children even further. Some birth parents do just enough to satisfy the courts - and the kids are forever in uncertainty - unable to bond with another family, for fear of alienating their birth families. I wish you the best of luck.
I am only 15 years old but when i saw Sirita's bright smiling face on TV and heard her story, i was devastated. You and your wife are very special people for being foster parents. You will be in my thoughts and prayers. sincerely, Jessica Stores
Dear Gary and Magda I am so sorry to learn about what happened to your dear little girl. Your definitely deserved to have her a lot more than her biological father and step-mother did, and she deserved you, not them. I am glad to see that Sirita's Law has past the house of representatives. I don't know what else it has to pass in order to become the law in this state. But if there is anything else I can do to help, please let me know. Love in Christ, Cecilia
Your law you propose is not the answer. There are thousands of people who are not good parents who become foster parents just for the money or for other, more insideous reason and your proposal would weaken the chances of good parents who have a hard time recovering themselves from protecting their children they love from the harm of those people. I would hate for any child to die needlessly for I have lost a child myself, but this is not the answer since foster homes are only a temporary place for the kids to stay and not a permanent home.
i support the change in the law.....may she rest in peace....
I thought you would like to know that after this passed I got an email from the Rep in my area. Here is what she said in her email to me: You wrote a couple of weeks ago about Sirita's Law. I wanted to let you know that the Children and Family Services Committee had a hearing on the bill earlier this week and the bill was passed out of committee Tuesday evening. The hearing was very emotional as we heard testimony from Sirita's foster father, a young woman who had been bounced back and forth between her mother and numerous foster homes, and the foster family of another child who was also killed in the home of his biological parents. Sirita's law now moves to the Senate so you need to continue your advocacy efforts. The debate will continue over the balance between the rights of the biological parents and the needs of the child. I think the safety of the child should always be our paramount concern and hope passage of the bill will move us further in that direction. Sincerely, Mary Helen Roberts 21st District Representative Thanks Tamara
I work as a counselor for teens who have been in the foster care system for most of their lives. I fully support the passing of this law, as I have seen the attempts made to reunify families prematurely, and the abuse that the children often experience as a result. It is frustrating to file a CPS report knowing fully that the child will return home to "pay" for telling the truth to another adult. It is crucial that Washington state recognizes the need ALL children have for permanence, and that foster care is a short-term band-aid, not a real solution. If a child enters foster care, a timely placement plan should be required. Often the teens I work with have been to more placements than they can count, and feel no more loved now then they did in their abusive homes. However, I still have faith that positive change is possible, and the Sirita Law is certainly a step in that direction. Thank you from all youth counselors of Washington state,
Gary & Magda- I'm so sorry for your tragic loss. I cried as I heard the story when it broke and also as I read the eulogy. As the father of 3 girls I can only imagine. I can tell that you loved her the way she needed while she was here. It is obvious in the photographs that you have posted that you brought much joy into her little life. I'd like to say thank you for the job you are doing as foster parents. I have close friends who foster and I've seen the pain (and the joy) that it can bring. I want you to know that I am supporting Sirita Law and have written to the senators. Good luck with that - my wife and I will keep you in our prayers. Dale
I am outraged that a plea deal will allow Sirita's murderer to be out in 5 years or less. Her mother Patricia is also outraged. I am also disappointed that my comments on 3/7 have not elicited more support for Trisha, a mother that worked so very hard to regain custody. The focus has been on Trisha's ultimate drug issue rather then what caused her to use. Let us remember and focus on how the "system" failed her which ultimately failed Sirita.
I am so sorry about your little girl. I also have had personal exp. with CPS and I wrote my legislator through your sight. This is what I sent... Good morning, I am writing to support Sirita's Law # HB2156/SB6007. I have had personal experience with CPS and would like to tell my story. As I am sure you know there are a lot of children in WA state that are in need of Child "Protection" Services. The key word being "PROTECTION". I have custody of my 5 yr. old nephew who was born into a drug addicted home. His bio. parents use Meth and Heroin every day. He was 18 months old and under weight, physically and emotionally neglected. He no longer cried when hurt or hungry due to his cries going unheard. When his parents were arrested he came to us with a diaper bag that mom packed in front of the officers. I found drug paraphernalia in his bag. When I called CPS and reported this, along with first hand accounts of drug exposure I had witnessed, I was blown off. I told the man at CPS that "He was in danger and needed to be "PROTECTED". He could have ingested the drug and been harmed or worse." He replied, "Who?" I said, "My nephew, he is only 18 mon. old everything goes into his mouth!" He said, " Has he ever been seen by a Dr. for injury?" I said "Not to my knowledge." He replies, AND I QUOTE!, "People leave knives and guns lying around all the time, that doesn't necessarily make them bad parents." Needless to say I was appalled and told him that "CPS stands for Child "PROTECTIVE" Services!! The key word being PROTECTIVE, meaning to protect BEFORE something happens!" What a joke, lucky for me my nephew fell under Tribal Protection laws and we had another avenue. 3 yrs later we adopted him. Thank God someone helped us. I am convinced we saved his life no thanks to WA state CPS. My nephew has a sister that was born two yrs ago addicted to Heroin and spent the first 5 wks of life in a center going through the single worst case of addiction they had seen to date. Needless to sat ICW, Indian Child Welfare, is on the case. WA state law makers need to improve this system. It took us 3yrs and a whole other agency to help my nephew. How many more children are going to be left behind or worse B-4 something is done to fix the system and make the word "PROTECTION" mean something? The amount of funding being spent by the state would dramaticslly decrease if children were placed sooner in loving homes. Although my nice and nephew were and are under ICW care the state helps foot that bill too! My nephew was on state aid for 3 years and my niece still is. How long will we be paying for all these children? How long will the CHILDREN have to PAY?!?! Tonya Yanity Please know that you are going to make a difference. God bless and guide your journey!
I am absolutely sickened that Sirita's step-mother is only being charged with manslaughter. If you bash a four or five year old child hard enough to break their skull and severe their liver in half, that is homicidal violence, not manslaughter, not an abuse session that got out of control, but deliberate homicide. Even if a decision to kill was only made at the moment of killing, it is at least second degree murder. But it seems that now that the murder by abuse laws have been struck down in federal courts, the people who think that children's lives aren't worth much are winning the day. CPS and local courts aren't doing their jobs to keep kids away from these monsters either. They are too concerned with parent's rights and family reunification to worry about something that is insignificant in their eyes, like the suffering and deaths of children. Never mind that ordinary citizens care about kids, the people who don't care seem to be winning. It's time to clean house, clean out anti-child people from CPS, DSHS, the courts at all levels, the lawmakers, and anyone else who has power to decide where children will be placed. Pray that people who work hard to make the world an easy place to abuse children will be pulled down from their positions of power and replaced by decent people.
I am the best friend of Tonya Yanity. My family and I are the one's that have her niece. She is one of the most beautiful little girls I have ever seen. She is almost 2 years old. We have been fortunate to have known her since she was 3 months old and have been in love with her since then. She was living with another family, but ended up being placed with Tonya for a while and then we were lucky enough to get her. She is the most loving, sweetest little girl. I feel so blessed to have her in my life. We are hoping that we will be able to adopt her. But, like the state kids, she has to wait for the parents to try come into compliance. Luckily, her transition to living with us has gone quite well. But I can't help but feel for her sake and well being, she would benefit so much from being able to finally call some place home. I am so sorry for your loss. I know it is so easy to love a little one and to consider yourself her family. I pray that this law is passed so these innocent little ones are able to get on with the lives that they so deserve to have.
Because of the Indian Child Welfare Act, would this law apply to Native American children/families too?
Editor's Note: Federal law takes precedence over state law, so it wouldn't impact any area already covered by the ICWA.
Dear Gary, I have followed this story very closely since the public news announcement that Sirita had died. Just this morning I found this site. Sirita's story is very close to my heart on two threads...for one, I knew Trish and Sirita during the last attempt at reuniting them. And secondly, my husband and I are right now in the middle of an ugly custody battle with my daughter to keep our grandchild (just under 3 years old) with us. He has been with us for most of his life, cps has been involved, but closed their case recommending that grandbaby NOT be placed back in our daughters care. Now our daughter is trying to fight us through the family courts to get him back. Her history is VIOLENT, her anger problems and other issues run deep! We are a doing all we can and praying for the best for our little one. My heart is with you and your wife as you go through this AND I pray our grandchild does not have to be put in a situation where this would happen to him... With much love and many blessings to you... I will keep reading your blog and sending you strength...
I read your blog from March 16, and my heart goes out to you. I do not believe it is evil for you to be angry with the person responsible for Sirita's death. It is a natural step in grieving. Please don't beat yourself up and add personal guilt to the mix, feeling like you are a bad person for being angry and not being able to forgive. You are human, and the way we are wired is such that when we are hurt, we react. The true test of how 'good' or 'bad' a person you are is what you do with that pain and anger. If you maintain control of yourself and turn your anger to action for good, you have done something for the better. It is just my opinion, but forgiveness of such a horrible deed is too much to ask right now of someone who is flesh and blood. Take care, my thoughts are with you and your family.
I am a former heroin addict and a mother of a 9 month old baby girl. The birth of my daughter made me make my most important decision ever-to stop using drugs. I made the unselfish choice to put my precious baby first. Her arrival saved my life, literally. I would not change it for the world. Drugs were such a big part of my life, in fact my whole life. But now when I look into my daughters' eyes and hear her laugh and watch her smile, well, that is my high now. I feel strongly about Sirita's Law. It is a good idea. So many people use the cop out, that quitting is too "hard". BS! If someone loves their children, they will make the right choice. No matter how hard it is, I have succeeded. For my baby, for her life and for my life. She is my life saver. My heart hurt the day I saw the story about Sirita, when I looked at her little face, I wondered, "What kind of monster could hurt her?" But she is in a better place now, no more worries and no more hurt. She is an angel now. Thank-you for your time.
My deepest sympathy go out to you. I have a grandson who was adopted by his Aunt & Uncle because my daughter, the mother, was on drugs and was gradually starving my grandson and neglecting him needlessly. I'm so grateful to Tonya and Shawn Yanity for taking my grandson and eventually adopting him. Their love has saved his life and given me the peace that he will grow up in a drug-free and loving home.
I am sorry for your loss of darling Sirita. She was so very adorable. I know that right now she is watching over you and your family, and she is smiling and telling Jesus about how wonderful you all were to her. My nieces grew up in foster homes. They were from one to another all through out there lives. It is so hard on a child to be pushed around between places never knowing whats coming next. I agree that the system does need to be fixed. And that this may sound harsh but the state needs to start seeing children as children and not just dollar signs. It seems that its all they truly care about.. Not the little ones and what is best for them. Its time to wake up and realize that there is so much more going on in the world and to open our eyes and save these kids from having to go through any more pain and suffering. Sleep sweetly Sirita..You are never to far away because you are in our hearts forever.
Dear Gary I was deeply moved by what you wrote on the blog for March 19, about the lies that Heather Ewel, Sirita's step-mother is now telling about Sirita. Please give this information to the judge who will be hearing the case on arraignment next Wednesday. He (or she) needs to know that Heather Ewell is an evil woman who is only trying to elicit undeserved sympathy. Please tell the judge, before the case is heard, about the difference between the way Sirita behaved in your home and the way she is alleged to have behaved in the Ewel home, plus the possible reasons for those differences, just like you listed in the blog. I would love to hear Heather justify why she kept Sirita instead of sending her back to one of the homes where she was wanted and loved. The more I learn about Sirita's step-mother, the more I realize what an evil woman she is. I would hate to have her tell a sad sob story about how stressed and burdened she was by this child, win undeserved sympathy, and walk smirking out of the courtroom from getting away with something. Please point out to the judge that the step-mother told many lies about what Sirita did and said on the night of January 21. In reality, Sirita had already been dead for many hours by the time the evening came that day. (I beleive the coroner pinned down the time of death as somewhere between the late morning and 12 noon on January 21.) So there was no way that Sirita was up doing or saying anything on the evening of January 21. Please point out this discrepancy so that the judge will know what a liar he/she is dealing with. Abusive people often try to blame their victims. If they can pull it off, it helps them get away with it. Point this out as well. Oh, here I am, telling you how to do your job. Please forgive me. But I do want that judge to know, so that he/she won't be bamboozled by a cunning, sophisticated, smooth operating, psychopathic child killer. It might help to tell the newspapers some of the stuff you mentioned on today's blog too. I am going to try to be at the arraignment on Wednesday, if it is still open to the public by then, to show my support for the prosecution, and for the people who cared about Sirita. God bless you and keep fighting for the children. Love in Christ, Ceecee
Dear Magda and Gary.It`s sunday morning,and the sun is shining here in Denmark.This morning I went down town to get my Newspaper(Ekstra-Bladet)and bread.Got home,and looked through sportpages to find some football result`s from yesterday.But on page 42 my eyes caught a picture of a little girl,standing in front of an little elefanth taken in a Zoo in U.S.A.I haven`t heard about Sirita until today,but after around 2 hours reading about her,and seen all the pictures of a beautiful smiling girl,with a caring happy family around her,I feel sorry for that little girl.
I know we're only supposed to write once, but I was furious when I read that claim by Heather that Sirita wished her dead. If she did say such a think what was Heather doing to her to make her so angry? We all know now don't we. What vicious woman. How many times had Heather said that to her? You are right on the mark Gary, that was a careless comment by the detective. He should have talked to someone who loved her. Heather's guilt shouldn't have been soft peddled. Why didn't he talk to you?
Dear Gary and Magda as you know we share your pain and you understand ours probably better than anyone else , we were both blessed by our little angel who touched our lives forever and will be with us forever . We were totally devastated by the details of the injuries to her and equally appauled by the acusation that she had said those things to heather , we would agree with you that she was only repeating what she had heard and we also dought that she said them in that exact context. we think that it is a sad defense to try to blame her for her own death . if they could'nt handle it they should have given her back to one of us , as you said we would have loved to be burdened with her for the rest of our lives but I wouldn't call it burdened I would call it a blessing and a privilage . I Hope if they stuck a plea agrement that it fits the crime I hope the prosecuter took into account the brutallity that went into this heines act act acted appropriately in the amount of time too be served ,I agree that a plea would save us all the heartache of a trial and let her rest in peace but at the same time it would be an insult to her and us if they don't do there best by her . I wonder if they will let the people like us who loved her to make comments to the court before sentencing I think it would show how much she was loved by us and how much of a loss it was to our community .
Got an email back from the other rep in my district, here is what he said: Thank you for contacting me. Our system of democracy is nothing without citizens involved in the legislative process. Understanding how you feel about the important issues of the day helps me better represent you in Olympia. I received your email and appreciate your support for House Bill 2156. I am proud to share with you that I voted for this bill and it passed successfully out of the House of Representatives. This bill is currently in the Senate and will hopefully soon be signed into law. I value the input I receive and hope that you will continue to share your thoughts with me. Respectfully, Brian Brian Sullivan State Representative 21st District
I have not had a response to a letter written via post....so this is the email I sent today...... I hope everyone that visits Sirita's web page waste no time in getting a letter off to your Senator ASAP!!!!!! ****** Dear Senator Shin, I am writing to you to ask that you vote YES in support of SB 6006, The Sirita Law that gives children permanancy within one year in a situation where a parent has lost custody and has not rehabilitated by one years time. It is a travesty that the system has remained as archaic and tortuous as it has when it comes to the protection and well being of children. I'm sure that you'll agree that in this century especially, it's imperative that all children feel safe, grounded, loved and secure. Without SB 6006, we are risking the safe future of these kids 'lost in the system', and at the same time....the safe future of a sound society. I implore you to vote YES!! And I pray you have heard from many of your constituents in regards to this matter. Thank you for your time! Sincerely, Name Address City, Zip
Editor's Note: Thanks! I should explain that when you discuss this with your senator, ask her/him to support HB 2156. The other version did not get a hearing by the legislative deadline, so the active version is the House Bill, which has now moved from the House to the Senate.
Again another update, this time from the senator in my district. Thank you for your e-mail message concerning House Bill 2156. As I child, I had no parents and one of my highest priorities as a person and a legislator is to ensure that all children have a safe place to grow up. I can report that this bill passed the House by a unanimous vote last week. It will now be considered by the Senate Human Services and Corrections Committee. If it does come to the Senate floor, I will thoroughly scrutinize it, consider the importance of protecting children, and take your thoughts into account before voting. Thank you again for taking the time to write, and please feel free to contact me with additional questions or concerns. I will keep your thoughts in mind. Sincerely, Paull H. Shin State Senator, 21st District WASHINGTON STATE SENATE
Im her cusin iloved her very much
sirita we all miss you even if we didnt know you that well
she is sucha beautiful girl she must have ment so much to all of you i dont know who did it but i hope whoever did it feels guilty and they dont deserve to be in any childs life and i hope she is watching over you as you know you would her she did not deserve to go like she did im very sorry and i wish good luck to her family .you are very well thought of and she deserved a good home and to be well taken care of i was told heather didnt like sirita because she took heathers husband away but tht ws not siritas fault she wanted some attention like every other kid does .best wishes to you .
hey there Gary i am very sorry to hear about this tradigity of sirita well i have a lil gurl she is almost three and she had to go to a foster home and i do miss her bunches but iam very sad to hear what happend to little sirita she is such a beatiful lil gurl. please feel free to get ahold of me my e-mal is lil email@example.com I would love to hear from you GOD BLESS YOU AND IAM GLAD TO KNOW THAT SIRITA HAD A GOOD FAMILY LIKE YOU AND UR WIFE AGAIN GOD BLESS YOU. iam also really glad the sirita law got passed thank you in lovin memory and thoughts of sirita gosh she is a lil sunshine.
Its a sad story. She was a pretty girl:-)
I watched this story unfold and our family was devastated. How could a precious life be taken away so selfishly? I have come to rely on God and that he needed her in heaven. I have 2 wonderful children and adore them immensely and I am a very devoted single mother. I feel at least if I hold strong with my family and God they stand a good chance of being great adults. I pray for your strength to pull through this and that this law does get passed-these kids need to be protected. I prayed my way through my young childhood up until I was a young adult before I got out onto my own and was able to be safe-I would loved someone to reach out and help me and my siblings. It was by God's grace that we made it through. I count everyday as a blessing just for myself and the children are my miracles. I had tough pregnancies with both of them and we are lucky to have each other and to be healthy now-they were both really sick as infants. Your daughter reminds me so much of my own and I would be devastated to lose such an angel. My prayers and love to y'all this Easter!
It is with a very deep sadness and shock as I heard the news of little Sirita. I knew Sirita from 5 days after her birth and worked with her bio mother and Sirita for the hopes of a better life. Not but a week ago I found the picture I was holding of her and one her mother had given me. She was alert, smiling and loved life. to hear this ending for her brings me a total commitment to help anyway I can in your working with the legislature for change. I will look for any news from you and how to help. I will also contact my legislation. I had no idea Sirita was with her biological father and step-mother. My heart is so sad today as I read the information. God Bless you and yours for doing all you did for her. She was a gift from above for sure. And now a special little Angel I will think of daily. GINI
Editor's Note: Gini, please contact me: firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to have a copy of that photo.
Im very sorry for your loss but i would like to no why she was took out of your house????
Editor's Note: The permanency plan was to return her to her mother, and when that failed, the father had priority for placement. This is what happens when you are foster parents.
Dear Gary, I am very sorry for your loss and hers. She was a beautiful child. I am a foster parent and I cant' believe how many chances parents get. I have emailed my legislator on your law, and let me tell you I back you up 100%. These children need to be better helped by the state. I pray every night that my fs will be able to stay with us, because his parents are not trying to help themselves and he came from a horrible life. We do need better laws to protect these children. Parents should have a hard time getting help if they are unwilling to even try. It is not fair to these kids. I hope the state see's this with your law and moves forward from there. God Bless!
The Lord bless you for the love you have and still have for Sirita. She is beautiful. I was so very angry to hear that the agency took her away from you and placed her with her father. I believe the system fails the children, not help them. How many children need to be murdered before someone somewhere will do something, especially our government. Are they not government agencies? Sirita's life shall not go in vain nor her memory. You have my support. God Bless you!
My 3yr old son Stevie Collins was murderd in 86. His killer was released after serving 17 of his 60 yr murder sentence, due to the washington state supreme court ruling (Andress-Hinton) His Killer David Crane is free as of 1/14/05. Stevie was branded with a blow dryer, had scalding water thrown in his face , and sustaned a beating that was equal to him being thrown from a car going 60 mph. So I can identify with your situation and anger.I dont know why snohomish co. is so lax when it comes to prosocuting these cases of child murder. What happend to the Eli Creekmore Law ? It is a homicide by abuse law that states if you kill a child you get a secon dgree murder sentence.It was passed in 87. What is being done with that? I am pissed beond words. We worked so hard to get it passed in 87, and now it tis thrown by the wayside. Eli Creekmore like Sarita was removed from his parents, (by C.P.S) to be returned to them only to be beaten and kicked to death by his Father Darren Creekmore.I hate to dissapoint your efforts, but I dont see any of these child killers being tried on the homiside by abuse law, so even if Saritas law gets passed. are they going to enforce it? If they enforced the Eli Creekmore homiside by abuse law Sarita's killer would be getting what she deserves a life sentence.Actally she deserves to have what was done to Sarita, done to her. I would like to get a federal law passed that would punish child killers with the death penalty. Instead of having child killers murder sentenes governd by the state . or county, have it governed by a federal law. Good luck with Sarita's Law. I truly hope . from the bottom of my heart, that this workes, and that nobody forgets to enforce it when it becomes law. Please feel free to contact me I will be more than happy to assist in petitions or any thing to hrlp. I work at the Freeland Cafe on Whidbey Isalnd and we get alot of people that would be more than happy to help out with this one.
I AM SIRITA'S COUSIN(HER MOTHERS NEICE) YOU WHERE HERE WITH US FOR JUST A WHILE. WE WILL ALL MISS THAT PERCIOUS SMILE. NOW ALL THAT'S LEFT OF YOU ARE PICTURES WE CONSTANTLY GO THROUGH. WONDERING WHAT HAPPENED-HOW THING'S WENT WRONG-HOW ANOTHER MOTHER CAN HURT A CHILD WHOS LIFE HAS NOT YET BEGUN.YOU TOOK AWAY FROM US SO MUCH,HER LAUGHTER, SMILE'S, AND TEARS. SIRITA, YOU WILL NEVER BE FORGOTTEN- MEMORIES WE WILL HAVE FOREVER. NOW YOU ARE WITH YOUR BOTHER WHO WILL WATCH OVER YOU. WE ALL LOVE AND WILL MISS OUR LITTLE PRINCESS SIRITA.
My heart goes out to you and your family, knowing that Sirita had a safe and loving place to live and grow, and she was taken from her safe haven. I fully support Sirita's Law and I think that something should have been done along time ago. Sirita sounds like she was a real blessing from God. Your family is in my prayers, that God may comfort you in knowing that she is paradise with him living like a real princess. I cannot judge the woman who did this to Sirita, but she will one day be before God weeping, and having to answer to him. Thank you for sharing your story with me. You are doing great things for the children that come join your family and for that God is going to reward you greatly in heaven.
Hello again Gary. I sent you a couple of emails and had looked forward to hearing from you again. This is a very mixed thing for me. For Sirita's sake, I would like to support your cause. But as a parent who has suffered under the hand of CPS, I just can't bring myself to do it. Your proposal is a good idea in many ways. But think of it this way, with the system being what it is, your proposal just takes away any chance that a family has of reunification. Some here may not believe my words, but social workers don't work to bring a family together, and they certainly don't play fair. They get parents who are completely innocent to plead guilty with promises of getting their kids home quicker. Don't believe it!! I didn't fall for their lies, and believe me, they tried to get back at me for it. They tried everything in their power to keep my kids away from me and their father. They even tried to play me and my kids' daddy against each other! That way they could make it look like neither one of us was fit. If this is passed, it is going to make it that much easier for social workers to tear families apart. They will delay things for a year just so the parents default. My own case was continued and continued and continued yet some more for 8 months. My fiance's daughter has been in the system for nearly three years!! But the social worker is doing everything in her power to keep him from getting his child. The child even cried over the phone begging her daddy to come get her and bring her home! How can a caseworker argue with that?? I'm sorry I'm so long winded. I just have a huge grudge against the system for what it has done to our family and our children. No offense to any foster parents here, I realize there are some very good foster parents, Gary, I must say I believe you are one of the best. But please understand, as a mother of four, I cannot sit here and say that I agree that my rights should have been handed over to a foster parent in another 4 months because the courts couldn't get the lead out.
My deepest condolences. I'm trying hard not to cry as I write this. My family and I are in a similar situation. My nephew, 3 1/2 years old, was placed in our home by DCFS on May 1, 2002, nearly three years ago, when he was 8 months old. His father, my brother, has been addicted to heroin and cocaine for about 20 years, and has spent more time in prison than out as an adult. He met up with a woman who he felt would help him change his life. He mentioned that she had a lot of children - she told us eight - and after getting to know her better, it was revealed that she had 11. Her parental rights had been terminated for the oldest few by the time we met her, and I have learned over the course of time that there have been at least 30 CPS referrals made on the family. In the time that I was in contact with the family - from the birth of my nephew until the children's placement out of home, there were so many risks. Chronic neglect - the one and three year old children were shot by BB guns while playing outside unsupervised. Domestic violence - my brother threw a chair through the wall during an argument with his wife, and then took his infant son out a window and drove 60 miles to my house at 2 AM holding the child in his arms, on another occasion some of the older children were preparing food, and dropped hot food on the head of the youngest, causing permanent scars and emergency treatment at Harborview, lack of medical care - both of the infants were hospitalized before their first birthdays for what appeared to be meningitis, but was actually untreated, very serious flu symptoms, mental health issues - the mother has significant mental health problems that were caused by her own abuse and neglect as a child and were, if not untreated, certainly not significantly improved. Drug abuse - my brother was involved in a collision with the two youngest in the car while he was high on heroin. And my brother was teaching the kids to shoplift items that he returned for cash.At the time, I worked in Family Preservation - providing in-home family therapy for Department of Children and Family Services. I knew a lot about risk, and the risk represented in this case by far exceeded anything I had witnessed. As a mandated reporter, I reported my concerns, and no action was taken as a result. Sometime in 2000-01, the older teenage boys reunited with the family. I have been told that that happened when the 13 year old daughter spent time in a group home, met them there, and thought they were "hot". She reportedly later found out they were her brothers. They ended up having sex on numerous occasions, often in the basement of the family home, with their parent's knowledge. My brother told me that he told the children not to do it. Not enough was done. The 13 (maybe 14 by that time) year old was impregnated, but no one is sure which of the brothers fathered the child. During this time, the same girl was molested in the group home. I certainly do not want to minimize this tragedy, and feel terrible for the young girl. However, my brother and her mother were thrilled about the potential lawsuit against the state, and contacted a lawyer/financial agency to look into getting an advance on the judgement. Sadly for them, the cash cow disappeared when the child was removed from their home. After the birth, a no-contact order was issued for the older two boys. During a surprise visit from the social worker, the mother was asked if the boys were in the home. She said they weren't, but they were found locked in the bathroom. The children were removed, and that's when we got the call from DCFS. When my nephew came into our care, he was at the 5th and 10th growth percentiles. His immunizations were not up to date, and at 8 months old, he was unable to sit up or hold his head steady. We worked with him, our pediatrician kept close tabs, and when he was 10 months old, he was at the 75th and 95th growth percentiles, developmentally up to speed, and was a happy guy. During this time, I took time away from work and drove the baby 60 miles north twice a week for visits with his parents, who sometimes showed up and sometimes didn't. It was revealed that another reason for my nephew's out of home placement was his mother's habit of dosing him with medication to make him sleep so she could gamble at the casinos. We had our pediatrician test him for problems related to this, as well as his father's diagnosis with Hepatitis C and the potential consequences to the child of that. Thankfully, he was not affected. A CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate - "a child's voice in court") was assigned to the case. She immediately advocated for the children's return to the home, despite the fact that none of the risks that were causing physical and emotional trauma for these children were even beginning to be addressed. Shortly after my nephew was placed in our home, his mother had another child, 11 months after my nephew's birth. A judge ordered this child remain in the home under state guardianship - she would be the "test child", he threatened the mother, and if this tiny infant was not well cared for, there would be consequences. I have trouble justifying this move and the state's "Kids Come First" intiative...The baby was sent to Child Haven immediately (therapeutic child care financed by DCFS), so she spends a limited amount of time being "tested". Over the course of the last three years, the older children were moved to 3-4 different foster homes - moves that resulted because of allegations of abuse made by the children against the foster parents. The children know how to work the system, and so does the mother - she also made allegations against us at this time, which were unfounded. The mother has progressed to unsupervised weekend visitations - reports from professionals who have worked with her are very positive. She knows how to present well and how to work the system. Her behavior, however, doesn't bear this out. I have been told that this woman prostitutes herself at the casinos, and that she sells her children's social security numbers to others for tax purposes. She has been charged with exploiting a developmentally disabled man who frequently lives with the family. These last two items would not be difficult to check, and would be a revelation into her true character, but to my knowledge, DCFS has never bothered to do so. Her home is beautiful, especially for someone whose only income comes from DSHS. She has beautiful new furniture, a minivan, a big-screen TV, purchased TV's for all of the children for Christmas...where is the money coming from? I asked the social worker - she said she didn't know. Since the unsupervised visits to his mother's home began, my nephew has been telling me on a nearly weekly basis that his mommy gave him medicine. He goes directly from daycare to the visit, and neither we nor the daycare providers believe he is ill. He has reported to me that he and his younger sister have played "big birds" at his mother's home with the older brother who was involved in the incest situation. He is not supposed to have access to these children, and this access poses a real risk to the three young teenage girls who were returned to their mother's care some time ago. Three of the youngest children have been moved to their father's home, but spend the weekends with their mother - another unaddressed risk, with 8 children now in the home on the weekends, Friday through Sunday, when DCFS is closed and no visits from the social worker are likely to occur. I report these concerns. The social worker tells me that she has asked the mother if the son has been in the home - she denies it, so that's good for them, despite the fact that she also denied it when they were hidden in the bathroom when the children were intially removed. I have been informed that my reports - which result from casual conversations I have with my nephew about his life, and I provide in detail that includes the context of the conversations - don't hold weight because I have an interest in keeping my nephew. This is patently untrue, which I have told the DCFS social workers since this all began - as the mother of children 21, 13 and 15, I had been looking forward to pursuing my own interests more as my children increased in independence. We have agreed, however, to care for our nephew for as long as he needs us. We would be thrilled if he was returned to his parents and SAFE HOME, for his own sake and that of his parents (my brother, who I love despite his difficulties) and his siblings. Needless to say, I no longer work in Family Preservation - I have a hard time holding a middle ground these days. But I continue to believe that a child is better off in his/her family IF THIS SITUATION IS SAFE. This situation is not safe. The child is telling us - our family, the state, the world - and his statements are being ignored. The social worker on the case hasn't seen him, to my knowledge, for 18 months, so does not know his verbal ability (he can express himself) or his personality (like most 3 year olds, he talks about the world from the center - he doesn't manipulate or make statements in order to cause problems). Yesterday I spoke with his pediatrician about getting a toxicology screen when he gets back to find out what medications his mother is giving him to make him sleep. Last weekend he slept for 1 1/2 hours in the McDonald's Playland during a visit with my brother, and later reported that "mommy gave me medicine in the car". Me - "Where were you going?" Nephew - "To visit my dad." When the pediatrician on call heard this, she called DCFS and stated that, in her professional opinion, unsupervised visits should cease until this is resolved. First voice of reason I have heard for quite some time. Kids do come first, right? I apologize for the length of this entry, and again, for your incredible loss. But it's still happening. Please, contact me and let me help organize. We can't save Sirita, and I don't know if I can save my nephew, but something has got to change. My email address is email@example.com
I am a single foster mom trying to adopt my foster son, we were well on our way to completing the process when the Bio parents won their appeal (on what I feel is a technicality). My foster son has not seem them in about 3 1/2 year and has not been parented by them in almost 4 years. Now we are facing a uncertain life. He might go back to them, we might have to start visitation with the Bio-parents. My foster has been through two failed adoptions before he came to my home. He also has a bio-sister in the same situation. My heart broken, I am thankful for your fight and will do what ever I can to help support you and the law your are trying to pass. I am sorry for your loss and I think you have choosen a wonderful way to remember your foster daughter.
It seems that children continue to get hurt while we as a society turn our heads and point fingers of blame. I am a single foster parent of four boys that have overcome some amazing obstacles over the years. I fully support Sirita's Law and am sickened that children must continue to die or be returned to unsafe situations simply because their parents have "rights" and children aren't afforded any. I have a sibling group of three brothers. One has been with me for three years, another two and a half, and the third eight months. They all endured years of severe neglect and abuse and had virtually no schooling. This was their second time in foster care and mom figured the outcome would be the same as before is she just "played along" with the state. Over the years, mom has lost and regained interest in her kids over and over. Two attempts have been made to reunify the family without success. These boys have all asked not to return home and asked me to adopt them and keep them safe forever. They love their mother but they understand that she is unable to keep them safe. It is very important to me that these boys have an ongoing relationship with mom even if I adopt them because she IS their mom and I don't want to discount her role in their lives. The boys have mustered all their courage to stand in court and ask the judge to grant them their freedom and yet the drudge of the system, keeps them in limbo. Reunification was attempted TWICE in the past three years and my kids have been told every six months that they are going home soon. This is NOT a comfort to them. It creates all kinds of anxiety and stirs up emotions that I am left to smooth out. After three years, these boys just want to move on. They know they will always be allowed a relationship with their mom, but they don't feel safe with her day in and day out. I am willing to keep them all and offer them the very best I have to give... still the system trudges along as they continue to get older every day. Termination paperwork was submitted to the court almost six months ago and isn't anywhere near being looked at (I'm told the backlog is 18 months). Mom continues to "miss" UA's, has moved men into her home several times (against court order), tells the kids they must lie to keep her from "getting in trouble" and the games continue. Still, these boys have NO rights! After three years, their lives are completely different, but because their mother has all the rights and they have none.... because the system is so unfair and overwhelming to social workers, the boys are on number FIVE after three years... because there are not enough state workers and not enough money to accomplish all that must be done in a timely manner... we are backlogged 18 months and in some cases several years SO... mom may end up getting these boys back. The states reasoning is that constant changes in social workers (which is the state's fault to begin with) creates an unfair disadvantage to the parents... PLEASE! I understand that children are removed from safe, decent homes more often that we would like to think, but I am so afraid for those who are left behind or returned when this should have NEVER been an option. I feel that too much focus is placed on the rights of the parents and not enough on the rights of the children. This needs to change! When mom realized that her children would most likely stay in care and never return home, her greatest heartache wasn't in losing these kids... it was in the fact that she was unable to have anymore. Out of six children, with four different fathers (none of whom have EVER been involved in their lives), the youngest was buried before she was a year old (the state was unable to prove negligence), the oldest is currently serving a prison sentence for armed robbery (which was commited while under her "supervision"), and the middle four are in foster care still waiting to be heard. A few days ago, mom relinquished her rights to two of the children (one of the boys in my home and the sister who's in another home) but continues to fight for the other two. How she can "pick and choose" between her children is beyond me and with only one of the three boys being "set free" (or tossed out depending on who's eyes your looking through), she has created even more anxiety and heartache for these kids. Please get this law passed... FAST!!!! I am willing to whatever I can to help. I must exercise discretion in signing this form but will email you directly with my information. Thanks again for your efforts! This is LONG overdue!
Hi, my name is Trisha and after reading your story i cried for the longest time because it reminded me of my little sister who died a year and a half ago...she was just 3 weeks old...i never even got to see her in person. My biological mother was a drug addict and was sent to prison several times..im the oldest of 5 children now and i guess i got off much luckier than my little sister...my mom wasn't supposed to have any of her children that's why i live with my father, my 2 younger sisters live with my grandma and my little brother lives with his dad...but when she went to deliver the newest baby she was not drugtested and was sent home with my baby sister...when family services questioned her she said she was babysitting but they didn't push any further at that point...one night she must have laid the baby in bed with her and was high on something and rolled over on her and killed her...i don't think i'll ever forget what happened and i hope that with all the prayers out there that someone will stop all these children from this torture...your story has inspired me to do anything i can to help pass this law...god bless you and im praying for you.
I am a foster parent in Washington State. The loss of this child is an outrage and without change there will be another story like Sirita's...another outrage. As the current President of the Lewis County Foster Parent Association, I am responsible (amongst other duties) for mailing out a monthly newsletter to the foster parents in our county. I will make sure that this link is added. I have traveled down the entire website and see tremendous potential for foster parents to actually move a mountain. Sirita Law is all about time. IT IS ABOUT TIME! I support you personally as a mother and professionally as foster parent.
I am so sorry for your loss. I am a foster mother. I adopted twin girls this last summer, who I have had since 2002(they were 20 months old when they were placed with me). It has been a very long frustrating road. Their Bio sister was placed with me last year (she was 4 days old). I didn't just love her like she was my own. She was my own, but she went back to her bio mother at 6 months. I tried to tell myself nightly that she wouldnt be hurt. People will check up on her, they will know I told myself. Then a week before her 1st Birthday I got the call to go pick her up. Black and blue is how she returned to me. The mother is still getting visitations and could still get her back!! How many children will she be allowed to hurt? How many times will MY Children be allowed to be hurt. If there is anything more I can do please let me know. It is a helpless feeling to not be able to save your children from the violence and injustice of this world. Many nights I have thought of your beautiful little girl. My heart goes out to you and the unbearable pain you must have. Thank you for trying to help all of our children. I have felt so helpless. I would love to hear of anything more I can do to help this cause.
Don't give up on your faith God. It might seem like He doesn't know what He's doing with your life, but he does. I've been where you are. I lost my husband of only a few months in 2001. The conversations I had with God are all that pulled me through the next couple of years.
I was just writing in support of making changes to the existing laws. I feel horrible about what has happened to your foster daughter and I wanted to send you my condolences. Also, I work with abused and neglected children everyday and there are a couple cases where the system has stepped in and changed children's lives for the better but there are also too many cases where children are waiting years and years for their parents to straighten up their lives so that they can care for them and during that time they are shuffled from home to home. I see the emotional, cognitive, and behavioral effects of these changes during childhood and I feel that something needs to change so that this will not continue to happen. I think that the Task Force is important so that a realistic and effective law is created but I do think most of the concepts presented in Sirita's Law need to be implemented. Thanks for all your hard work!
I hope this all works for all the kids. I fought CPS for 4 years to get my two baby granddaughters, so I know heart ache. Now I have them now. The the state didn't want anyone in ether family to have these girls. The Mom is mentalty challenged, no drugs or violence. But CPs wouldn't hand them over. Finely the foster parents got caught beating the girls. In three hours they were handed over. The girls have been home for a year and a half, and all is well. We are all very happy now and my son's girlfriend gets to see her children any time and as long as she wants.
Hello, About five years ago we adopted my cousin from her parents because her mother would abuse her and her father was on the pyshco side..Her father later committed sucide..She is now living with us but my parents arent considered to be foster parents...I never call her my cousin b/c i consider her my sister.She's been through a lot of rough times and says that she knows a lot of girls that were in foster homes that had to go live with their real parents and got treated horribly. I'm now doing a project for my English class about how children that live in foster homes and are well taking care of do not need to get takin back to their original home..they were takin away for a good enough reason the first time so nothing should change that..and im also writing about the affects that it has on families hat lose their foster child and the life threantening possibilites that happen everytime a chlid it takin back to their original parents... I've been doin a lot of research over foster homes and the ups and downs of them. But i can honestly say that there are a ton of awesome foster parents..ive read over about 100 stories aout kids and their foster homes..This is a very sad story so i had to respond with my feelings...I feel your pain..Sorry to hear all of this!
I want to send my condolences to the family and friends of Sirita, She looks like an angel that was sent from above. I too lost my son this year, though he was 19 in Iraq. LCpl Richard A. Perez jr. Sylvia and Adrian know how much this hurt me too... I feel your pain and I want you to remember that they are in a better place...we must stay strong and carry on as best we can, though that is hard. We must! Please remember there are no guarantees or coincidences in life, just love to go around and I am sure she knows the love all around this world for her and the family. My best to all of you...my sons webioste is www.richardperezjr.com please view it when you can...Thank You and God Bless, Richard A. Perez Sr. firstname.lastname@example.org
My heartfelt thoughts go out to all who loved Sirita From The headlines,we know for a fact that caseworkers make decisions every day that harm children. Death is the ultimate harm. Also very harmful is the psychological trauma of being ripped from extended families that love and want to care for them. My Family hasalso endured a loss (although not fatal), at the hands of the D.S.H.S. system. It has been a two year nightmare that began with my grandchildren being taken into dependency. As any family at that time, we blindly trusted that the caseworker would; in the best interest of the children,help us rebuild our family, possibly restructured, but intact. What has followed has been such an eye-opener. Like a John Grisham novel there have been twists, turns, lies, treachery,collaboration, total disregard for DSHS policy and the breaking of RCW.13.34, which mandates placing dependent children with family, when appropriate is available. Motive became clear when the Guardian ad litum stated that the three children would remain together. The caseworker promised the foster familythey would be able to adopt my youngest granddaughter. After a court hearing in august,2004, the Deputy prosecuting attorney for Pacific County,the foster families attorney, and the caseworker, approached my attorney and me, and offered to give me the "two older kids, if the foster family can keep the baby." of course my answer was "NO". I am still appalled that two state employees, who are supposed to uphold the law, would barter my grand children like K-Mart blue light 2 for 1 special. Our complaints prompted reviews by DSHS risk management and the state ombudsman office. Both stated this caseworker made "Unfortunate critical errors!",but ther has been no efforts on DSHS'spart to correct them. WHAT ARROGANCE! To admit they made "critical errors", but are not obligated to repair the damage? Who doesn't face accountability in their workplace? Doctors,Lawyers,Policeman,and Nurses, are all held accountable for wrongdoing during the commission of their jobs. Are the standards for DSHS caseworkers different from those of us in the private sector? To what extent is the State of Washingtonand DSHS culpable if they sanction a caseworker's unilateral mishandling of a case either by blindly allowing such acts to be committed, or not providing impartial reviews? HOW MANY OTHER FAMILIES ARE THERE OUT THERE WHO HAVE HARMED BY UNSCRUPULOUS CASEWORKERS that don't follow laws or standards of practice? WHOSE CHILDREN ARE NEXT?
I found out that if you personally knew and loved Sirita you can make a statement to the court about how the cruel, senseless crime of her murder has impacted you. To find out how, call the Snohomish County Prosecutor's Office at 425-388-3333. If you never had the privedge of meeting Sirita in person, but you were still devastated by her murder, you can't make a statement to the court. That is a priveledge only for those who knew her (otherwise there would be months of nothing but people from all over Washington making statements to the court). But don't give up if you didn't know Sirita. You can still write the judge a letter stating how the crime effected you, and why Heather Ewell should not receive any more leniency than the plea bargain is already giving her. Also, pray for the four Ewell children (Heather Ewell's biological children). Talk about coming from a bad family! Wow! Pray that they get into good foster homes, and finally good adoptive homes, just the right ones for them. Pray for homes where they can have mutual bonding with the whole family, and where all of their needs are met, far away from the hideous people who birthed them. Pray that they will receive the counseling needed to deal with the murder of their half-sister, and the horrifying truth that their mother did it. Pray that their new families will teach them to become decent, God-fearing, compassionate, caring, and contributing citizens as adults, which I'm sure would never happen in their bio family. Also, pray that Heather Ewell gets put out of commission to the point where she will never again be able to hurt another child. I'm really afraid she may kill again someday, especially considering the light sentence that the plea bargain is assuring her. God bless you all for caring.
For those who want to write a lerrer to the judge about how the murder of little Sirita effected them, it should be addressed to: The Honorable Judge Bowden (no first name given, but it's a man) SAU division, 3000 Rockerfeller Ave. Everett, Washington 98201 The more people who do this, the better. If you didn't know this child personally, you can still help to speak up for her. It is understandable that they would not allow those who didn't know her to speak personally to the court. While all murders are horrible, there is something about the deliberate murder of a small child that is especially heart rending. If they allowed anybody who wanted to to get up and speak to the court, there would be months of people speaking. The court just doesn't have time for this. So here is another way you can speak up for little Sirita. And yes, do pray for Sirita's little half siblings. They have to have been traumatized by what happened. And if they weren't, then God help all of us when such hardened kids become adults and get loosed on society. Let's pray they get the help they need to become healthy adults.
I am a fosterparent, I agree there should be a law so other foster kids don't end up like your little Sirita. To many kids are in limbo and need to be in a safe and loving home. I will pray that Sirita law become a reality very soon.
I am just reading this for the first time, today. I am truly sorry for your loss. As a foster parent, I can pray for your hearts healing. Thank you for your activism, initiating Sirita's Law. I support it, wholeheartedly.
I cannot begin to imagine anyone who would hurt a child. They are Gods greatest gift to us and we should treasure them. My whole heart goes out to you and others in this same situation.My husband and I have started adoption proceedings on our 5yr. old grandson as my daughter gave up her rights and so did his father . I could not imagine life without him and would lay down my life for him if thats what it took. I think of the passage in the Bible that Jesus says about children,"what you do to them you do to me also." My prayers will be with you in your healing and may God have mercy on Heathers soul.
It seems to me that a few years back, my cousin (who was a foster mom) had with her a young girl by the same name. Sirita. I'm wondering if this was the same girl. If so, I have to say that she was the sweetest, most amazing little baby I'd ever come across. And if it really is her, it's sad to see her go. It's sad to see ANYONE go...especially at such a young age. It's a very sad world we live in, sometimes. And I can't help but be afraid. Humans are imperfect, yet we are the ones in control. That scares me. I just hope something is actually DONE, you know? Something to prevent this sort of thing from happening again. It's nice to see a few good feet already being put forward. I'm very sorry for your loss. I feel it too. :(
I'm not sure how I came to this page but once I got here, it was hard to leave. Sirita was a beautiful child and she appears to be loved in each and every picture here. I know it must be hard for you guys not having her around and I truly wished things were different. Stay Strong!
What an darling baby girl. My heart is broken. I was watching the news tonight and the story compelled me to look up Sirita's site. I am a Canadian so cannot write to change any laws. I can pray for you all and tell you what a unimaginable loss of a beautiful, vibrant, brilliant, pure spirit.I am so sorry and so sad and angry. Thank God for you and your wife. Sirita knew what it was like to be loved and wanted and safe thanks to you.God Bless. Brenda
For all foster/adopt parents out there, our feelings go out to you! This journey is so hard and we can't quit the fight. It's obvious that birth parents rights take precedence over the children's rights. It's the way that our laws are written! They can give birth parents chance after chance to "GET IT TOGETHER". Our question has been at who's expense? The children's! We took our baby girl home from the hospital at 5 days old and we have been fighting for her for 22 months now. Birth mom is doing what she's supposed to, but birth dad is not. That poses a risk and danger to our precious toddler. We will have the judge's final decision in a few weeks. We're just continuing to pray! We just can't stop fighting for the rights of the children guys. Thank you to Gary for all of his fights. Sirita is protected, safe and happy now with God. Sirita is a blessing from God and has touched so many people's lives. Our hearts goes out to you Gary for your loss and for your perseverance!
dear sir, we are also foster parents in the state of wasington i hope with all my heart that the bill you are trying to pass goes on for so many children do need to be protected either with caring families as our and yours or even a forever family so keep up the good work and my support is behind you all the way
According the DSHS, in 2004, of the reported incidents of child abuse, CPS accepted 38,055 referrals involving 57,929 children. (DSHS,CAMIS referral file, March 2005). The Every Child Matters website states that there are 1,513,843 children under 18 in Washington. In 2001 69,047 children reported abused and between 2000 and 2003 there were 54 reported child abuse deaths. This number is significant considering the fact that just one child death due to abuse is a societal tragedy. As with many systems, the dysfunction of the foster care system is multi-dimensional. The issues related to this problem are interconnected. There are a number of issues, in addition to the deficits of Division of Children and Family Services (DCFS) that need to be focused on or that have been overlooked altogether by advocates for foster children in the past. These issues of concern all fall under the umbrella concern of TIMELINES. Foster children are currently placed in the foster care system for what seems to be an unlimited number of years. This is significant when considering the developmental significance of just one year in a child’s life. Under this TIMELINE umbrella fall the issues of a. A limited number of foster homes b. The huge problem of court systems that do not favor the rights of the children c. Lack of action on behalf of the Office of the Attorney General d. The limited number of Social Workers and Social Worker turnover within DCFS e. Overpopulation of Children in Foster Care f. Lack of funding When discussing what foster parenting looks like recruiters, have to be candid in sharing that legal cases can continue for a number of years and tell potential foster parents that they have to be flexible in having children live with them for year after year, continuing to visit parents who are unable or unwilling to correct their deficits and that these foster parents will have to be comfortable never knowing how long the foster care process for one child will take. One serious issue, the most pivotal in my opinion, is the influence of the courts on the lives of foster children. A significant facet that is almost always ignored is the fact that DCFS is bound by the orders of the courts. When children are placed in unsafe situations, the media and communities often look to DCFS and ask how this could happen. Of course, DCFS workers do make mistakes and there is sometimes a disconnect between logical case planning and case outcome. What DCFS social workers are unable to say, however, is that court Commissioners and Judges often rule in contrast to what is recommended by DCFS social workers. This frustrating problem is related to lack of foster homes, social worker turnover, overpopulation in the foster care system and lack of funding because court decisions often prolong the length of children’s stays in the foster care system. As an MSW and from my experience and knowledge from being a DCFS Social Worker, it is my opinion that the system that is currently in place is only effective for a limited length of time. From the time children are placed into care, social workers, advocates, attorneys and the courts are responsible for these children’s lives. Unfortunately, this system is prolonged for years without any progress toward any sense of permanency for the children this system is meant to serve. Courts are often unwilling or reluctant to move legal cases toward termination of parental rights despite years spent by children waiting for a permanent plan to be implemented. One Judge in Skagit County actually said “we don’t terminate parental rights in this county” during a case that was being heard about a five year old child who had been in the foster care system for five years. Watching children flounder in a system with no hope of any type of case outcome can become too much for foster parents to handle. This is often an issue that causes foster parent burnout and multiple placements. Imagine what message this gives to the child. When examining this issue, one would ask surely there should be some timeline, some legislation that would allow children, whether they are to go home to their parents or to be adopted, to move on with their lives. Sirita's Law, in addition to the existing Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997 are two pieces of legislation that I hope will aid with this problem. My concern then would be, how can this legislation be upheld if Judges and Commissioners do not consider the rights of the children when making case decisions? The Office of the Attorney General, who represents DCFS in these matters, is dealing with an enormous backlog of cases being worked on that are waiting for termination of parental rights. This backlog is partly due to there not being enough Assistant Attorney General (AAG) staffing allocated for DCFS dependency cases, high AAG caseloads which leads to high staff turnover and lack of experienced AAG’s particularly in counties that need representation the most. My question would be, is this due to lack of funding only or might this also have to do with the build up of cases that enter the system and do not move on? When cases linger on, resources begin to be wasted with moneys going to services over and over again years into a case with no progress. All the while, these children wait as their childhoods are placed on hold. It is here that the courts, DCFS, advocates and the community must step in and say enough. As a former CPS/CWS social worker with DCFS, as a current foster care Department Supervisor of a private foster care child placing agency and as a foster parent, I would implore our communities to take a more active role in advocating and caring for Washington State's foster children.
I am a former foster child that aged out of the system. I saw so many flaws in the system it just put me to tears some times. The story about Sirita's life and end to life made my cry. I didn't like seeing great kids going back to a bad home. So For support I'm here. May God bless the little child and you for getting the chance to show her love before she went home to God.
I'm so sorry for your lost. She is in heaven... and i hope that the family is well. I hope that you can remember the loving girl you had, and will always have with you. What a wonderful true spirit she is... a true angel. I hope the step mom has realized the murder isn't the way to go, and paying it in the next life will be the worst. I feel the sorrow and the pain, For you and your family. I hope that you are ok. Give love to the family and know that there are people here to support you. God be with you till we meet again. Loves xoxo to Sirita... a true, true angel
It is very sad that she died. She was one of my favorite cousins.
Each time I look into the eyes of my children or of any child, I can't help but feel immense love and at the same time can not begin to remotely understand how ANYONE can harm a child. It appalls me that any child had to endure abuse in any way shape or form. As a foster parent I have seen some pretty outrageous things, and am still horrified to the evil that exists in this God Deprived world. I am so, so very sorry that you have had to endure any of this. I have three children, all of which I have received through the Foster Care System, and I know that I will be devastated if anything were to happen to them. I love them more than I ever imagined was humanly possible. They are my kids, birth or no birth, they are forever mine. I am sure you feel the same way. There has to be a better advocacy for foster parents. There has to be a way for foster parents to be heard and given the same respect and rights the biological parents receive. There also needs to be tougher laws for parental rights. I may not have been able to give birth, but I am still a mom. Giving birth does not make someone a mom. Opening more than your home does. You need to open you heart and your arms. My kids are my life, and my world. I tell them all of the time that they are God's answers to my prayers and my blessings. I love being a mom and can not imagine not being one. My hopes and prayers are always yours. To all the foster parents who are truly devoted to the children blessing their lives....A M E N TO Y O U!!!!
HEY THERE LOVE N MISS HER BUNCHES WELL I AM SO SORRY I'LL TRY TO E-MAIL YOU MORE FREQUENTLY OK
hello i was terribly saddened to hear of your tragic loss all the best wishes to you repairing your shattered life which will always have a crucial piece missing God Bless xx x x x x x x
i have read your comments i think its really nice but i hope you are ok
Hello there I feel so sorry for your terrible loss. I think Sirita is beautiful and I would have loved to meet her and shake her hand and stuff because she looks like an angel, she just came down to earth for a bit so don't feel sad because she is with God. x x x x x x x x
First of all, please let me share how sorry I am for your significant losses. You lost Sirita twice! I think of your family and Sirita often. You're in my prayers. I am a foster parent with a beautiful child I'd adopt in a heartbeat. She's been in care for 2 years and 7 months (since birth). Her birth mother is not in the picture, and the birth father has not been able to get his act together enough to have her...yet the state is STILL trying to reunite the family. It is repugnant that the state would want to take a child from a wonderful, loving home and give them to an already failed parent. She is our first foster child and may very well be our last. We'd love to help more children, but the state's backward procedures are almost too much to bear. Thank you for this important site. I live in WA and will be contacting my legislators!
Hi Gary and Magda~ I just wanted to let you know that because of sweet little Sirita, I have become a foster parent. I have two wonderful foster children. I pray that their lives will turn out better than Sirita's did. I miss her. I try not to look at her picture very often because I still cry. My daughter no longer remembers playing with her, she now just knows that she and Sirita went to daycare together, that Sirita is in Heaven and that I miss her. I will never forget her!
I'm truly sorry that Sirita is no longer alive but I see that she's alive in this web site my problem is that I have 5 grandchildren that were taken from my son who loves his children deeply since were native american cps wasn't helping only causing more stress in the time they've been gone I've seen them twice and not allowed to have anything to do with them because when I got temp custody I let my son have them back I know what it's like to love children but not all cases are like this with natural parents now they are going to take his parental rights away and adopt them out or try anyway but I'm not going to let it happen cps has ruined my family taken my loved ones away and placed them with people we don't know my family has native tradition also unfortunaly my son is a alcoholic and he's done everything the state has asked but they keep finding reasons to keep these children so the foster parents can adopt them I know the pain you deal with but this state has to much control now their needs to be a law that protects both sides because you see we get hurt for the states mistakes not ours I agree that some natural parents should never have their kids but not all love and may your path be peaceful and joyus contact me at email@example.com
I feel for the loss of this sweet little angel- not to mention the foster parents. There has to be some major changes on how we protect the innocent children of today. I am dealing with a similar case myself and am getting lost in the shuffle as where to turn and fast enough to save a little 2 and a half year old girl who looks so much like this little girl and her newborn brother. I live in the state of Maine and the real mother seems to have more rights than the suffering child. She acts out as if crying for help but DHS is blind to this little girls needs. This little girl gets into such rages of anger when around her mother that she bites, scratches and tears at herself. She gets herself so worked up that she breaks into a sweat and red all over. The legal system costs a lot and takes so long. How many little ones have to suffer before they open their eyes. Never mind sending money where it does not need to be like space. Put in where it belongs. My prayers are with this little one! AT LEAST SHE HAD SOMEONE WHO SHOWED HER LOVE HERE ON EARTH BEFORE SHE TOOK HER SEAT IN HEAVEN! god bless you all who take the time to make a difference in someone's life!
I adopted my little boy at the age of 8 months in Croatia ,seven years after biological mother asks for baby to be return to her. My experience with Social workers was so frustrated and unbelievable. They make decision in less than one week what is "the best interests of the child", without any record check, any information about biological mother, they return baby to her, I'm talking about woman who abandoned 2 kids! And I can't do anything because I am not biological family. On the end I truly felt like a cleaning lady who finished her job and now can go, we don't need you any more! Today, he is 21,and nobody knows where he is! Let say I'm not important, but what broke my heart I was not able to help him. Website : http://suncanaa.com/voice_for_children
God Bless You!!! That is so sad and I can't stop crying. At least this sweet and very beautiful little girl was shown so much love before her death.if only she could have stayed with you, her family, the ones who loved her.
I am a computer programmer,and I am currently creating a internet browser program that creates a network of every website on the net that you click each one and it would jump to it. I was testing the network system and I saw a website titled "sirita law", with a description of "dedicated home page", so I clicked it and I came to this website, after an hour of reading the home page and the "Sirita's Eulogy", I cried my eyes out, it is bad enough that any child has to die no matter what the cause or reason/situation. I will include you and your wife and sirita in my heart and prayers, I wish you better luck at passing the sirita law!
Sirita's story has truly touched my heart. Keep up the good work. Thank you.
Hello Gary and Family, Very sorry for the loss of your daughter. I see a fundamental 'disconnect' between the priorities of our lawmakers and law enforcers, and the priorities of people such as yourself and myself: The welfare of children is paramount in order for us to call ourselves a sane, civilized society. Our lawmakers and law enforcers must use their authority to insure we have a society where it is in no way profietable to prey upon the vunerable, least of all children.
Sirita, sounds like very ver special and loved little girl. I am sure it must of been really hard for Sirita, you and your wife to make the transition to her biological fathers home. I only wish it didn't have to happen. I am not that framiliar with the Sirita Law but after reading her story I will read on to educate myself and hopefully make a difference in honor of Sirita. Thanks for making this little girl have a happy childhood when the ones who should of didn't.
I am so sorry I cant imagine what it would be like to lose a child, I'm sorry! When my 8 year old little sister heard her story she wanted to help is there anything she can do?
dear sirita you sound sweet i think i like you anyways I was thinking mayby we could be friends best friends chat online just like friends play chat games on my space i'm going to be sined in as gabby my sister talk to you then your friend
I am not familiar with the foster care system but why wasn't a qualified social worker working for Sirita and making sure she was truly in an enviromment that would be nurturing and safe? A 4-year-old child cannot make that kind of decision. This step-mother and her father were so obviously ill-equipped to meet her needs. It doesn't matter that he was her biological father because the stepmother and maybe him too were not able to care for her. Her stepmother already had 3 or 4 of her own children to care for at a young age herself. I wish she would have refused to take Sirita on because she could not handle the care of his child. She was a beautiful child born out of her father's adultery. It was clearly a bad situation for Sirita.
Keep up the good work. I wish I could be there.
Your doing a great job. Keep it up I whole heartedly support you.
I wrote a letter to Patty Murray to support Sirita's law in the Senate. I am a soon-to-be foster mother and also a mother. My daughter's family lives in Lake Stevens and I remember hearing the story on the news, but couldn't hear all the details. After being in Olympia for Have a Heart for Kids Day in Februrary, i looked the story up on the internet. This story will never be forgotten. I will NEVER understand how someone could treat a child in such a way. I cried for two days after reading it and have asked all my friends/family to write in support of the bill. She was very lucky to have you in her life. Continue in what you are doing and know that thousands of people support you.
Hi Gary, I heard you on a radio interview this morning and remembered Sirita's story. I was getting my haircut here in Bellevue today and everyone was talking about Shayne Abegg, CPS, etc. Everyone wanted to know what they can do and who you are - Where exactly in the process is the bill? I will spend more time but there is so much to go over on this website. Do you have a standard letter that specifies exactly what you want said to legislators now, or just to encourage support of Sirita's law? If I can make it easy I can get a lot of people to write or email. Let me know what else I can do. I'm familiar with Treehouse and have volunteered for WACAP (an international adoption and humanitarian aid organization in Renton) for many years and I'm so tired of hearing horror stories about foster care and children being returned to biological parents who have, in my opinion, given up ANY right to parent. I'm so sorry for your loss - hopefully this law will only be the beginning of reform in this state and nationally. I just got back from Ethiopia -- it's interesting that here in the richest industrialized nations in the country we have 1 in 5 kids living in poverty. Shayne Abegg would have been a hell of a lot better off in an Ethiopian orphanage than he was in this country. Children need more advocates like you - they don't have a lobby like the AARP and they can't vote. Sorry to go on and on! Anyway, I think it's wonderful what you're doing. Lynn Gibson P.S. Have you ever gone on Dori Monson's show (710 Kiro)? I'm going to email him about you - it would be great publicity for Sirita's Law...
I am so sorry to hear about Sirita. She was a beautiful girl and is now an angel in heaven. This is such a tragedy and my hope is that the system does a better job in placing children with loving, caring families.
your daughter is a very beautiful little girl,by all the photos you could see in her eyes she was so happy to be a part of a loving family.having 3 children of my own it breaks my heart to know there are so many other children going through what your daughter went through.i think this law should be passed, now.my prayers are with you, and just know that you brought happiness to this little angel and made her feel what love is and how to love back.
Dear Gary and Magda, I visited this site today because I saw a story in my local newspaper about Sirita. I try to keep up on stories such as these. My heart goes out to the both of you for your loss. It also goes out for beautiful little Sirita who should never have had her life ended in the way that it was. I have pinwheels in my yard, which runs along I-90 in the Spokane Valley, for child abuse prevention month! I have a 20-year old daughter, a 17-year old son, and a 20-month old daughter. I could never imagine hurting them in ANY WAY. All of them are so very precious to me! God gave them to me as gifts to care for, nurture, teach, and LOVE! God holds Sirita in His ever-loving arms, as he does all of His children, but she is held by Him in person! We must do all that we can to put an end to these terrible events that end children's lives.
Gary, I read your story of Sirita in the Spokesman-Review this morning. I feel your loss and pain with you. You must know that you gave this little girl so many great experiences and so much joy to carry in her heart with her...wherever she would go. I hope you realize that you and your wife were Sirita's light. What troubles me is that we even need laws in our society to do the things for children that should be considered common sense. It makes me angry that Sirita's other family members couldn't (or wouldn't ) take some kind of action regarding her abuse by her stepmother. There HAD to have been some sort of signs...what about the other children in the home? Neighbors must have suspected something...the community needs to take a stand. We ALL need to report our hunches and instincts until someone listens. We ALL must watch out for the children. Gary, I hope that you will continue to carry on in your work with and for children. Sirita would want that...she is smiling down from Heaven in thanks!
Me and my wife pray for Sirita. And we know she is in peace with the Lord. You will see her again, she is watching over you. She has her wings, even though she was already an angel before she went to live with our heavenly father. God Bless you!
What a beautiful girl. I am at work and I can hardly work anymore after reading this horrible story. It is sad that now children not only have to watch out for strangers but their own parents. What is this world coming to? Anyone who can hurt a child should not be living on this earth. It makes me want to vomit. I am so glad that there are still decent people like you on this planet.
There are no words to comfort you, however, we are trying to prevent this type of thing from happening in the future...the laws MUST be more strict, THERE MUST be plans implemented to actually PROTECT children. As it is now, the reunification laws take precidence over the safety of children. I am praying for you and yours, and am so sorry for your loss. I wanted you to know that there are advocates out here for children that are doing our best to change things, and although it is slow going, someday all children will be PROTECTED.
God Bless You for your tireless work to protect children. I have been distraught over the death of 4 year old Summer Phelps in Spokane. I am sure you are familiar with the gruesome details. I will never forget Summer and all the children who have suffered and continue to suffer. I will do everything I can to honor the memory of these angels called to Heaven. I don't think I am emotionally ready to be a foster parent but I have joined Big Brothers Big Sisters. I have sent messages in support of Sarita's Law to my elected officials and will continue to do all I can to stop the suffering of children.
I came across this site while helping my daughter reseach information for a paper she is writing on Foster care for her high school writing class. Gary and Magda, Thank you so very much for loving one little girl so much that you would be willing to take a stand and make a difference. Reading the previous entries has really opened my eyes. Our state needs Sirita's law.
I just want you to know how touched I am by your continuation of caring for Sirita even after her life on earth ended. My husband spent the last 6 years of his childhood (12 yrs - 18 yrs) in foster care, although it was a voluntary placement. He is thankful every day for the absolutely awesome and wonderful foster parents that he was blessed to be placed with. They are still foster parents and are changing the lives of many troubled boys. I, too, am thankful for them as they taught my husband how to be a great man...and a great father. I do agree, however, that the system needs help everywhere...there are just not enough GOOD foster parents...and sometimes I am not sure there are enough GOOD parents. Just as others have said, I do not understand how it is anybody can hurt a child...my boys are the most precious gift ever given me and I could NEVER hurt them. Please know that Sirita is in a good place, and she will have eternal life full of happiness and never again know suffering.
Sirita, there isn't a day that goes by that I don't think about you. The hurt I feel will never go away. I cry for you precious Angel. You were supposed to be with Mary, Tyler, and me. In my heart I know I should have just came to Wa. and brought you home with us. Please forgive your mom for not taking care of you the way a mom should. Forgive your dad for neglecting you and leaving you in the care of a woman that could hurt you. Please forgive me for not just taking you to be with your family. I know Chuck will hold your hand when you cross the street in Heaven. I love you so much. You are always in my heart and mind.
How heartbreaking when things like this are allowed to happen it is so heartbreaking and unfair, I am so glad to see you stood up and fought you are doing something to change things may God bless you for that, and keep precious Sirita close by. Many hugs.
Wow, I was moved by the story about Sirita, and this site educated me on Sirita 's law. I am so sorry for your loss, but am so happy people like you driving to make a difference, keep up your hard work!
Dear Gary, My deepest condolences of your loss of this precious little girl. Her smile says a lot about the life she was happy with in the pictures. I cannot imagine the pain you went through and will continue to feel. God Bless you and your family and may your little angel be waiting for you when it is time to meet her again. Love, Family and Justice to you. She is a beautiful little girl.
My heart goes out to you.
Sirita was so lucky to be with you two for as long as she was. I'm sure she loves you both very much even now.
She looks so happy in the pictures, you can tell she was loved in your home. I don't know how anyone could hurt innocent children. It makes me sick. May God bless you and your family for loving these children.
I cannot believe such horrible things happen. I totally admire you and your wife for fostering children who are so in need of a warm and loving home. I can only imagine how hard it is, on top of the hardships of raising a child, to give him/her up after some time and especially sending them back into an environment that you know might be dangerous and unhealthy for them but are quite helpless about it. I fully support your fight to get the laws fixed so that tragedies like yours don't happen any more. God bless you !
I just wanted to say that I trully believe in what you're doing. Some people say that I'm hyper-empathetic because stories of children being hurt or killed make me bawl for days.I mourn for each precious life lost as though he or she were my own child. I first met Gary in the Seattle Center where he had a booth set up and he told me Sirita's story. I was very moved, and I have called and emailed for support for Sirita's law. It gives me a way to prevent this from happening again and that helps heal the hurt.
I am so sorry. I will make it my goal in life to pass a nationwide law that will protect children from harm/abuse/molesters. I am sorry another child was brutally murdered at the hands of a so called caretaker/parent/etc. Please know how sorry I am. Sirita was absolutely beautiful. Rosey
I never imagined how much these children go through.. I can't even catch my breath... I probably will cry all day. I will pray for these children and hold them in my heart. You are a god send for these kids.. Bless you and I am so sorry for your loss.
I don't know how you cope everyday with this. I could never imagine. Our thoughts and prayers are with you and your entire family. I hate that this happens everyday and children are being hurt. Good luck and God bless you all!
SO SAD TO HEAR, HOW PEOPLE WHO ARE SUPPOSE TO PROTECT CHILDREN, ALWAYS GIVE THEM BACK TO THE ABUSERS. SO SORRY TO HEAR OF YOUR LOST. R.I.P LITTLE ANGEL.
HEAVEN HAS A PRECIOUS AND BEAUTIFUL LITTLE ANGEL, MISSING YOU SWEETHEART
THINKING OF YOU LITTLE PRINCESS,
good night my sweet little angel
thinking of you little angel
I'm so sorry sweetheart! You are so beautiful and look so happy in the photos. It breaks my heart to hear what happened to you. I came across your website on the Amber myspace page. I have a 5 yr old princess and a 1 yr old princess and I am in tears as I read your story. May God keep your family strong as you await for them in heaven.
Hello, my name is Patricia. I wanted to tell you that I just finished reading Sirita's story and her eulogy. They both made me cry. The two of you were her true parents. Thank you for doing what you do. You are wonderful people and God will reward you! Please continue to be a voice for those who cannot speak. Your sister in Christ, Patricia
im only 14 and when i read this story it made me cry. I have a 4 year old sister, and i couldn't imagion losing her. You 2 we're her true parents. Never forget her.
The Sirita Law is proposed to the Washington State Legislature only. If you are from another state, you are welcome as my guest, but this proposal does not apply to you.
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