In the picture you are looking at Elizabeth holding an award she got from her school.
Elizabeth's mom is Teresa Davis.
I was appalled when I got some blog comments that brought Elizabeth into the discussion, in what I thought was some really bad underhandedness.
I debated with myself whether or not to hit the publish button. When I realized that these comments were indicative of the petty, bullying mindset of those who brought on the Paradise Center Scandal, I hit the publish button.
Those comments about Elizabeth, and more comments that followed, motivated Elizabeth's mom to respond, and so she did, in a very touching tribute to her daughter and to what Elizabeth has meant to the people at the Paradise Center.....
When Steve told me you were setting up a separate blog, it made me wonder if you regretted ever posting about this. It seems to have turned ugly pretty quickly. Most of the guys who come to Paradise Center don't even know how to use a computer, much less find a blog. So I know then that most of the ugly things are from professionals I've worked with and respected over the years. It seems the respect wasn't mutual.
I want to address the comments about Elizabeth, my daughter.
When I first brought Elizabeth around Paradise Center, she was about 6 weeks old. My relatives and best friends in the world found ways to say, in one way or another, "ARE YOU CRAZY?"
Now, they all know she won't catch schizophrenia from them. But people with chronic, severe mental illnesses often have challenges with maintaining acceptable hygiene. So, they were all worried about germs, diseases, etc.
Our pediatrician said that after she begins her first round of shots, she is good to go. Exposing her to the public helps to build her immunity.
So we made the best choices we could, given the situation. My husband has always helped with events at Paradise Center. So, where we go, she goes.
I had a mother of one of these guys call me the other day. She was fuming mad over what she'd read on your blog.
She remembers clearly one of our members, I'll call her Nelly, holding Elizabeth when we were at the NAMI conference in Austin. Elizabeth was about 7 weeks old. Nelly told us that she had NEVER been able to hold a baby because her family didn't want her touching their children. Isn't that outrageous. Lizzy fell asleep on her shoulder and, well, slept like a baby. Nelly sang and crooned to her. It was so sweet for all of us to see.
And then there's another one, we'll call him Plaid. He had NEVER held a baby, either. He was afraid he would drop her and she'd die, since he held a puppy once and it jumped out of its arms and yelped. So, sitting securely in a chair, Plaid held the first, and only, baby of his 50 years. He cried. It was so sweet. Elizabeth didn't know a thing.
I remember going to the monthly NAMI meetings and the parents of people with mental illnesses lining up, almost, to hold her and carry her around. I have a wonderful picture of a lady, who has passed now, named Jane. She always wanted to hold Elizabeth. It made her whole face light up.
So, she has been around lots of different people since her birth. She went to a church preschool, Montessori elementary, took ballet, tap, jazz. Has played soccer since she was 3. T-ball. Gymnastics. Zoo school. Museum school. Camp Carter every summer. College for Kids at TCCC. Softball. She has collected food for the Humane Society 3 different times.
She has only ever made A's. She was in the school spelling bee and on her school's "Battle of the Books" team. She was just voted by her class for the 6 weeks CORE Values award for exemplifying "Kindness, being sympathetic, caring. Gentleness, loving." She is in the gifted and talented program.
So, I don't usually brag on my kid, but she's pretty great. She is able to adapt and be resilient because of her life experiences, good and bad.
So can we please focus on what this is really about?
The local Mental Health Authority, which is supposed to be the provider of last-resort, decided that THEY could run a more efficient, authentic CONSUMER-RUN organization than Paradise Center, Inc. They took over because it is their building. But then they are telling EVERYONE, including NAMI, MHA, and the public when they call MHMR, that it is "business as usual".
So, feel free to post this. And the cute picture of my kid. I'm sure that'll set off even more people.