Monday, November 12, 2007

Where Is The Good?

I started the "7 Things" post yesterday, but with my friend staying over as interim safety person, my dad's arrival, making dinner, watching Desperate Housewives and Brothers & Sisters, winning at Scrabble, and admiring Landon, the day just slipped away. At the time I thought I had nothing new to write (or complain) about, but this week has already handed me some blogging fodder.

I got our Verizon bill for the past month- $615.60. Damn. I knew we were making a lot of phone calls to lawyers, doctors, family, and friends, but... damn. That's a lot. I've called them to see if there's anything they can do to help us, and they reduced the charges by $100 and added 500 bonus minutes to each of our lines this month (which is good because we'll probably go over again). Normally I'm good about monitoring our balance and we've never even been close to our 700 minute limit (calls to each other are free and that's 90% of what our phones are used for), but this past month there was no time to do anything that didn't involve Landon or DCFS. If you add that to our mounting costs, these false child abuse allegations have now cost us over $6,000. And we have no idea if it's going to be over soon.

We had Landon tested for OI (osteogenesis imperfecta) while he was in the hospital. The geneticist didn't think he had it, but the doctors wanted it for his file. Since then DCFS has decided it needs to be a part of their file too and the investigation will not close until we have the results- which we were supposed to get today. JP called the lab and they said they were having a hard time reading the results and it would be another two weeks. CAN ANYONE DO ANYTHING ON TIME? We're going to ask our investigator if they can just operate under the assumption that the test is negative. Everyone expects a negative result anyway and a positive one will mean the investigation ends immediately. But logic has not worked well so far, so I doubt they'll agree to our suggestion- it looks like this will last at least until after Thanksgiving.

We spoke with a top plaintiff's firm to see if we can do anything about DCFS taking Landon against their own policies. The alleged perpetrator(s) must be unable to be removed from the home and DCFS has to have considered other options. My mom was sitting right there, already approved by DCFS and ready to take Landon, and JP and I were willing to move out and live with friends or get her a separate apartment. Turns out there's a statute that gives DCFS basically blanket protection to do anything- and Dr. K, as a doctor contracted by DCFS, has the same protection. They can wrongly take your child and there's nothing you can do about it.

I said early last week that I needed the investigation to end. It didn't and I'm hurting. Last night when we were in bed, I suddenly remembered handing Landon over to the case manager so he could be taken to the shelter and I started crying for the first time since that Friday over 4 weeks ago. Even if the investigation had ended last week, we are so far from done dealing with the effects of it. The fact that it's still ongoing and that things could get worse... well, it's not good.

15 comments:

  1. I'm sorry to hear about the phone bill. My phone bill was double it's normal size when my son was in the NICU. Before that I had never come close to using my minutes. It will get better. If nothing else, at least you have him home with you. From what I have read it appears you will be moving back to Texas in less than a year and you will leave CPS and this nightmare behind you. You have been holding up better than any mother could be expected to under the circumstances. Just stay strong a little longer and when it is all over you can yell, scream, kick, cry or do whatever you need to do to let this frustration out. We are all rooting for you.

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  2. i've been a lurker for awhile, but have thought about you all every day. i know everything is bullshit bullshit with the system right now, but i hope that just one more voice coming out of the woodwork will bring you a tiny bit of hope that so many people are pulling for you.

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  3. Crying is good. Screaming is good. Putting Dr.K's face on a dartboard and throwing darts is good. Let it all out. Hugs from another mother of an infant....

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  4. I wish they had a system where I could donate some of my minutes to you. We never use all of ours.

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  5. I used to sort of half joke in an exhausted gallows humor fashion that I would be screwed if anything happened to my child, because I know DCFS workers. I have defied them in a professional capacity, and they would take my kid. I was kidding. I am so sorry about all this. If it makes you feel any better at all, the longer this goes the better the chance that they will eventually go away. They take much longer to find parents innocent. I really kinda hope you sue the pants off them and win when this is over. Maybe they would have to change.

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  6. I second amyb's hope that you sue the pants off DCFS when all this is wrapped up satisfactorily. It's so unfathomable that DCFS can just *take* your kid without consulting his pediatrician, at least TWO bone specialists (Dr. K should never live this down), and more than that, AND while your mom, who clearly knows how to take care of a kid, is sitting RIGHT THERE.

    If you can't take action against DCFS, when the case is thrown out, can you and JP take any action against Dr. K for her absolute intransigence? Can you at least sue for your legal fees?

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  7. I never really understood the saying that what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. I think it just saps your strength and joy without giving you much in return. I would like the chance to prove that winning the lottery wouldn't ruin me, but you had no need to prove that you and JP are people of seriously strong character and integrity.

    I like the dartboard idea. And I like the idea of suing DCFS anyway just to force them to account for themselves, but it probably would be like jabbing an icepick into a rhino's hide: it would annoy the rhino, who would trample you, but it wouldn't achieve anything.

    It kills me that you have a label "nightmare" that isn't a joke. It's awful that you'll always have the memory of someone walking away with your baby, even if you eventually got him back.

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  8. There has to be some sort of exception for gross negligence/malice/something. Someway to penetrate their protection.

    But if you can't sue, once this is over you should think about contacting the media. Maybe you could sell your story to a magazine or something, manage to recoup at least some of your losses and have the satisfaction of pointing out the sheer stupidity your case was handled with. At the very least, help other parents avoid the same nightmare.

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  9. I wonder, too, if your state or congressional representative could do anything to help you. They seem to be able to pull strings in unexpectedly helpful places sometimes. Even if CPS has been granted immunity, I should think that they do answer to someone somewhere, if only that someone could be located and persuaded to care.

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  10. WHEW. That certainly sucks. And I know just how you feel. When all my 'allegations' happened, I was living in Germany and working for a man with "little dick" syndrome - making everyone PAY for the lack of control he had at home when he was at work.... And it sounds like the shitheads at CPS are retarded and callous.

    But it does make you stronger or turn you into an alcoholic. HaHa.... Hang in there. You've got a lot of people pulling for you. I wish that there were something that I could do.

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  11. I am so sorry that this whole ordeal is dragging out so long. Reading your post literally brought tears to my eyes. I don't know how you're getting up and moving through the days. I would be so depressed and completely stressed out by the whole situation.

    It's great that Verizon was able to help you in some way but horrible to get that unexpected shock in the mail. :( That's the last thing you needed. Well that and the lab jerking you around. Boo hiss!!!

    (((HUGE HUGS)))

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  12. I am so sorry this is happening to you. But, I agree with the statement that it takes longer to find you innocent than to find you a threat to your child. You always think it should work in reverse, but I've been talking about your case to people who work on legal issues relating to child abuse in Ohio and they say that because DCFS has to be extra certain that they don't let a child go home to a family that's just really good at deception once a record of potential abuse has been made, it's much harder to get supervisor support for dismissing a case or finding a parent innocent than it is to get permission to take the child away or to take the parents to court. It's bizarre. But, in this case it gives me hope.

    I'm sorry you can't sue them - particularly Dr. K. She needs to be sued. But, I hope you can somehow raise awareness about the abuses that DCFS can inflict and about how the system needs to be revised so that they're focusing on the people who need to be identified as potential abusers and aren't wasting their time and money - and the wrongly accused parents' time and money - on wrongly accused families. Something like DCFS can only use doctors certified in a specialty for at least five years or DCFS must consult at least two certified doctors before taking the child. Or that you can recoup monies lost in defending a DCFS accusation if you are found innocent of the charges. Something like that.

    I'm a firm believer in Romans 8:28 - God works all things to good. It means that even if people do stupid or evil or malicious things, things that God never intended, he can use the situation to good. People sometimes get this confused and think "that evil thing happened to me so that I could do ABC," but that's not what it says. It should be "that evil thing happened to me, but God was able to use it to motivate me to do ABC" or "this happened and God let me use it for . . .." I tell you this because I so look forward to one day hearing about how this horrible nightmare happened but you were able to use it to accomplish something good for society. Or even just for you and Landon and JP. I just sincerely wish you didn't have to go through this pain in the meantime.

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  13. It is true that it takes much longer to find parents innocent. What just breaks my heart is that I know so many kids who need help from our Child and Family Services, but don't get it...but then they hound an innocent family like this. Well, you know the story. Just stay strong and cry when you need to and this will pass. Good luck!

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  14. I can't believe you didn't fall apart earlier than this. You are a stronger woman than I!

    Hang in there, kiddo. This year is almost over and next year just HAS to be better!

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  15. See, I always wondered about the stupid people I went to school with. But I guess they did end up getting jobs afterall- with DCFS or CPS!

    I'm in disbelief that this hasn't been thrown out yet- there seems to be an excess of red tape. But you know, and your friends and family know that not only are you a good mother, you're a flippin' fantastic mom!

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