Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Never Ready

I really was about to go to bed after the post about Landon's clean bill of health, but for some reason I clicked on my stat counter and saw that several people had read through "The Nightmare" label today. I realized that I have never gone back and read any of them. I tried once a few months ago because I was looking for a friend's blogger name, but when I started reading some of them I quickly realized I couldn't handle it. I wasn't ready, might never be ready, to relive those days through my own words.

Tonight I clicked on this one and before I could stop myself I read the whole post and all 47 comments. I was (am) crying (sobbing) like I haven't in months. I still can't believe that happened. I still can't believe how many people reached out to support us. I clearly remember sitting in the law school green lounge writing that post and crying and wondering when our life would be normal again. Only a few months later, I can't believe how little we think about it and talk about it day-to-day, but how much it still affects our us in unspoken, unrealized ways. I can't write posts joking about being a "bad mommy", even though I think of them, because I fear someone might think I really am a bad mom with the DCFS history to prove it. I'm scared of Landon falling not because I don't want him to be hurt (though, I don't), but because the thought of taking him to an ER with any kind of injury is absolutely terrifying. One night in December while Landon was taking a bath with JP, he slipped and bumped his nose on the tub. It started bleeding, he started crying, and JP went completely white with fear. So did I and my hands were shaking when I reached out to hug them both. Landon was fine and his tears dried immediately upon seeing a new bath toy, but JP and I were rattled for the rest of the night. I couldn't even blog about it because I was still so wary of any criticism. Even now I won't answer my phone if I don't know the number because I think it could be our caseworker trying to set up yet another home visit (our case is still not officially closed). And when I get home and see the message machine blinking it takes me hours, usually until after Landon has gone to bed, to get up the nerve to check it.

I don't think I'll ever read my archives from those 2 months, especially not the ones from October. A large part of me doesn't believe it even happened and I don't think I ever will. It's too crazy, too out of place in our happy, crazy, lovely life. My child was in a shelter? A fucking shelter for 5 days? I cannot believe that. My therapist told me that sometimes "the mind protects itself", and maybe that's what mine is doing. Most of the time we're a normal family. I'm surprised and happy to report that I go entire days without thinking about DCFS once. We're doing okay, but reading that post felt like time travel and in the span of a few seconds I was right back in the middle of what I hope will be the worst few months of our lives. I hope to never feel that scared, that hopeless, that out of control of my life, again.

20 comments:

  1. {more hugs}

    (we don't want you to go through anything like that again, either...it was terrifying even for us 700 miles away...can't imagine how it was for you)

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  2. I am so sorry. It is sad that the system is so broken. I think your situation made a lot of us afraid. The idea that you can be persecuted and your child taken without a second opinion is terrifying. You handled it with as much grace and dignity as humanly possibe.

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  3. Don't feel bad for not being ready to relive that. It's bad enough that you have the memories. The good thing about it is that you can see how far you've come and that God has brought you, JP and Landon through pure hell to a place of peace and happiness - even if you're not totally there yet. You may never take for granted some of the moments I look forward to having with Sydney. And because you've shared your story, I honestly think I'll take more time to appreciate the sleepless nights, poopy diapers, and other parenting "frustrations."

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  4. My heart always cracks a little when I read these posts. Sigh. I will never forget holding my own baby, the same age as Landon, and crying while reading your story. It is a blessing that Landon will not remember any of it.

    I am hoping for you and your family that Texas will be a fresh start in so many ways other than the New House, New Job one.

    Peace,
    Kelli

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  5. formerlawstudentcurrentmother4/23/08, 8:58 AM

    It simply should never have happened. I am so sorry that story is part of your first year as parents.

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  6. Some things are just going to stay with you forever, unfortunately. I'm glad you have days where you don't think about it (and I'm infuriated that it is STILL not closed). In time hopefully the anger and fear will fade.

    I came to your blog because of "The Nightmare" (as you know, it was linked to in various places) and never left. I enjoy reading the blog posts of another new mom trying to balance it all--and you are a terrific writer. Plus, if I'm patient enough, you will post more pictures of your gorgeous new house and I will drool while I sit in my shoebox in NYC. :-)

    Hang in there.

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  7. Please comment on the LDS raid and kidnapping of more than 400 children in Texas by CPS...

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  8. Bless your heart for having to deal with so much, I cannot even imagine. I'm so glad that Landon received a clean bill of health- what a relief!

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  9. *Hugs* You should never of had to deal with all of that nonsense.

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  10. I actually remember reading that post. Like others here, I "found" you because of the Nightmare posts - people across the country were linking to your blog because your situation struck such a chord. I literally cannot imagine what you and your family went through/will continue to go through. Here's to Texas and new beginnings!

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  11. As sad as I'm sure you'll be to leave Chicago and all your friends, it will probably be a big relief to be out of the state of Illinois and out of reach of those ridiculous people, who will have to find someone else to "investigate" without justification.

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  12. Yeah, to be honest, I sometimes still think about that with friends who have new babies. It was an intense and horrific experience. You came through it beautifully and I am still so happy in my heart that everything is finally better. And shame on them. I hope that awful doctor gets what's coming.

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  13. You will always be changed from this experience...Most parents can tell stories about their kids accidentally getting injured when rough-housing in the backyard and having to go to the ER and think nothing of it...I live in fear of that happening someday. Will they look at our file and see the history of abuse, wonder if it was us, and take him away?! I'm almost afraid to have another baby just in case something happens...so I TOTALLY know what you mean. I'm so happy that it doesn't come up day to day and you can live like it never happened most days, but it will probabaly always sit in the back of your head...f'n sucks.

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  14. Weirdly enough...while doing some research on a totally different subject...I came across a couple of links that might interest you.

    It's in regards to something called TBBD or Temporary Brittle Bone Disease in infants. Apparently quite a few parents have been accused of child abuse and it's later been found to have been TBBD.

    So being that they still have not closed the case file...it might be something to investigate so that maybe you could at least get the case closed and hopefully have a little peace.

    http://disgustedwiththesystem.blogspot.com/2008/03/child-abuse-is-erroneously-diagnosed.html

    http://archive.newsmax.com/archives/articles/2005/10/5/125542.shtml

    Good luck and hang in there.

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  15. I totally understand your not wanting to go back and read your posts from that time. I haven't gone back to read my posts from December 18th and forward. I can't relive that intense pain. Not yet. Maybe not ever -- I don't know.
    But I do see that God has brought all three of you through a very deep, very dark valley.
    And you are stronger and a more sensitive mother and mentor to others now (not that that makes up for all you had to go through, believe me -- but I know you will be a light for moms who find themselves in similar situations).
    You've come through, and that is something.

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  16. (((HUGS))) I don't know how you guys found the strength to make it through that and keep going. I don't blame you for not wanting to dredge up those memories. Hopefully getting a few thousand miles away will help. If only your mind had that kind of range.

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  17. I also came to your blog through links to the nightmare; at the time, I was pregnant. My daughter is now nearly 4 months old, and your story has made me more hypervigilent about her safety. We took her to have her pictures taken, and she started screaming because of the bright flashes. My husband tried to soothe her by bouncing her on his knee, like he does at home. All of the sudden, I was terrified that the photographer would think he was shaking her too much, and grabbed her from him (much to his confusion). Keep in mind, we're both highly educated parents with graduate degrees in psychology and child development! But, after reading your horror story (and working in "the system" and knowing the kind of people that make the decisions that effect your life), I am so fearful of someone snatching her from us for some benign reason.

    All of this to say I empathize with you. Know that perfect strangers all across the country were praying for you and thinking of you during that time, and that your story still today effects people whom you've never met.

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  18. I was one of the people who read all the way through. Just happened upon your blog and wondered what the nightmare was. I am a lawyer, and my husband stays at home with our sons. I told him about it, and to be careful! He says, at my son's preschool, the other moms will see him with our baby, and say, "oh, wow, you're a great parent, I just leave my other kids in the car while I run in here." But he thinks (and I agree) that if HE left our baby in the car, it would be a HUGE deal (he wouldn't anyway, but you get the point). Hang in there, you sound like great parents.

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  19. I am so sorry you had to go through all that. I worked for Child Protective Services for 6 years here in Texas, and I don't wish us on any good parents. It's a nightmare. Proof alone that you are a good parent is that you ARE CONCERNED. So glad he is home with you.

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