Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The Promised Details

After very little sleep and a lot of stress, Dad, JP, and I headed down to juvenile court at 8:00 this morning. We were supposed to meet our attorney at 8:30 so that we could give our investigator the information we gathered over the weekend. He ended up in traffic so we went up to the ASA's waiting room at 9 to catch our investigator before she went in. She was also late, so we didn't talk to anyone until about 9:45 (I sat frozen in place while Dad and JP paced). We showed her the report from Dr. B, the NICU pictures, and the letter from our pediatrician. She seemed happy with the new information- I never got the impression she was very interested in our case- it was definitely pressure from supervisors. We then sat across the waiting room from her while she talked with the screening attorney. We heard him say, "We don't want this." And for the first time we had some hope. The ASA then called our investigator back to her office and they were gone for a long time. I remember thinking how amazing it was that two strangers were deciding something so enormously personal and important. Finally our investigator came out and she said, "We're going to do a Safety Plan. The state's attorney's office taking the case right now- they're concerned that the two medical reports conflict so we need to reconcile that and investigate more."

And I didn't know how to react. Of course I was thrilled that Landon was coming home. But it also hit me how ridiculous it was to be in this situation at all and a little bit of the anger came to the surface. I'd been holding it at bay because it wasn't going to help me get Landon home, but now that I had him back, I couldn't keep it away any more. I now wanted this to be completely over. I didn't want to agree to a safety plan, I don't want to have someone supervise my interaction with Landon 24/7, and I didn't want this investigation to continue. Nothing is settled. I don't know when it will end. The investigator guessed 8 weeks. It could be longer, it could be shorter. They could get another CPS doctor to agree with the original report and feel they have a stronger case. They could lose interest entirely. I don't know, and I hate it. Our attorney felt that this was extremely good news. If the ASA didn't feel that there was an "urgent and immediate risk" to the child today, how could they argue for it in a week? While this investigation may continue and we may end up at trial (he doubts it, I take nothing for granted), our custody of Landon should be pretty safe. We may have classes and more monitoring in our future, but no more shelters. So we officially agreed to the Safety Plan while the investigation continues. We can't be alone with Landon, but we can live at home with him and we can switch out our Safety People at will- there's a lot more flexibility than a fostering situation.

Because Dad still hadn't been cleared by DCFS, I had to ask a friend to stay with us until he is. She immediately agreed to meet us at the shelter. Dr. B called on our way there- he guessed we had good news because he had an "irate" page from the CPS doctors at the hospital. I don't understand why they are so determined to have us punished. They made their report (without speaking to our pediatrician, us, or an orthopedist)- why are they continuing to push so hard? It scares me- I don't know that they'll let it go. The paperwork at the shelter took forever, but we held Landon the whole time and were so, so happy to walk out that door for the last time. When we got home we immediately gave him a long soapy bath, put him in our favorite "Little Cowboy" outfit, and took turns cuddling him for hours. A friend brought over yet another tasty dinner and we're all hanging out watching a movie. Landon is fast asleep on his dad's lap and they both look completely content.

I'm not sure how to sum things up. I know that we received the best outcome we could realistically hope for, but the uncertainty of it all is troubling. We'll start living again, but still with that constant nagging worry about the damage DCFS can still cause. Dr. B wants Landon to come in for the rib series of x-rays tomorrow. We'll still be working with the attorney and at least one more expert witness to make sure we can be ready for a potential trial. I suppose I'll have to start attending classes at some point. JP will go back to work. We'll hug Landon more, kiss him more, and never curse another midnight feeding.

Thank you all for your support, prayers, and love. It's not over, but he's back in our arms, and right now- that's enough

43 comments:

  1. found you via chron.com/mamadrama.

    You and your family are in my prayers.

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  2. I am so glad Landon is home. I keep thinking about my Landen...and you guys and what I would be doing right now and I have to tell you, I am amazed by your strength. I am praying for you and will continue to do so. You sound like a neat family...so so so glad Landon is home with you...where he BELONGS!!! Now, let's pray the other stuff GOES AWAY!!!

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  3. I can not reiterate how very very very happy I am for you. My parentst and brother (Mark) also wanted me to let you know that they are elated at the news and have been praying for ya'll non-stop. I have learned so much from how well you have handled this and i have learned to be grateful for every crying fit, every late night, and every good day with my little boy. You were a force to be reckoned with in the pool and I fear for DCFS to have to go up against you!!!

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  4. I thought about you guys all day. I'm so glad your boy is at home with you. I hope this is all over soon.

    Sending good thoughts...

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  5. That is great that Landon is home. But is also so sad that right now the best case senario means still being distrusted to take care of Landon on your own. Good luck with everything:)

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  6. I wonder if it's an ego thing or an internal investigation that's going on with the retarded CPS doctor? Maybe they asked her to explain herself why she based her entire report on an x-ray, and now that there has been a direct contradiction by an orthopedist the supervisors are strictly scrutinizing her and telling her she's a damn idiot? And maybe she's gone psycho and feels the only way to prove herself is to prove abuse... AND if that is it, than Dr. K is unbelievably selfish and stupid, so I'm hoping it's not and she just has some belief htis is abuse and that she'll realize very soon that this belief is wrong.

    Anyway, I'm really sorry about the uncertainty! Unfortunately this seems to be a common by product of our over burdenned legal system.

    But that is awesome news about your caseworker, it sounds like she's on your side. Does the supervisor have some sort of quota he has to meet? Wth? Or maybe he's in cahoots with Dr. K... grrrr...

    Anyway, very happy to hear your life is returnign to normal..I look forward to learning more from you on how to cope with being a law mom and learning less on how to deal with a crisis...I really really appreciate you sharing everything with us and I thank you very much for your candor (and amazingly good writing). However, I truly hope your life returns to much normalcy and boring happiness in the future. And I hope they drop the investigation against Maya soon too!

    Good luck with everything and I reiterate my joy for everyone involved!

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  7. I don't understand why the CPS has made it their personal mission to "get" you guys. We have so much trouble in Texas even getting them to come look at kids we have a suspicion about, yet they seem to think that there is no other possibility besides abuse in your case. It makes me so angry to think about it!

    But I'm so, so glad that Landon is back in your care. Even though it's not the best outcome, it is so much better than some of the alternatives. Your little family will be in my prayers. You are so lucky to have friends and parents who love you enough to stay with you. Please continue to keep us updated on how things are working out!

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  8. The CPS doctors are irate because they just realized they screwed with a LAW STUDENT and they're getting SUED. Doctors don't like when other doctors contradict them, especially when it sets them up for malpractice suits.

    Well, even if they keep getting CPS doctors to agree with them, surely the opinion of an actual specialist holds more weight than that of, what sort of doctors are these anyway? Are they board certified in something?

    But, eh. There will be time to fight later. I'm so happy you have your little boy back!

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  9. Btw, how is kitty Lilly doing? Did she notice Landon gone at all? Sometimes animals seem to get a sense when people feel bad, I used to have a kitty that ignored me all the time except when I was crying. And she also knew when it was real... She was very intelligent =)

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  10. Thank you so much for posting the details. I have been anxious to learn the specifics of what happened and am so, so relieved for you.

    They're probably protected by a dozen immunity statutes, but I hope you crucify those CPS doctors. (It seems at least negligent IED to instigate an investigation without assessing all the facts first, right?)

    Even if it'll get dismissed in short order, at least file a complaint and make them sweat it out (and pay for counsel and experts) the way they've done to you. I wish I were admitted in IL, else I'd love to help out.

    My, I'm feeling a bit vindictive tonight.

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  11. Lauren in ATX10/16/07, 11:55 PM

    Agree with everyone who has posted so far, especially Julia's theory about why Dr K's actions would leave one to wonder if she's been smoking a lot of crack lately... Hang in there. Love your baby and your hubby and your mom and dad! Family is so precious and it's times like these when that becomes especially evident! And then go and SUE SUE SUE!!! Y'all continue to be in my prayers.

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  12. Hello, I am so very sorry to hear how painful this experience has been for you and your family.

    Osteogenesis imperfecta(OI)is a complicated genetic disorder. Fortunately, you have exceptional clinical resources available to you at Shriners Hospital for Children - Chicago
    Program Name: Osteogenesis Imperfecta Clinic, 2211 N. Oak Park Ave., Chicago, Illinois 60707-3392
    Dr. Peter Smith, Clinic Director
    Clinic Hours: Monday, Tuesday, Friday
    Information: Liz Vieth 773-385-5579
    Web Site: www.shrinershq.org
    Services: Children to age 21, OI patients seen last year: 150

    My family (my poor mother) was also forced to defend the "brittle bones" that we (all four children) were born with. However, in this day and age, you can have blood samples/tissue samples taken (the clinic can do that for you) and the University of Washington's Collagen Diagnostic Lab (206) 543-5464 will be able to offer you proof positive results of the blood/skin tests to give you a clinical diagnosis. I would also urge you to reach out to the OI Foundation (www.oif.org) for support & reassurance. If OI is what your child is facing, there are resources and support immediately available to you.

    Please feel free to e-mail me directly if I may be of any assistance to you. As a 36 year old woman positively diagnosed with OI Tarta (Type I), I can tell you that your situation is not unique to this genetic disease.

    I wish you peace and happiness.

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  13. Ah, the best news I've heard all day. So happy he's back!

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  14. Great news indeed to have him home finally.

    Now you can get with the job of discovering the true cause of those rib fractures. One day at a time...

    Is the poor guy any worse?

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  15. YAY! :D Finally!!! Little Landon is back home... what a relief!

    Your strength and endurance have amazed me... I know this isn't completely over so I will continue to pray for you and your family but I'm very very happy that you have Landon back!

    Stay strong... :)

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  16. I'd be concerned, too. Sounds like the CPS doctor really has it in for you! Hopefully the combined weight of the medical evidence you are pulling together will help the prosecutor and the judge stay strong and ultimately decide that this case has no merit. Especially since your DCFS caseworker doesn't have much interest. It sounds to me like the CPS doctor wants to be taken seriously by the powers that be at DCFS and maybe that's why they are pushing it. Who knows? I'm just relieved to hear that he's home and that it's unlikely they'll take him again. That said, I'd be just as angry, frustrated and unsettled in your position.

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  17. I'm thrilled Landon is home, and lets hope that those CPS doctors will be overridden by specialists along with your pediatrician.
    Good luck

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  18. I followed a link here and couldn't read without posting. I'm an '02 grad of the Law School and a mama and my heart breaks for all you've been through. Your family is in my prayers.

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  19. I'm sure you have real lawyers to advise you, but I'd bet you could win a section 1983 claim based on this. And even if you don't quite have the facts to win it, you might be able to get a large settlement before it goes to trial. It sounds like CPS and Dr. K were seriously out of line, enough so to get around the qualified immunity problems, since the ASA didn't even think there was enough evidence to take your case.

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  20. As crazy as it may sound…I found your blog as I was searching for foster parent blogs. I am a foster parent and have worked in the system for almost 20 years, both as a foster parent and a family support specialist. So I asked myself after reading your entire blog from beginning to end…what is my real contribution to you here. First and foremost I immediately began to pray for you, JP and Landon. I went back through and read your blog again trying to put some meaning to all this madness. These are my humble thoughts.
    1. You’re a wonderful little mommy and very transparent in your feelings on being a new mom, a wife, and a student. Thanks for sharing.
    2. Dr K (a DR on staff I think and not employed by CPS or DFCS)is in a position of power and authority…she loves it and how dare anyone question her decision to involve CPS. BTW I’m sure this is not CPS’s first involvement with this woman and my guess is that they don’t like her any better than you do. Which could explain why your CPS worker seems so disinterested in the case (she knows it’s all BS).
    3. Once CPS is involved by law they must investigate. Putting the safety plan in place covers their butts. At this point it’s about CPS because they know they don’t have a case but just to be on the safe side (see unlike Dr. K they know they can be wrong.) they have to show that they have done what was reasonable and least restrictive for the child to ensure the safety of the child.
    4. The system is very, very slow especially where case’s of little merit are concerned. Be prepared to wait this out but push, push, push to get out from under the safety plan and get the case closed as unfounded.
    5. At this point do whatever CPS asks you to do, parenting classes (they’re not bad actually), new daycare provider, etc. The more willing you are to cooperate with them the better it looks for you.
    6. You and JP have been deeply wounded by all of this and you’re going to have to learn to forgive or this will eat you alive inside. Just from reading what this Dr K has done to a perfectly innocent family makes me want to see her crucified. So do what you must do (sue) not out of revenge but to make sure she never does this to another family, then let it go.
    7. Contact a publisher and publish your book (This entire blog)

    Blessings and God Speed

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  21. I am so, so happy that Landon is back home in YOUR arms--after Citations' comment yesterday, I assumed he was able to be with family, but not necessarily with you.

    I know you've got more battles ahead, but it has to feel good to know you can hold Landon, love him, and care for him while you work things out. You're still in my prayers, and I wish you all the best.

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  22. I trust you to take care of Landon on your own!

    I think Mere and Sherry really nailed it: you are a force to be reckoned with (in or out of the pool) and you are going to want to pursue action not to salve your own wounds--because frankly, money just won't do anything to take away the hurt you're enduring--but to protect other innocent families from undergoing the same trauma.

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  23. I'm so happy for you guys. Hopefully they will investigate more thorougly and see this is an unfounded case and drop it. At least he is home. That is a huge improvement in itself.

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  24. I'm just aghast at this entire process. You know, I did a clinic at the Domestic Violence center here in DC my last semester in law school and I never, once, saw anyone treating parents like this ever.

    While I am unbelievably happy and relieved at your outcome, I can't believe they are pushing this so hard. I'm starting to think something weird is going on at the hospital...

    Anyway, hug your baby and your husband and your kitty and our thoughts are with you. I know you slept better last night than you had in a long time.

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  25. You are not alone. Readers Digest January 2007 - A Parents Worst Nightmare . . .

    http://www.rd.com/content/printContent.do?contentId=31773

    So many similarities of what you are going through.

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  26. I am so happy for you and your family! I've read most of your posts about the situation and all I can say is that I'm terrified of how easily your child was taken from you - but so impressed by how you and your family reacted and how you've pulled through. God Bless!

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  27. You make me want to go into family law, really.

    It's amazing that things like this happen and others who are truly abusing their children get let off until the child eventually dies in their care.

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  28. Thank God, thank God, thank God!

    I found your blog through another MILS who is a friend of mine. As I told her, I don't normally have physical reactions to things I read on the Internet, but this story made me physically ill - and now I am all teary-eyed for you.

    Continuing to pray for you, hon.

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  29. I'm glad they agreed to the Safety Plan finally. It makes me angry that this wasn't the preliminary step to begin with. Good luck and my thoughts will stay with you and your family.

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  30. This gave me goosebumps. I'm so very happy that for now, this is over. The internet can be an amazing place and this right here will stay with me forever.

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  31. Oh yeah, found you via Amalah's clubmom thingie.

    This is awesome news- I am so absolutely happy for you. God does answer prayers, and I'm glad your punkin is home safe where he belongs!

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  32. You are amazing to endure all this -- and to share it with us.

    I am so angry for you.

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  33. I am so happy to hear the great news! I am also so angry that this whole thing happened at all. Enjoy cuddling your sweet boy.

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  34. So happy he is home. He will give you the strength you need to get through the rest of this nonsense.

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  35. Came here from Mom's Daily Dose on Clubmom.com and have been following since last week. I'm so happy he's home, and I'm sending thoughts that the remainder of this nightmare is short and ends with the CPS doctors at the hospital getting a serious reprimand for not doing a thorough job investigating all possible causes of the rib fractures.

    I am also thinking of you and your family. I hope this is over soon.

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  36. Hi there. I found you via constant chatter and am in tears reading your story. I can't even begin to imagine what you've been through. and how happy you must be to have him back in your arms.

    I wish you the best.

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  37. we have a lot in common - my daughter was born at NMH, I am an alum of the U of C, and have a law degree from Northwestern - and just wanted to offer my support. I cannot imagine what you have been going through.

    many hugs and lots of support :)

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  38. I am so glad Landon is home with his parents where he belongs!! Best wishes to you all!!

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  39. Also came your way via mamadrama in the Houston Chronicle. Praying for you guys. Very terrifying situation for you. I will keep the prayers going that the DFCS doctor comes around with all of the facts and with several doctors' opinions backing you up.

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  40. I heart you!! I thought you were amazing before (juggling all that you do while remaining a beautiful, sane, happy, and incredibly nice person) and now I am just blown away. If you need anything at all, don't hesitate to ask!

    Bec

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  41. i followed a link here and wanted to offer my support. i'm a '99 chicago law grad, fellow wicker parker and my second son was in the prentice nicu for the first few days that landon was there. (our henry was 8 weeks early and discharged july 17.) strange to think that i may have passed you in the halls of the hospital or on division street.

    best of luck to you and your family. my thoughts and prayers are with you.

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  42. Not a mom, but a lawyer, UIUC grad (05), who knows some of your current classmates most likely.

    I am so, so sorry for the heartbreak you have gone through. I used to work for CASA during law school and wow, just wow, the actions of this doctor are incredibly surprising to me. I hope and pray your nightmare ends soon.

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  43. shouldnt CPS be more concerned about REAL bad parents like k-fed and britney spears vs. you and JP! geez this ticks me off but Im glad things are looking up!

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