Finally Ready to Tell Our Story

This post was inspired by Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop.

Tell us about a day you were sure you wouldn’t get through.

When I saw this writing prompt something immediately came to mind, the worst day of my life. I didn’t know if we were far enough away from this nightmare, but I knew that someday I would want to write about it and be connected through a place where this story would be seen and maybe shared, and I knew a lot of people take part and read Mama Kat’s Writer’s Workshop. So I asked my husband for permission, asked because it was his nightmare too, and he has finally agreed to let me tell my story. Some who have known me may already know about it, but most of you probably don’t, and it is a story that deserves to be heard.

Last year in early January, the Director of Tyler’s daycare took it upon herself to get some weekend “help” for us. With my husband and I being disabled, weekends can be hard for us, but certainly not impossible. She had never asked our permission to do this and I had made the mistake of telling her TOO MUCH about our lives. What came from her call was that children’s family services had just started a new program that was seeking to help families in need. We were a little nervous but were told by the Director and by the state caseworker that we shouldn’t be worried.

The interview with the case worker in January seemed to go well and she felt we could be helped. However, in the evening, the case worker was back. Everything we had said in the first interview was turned against us. She started to ask medical questions, wanted to know who our doctors were and what medicines we were taking. Grant was not home at the time, it was just me and two-year-old Tyler, who cuddled in my arms. I didn’t know why this was happening, this was a voluntary program! But she told me we were now under investigation! I was in shock, who would have registered a complaint against us? What evidence was there? She even “offered” me the option to take Tyler away that night and put him into foster care if I felt he was too much for us! Of course I refused! She told me that due to our low income and disabilities that we were “at risk” to abuse Tyler in the future!

Two days later we called the caseworker and she had changed her story. She said that there was no complaint against us, that there was no investigation going on and that Tyler was in no danger of being taken from us. We taped this phone conversation. We told her that since there was no investigation going on and that this was a voluntary program for services that we declined the program. We thought that this frightening turn of events was over and that we would never hear from Social Services again.

On Friday afternoon, January 24th, Tyler was taken from daycare by Social Services. He was woken up from his nap, taken by someone he didn’t know and taken to a doctor to check for signs of “abuse”. When the Director of the daycare called me she was near to tears, apologetic…but I just started screaming. Tyler was kidnapped from us, that was the only word for it. I had to be heavily sedated and my friend came over to stay with us, as well as my mother. Having a friend in Social Services in another state, we had prearranged for my Aunt and Uncle to be Tyler’s foster parents as a worst case scenario, so he was sent there although he did not know them very well. Social Services did not tell us why they had done this. A child is supposed to be in IMMEDIATE danger for them to be able to take a child away. We were to have a hearing on Monday, but we had no idea what we had done. I was not even allowed to talk to Tyler.

Losing Tyler and my pain over what he was going through, I feel like it was one of the closest things you could come to to actually having your child die.

We went into court on Monday and that was the first time we had a chance to read the “complaint” against us. It said that due to our disabilities we were not diapering our son nor were we feeding him! And those were the good parts. It was all a bunch of horrendous lies! The lawyers had to speak with each other and we had to speak with our Public Defender who was very good. She had to explain everything to us and we had to tell her that this was all based on a misunderstanding. We got such a late start that the judge said to hear this case would put her behind schedule and she wanted to move it to tomorrow! I was giving it everything I had, it was quite a strain already; how could I do it again: getting up at 6:30, doing my hair and makeup, putting on nice clothes, (all which my friend helped me do) walking so much, plus the stress! And how could I spend another night without my baby?

All of the lawyers talked behind closed doors and it was decided that if all of us (Grant, my mom, myself, etc.) would come down to the Social Services office we would make a “Safety Plan” and if we agreed to it, with my mom staying with us, Tyler would be able to come back that night! So that is what we did. At the meeting the Social Worker’s supervisor said the program that the Director of the daycare had referred us for was not in place in our county yet. The “lighbulb” went on! Grant and I realized what had happened!  The Director’s referral was treated like a complaint and the caseworker was too stupid to realize the difference!

We signed the Safety Plan and Tyler came home that night.  Our lawyer said she had never seen someone get their child back at the first hearing!  We ran to the social worker’s car to get him.  He saw me first.  “Mommy!, he said.  Then he looked at Grant. “Daddy!”  I was so excited, this “disabled” person lifted her son our of the car and took him all the way up to the second floor in her arms.

On Tuesday we were in court again.  There were many lies told by the Social Services lawyer during the hearing, such as that we didn’t diaper Tyler, we did not feed Tyler, our house was “cluttered”.  I was so angry.  I took notes and I told my lawyer I wanted to testify. Among other things I said that just because it is hard to diaper Tyler does not mean that we are NOT diapering Tyler. We diaper him every day, as often as he needs. And just because I found it difficult to cook home-made meals did not mean he WAS NOT eating. And that our house was as cluttered as much as anyone who has a two-year-old and that we had a professional cleaning service every two weeks.

Our lawyer moved to have the matter dropped but the judge said she wanted Social Services to supervise. We had to go to court every so often, and we had to have someone else with us in the house with us at all times when Tyler was home.

We agreed or we could not get Tyler back.  For nearly six months we were subjected to being watched by health aids and being dropped in on by Social Services.  Finally, after six months our case was closed.

I am very angry that they view disabled people as helpless!  How can the government get away with this?  With their reasoning, anyone who is low income or sick is a danger to their kids.

Tyler has never been the same since.  The baby who slept through the night even when he was sick has never slept through the night since.  He suffers from Tourette’s Syndrome, Separation Anxiety and possible OCD.  A doctor told us that while technically he cannot remember what happened, it is “imprinted” on his brain.

Ever since then I let few new friends in on my condition and am careful about what I write as well as writing under a pen name.  I would never joke as so many of the other moms do that I need a drink after dealing with my child.  I worry when Tyler falls and gets a bruise.  I am so afraid of anything being taken the wrong way. I thought this was America where you were innocent until proven guilty but it was not the case for us.

Although time has healed me somewhat, I will never forget the day they took my baby away from me, just because I was sick.

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About mamasick

Emily Cullen is a pen-name. I suffer from chronic illnesses and diseases which include Bipolar Disorder, Asthma, Diabetes and Fibromyalgia. I had battled Lupus and Rheumatoid Arthritis but there is no longer evidence of me having these diseases and my Rheumatologist has declared them to be "burnt out" of my system. I am separated from my husband, “Grant”. Our son, “Tyler” was born in September of 2006 and suffers from tics and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, and is delayed in fine and gross motor skills. In my blog I seek to let sick moms know that they are not the only ones going through this, and to educate people about what can happens when one becomes catastrophically ill. I also strive to break down stereotypes of what a “Welfare Mom” is like. Anything that I have gone through due to being sick, is written on the pages of Mama Sick.

26 Responses to Finally Ready to Tell Our Story

  1. mer says:

    i am so very sorry. i cant imagine.

  2. Jennifer says:

    What an awful experience! I have tears in my eyes because I hurt so badly for you! I am so sorry this happened, and truly relieved that it’s finally over.
    .-= Jennifer´s last blog ..10 reasons why I LOVE my job!!- This is from a writing prompt- I SWEAR!! =-.

  3. Sarah says:

    What a horrible story. I am so sorry that your family was subjected to this.
    .-= Sarah´s last blog ..Writing Workshop =-.

  4. Josanne says:

    Wow-I don’t know what to say…
    Your family not only needs physical healings, you need emotional healing. What a horrible thing to happen to a family. =(
    When we were young, parents could say things like, I’m gonna kill my kids!, and everyone knew it was just a joke. I do not say this-it sounds a bit morbid anyway, but even if it was something I would say, I would be ever so careful as to say it these days. It seems like the parents who DO care often get pulled into a category with the parents who don’t care. If your child should be taken away because you are ill, then America is in HUGE trouble-most families deal with some sort of sickness!
    My son has Tourette’s also—just to encourage you, some children do outgrow it in early adulthood. Fortunately for us, my son does not hurt himself-I hope your son doesn’t have it that severe either. OCD tends to go hand in hand with Tourette’s.
    So sorry to hear your sad story-you need regular hugs and encouragement! Wish I were closer to give the hugs to you!
    .-= Josanne´s last blog ..Wednesday-Todays Challenges =-.

  5. Tendai says:

    That sounds like a nightmare. I am so sorry that it happened to you.

  6. WackyLisa says:

    I’m so sorry this happened to you.
    I know blind parents deal with this all the time. Some blind moms don’t even leave the hospital with their babies but I just didn’t realize it was just as bad for sick/disabled parents too. 🙁
    If for some horrible reason you or a friend ever goes through this might have some good resources.

  7. Sheri says:

    I can’t even imagine the terror and pain all of you went through. I’m so glad you were able to get him home sooner than expected.
    .-= Sheri´s last blog ..Tragedy in Our Family =-.

  8. Miss Rhei says:

    Now I am in tears… sorry but I can’t bear the thought of you being away from the one person who means the world to you and be charged with lies. What Tyler went through… my, he’s only a kid to have experience that. I hope you may be able to look at it someday with pride that in a way you have proven to the world that you can take care of your baby. God bless you always.
    .-= Miss Rhei´s last blog ..I Just Love The Cinderella Shoes =-.

  9. Cyrene says:

    What a terrible thing to have gone through! I can’t wrap my head around the fact that the Social Services lawyer even lied – they had no consideration whatsoever that they were potentially destroying a family’s life. I mean, seriously, there are people out there who are really abusing their kids, but why make something up if there clearly was no reason for them to take your child away from you? My heart was breaking as I read this and I just pray that nothing like that will ever happen to you again. 🙁

  10. Mommylebron says:

    This is such a sad reality! I have seen many parents go through this same unjust scenario with slight variations in circumstance. One family lost their two girls for a year and a half before someone said, “oh my bad.” Everything was dropped and that was the end of it. This families whole life turned upside down over someone’s mistake! And yet we here countless stories of where the system fails to protect the children who really need it. It’s disgusting! Many hugs and well wishes to your family!
    .-= Mommylebron´s last blog ..Writer’s Workshop- Dance Puppets! =-.

  11. Sharon Cohen says:

    I began writing (years ago) in hopes that writing about the worst of times could heal the pain, remove the memories and jump start my happily-ever-after. It did not work – there always remains residual pain and the memory.

    But – what your writing does do is to warn others. Your words are a word of warning for all who read. We, the disabled, are in need of advocates. May this article reach those who are so inclined. Your words are a word of wisdom. The government has too much power over our personal lies. May this article enlighten those who would believe otherwise.

    Writing is a powerful tool. You are gifted with writing – you are gifted with the necessary power to cause change. Keep it up. May you continue to heal and strengthen the ties that bind you as a loving family.

    Thanks for hooking up with Saturday Sampling. I needed to read this.
    .-= Sharon Cohen´s last blog ..He Is Not Fluent In Cards =-.

  12. Sharon Cohen says:

    OH! Ooops! That should read “The government has too much power over our personal lives.”

    So Sorry.
    .-= Sharon Cohen´s last blog ..He Is Not Fluent In Cards =-.

  13. I can not imagine the horror of this. Thank you for sharing your story.
    .-= Everyday Mommy´s last blog ..I can no longer be silent while my country is hijacked by crazies =-.

  14. Nezzy says:

    Oh Honey, don’t get this Ozark farm chick started on Social Services!!! I’m retired Special Ed. I once had a child suffering from malnourishment that he was loosing handfuls of hair. When I got SS involved I was told that “malnourishment was not a priority!” If I could document batter scars or cigarette burns they would get involved.

    Then I hear of cases like this that just make this old gal want to jump up and scream! My heart aches that you and your family had to go through this and are left dealin’ with the aftereffects. My prayers are with ya.

    God bless ya’ll and have an incredible weekend!!! :o)
    .-= Nezzy´s last blog ..Private Eyes =-.

  15. Coby says:

    This is terrifying and infuriating! I’m so sorry your family experienced this. As a Momma, my heart just breaks for you. And what house with a two year-old living in it isn’t cluttered?!!?? Praying for you!

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  17. helen P says:

    What a horrifying nightmare. Shame on the CPS. And you’re right – so many jokes are off limits for you.

    I’m sorry. I wish I could offer something more encouraging but it’s over.
    .-= helen P´s last blog ..Bad Mommy Strikes Again =-.

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  19. Silver Fang says:

    I hope you got a good lawyer and sued CPS! Your rights were violated.

  20. Mike says:

    CPS is absolute evil. Never, ever, trust them.

  21. Mrs4444 says:

    That is horrible! What a nightmare! I am so sorry you went through that terrifying experience! Wow.
    .-= Mrs4444´s last blog ..Saturday Sampling =-.

  22. Aviva says:

    Ohhhhh … this is *awful*. I’m horrified you and your family had to go through something like this. And poor Tyler!! Bad enough to have the misunderstanding in the beginning, and AWFUL that poor Tyler was, essentially, kidnapped even if it was a state employeee with authorization — but then to have to submit to six months of “supervision”?!! I can’t tell you how horrified I am about this — I don’t even have words. And to think that they had done this to you, when every state I’ve read about has cases of actual abuse and/or neglect that go uninvestigated until a child dies — OMG, it’s just awful!!
    .-= Aviva´s last blog ..Interesting NYT Article on Wii Fit =-.

  23. Lisa Pasquariello says:

    This is one of the most horrendous stories I have heard. I cannot believe how the system that is supposed to help children ends up being the one who harms them.
    A simular thing happened to a mom I know from playgroup..they took her little girl because they said “she was emotionally disturbed because she accidentally killed a kitten” She’s only 3 and she squeezed too hard..but social services had been up this girls butt for awhile. So they took her daughter and she too got her back within a week but had to agree to all kinds of terms.
    over here in Ontario..prior to apprehending a child they do look for “kingship” to step in, however in an emergency often there is no one right away. I had one little girl come in the middle of the night and was back with family by 10 am the next day.
    I’m so sorry you had to go through this happens all too often .
    thanks for sharing your story

  24. Hilary says:

    I know this must have taken so much of your strength to write and tell us your story. I am reading this with a mix of anger and sadness for you. I can’t BELIEVE that this happens while there are kids in blatant danger that get NO help. This is just awful and I’m so sorry you had to go through this.

  25. crazyladyx5 says:

    The “services” have way too much authority and don’t even follow their own guidelines!

    I have yet to have a pleasant experience with such services. I was in foster care at the age of 15 also.

  26. linda says:

    I remember when all of this was going on – and you haven’t even detailed everything. All – it was so awful for her. Those that know this woman and have heard about her daily life and struggles and triumphs behind her pen name know that her darling son is first priority and that all she does is for him. Tyler has wonderful parents who love, adore and are so proud of him. The worst part about this incident – the lack of trust in searching for and accepting help – Gee – the last time i asked for help – they took my son away! Who wouldn’t be distrustful!

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