Peculiar: Things Never Noticed Before Our CPS Case

This storm and process of evacuating Florida to avoid Irma’s fury toting four toddlers have made it difficult to concentrate on blogging and, for that, I apologize. I remember thinking, during our case, that I could not believe that the rest of the world could keep turning while my family was in ruins. I could not imagine that people were cooking turkeys or worrying about graduations when MY family was under attack. Of course, I think back now and realize that I was fighting to be able to enjoy those things in complete oblivion once again. I wanted to focus on the larger picture and be able to concern myself with the problems of others rather than singularly thinking of my own family.

Then the case was won and my family was returned. But, I could not go back to oblivion. I could not only focus on jumping back into the life of the Jones’. My eyes have been opened and every thing that has happened to us is also happening to others. So, thus the apology. Yes, I can get distracted but I should not get so distracted that I lose contact with those who are struggling as we did. Those who are out there who want to be concerned with this large storm and the safety of others but can only concentrate on the fact that their own family is hurting. Please know, that your job right now is to do what you are doing.

Your worry should not turn to ours but rather ours should turn to yours.

You are in a battle that affects all of our lives. I felt like less of a person, disconnected from the world. We who have overcome this obstacle to happiness should not allow you to feel those emotions. Instead, we should always let you know that you are not alone and that you are doing everything that you can. The destruction that I may find at home following the storm is nothing compared to the destruction that your family is going through and I know that this realization has not been properly portrayed through my absence this weekend.

In a loss for words and a tired mind, I turned to a daily prompt provided by a fellow blogger and found the word “peculiar.”  I couldn’t find the connection between my need to connect with you and this word. Strange, different, directly associated with…Discussing CPS is not considered peculiar to those of us who have encountered them and those who have not encountered this injustice would not understand any metaphorical connections that I might make. So I nearly closed up my laptop and went to check in on the little ones before turning in for the night. But I still felt like I was missing something that might keep my mind awake through the night. Then it hit me, there are things that I once thought were normal but now I see them as peculiar to the child protective system that has destroyed so many lives and families. So, these are my thoughts on the oblivion that CPS stole from us all:

  1. The Oblivion: I once saw two people having a discussion about maybe a reunion whereas one of the friends brought their laptop to save the plans and the other one could not get a baby sitter for the day so they had to bring their children alone. The friend with the children may seem a bit distracted but the friend with the laptop was clearly inspired as she typed away and checked for any messages that were perhaps from other friends engaged in the planning.
  2. The Reality: These are not casual meetings and they are not friends. The individual with the laptop is a supervised visitation provider and the distracted individual is trying to both interact with her children and appear engaged with the provider. I want to call out to her and tell her to truly be in the moment . I want to ask the children if they are okay. I want to tell the provider to put herself in the parent’s shoes. I see the drain in their eyes. I see the fear and the sadness. I no longer think of a planned reunion but rather of a plan to prevent reunification.

 

  1. The Oblivion: I saw those billboards asking for foster parents and I envisioned families reaching out and putting aside their own needs to help children who had maybe became orphans or their parents were getting treatment. I saw good in a system where people would willingly open their homes just to make certain these children are not alone while their family mends. I saw the billboards and saw hope.
  2. The Reality: I can no longer feel hopeful driving down the interstate and looking up at these billboards. In fact, I cannot even look. I see people who will stop at nothing to replace the family bonds with those that will program the children into what the government wants them to be. I see the foster families as carefully selected computer programmers and the children as pawns to be bartered or sold to bring revenue for this mission. I see the parties who were involved in our heartache and those who are involved in yours. I see a loss of hope and fear that others feel the same.

 

  1. The Oblivion: All families are happy on the holidays. Or so I thought. I lived in a world where I understood financial struggles but I also knew that the holidays always worked themselves out. We made silly boxes of Christmas Eve necessities. We made peanut butter bonbons. We held the grandchildren up to the tree to hang the star. I believed, and loved the idea, that all families were doing the same thing at the same time.
  2. The Reality: Every happiness can be ripped away at no fault of our own and this means that many families are not doing these things. Many families are unable to put up a tree or bake cookies because of their sadness and loss. Many families are struggling to open up their social networks to reach out for help because they will immediately see the family photos with Santa that will surely flood their news feed. Not everyone is happy and not everyone is ready to deck the halls.

Do not get me wrong, there are so many other moments and situations that I would never have found to be peculiar during my previous state of oblivion but these are just a few that my tired mind can recollect. At times, I would like to go back to feeling hope for all of the society and believing the best in every situation. But, if I were to do so, then I could not reach out to others and try to help to guide them through the maze that is CPS. And quite frankly, I am afraid to be oblivious now as we can never let our guard down.

So, when you feel that your whole world has changed because of this, know that you are not alone. But also know that we can change the whole world because they have changed ours.

Please let others know that oblivion is a dangerous place to live,

“Gigi”

 

 

 

via Daily Prompt: Peculiar

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Taking Charge in your CPS Case

Be active. Be present. Be heard.

“Gigi”

One of the most frequent complaints I read in the forums about CPS is that the lawyers do not submit the requests for different orders that the parent feels may help their case and bring their children home to them.  It feels as if we depend on our lawyers to actually do their jobs and speak up for us, their client, in a timely manner so that we do not have to spend years in the nightmare of CPS. Yeah, it feels just like that alongside a smack in the face that the world of family court does not actually work that way.

I was lucky to have a lawyer who readily listened to me and this required a great deal of his attention as you all now know that I can talk A LOT! However, I did not know that he would follow through with our conversations early in the case and decided that it was best to ask for forgiveness than to ask for permission. In other words, I kept him in the dark about my intentions at each move so as to avoid him redirecting what I aimed to request. I could not afford the element of doubt as I had to maintain my image of confidence.

I am not advising you to go against the advice of a lawyer but I am saying that if you are adamant that something should be done and you have done your research, then do not leave it up to them to get it done.

My grandson did, in fact, suffer from broken bones. The father was charged with these injuries and they removed the children stating that we must have known that he was abusive. Our job was to prove that we did not know. I mean, the fact that we took him immediately to the hospital and left the father sitting there the moment we knew what happened should have been an indicator that, had we known there were previous injuries, we would have done the same sooner.

Regardless, here we are with them telling us that we must have known. They said that it was impossible for us not to have known even though the doctors had stated that the only way to know a rib is broken is through an x-ray. But, CPS “knows more than the doctors” and therefore took my grandchildren.

There had to be some answer that would explain this. I had never seen or heard anything that would make me think that this man would harm his own child. I never believed my grandchildren were in danger. I began to look into the concepts of medical kidnapping. I got copies of medical records and began to learn about the everything from copper levels to osteogenesis imperfecta. That’s when things began to change in the case.

I arrived at the next MDT meeting toting every medical document I could carry along with a typed summary of what I believed to be true. Briefly, just as we entered the conference room, I told my lawyer that I wanted my grandson tested for OI. I had found the name and number of a geneticist that specialized in pediatric medicine and handed him this information.

As the meeting began, before the worker could even start to speak, my lawyer gave me the floor and I presented my case. The order was agreed and the tests were scheduled. The tests thankfully were negative but there were other tests and options to follow up on. At each meeting, I reported the findings and proposed the next steps. I knew every piece of medical record inside and out. I pushed for depositions and attended each of these. My presence and overwhelming attention to the possible explanations could not be dismissed.

When I first met the GAL, he stated that he needed some possible explanation for these injuries. I worked tirelessly to provide an explanation other than what was already known at the point that the children were removed by GPS. In the courtroom, the GAL made note of my position in the case as well as my efforts to find the truth at all costs. He then recommended that my case be dismissed.

When you need answers, find them. When they need answers, do the same. Your knowledge and confidence will win your case, not the lawyers or case plan.

 

Be active. Be present. Be heard.

“Gigi”

We Blew Bubbles: Ten Minute Memories that Helped to Get Us Through

Thinking back to the ten minutes outside of the mall, if these few hours were going to be all that we had, it was going to be a happy time but being outside, where there could have been CPS stalkers or another threat to our family, made us cringe. We wanted away from all of these threats and knew that we should stay inside until the lawyer called with the paperwork that would allow us to leave.

We Blew Bubbles

bubbles

One of the greatest joys in childhood is to watch that magical liquid on that transformational wand fill with air and float around defying the very gravity that holds us to the earth. Granted, this is an outside activity and, in the mountains of West Virginia, outside activities are very limited for children due to the weather. So, there are three options. One is to brave the weather, the other is to forego bubble blowing, and the third is to forego calling bubble blowing an outside activity. This decision is generally made based on the adult’s priorities and sadly, these generally do not consider the magnificence of this activity in the eyes of children.

 

While my grandchildren were in foster care, their foster parents were a bit older than myself and my daughter which may have played a role in their decision to forego outside activities when the weather fell below 70 degrees. Now I do not like the cold (thus the decision to move to warmer weather) but I can suck it up down to about 40 degrees.

 

Now, while the children were in placement, we sent gift bags at each visit (more about these can be found on  Still your Children: Supporting your child during out of home placement. and Making the Most of Visitation: When you try to parent a child two hours at a time  ) and sometimes bubbles would be in these bags. One day, at a visit, we were informed by my granddaughter that she had asked to blow bubbles the day before and they had told her it was too cold. Perhaps to them, it was and this post is not about their decisions but rather about ours.

 

It was a bit rainy that day so we had gone to the mall for our visit. We had eaten, done some shopping, played in the soft play area, and had about 10 minutes left before we would have to put them into the provider’s car, hold back our tears so they would not be upset, and wave goodbye until the next week.

 

How do you make a memory in ten minutes? You make a mad dash into the Dollar Tree, grab up some bubbles, and stand under the awning blowing bubbles that float off into the falling rain! The pure joy in their giggles, the smile on my daughter’s face, and the approval of the visitation provider are all edged in my mind forever.

 

Bubbles became very important after those ten minutes. Bubbles showed the children that we would stand with them in the rain. Bubbles showed the children that, even if only for a few moments, everything could feel happy again. I guess bubbles showed us the same thing.

 

Fast forward several months and countless containers of bubbles later, the children were coming home. The CPS case was dismissed!!! The following Wednesday, we had an MDT meeting to discuss reunification and it was determined that it would be immediate. We had to stay in the state until the judge signed the paper but we could leave from that meeting and pick up the children!!!

 

Now, due to the advice of so many as well as our plans in place prior to the case, our plan was to leave the state as soon as the children were in our custody and not to return to our home in West Virginia. But, we had to wait on one piece of paper. We were so scared during those hours that the nightmare would start all over but we did not want to be scared. We wanted to enjoy this time.

 

Thinking back to the ten minutes outside of the mall, if these few hours were going to be all that we had, it was going to be a happy time but being outside, where there could have been CPS stalkers or another threat to our family, made us cringe. We wanted away from all of these threats and knew that we should stay inside until the lawyer called with the paperwork that would allow us to leave.

 

We refused to feel like prisoners anymore though! My daughter began laughing as she ran through the house and I heard what sounded like an air pump. Immediately, giggles filled the house that had been so empty for the previous years as the bubble machine filled the air in our kitchen. The magic of those bubbles will forever be engraved in our story of healing.

 

Minute Memories Last Forever!

“Gigi”

Prisoners of War: Bringing our Children Home from CPS Captivity

pow

I will once again preempt this post by stating that everything on this site is intended to promote hope and bring awareness to obstacles that we have faced in our family. I understand that our tactics in working through the hell of CPS may not work for everyone and may come across as somewhat sheepish as we smiled through our tears, spoke politely, and held our tongues about our anger with the system. Regardless of these differences in approaches, the fact remains that my grandchildren are safe at home and we did not have to jump through mandated hoops. Our anger at the system, our shock that this could happen in a “free” country, was the same as so many others are feeling right now and all that we could find online was stories of TPRs and brutal war tactics. We chose to use war strategies that worked in our case.

However you fight your battle, know that it is possible to win. That was all that I wanted to hear the entire case. I wanted to know it was possible. I wanted to know that all of the stories online did not have to be MY story. I wanted to know that there was a way to bring my family home. Just as when two families have of Prisoners of War received the news that one has been freed, the other family then has hope that their soldier will come home, I wanted to hear that my grandchildren would be returned. Not being able to find this could have led me to a state of depression with no way to come out of it. Not being able to hear that there was a chance could have cost me my life as it has so many other broken parents. I WANTED TO LIVE THROUGH THIS! So, I decided that I would be that positive outcome at all cost and that when it was over, I would tell others that it is possible and that they must continue to fight every day.

The difference in how I tell my story is that I am not filled with hatred. I could be. I could wake up each day fueled with anger and go into attack mode. But (A) my grandchildren need my happy goofy self to play on the floor and I cannot do that if I only focus on the negative and (B) we did not win our case by coming off as being in attack mode. Yes, THIS IS WAR but WARS ARE NOT WON WITHOUT STRATEGY!

When you enter a war, you assess the situation. You learn as much about your enemy as possible. You find out what allies you have and who is still on the fence that may serve your cause with a little bit of influence. You find out who the actual enemy is and who is simply a soldier following orders. You can take out all the soldiers that you want but unless you go for the true enemy, then you only win a battle rather than the war.

When we watch the news, we often wonder why our military leaders make certain decisions that seem to be detrimental to the primary cause. Why do they appear to be diplomatic when there are clear threats to our safety, our freedoms, and our way of life? There is a bigger picture that the news does not cover. There are interactions that we may never know about. There are moments that even these leaders question their own tactics but move forward with confidence so as to not show weakness. But the fact remains that all tactics, all strategies, all methods of winning are justified when the outcome is favorable. One battle at a time. One soldier returned. One life saved. Every win serves to justify the choices of these leaders.

In the war against CPS, and trust me this is a war against the entire system, we have assessed the primary enemy. We are aware that we must stand together against the corruption of the system and this must be done with all of our emotions. When the military wages war, it does so with a primary goal of defeating the enemy. THIS IS THE PRIMARY GOAL and we cannot waver in our efforts. However, when a soldier is taken captive, we must first be diligent in bringing them home. Often times, we must use diplomacy rather than aggression.

OUR CHILDREN ARE PRISONERS OF THIS WAR!

Make no mistake, throughout our case, we were aware of the primary enemy. We knew that we would continue to fight once our battle was won. We knew that bringing home my grandchildren would not be the end of the war. But we were in that battle at that time and there was no one else that could fight it for us. We read all of the posts that told us to scream and yell and never be agreeable. For some, this tactic was working but for most, I watched their battle continue with devastating outcomes. I grieved as I watched prisoners of war essentially become casualties of war. I feared for my own family. I feared for the families of others. I spent countless nights watching and listening. I studied the battles of others and strategized accordingly just as military leaders review previous battles and adjust their tactics.

To some, we may have appeared weak and, even as we tell our story, our tactics are under scrutiny. In fact, many times we question ourselves. Some moments throughout the case are not without regret. But I will stand by our choices because, at the end of the day, we won our battle and came back up to continue to fight the war.

Our children did not enlist for this war. They did not come into this battle with an understanding that they could become prisoners. They are not trained to withstand the manipulation, the hardships, and the emotional distress of being taken a prisoner. They are depending on us to bring them home from their captivity at all costs.

When one tactic fails, do not give up, re-strategize!

“Gigi”

Four Lies that are Told to Foster Parents: Parents Should React to

This subject may not be your favorite but it is a large component of the evils that have inflicted our lives, our security, and our family. When the state steps in to steal our children, they place them in other homes. In order to form a pseudo-family bond, they refer to the guardians as foster “parents.” This clearly shows that the state recognizes the importance of “parents” but wants to be in charge of matching parents to children rather than allowing God and Nature to make this selection.

This leads us to this discussion. Foster parents are NOT parents. They are GUARDIANS! They are essentially over involved babysitters as they do not have legal custody of the children (the state holds this title) but are granted the right and responsibility to perform duties consistent to those expected of a natural parent (more lenient obviously in the eyes of the state) but still relatively consistent as they are expected to meet their basic needs. However, despite all of our reasons for disliking or distrusting foster parents (and there are many), there is also another side to this and being informed will help you to work with all parties (at least cordially) until you have your children home where they belong.

The children need you to be their parents: What? They have parents. They have parents who are at home right now crying, praying, and holding each piece of clothing that they have of their child’s. They do not NEED new parents. Now, there is a chance that these parents need help for various reasons but the children do not need new parents.

When you realize that the state has lied to the foster parents about this, it is easier to understand how they become so overbearing in the case. They may have been fed the same lies that CPS told the judge to remove your children. The department has painted you as a monster and told them that they are now their parents. Of course, as assumed parents, protecting a child from a monster is a number one priority. When this lie is debunked, then the foster parents will begin to see the department for what it is: CORRUPT!

Why they tell it: To rally the foster parents behind their efforts for alienation.

What you can do: Send letters, make calls, try to make the case easier on the foster parents. (We even sent thank you cards and crafts that we made during visits). BITE YOUR TONGUE! You DO NOT NEED MORE ENEMIES!

The parents are against you: Okay, this one may be true on some level but not to the extent that the department makes it out to be. Sure, parents are angry and hurt that someone else is getting to enjoy all of those milestones but our anger and hurt are aimed at a system rather than specifically at the individuals who have been placed as guardians over our children. Yes, we may have ill thoughts about them, but obviously, we know that the system would not return them even if the foster parents were abducted by aliens and carted off to a far away planet (okay, maybe we dwelled on this too much) but the truth is, the family is not out to get the foster parents. The family is out to get their children home. Wherever the children are until this happens, we want them to be safe and cared for. We could do it better, but we would not sabotage their safety to prove this point.

Why they tell it: Divide and conquer. If the foster parents believe that you are going against them, then they will go against you by all means necessary.

What you can do: Do NOT allow this division. Even though you may not want this, you are co-parenting (at best). If you want to get through this, the more parties that see you as a partner rather than an obstacle, the better.

The children will always know you as their family: This one is cruel on so many levels. First of all, it places the foster parents at a place of grief once you finally win your children back (AND YOU WILL!!!). This leads to a great deal of confusion for everyone involved. Foster parents go over the top to make “family memories,” natural parents are left out of a great deal of the children’s activities, the children are shown a “grass is greener” faux lifestyle in the name of making memories for a short duration that will cripple their adjustments to normal life.

Why they tell it: To encourage foster parents to go over the top with the children. For instance, if the foster family goes on expensive vacations then the foster family may look appealing to the child. If the foster family provides things that the natural family cannot afford then the child may begin to believe some of the things that the foster parents and department tell them about you.

What you can do: Make your visits count…I repeat…make your visits count! As I began in the discussion Making the Most of Visitation: When you try to parent a child two hours at a time it may be difficult, but it can be done. You may not be able to include yourself in their outings, but remind your child what is important to THEIR family. On a side note, if you have placed yourself in a good relationship with the foster parents then inclusion may not be out of the question. Otherwise, this relationship may help you to have input on the types of activities that you would like your child to attend or avoid.

We will be here to help you! This one was quite shockingly a complete lie. I assumed that, since the state stole the children, they would be very involved in their upbringing. As it turned out, the state rarely checked on them, returned calls from the foster parents, or gave them information about the case once they convinced them to take in the children. The foster parents had to make several visits and phone calls to verify information and were uncertain about many things that natural parents would know such as the age of a child when they are front facing, schedule of shots, etc.

Why they tell it: To get consent to drop off the children and hold someone else accountable for their well being.

What you can do: USE THIS!!! The foster parents have had children dropped into their home and, although they may have raised children, they have not raised YOUR children. Continuously provide them with information that will not only make their role easier but will also ensure the health and safety of your child. Be a voice to speak up at meetings about how little help they receive.

In sum

The foster parents or guardians are as oblivious as to what kind of parent you are as are the judges in these cases. EVEN WHEN THE FOSTER PARENTS ARE FAMILY MEMBERS the lies and corruption of CPS can and will change their view of you. Your job, as a parent, is to bring your children home at all costs. Recognizing why some of the players in the cruel game act the way they do will help you to better prepare yourself and react accordingly. Again, this was our way of getting through this and we came out of the fire holding my grandchildren. It was hard at times because we were angry. We were missing milestones. We were unable to tuck them in at night. But our anger was at the system. Our anger was at the abuser. Our jealousy of their time with the children may have been seen as anger, but in truth, it was far easier to crawl on our bellies than to hold on to any more anger throughout this case. Do what you believe is right in your situation and, if that does not work, try something else. But, no matter what, NEVER GIVE UP!

To save our child, we would all dine with the beasts,

“Gigi”

 

This does not refer to the abusive and neglectful foster parents that we read about. I am talking about those who enter this agreement with the same types of assumptions that most people have about the system as I discussed in 5 Things I thought I knew about CPS!

Making the Most of Visitation: When you try to parent a child two hours at a time

plan

From the moment an infant is placed in your arms, twenty-four hours seems to never be enough to get all of the things completed that you scribbled in crayon on your to do list. Feed the kids. Clothe the kids. Teach the kids. Play with the kids. Clean the kids. Kiss boo boos. Then repeat! Where does the time go and how do all of those moms actually get it all finished without losing their jobs or their minds? It’s simple, they plan. Maybe the plan is in crayon and maybe the day never goes exactly according to the plan. Shoot, maybe the plan is not even written down. But there is a plan and somehow, just somehow, at the end of the day, the kids are fed, clothed, taught, entertained, cleaned, and kissed as the parent prepares themselves to start over the next morning.

Now, I am not certain what other people receive as a visitation schedule once CPS has entered their lives, taken their children, and given some stranger the right to drive around with your children and hover over you as you try to squeeze in a day or week’s worth of parenting in a brief time, but for my daughter, she was given two hours three times per week (I was allowed to attend one visit per week as the responding grandmother). SIX hours per WEEK! How could she possibly parent and show that she could parent in six hours per week?

She parented the same way she did when they were home! She planned!

Let’s break this down. Feed, clothe, teach, entertain, clean, and kiss (check for boo boos). Now, the aspect of repeat was stolen from her but she could manage to get in at least one round of these in two hours.

Feeding, that was easy as most of the visitation places in our area were restaurants. Occasionally, we would be able to go to a park where she would take a picnic or the library where we would sneak in snacks depending on the time of the visit that day.

Clothing was a bit more complicated as they were obviously dressed when they came to the visit but it is important to check their clothes for the way they fit (children grow fast!) and do not forget the shoes. On a few visits, we would actually go to Walmart or the mall and purchase an outfit or two.

Teach!! This is a big one. There are so many ways and things to teach our children that we would naturally incorporate into the daily routine if they were home. For instance, we now sing ABC’s when we are in the car or count as they “help” to load the dishwasher or put up toys. But let’s face it, these opportunities are minimized during supervised visits. We opted for teaching sign language during each visit. As their cousin, Gloria, has Down’s Syndrome, her therapist was teaching her a new sign each week. We would then teach the sign to Clarabelle and Elliott as a way to both teach them and create an understood bond between the cousins even during their separation. Whatever you choose, just make certain that the teaching serves as a bonding moment for you and your children.

Entertain! Again, this comes pretty easy in some settings but there is one major problem that so many people encounter.

PUT YOUR PHONE AWAY!!!!

Be all in during this two hour period. If you are at a McDonald’s playland, then play. Take off those shoes and race them to the top. If you are at a library, read to your child or find the puppets. If you are at a park, push that swing or catch them on the slide.

THIS IS NOT A SPECTATOR SPORT! PLAY!!!

Clean! Okay, this one is a bit harder to do on a visit for obvious reasons. But it is possible to show your ability to do so. For instance, make certain your child washes their hands after going to the bathroom. Wipe off their faces after they have finished eating. Readjust their hair bows. Change their diapers. Make sure that they are clean!

Kiss and Check for Boo Boos! This is very important. Your child should be looked over at the beginning and end of every visit. If there is the slightest bump, bruise, or scrape, mention it and ask the provider to speak to the foster parents. Most of the time (all of the times in our case) the foster parents were able to state exactly what had happened. However, had we not have looked and asked it could have easily been said that it occurred during our two hours. Be diligent!

Notably, there are so many more aspects of parenting than these discussed here but these were the primary focus of my daughter’s plan for each visit. As I stated in my post, Who are they to Judge? Providers of Supervised Visitation the visitations and the providers are the key to your case.

Make every moment count!

“Gigi”

 

CPS Stole My Peace Of Mind. 


Have you ever had that weird feeling that you just can’t shake? Like someone is watching your every move?

We talk about how scary going through the process of a CPS case is. We discuss the feelings we had during the last year and a half of our lives. Supervised visits? Talk about someone breathing down your neck! Which is especially horrifying when you know you haven’t done anything wrong. When you can’t even change your child’s diaper without someone standing directly behind you, watching your every movement.. that’s enough to make you feel like the lowest person in the world.

But what happens after?

After the case is won.

When the “congratulations” slowly stop.

When the kids are tucked safely in their beds every night, one room over.

When you get to go back to making snack plates and cleaning up spilled cereal.

I’ll tell you what happens. At least for me. Every. Single. Fall, smashed finger, bump, bruise, or skinned knee, causes an overwhelming amount of fear and paranoia. Enough to make even someone with an iron stomach feel like throwing up.

Every time my children walk into the store with a bruise on their shin I find myself searching the crowd for wandering eyes. Anyone who could possibly notice (while it may be something so small that only I  can see) and report it.

Every time there is a knock at my door I am petrified to open it.

Every time I’m at the mall or take the kids to McDonald’s I can point out who is on a supervised visit and my heart aches for those families.

Not a day goes by that I’m not scared.

Not a day goes by that I’m not thankful to have my children home with me.

Not a day goes by that I don’t pray for the families going through what I did.

CPS stole my peace of mind. Because of this system, I can no longer feel 100% at ease in my own life. But the babies are home. And that’s all that really matters in my world.

-A.