Friday, July 4, 2008

Brown Eyes

Last weekend I had a first in the (small town) ER. I had a child taken away from his mother. I have seen this little boy MANY times for coughs, runny nose, etc. His mom bring him in ALL the time. He is never sick, usually just the latest virus. He is so cute with a blond crew cut and the sweetest brown eyes you have ever seen. He is so quite and such a good little guy. His mom is obvioulsy crazy. This has been apparent since the first time I saw him. All of the nurses know the mom and the child and talk about how she pulls him around in a wagon all over town at crazy hours and in all kinds of weather. She always has a different address, has no job, and I think she has some pysch diagnosis. I have wanted to call DHS before but I haven't because she has never given me a good reason. You have to have a good reason to call them or they just won't investigate. There has never been any evidence of abuse, just really bad parenting.

Anyway, when she brought him in this time she was particulary undone. She was VERY on edge. One of the nurses heard her on the phone talking about how she was going to learn how to cook crystal meth. When I went in the room she told me he was coughing and needed a breathing treatment. I told her I wanted to listen to his lungs and get a chest xray. She refused and said, "just give him a breathing treatment, I know what he needs." Then she jumped up and yelled, "you have no idea what I've been through, I am on the edge, I cannot listen to him cry anymore, I am going to lose it!" To that I said, "I'll be right back." All the while, the little guy is sitting there quite as a mouse.

Long story short, I called DHS and demanded they send someone now. I told them I could not send this child home with his mother without fearing for his safety. After several very loud interactions with the mom and calling the police, DHS finally arrived. They spent about 5 minutes with her and drug tested her (+ for cocaine) before they decided to take him into custody. Apparently, she has had 4 other children taken from her in the past. In my humble opinion she needs to have her uterus ripped out and run over by a MAC truck. But, that's just me.

I talked to the DHS worker and she said that the parental rights would likely be terminated. Then I asked her how I could adopt this child. She said it would take about 2 weeks to fast track me through the foster parent track and then once parental rights were terminated adoption procedures could start. I called Mere and she didn't think it was a crazy idea. We talked about it, I thought about it, and we talked about more.

Then I talked to my mom who has been in the "system" for many years as an attorney for children who are taken away from their parents. She burst our bubble and gave us a total reality check. Were we crazy? He probably has a lot of problems and we were opening a can of worms that we couldn't close. No way, no how, forget it!

So we woke up and realized....not a good idea. But I still can't get his amazing brown eyes out of my head. I hope he finds a good home and has a good life.

The mom? I told the nurses that if she shows up in a year w/ a new baby then they better take me in the back and drug me before letting me near her.


Anonymous said...

I agree that you took the necessary actions in all of this, but I also realize there is no mention of a father either.

I think it is awful that someone would actually speak to you (not because of you or anything) about adopting a child in two weeks, when there wasn't any mention of a father figure! But I guess that is par for the course with Protective Services.

In our state they're as useless as tits on a bull (sorry for the expression). My stepdaughters older sister was molested by her mothers' father or brother, which they investigated, but never spoke to either of the men. However a few years later mom reported their father (my husband) for abuse and he was investigated all because the children were taken into the doctor for the stomach flu!

Seems to me, with the money they make of off terminating rights and having these children adopted, it's no wonder they are so quick to offer it someone, as in your case. They get their money and they don't have to waste time seeing if there's a father or family member who could adopt.

So very sad for this child to first be a victim of his mother and now by the system that should have protected him to begin with!

K J and the kids said...

How wonderful that you wer able to change the course and probable outcome for this childs life. Way to go.
I watch "Trauma,life in ER" :) (love that show)
Any hew. A little baby (she was 5) was brought in to the ER. Same disposition as this little one you cared for. Silent. Big brown eyes.
The school nurses called because she had some 3rd degree burns that had been untreated on both of her legs. As they checked her over, they found scars all over her little tiny back from sticks and whips. They called child services who checked her over, filed a report and sent her home with her mother.
They said that this was the first they had heard from this mother. They didn't have a file on this child and so she was sent home.
This is one of those cases in which I hope she comes in with a minor injury and not dead.

God bless the little children ! (and the doctors that save their lives)

K J and the kids said...

Oh I just wanted to comment on anonymous. It sounds like this woman has a track record. 4 toher kids in the system. She probably lives on the street. NOT to say that THIS father, if there are more than one father per kid, isn't an upstanding citizen who has a job and is able to take better care of this child than the mother had. I'm sure that while in the hospital they asked her about the father.

I also watch Animal Planet. They rescue and remove dogs from situations faster than they do children. I think we have our priorities screwed up some where.

Jess said...

They did talk to the mother about the father. She said she had no idea who the father was. They did not talk about adopting in 2 weeks. She said it would take about 2 weeks to become a foster parent. Adoption would take up to a year. Her parental rights would likely be terminated because she has had 4 other children with their parental rights terminated. I agree the system is broken. Why? No money. Good thing we have enough money to keep fighting a "war" in Iraq!

amy said...

OMG, that's crazy. i was a drug counselor for a few years several years ago for mothers of infants. all of the women had lost the children for testing positive for drugs when they were born and they were in the program i lead intensively to try to get them back. consequently, i became an "expert" witness in the court system for whether i thought they had done enough to "earn" the child(ren) back. it was emotionally exhausting and heart wrenching, especially when you new it was not in the child's best interest to be returned. i always second quessed myself even though i new deep down that it was the right call because you never know what the long term affects will be on the child due to the decisions you make. it's all just totally depressing really.

girlranting said...

Despite what your mother told you, I know a couple of women who have adopted children who came from severely abusive homes, where there was sexual abuse from one or both parents.

They both agree that while it was definitely NOT easy, time, love and patience has helped heal these children and they wouldn't trade them for the world! And these children were over 9 when they were finally adopted, years after being in the system, so should you decide to go ahead, you could definitely have a strong impact on this little fellow...

tammom said...

I want to jump in here and say that could have been me. Or one of my siblings. My mother was certifiable, though medicated herself with whatever she could find (tho, in small town Iowa, Vicks 44 cough syrup was about as strong as she could get besides alcohol). My father died of a brain aneurysm and our mom decided she couldn't handle 5 kids, so she abandoned us. We were farmed out to family (my 4 siblings) and me (to a foster home). She committed suicide a year later.

Even though both of our parents were alcoholics (I have no idea if my mother drank while she carried us, but she did smoke) - and even though we were spanked daily and even though my mother was mental -- 4 of the 5 of us turned out as responsible, social assets to our families and communities. One brother, who had mental issues from as far back as I can remember, has been in prison more than out of it - and one brother died of the same type of brain aneurisym that my dad had -- the remaining 3 of us are ok (even though I was in 3 foster homes before I finally was taken in by an uncle and his family, who finished raising me).

Now, of course, these days with so many different drugs that folks take, I realize there's a huge difference in what is now and what was back 40+ years ago. And we had no sexual abuse - just the abusive alcoholic parents and a mental mother.

But, God Bless those who make a difference in a child's life. I believe all children should have a chance at love - unconditional, non-mental, stable, full-fledged love. Like we (if we're parents) give our own children.

My legacy is that I survived a hellish childhood -- and the reason was because I had the love of others (Grandma, mostly) and the uncle who decided I was worth saving.

So, it's difficult to read what you wrote without wondering if there is a little boy who you could have loved, that will now go into a system that doesn't care for the individual child as much as it does for the paperwork. I was 11 it happened to me, so I was able to (somewhat) take matters into my own hands to determine where I wanted to live.

Your mom is right, there's a lot of really bad things that happen to kids of parents like that. But, how often do you hear of the good things? Of the successful survivals of children? I'm here to say that I'm a successful survivor - and were it not for the love of a few strangers - I wouldn't be where I am now.

Jen said...

Wow, that is such a heartbreaking situation. I'm sure it's true that some of these kids come turn out just fine, but I have heard enough stories from people I know about kids who didn't just turn out fine. And sometimes they seem okay until they reach their teenage years, and then everything goes to hell in a handbasket. Don't feel guilty.

tallgirl said...

First I just wanted to congratulate you on leaving me speechless again. I always read your blog then come back after a couple of days to comment.

I think that having children is risky and dangerous. You never know what you are going to get. At least with a child that is already born, you automatically eliminate the possibility of a birth defect. We have mental illness and learning problems in our family. I hope my kids don't inherit it, but if they do we will just work with it.

I don't think child social services does a bad job per se. They are trying to keep the parents with the children and as a mom I appreciate that. Social Services job isn't to break up families it is to keep them together and help them work. I am not saying that there aren't issues that can be fixed with "the system", but I think often they (social workers) get a bad rap which sucks because they have a really really hard job and get paid nothing. I wouldn't want to be the one that removes a child from his or her mother.

Busy Mama said...

These are the cases that make me cry. Most doctors and nurses don't think there is anything they can do, so they just let it go and these kids don't ever have a prayer. I am glad that you stepped in because that is what needs to happen to give this little boy a chance at a life. And by the by, I agree with the mack truck comment as well!