I really wanted to write something yesterday, but my chest felt so heavy and my mind was in a daze. I needed to catch up with God first and determine where I was standing. Even as I write this blog entry, I can’t stop the thought process. The best way I can describe my current state is through a cliché. Something like, it is similar to waking up from a nightmare that is so real that you actually feel physical pain and have a need to check your body for actual injury.
The child’s father did not show, as predicted, to the rescheduled emergency hearing (he didn’t show to the prior either) yesterday. Judge Randi Boven allowed him to appear by phone. The child’s father provided inaccurate statements a couple times. He also withheld relevant information which to me is the definition of a “lie”. I was given the opportunity to politely correct the information he provided though.
Yesterday’s determination is that my child will not go to the “ugly house” any more.
The importance of yesterday, October 26, 2010, ending at approximately 4:30 PM:
Since April 2009, all I asked for (begged for) was that my child not be forced to go to a house where she alleged sexual abuse had occurred. Like any sensible person, I needed more information. Plus, I did not know who this “Leo” person was. I certainly did not know anyone with that name.
Think about this, please. For just a moment, picture a calendar. Then, visualize counting the days, beginning with April 17, 2009 all the way through October 16, 2010, that is exactly 544 days and sleepless nights. Now imagine that for almost ten (10) months of that time your child was exactly in the place she begged you not to let her go and to make matters worse, seven (7) of those ten (10) months in which you had absolutely no contact with your child and left at the mercy of incompetent reporters updating you on your child’s “progress and well-being”.
Imagine workers telling you they “visit the house once per week” and meet with the child and she “appears” happy” and is “adjusting”. But, they also tell you that when they visit the child the alleged perpetrator is “not in the house”, or “outside” in the yard. Imagine you find out through your own child that she was ill because no one thought it was important enough to tell you your daughter had a lung infection that according to medical practitioners may be caused by second-hand smoke. Imagine you are the one that informs the workers that the alleged perpetrator smokes. Well, I suppose you can’t expect workers who are responsible for your child to know what kind of people are really holding your child.
Imagine the child’s father tells workers he is not leaving the child alone and then you find out through recently delivered documentation and more of your own discoveries that the father has continuously lied to authorities and to the court. The father was working the whole time, including weekends, leaving your child alone with the alleged perpetrator and other, non-relatives with direct relationships to the alleged perpetrator. I thought the whole time there were agencies ensuring and confirming the father’s claims. Actually, no, I always knew they were not doing their work properly.
It’s just stuff like that. Tons of stuff like that that including the need to be on alert, documenting everything, archiving matters well into your memory, making difficult decisions regarding who to trust. Never-ending lingering in your mind while you are awake, in your dreams, in your nightmares, about your child, your trial, the non-existent justice system.
The importance of yesterday is that my child’s right to be protected from a dangerous person has been recognized. Perhaps not in the most clear and concise manner, but at least it is a significant milestone. Does that mean dangers are completely removed? Absolutely NOT! What it means is that there is enough risk for workers to have made a request to the father to move from the alleged abuser’s house and find safe housing for himself and his daughter. Unfortunately, what it also means is that if this was decided yesterday, why did it take so long for a mother’s sensible request (to stop her child from going to an alleged abuser’s house) to be granted instead of creating so many fallacies that resulted in so much pain, suffering and trauma to a decent, peaceful, loving American family, not to mention huge bills to Florida residents.
In the words of Tonya Craft, who was aquitted of false allegations against her person only three days before my trial also ended, “NOBODY WINS”. My daughter coming home after May 14, 2010 was NOT a win. My daughter’s father being officially told he will not see his daughter unsupervised until he moves out of that house is not a win. This is about my child’s right to freedom from abuse and about our Constitutional rights having been ridiculously violated.
Over a year ago when I naively believed that these types of “institutional” errors fixed themselves, I would have imagined yesterday as a day in which I’d finally be able to get a good night’s rest; it didn’t turn out that way. I suppose the issue now is that my family’s misfortune has opened my eyes to the “system”, the “secret courts” (which is how I refer to dependency court), and the broken child welfare system. So, in a strange way, there is yet another trial in my life now. However, this time it is not a trial against me. Instead, I am the one putting the child welfare system on trial. It is no longer about my child and my family. This is about ALL children and families.
And, to my dear daughter, I cannot predict what trials and tribulations are still to come although I can imagine somewhat. Meantime, my message to you today: Some of our yesterday was taken away, and “no”, that is not right. But today, I dedicate to you the rest of tomorrow that is partially returned to you, until the time comes for you to take control of your own life fully and choose the direction you will take in your great adventure. May you always remember your mother as a person that loves God, you, her country and the truth so much that she finds in it the strength and hope to keep fighting for our right to “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” – our God-given rights. May you discover, as your mother has, that the truth, although sometimes painful, will set you free. Above all, may your spirit always burn with the Lord’s fire. -Love, Mommy.