How I Could've Lost My Kids For No Good Reason
When @familyprotection made their intro post I commented a little about my experience with cps, and @canadiancoconut mentioned the idea of creating a post about this. So today I'm going to tell you the story of how I could've lost my kids when I invited social services into my life. Maybe through my experience you can gain some insight into how they work. Image source: Pixabay
My marriage was on the rocks for about a year before I left Jared and filed for divorce. Our arrangement before courts were involved was that he got the kids on the weekends. About a month after I filed, Jared started acting differently. He was obnoxious when I called to remind him that he needed to pick up the kids one Friday night. I had to work the next day and needed him to come and get the kids. He didn't come until Saturday night and I missed work. I thought I smelled alcohol on his breath when he dropped them back off and the friend he brought with him looked like he was high on something.
Around the same time I met Eugene. In our first conversation we were getting to know each other and he asks me, "Do you have any issues with dating someone who has female friends?" He went on to tell me that his best friend was a woman and she's a social worker. "But I don't like social workers" he adds. "Why is she your friend, then?" I ask. "Well, I tell her I don't like social workers." He laughed. "They have too much power." Hearing about my issues with Jared, he tells me I need to be more proactive, write everything down, maybe call a social worker. I was apprehensive about the last suggestion.
A week or so later, I was spending the night at Eugene's and I suddenly started getting messages about what Jared was doing from the neighborhood, and one of his friends. Suddenly all the information came in all at once on Facebook messenger. He was doing meth. He admitted to taking shrooms in front of the kids to one of our neighbors. He was letting them run around outside unsupervised. Basically, they weren't safe over there. I checked his Facebook page and he was posting continuously through the night, awake at 1, 3, 5 am with the kids there, partying all night. Here is one of the pics from when he first started, blatantly shared on Facebook at 3 in the morning, still looking pretty normal, before he lost weight and became emaciated.
Eugene said, "Call a social worker." I was frozen. I sat there staring off into space for a while thinking about all the implications of what I had learned. He lightly touched my arm and repeated, "Sharee, you need to call a social worker." I stirred myself out of my trance. "...What if it backfires?" I asked. "I just have a feeling it's going to backfire." "Why would it backfire, they'll help you." He retorted.
So I called social services and the police department. They were already aware of Jared's activities. I went to pick up the kids with police in tow, the children smelled horrible, the house was an utter disaster, there was an overturned table lamp on the floor, not to mention several beer cans lying around here and there. But the smell...to this day I have no idea what it was.
The social worker came and visited at my mom's house where we were staying. She was friendly, yet no-nonsense and she questioned each of the children one by one. I printed out my conversations on messenger and showed them to her. One of my children told her that Jared "ran errands" once in the middle of the night and left them alone for hours! At the time they were 1,3,5,7, and 9!!! She called me later and told me that her and a detective went to speak with him and he was completely uncooperative. He wouldn't submit to a drug test and wouldn't allow them access into the house. She wrote up a CPS order and I signed it. Only supervised contact with Jared until further notice.
Fine! Good! They helped me protect my children right? Well the temporary hearing was about a week later and even though my lawyer told the court commissioner there was a CPS investigation, he granted Jared weekends!! The social worker was shocked at the judge's ruling and I suppose she felt the need to etch in stone her decision and bypass his ruling, and as you will see, their control over me tightened. Image source: Pinterest
The house was raided. They found paraphernalia and meth on one of the occupants, broken glass, needles in "sharps containers" used from old baby formula containers. He was arrested for maintaining a drug trafficking house. The social workers know about police raids several days in advance and she was present during the raid.
We had to take the kids to the clinic where each child had their hair sample and blood sample taken, to check for drugs in their system. It all came back clean (and Jared did say he kept his usage in the garage away from the kids.) They were stripped naked so the doctor could look for marks. Then the social worker and the Doctor took me into a room and questioned me. Is the three year old potty trained? (Yes, but she still wets the bed at night, so she gets a pull-up before bedtime). Why does the 3 year old wet the bed? (I mean really a three year old that wets the bed, unheard of.) The 5 year old has cavities. (Well, they are baby teeth. It's strange, my oldest has no cavities, they brush their teeth.) My nine year old has ticks (he was going through a lot at the time, they're gone now. He saw his doctor and the pediatrician said it was probably stress from everything that's happening) Jared said you had postpartum issues, (Well yes, that was over a year ago). What medications are you taking. Have you had problems with substance abuse in the past? (Well yes, I was in rehab for alcoholism 10 years ago, after I had kids I settled down and as a rule I don't keep hard liquor around) What is your sleeping arrangement at your mom's (We're on floors and couches at the moment, I'm waiting on section 8 to go through or for the court to award me the house.) Have you personally been abused when you were a child? (I don't know how this has anything to do with what we're talking about.) They also asked about my MTHFR deficiency and am I being treated for that. (Yes, when I found out, my psychiatrist prescribed Deplin.)
She called me a little while later and she said she was writing up conditions for me and Jared and there is a court date now and there will be a Chips (child in need of protection) order. She wanted to warn me ahead of time so I wouldn't be surprised in court. I asked her if I'm at risk of losing the kids. Her answer was, "Well, you're being cooperative."
Image source: Pinterest
So comes the court date. By that time we had moved from my mom's to a shelter. Good thing there was "adequate furniture" there... Some of the conditions: "must call within 3 days of losing a job, undergoing a change in a living situation, or a change of phone number. Must provide adequate furniture, must undergo an AODA and mental health assessment, must make and keep dental and routine doctor's appointments for the children, must maintain employment, anyone who lives with you needs to be pre-approved by the social worker." Yeah. Like a deer in the headlights, I agreed to the conditions...
I asked Eugene if his friend ever talked about me and he said she told him that I wasn't on the radar at all, but Jared was. If that was the case then why were all those conditions put upon me. Even the District Attorney told the shelter's legal advocate that I shouldn't have to adhere to such conditions. Juggling all these new appointments and a full time job, and childcare, was extremely stressful. Dental appointments for all 5 kids, mental health assessment, AODA assessment, upon her request, I started seeing a therapist. It's a wonder I wasn't fired for missing so much work!! I became that person at my job. I think they felt bad for me. Everyone seems to know everyone's business. One day a stranger came up to me at work and said, "Just hang in there. I know you're going through a lot! I know all your neighbors." Interesting how people network, eh?
Luckily I got a new social worker. She relaxed the conditions and even gave me $100 worth of goodwill vouchers when I needed household items upon moving back in the house. She had a three year old herself and totally understood the bed wetting thing. Eventually our family was miraculously restored and she dropped the case. Here are the kids on Halloween! <3
Things could've gone a lot differently though. Social workers are arbitrary. Eugene told me of how his friend gave one drug addled mother another chance simply because she liked her. It made me so mad to hear that their "justice" is biased depending on how they feel. Also anything you say will be used against you as you could see with what happened when I was honest. Another tidbit of information: they know each other's cases as different ones are on call on the weekends.
Either way, that is a time of my life I would never want to revisit again. Thinking back, I could've just kept the kids and refused to give them to Jared and let his actions speak for themselves. Let the truth come out by itself. Bit my tongue upon being questioned. The sad but true reality is that if I hadn't bent over backwards to please them, I could've had them taken away. Even though I was the one who foolishly made first contact!! Let this be a warning to anyone who thinks it could never happen to them.
If you want to learn more about my story, read this! :) https://steemit.com/family/@snowpea/wedding-day
Love, snowpea ❤😘🙂🌸