Who cares more about my children? Me, or the Government?
3 weeks ago today my 7 month old daughter woke up from her afternoon nap with a large portion of her head swollen. It was… mushy, not like anything I had felt before, on any of my previous four children. So I immediately called my husband and asked his advice. He said I should try calling our doctor. I hung up and called my mom, a nurse of 30+ years, and described it to her. She also recommended having it looked at. I called my pediatrician, but he was out for the day, so I took her to the emergency room.
A couple of hours and a cat scan later, I was told she had a skull fracture. My husband picked up our four oldest children, and I was transferred with my daughter to the nearest children’s hospital.
(She was, blessedly, fine. No injury to the brain, no side effects. A small crack in the temporal bone that will heal up naturally. We still don’t know how it happened, but the doctors said that with a skull injury the swelling may not occur for several days. We can remember one incident of her falling from a beanbag chair onto tile four days earlier, and can think of nothing else that could have caused such an injury.)
Naturally, because it was a severe injury on a small child, CPS was called. My daughter had to stay overnight in the hospital for observation, but I found out later that the hospital was also waiting for the go ahead from CPS to release me; the hospital would not release us until CPS declared that our home was safe enough for her to return to. Never mind that we’re paying for all that time in the hospital. Never mind that they found the injury to be consistent with an accident and found no other injuries or bruises anywhere on her. While I was in the hospital I received many visits from people trying to determine if my home was safe, the most notable was from a detective and a CPS Special Investigator (separate from the standard CPS investigator who spoke to me). The Detective began his interview by claiming that he was there to determine how the injury had occurred in order to help the doctors best know how to treat my daughter. This is an obvious lie. The medical staff are in the best position to know how to treat my daughter, and they aren’t seeking or taking advice from a detective. He was there to investigate a possible danger to my children, and I can’t express the irony in having him come in and immediately lie to me, while expecting me to be open and honest in return. He also told me he didn’t want me calling my husband (which I did anyway). He requested the phone to speak to my husband and made comments like, “I don’t know if your wife thinks she needs your permission to speak to me,” (because in this world it is inconceivable that a husband and wife would simply be unified and work together against anything that may be threatening their family). The detective also requested that I sign medical release forms for the rest of my children, which I refused to do without talking to my husband, to which he responded, “I can easily get a subpoena for the records.” I don’t know if this is true or not, since medical records are supposed to be confidential and getting a subpoena isn’t supposed to be ‘easy’.
*This conversation was recorded, so the officer’s lie is on record. Not that they would release a copy to me, but I know it exists.
We were told that our big ‘mistake’ was bringing her to the hospital with a head injury and saying we had no idea what caused it. Well, we didn’t have any idea what caused it. She woke up from her nap with swelling on her head and I immediately responded. I had gone through the entire day in my mind, and the previous day, and could think of nothing that had occurred that could have cracked her skull. The doctors didn’t tell us until the following day that swelling from a head injury may not appear for several days. That changes things, right? That makes it a little more reasonable that I might come in and say I don’t know what caused the injury if it could have happened up to a week earlier? It seems like such a statement (we don’t know how it happened) might make sense, instead of being grounds for suspicion.
The following week I was told I had to bring my children into a third party group, “The Center for Child Protection”, where my three verbal children would be interviewed by child psychiatrists, while a detective and CPS agent watched through a one way window. This is in addition to the interviews the CPS agent conducted in our home while I was still at the hospital. My husband was not allowed to attend those interviews either. Upon arrival at the center I was almost immediately separated from my children and kept in a separate room, and not returned to their presence until all the interviews were completed. When I arrived I asked to observe the interviews, and was told no. I said if I couldn’t watch I wanted copies of the interviews afterward, and was told that the recordings would go to the detective, and I could not receive copies unless legal action was taken against us. I insisted on receiving copies, saying that they are my children, it is my responsibility to observe and protect them. When I said I would prefer to not have my children interviewed outside of my purview, the CPS agent responded that if I refused they would get a court order to force the interviews. I tried withholding my signatures on the medical release forms, saying that I would sign the forms once I received copies of the interviews, but she told me that would be viewed as uncooperative and they would go to court to have the medical records released. She kept emphasizing how ‘bad’ it would look for me to be ‘uncooperative’. She also kept saying it was out of her hands. If she told her supervisor that I wasn’t cooperating, her supervisor would be the one to push for legal action and she wouldn’t be able to do anything about it. That’s a bit of telling information there, isn’t it? The woman who interacted with my family, who actually saw my house and spoke with my children, has less control over the situation than the faceless bureaucrat who will push for legal action if they don’t get their way. And I’m supposed to believe that they have my children’s best interests as the motivating factor?
We’re still in the midst of this. My oldest son has to return to the center for his interview this Monday, because they elected to not perform his scheduled interview when I brought all the children in last time. My husband says we need to simply cooperate now, then fight when we’re in a more secure position (once the case is closed). I am sick over the fact that they continue to extract whatever they want from us (signatures, interviews with our children, inspections of our home) by saying they will take us to court any time I indicate any kind of hesitancy. We can lie down and take it, and then they will just do it again to the next person.
I hopeschool, so I also have the added suspicion of how I can possibly deal with being with five children at all times. My case worker seems appalled that I simply take them with me everywhere I go, and keeps asking what I do when I ‘need a break’. Well, my mom did it. Her parents did it. Or maybe not, since 50 years ago people weren’t arrested for leaving children home alone. As my husband put it, this is the result of the feminist perspective that we can’t possibly consider motherhood and childcare a job. My husband works long hours. He doesn’t just decide he ‘needs a break’ and leave work for a couple of hours in the middle of the day. Raising my children is what I do. Which means taking them with me everywhere I go and being with them all day. It would probably be easier to ‘take a break’ if I could send my children outside to play, but I think we know what happens to children found outside alone.
Think on this. What do you think I would do if tomorrow my daughter accidentally fell from her high chair and hit her head? Would I be able to take her to the hospital if I felt the injury merited medical care? Having been threatened with legal action several times due to the severity of this injury, what do you think I would expect to happen should one of my children break a bone or need an emergency room visit in the near future? As their mother I have to protect them from all threats, which means I would need to weigh the possibility of a severe injury against the almost certain possibility of having them taken away from us. So, is all this scrutiny from CPS and the detectives making my children safer?
This is, of course, purely hypthetical. For the record and in writing, of course I would instantly take my child to the best medical care available under any circumstances and irrespective of any other threat. This paragraph is simply something to consider, no government employee should read this and interpret it to mean I would actually make the choice to forgo professional medical care in the face of having my children taken away from their home.
In the end, we’re living in a police state. I thought America, and especially Texas, were free. Instead I find out that taking my child to the hospital with an accidental injury will result in the government deciding it is now up to them to determine if we, the parents, should be allowed to keep our children. The fact is, I care about my children more than CPS does. Weird, right? I love my children, would do anything for them, sacrifice for them on a daily basis, and I think that CPS really doesn’t. When my daughter woke up with an unfamiliar injury I acted immediately. Following the incident my husband and I bought a rug to cover a large portion of the tile in our living room. Huge rugs are expensive. Before we had wanted one for aesthetic reasons, and it wasn’t a priority. After our daughter, presuably, hit her head on the tile, we invested in a rug to minimize the risk of it happening again. We’ve had several talks with our four year old daughter who, understandably, loves her adorable little sister and wants to touch and hold and carry and play with her all the time. We have become much more strict in not allowing her to touch her sister. We’ve discussed other ideas for increasing safety in our home. Because our daughter hurt her head and we really don’t want it to happen again.
And you know what? None of that is the government’s business. It’s not. It just isn’t.
But they think it is. When I mentioned the rug to the CPS agent she got excited, requested a picture (as much as someone who repeatedly threatens legal action ‘requests’ anything), and told me to tell her about any other steps we’re taking because it looks good for our case. So they can determine if the steps we’re taking are good enough. So they can determine if our house is safe enough. So they can determine if our children should be allowed to stay with us. Never mind the fact that abuse rates in the foster care system are about 30%. Or the emotional trauma of being forcibly separated from your parents at all. Of course, I think my case worker would be appalled and say of course they have no intention of taking the children away. They just have to be involved to make sure that we’re improving as parents. (And we have to cooperate, because if we don’t then obviously we have something to hide and then they’ll resort to legal action.) To which I return to, “It’s none of your $@#%& business.” I try every day to be a better parent than I was yesterday, and it’s for me and my children, not to impress some government agency. They are my children. Mine. Mine. (And my husband’s, of course.) And if they are mine, then I should be able to take them to the hospital when they are injured, have the doctors say everything is fine, and move on with my life however I see fit.
I’m writing this because I can’t do nothing. I can’t sit back while they extract cooperation by threatening to ruin our lives if we don’t sign every document and attend every interview they want. I’m writing this because I want a written record stating that I have only complied to these infringements on our privacy due to coercion and threats. The laws need to change. I don’t want others to go through this, and I don’t want to live in fear of what will happen the next time my children are found outside alone or fall and hurt themselves. Parental rights are paramount. Every infringement on parental rights transfers those rights to the government instead.