Thursday, May 31, 2012

What can Words Do?? (Part Two)

I have waited until receiving the proper confirmation in the mail before blogging about this matter.  I received that paperwork today.  I have prayed about this and tried to think about how to share this information without pointing fingers or letting any angry words take over the point I want to make.

Here goes...

I was reported to Children and Youth Services for possible neglect and/or other concerns regarding my twins Caleb and Isaac.

8:25 am May 1st, 2012.  I had just gotten Camille and Elijah off to school.  The twins were playing in their playroom still in their morning diapers.  Both boys were really suffering from a sinus infection that they so graciously decided to share with their mama.  I was very hoarse this morning and not at all feeling well.   I was fixing my morning coffee when I hear a knock at my door?? As my mind starts wondering who was knocking at my door at such an hour, I start chuckling thinking that Camille and Elijah missed the bus and were trying to be funny to ask for a ride to school.  As I approach the door, still in my morning attire, I see a young man with a name tag on a lanyard hanging around his neck.  Puzzled I open the door and ask "May I help you?" to which he answers "I am so in so from CYS, I need to come in your home."

I was very curious what would have made a CYS representative come to my home so bright and early in the morning.  I was wondering if it may have been due to an incident that recently happened with another family member and he was wanting my statement.  As we approached my kitchen island he set his books down and opened his paperwork.  Curiosity really had me now.

"He stated that we have been reported for two different issues.  The first was neglecting medical treatment for my twins and concern that I had sent them to school with pink eye.  He also went on to state the second issue was that it was reported that we have SEVERAL dogs in our home pooping on the floor.  We have two children with Down Syndrome living in our home who may not know that dog poop was unsafe and were known to eat off our floors.  There was concern for their health."

When I heard these allegations, I immediately starting wondering who in the world would have done this to us.  I was literally in shock.  The CYS case manager had several papers for me to sign and then he had to check the welfare of the twins.  They were both their dirty diapers... sick and congested in the play room.. UGH!!!  Then the case worker stated that he had to look in our refrigerator to make sure there was adequate food in there for our children and then he had to look at the children's bedrooms.  I complied with all of his requests and tried to wear a friendly smile.  He stated that the issue of dog poop all over the house was going to be closed immediately because he did not see any at all upon his visit.  He would then go ahead and call the doctors office and maybe the agency that our TSS workers are from to see if they had any concerns.  He was very nice and handled everything in a very nice, calm professional manner.  I bid him goodbye and it was then that the personal anguish began.  After I had some time to really think about this.

As I sat there allowing my mind to wonder... my feelings became more and MORE hurt.  I began to cry realizing that someone out there really thought that I was not a good parent.  Someone out there really thought that we were neglecting our children.  Someone out there really thought that I would actually do something to jeopardize my children's health.

I had just taken my twins to the doctors a week prior to this visit from CYS, as I too suspected they may have they may have had pink eye.  I was assured that it was a bacterial form of pink eye and was not contagious.  There really wasn't much we could do about it but keep them cleaned off.  Doctor prescribed an eye drop to try to put in, but doc and I both knew I would probably not be able to get these drops in because of their sensory issues.   They DO NOT like things put their their mouth, ears or eyes.   I was told that if I could not get drops in to just be sure to wipe their eyes with a warm wash cloth in the morning to get their eyes open and cleaned up.  I did this daily.

The second issue stated that we had SEVERAL dogs in our home?? I have a little tiny black pug named tiny pug.  And I will confess that Rosco still has accidents in the house.  Daily??.. No! A few times a week??  Yes.  I pick up the accidents promptly, I disinfect and make sure the area is clean.  Where does Rosco frequently have his accidents?? In the boys and girls bedrooms, because my inlaws who used to live in our house before us had a dog who also had accidents in these rooms.  It happens, I don't like it, but it does and we clean up after the dog.  We DO NOT feed the twins off of the floor in their bedroom.

Let me explain how we "feed off the floor"..  The twins are getting so much better with self feeding.  They are starting to use utensils, they are starting to eat a bowl of cereal at the table and not throw the bowl before finishing it all, they are transitioning very well to sitting and eating as a family.  Before this they would not eat out of a  bowl, they would not eat on a plate, they would not eat anything out of a bag.  When they wanted their cereal or popcorn, I would offer it in a bowl... 100% of the time, they dumped their food on the floor.  I attempted several times to have them pick it up and eat it out of the bowl.  They down right refused.... I opted to have them eat verses fight with them each time with the result of them not eating.  Today this still happens but NEVER EVER in a spot that the dog may have had an accident in.  They are not allowed food in their bedroom and honestly have never even tried to eat in there.

I almost feel like I am making excuses as I type but I am just trying to set the stage for my feelings and my blog post.

Words can and do HURT!!

Words can and do make one feel like they are not doing a good job!!

Words can and do make one feel as if every action is judged and critical judgement at that.

I do know who made the report.  I do not know why this person felt that the "alleged neglect" was enough to report our family to a county children and youth service to come in and investigate us.  This person knows our family and has been in our home.  This person knows how much I do for my children, both educationally and medically.  This person knows the challenges I face, yet the intense love that I feel for each and every child in my home.  This person also knows where my husband and I both work.... these allegations could have hurt both of our careers.   (I am not implying that people with good careers do not do wrong!)

What this person does not know...  we call the doctors office so much for our boys they know us by name, the doctors office appreciates our input and suggestions on things to do with and for the boys,  we travel to Pittsburgh so many times a year to make sure the medical attention our boys receive is what they need (this is 2 1/2 hour one way and difficult to do so often, but we do it), we have worked SO HARD with our boys to get them to where they are today, we have advocated for fair treatment of our boys and have put their faces out wherever and whenever we can to promote acceptance, we have gone above and beyond with our time and patience to be good parents to all five children.  We know and understand that raising identical twins with multiple disabilities is a challenge.  Its a challenge that my husband and I have fully accepted, but it is also a challenge that no one has ever written a rule book on or even instructions on... We are not perfect, we are not trying to be.. But one thing that I can say for sure is that I fully rely on our Dear and Precious Lord to guide us and give us wisdom that we can find no other place.  It is with that wisdom I have chosen to pray for this person who made the call to CYS.  It is with this wisdom that I have shared my story with my church members and have asked for their prayers and advice.  It is with this wisdom that I will allow this situation to make me grow, to educate, to advocate even more than before.

So if you have read this far...Thank You.. If you have not read What can Words Do?? (Part One) please do.  I also welcome constructive comments on what would you do in this position?

Why am I blogging about this?? Because if I can just teach one person that before you do something so hurtful, so judgmental to someone.... PLEASE if the children are not in immediate danger, call the family.  State that you have a concern, hear their reply before calling a county agency to come in and investigate.  If this person would have just given me the courtesy of a phone call.... I could have explained that I already had them to doctors, that we do not have several dogs and my children are safe.. Not to mention... this person DOES NOT EVEN COME INTO MY HOME... how did this person feel obligated to report health and welfare concerns when they don't even come into my home.  I have TSS staff who come into my home almost daily, who are mandated reporters, and they did not feel the need to make report.  Instead, we WORK on the issues, they state any concerns and we actively work on fixing them.  I am just saddened that this person does not feel like I am approachable.  I would think that I am probably one of the most approachable people I know, or at least I really try to be.

I am also blogging because I forgive this person.  I wish I knew the motives or the outcome the person was hoping for and expecting to come about.  The paperwork has came back "unfounded" and "case closed", but the hurt feelings will last on and the accusations have made an imprint on my heart.

What have I done???
I have not contacted person yet, but am thinking of the contacting supervisor.  I have pulled them out of their preschool for the rest of the year and I am not sending them to summer school.  I can not honestly send them without feeling we are being observed in a critical way.  Any other suggestions??


Jackie Dixon said...

You are one of the best mothers I know and this infuriates me.
For you to forgive her shows just what kind of character you have. I probably would not have been able to do that.
You are amazing Stacy, and I have often thought and wished that I could be just half the mother that you are.
Love you all--------Jackie

Lisa (DanielsMommy) said...

I really don't know what to say to this except you are full of grace to be able to maintain your composure. I have never had the pleasure of meeting you in person...but we got our initiation into the Ds club around the same time. I have 'known' you for what 6 years now? All the time we have all spent on downsyn, on FB discussing our concerns worries milestones, struggles can tell you are 110% invested in ALL of your children....especially your dear twins. I am so happy you were able to maintain your composure....cause many would have lashed back and made things worse. YOu did an amazing job...and I wish I could do or say something to help your heart that must be hurting. If whomever reported you is reading this........maybe a helping hand or a kind ear would have been more appropriate than a call to CPS. Shame on the person who judged without knowing the whole story....or made assumptions without knowing the fact. Hugs Stacy!!!!

Heidi said...

Our boys wouldn't be who they are if you were not good parents. It is easy to see that they are well cared for and from day 1 you and Tom have been amazing with them. I am upset that someone would even accuse you of this because no one that isn't close to you doesn't have a clue what you have and continue to do to care for them. You are great parents! I am sorry someone was so ignorant!! We love you!! You are a great mama and don't let anyone make you feel any different! You were given those beautiful boys because God knew that you and Tom would give them an amazing life and thus far you have!!

Farmer's Wife said...

Stacy, my heart breaks for you to have to go through this. I know on a deep level what it is like for someone to go through this. My parents experienced something like this long ago and still have not recovered. I admire your forgiveness, and I love the fact that you stressed so much that you need to talk to people, not call authorities. You are a wonderful person, friend, and an AMAZING mother!!! You are loved by many - I hope you know that. I will be praying for you girl!

Vicky P. said...

All I can say is WOW! It is hard to believe that anyone who knows you could do that. You are such an amazing person & Mother! You are a wonderful Mother to all of your kids, but especially to Caleb & Isaac. They are so lucky & blessed that God gave them to you. I am so sorry that this person hurt you & caused you to doubt yourself. The fact that you are able to forgive this person shows your true character, and I admire you so much! I know that officially this is over, but it will take a long time for you to let it go. Just know that there are many, many, many friends who love & supprt you!

Beth L said...

As an acquaintance of yours since high school, and someone who has been to your home within the last year (when you were down and out with your knee), I find it hard to believe anyone would make those kinds of alegations.
As someone who works with kids, I find it nearly appaalling that someone would take those kinds of allegations to the authorities, when it is so easy to see your kids come first, and you take good care of them! You would not go to such lengths to find the best treatment for them, ony to turn around and leave them in unsafe conditions! That does not make any sense, any way you look at it! I only wish we had the kind of facility where I work that would benefit the boys, as I hate to see them miss out on summer school. Know that anyone who knows you well, knows how much you love those your family and they come first!!

Denny Bonavita said...

OK so as I understand it, the upshot is the dog-poop issue is closed, a non-issue, and the doctor claim will be closed as soon as it's verified. So some idiot made a false claim. This is what's hard about America; idiots have a right to live, too. But as I read this, the system worked the way it's supposed to work. Anybody can claim anything about anybody at any time.
Sure, it hurts -- just as it hurt when a woman saw me pulling Greg's hair in the mall. We used hair-pulling so Greg, 4 years older than his sister, wouldn't even go to hitting. I never heard of a sister being killed or hurt by hair-pulling, and she screamed like a banshee whenever Greg did it, so we could intervene. But this woman yelled at me. That hurt then, too. Goes with the territory.
YOU know who you are. So do we.
Hold your head up.

Anonymous said...

This makes me so sad. Although I haven't met you in real life, I have no doubt that you're an exceptional mother. Perfect? No, but who is? I hope whomever called you in realizes what a mistake it was. You seem to be handling this with grace, which is another example of the person you are.

Amy Flege said...

all I can say is "wow, are you kidding me?"
hang in their stacy...we all know how great of a mama you are!!

Anonymous said...


I cannot believe this! Speaking as someone who has been around you and your family countless times, and has seen just what a wonderful mother and person you are---I don't understand how someone could even think to report you to CYS. I'm totally baffled. This couldn't have been someone that you knew well or someone that has been in your home. Had it been someone that actually spent more than 5 minutes with you would have seen what a fantastic and patient parent you are. I'm willing to bet this is also someone who is not educated on or around children with special needs. I cannot imagine how hard your job is as a parent of 5 children...Especially with two twin boys with special needs. However, you never act like it's hard work. You always are so energetic and positive!
I also want to mention that about half of our phone conversations have taken place in a hospital or doctors office.
Someone should be more than ashamed. You ARE a great person who did not deserve this.

Molly O'Bryon-Welpott said...

I am just catching up on the blog reading and this makes me so sad. I don't understand how anyone that knows your family could not know that you put your twins ahead of everything else. Thank God you have a relationship with the Lord and can lean on him in this puzzling journey. I have seen children who are not taken care of, being neglected and seems nothing changes for those kids. I also have heard that they usually call first which gives people a heads up. I have to agree with Denny there is a positive to this, to know that someone is actually taking their job seriously and putting kids first. I just can't believe someone would be so bold and abusive to you and our system to make false accusations. You are an inspiration and a testimony, walking and breathing. Hang in there, we all love you and I will be praying for you:)