January 2014

The phone rang. A local number. After spending five days in the psychiatric department I knew the phone calls would be pouring in. Setting up the services that will never come through. The hopeful voices that would turn the sympathetic rejection. It always started, “we have a referal for your daughter.” After a brief history of diagnosis and life. The caller would drop in tone. We are sorry. She is non verbal. We do not….I learned to save the caller the agony of trying to stumble through the rest of this awkward conversation. I picked the phone up. “Hi! We received a call from St. Joseph’s. I am from DCF. Seems like you are having a hard time. The discharge nurse said you refused a safety plan.” I took a deep breath in. I am so sick of repeating this story. Yes. They wanted to prescribe a strong antipsychotic. She is non verbal. Psychiatrist will not take her. She cannot tell you her symptoms. She has the mentality of a three year old. We have done one stint in an out of state hospital. She attacked a teacher. Another deep breath….but not from me.

Here are your options..the woman speaks stern. She has been in and out of hospitals. Reports from school. Either you find a group home or foster care. I will be in for a home visit Monday. I said, “anything you can do to help me I would appreciate.” I hung up the phone. I would learn to regret those words. Those words would haunt the rest of my life…..

The weekend progressed. Nervously awaiting Monday. Monday came. The DCF worker came. Trampling through the home. Questioning our ability to feed, house. I had been looking for homes. They are all being shut down, but had hope for one. As she went over our background. She remarked on our appearance of home. Not many decorations. Everything is low stimulation. Anything can be a weapon here. She has no clue. Before she came we had to take the radiator covers off to ensure she hadn’t stuffed her pull ups in there. Clean the piss from under there. Wipe the morning feces smears from the closet. Try and make the scratch marks on the wood look less like she was held captive and more like a 9 year old girl’s bedroom. With just a mattress on the floor. Windows covered to ensure she doesn’t break them. Alarms on the door. The lock reversed. You would think we were the Gacey family. Everything seemed ok. I am hoping she can get the help she so desperately needs. The questions. Well insurance only allows. This Dr can’t. No they can’t provide. She seemed to have sympathy for the situation. I continued to work on finding a place. The schools were overburdened. The doctors couldn’t help. The hospitals cannot treat. Another call. “Hi! We are inviting you to a considered removal meeting.” Shocked. I said, “removal?” My eyes welling up. The man chuckled, “I hate that name. I personally petitioned the department to have it changed.” “They will be soon.” He explained that the meeting was for all of us and whomever I wanted to help design a plan for her. It didn’t sound like I had much of a choice. So we picked a day. Wednesday. I contacted the school. Who stood behind me as a parent. Days went on per normal. Running back and forth to schools. Trying to live life. The removal meeting day I put together all my files. Ready to see what can be offered. Little did I know this meeting was not about help. This meeting was about building a case. Against me.

I walked in. Sitting at the table. Three social workers. A mediator. The school. Armed and ready to discuss her. A small room. The table filled it up. Tissues and a phone the only thing on table. I sat ready to discuss her. The questions began. How long have you been with your current boyfriend? Do you use alcohol? Is there alcohol in the home? Drug use? What happened in your prior marriage? Are you willing to submit to a drug test? Nothing was about her. Head spinning. The room closing in. Tears falling. But…but….the school told me to take her to the hospital. I only said no because she can’t start powerful drugs and discontinue them. But..I…no. I don’t use drugs. I never have been drunk in my life. My head swirling. Defeated I left with an appointment to pee in a cup at a local drug rehab. We had continued contact. I finally found a home. Ready for her. Packing bags. I notified DCF.. She wanted to meet beforehand. On the way there. So I agreed. Off we went. I met with her. She responded, “I have an order.” “She is coming with us.” You can follow if you like. She grasps her shoulder. You will have full access to her. I promise. We have no intentions of taking her younger brother. I can call the police if I need to. We don’t need the police involved do we? No. No we don’t. Everytime the police come. A neighbor calling because of the screaming they manhandle her. They startle her. They scream at me. No we don’t need the police. So I follow. Like the good soldier I am. The compliant one. I ollow. She speeds off. I know I need to go the speed limit. She will use it against me. I knew this was now a me vs. the state. She sped off. I lose her. I start calling feverishly. Leaving voice mails on her cell phone. Nothing. Defeated I go home.

My head is spinning. Not sure what just happened. Saturday and Sunday become one big blur. Monday approaches. I pull myself out of the bed. I get up with my son. As we were preparing to get ready for the bus he innocently looks up, “it’s quieter without her.” Immediately he looked guilty. “I miss her though.” I quietly smiled. I drove him to school. I went back home. Everything seemed so off. My vision was faded. It felt like a fog. A week went by with no contact. I was getting very worried. This doesn’t seem real. I would have full access. Why would they lie to me?

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