Thursday, May 29, 2008

The Story of Joseph - Investigation and Vindication

The day after Jesse and I took Daniel back to the Children's home Dippy came by our apartment to pick up his clothes. When I gave her his things she was surprised at how much stuff there was. "I didn't know Angela brought you this much stuff" she said.


"Angela said she had to bring you stuff for Daniel to wear because you didn't have anything for him. That was one of her complaints when she kept calling me."

I knew there was no point in pointing out that she could have just asked me about this and gotten the real story so instead I just explained that no, Angela had never given us a single thing for Daniel and that everything he had we had bought for him. As Dippy left my apartment she had an odd look on her face and I would like to think that maybe she realized that she had made a mistake in the way that she had handled things. I'll never know though because I never spoke to her again.

Waiting for the investigation was odd. I wanted to get another placement but we couldn't do anything until the complaint against us (or rather, me) was checked out. On one had I was eager for the investigation because I was so sure that I had done nothing wrong and I wanted to tell people that and on the other hand I dreaded it because I didn't really have a lot of faith in the system working like it should.

About a week after Daniel left I got a phone call from a woman named Brenda. She told me she needed to come by my house and talk with me a bit about Daniel. She reassured me that it would only be a short visit and that even though she would have someone from the police department with her they would only be coming by to talk and nothing more. We set a time for them to come by the next afternoon.

When Brenda and the police woman showed up the next day I was a nervous wreck. I had been up very late the night before cleaning every square inch of the apartment. At 3 AM I had found myself thinking things like "If they look in my closets and see that my towels aren't folded neatly they'll think I'm a child abuser!"

I liked the two women right away. Something in their manner let me know that they knew what they were doing and that I was in good hands. I felt like they would listen to me. They asked me some questions and made some notes. I've forgotten a lot of what we talked about but what I do remember is that during our conversation the two women kept exchanging odd looks. I wondered what that was all about.

Brenda asked me to describe Daniel to her. I kind of laughed as I talked about how demanding he was and how he constantly had to be held and bounced. I said that in spite of how sick he was he was still a very happy baby. And then, stupidly, I started to cry. I don't even know why. As I sniffled and snorted Brenda reached over and gently put her hand on mine. "Jennifer" she said "we know those weren't bruises on Daniel's bottom. We're only here because we have to follow protocol but everyone involved with this case knows it's a waste of time."

She went on to explain how Angela had called countless people in Child Protective Services demanding that I be investigated and charged. (Just me, not Jesse. For some reason he was never involved in this whole things. As far as I can remember no one even asked him one question. Not that he would have ever hurt Daniel but it always seemed odd to me that everything was focused on me right from the start.) As Brenda explained it to me Dippy had set the wheels in motion when she had Daniel removed from our home. Once he was removed Angela had the ammunition she needed. She called higher ups in the CPS department and said that he child had been removed from his foster home and she wanted the foster mother investigated. The higher ups knew nothing about the case other than what she told them and eventually she came across someone who took her seriously and got the investigation going. It didn't even matter that a doctor who saw Daniel the day we took him to the Children's Home said that there was no way those marks were bruises. It was a great big circle on misinformation and Angela and Dippy were right in the center of it all.

I didn't even care. I was so relieved. The police woman told me that she dealt with cases all the time where terrible abuses by parents were ignored and that she felt so bad that I had been dragged into something so stupid. I didn't want her to feel bad for me but I was pleased to hear that she and Brenda recognized how stupid this whole situation was.

As they left my apartment Brenda promised me that she would be calling me very soon with the final results of the "investigation". When she called me two days later to inform me that the investigation was closed and they they had found no wrong doing I was on cloud nine. "You can get another placement now if you want." she said.

The second I got off the phone with Brenda I called our placement worker and said "Who have you got for me?" I could have never dreamt that making that phone call, at that very moment, would lead me to my son.


Robin said...

I found your blog a couple of weeks ago...and I am loving your story about Joseph. Seeing that you have a son named Joseph...I am a sucker for happy endings, and can't wait to read more!

shyestviolet said...

hurrah! enter joseph!

Sheila said...

this is only my second visit to your blog, and I must admit that I did not study your background the first time. Your story is an amazing one, and I cannot wait to hear more!

Cathy said... exciting.

Laggin said...

YEAH!!! The system has been slightly redeemed.

Jen said...

robin - Thank you for "tuning in". I promise that the happy ending is coming but there's a little more drama to be had first.

shyestviolet - Hurrah indeed.

sheila - Don't be fooled by my interesting foster parenting stories. In real life I'm pretty dull.

cathy - It is exciting! I'm looking forward to telling it all.

laggin - Slightly. It's still pretty messed up. But there are good people in it so that counts for something.

Sam said...

Amazing. I'm glad that out of all the crap you ended up with Joseph.

Radiomom Rhetoric said...

I'm still reading!! You have a great writing style. I keep checking.......

nell said...

I really think that once you're done writing the whole story you should go back and put it together as a complete essay. It's an amazing story, and one that I think a lot of people would love to read. You rock.