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This is long and difficult to read in one sitting but this exactly describes the state of our Child Protective Services in Michigan and across the country. I believe that Ottawa County is one of the worst based on being put through the ringer by their family court/Friend of the Court. We need to step in and hold these horrible child abusers accountable!
THE FIA GAME
Many citizens in our great State of Michigan are unaware of Michigan’s dirty little secret that falls under the guise of the Child Abuse and Child Welfare Protection Laws. The advertisements and literature surrounding this area seem to be doing a magnificent thing for the children of our state. We have been led to believe that the State of Michigan is saving thousands of children from severe physical abuse and neglect. This is far from the truth. The truth is that this campaign is a giant money machine fueled by abuse of power of supervisors and case service workers employed by the Michigan Department of Family Independence Agency and private agencies that have contracted with FIA that we the taxpayers are paying dearly for through our hard-earned tax dollars. Basically, it is “make work by creating a case and keep your job or contract with the state…
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When I was first divorced, I wondered how I would handle everything on my own. I was a stay-at-home/homeschooling mother to two boys who were only 5 and 7 years old. I tried to stay in a marriage with an alcoholic/drug addict for as long as I could but it became so unhealthy and unsafe, we had to leave. Over the next couple years, my whole identity would change. We would move out of our beautiful home into a new community, they would start school, I would begin working and not seeing them as much, I started dating (!!!) and even our dog died. We were the epitome of every sad country song!
Except for every other weekend, I do all the parenting, all the driving (The car lines…what is wrong with all the parents who cannot drive in the carlines?!), all the homework, all the doctors visits. I’ve been working and going back to school full time all while being both mother and father with little to no break. I want to be tender with them when I have to be tough. I bear the brunt of their meltdowns, their fighting, their incessant burping and farting…so. much. flatulence!!!! Some days it’s just too much and I lose it. I think to myself, “That’s it! This is the moment they will forever remember as the day that I’ve screwed them up for good!”
And then we wake up the next morning. These wonderful, smart, witty boys tiptoe in my room asking if it’s safe to come in. They snuggle in next to me and tell me how sorry they are for yesterday and bring me breakfast that is made with love but not much flavor. Through welled up eyes, I will flush it down the toilet when they’re not looking and tell them how delicious it was. I don’t deserve such grace from these young men who have seen and endured so much already. And in the midst of our gracefulMess, I realize that I wouldn’t trade a thing! My sweet, soft babies are turning into big, hairy, stinky young men. They have compassion and smarts that are beyond their years. And I am beyond lucky to be their mom!
I’ve experienced many of the after affects that are discussed in this article during my recovery from abuse. Unfortunately, the abuse is allowed to continue through family court. Financial abuse and verbal attacks in front of my children are the norm in my case and most others. I’ve found my voice and try to fight back with truth, but the court doesn’t take kindly to parents who stand up for justice for their kids.
Please do what you can to support the women who’ve been through the shiz. I know it’s difficult to talk about and you don’t know what to say when she shares her struggles. But just a phone call can make all the difference in her broken world.
It’s been a year since I started this blog. Although it’s a slow process for me right now, the message of domestic violence must be told. Many women, just like I, are not not protected (especially by those with the power to do so) This is my story. I hope by starting the story, I can help. If you find yourself in a similar situation, please reach out to me and I will help you the best I can.
It was five years ago right now…my soon-to-be ex-husband was being removed from our home by the police. My two boys, then 4 and 7, were running around, literally in circles, and then were frantically trying to pick up their toys and make the house look nice, “so daddy will come back and see what good boys we are!” The worst day of our lives. My babies heard everything that happened in my bedroom that day, despite my pleas for them to go in the office and lock the door. When I got away from him, I grabbed my phone and saw those two precious faces, standing just outside the door, hand-in-hand in the hallway, eyes wider than I’d ever seen them. I grabbed them and we locked ourselves in the office until the police officer came.
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You call it seasonal depression. I’ll call it winter sucking the life out of me by giving me hairy, scruffy, scaly legs like a crocodile; chilled-to-the-bone achy joints; a red, splotchy, flaking, scabious face that hurts just to go outside to my car; and feet that cannot maintain a pedicure and cuts through my socks and slices the carpet like a box cutter! OK…maybe the hairy part is on me. :o/
It’s been a while since I’ve been able to get my thoughts together here. And for those who’ve prayed for us, I will write about our hearing soon. It’s been a couple of weeks of just trying to heal from the fear of possible jail time. Each time I go back to court, you’d think it would get easier. It doesn’t. I should have some kind of honorary law degree by now. Maybe another girl scout badge at the very least!
I’m beginning to resurface and in many ways, I feel like a completely new person. I’ve allowed myself to dream again and to look at a completely different path for us. There are a few dreams that I should know better than to allow myself to have right now. And for that, I will try not to beat myself up for right now. We’ll focus on the One who has brought us this far! I’m now strong enough to run again…well, we’ll use that term loosely as I still struggle with the sludge-in-my-veins anemia issue. But I’m moving forward and getting artsy again. I think we just might be seeing some light at the end of the tunnel. And this…this makes me smile!
Show grace for yourself if you’re moving through gracefulMess. More importantly, show grace for others, knowing that they may be moving through their own gracefulMess that you know nothing about.
I have such sweet and compassionate boys! Last night, my 10 year old and I were home while my 12 year old was at youth group. He was supposed to be working on his “Walter Chrysler” project as I was filling out FAFSA forms online for going back to school. I kid you not, he was sharing a new fact like every 30 seconds. My attention span is that of a gnat these days. (You thought pregnancy brain was bad – try single-mom brain!) I started getting a little irritated after about 15 minutes of this and snapped at him to pipe down and work on his project quietly. Out came the lippy and big crocodile tears. I immediately felt terrible. He gets so excited when he learns new things and these are the moments I love most about motherhood. He just wanted to connect with his mom because he was finding out all sorts of new things that I just had to know, too. So I stepped away from my computer and pulled him on my lap and let him show me what he had done so far. Five minutes. That’s all he wanted. Five. Flippin’. Minutes.
As I was trying to fall asleep, I kept racking my brain as to why it was so hard for me to give up those five minutes. I gave myself a little bit of grace as I recounted all that happened in my day. I work next to a person who has a running commentary of every negative thing that happens in her day. It is almost constant. Things like a number put in the wrong cell on a spreadsheet are animatedly narrated as, “Look at this! Can you believe how STUPID people are?! It’s supposed to be in this column and they put it HERE! UGH!” And heaven forbid someone come to our facility when they are looking to deliver something to one of our other four facilities in the same square mile. Not only do we hear the conversation first-hand, we get to hear it retold at 95 decibels about how stupid they were to not read a map. This affects the entire atmosphere for everyone as there is nowhere to run! I literally put in earplugs yesterday (hidden by my hair so I didn’t get in trouble) so that I could drown it out and concentrate to get my month-end work done. And an added bonus to my workplace is that almost every single person would’ve been fired at any other company for sexual harassment or their foul language. This really plays a huge role in attitude that spills over into the rest of my life.
On the way home, I received a call from the Friend of the Court. At this point I’m not even trying to be friendly with them. I’m calling them out on every single lie that they tell and they hate my guts. I kinda lost my cool when I asked Jason, who answered the phone, to verify that my fax had gone through. He told me it was their policy that they don’t do that. I questioned why and it was because it’s on the other side of the office but they have a high-tech fax that will send you a receipt if it went through. Explaining that I did not receive one but it was critical that they receive this additional information so that I DON’T GO TO JAIL, he still explained this policy again. Then my case-worker called with a bunch more BS that I called HIM out on. So by the time I got home, I was a little raw to say the least.
I’m making some big changes as this current life is just not working for us. Am I the mom I want to be? Nope! My choice to not finish school when I was young has landed me a low-paying job that isn’t ideal for how I’m wired. While explaining some of this to my baby this morning, I apologized again for snapping at him last night. Things will get better soon hopefully. He burst into tears. He could see how hard my life is and felt bad for me because he knows “how bad you just want to be home with us.” This breaks my heart but I’m so proud of both of them for being able to see outside of themselves and feel for others. God has given me a couple amazing boys! I’m one lucky momma!