Monday, September 8, 2008

Meddling People

Just as I feared, it happened this morning-- a visit from Child Protective Services.

The morning began as it always does, our usual doings as we wake up and start the day. I was sitting in the living room nursing the baby and the girls were playing with their Barbies when Hubby came in and told me there was a guy here from Child Protective Services (CPS), here to see the baby, on a report from the doctor.

The pediatrician called the Department of Health on us, because we refused to take the baby to the hospital to be tested and because we didn't follow his orders of feeding the baby formula 7 times a day.

The worker from CPS and my husband and I sat down at the dining table and we began to talk. He asked us about the baby and we explained what happened at the doctor's office. I told how he turned his back on me when he knew I was deaf and the worker made a face and said that was rude. We said that we tried to explain the history of our other children and the doctor didn't want to listen and when he wanted to take the baby to the hospital for testing, he didn't say for what. I explained that I didn't feel comfortable with the pediatrician and that we were going to check out 3 other doctors here in town.

We also told the worker about the ob/gyn doctor that broke my water without my permission and he was shocked at what we said. Medicaid has been both a blessing and a curse. A blessing because we can relax a little knowing that should one of our children get hurt, they will be covered and we don't go into debt paying doctor bills. A curse because it seems to bring out the worst doctors or at least bring out the worst in doctors. I only get to pick doctors that accept medicaid and even then, it seems like they look at you like you are insignificant or are taking advantage of the system and getting free health care or welfare or anything. That's what it seems like to me.

While we were talking to the CPS worker, my eye started to see the mess in my home, the toys scattered here and there, the pile of papers on the countertop that seems to be the catch-all for all papers that enter through our doors. The crumbs on the table and floor from last nights' dinner, the dishes in the sink and on the counter that have not yet been washed... I apologized for the mess, trying to say that with a baby and 3 kids, well, kind of hard to keep up. He shook his head and said "You should see my house". I still can't help but think he might have said that but wrote something else in his file.

I started to cry a little and I was upset at what was going on. In my house, was a CPS worker, checking up on my baby. All the worse-case scenarios started running through my head. The worker assured us that there would probably be no more visits and this is the last we hear from him, provided we contact them after we make an appointment with another doctor and let them know how it went. He said he has seen far worse homes with babies left in the cribs and no care or attention to them. After talking with us for about 40 minutes, he left.

The husband and I are furious, upset, angry, frustrated, disappointed... I never imagined that there would be a CPS worker in my own home inquiring me about my own children. Now our names are in the system and on file and should anything ever pop up, a red flag will come up because some idiot doctor reported us to CPS for neglect. It's enough to make me want to pack up our stuff, sell the house and move to somewhere new and begin fresh.

It really makes my husband and I both angry when we take our jobs as parents seriously and do the best we can to provide for them, with what little we have, and then some idiot out there has to go and make things harder for us. I don't care if the CPS worker says "this will probably be the last time you hear from us", it doesn't matter, the fact is, we are now a name on their list of reported parents. My husband wonders about calling a lawyer to see what can be done, and all I can think is to go away from here.

Life is hard sometimes and it is made harder when meddling doctors call CPS on us. I now feel like I need to super clean my house and keep it that way at all times, in case there is another surprise visit from CPS. I don't need that hanging on my head. Excuse me while I go outside and scream my head off.


Leslie said...


This whole thing really sucks, but I may have a bit of bright light for you. I also live in WV. I have a friend who is a social worker with the DHHR. I told her a little about your story and she gave me this info. In WV, the state has height/weight/age guidelines that Doctors must follow. It doesn't matter the insurance, private or state funded. If a child does not meet the "standard" for 2 consecutive checkups and is listed "failure to thrive" then CPS must be called. I know that stinks, but that apparently is the gospel. She also said that you refusing to take the baby for additional testing is your decision, and as long as you are caring/feeding/clothing your child (which we all know that you are) then you have nothing to worry about. She encourages you to obtain a report from the CPS worker about what he found in your home. (takes about a week she said). Read that over and if you don't agree with anything in there, such as statements from you or your husband, then you can file a response. My niece had trouble gaining weight for the first 10 months of her life and was listed as "failure to thrive". CPS was called on her mother as well, and she does not have medicaid. After further review, her baby has celiac disease, which leaves her unable to process the nutrients in wheat and gluten, which she was getting through the breast. I encourage you to find a doctor that will sit down and explain all suggested testing and options. You are a great Mom, and I wish you only good luck and good doctors in the future!

sufferingsummer said...

Oh Jenny I'm so very sorry.
I can tell you from what my Dad has told me that your house probably looked like the happiest healthiest sanctuary ever comparatively. He's told me of houses where you almost can't walk through a room due to clutter and the clutter is that of animal feces, dirty diapers and fast food wrappers everywhere. He's seen children who have clearly been left in the same diaper for days or aren't dressed at all. I'm sure it was a formality for CPS to come out, they are all just doing their jobs as sometimes messed up as that may seem. I would follow up with getting a copy of the report because it may actually make you feel better about how this CPS worker viewed your situation. I just try and remember that it is better to ere on the side of caution and that is probably why that stipulation is in place of calling CPS. Though it is clearly out of line in your situation it may save a child's life in another.
I'm so sorry your family had to be put through that.

barefoot gardener said...

Oh, Jenny!

((((((((((((((BIG HUGS)))))))))))))

I am so sorry this happened to you. I can just imagine how hurt, angry, and scared you were to see that CPS worker at your door.

I agree with everything already said....the guy was just doing his job, and I am sure that your home (though comfortably cluttered) was MUCH better than some of the homes he has seen before. That is why they do surprise visits, to see you at your (normal) worst. It is not expected that your home be perfect. I am sure that what he saw was not a mess, but evidence of a busy and loving home.

I know this is hard, and I wish there was something I could do to make things easier for you. Just know we are all here to support you and listen whenever you need to vent a bit....

K.L. said...

What a nasty mess. We all know you are a great mother, and I wouldn't be surprised to see the CPS report come back as very positive. In any case, find a better doctor soon, and follow up. You know in your heart that your baby is fine, but there might be food intolerances that he has to something you are eating. Chances are though, that it is just like your older child, and he is just taking his own sweet time to get bigger.

Deb Ann said...

I'm sorry about what happened. I can tell that you're a great mom,and I want to let you know that I read your blogs from time to time. You got great supports from them in their comments.
I'm sure that you and your husband are going to get another doctor. Maybe you could ask your deaf friends around about which good doctor you choose.

Hugs to you!
Deb Ann

Paul & Jesi May said...

Hi Jenny, u may not remember me but we went to high school together.

Anyway, I wanted to tell you that I completely agree with sympathized your situations. I faced somewhat a different situations but resulted a cps report as well..I do not know your state law but according to AZ law, once a report is made, it is not a permanent thing. It is being lifted into "probational" state for 3 yrs and it will be long no one else made another report and the cps has no reason to follow up. I hated that so much and i literally cried my heart out becuz I believe I am a good mom and strong believer of breast feeding method and don't deserved to be reported on at all. It happened but now we are no longer named in the list becuz it has been more than 3 yrs...what I would suggest you to do is find out how long ur name will be in the file and like ur other friend said, obtain the file from the cpz to make sure it is something you agree with as well.. hell of a work but it'll pay off at the end.

much love and support to you!

Jesi May (formerly Jessica Blair)

LaRonda said...

Dear One,

Your courage to share your story with us in your online Deaf community and their supportive responses simply amaze me. It gives me hope in the kindheartedness in humanity. Even though there is a lot of crap in our lives, there is still a whole lotta love out there. Know you are loved, dear ones, and that we, here in this Deaf blogosphere, can certainly vouch for what incredible parents you both are to your children. Hands down, you are one of the most devoted and child-focused parents around!

We love you and we know who you really are. Do what needs to be done to get this squared away so you can go on with your lives.

~ LaRonda

Wendy said...

Omigod! That is so awful. I would be so angry, and that doctor .... Makes me want to go outside and scream with you!

As for your house ... I'd show you pictures of mine, but I'm too embarrassed. It's all what you described of yours, plus toys and clean clothes (some folded and some not) all over the living room, the vacuum in the middle of my "office", the bike with no place to be parked but next to a bookshelf, papers strewn everywhere, the hearth half smashed up (because we're replacing our woodstove and hearth and we have to break up the old concrete one :). Our dining room table is our catch-all, and we have to just move stuff out of the way so that we can eat at it ... which we do ... eat at it, that is. And dog hair all over the carpets, even though I JUST vacuumed (remember? It's still in the middle of the room :).

As others suggested, get a copy of the report, get a new doctor. Don't run away from your home and the life you've created there. I strongly believe in karma. Just be assured that that doctor will get his ... times three ;).

Patty Keen said...

BIG HUGS to my sweet friend, Jenny.

Times may seem dark and stormy to you now. Always remember behind dark clouds hides a beautiful sunshine.

Right now, you are feeling emotions because you are a Mom. It's so natural and it goes to show how strong you feel and believe in your instincts.

My heart was with you when I read about the CPS worker. Please remember, it is not a bad thing when a CPS worker visits. CPS doesn't maliciously reports a file on parents that loves, feeds, clothes and breast-feeds their children and babies.

CPS wants more of those beautiful parents. I STRONGLY encourage you, my dear friend, to get a copy of the CPS visit. You need to do that for the best interest of your children. It's not just for the baby but for the children.

You and your DH have built a beautiful home with love. We all can see that from your beautiful blog entries.

Full tummies, cute chubby fingers and sibling rivalry all over a baby brother.

Babies grow at their pace when they are good and ready. No babies are the same. Some are chubby, thin, tall, short and all are always cute! You just want to eat them!! I know I do.

Children's Aid Society paid my parents a visit when my sisters and I were little. CAS is the Canadian equivalent of CPS.

We lived in a small apartment and the walls were paper-thin. Being Deaf, we all would run in the hallways, yell, stamp our feet and be oblivious to noise.

The other tenants called CAS on my parents and since they did not know what CAS meant, luckily my aunt was visiting and she intervened when CAS wanted to take my sisters and I for a short time.

It boils down to cultural clashes. Some cultures view breasts as sexual objects when others view breasts as feeding objects.

It's very sad that some parents are punished for what they view as a very natural and holistic approach to feeding. Always remember my dear friend, you and your DH are doing nothing wrong only GOOD to your children.

Do keep faith in yourself and have confidence you are doing GOOD in your family because that's what you have been doing.

Much love,
Patty OXOX

Dianrez said...

Most social workers have seen it long as your kids are loved, nurtured, and well cared for, a messy house won't matter.

It's the health hazards they are worried about...roaches in the food, poop in nonworking toilets, month-old pizza on the table and garbage on the floor, for example.

Just take the worker to heart and realize they are there for the welfare of your children just as you are. Cooperation by telling them of how you are caring for the children, how you are solving problems of bad doctors, how you foresee what is happening with your children, and it will soon be case closed.

They are pleased to be team workers and even more pleased to close cases so they can attend to worse problems. Communication is key.

Thanks for telling your story, it should be required reading for all social workers during their training!

DJ Kirkby said...

Nothing has changed Jenny, nothing! You are both still good parents, the social worker will have seen that! You let him in, you talked, you were feeding your baby, your children were happy, nothing has changed! Sending you a hug.

Lindy said...

Oh Jenny I am so sorry you had to go through that. God Jenny you are a WONDERFUL MOM, I would bet it 100% and I've never even MET you. You're SO devoted and SO caring and SO loving and just... god Jenny I can't think of all the compliments I could give because it's just CRAZY but I hope that I'll be HALF the good mom that you are. I'd be lucky and that's that.

That doctor is an idiot, end of story. You on the other hand are the mom who does EVERYTHING she can to keep her family together, the mom who volunteers, the mom who grows fresh pesticide free food and CANS it like Martha Stewart for gods sake, you're the mom that sit's your girls in a beautiful garden and takes pictures they'll have forever and you're the mom who comes here and writes over and over and over how BLESSED you are to have your family.

I hope you get to feeling better quick, if you already haven't.
BIGGEST HUG EVER (without making you pee!) - XOXOOXXO's - Hor

Karen Mayes said...

Two weeks ago we were paid by CPS on the annoymous report from a school. I won't go into details, but the case was quickly resolved at a "safe" house, seeing that we were a loving, nuturing family and that we were told it would take up to 3 months before we received the final report.

But being visited by CPS is very UPSETTING, no question about it. I support the idea of CPS for the children who are in need, but when it comes to children who are NOT in need... *sigh*.

Sparx said...

Jenny - OMG, I have not been visiting blogs for a while and come to see you... and this?? Leslie's comment at the top here seems to make sense but if it were me, I would be sooooo upset. You're obviously a really great Mum. It's not you, it's the system and if you were were somewhere else it would be different. Over here, I know two babies who never gained the weight they should have - one is still really tiny aged two, but the parents have never been accused of anything. I'm just sick that the doctor treated you so badly - he needs to be on some sort of report for that himself - turning his back on you... shame on the man.