Saturday, May 23, 2015

War and Peace

We have been so blessed with the outpouring of encouraging emails and words of support that we have gotten since I posted about our experience with CYS.

The day after I posted our story I had 3 different families reach out and tell me their stories of being falsely accused by someone and how they have had to walk through a lot of the same junk we have had to deal with lately.

And the underlining theme that I heard was the something has to change.  People need to be held accountable and we need to fight for our legal rights.

Someone told me about a new law for PA that was passed in January, 2014.  I have been doing a lot of research and have been talking to HSLDA and getting some advice on how we should proceed.

False Reports of Child Abuse Now Illegal

http://www.hslda.org/hs/state/pa/201402200.asp

As of January 1, 2014, intentionally or knowingly making a false report of child abuse is now a misdemeanor of the second degree in Pennsylvania. Approved by Governor Tom Corbett on December 18, 2013, Senate Bill 28 included this provision as part of other revisions to the law prohibiting intimidation, retaliation, and obstruction in child abuse cases. A person convicted of a misdemeanor of the second degree is subject to a fine not to exceed $5,000 and imprisonment of not more than two years.

Prohibiting false reports of child abuse and neglect is one of three legislative proposals Home School Legal Defense Association recommends to decrease the number of unwarranted investigations of homeschooling families. HSLDA also believes that in the case of an anonymous tip, the law should provide that there be corroborating evidence of the alleged abuse or neglect before a full investigation is conducted. No court order for an investigation should be issued on the basis of an anonymous tip. Finally, in order to comply with federal law, each state should adopt the provisions of the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act (CAPTA), which requires social workers to inform the person being investigated of the allegations made against him at the initial time of contact and requires social workers to be trained in protecting the constitutional rights of families during an investigation.

The Pennsylvania Legislature’s action to criminalize false reports of child abuse is a much welcomed step in the right direction, but enactment of additional family protections is needed.

We need wisdom on how to proceed.  I’m soooo tired of fighting for everything.  Every.single.day I fight for some service, some insurance claim, some therapy, something for Josie.

And I’m just weary and tired of it all.

Yet, I want to be an example and help the people that will come behind us and need support when they are falsely accused of child abuse.

So be encouraged that if you find yourself in a situation like ours there has been a law passed to hold those who call accountable.  I’m still researching and learning all the “ins and outs” but I was happy to find this information.

Becuz, folks…hear me when I say it is becoming a real problem.  We can’t live under a rock anymore.  Now that people are “mandatory” reporters, the gov’t agencies have scared everyone into believing that if they don’t report something they could be help accountable.

But unfortunately people aren’t taking the time to find out the “real” story.  They only see a quick snapshot and call.  They aren’t using common sense.

And then add the people who just want to be vindictive and “get back” at someone….and there are A LOT of false claims being made.

Then agencies like Children and Youth are taking the law into their own hands at times and crossing boundaries that are protected by our Constitution.

But I have found peace with the situation and if we pursue legal action it would not be in a vindictive manner. Nor would we do it to “get back” at her. We would only pursue this avenue to help those who come behind us.

I can honestly say that I am no longer angry with our Nurse. I’m hurt that she did this of course.  But I did find out that she lost her job. Not due to her reporting us….but from the things that I was concerned about to begin with.  The negligence on the job and the making false documentation which is a HUGE no-no.

Thank you.

Thank you for your emails and kind thoughts.

Our eyes have been opened and we will have to “do life” around here a bit differently.

But we will make it.

We have a family who have graciously agreed to help us with some respite care for Josie.  That has been a HUGE blessing and has allowed some healing and rest to occur.

And God will provide what we need…..He always has and we trust that He won’t leave us now.

 

 

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Mother of the Year??

So this is a hard and honest post to write but I feel our story needs to be shared.

I have been accused of child abuse. 

Ok, medically neglecting Josie would be the “technical” charge.

(Don’t fall off your chair with laughter now! If you have followed our blog for any length of time you know how preposterous this sounds.)

It is time for the truth to be told and for me to share what I have learned and hopefully be a warning to those of you reading this.

(NOW before you start….please read the entire post…don’t skim and read the highlighted blue articles also!! Thanks!)

Back on March 3rd, I called our nursing company to report that one of our nurses was not doing her job properly.  She was not stretching Josie before she would put her dafo’s on and so Josie consequently got a blister on her heel becuz her dafo’s were not put on properly.

This same nurse would sit at my kitchen table on facebook with her phone while Josie would walk by herself to the bathroom and take care of  her business.   Bayada has a no social media/no phone policy while the nurses are working and it was VERY unsafe for Josie to be walking without assistance so that needed addressed also.

Around the same time I was looking over the nurses notes and realized that this same nurse was also putting false information in her notes. Two separate times in March I saw that Travis and Logan signed her out (which is fine) but she wrote that she left Josie in the care of Mom.  Which was NOT true as I wasn’t even home those days.  So “lying” on nursing notes is a pretty big deal and needed to be reported to her supervisor.

So I brought all these issues up with my clinical manager and they talked to this nurse about these concerns.

Well…..two weeks later as we were finishing up supper on a Saturday night a woman shows up at our door.

She said she is here to investigate us for child abuse?!?!?!

We were flabbergasted.

(Ok, pissed off might be a better word to use here.)

We didn’t know what to say nor did we know what our rights were so we put on our happy face and we invited her in.

(Hindsight is 20/20 and we now realize that we should have asked to see some ID before letting her in!!! But we were so blown away we weren’t thinking clearly!)

She said someone had called Children and Youth Services (CYS) about a blister on Josie’s heel.  So she was here to look at it.

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When I took off Josie’s sock she looked at it, she looked at me and said, “And that’s what I was called out here for?? That is nothing.”

Yeah.  Exactly. 

A blister that was healing and was caused by our nurse being negligent.

BUT because someone made a call into CYS they had to investigate us fully.

(We KNOW which nurse it was that called.  They won’t tell you who called but there were certain things that were said that we just knew and could figure out who it was. I fired her butt immediately after the children and youth worker left our house and she will never be our nurse again.)

The CYS worker that came on Saturday night was the “emergency on call” person. (Cuz ya know a blister on your heel is a HUGE emergency!) So as she we leaving we were told we would be assigned a case worker and she would contact us later that week and come out to do a “thorough” investigation.

When the second CYS lady came to our door later that week she was all business and accused me of the things that were called in.  I was on the defensive and I was ready for her.  There was no way I would stand for being falsely accused of this!  I have done nothing but go to medical appointments with Josie!  And I knew that I was in constant contact with our nursing company and doctor about this blister and was doing what they were recommending me to do to get it to heal.

This whole thing was ridiculous and I let her know that! I had all my emails between our nursing company and myself about Josie’s heel printed out and ready for her to read. I also had all my dates ready to show her the timeline that showed what this nurse was in trouble for and that she only called out of spite.

She had a clipboard and asked me all kinds of questions like: Who all lives in the house, what is everyone’s social security numbers, what was Josie’s complete medical history…etc.  Then she asked me if I had anything that I wanted to add.

Oh boy…did I ever!!  She got an earful.  I was respectful but firm.

I ask her if CYS was going to take our children away.  To which she responded, “Probably not.”

Probably not?!!? Are you kidding me!?

(Steve said they would have had to take the kids over his dead body….there was no way they would have taken them from our house without a fight.)

I also let her know that we would take this to the highest court level until our name is cleared.  I told her I have fought the insurance company before and won. I told her I’m not a mom who will back down easily.

So here is where I want to interject some of the “knowledge” that I have learned going through this hell:

1.  You can’t nor should you trust ANYONE anymore. People WILL stab you in the back. Don’t trust your doctor, your S.S. teacher, you child’s school teacher with any information that could be taken wrong. They are all “mandatory” reporters now and they will call you in!  Be VERY vigilant and be ready to explain any and all bruises or bumps that may be on your child.  Kids can’t be kids anymore.  Gone are the days when they can have bruised knees and walk to the park by themselves.

2.  You are guilty until proven innocent in these kinds of cases. There is so much that is against what the Constitution of the United States of America says that it makes me sick.  But this is where our country is headed.

3.  You should be VERY cautious on how you treat and discipline your children while you are out in public.  Read below about a family who was falsely accused by a complete stranger who called CYS on the mom from a parking lot incident.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/rweb/culture/the-time-i-was-accused-of-child-abuse/2015/04/23/202aedae2b0e2861ca47269e0a16c3be_story.html?tid=kindle-app

4. Document EVERYTHING.  I had all the emails from our nursing company that showed that we were doing everything possible to get her blister to heal.  But those didn’t really mean anything in the initial investigation though as the CYS worker needed to confirm everything directly with our doctor. (Which our doctor’s testimony totally matched with my account , that we were doing everything we could to get the blister to heal and that it would just take time to heal! I still don’t have a magic wand to wave around to magically heal things quicker!)

BUT if the allegations would have come back as a guilty verdict then I would have had the proof to take in front of a judge.  I don’t do anything just over the phone, if I do talk to a doctor or our nursing company via the telephone then I immediately write an email to have a paper trail of what we talked about.

5. Know your rights. You can refuse to not have CYS come into your home (I’m just thankful they didn’t bring police officers with them) but refusing them entry can get dicey.  Read about that in the link below:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/posteverything/wp/2015/05/06/how-child-abuse-hotlines-hurt-the-very-children-theyre-trying-to-protect/

6. There is NO common sense in our country anymore. It is way too easy for anyone to make false allegations on a family.  There needs to be some changes and some accountability.  If someone is upset with you and wants to “get back at you” for something all they have to do is call the child abuse line and make an accusation.

http://www.freerangekids.com/nj-supreme-court-to-decide-if-leaving-child-in-car-a-few-minutes-is-automatically-neglect/

7. If you are ever in a situation like ours you will have to be the squeaky wheel! This whole process of proving our “innocence” has taken over 2 months. And it would have taken a lot longer if I wouldn’t have been bugging our CYS worker and making sure she was following up with our doctor and doing her job. Know that you will have to FIGHT to clear your name.  And don’t feel bad about calling and calling and asking for supervisors!

So thankfully (and rightfully so) the charges against us were “unfounded” and we have been cleared of any and all “charges.”

But unfortunately these allegations still go on your child abuse clearance records.  And since we are youth leaders we need to have a clear record!!

So now I have to call and fight with Child Line to make sure our record is cleared.

And this all happened because a person was being vindictive.

(This nurse knew full well we were doing everything we could to get the blister to heal. Like we weren’t wearing shoes or dafo’s, and we were in constant contact with Josie’s CP doctor. There was never any medical neglect. Period.)

Of course you all saw the Baltimore mom who is being hailed as a hero for going after her son who was in the Baltimore riots? (click on the  below if you need refreshed)

http://abcnews.go.com/GMA/video/baltimore-mom-video-sparks-parenting-debate-30669711

The video shows the mom is smacking her son upside the head IN ANGER and yet nobody calls CYS on her??!?!?

(I’m not saying she was wrong!  She SHOULD have gone after his sorry butt.  He is lucky to have a mama who cared enough to go and find him and take him back home. And back in the day our boys got a good spankin’ when necessary! But we didn’t spank in anger and always prayed with them afterwards.)

But here sits little old me who has done EVERYTHING in my power to care for Josie and make sure she is getting all the medical care she needs and we are the ones who get investigated and our name drug through the mud?!?!?

Where’s my “mother of the year” award?!?!?

There is something seriously wrong with the whole child abuse reporting system and something needs to be changed!

It is really hard having a “stranger” (our nurses) in our home everyday and who knows all your business.  So we will be making some changes around here in the coming months.  We have learned the hard way that you can’t trust anyone. So we are working at keeping our circle VERY small and making sure that only people we can truly trust watches and cares for our children.

I hope that by sharing our story that people realize how serious these situations are and how broken the system is. Please put boundaries in place in your life and be aware that anyone can call Children and Youth on you at any time and it will be a nightmare!  Make sure you have all your ducks in a row and make sure you know your rights!

And just be aware that as our society gets more “crazy” there will be more and more of these kinds of allegations….which only ends up hurting the children and messes will good families. 

Sunday, May 17, 2015

Things I learned this week

1. That our summer and fall will be full of recovery periods and a lot of unknowns.

2. That colonoscopy prep is NASTY.

3. That 30 sounds (and is) young!

4. That I’m ready for school to be over…tomorrow is our evaluations and then the girls and I are DONE for this year and are taking a much needed break.  The boys still have a few things to finish up (MATH) but all in all we made it through another year and still love homeschooling. (This was my 14th year!  So hard to believe!!?!)

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5. That young love is sweet and special! <3  (sorry, can’t comment anymore on that….)

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This was the week for appointments.  We started on Tuesday at Lancaster Cleft and made a date with Dr. Samson and Ava to meet on October 8th to do her alveolar bone graph surgery.  He will take some bone from her hip area and inject it into her gum ridge and fix whatever fistulas he may find hiding under her gumline.  He also will “tweak” the scar on her lip while she is under.

Some children who are born with both a cleft lip and a cleft palate also have a problem with the alveolar (al-vee-OLE-ar) bone, which makes up the gum ridge or front portion of the roof of the mouth. The alveolar bone is a thin layer of bone that forms the sockets around the roots of the upper teeth under the gum tissue.

The alveolar bone graft repairs the hole in the gum ridge and stabilizes the bone arch, providing better support for the base of the nose and new bone for the roots of the developing teeth to grow into. The surgery usually is done when the child’s permanent canine teeth are three-quarters formed.

To do the bone graft, a piece of bone usually will be taken from your child’s iliac (ILL-ee-ack) crest, the upper ridge of the hip bone. The doctor will make a 1- to 3-inch incision (in-SIZZ-yun) or cut in the skin just over the hip bone and in the bone itself to remove the inner portion of the bone. This part of the bone, called cancellous (CAN-sell-us) bone, is soft and pasty and can be shaped to form the patch that will close the hole in the alveolar bone. Gum tissue inside your child’s mouth then will be closed around the bone and sutures (SOO-chers) or stitches will hold the tissue in place as it heals.  http://www.chp.edu/CHP/Alveolar+Bone+Graft

It will be outpatient surgery though (which surprised and thrilled me!) but she will not be wanting to walk for a couple days and then will have to be on a soft food diet for about a month. (But this Mama will be VERY cautious about letting it heal completely before we start a regular diet again.  She will also not be allowed to suck her thumb ANY MORE after this surgery is done.  Period. That is what she is most concerned about!)

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Then we start the looonnngggg journey of orthodontics for her.

Oh joy!

But before all the “fun” begins for Miss Ava, she gets to go back to Green Meadow Farm for another horse riding session from June-August with Jenica. <3

https://youtu.be/NkXWye1nE48 (You have to watch this precious video that Green Meadow Farm made that features Jenica and Ava!  It is so sweet!)

Then I came home and started my colonoscopy prep!

That was THE WORST and nastiest stuff I ever drank.  Thankfully someone told me to chill it first. (Thanks again Kathy!) But it still gagged me.  I had to drink it at 5:00pm Tuesday and then had to get up at 4:00 AM on Wednesday to drink the rest. 

The actual colonoscopy was a wonderful naptime for me!  (Not being able to eat though for 24 hours did a number on my blood sugar though.)  But there wasn’t anything that showed up right away from the colonoscopy (thankfully) but he took some biopsies and I’ll get those results in a couple weeks.  But I really feel like my “issues” have to do with my small intestine.  So since our deductible is now met I’ll be going to get an endoscopy done this year yet.  I’m changing gastro doctors though as I did not like this doctor AT ALL.  (Neither did Marcia who went with me that day and drove me home safely! xoxo)

It just stinks getting old.

Then bright and early Thursday morning I took Josie up for x-rays and to see the CP doctor who will be doing the surgery on her feet.

No one ever did x-rays on Josie’s feet before!?!?!?! And I wish I would have taken pictures of them to show you!But the bones in her right foot are not lined up properly AT ALL.  It is no wonder that her foot rolls on itself.

So Dr. Fortuna will be doing some major bone placement that will involve pins that stick out from her foot and she will be doing a lot of lengthening of tendons and lengthening her heel cord on her right foot.  The bones in her left foot are in line but she needs to do a heel cord snip and lengthening of a tendon or two on that foot. 

So Josie will be in a non-weight bearing casts for 10 weeks and then the pins will come out (in the office) and then get casts put back on for another 4 weeks.  THEN she will slowly start rehab and standing on her feet again. It will be at least 3 months after her casts are off until she is back to walking the distances she is now.

She will have to go to a rehab facility to heal properly and safely.  But we still haven’t heard if insurance will approve it ahead of time.  (Of course that would make it too easy for everyone!) So we will be taking a leap of faith that they will approve it while we are in the hospital for an overnight stay after surgery is completed.

Her doctor is going to fight and fight for her and told me that this is how it happens….she asks for the approval after surgery and they expedite the request.

I sure hope she’s right!

We are looking at June 16th for her surgery….but I may be moving it to the middle of July.  I’m working on those details this coming week.

I have to make sure that Josie is still at the rehab facility when Ava has her surgery and recovery time.  To have 2 kids at home recovering from major surgeries here just wouldn’t be the smartest choice to do and would certainly put me over the edge!!!

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Then we got a break from anything medically related at the end of the week and got to celebrate my little sister’s 30th birthday!!!!

It just seems impossible that she can be 30!?!?  That just make me feel old.

It is funny how I can have a birthday and not really feel “older” but when someone close to you hits a “milestone birthday” you feel ancient!!

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           Little Joy Ruth                                               Little Logan Jeremiah

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HAPPY, Blessed 30th Joy! 

We love you! <3

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(and yes, we used an egg for the zero….)

So I’ll be honest…I’m pretty emotionally drained tonight from all these appointments and excitement that took place this week.

We didn’t learn anything “new” per say….but just getting it all down in writing and on the calendar made it all the more real.

So we are going to take the next month and just have some fun and relax.  No school. No real “schedule” and just enjoy the time before the next stage of “crazy” begins.

Marcia is in a period of waiting for her next stage to start also.  http://hiseyeisonme.blogspot.com/2015/05/to-god-be-glory.html

So her and I have a “friend day” planned on Friday.  We will not be talking about cancer, doctor appointments or anything medically related.  We will just have FUN.

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And celebrate her 42nd birthday.

Together.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Mother’s Day 2015

Since Jared had to work in the afternoon we decided to play hooky from church and spend the morning just as a family.

(Saturday night he came home from work with a special surprise for me. <3)

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I was told to stay in bed and not come downstairs until 9:00….no problem there! Winking smile

I came down to fresh homemade GF blueberry muffins!

Yum!

As we were waiting for Travis to get home from church (as he is the “good son” lol) we started setting up our photo shoot project. 

We got some great pictures of me with the girls!

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What was so neat this morning is that the littles put on their Found shirts before I got dressed.  And I just happened to chose my Found shirt to wear today also…..We found each other through the grace of God.

I’m so thankful that their birth mom chose life for them and that God decided that we were to be a family.

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Then hubby made me a delicious meal for lunch…..so much better then going to a crowded restaurant!

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And then we had some yummy brownie sundaes and Travis took me to see Cinderella with Miss Ava.

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I loved Cinderella!  I thought it was very well done.

“Have courage and be kind.” 

Great words to live by.

It really was a pretty perfect day…..so very thankful for all my arrows.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Mother’s Day Special Edition

Daddy’s idea this year was to recreate a picture that I had taken with the boys back for Mother’s Day, 2006.

Oh what fun this was!

And oh how they have grown!

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And then it got even more fun…..

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Double trouble and an angel…..

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These boys have been so fun to raise and do life with.  They can drive me batty at times but all in all they are some of the most sweet and loving young men I know.

I know that they “got my back” and would fight to the death to protect me.

They are so caring and take good care of me and help around the house….A LOT.

They have been so open and loving in adding 3 little sisters to share their mom with.

It has been an honor and joy to be their mom.

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And all TOO SOON……

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They will be gone…..

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But today…..today I soaked in every minute I could spend with them.

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I love you boys….to the moon and back.

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Saturday, May 9, 2015

HAPPY Birthday to….

WILLOW!

Willow turned 1 today!

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So this called for a celebration!

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She LOVED her cupcake…..

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So much so that she wanted more!!! Smile

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She really has been a good puppy.

Sure, she has chewed some things….and she has left “tootsie rolls” around the house…..and….

But all in all having a puppy hasn’t been “too bad.”

(I can’t trust her to be alone yet.  If someone isn’t watching her or in the same room she has to be in her crate.)

She is a sweetie and LOVES to snuggle.

She is happiest when she is in someone’s arms or on my lap.

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It is amazing to me how much she has changed since she was born!

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She went through her shaggy mop phase! Winking smile

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She was SO little.

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She still is  “little” as she is only 5 pounds now.

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And we say she is “everyone’s” dog….but really she is Logan’s.

As he is the one who cares for her and she sleeps in his room.

(Of course Ava loves her to pieces and does do a lot in caring for her too….but Logan has kinda “claimed” her as his own.)

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The cupcakes were “people” edible too….and gluten free so we all enjoyed (?) one! lol

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I hope and pray she will be around for many years to come…..she has been a good addition to our family.  Even though she gets on my nerves at times.  But don’t my human do that too?!?! Winking smile

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Big dog even likes her now.  He is a trip.  She has him wrapped around his paw.  If she barks once or twice at the baby gate he will get up from wherever he is in the house and mosey on over and open it up for her to get through! 

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They are fun to watch together and I think she has been really good for the old man.  He gets more exercise now for sure!

God brought us just the right puppy at just the right time last July.