The Journey...Part Six


One word, one simple syllable and it cut through my soul like a hot knife slicing soft butter. Over and over again I would ask myself 'who would file a complaint against me?' It haunted me.

The nature of the complaint didn't bother me. I didn't care if I was being accused of baby beating or being accused of only forcing my children to bite the heads off live baby bats. The complaint itself was insignificant because I knew it was false.

I knew an investigation would clear my name of all wrongful allegations so it didn't matter to me what the damn allegation was.

It only mattered that someone complained. Falsely. It tore me up. I couldn't cope with the idea that someone thought that I was a bad mother.

It hurt.

I spent the next few days consumed with learning everything I could about foster parent rules and regulations, child welfare laws and any thing that I could use to clear my name and get BamBam back where he belonged: in my arms.

My own child service workers became my advocates. (Which of course made me feel about an inch tall after months of mocking them on the internets. Yes. I suck. I admit it.) It seemed I had a department of people who were willing to go to bat for me, for my family, for BamBam. But in the end their hands were bound by the bureaucracy of the law.

Rules must be followed. Regulations can't be ignored. Blah, blah, blah. I was a hairbreadth away from going bat-shit crazy and taking to stabbing myself repeatedly in the eye with a salty pickle.

Days slowly passed with no new answers and the question of 'who?' ringing in my head like church bells on a loop. I didn't know what to do so I did the one thing I could do.

I shut down. I turned off the phone (Martha-Freaking Stewart and the Great White Hunter were not amused) and I never left the yard. I focused on Fric and Frac and I swam in my pool or went for long walks while singing angry tunes blaring through my ear buds of my iPod.

Any and all of my energy went to making sure Fric and Frac were coping with the sudden loss of the dimpled baby. I didn't know what to say to them at first but it soon became evident that after months of solid BamBam time, he wasn't coming back quickly.

So I told them the ugly truth. As best I could, in words they would understand and then I spent every last drop of my energy making sure they understood this wasn't about them and helping them deal with their feelings about the ridiculous situation we suddenly had found ourselves in.

It slayed me, slays me still, to think of the pain my children have been subjected to in their short lives. They have endured more trauma and experienced more life than the average grown-up around them. To know they were suffering because someone in the world accused ME, their mother, of being a shitty parent was enough to make me sit on the couch and weep almost daily.

As I waited to hear some news or have the authorities show up on my doorstep wanting to investigate my parenting, I insulated my children and myself from the world. We saw no one. Not even relatives. We lived in our own little world, relying on one another for entertainment and amusement.

Days slowly turned into weeks and I stopped looking over my shoulder wondering when the other shoe would drop. I couldn't get any answers from the government and I couldn't see BamBam. But the flip side to that was no one seemed too interested in taking away Fric and Frac.

My frustration with the situation grew unwieldy. I bitched at my husband until he seriously considered investing in a ball-gag for his wife. The kids were getting harder to entertain and wanted to see their friends and relatives and I couldn't bear the thought of facing the outside world.

Somewhere in that outside world was the person who was responsible for taking away BamBam and labeling me with the stigma of being a bad mother. Until I knew who that person was I was too scared to leave my house for anything other than a quick run to the grocery store.

Finally, after what seemed like forever, someone from child services called. It seemed they weren't too keen on starting an investigation because two different jurisdictions were involved. Neither region wanted to pony up the costs to see if there was a sliver of truth in the complaint. It seemed BamBam and myself were slipping through the cracks. Since BamBam was safely ensconced away from me, the powers that be weren't in a hurry to explore the complaint against me.

I was no longer stuck in a bad dream. I had now entered a realm of hell known only to a select few. I was in a freaking nightmare. Not only was I accused of being a baby beater or whatever the allegation was, not only did they find the complaint enough justification to remove my beloved BamBam, but now they weren't all that interested in investigating and proving my innocence so I could get the baby returned to me?

It was too much. I was so frustrated I didn't know how to cope with myself. My head officially popped off my shoulders and tumbled down my driveway like a perfectly rounded boulder. My darling Boo exploded with the fury of a thousand angry fathers onto the heads of any government employee he could reach.

His impassioned (read:scary loud) pleas weren't ignored and suddenly the wheels of justice started to roll. Weeks, no- MONTHS of inactivity suddenly stopped and our phone started to ring.

An investigator was assigned and scheduled to be sent out to interview our family. We jumped with glee because while we may not have discovered who was the source of the complaint, we would finally learn what the allegation was and prove ourselves innocent.

We'd finally be able to get BamBam back after two months of torturous separation. Two months of locking myself away from the world and from everyone who loved us.

I stopped feeling sorry for myself and started gearing up for battle. I stopped hiding from family and one by one family members were addressed. I never avoided them because I feared they were responsible for the allegations, but rather because I worried that secretly deep down they may agree with them.

After all, I had already lost one of their beloved family members. Maybe in their minds they wouldn't be shocked that I was a sliver away from losing yet another. It was a mind-f*ck of the worst kind.

My family and Boo's family did what families do. Supported me 100 percent. And then smacked me upside the head with a baseball bat for ever doubting they wouldn't. Their love and rage and support gave me the strength I feared I was lacking to face this newest demon.

We waited. Impatiently. Meanwhile I phoned daily to make sure BamBam wasn't forgotten, that I was not forgotten. I needed this unsavory chapter of my life closed and it didn't matter to me that an investigation and it's results would show up for the course of my life time every time I needed a child welfare check done to volunteer at the school or for a sporting event.

We were already booted off the prospective adoptive parent list because of the allegation. We had lost our foster respite privileges and our application to become full time foster parents was dead in the water. The only thing that mattered to me was getting BamBam back and clearing my name. I would deal with the scars from this crisis after our battle was fought and the war was won.

While we waited for our official investigation to begin, I started opening up to people I held near and dear to my heart. People I had avoided for the last eight weeks. People I absolutely believed I could trust, who believed in my family and me.

It was a small group of people, several old friends and one or two community members. But they are the people I hold dearest to my heart, people my husband loves as much as I do.

But there was one person who refused to return my calls. One person who avoided making contact with our family. One person whose whispers were heard everywhere I went.

I refused to suspect this person. I made excuses and thought of reasons why I hadn't heard from them. I held on to the love I had for as long as I could. Until evidence, tangible evidence could be produced and the truth couldn't be refuted or obfuscated by emotional manipulations.

Truthfully, it was my own stubbornness that refused to even consider this person as the person responsible for such treachery. Boo knew not to push the matter too hard, regardless of his personal beliefs, knowing my heart was one crack from shattering into shards too small to ever be fully repaired.

It wasn't long before doubt crept in and started warring with my emotions. I refused to believe it could have been this person who I adored so deeply. Who had access to my very darkest secrets. Whom I loved as though we had the same blood traveling through our veins.

Slowly evidenced was compiled. Sources interviewed, facts checked and crosschecked. I milked the system for everything I could, used every piece of information I had to squeeze out as much information as humanly possible without anyone breaking any laws or risking their jobs to help me.

If one door slammed shut, I'd just knock on another. My degree in journalism was finally coming in handy. I was getting somewhere, all the time my family waited for the wheels of justice to slowly turn and clear my name and return BamBam back to us.

Finally, I knocked on a door I thought would remain firmly locked.

Yet to my surprise it unlocked. As I saw the answer that lay behind the door, as it slowly swung open, my heart leapt out of my chest and shattered like a crystal vase being hurled against a marble floor.

With irrefutable proof in my hands, I sunk to the floor and wept.

Oh, Dragonlady. Why? You were my best friend.

To be continued...