I think that was the title of a movie recently… I haven’t seen it though.
This story hits a little closer to home. A few weeks ago David’s dad was approached by one of the men from our church who told him that Angelina’s school had reported us to the Dept. of Children and Families. We kinda poo-pooed it because HOW would this person know that before we did? He is in no way to connected to her school or to DCF… unless he was the one reporting us for some unknown reason. Nothing happened…
So today David sent me a text to check my voice mail from this morning. Angelina and I are in CA so we are 3 hours behind him and he had left me a message when he was driving to work. The message was that when he went to leave this morning there was a note stuck in the door from a social worker from DCF. He called her and she said that there was a report of abuse that they were investigating. He told her that Ang and I were out of state and told her when we would be returning. So she came to check out the house this evening and David told me that she said there was nothing wrong with it..it wasn’t filthy and there were no hazards, she just needed to see Angelina when we get back. The allegations were that Angelina had prescription creams for her skin that we refused to use on her, that we didn’t bathe her and she was always dirty, that our house was a mess, and that we let her play in the grass and she got bug bites.
Now, for one…we have her prescription creams…she screams and cries and fights us when we put them on… So, as suggested by 2 different dermatologists and her pediatrician, we give her a bath (oh! the horror) and coat her in Vaseline or A&D ointment. She takes a bath every other day (again suggested by dermatologist) unless she gets dirty or has an accident, and the Vaseline every night before bed, bath or not. So that takes care of the cream and the bathing.
Number 2: Our house is lived in. There was a point where my house was a disgusting mess, we almost lost Angelina due to that 3 years ago so we don’t let it get there. It may not be spotless, it may not meet the standards that some other people expect, but for us it is fine. It isn’t filthy, it isn’t hazardous…it’s just messy and lived in.
Number 3: This one gets me… We let her play in the grass and she got bug bites. HA. She and I both have a number of allergies so I don’t go outside if I can help it…especially not in my own yard. If we are outside it is to take her to the park or to her grandparents house, and even then she usually doesn’t go OUT outside. It’s south Florida..it’s June..are you crazy? It’s HOT out there. And…even if we did let her roam free in the grass in our yard (which I am loathe to let her out of the house alone at ALL) … all people get bug bites..it’s just a fact of life, especially when you live in a state that is just a built over swampland. Bugs are a part of life. A few weeks ago she had an ant bite on her leg that I almost dragged her to the doctor for. It went away in 2 days and was fine. I remember growing up playing outside in the summertime and getting chiggers from the grass and being covered in mosquito bites that were scratched open… it’s not abuse or negligence it’s LIFE. If anyone has gone through their life and never got a bug bite then I would like to shake their hand.
On to the part that PISSES ME OFF. It wasn’t the school that did this reporting. If it was the school that reported anything it would be her missing days of school due to being sick and not bringing in a note. I know it wasn’t the school because I talked to the administrative staff on more than one occasion regarding her being out more than a day at a time and was informed that if her absence became an issue and they needed to contact a social worker they would inform us in writing beforehand. The school has documentation of all of her ailments and allergies, they are aware of her behavioral difficulties.
It wasn’t family as David approached his parents and they stated that it had not been them, not to mention that the allegations that were reported were mostly past tense which his parents knew those issues no longer existed… and also his parents were aware that Angelina and I were in CA.
So that leaves someone within the church. That leaves someone who has accepted Jesus as their savior and has chosen to follow his example in being Christ-like to lift others up and accept them and to help guide them down the path to righteousness. None of us are perfect, not a single one. We all have our flaws, we all make our mistakes, we all fall short of the glory of God, but Jesus died for the remission of our sins. So I am confused as to why this person chose to report something that was false and reaching at best. I understand that we each have a duty to report abuse or neglect, but my child is neither abused or neglected as anyone who has been in my home could tell you. I am not the perfect mother. I do get upset and frustrated with her. I do yell at her when she is misbehaving. I do spank her bottom or put her in time out if she has done something she knows to be wrong. I have never struck her out of anger or malice. I will not say that the thought has never occurred to me, but I have NEVER acted upon it. She is the sun, moon, and stars to me and there is NOTHING that I would not do for her. But I am not going to let her have her way all the time. I am not going to fold because she throws a temper tantrum, which she is quite fond of doing. She is extremely needy and does get on my nerves quite often. This is extremely easy to be done because I have illnesses of my own that make it difficult to respond correctly to stressful situations. It is during these times that I have a partner and wonderful father to her that steps in when I can no longer handle her behavior or demands. And it works the opposite as well, I will step in when he is frustrated to the breaking point.
Her needs are met. Perhaps not all of her wants, but she has NEVER needed for anything. She has a comfortable, loving home. She has I don’t know how many clothes and toys. She is well fed, well loved, and well taken care of. She is very dependent and requires constant praise and reassurance. She is moody and sensitive, she believes she knows everything better than anyone else despite their years or experiences. She is forgetful and oblivious, often distracted by small things that she doesn’t pay attention to what is going on around her. Children often model the people around them. David and I, either separately or combined, are all of these things. She is also loving, caring, giving, kind, friendly, and accepting. She takes the world and each person as an individual, as unique and special. It brings tears to my eyes each time she tells a stranger that they are beautiful regardless of any flaws or handicaps. It is amazing to me how surprised people are to hear a 5 year old tell them that they are special. People are often so insecure and skeptical. Angelina is far from perfect, inside and out. So many, many people, children and adults, have judged her based on appearance. She has a skin condition, this is quite true. It is moderate to severe, it is something that affects her every day life. It is a constant uphill battle for both her, who suffers from it, and David and I who are helpless to rid her of the burden of being “different”.
It is so hard for me to see her suffer from this condition. I have the same skin condition; fortunately for me it has gotten better as I have gotten older and mine was never as severe as hers is now. It was still a daily battle for me and my parents to control this condition. My self-esteem was shot when I was younger, because my peers didn’t understand and constantly questioned why my skin was the way it was. I went through countless types of lotion, some of which burned terribly even though they claimed to be for sensitive skin and hypoallergenic. It ranked somewhere up there with torture…but it was for my own good. It was for the purpose of treating the symptoms of this rare condition. I got picked on in school, I was teased, laughed at for the way my skin was, and it was not nearly as bad as Angelina’s is. It is so hard for me to torture her that way, even if it is for her own good. I remember the pain that it caused me as a child. If she tells me something burns, how am I to know if it does or not. Just because it doesn’t affect me the same way doesn’t mean it doesn’t affect her. To this day it is uncomfortable for me to put most lotions on my legs (which are my main area of issue, that and my feet that crack terribly and deeply on a regular basis) This is my foot:as you can see it is super lined and have cracks on the heels. They have been this way since birth. This is my hand: This is also the way it has been since birth. Angelina has the same. It is called ichthyosis. It is easier to tell people she has eczema because it cuts down on questions. I never understood why when you tell someone this condition is ichthyosis they say “what is THAT?” well…. you’re looking at it.
From www.Ichthyosis.com : Learning About Ichthyosis
Ichthyosis (ick-thee-o-ses) is the name of a rare genetic skin disorder. Since it’s a genetic mutation, it isn’t contagious–you can’t “catch” it. Ichthyosis causes the skin to build up and scale, causing it to be extremely dry, among other problems.
Most types of ichthyosis are present at birth, and are life-long. Currently, there is no cure, only treatments. To find out more about ichthyosis, check out Show-N-Tell.
I highly recommend checking out this site. I abhor the small-mindedness of others. You don’t KNOW everything. You cannot always take things at face value. You can’t think that just because someone doesn’t want to go into details about their or their child’s medical condition (especially if it is uncommon) that they don’t care, or aren’t taking care of the condition or the person suffering from it. STIGMA, stigma is an ugly disease that, unfortunately, most “normal” people suffer from. They ostracize those that are different, or that they don’t understand or have never experienced. I live with guilt each day that I have passed this genetic disorder on to my child, and that she will, most likely, go through the same misunderstanding and standoffishness of others who simply don’t understand and don’t care to. Apparently it is easier, even for Christians to judge and assume they know better, even when they have no clue. And when they don’t understand, and chose to stay away or stick their nose in where it doesn’t belong.
As the saying goes “Never judge a book by its cover”
There are many things in the world that make me shake my head and think “How could someone do that? How could someone live like that? How could someone …etc etc etc” But it is not my place to judge them, I may not understand their choices but they are not my choices to make. I am not in their shoes. They are not in mine.
In the church this holds true as well. There are many people in our church who have suffered through many of life’s trials. Drug abuse, divorce, sexual abuse, medical conditions, heartbreak, loss of loved ones, trouble with the law, etc etc etc. And why I may not agree with the choices that some of these people have made…they are not my choices to make. It is not my place to tell them that their choices are wrong. It IS my place to be there for them if they ask for my help. It IS my place to support them and accept them during their time of need, when they feel they have reached rock bottom, if that support is asked for, and sometimes even when it is not. Even if it is something as simple as saying “I am praying for you.”
There are a few people who have children of an age close to Angelina and who at one time were a part of our congregation and occasionally still attend. But these people are not raising their own children. They have passed that duty on to their parents (The child’s grandparents) It is so sad to me that these people seem to see their children as disposable. David and I have chosen to raise our OWN daughter. It has not always been easy or fun or what we expected but we try to do the best we can with what we have been given. I can’t even fathom giving Angelina up, even if it was to my or David’s parents. But these people, they made that decision, the decision that because life didn’t deal them what they expected that they shouldn’t be expected to accept it. This is my opinion. I am not in their shoes and never would I say this outloud to these people. It is most likely in the best interest of these children to be where they are, in a stable environment with people who are capable to take care of them the way a child needs to be taken care of. Funny thing is that one of these grandparents who is raising their granddaughter is the same man who I mentioned in the beginning of this post as being the one to report to David’s dad that DCF was being contacted regarding Angelina. This same man had approached David and I about a year ago as well stating that some of the ladies in the congregation were wanting to contact DCF regarding her, and he even went so far as to tell us that if we didn’t have the money to take her to the Dr. that they may be able to help out. And we told him…”She has been to the doctor, she is taking her medications and we are doing what we can for her that we are able to without putting her through the trauma of painful treatment that is only a temporary relief”
Why, why, why can’t people deal with their own business and let me deal with mine? If you can’t straighten out your own life, or the life of your children or family, why do you think you can fix mine? I have my observations of the goings on in other people’s lives…but they are not my life… and it is not my place to tell them how to handle their own affairs, because I don’t know the whole story. This fickleness, this hypocracy is why David and I are no longer attending church. If you can only count on your brethren to bring you down and question you at every turn, then what is the point? I love my God, I know that he loves me, I know that I have been saved from my sins by the blood of Jesus Christ. I don’t need small-minded people to stick their nose in my business for me to worship the Lord. There are so many people in the world, I don’t need ones that bring me down with the excuse of righteousness. I am the only one who can live my life for me. I am the only mother to my only child. ME. I conceived her, I carried her, I birthed her, I nursed her, I woke with her in the night, I taught her, I loved her, I am raising her. She is my joy, and she is my burden. She is MINE. Nothing can ever change that. God gave her to me, he breathed life into her even as she grew in my womb. She is His gift to me. He does not make mistakes, if I were not to have her, if I were not able to love her and take care of her then he would not have allowed that seed to be planted. She was a surprise, but never a mistake, and was always wanted if not expected or planned. I have loved her UNCONDITIONALLY since the moment I knew I carried her inside of me. Even when I am mad, I still love her. When I am upset, I love her. When I am sad, I love her. When I am frustrated, I love her. When I am happy… I love HER. I would ask the Lord to take the breath from my body and the beat of my heart from me before I would EVER give her up. I would die of a broken heart if she was ever taken from me. The one recurring and most frightening nightmare I have is that Angelina will be taken or lost. That would be the worst thing that could ever happen to me in my life. Maybe it is that unconditional love that people can’t understand, because maybe they don’t have it or have never experienced it. I don’t know, I am not in their mind or heart. If this is the reason, then I just want to say: I wish you well and I wish you all the happiness in the world and I hope that some day you will understand what it means to truly love and to be truly loved.
The End (for now)