I'm a hypocrite. Like...seriously. Chances are, you are as well. It's OK, it's a human thing. Depending on the situation, it's hard to know what you would do in that situation. Even if you think, “Oh, I wouldn't do that at all!” until you've lived it, don't even say it. I've learned that lesson over the pass 24 hours.
I was always one of those people who thought things about how if you're innocent with nothing to hide, you won't hide. You'll be open & welcome any type of investigation. If you are worried, you're hiding something. You're guilty.
That was my thought until I pulled up in our driveway after work & saw Adam have an expression that told me something was left for us, a note or something. I figured it'd be some bullshit from the crazy neighbor. And, it likely was, but not in the form I thought.
Adam handed me a business card. First thing I read was the message, in red ink, that said “Call ASAP” & the next thing I read was the name, which was printed right above the title “Child Protective Services.”
I look at the clock. It's 4:15. They close at “5” but that really means 4. He'd already called, but then I call. Voice mail. Knowing the system after working in it, I knew to call & ask to speak to the worker of the day...the poor sap who has to answer any & all calls when the actual social workers aren't taking their calls. Her voicemail, which defeats the purpose of her being the worker of the day. I give it about 5 minutes & call back, she answers. I tell her why I'm calling, she tells me I have to talk to the chick who is on the card. I tell her I was aware, but I want to know what is going on concerning my children NOW & I knew there were records. She then feeds me a line about how she can't access anyones records but her own, which I call bullshit on right then & tell her I use to work in social services, I know she CAN access it. She then admits she can, but won't. Nice. Instead of flipping out on her like I want to, my knowledge kicks back in & I ask to speak to my workers supervisor. He's not in today. Fine, I want to hear from your supervisor. Of course, that does nothing. He says they don't have to tell me anything, only my worker or her supervisor does so I'm out of luck.
And I have flash backs. Flashbacks to how I always tried my best when I had cases to call people back & take calls. Honestly, I took them on my own time. I made calls about a kid on my way to my wedding so people knew what was going on. This shit involves their kids, no matter what the situation 99% of the time they love & care about their kids.
And, with that, we waited. Waited all night. My chest hurt. I was terrified. I knew nothing was going on with my kids, but I was scared. I started plotting...what do we say, what do we not say? Do we let them in? Do we allow them to talk to our kids? We have nothing to hide...but I sure as well wanted to board my house up & tell them to get a warrant. And suddenly, I understood why innocent people refuse to talk or lawyer up. Because they are scared. And because they feel they need to in order to protect something...in this case, my kids. My anxiety disorder sucks anyway, but add this & all I could think, all I could see in my head, was someone taking out kids for months & a never ending fight to get them back.
Of course, the rest of the night we asked each other what on earth someone could have called about, which led to who would have called. We had some suspects. Maybe Adam's family were mad that we hadn't had anymore contact? Maybe Jules said something totally off the wall at school & they had to report it? Maybe someone saw Jules out on the porch & assumed he was alone even though I sit in the doorway where people can't see me. And, of course, there is the neighbor. The neighbor who hates cats, has called animal control about our dog, & just been an overall icky person. And, depending on what the allegation was, that maybe list was going to get a hell of a lot shorter.
After the worse night sleep in my life, 8am rolled around. OK, I lie, 7:55. I started calling. I called every few minutes until 8:15 when she answered. My hopes of it NOT being me they needed was dashed when she knew my name. Of course, that could have been because of the 25 messages we'd left for her.
She tells me very little. But I know my rights. She tells me a report came in about our kids & she needed to set up a time to talk about it. I ask what was reported, she tells me she'll tell me when we meet. I tell her I'm not going to meet without knowing, especially after being concerned all night with what was going on & how my children were involved. She finally tells me I've been reported for, & I quote, “hoarding, including animals, letting the kids go around dirty, filthy, & having a house that smells so bad it can be smelled from the street.”
I really didn't mean to. I really couldn't help it. Considering we have company fairly regularly, including just a couple days before, anyone thinking my house smell or is messy is insane. And my kids being dirty, filthy even? Jules request, & gets, usually 2 baths a day. About as filthy as Blair has ever been was the time I let him have an oreo. Hoarding? I'm a hoarder?! REALLY?! Now, I know under my couch was a huge ass mess, but come on. Animal hoarding as well? Yeah, I've got a ass load of cats, but as long as it's healthy & clean it's just someone with an ass load of cats, not hoarding.
She came (late)...up until the moment she came in the house I was trying to hope that it was just a clever way for Publishers Clearing House to surprise me with a million dollars. No such luck. And this lady meant business.
The actual report was this...get ready for it, it's great really: that we have 30 cats & several dogs, that our house was dirty & smelled from the street, that we never allow people over to our house. That our kids reek of cat urine & people cannot be around them because of that, they can smell it on the kids. That the baby constantly has dirty hands & legs from crawling around the dirty floor (black hands, even). Both kids are pale & look unhealthy, as well as have a constant runny noses & cough & other illness because of the condition of our house.
...I forget what point Adam & I just looked at each other, amused, but I think it was around the time that our baby had constantly black hands.
Long story short, there is nothing CPS worthy in my house. We are FINE. Even with several cats & dogs, everything is clean & not a concern. There is nothing unsafe or unsanitary about our home whatsoever. Our kids were seen & nothing bad was thought. Our kids are considered healthy, not to mention that they don't smell or have any chronic illness. And not having people to our house is just laughable, we had a get together with another family just a couple days before this. We have people over often, invite people over often, & have get togethers. Laughable. Really laughable.
Of course, there is also the shame part. I had to show her that we had fucking food. And that we had beds. And our dogs to make sure they weren't "aggressive." She's calling the doctor, our fucking DOCTOR, to make sure my kids aren't unhealthy or have ever been injured by our dogs. She's calling my fucking friends to make sure they don't worry about my kids, even though they trust me around theirs. Have I also mentioned that most of our friends are mandated reporters? AND that I was planning a homebirth & was given the a-ok by my midwife about my house being suitable for birthing a baby in? But seriously...how shameful is this? She's going to call people & tell them she's with CPS & investigating my kids. To be blunt, I'm ashamed. I know these things happen, but it kills me to think that our doctors office is going to get a call asking about my kids. That maybe Jules preschool with get a call, asking if he comes to school dirty or unkept. It has no merit & anyone who knows us knows this...but what about other people she calls? I really don't like the thought of being thought of as “the mom who had CPS called on her” at the preschool functions. I've called to report kids getting beat & raped as part of my previous job...the response time was slower than our so called dirty house with pale kids. That's pathetic. And I hope whoever did this sleeps well at night knowing they have wasted time & resources of CPS while some other kids are going without food because their parents are crack heads, getting beat, or even raped. But no worries, CPS was here to make sure my kids weren't dirty & that we do in fact have people over to our house.
So now we are left with the "who done it?!" question. We have 3 options. The neighbor, because of the cats comment because she has had issues with our pets . We also thought about my parents because honestly, they hate us having any pets & my mom always thinks my kids have coughs or whatever. And we have considered Adam's family, since we don't speak to them. Plus, it was odd that we get this happening NOW after seeing them just over a week ago, for the first time since Joel's funeral. And people have pointed out, "why does it matter that you don't have people over?" Well, the fall out with Adam's family started way back when I was pregnant with Joel because we asked to just meet them somewhere instead of our house because we'd been doing a bunch of stuff to it & it was a mess because of that. Minus the cats & the "they don't let people visit their house" crap, the rest is pretty generic "I'm going to report you to CPS" shit. So as much as some stuff points to other people, the stand out stuff here with the pets & the "they don't let people come around" shit. And that points to someone in his family, likely his sister because of various things I won't bother going into here.
So anyway, minus the shame of having my name on a CPS file somewhere (just MINE, that's another oddity here, it was ME & only ME reported, they asked if Adam & I were separated because it was only ME that was reported as being a shitty parent) everything is good. Well, I'm sad. Sad that anyone would put our kids into some petty bullshit, because no matter who or why, it was total lies & done with malicious intent. And angry that I've sadly encountered a very pathetic person at some point. But within 30 days, it'll all be over officially. And I can write it off as a life experience.
We DID try to make it amusing because we knew it had to be ridiculous. Here are some ideas we & some friends came up to make us pass CPS inspections:
Me: So since CPS might stop by tomorrow, think we should hang out the American flag & dust off that huge gift bible we got as a wedding gift? Would that make us look more wholesome?
No worries, we've already put away all the candles. We don't want them to think that's how we cook our food.
I'll pull out a modest outfit to wear!
Shit, I gotta go buy a modest outfit!
I need to hide my vibrator. And that's not even a joke.
I'll go down to the Family Dollar & pick up a copy of Sarah Palin's book.
Aeriel: Buy an apron. And bake pie. Not rhubarb though. That will make you a communist.
Also, you might want to throw Glenn beck on tv... but that's a judgment call with your area.
Serve food and recite a 15 min prayer before you allow her to eat. Side note, learn a prayer...
Sarah: Throw up some "live laugh and love" decorations
Tara: You need a cross wall...go buy some crosses...quick!
Heather: You could have all of us locals over for a bible study conveniently...
Adam: So we have any bacon? ...what, everyone likes bacon.
Yeah, we really are like this in real life.