Balancing Acts

A working single mom attending law school

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Posts Tagged ‘child abuse’

Choice or mirage?

Posted by newlawmom on May 26, 2009

Daniel Hauser and his mother have returned home, and the child is recieving appropriate medical treatment. The court allowed the parents to retain custody of the boy and it seems like a happy ending. With some luck, he will recover. But you are wrong. I hope Daniel gets physically better. I hope he never develops any other cancer as a result of the chemo itself. I hope that his family can support him as he deals with the incessant and horrible side effects of this treatment, and I hope the child doesn’t fight to hard and need not be restrained or have his rights violated to receive the treatment in the first place. I hope he and his parents have the strenght to deal with pure hell. However, I maintain that nobody should have the authority to dictate that this child be repeatedly injected with poisin that will almost kill him as it saves him from almost certain death.

Medicine is not God. People who practice it are not God. The opinions of one American educated doctor are not automatically better or more justified than the opinions of a doctor who was trained in a different country. We are not the only country where people get cancer, and we are not the only country that has found treatment for the disease. We are far, very far, from being the best, most perfect, most knowledgable, most moral, most Godlike people of the earth. And the sooner we learn that the better off we will be. While people are all set to force the Hauser’s to pursue a particular cure for their one child, Daniel, thousands upon thousands of other children are in the care of the government. Many hundreds, likely thousands of those children are in hospitals tonight. They are locked up, strapped in beds, and drugged. They are abused by other children, abused by adults, and ignored by 99.99% of the people who are all gung-ho about questioning the Hauser’s decisions. These kids are ignored. They are at risk. They do not get proper care. They do not get proper treatment. Half the states don’t even know where all of their children are. Children are left alone in hospital beds. They can be dead for months or years before anyone even reports them missing. So everyone who wants to get all philosophical about this one child might do a parentless child a favor by leaving the Hauser’s alone and finding a child who needs a parent. There are, after all, thousands of them available. And if you want one with serious health conditions to decide about, there are kids with all variety of those who don’t have a parent who cares to do anything at all.


Posted in child welfare, Child Welfare Issues, Daniel Hauser, ethics, foster care, Parenthood, Purpose, trauma | Tagged: , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Child abuse, neglect, disaster…

Posted by newlawmom on November 11, 2008

I was checking out the search terms people use to find my blog, and today there were a few sad ones on there. Reactive attachment disorder. Child abuse. Child neglect. These are the things that matter to me. The things that got me here. And the things I am hoping to impact upon once I make it through this process of education. So how is that looking? Well, so far, not too great. I don’t know how this helps the kids. There are laws that prevent children from suing. I sort of knew that, but I guess I hadn’t really thought about it too much. These kids should be able to sue. I’m told there is an exception for intentional torts. I don’t know too much about it. I guess I wouldn’t want my healthy children to be able to sue me for false imprisonment when I send them to their room for punishment. Nor would I want them to be able to sue for other thngs. Neglecting to provide the best of everything despite by best intentions. But for those who have been genuinely harmed at their parents hands, and that particularly applies to those children who have been removed from their parents homes as a result, how is it fair that the child is asked to give up their entire family and everything they hold near and true just to be safe, and then they can’t recover anything from the people who hurt them? That seems wrong. Specific performance sounds like a good remedy for these kids. When you had me, it was an implied promise to take care of me. You broke the deal, now I want you to perform as promised. Hmmmmmm. Who knows how it is that my attendance at law school is going to benefit these kids. I haven’t even begun to figure that out yet. For today, I am involved in exam prep. And that is all the energy I have. But I have not forgotten my purpose here, nor do I intend to forget it when I am done.

Posted in Child Welfare Issues, Law School Life, Purpose | Tagged: , , | Leave a Comment »

Child Psych treatment

Posted by newlawmom on August 11, 2008

So who are the children who are being locked up in a child psychiatric facility in Connecticut? Why they are state wards. Virtually the only way to get into the state run hospital is to be under the care of the state, either voluntarily or otherwise. And what does the state do for these children? Well, it spends over $800,000 per year to expose the children to excessive levels of physical and chemical restraints. They still use rubber rooms for seclusion purposes. Does this solve the problem? Apparently not, because the state also pays out over $2 million per year to pay wokers compensation costs for employees who are injured by these out of control children. Does anyone want to turn their child rearing duties over to the state of Connecticut and take their chances? On any given day 70+ children are in that hospital. How many children visit over the course of a year? Unknown.

Ready for the scary part? These children have no say. They have no legal representation. They have no avenue to escape their situation. Sure – if they were doing what they needed to do, they never would have ended up there, right? Well, that would be right if all these children were seriously mentally disturbed. The problem is that many children are EMOTIONALLY disturbed. And the reason they are emotionally disturbed is because they have been abused, neglected, abandoned, or otherwise traumatized. We fail to treat them. Fail to acknowledge their serious emotional needs. And then wonder why they are violent and aggressive. Locking them up, placing them into locked rubber rooms, strapping them in to beds, and injecting them with fast acting sedatives is probably not the best answer. I don’t think it is going to contribute their overall physical, mental, and emotional development into model citizens. This is how we treat the 17 and under set. Hmmm. Someone had better do something.  Want to go see Riverview? It sounds like such a beautiful place. Serene. Myself, I’m choosing law school. And praying that I figure out what a law degree enables me to do about it.

Posted in Child Welfare Issues, Purpose | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Unexpected interruptions

Posted by newlawmom on August 6, 2008

Why I would call anything unexpected is a mystery to me. I should know by now that nothing ever goes exactly according to plan, or, life goes as it will regardless of my plans. Today I had two of these things happen. One in the morning, one at night. One good, one bad. One old man, one young man. And I jumped for both of them, which I should learn to stop doing.

So…the old man in the morning. My mother’s companion who I am responsible for this week decides to call the police at 6:30 AM because the staff person who was working didn’t respond when he called their name. Of course the thing to assume is….’the staff person must be dead then…I should call the police and report a possible murder in my house’. When the staff walked into his bedroom a few (as in two or three) minutes later he calmly told them the police were on their way. Sure enough they showed up. Un-be-liev-able. He will see the doctor tomorrow to be evaluated for paranoia and delusions. And because I know its coming I took it upon myself to get the applications for long-term care today instead of next week when my mother is back. Might as well set my sister up with everything she will need when this becomes her baby in two weeks.  I will not be carrying a cell phone with me at school because I need to avoid these types of issues. My mother will limit emergency calls to legitimate emergencies.

So I took care of the old man.  Came home to work on my house and the move. Today I focused on organizing photographs so they aren’t damaged along the way. Set a few more things aside for a tag sale on Saturday. And failed to get my carpets shampooed which was actually my top priority. That has been moved to Friday. I did quite a bit of work today, spent time with my kids, etc. and had just settled down for the night when my phone rang at 10PM with a strange number.

I was so happy to hear from this kid and he is doing so well for himself. A 19 year old kid that I have known since he was 11. He’s had a disaster of a life. Orphaned in a foreign nation as an infant. Adopted by American saviors at age 7. Abused by adoptive parents, landed in foster care at age 11, institutionalized for a year, diagnosed as MR…the story goes on. He showed up on my doorstep in June begging for help fighting the system. I helped him get an attorney and stuck to my decision to never allow any other children to live in my home. For a brief time, that left him homeless. But…..he prevails. He called tonight for a ride HOME from Work! Yes. He has a job, an apartment of his own, and he is enrolled in the local community college for the fall semester. How sweet is that? He is doing fine. He is so proud of himself. His attorney has successfully prevented the state from confining him and medicating him, which was their intention. They like control. And it seems to me that it is easier to declare someone mentally ill or unfit than it is to accept genuine emotions. This issue interferes with people getting proper services. This child was angry, unhappy, and determined to escape what he viewed as a bad situation. Everything he did and said was turned around on him and seemed to provide evidence that he was “not making good decisions” and “emotionally unstable”. So I am thrilled that he has managed to secure his freedom. I am proud of him, and when he goes back to court in a few weeks, holding a job, having an apartment, and being enrolled in higher education should work in his favor. Resilience is possible. Not guaranteed, but possible just the same. Now for the other thousands of teenagers in foster care….what will happen to them? I’m not sure. Tomorrow I am going to the amusement park where I will successfully ignore all the problems of the world and just enjoy my own three.

I hope my readers have a splendid day. Pick a cause and apply yourself to it. Contribute to the world in whatever positive way you are capable of. And remember that you only live once.

Posted in Child Welfare Issues, Law School Life, Parenthood, Purpose | Tagged: , , , , | Leave a Comment »

Sad crimes and my life

Posted by newlawmom on July 23, 2008

I got a lot done today. I am off to law school and committed to living every day of my life to the fullest, realizing I could die any day, same as the rest of you. There is usually no forewarning. But certain things can be predicted. I predict that if we continue to abuse and neglect our own children and fail to recognize that simply giving a child a new family does not solve their problems, we will continue to see some of these children commit crimes as adults. Two different crime anniversaries have been in the news this week, and both cases involve adults adopted as children. 

Edwin Hall kidnapped, raped, and murdered an 18-year old Kansas girl just over one year ago. Today he pleaded guilty and offered that he thought the girl was twelve and had nice legs. This man was removed from his adoptive home as a teenager after threatening harm to his adopted sister.  Why? Because there is a mental and emotional disconnect. If a person is unable to connect with their mother and father, unable to feel connected to other people in the world, there is no sense of decency necessary. There is no understanding of decency. Learning the standard expectations of society is like learning a foreign language without having any expectation of needing to use it in the future. Even if the individual is able to recite the rules of appropriate language, there is no internalization behind it. Considering my son was removed from my home after threatening to murder our entire family, and considering a few years before that he pulled a knife on his social worker and attempted to feed my two-year-old a large assortment of his own medications, I think I have a right to be concerned about it. This could be my kid in the news ten or fewer years from now. It is my greatest fear.

In the second case, the home invasion in Cheshire, CT happened exactly one year ago today. A mother and her two innocent daughters were raped and murdered while the husband was severely beaten and left for dead in the basement while his house was set on fire. It was a terrible crime committed by two men. One of those men was adopted as a child, and his parents claim that he was always “distant” and “unconnected”. The word for this is Reactive Attachment Disorder. It is the pre-cursor to sociopathic behavior. It is real, and it has a preventable cause. If there is one study I would like to do during my lifetime, it would be to research how many of our jailed criminals had a history of being placed into foster care, adoption, or other situations where they were separated from their biological parents.  These criminals were not necessarily born bad or even born different. It is their life circumstances that have contributed to their behavior. And it is our society that allows those life circumstances to exist.

Posted in Child Welfare Issues, Parenthood, Purpose | Tagged: , , , , , , | 1 Comment »

Law school prep

Posted by newlawmom on July 22, 2008

Today was crazy. And for the first time, I have found something law-school related that actually scares me. That scary thing would be the LEEWS audio set. I picked it up for $80 used. It comes in a lovely case with six two-sided cassettes, a book, and several loose sheets of paper. On top is a little green bookmark telling me what to do before, during, and after LEEWS. This is the Legal Essay Exam Writing System created by Wentworth Miller. I wasn’t going to go to the training, or even buy the materials. But the temptation was overwhelming. So….I admit it. I am scared. I have no idea how I am going to fit this into my very full schedule. Weekdays from 8-4 will be no problem. But evenings and weekends need to be well managed, and I will find it difficult. I don’t know when I am going to find the time to play these tapes, at a time when I am awake and able to concentrate, uninterrupted. It just doesn’t seem likely to happen in the middle of summer vacation for the three children. That doesn’t include the fairly lengthy reading assignments that are due on the first day of class. For today, I will avoid the idea by purposefully not putting it on my to-do list. When my list becomes longer than I can manage, I get anxious and accomplish less. When I make next weeks list, perhaps I will put it on there.

Money is tight. I spent a fair amount of time shopping online for my books. I need to make some firm decisions soon. I really need to either have the books or have them ordered and paid for by the end of the week. And I will. But it didn’t happen today. The price turned me off. I did get my physical taken care of, and it came in at just over $150. Not bad. I need to go back in two days to get my TB test read. Itsn’t it amazing that we can lock up one person with TB against their will because they are a risk to society? Risk comes in many forms. I would suggest that parents who abuse and neglect their children and then give birth to four or five more should be stopped just as fast as one TB patient who might infect a few others. An interesting concept. The father of my adopted son had nineteen children. Every single one of them was in the care of the state. The boys mother was sixteen and he was her third baby. Should they be allowed to continue? If they had TB instead of unwanted babies, they would be stopped to protect the innocent.

Well, on to bigger and better things. Tonight I will be planning the rest of my week and reading Later in Life Lawyers. I plan on going to bed by ten and being out of bed by 8AM. 7 came too early for me today. I need to adjust more slowly.

Posted in Child Welfare Issues, Law School Life | Tagged: , , , , , , | Leave a Comment »

I’m a new law student

Posted by newlawmom on July 3, 2008

How did I get here? What am I doing? Why am I doing it? Oh, the answers are long. Too complicated for an introductory post. But suffice it to say there are reasons. Compelling, purposeful reasons. Child abuse, mental illness, torture, trauma, drama, and the fifty states of the union. The world needs to hear from me. I have a lot to say. But first I need to shut up and listen. Become a top law student so I can become an awesome lawyer on a mission. Law for a Cause.

For tonight, I am an anxious, underworked, overstressed waiting student. I need to wait. In the meantime, I look at my children. Look at the past several years of my life, and look in amazement at the fact that I am, indeed, a 1L. A first year law student with a school to call my own.  A thirty-something, non-traditional, unconventional law student who also happens to be a single mom to three children and the failed adoptive parent of a fourth. Does that make me unique? I need to be certain I’m not so unique as to out myself inadvertently.

I care about too many things. Too many people. Too many problems that seem overwhelming. For tonight, that problem concerns children who are kidnapped and raped by family members. Think Vermont. Think murder. But how many other children are involved? What happened to them? How will that affect them down the road? And what type of justice, and more importantly, treatment,  do we offer the victims? Here is where I differ from most people in society…I want to know what happened to the perpetrator when he was a child. And what type of justice did he receive? What type of mental health problems did/does he have that result directly from his own childhood experience and have clearly been inadequately treated? And how do we solve this problem? Because until we do, crimes against innocent children will continue. And those children will grow up to be troubled.

With all due respect, I know what it is like to be the parent to a child who is heading rapidly towards being a sociopath. Those children exist. They hurt animals, other children, themselves. They destroy property, threaten to commit murder and suicide. Sometimes they are successful.  Sometimes they end up locked up. Sometimes they get treatment. But how that works, I’m not exactly sure. Because if there is a length that a person could go to in order to get help for their desperately ill child, I have done it.  To those foster and adoptive parents out there who feel like you have failed, here I am. I’m going to bring the truth to those who need to hear it. First, like I said, I need to shut up and learn how to be a lawyer. And therein will lie my challenge over the next three years.

I am a law mom on a mission. And I aim to perfect it. I want top grades. I need to do my best. My absolute best. Because children all over this country are counting on me to insure the law represents them. Only a person who has “been there, done that” could possibly understand the life I have lived over the past several years.  If there is such a thing as a calling, then law school is that for me.


Posted in Child Welfare Issues, Law School Life, Parenthood, Purpose | Tagged: , , , , | 1 Comment »