This is the first of, I'm sure, many posts coming in the next few days. Our world is flipped on it's side and while I'm not comfortable sharing any of it, it feels like lying not to:
On Tuesday night, I went out to dinner with my friends. We painted pottery, and ate seafood- all while giggling about insignificant gossip and shared stories. It was exactly what I needed after leaving my house. 6 kids were at the table dropping rice and squishing plums. Everyone was hyped up because the new 3 kids came home late from their visit- missing their play/wind down time before dinner. The transport car that was bringing them home had been rear ended. The person who called to let me know said it was just a tap and the kids and both cars were totally fine, they just needed to exchange information. When I did get home everyone was sleeping. I frantically decorated our whole downstairs in Frozen themed posters, banners, confetti- essentially anything I could find at the party store with Elsa's pointy little face on it. I sat down to watch some TV and fell asleep.
Wednesday morning started off like every other; with kids up before 7 jumping around and playing in their rooms. I called down Baby 12 to show her the Frozen birthday extravaganza that we set up just for her 5th birthday. She was so excited!! She put on her "Birthday Girl" shirt and matching tutu. I had her pose for a picture next to the table that now held her gifts and candles that would go on her cake, tonight after daycare. We'll have pizza and cake, and you can open all your presents. Then I called down the rest of the kids for breakfast.
Brandon caught Baby 13 at the bottom of the stairs and immediately changed his diaper. He called me over, Teresa, come look at this. I was positive I was going to find a diaper rash that we would just apply some cream to and move on.
I was wrong.
Baby 13 was covered in bruises. Big bruises. Bad bruises. Bruises that weren't there the last time I saw him.
I asked him what happened? He told me he hurt himself on the wall. I scooped him up and took him upstairs to his room and asked which wall? He pointed to all of them. I asked very softly while he was in my lap, who hurt you? He was soft but clear when he answered Baby 4. I asked, What did Baby 4 do? He said, Nothing.
I called Brandon upstairs so I could get hysterical and cry in my own bedroom. Brandon told me the night was completely ordinary, and I knew the morning was just like any other. So what happened?!!
I called Baby 4 upstairs and asked how did 13 get hurt? He asked questions like he genuinely didn't know. He got hurt? When? Is he OK? I didn't want to talk too much to him. I knew this was going to be a big deal, and I wanted his information to be unaltered by anyone else.
We all need to get dressed. Baby 13 needed to be seen by a doctor right then. I called Baby Girl's nurse up to tell her what was happening and let her look at him to decide if we were going to the pediatrician or emergency. She looked at 13 while I got dressed in my room. When I came out, she asked, Did he tell you what happened? Her eyes were wide and I knew in my gut he had told her. I asked what she heard; He said his biological brother did it. The 8 year old who lives with a relative resource, but visits with them all on Tuesdays.
My friend came over while I packed up Baby 13 and gave directions for the morning. Baby 4 would go to her house, Baby 9 &12 would go to daycare, Baby Girl and Baby 11 would stay home with the nurse. Brandon went to work and I headed to the doctor. The kids all saw me crying. I told them I'm sad that 13 got hurt.
We got to the pediatrician and I was still a mess. Baby 13 seemed totally unaware that anything was wrong. He wanted to make sure he wasn't getting any shots and that he had enough juice in his cup. They took pictures, gave me tissues and pats on the back, asked him what happened (I hurt my face on the walls at my house), and called in a CPS report.
That CPS report cited his injuries, noted they were inconsistent with the story given, and alleged that we had provided inadequate supervision.
I cried my way through Walmart while 13 and I picked up cookies for daycare and cake for 12's birthday party. Then I dropped 13 off at daycare.
About an hour and several phone calls to/from various caseworkers later, the decision was made to remove all 3 new kids from our home. 12 & 13 would go right from daycare, and I'd drop Baby 11 and all their belongings off that evening.
If I'm being perfectly honest, my first and primary concern was the placement of Baby 9. She has only ever known us her entire life. CPS has to prove something bad happened at our house before moving our adopted kids, but they can move 9 simply because the mood strikes. We could fight it, and we would, but she needs to stay home. My next concern is what happened to 13. I don't know. There's not even a Mom-gut inkling. But he's hurt and I want to make sure it never happens again. My third concern is what the CPS investigation will turn up. I've been in the system long enough to know the truth isn't always the same as a CPS finding. I also know you can get different findings in the same case depending on the worker interpreting the evidence. In the end, our foster care license and Baby 9's adoption depend less on what actually happened and completely on what gets written by the CPS investigator. She has 60 days to make her finding. 60 days of torture.