So here we are getting the kids ready for their day at school when the doorbell rings. Standing outside is the DCFS Investigator (Ms. O is what we will call her) who came to interview the kids, my husband at the time, and myself regarding the allegations of him abusing 2 of the kids. The investigator came in took a sit in the living room and all the kids were introduced to her and explained to the reasoning of Ms. O visiting our home. As Ms. O sat in the living room she observed the kids interaction with us and she spoke with each child one by one. After speaking with each child, Ms. O then interviewed my husband and myself separately. Once she finished her interview questions with me, we sat and talk openly. What she had to say to me was that she sees that the kids are being loved and that they truly loved us. She stated that for what she sees the kids all seem comfortable and safe with us all while calling us mommy and daddy. Ms. O explained to me that the process will take up to 60 days of investigation and once a decision is made we will be notified.
Once Ms. O left our home, I contacted my Director to inform her that the investigator came out. She then explained to me that now the agency themselves had to investigate. Meaning our licenses rep had to come down to the house and do another interview with the kids, my husband, and myself, our caseworker had to take the kids to the emergency room for a physical since the allegations were abused, and then we had to have a protective plan put into place for our home. To think we were going through all of this because during a supervised visit with their bio-parent the bio-parent was able to sneak off into the bathroom with one of the kids and no one knows how and what that conversation really was about. Anyways, the hospital reports indicated no signs of physical abuse, the kids stated to everyone that no one was being abused, and since the allegations were against my husband, he could not be left unsupervised with the kids. Now that last piece changed our entire dynamic and structure to our house.
Since my husband was the one who would get the kids up in the morning, feed them breakfast and take them to school while I tended to the new baby, he no longer could be up by himself with the kids nor drop them off to school. Every time I left our home, every kid in the home had to leave with me. If I needed to just ran down the street to the office, I had to pack up every kid to walk down the street with me. I began to feel like I was in this all by myself. That I had now became a single mother. But that wasn't the worst of it all. Something inside of you begin to change when having to care for children that are not yours that have made false allegations against you. You have to bury the emotions that you as a human being begin to experience from anger to hurt. I remember that day of receiving the news and being so anger that I wanted to walk away for good. Then frustration grew because I knew that we were doing all that we could to make sure that the kids were not only safe but being loved. Next was the hurt, the hurt that we begin to feel from the people that we thought trusted us to care from them and from those who we were trying to build a relationship in helping them gain custody of their children. We struggle with how to continue to go about our days of caring for the children as if our character, integrity, and livelihood was not state. Each day I had to get up and remind myself on what led me here and why I needed to stay. This was the time where the support of those outside the village was more important than those within the village.
I am grateful for those inside the village that knew what type of parents that my husband and I were and trying to be to our 6 kids. But I am more grateful that they supported us through out the entire investigation to say. "hey, whatever you need to keep moving forward, we are here." These 60 days seem as if we were living an entire year over from start to finish. The days went by and not a word from anyone to say what was going on, what the decision was or if we needed to do anything else. Finally, our agency got word that the investigator, Ms. O, indicated that her ruling to the allegations was unfounded. This meant that there was no evidence to rule that the children had been abused. This was great news but we were not out the water yet. We still had to wait for the official determination to be made by DCFS within the system and a letter to us. As days continue to go by, that day finally came, the investigation was fully closed. We received our letters indicated that everything was unfounded. Boy, did that take a ton of bricks off our backs. This meant that our lives could go back to how they were before the investigation started. Or would it?
Whether or not our lives returning to what we considered to be normal or not, one thing I have to admit, is that God was preparing me for something I had no clue. I knew that this was a learning experience for what people talk about when it comes to opening up your hearts in becoming a foster parent. I also learned that my direction in this life of a foster parent was not to be limited within our home but beyond our home. The biggest lesson from this situation was that my life was getting ready to change in a way that I never even imagined. However, I became open to learning more since if felt as if we had just passed our first test in being foster parents. One thing for sure, I am glad I did stick around because through it all, my babies needed me.