I always knew most of the problems that Rebecca’s biological Mom had but I didn’t know them all. What I did know of, I don’t think I truly understood. They were big mental health words that sounded like they belonged in a movie. Unfortunately there were a lot of other things going on in that household that I didn’t know of. Rebecca’s biological Mom was living with her biological Dad and one night when Rebecca was with us, their home was raided and both parents arrested. Dealing drugs, using drugs, weapons in the home, gang activity…you name it, it was probably happening and off to prison they went.
Insert family drama. More specifically, Rebecca’s Grandma who was receiving guardianship of her by default. Trust me, not really the next best choice. She had her own fair share of mental issues and a drinking problem. Hell, she had let enough crazy men into her life to abuse her kids growing up but the child system let her go ahead and have guardianship anyways. Easy for her though when she realized we would do it all. Mainly because we had been doing it all.
Perhaps this is where we realized we were in the middle of a mess. We had no legal rights but we did it all, bought it all. We knew how to put this baby to sleep and knew what every fuss meant. This baby knew us and cried when we handed her over to anyone else, including the Grandma. One specific day I went to pick up her up to find her crawling under Grandmas kitchen table getting ready to chow down on some prescription pills that had been left spilled on the floor. And the hits just kept coming, over and over. That is where I could write story after story.
I was young, we were young. We were frustrated but what do you do? Yes, I called CPS. No, there was nothing they could do. Was there proof? Was the baby physically abused? OBVIOUSLY we were over-reacting according to them. For the next few years I would grow increasingly frustrated by CPS. I would learn the horror that kids go through because the system is so absolutely fucked up. But I was one of two people trying to fight a huge up hill battle and we were tangled in the mess. There was no walking away. The point you realize you are fucked is always too late. All we could do was start documenting everything.
This right here is where people get lost in our story. What do you mean no one would help? Someone spanks their kid in a parking lot and the kid gets yanked out of the house for good. No. The system is very broken. The system doesn’t work. The system is not a system, it is a joke. This is where kids don’t get the help and safety that they need because this system is over-run, out-dated and needs an overhaul. These kids need help.
So we did what we could.
Rebecca was one happy baby with us and the two days out of the week she wasn’t with us she would spend crying and upset. Which left me crying and upset. Which left my ex stressed out. But damn we clung to one another like a raft. Our families started really understanding what was going on and tried to be supportive but that was all they could do. So we kept on. School, baby, school, baby. At this time we had no problem keeping her. No one else cared to speak up and actually want to raise Rebecca. So we were it. Throwing her first birthday party, watching her take her first steps, teaching her how to feed herself, listening to her say “da da” for the first time (to my ex), letting her scream on Santa’s lap at Christmas, and taking her for hay rack rides.
There we were on our own life raft just holding on. Two college kids finishing school with a house full of bright plastic toys, extra diapers shoved in our back packs and empty sippy’s lost under the couch. My ex and I didn’t know what else to do besides keep going forward and hoping someone would direct us at some point. Hoping perhaps things would just work out on their own. But hoping was useless to be honest. Whether you believe in God’s plan or not it fucking sucked. We loved that kid more than our own lives by this point.