There is a lady whom I do not know. I do not know what ails her, and where she is from. I do not know if she has borne children, hates children, loves children or knows any children. I do not know her but I will never forget her name.
There is a lady whom I welcomed into my home at 11pm, to whom we showed our sleeping, healthy children, to whom we each spoke with for more than thirty minutes in the middle of the night. She knows where we live. She wore all the right badges, representing the Emergency Response night crew. She appeared calm and open. She was not too interested in the baby. She said things were good, no problems.
And then she left the house, spoke with someone on the phone, came back inside, and said, “So we will remove the child.”
Multiple children were sleeping here that night, believing it to be home. Multiple children had cleared her and the LAPD’s inspection, and had been put back to sleep. Multiple children were under our care, constantly under the scrutiny of families, professionals, and potential adversaries every week with no questions raised. But it was her call that night, and one was removed while the others slept–all three would never understand fully what had happened.
Because, as we know now, the real didn’t matter and the pretend made the decisions.
She became a different person. She would not read the allegations. We could barely understand her English and read her handwriting. She asked me why I had packed food for the baby. She refused to reply to my and an officer’s questions about the illegally installed carseat. She told Ryan he was understating. She kept promising it was temporary. She blatantly lied in her paperwork.
Five months later, through about 10 phone calls, 3 forms, and 2 visits to the courthouse, we acquired a redacted copy of the final investigation report and the emergency response report from the night of the removal. Through this, we learned more of her skewed perspective. Her report was rich in speculation and bias, and she recommended that we each be required to enroll in random drug testing. Three months later, she would be called by the final investigation office, which was tasked with the decision of reopening our home to other children, and she would stand by her memories and unique account, adding that she remembered being concerned that I was in danger of being domestically abused. Number one, thanks for acting on that concern and number two, if we ever play Memory, you’re on my team.
There is a lady who caused immense damage in about two and a half hours. And that is the end of our stories overlapping. No grievance we submit, no testimony we give, nothing short of suing the Department (and winning), would remotely have the ability to remove or edit her paperwork and testimony from our file. She changed us forever and then was gone. She is one of the last people I would recommend letting into your home.
There is a lady who never knew us because before she even entered, she had decided who we were.