On February 5, 2015 the state of Florida came to Georgia where we lived and kidnapped my children with bomb squads and swat teams as though I was a terrorist. It was 3 in the afternoon, and I was pulling up to my son’s middle school when a bomb squad pulled me out of the car. They hit my mother’s house simultaneously with a Swat Team, guns drawn while my 3 year old was having a Tea Party with her Nana. They thought they had a kidnapper in custody until they actually spoke with me and fortunately refused to arrest me as I genuinely didn’t know anyone was looking for me or my kids.
They said that I was accused of abuse by a call from the hotel in November and that they had served the hotel with papers for me to appear in court for something they called a “dependency hearing”. I checked with the hotel and no one had served them with any papers or sent any mail for me to them.
Because we were already home in Georgia from our Florida vacation, and I never received any written, verbal, or electronic notification of any type of hearing, I was not there. Apparently the Escambia County of Pensacola, Florida automatically took sole custody of my children upon themselves in December of 2014. According to the document they later sent, they waited two and a half months to come and get my kids from the date of that document. Amazingly, though I was never investigated or spoken to by these people, I was accused of abuse simply because my son has a disability and he screams. And even though they believed that I allegedly posed such a threat to my children from an anonymous call, they waited two and a half months to take my kids from me. They considered this anonymous call grounds to cross state lines and kidnap my children with absolutely no notice to me of any issue or hearing.
My children were taken to another state and put in separate foster homes 75 miles apart. This separation from each other only furthered their trauma, and made my visiting or getting them back all the more difficult. I couldn’t have been more shocked or devastated, and felt I had completely failed my children, and had no ability to protect or save them from this horrible nightmare. My children were literally kidnapped in every sense of the word, but there was no Amber alert or any concern by any official that would help me find and get them back. I was helpless, hopeless, and I succumbed to it for days. I felt like an ant up against a giant government monster that had full control of my most precious possession, and there was not a thing I could do about it. I never felt so powerless in my life, and my children’s safety and well-being were all hanging in the balance.
Something was very, very wrong. I had never had any interaction with CPS, and I only knew that they took your kids if you did something terribly wrong. I was the band booster mom, PTA mom, home room mom, active fundraiser, and now I was a mother with no children. How could this happen? Why would anyone take MY kids, let alone for ABUSE? I started frantically digging around, met folks, spoke to them, and suddenly became aware that there was this whole underworld out there where losing you kids to the government was an epidemic. Not hundreds, but thousands upon thousands of people were going through the same thing. I quickly learned of horrible things like what went on in foster homes, and worst of all, forced adoption and medical kidnapping.
My frustration, fear and anger quickly became righteous indignation. Nothing mattered except getting my kids back. Imagine that? Stopping everything in your life, putting anything and everything else on hold, and focusing on nothing else except that of getting your own kids back from a government, from a state you didn’t even live in, a state you visited for a week’s vacation with your children! No one could ever tell me this could happen in the United States of America. This was a nightmare only to be lived in a third world country, but here I was, frantically trying to get my own children back.
I quit my job, let go of my house, and drove down to Pensacola Florida to fight for my kids. I slept in my car a lot to save money. I sat at the Families First Network everyday from 8am to 12pm, and then family court from 1 to 5pm. I could not believe what I was seeing and learning, and I told everyone that would listen what happened to my kids. Certainly no one except those who had or were experiencing it could believe me. During this time, I had to bear witness to a multitude of injuries my son sustained from black eyes, busted noses, bruises in varying stages and I was helpless to protect him. I tried everything to get him moved to another foster home, but no one cared. Not the cops, caseworkers, CPS – – – NO ONE.
It was me against the world, and I was the only person in this world who would fight for my kids despite the name “Families First”. It was truly a David vs Goliath, but it was for MY KIDS, just me against them – the government. My son’s father left when he was a baby and we haven’t heard from him since. My daughter was the product of a very violent kidnapping/ assault in Texas. The police have never found the person. We do not know who her father is, and CPS tried to use all this against me. Imagine that. But it backfired in their face. The judge thought it was very distasteful that they even tried to bring it up, but it gives you the feel for how they grasp at anything to justify kidnapping your children.
I’m the only person there to keep my kids safe, and I was failing miserably through no lack of trying. I printed up the pictures of my son’s bruises and started showing them to everyone when I did my daily sit ins. The trial was April 8th, and I was the only witness for my side of this case.
My son was entered in as a witness, but thankfully he didn’t have to go thru that. My children were ordered to be returned immediately. The case worker had even admitted to never speaking to me or informing me of any case. I won. I beat Florida. I got my kids back and took them home to Georgia that night.
I didn’t realize winning was only part of the battle. My children are having so many problems they never had before including nightmares, separation anxiety, panic attacks and much more. My son was terrified to go to school and he used to love it. He also will not sleep alone. My daughter screams, cries, and is inconsolable when I try to leave for work. She’s terrified I won’t come home. She’s scared of everything now and she used to be so bright and happy.
My children were destroyed by the state of Florida. We lost everything from our home to even our car, (it was stolen in Pensacola with all of our things in it), as well as our peace of mind, any sense of security, and all faith and belief that Child Protective Services does anything right by children and families! Most of those things can be replaced eventually, but I wonder if we will ever all feel safe and secure again.