Child Abuse Prevention Month: The Story of J, D and A


Child abuse comes in all different forms. Child abuse looks like some things that one might not think of. J, D and A are my brothers and sister in law that my husband and I have custody of due to abuse at home and abuse in foster care. My husband and the children share the same father but have different mothers. Their mother is 5 years older than my husband. This should give a little background. If you do not want to read about child abuse or if it triggers you, do not read any further. They all gave me permission. J said "as long as I don't have to tell it."

J is my 14 year old sister in law. She was taken into foster care at 6 years old and remembers all her mistreatment. Because of her age, she thought her mother was perfect and it is a hard age to be removed from your family. In her home there was roaches, bed bugs, rats and it was really filthy. It was not an environment for any child. 

On top of all that A, my 10 year old brother in law, was just under 3. He had been recently diagnosed with type one diabetes. His mother was giving him insulin blindly and not checking his blood sugar. Her teenage son from a different marriage was checking him when he came home from school. This teenage son was not raised by her but by his grandparents. He wanted to protect his brother. His mother's gross negligence could have killed him. To this day, she swears she checked him but the endocrinologist would plug in the glucometer to the computer and it would download all data. Computers don't lie. 

J and A were removed from the home. D had not been born yet. They were placed in a foster home. It was not much better there. The foster home was much better on keeping A healthy but they treated J like a slave. If the house was not clean to their standards, she was not allowed to eat. She was in the 10th percentile for weight. She should never have had to miss any meals. There was another child later who cut her hair and the foster care agency called her a liar. We found out after we got them and I took her for a haircut, she was indeed telling the truth. Needless to say when I got on the phone with them, I was not nice. 

They went to two other foster homes. The second one was ok but something happened where they couldn't keep the kids. The third one was horrible. This was around the time my husband and I submitted our petition for custody. When D  (my now 7 year old brother in law) was born, he was placed in this home with his siblings. This foster mother put D on a blanket with toys and ignored him. She treated J like a slave like the first one and did not take care of A properly. She dropped all three children off at a respite home and she turned off A's insulin pump. He wound up in diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) and was hospitalized. This foster parent who received them had NO IDEA that A was a diabetic. She is a diabetic herself so she recognized the signs and rushed him to the hospital. He was in the hospital for a week and he nearly died. 

She was the final foster parent. She was a good one. Always tried and fought for what he needed. She had to comply with the agency. Soon after she got the children, the court awarded J and D to their mother. This did not last long. The reason she didn't get A is because she told the court she did not want him because he was "too hard to take care of." 

At home, J was made to care for D as if he was her own baby. J was 8. She would change his diapers, they were LOCKED in a room together. J was not allowed to ride a bike because D was not old enough to ride one. Every little infraction, she was grounded for a month. Their teenage half brother would come over every so often to check on his little siblings. He would get into screaming matches with his mother on how the children were treated. 

She left D in a pack n play and would ignore him. He would never be out of it unless his teenage half brother would take him out. Due to this, he toe walks. He now has dafos and prescription shoes and is in physical therapy to improve his mobility. He is a fall risk due to muscle weakness in his ankles. When he was in his pack n play he would stand on his toes all the time to see what was going on.  He is also speech delayed due to being neglected. All things that could have been avoided if he was treated the way he deserved. 

Soon after, we had court again and we got custody. That was not the end. Right after my husband picked up J and D, they had to go to the foster agency to pick up A. They tried saying that they could not release A even though a JUDGE said the foster agency was no longer an interested party. They tried to have him admitted to the hospital so he could not be taken. They tried calling the endocrinologist and then i found out. I called them and explained. They called back the foster agency and said they wanted no part in this. They have me a crash course over the phone on what to do and we had to admit him to the hospital as soon as he got down here so we could get a baseline. They were still refusing to release him to us. His blood sugar was as normal as it could be. My husband was a cop in Florida at the time and the children were in NY where he went to pick them up. 

He said "I suggest you give me the child before I contact the judge and call the local police department and show them the court order." Within 5 minutes, he had him in the car and he drove to Albany where they spent overnight. He bought them each a toy of their choice. Then they spent the night in a hotel and got pizza. They were free. 

All the things they brought with them, they left them in the trunk of the rental car so the bugs would die overnight in the cold. 

After their flights home, we spent over 1 week in the hospital with A. Before we brought him, we brought all the kids belongings inside. J had a favorite doll and we were afraid of bugs so what we did was dip the doll's hair in boiling water so she could keep her favorite toy. 

A had night terrors. We sat up with him every night until he felt secure. D was so scared, N and he shared a bed increase his security. He was so scared, we had to walk him up the stairs because he was scared of the stairs. 

We had to take A off the pump because he was so scared of it because of what happened in foster care. The multiple daily injections was not working for him so we worked with a therapist to show him that insulin pumps aren't bad and after a few years he picked out out and he was great. During this time he already had a dexcom and was shown how easy this was. He made the decision on the pump himself. 

J was 9, A was 5 and D was 20 months when they all came home. J had a perfect image of her mother in her head and I never talked horribly about her. She had no idea how she should be treated. It was rocky at first because she was scared and I was very understanding towards her. She would make excuses for her mom almost killing A and not wanting him. 

I had to stop J from changing D's diaper because she always had done it. I told her to play a video game with her new brother. She shrugged her shoulders and sat down with Roo to play skylanders. 

When their mom called, she only wanted to speak to J. J started to realize this. She decided she did not want to talk to her anymore. She saw how she and her siblings were supposed to be treated. Once she stopped talking to her mom, she stopped calling. She even went so far in saying how she was mad at me for saying I had 6 children when I was on Dr. Oz when D doesn't even remember her because he was just a baby. Why should I treat any of the children different just because of where they come from? They are all mine as far as I am concerned. 

Considering all they went through, all three of them are extremely well adjusted and I am so proud of them. They get really scared when they see CPS, we had a few visits due to ridiculous claims. It has gotten better. It happens a lot with large families but nothing traumatizing. Now when they come, they let the kids play with the police car. They LOVE that. 

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