> No More Secrets And Lies: Goodbye Social Services

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Goodbye Social Services

At the next meeting with Mary's social worker and her mom, I told them I was going to raise Mary by myself, and I told the social worker that Mary's mom was okay with this, and, in fact, wanted me to. Karen affirmed this to be the case, and the social worker then made a note of this in her file. I also told them that Mary and I had talked and had decided that she wouldn't be going to a foster home anymore, and would instead stay home with me. I asked them if they were okay with this and they both said they were. I told them I would raise Mary on my own, but would like it if her mother would help out from time to time because this was going to be big task for one person. I told them Karen could (and should) visit Mary often, and that I would keep her up-to-date on how Mary was doing, like we had done with all our girls. I wanted to make sure she still intended to include Mary in her life.

Their acceptance of my plan to keep Mary home and parent her by myself, seemed very uncharacteristic for them, especially since only a couple of months earlier Social Services had threatened to make up child abuse charges against me if I didn't let them keep Mary. I didn't know what to think of their sudden change of heart, but I didn't think about it too much at the time. I assumed they had given up trying to separate Mary and me and were glad I was taking her off their hands. I didn't realize, however, that their intentions were to have me do the work of nurturing her back to health, sacrifice my job for her, and then, when I had no money, home, or car, separate the two of us. But, once again, I'm getting ahead of myself.

Mary stayed at my place, and I became her next "placement." I knew raising her by myself wouldn't be easy. I didn't even know if I could do it at all. But someone had to, and no one else wanted to, and it's what you do as a parent — as if this were even a question. I also knew I had to get her out of that merry-go-round of group homes she had been subjected to. And even though the County had done things to her that had crossed a line of shamelessness, I didn't care anymore. Mary needed to be home, and all those things were behind us now, and we wanted to leave them that way.

Mary stayed home and stayed with me. We had another meeting scheduled with the social worker, but I wasn't sure I wanted to meet with her any longer. Our meetings had been little more than Mary's mother and her trying to think of things about me to complain about. They honestly were. And I honestly had had enough of this. And so I emailed the social worker and told her I didn't think Mary and I needed her services any longer, and I thanked her for all she had done.

After this, a few emails passed between Mary's mom and the social worker where they talked about how they were fairly certain Mary wouldn't be at my house very long anyway, and how she would soon be back in a group home. They didn't think I'd be able to raise Mary on my own and it would be a matter of time before our little experiment failed. And now I wonder if this is why they were so eager for me to take on this task, even if it was the exact opposite position they had held, only a month earlier, regarding me, and parenting, and Mary to say nothing of me actually parenting Mary. It was all very puzzling to me, to say the least.

I belive they thought I would fail, and I even think they wanted me to because this would prove what they had failed to prove when Mary was still in the group homes — that I was not a good parent. Maybe I'm wrong. But it felt like it then and it feels like it now.

Of course, I wasn't sure if I'd be able to care for Mary either. The odds weren't in my favor. But then I didn't take on this task after first weighing whether the odds were in my favor or not. It's just what a parent does for his child — especially a child who had been through what Mary had. That, and I had promised Mary I would never give up on her.

And things were hard. Real hard at times, and stressful. And it took Mary a while to adapt, even to her own home. And it took her a while to adjust back to life as a teenage girl, once again. She wasn't sure if anyone wanted her anymore, but she was sure she wanted to be home and with her dad.

"I know we can do this, Dad. You and I have always gotten along. I think this can work out."

"So do I, Mary."


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