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August 07, 2008

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I cannot imagine how hard this is, and I'm sorry you have to go through it. Keep breathing and rest assured there are many of us sending good thoughts your way.

Oh, I am so so sorry you have had to deal with this. and I just cannot believe that this is normal. FWIW - which is not much, but just speaks to the fact that this is all about conventions - I grew up running around by myself as soon as I could toddle, and my kids here do and will do the same. To my way of thinking, that's the point of living in a neighborhood and not on a secluded country lane - you trust the people around to keep an eye out on the other kids, and you do the same for theirs. which does NOT mean you call the cops - it means you remind them to cross the street carefully,and wipe their noses if needed.
And on another note, since I'm just catching up - you daughter is going to be so lucky. She is so lucky.

I'm really glad he seems like a decent guy.

But I am just beyond livid at the neighbor. At the very LEAST I think she needs a strongly worded legalese-filled letter on law firm letterhead.

I know you try to deal gently with people, and I commend you for that, but I just really don't think you can let her think she can push you around like this. Or, anyone else in the future.

Oh I just want to punch her in the mouth. I can't imagine how you must feel.

Praying for you. You should not be having to go through this. If I were you, I would go ahead and contact a lawyer, just in case. I think the chance that CPS will take action in your case is remote, but it is the kind of trauma to the whole family you want to avoid at all costs. I for one would chip in for legal fees, if you would feel comfortably providing PayPal info, and I'm sure many of your other readers would do the same.

Two hours? Good lord. How very frustrating. Please postpone the chores and take everyone out for an ice cream!

Think about whether it is the right time to consult a lawyer, just to get everything down on paper so you know what your options are regarding this neighbor of yours. And I would also tell your husband to talk to the other neighborhood parents to see if there is a pattern of behavior on her part.

{{{{HUGS}}}

I am beyond words...
Sending you and your boys hugs...
I will be praying for you...
I am so so sorry you had to go through this...
Unfair and just so wrong....

CJ, I was a mess for weeks after my experience.

The neighbor surely should be chastised for her actions. There are children whose lives are devastated because of the treatment they receive from their elders. Your just punishment of your son comes no where close to the horrors some children experience. Take some time to speak with your husband about what should be said or written to this neighbor.

I am going to disagree for now about speaking with the neighbor, at least until this is resolved with the agency. You do not wish to stir that pot.

though I'd like to say a few things to her... sigh.

still praying - for a quick end to this. for you. for the kids. and wishing I could hug you as well.


I also agree that you need to take some sort of action or at the very least set up a paper trail regarding your neighbor. Forgive and forget is all well and good, but this woman tried to get the state to take your kids. I can't think of a more unforgivable and heinous act than that. You need to amend the police report, send a letter, or something so that you have information on file about your neighbor. What if she calls CPS again for some other minor issue? You need to make it clear that she's the one with the problem and not you.

That being said, hang in there. My family is rooting for you!

I haven't read the other comments.

Once when my (then) youngest had disappeared for two hours during a rain storm, a neighbor came out and in my presence said,"well, I told my husband it was just a matter of time. She doesn't even lock her doors and that one never even has underwear or pants on half the time."

Awful.

What should you do? Neighborly love suggestion: make some extra carrot muffins. Write a note to the idiot woman who started all this for being a caring and vigilant voice for the children of the neighborhood and that you will certainly be more mindful in the future. Certainly the children have got a good guardian in you, Mrs. X.

Be gracious.

She will probably be so taken with your gesture that she would more than likely leave you alone for a long time to come.

The point is not you're sorry and she's right, but that you live in here and she can make your life hell. She can get your kids taken away.

Make muffins, tread lightly.

I'd be crying, too. I'm so sorry you have to deal with this.

So sorry you're dealing with this. I hope it all works out for the good.

2 HOURS? Ugh. Take care of yourself -- we're all pulling for you and for REASON to prevail.

I'd be crying too. But of course I am praying that you have peace and can stop soon.

Late to the game -- praying hard. (Since God is outside time, I'm fully convinced prayers work retroactively...) You did absolutely right (ask my daughter how far SHE walked to school) but it's a fallen and damaged world, and some people like to focus on that. Hugs!

Two hours? Insane. I'll be shocked if it goes any further than this, though. Waiting for the verdict from the supervisor will be the hardest.

I don't know what to tell you about the woman, though. I'd follow the police suggestions and have the addendum to the original report detailing how she behaved towards your son. After you get cleared by CPS, I'd add a copy of the notice that clears you of any wrong-doing as well, in case this woman wants to create more problems in the future. It's best to have as clear a paper trail as possible in case of future incidents.

This woman really does have too much time on her hands. And is probably insane. Let's be glad none of us is related to her!

Hi, everybody. Not long after I posted this, a friend called me and said, "Is there anything you need?" She dropped what she was doing to meet me at the park with her kids, and gave me the chance to talk and cry and get myself back together. I had been feeling so certain that this was a reasonable decision for this child in this neighborhood, but then when the caseworker left my certainty evaporated and I just crumpled. I had really hoped for quicker resolution than he can offer us.

It was not a grueling two hours at all. I was surprised to see how much time had elapsed when he left. Some of it was pages of stuff he is required to ask, like whether we have firearms in the home and whether anyone here has ever been convicted of drug charges and whether any of my children tested positive for drugs at birth. (!)

It took a little over an hour to get through the stuff he needed, and then we spent a lot of time just talking back and forth. He told me why he drives his kid to school every day instead of letting him walk. He talked about the distinctive character of this neighborhood. He talked about how his car was the only traffic our street had seen in those two hours.

I think it gave him a chance to see how our household runs: kids eating muffins together cheerfully for breakfast, clearing their dishes and taking care of their kitchen chores without being told (mostly). There were two sibling squabbles while he was here, and while I did mutter under my breath, "Can't you GET ALONG while this guy is in our house?!" I think it was probably also helpful for him to see how I respond to sibling conflict.

I had made a list of things I wanted to touch on, things that factored into my decision-making but that I don't think the neighbor understood. I was very clear that it wasn't a case of my saying, "Bye, sweetie, have fun playing in traffic!"

CJ -- I'm so sorry! When you get questioned like this about your parenting, even if you know it's not warranted, it makes you feel terrible. Just the idea that someone has the power to take away your children, no matter how small the chance, is so, so scary. I still think that you made a reasonable choice based on what you wrote. I think that our society has in general become overly paranoid about letting kids do things on their own.

Anyway, I'm thinking of you here in Vancouver and sending positive thoughts your way :)

Just needed to add my 2 cents about the neighbor after thinking for a bit. I don't think you should be too nice to her. You've had to do some serious soul searching about the decision you made to let your son walk home. She needs to do some serious soul searching about her decision to keep him at that corner against his will and about her decision to call CPS. I don't know how to get her to do this. Maybe a lawyer's letter, maybe not. I don't like to jump right away to lawyers but I don't know...how can you impress on her the severity of HER actions without stooping to her level? Tough question -- one that I'm sure you are considering as thoughtfully as you do so many questions :)

CJ,

I'm so upset. My first thought is ... well I shouldn't post it here. It's not nice and it has to do with your neighbor (well-intentioned I'm praying). She needs prayer and understanding for whatever issues she may have that would prompt her to do this.

You are the best mom! I love reading your blog and hearing about your great kids and your blessed family.

Please let those tears flow and get all of them out. Don't hold any of it in, because it won't be healthy for you or the baby.

And it seems those of us on this blog will have to pray for this woman to find a soft heart and peace for herself.

May God be close.

Rebecca

I'll keep on praying. I'm glad that your friend was able to help. I would be devasted too, crying and crying as well. I'm glad his time there wasn't unpleasant, at least that.

This disturbs me on too many levels to try to explain. There's something profoundly shattering about the fact that the caseworker doesn't just show up, look around, agree that different people would make different decisions about this, and LEAVE. I don't understand how children can die of starvation in one location and parents can be interrogated about their children's use of the public thoroughfares in another.

And the thing is, you've probably thought more about this than most, given the climate around homeschooling.

I'm glad to read, from more recent posts, that you've decided to be aggressively trusting in God and set aside your cares. But still -- this case distresses me enormously, and I'm not even in it. So for you to be distraught? That seems perfectly predictable.

I don't think the neighbor was being a guardian angel. A guardian angel watches over with loving kindness. There's no love there. Fear in abundance, but not love.

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