I walked in to this lawyer’s office, not really knowing what to expect. He was a burly Italian guy, with a large presence. Holding a phone in one hand, and a stack of papers in the other, his assistant walked me in to his office as he waved the papers gesturing me to come in. I expected him to be as shocked as I was when I told him they had taken my son, for sure this must be a crazy exception or misunderstanding. After all, they had no proof whatsoever that I harmed my son, I didn’t know where he was, they must have to question the nanny… This was absurd!!! Instead he nodded, and said, “Yeah, they can do that.” What do you mean they can do that? Don’t we have a constitution?! Aren’t we innocent until proven guilty? Don’t they have to prove anything? Again, he looked at me and aloofly said,”Not in family court.” I continued on my rant, when I was suddenly interrupted by my cel phone. It was my obstetrician whom I had called earlier to request a character letter. My lawyer nodded, and told me to take the call. When I started speaking to my doctor, I couldn’t hold back my tears when I said–“They took David…” I had a miscarriage before him, and this doctor knew my history. She knew how much I wanted these babies. As she listened to me cry, she said, “Oh, Rachel, this is not even in your character…” the thought that I would have abused my sons. She agreed to write me a character letter, and as I hung up the phone, I saw the first glimpse of humanity from this lawyer. I wiped away my tears, and he put his hand over mind, and said, “Rachel, I believe you.”
Like cold water to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country. -Proverbs 25:25
Those three simple words: I believe you, was exactly what I needed to hear at that moment. It made me feel sane again. I felt like I was going crazy. Was I the only one who saw the absurdity of all this? I smiled at him, thinking, okay he knows this is crazy. “So when can I go pick up my son, David?” I giggled. Then in the same breath, he turned looking me straight in the eye: “YOU DON’T GET THE SERIOUSNESS OF THIS! WHY ARE YOU LAUGHING? YOU ARE FACING 15 YEARS IN JAIL!!! What happened to your son Lucas is CRIMINAL. You need to call ‘Bob’ (PI), call ‘X Counseling Center’ and enroll in their child abuse, and parenting classes, and get ready for court.”
I felt like I had just gotten ran over by a freight train. I couldn’t process what I was hearing. All I kept thinking to myself was: “BUT I DIDN’T DO ANYTHING! WHAT ABOUT THE NANNY?!” He called Family Court right there in front of me, and confirmed our court hearing would be on Monday, July 13th. My husband would have to get his own lawyer due to of conflict of interest. He continued, “They’re not going to give your children back to you. You are undergoing a criminal investigation now. Your husband cannot defend you, or they will say he does not have your children’s best interest at heart. Unless we find someone to take them in, David and Lucas will be going to Foster Care, and if the case lasts longer than 6 months, which they will make sure it does, your children can be legally adopted by their Foster family.” Again in shock… WHAT ABOUT THE NANNY?! LEGALLY ADOPTED?! He continued, “I don’t want you talking to ANYBODY! You understand?! NOBODY!!! Call the nanny and tell her her services are no longer needed, NOT A WORD MORE. I want you to get as many Character Letters as you can so we can take them to court on Monday. Do WHATEVER the Social Workers tell you to do, don’t argue, and DO NOT talk to them anymore about this case.” And just like that, he sent me on my merry way. I was beginning to realize there was something much more sinister going on.
When I got back to the hospital, I finally had some answers regarding David. My mom was able to get in touch with another social worker, who told her exactly where David was but that we did not have permission to see him. On Friday, July 10th, the SSA (Social Services Agency) gave Ricardo and I permission to go visit David on site (at the county’s children’s shelter), for 30 minutes. That turned out to be the most heartbreaking 30 minutes of my life. I will never forget that pain…Ever. David was like a zombie. Looking at me with complete distrust, betrayal, and abandonment. He wouldn’t come near me. No smile. No hug. Just a blank stare. I knelt down on the floor, and after about 10 minutes trying to get him to play with me, he began opening up. I was finally regaining his trust, when the social worker interrupts our play and tells us our 30 minutes were up. Ricardo and I left to the sound of David, our baby then 20 months old, screaming his heart out, and grasping at our legs begging us not to leave him, yet we had no choice but to turn our backs and walk away.
Ricardo and I cried like two school children, holding on to each other as we walked to the car. The sound of David screaming in the background will forever be etched in my soul. It was heart wrenching. I never felt so helpless. Why God, why?
The Lord is near to those who are discouraged; he saves those who have lost all hope. – Psalm 34:18
We cried all the way back to the hospital, where again, Lucas still lay in a medically induced coma. He was now having seizures due to brain irritation after the surgery. They had him hooked up to an EEG 24/7 monitoring his seizure activity, and trying to find the right combination of drugs to treat him. Everyone was so overwhelmed by the entire situation. First Lucas, now David, and then the threat I might lose my children. It was surreal. But through all the pain, my family and friends were in constant prayer with me. I was able to get around 20 character letters in 2 days. Some from people I had not spoken to in over 20 years. But that’s what happens when you have a family in Christ. We share the same spirit, the same love, the same Light. As painful as this was, I never felt so incredibly loved. The Bible tells us in Psalm 17:17, A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity. I am an only child, but on this day, I felt like I had an army of brothers and sisters standing with me. It gave me strength to go on, it gave me hope, and I will be forever grateful to God for putting them in my life.