My daughter and I have not had an easy life, so far. I found out that I was pregnant after I had run away from a horrible situation in my family home. I had been sexually assaulted by someone that I thought was a friend and, when I went to my family for help, they rejected me. I was nineteen-years-old and living in my car. Because of my circumstances, I could not even attend my first OB/GYN appointment until I was five months along. I worked two jobs in order to raise money for a place to live and had to shower at truck stops. My car was getting too cold and I simply was too sick to continue as I was living. I tried to seek state assistance but they would not give it to me unless I had an address. Basically, I was too poor for help.
One of my co-workers was also looking for a place to live. He was 33-years-old and seemed safe, so we got a place together that was about two miles from work. When I noticed that he only made room for one bed, I realized that he had the wrong idea about our arrangement. I realize that this may seem crazy to you and I know that what I did was stupid, but I went with it. I was just so scared. I really did not know what to do.
Two years later, this man has signed the birth certificate and my daughter knows him as her father. I was working 60-70 hours a week at a home for the mentally challenged and attending college. This man started to suspect me of cheating on him, even though his suspected "cheating times" conincided with my class times and I was getting all A's in my classes. Eventually, his suspecting of me became violent. I did not know what to do. I had money to keep my daughter and I afloat, but not enough to move us. Because of me working, I were ineligible for state assistance. Twice, this man attempted to kill me in front of my daughter. Finally, I kicked him out and just hoped that I would figure out how to survive.
We did survive. It was not perfect, but we were doing it. I do admit that there were some days where my daughter ate and I did not, but we were managing. My family came back into my life and offered to help me with babysitting, but they would only babysit during the night. I switched my shifts to all midnights and decided to not go back to school. All of this was very difficult. There were times where I had to force myself to stay awake for days at a time. My father was the one who allowed my daughter to stay at his house while I worked and, though I appreciate what he did, I do wish that I would have had opportunities to sleep. Most of the time, my daughter would still need changed, fed, etc. when I came back from work.
I met a man around this time that I really thought was different. He was educated, though older than me, (since I am so young, I thought that I needed to date older men in order to have the family life that my daughter needed), and had a daughter four months younger than mine. He seemed nice and did the whole flower routine and everything. He also had a certifcate to substitute teach, meaning that he had child clearances. This man seemed PERFECT! Professional, with his own daughter, child clearances....I thought that I struck gold.
I realize now that I was only seeing what I wanted to see. Yes, those qualities seemed fantastic, but I ignored so many of his lies. I have had professionals tell me that they believe this man to be a true psychopath. I do not know if any of you have been in this kind of relationship, but I will say you only realize how horrible it is AFTER it is over. I was distanced from my friends. I had to drop all of my interests and take on his. My daughter was in speech therapy (her speech regressed after what her legal father did to me) and I was planning on getting her a Kindle Fire to help her with her therapy. This man somehow convinced me to give him $1000 right before Christmas and he used part of that money to get HIS daughter a Kindle Fire, an item that she used twice before getting bored with it. I was not allowed near his family for any major events or holidays and he often lied about being with me. There were things that happened that I KNEW were his doing. There were times where I would physically see him do something, but he would convince me that what I saw was different than what actually happened, even though part of me kept screaming that he was lying. My family claims that I stayed with him for his finances, but that is so far from the truth. This man never lived with me. He stayed with his family. He never paid a bill. I always paid for dinner when we went out. He was jealous over my affection for my daughter. I have never seen an adult so jealous of a child. It was disgusting, but he would convince me that what I was seeing was not really happening. He honestly made me feel like I was crazy.
After we became engaged, he told me that he wanted to spend more time with Miranda; he wanted to work on their relationship. On the fourth time that he babysat her (and I finally worked a day shift), I came home to find my daughter sniffling on the couch and him standing across the room. He was acting strangely, but I had to get going since I was staying at my father's house that night. My apartment was having trouble with its boiler and we had to stay somewhere else during the nights until my landlord got it fixed. I kissed him on the cheek and left.
When I got to my father's house and finally saw my daughter in the light, I realized that she was covered with bruises. She had a large bruise on the back of her head, fingernail marks on her cheek, finger bruises on her arms, abrasions on the tops of her feet and hands, etc. I immediately called the police and rushed her to the hospital. That night, they arrested my fiance and I went with my daughter to another hospital where they specialized in child abuse. A caseworker there arranged for my father's house to be our safety house, though I begged them to reconsider this plan. My father has a long history of issues and he mainly takes them out on me. He was in an accident in 2004 and I was the one that took care of him during that time. For some reason, he has hated me even though I was the only one who was there for him.
We went back to my father's house and, the next day, we gained knowledge that my now ex-fiance was bailed out of jail. For ten days, my daughter and I stayed with my father and, for ten days, we were screamed at every time that someone else in his social circle found out what happened. When the people at church started talking, my daughter and I were kept up for hours during the night as he screamed at us for embarassing him. Child and Youth Services required me to attend therapy sessions because they said that I needed to know what a controlling relationship was and how to avoid them. During my first session, I recieved many angry voicemails from my father stating that I was a moron, that I was at a pity party, that I was stupid for listening to CYS, and that I should just leave my daughter with him and go to a homeless shelter. When the CYS agent found out about his tantrum, she told me to leave his house and that the safety plan was now void.
I was so happy to return home, but things just got worse. I unlocked the door to my apartment and noticed that the interior was just as cold as the exterior. When I checked the thermostat, the needle was below the lowest temperature reading. I called my landlord to find out that the boiler had finally gone and she had no immediate plans to fix it. The next morning, the CYS caseworker (who was also my landlord's cousin), took my daughter from me, promising to return her once I found a new place to live.
My daughter was only with her first foster family for two weeks before they moved her again. The foster father was a doctor who was being investigated by the FBI when my daughter was placed there. He was found to have been involved with illegal activity with perscriptions and my daughter had to be moved.
The next foster family ended up keeping her for the rest of the time that she spent in foster care. They were kind, but also confusing. To this day, my daughter does not know the real names of her foster parents. This foster family usually takes in children that they plan to adopt. My daughter has known them as "Mommy" and "Daddy" since the day that she moved there.
Two months after she was taken, I finally moved into a house. Because of the politics of the court system in Pennsylvania, it took me an additional three months to get my daughter returned to me, even though I had done everything on their checklist and more. The only reason why I got her back when I did was because she had such a hard time leaving me after three home visits.
Now, this is where I get into the reason for my post. My daughter is extremely clingy to me and has been home for three days. I expected her to be clingy and I expected the first 45 days of her being home to be difficult because the caseworker is determined to make it so. I understand that my daughter needs therapy, but this caseworker has her scheduled for 30+ hours of therapy a week. My daughter is terrified of professional people now and is convinced that every face that comes through the front door is the face of someone taking her away from me. Yesterday, a friend was in town and stopped by to see how much she has grown. My daughter has met this person many times in her life. When this friend arrived, my daughter spent three hours sitting on her bed screaming, even though the friend left. For awhile, she would not even let me touch her. I live with someone. She is fine with someone if I am not in sight. If she can see me, she acts like everyone else is bad and only wants me. Again, I expected this kind of behavior.
I just do not know how to calm her down. I do not go out; I was never a partying type of person. My daughter knows that, if I do leave, it is for work and I always come home. I have worked once since she came back and my housemate had to bring her into work so that she could see that I was working. My family, after five months of trying to get her just for the foster care stipend check, suddenly want to talk to her on the phone and such. She does not want to speak to anyone.
I need help and I do not know what to do. She is constantly being questioned by professional adults because of the level of therapy that this caseworker has assigned her. She is confused because the foster mother still checks up on her. She is confused because of the new house and such.