Swept out to sea

I can’t help but stare at the picture of this family swept out to sea. I know what it is like to attempt to parent children from “hard backgrounds.”

And yes, I have often tried to assuage my deep grief about the damage caused by my adopted children by telling myself that we have survived (so far).

None of this is fun to talk about, but I did talk–sometimes unsparingly, because I hoped that if people heard our story they could do something to prevent tragedies like ours.

More than the average mama, I can put myself in the shoes of these mamas, and I have two things to thing to say–

  • Why weren’t the children removed from the custody of the Harts in 2011 when there was a child abuse conviction?
  • And when a mother chooses to murder her children all the rosy adjectives no longer apply.

Just: a story of the lost and found https://www.amazon.com/dp/1468123459/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_JPNWAbDZT3TR5

Signs of Famine and Pain

Like most people I was appalled and distraught to read about what the Turpin siblings had to endure for nearly three decades. I will continue to grieve for them and pray for healing, justice, and recovery.

But I am angry as well. I am angry because despite (perhaps partially justified) calls to lay this abuse at the doorstep of homeschooling, there were so many people who interacted with the Turpin family, who saw at least some of the signs of abuse and yet no one ever reported anything.

At least two of the children went to public schools….

no one reported anything.

Neighbors saw odd behavior…

no one reported anything.

The children went to a doctor or two at some point in their lives…

no one reported anything.

Former neighbors found hard evidence of abuse and animal cruelty…

No one reported anything.

This is not the first time terrible crimes have been perpetrated by caregivers, ostensibly behind closed doors, but it is remarkable that the abuse intensified in severity and lasted so long because

No one reported anything.

Yet we hear them all now.

Note: if you suspect abuse or neglect you can make anonymous reports either by withholding your name or by relying that when you give your name to authorities your identity will not be shared in an investigation. Not one person who lived in proximity to the Turpins risked anything by making an anonymous report about signs of neglect or abuse.

If you suspect abuse, report

The Heroic Dog, Bad Babysitter…and you

Don’t get me wrong…I think the dog who saved the baby is a hero. And I think it was smart and canny of the owners/parents to register the canine’s distress and believe the dog.

And yet…

My own experience as a very noisy advocate for abused and neglected children has been the opposite of the dog’s.

When I barked out my story people distanced themselves or shut down…they sometimes told me just shut up.

I am 43 and can take the discomfort. But how about all the child victims? Shouldn’t they get the same support and protection as the baby in the story.

I guess what I am saying is this–don’t mindlessly forward a story about a heroic dog if you are not willing to be a heroic person.

All it takes is a little time to growl at the bad guys, let someone know. Listen to anyone who makes a cry for help.

All our children deserve a defender like that.

And…in my experience, a person who would slap a baby is capable of hurting the dog too. We all have a right to live free from abuse.

Martha Speaks, Mary Speaks

I love the PBS show Martha Speaks. Martha is a very lovable talking dog who teaches vocabulary lessons. One of the reasons I love PBS kids is the safety inherent in these child-centered communities. Such safe places.

In today’s episode Martha becomes discouraged when her constant chatter is not appreciated. She neglects her speech and has to resume talking quickly to foil a crime.

I feel for Martha. Often people don’t appreciate words. Some things are difficult to face, much less talk about. This episode always makes me grateful for those who expose crime and injustice. Like my adopted daughter, for instance. She helped her little sister get help. She spoke out.

Thanks kid.

Worried about abuse?

So you know someone who you think might be abused or in a bad situation?

If there is any serious danger call the police.

If there are warning signs sufficient to file a report with cps, file it

If you just have a bad feeling…

Be very inquisitive
Be emotionally supportive
Do research to gain more information
Provide non-material (no $) support
A good ear
Simple kindness
Any way you show an abused person they are valuable is love
And love never fails

Grandfather of the year…

I always wondered what my father would have said or done if he had been alive when we discovered that C had abused children. I will be honest, I doubt he would have moved mountains.

But I have come across a grandpa who is. In response to concern about a grandchild he has started an online protest, cold-called people warning them and posted hotline numbers.

I do not know the whole story. I just think this response is atypical.

Most of us go the quiet road…