A Human Canvas-in the darkness of childhood abuse and neglect-Volume 10-"A Parent Parody"
A Social Worker's Journal
I believe that life can, at times, be compared to a theatrical parody. Where there's a stage (life itself) and life then, becomes a sequence of acts. Settings change, and sometimes the actors can be replaced by an understudy, if they are unable to play out their role for whatever reason, in any given show. Changes can be made, if necessary, to the unique script, that was written by the playwright, and on and on. In order to make the show a success, props, lighting, costumes, and the stage set is well planned, thought out, and details are focused on, in hopes that the play and its actors, get rave reviews.
Sounds wonderful, right? Well, if being a parent were as easy as some think, we may all be signing up for the role. Some maybe thought they'd be a wonderful parent, but then had a child, and all of a sudden, the scene changed. Once the little bundle is here, it needs to be fed, changed, rocked to sleep, and so on. And then, a few hours later, do it all over again, and again, and again, for what seems like years. Oh yeah, that's because it is. Yes, years worth of parenting. And there are so many parents who made that commitment and are sticking with it. Good for you, and even greater for your children. They're there whenever their child needs them. Sacrificing and making their child their priority in life. When you hear that raising a child is the hardest job you will ever have, believe it. That's a true statement. Being a parent is also the most rewarding job you'll ever have, as well. So, why am I writing this? Well, to give "props" to you parents who do give your children the best you have to give, and to shame those who do not. I am a child advocate. I tell it like it is, good or bad, and times when it's straight up, ugly! Having worked 11 years in therapeutic foster care, I've seen a great many injustices. I know that they still go on, so this is my chance to share my experiences, and advocate for those precious human beings-our children.
Although it would be nice to live a planned out version of life that you might see on a stage, we aren't that lucky. We have to work at making our lives the success we'd like it to be. That means putting someone other than yourself first, especially if you have a family.
Before we look at two possible "parodies", I'd like to remind you that our "Civil Rights" are still active...just in case anyone forgot. Family Court judges, local departments of social services, Attorneys for the Child? I'm assuming it still applies to children as well? They are American citizens too...right? Just making sure, because in so many cases parents' rights seem to supersede their children's, and in some of those cases, the parent is the abuser. So, we need to make it clear that a child has a right to be safe, even if it means being placed in an environment away from their parents and from harm. I have seen too many cases when the Attorney for the Child doesn't even know the child, and meets them for the first time in Family Court when a decision is going to be made whether to send the child home or not. Are you kidding me? But it's done. What's even worse, sometimes the child is sent home with the abusive parent, only to end up back in the system, when the abuse reoccurs. How unfair? How do these children even have a chance? Who will help them? Things need to change in our family judicial system. Perhaps a "panel of three judges" (rather than just one) could convene with the Attorney for the Child, only after having met the child and knowing the case. Then a fair and intelligent decision could be made, on the child's behalf. No time? Too many cases to make the time to save a life? Think about it..in saving one child from harm, think of the many others in that child's life that could also be spared. The cycle could be broken before it even had a chance to get started. Something has to be done, maybe we can start with the day a child is born.....
Parody #1...(Scene) Hospital room.
Female parent enters the room in full labor. Within the hour she gives birth to a healthy baby boy. Mother is given the basics on how to feed, bathe, and care for her new infant.
Enter father of newborn child. Father holds his new son, while mother shares the infant care information she was given. Parents discuss their pride and joy in this birth. They discuss all the wonderful plans they have for their new family.
(Days later) Enter ward pediatric nurse with samples of formula, etc. and swaddled child, ready for discharge.
(Scene) Parents enter car, place newborn son in regulated car seat, and head home for their "happily ever after".
Parody # 2... (Scene) Emergency Room.
Female parent enters ER, ready to deliver her child. Special conditions for this birth are needed, as the baby is in distress. High-risk pregnancy is not full term. Mother admits she is presently high on drugs. Crack-cocaine. Mother fears her baby will suffer as a result of her prolonged drug use.
Enter father. Local thug, gang-related criminal. Yells at attending staff. Mother is hurried to operating room for an emergency C-section. Baby girl is born underweight, and tests positive for cocaine. Newborn is placed in an incubator and monitored closely.
Mother is released within 2 days. Her daughter is kept for further testing. Father never shows up again, for the whole 2 week stay his newborn daughter is hospitalized.
(Scene) Pediatric ward, day 3 since birth.
Enter mother. Appears to be high. Staff share testing results with mother, that her newborn daughter is deaf due to the STD that she passed to her child during the pregnancy.
(Scene) Lobby of hospital.
Mother sits and cries in a remote area. After a short time, mother leaves the hospital and doesn't return.
After 2 week stay in hospital, the local department of social services/CPS unit places infant in a foster home.
Follow up will include continued testing to see if anything can be done to develop functional hearing for the child.
(Scene) Weeks later- Family Court.
Mother enters courtroom. Father is not involved. Mother is given supervised visitation rights. Reunification of mother and child is the Permanency plan. Mother attends drug court and resides in a rehab residence for a month.
(Scene) (While still residing in rehab) Local jail cell.
Mother was rearrested for drug sale and use.
(Scene) Foster Home
Child remains in the physical custody of foster family, and is monitored for developmental milestones by designated pediatrician.
"Happily ever after"??? Not sure...the case is still pending in Family Court!
(Scene) ....Fade out...
Following are some real cases I was involved in, put into my poetic version of their stories. It's dark, yet, someone's life, or in some cases their death, and I believe their stories need to be shared. Especially, with the pricetag attached to them.
Let's all advocate for our children, please. Look around and "see" what's going on. They need you to...they need our help. If you were lucky enough to have a childhood of warm memories, please do what you can to give a child theirs.
HEAR NO EVIL
According to the doc's report,
the newborn's ears offered no port,
to the world outside, no chat cohort.
No words could pass, her canals, a fort.
The ilness came from mom's disease.
From all the men, she was paid to please.
This newborn's world would always be,
a reminder of life's cruelty.
She'll never hear a cat's meow,
the word's "I love you", or her husband's vow.
Sins of the mother may come to pass,
but bad choices made will last and last.
Kim Diaz 2012
I'm Sissy's mom, I'm Sissy's dad.
I cook the meals, while feeling sad.
My baby sis is in the crib, chewing on a filthy bib.
I never, ever, get to play. I'm changing diapers every day.
Mom's asleep, and dad's away. Mommy smokes, then fades away.
I'm always doing something wrong.
Wish I could sing a happy song.
No whistling while I do my work.
I'm five years old, and life's berserk.
One day baby wil not wake.
She swallowed something hard to take.
I yelled for help, but no one came.
I tried to save, but took the blame.
A lady came, took me away.
My baby sis was gone that day.
Maybe, now, I'll get to play?
Kim Diaz 2012
She rubbed her belly, and felt the move.
Life inside, her love was proved.
His words were cold. His heart was less.
How could he lie, and leave this mess?
One day came, a little one,
into a life that posed no fun.
Hits and hate, this life, her fate.
Her mom, her friend, until the end.
One day mommy went away.
Her life too much, to live this way.
And so, she found another friend.
Another love to now depend.
No more kisses, no more hugs.
Mommy's arms are full of drugs.
Wearing wings, they'll meet someday.
Kim Diaz 2012
THE BIG EMPTY
Homeless, hungry, yet again?
Is this where I'm going? 'Cause it's where I've been.
I look to the sky, day after day,
for any answer, of which I pray.
My body's sick both out and in.
What have I done? What's been my sin?
Is this what Karma's all about?
Is this the reason? Could there be no doubt?
I should have listened when they said,
the heat in a car can melt the dead.
I left him for a sec, or so,
but, degrees just climbed, no place to go.
I hear him crying in my head.
A life of empty-my sin-I dread.
Kim Diaz 2012
ONCE UPON A FAMILY TREE
Once upon another time,
a family used to sit and dine.
Sharing stories of their day,
dinner, homework, then some play.
Then something happened, something bad.
Dad lost his job, became a cad.
And so, the family's time became, a cruel, relentless, angry game,
of throwing things, and calling names. The family tree, now branched with shame.
Homelife just kept getting worse.
I needed cash-stole someone's purse,
and started drinking-my new curse.
Alcohol became my friend.
I never really saw the end.
The road just stopped, but I did not.
The car flipped over, it hit a rock.
I felt the blood run down my face.
I saw an angel made of lace.
I looked around but didn't see,
I wish we'd kept our fairytale.
Our family tree-our holy grail.
One never knows what one will find,
when the heart becomes a loveless mind.
Kim Diaz 2012