This week was one of the hardest for our family. We noticed that Abrielle's head was swollen on the left side, so we took her to the Emergency Department here in Apopka. Now being a chaplain and workin in a hospital, I realized when I got to the hospital we were in a tentative position, because the injury was to an infant. When the CAT scan was finished they told us that she had a small skull fracture.
Crushed...that's what we were. Immediately, I began to try to figure out what the traumatic event was that would have caused this. I could only think of when she climbed out of her crib and hit the Wednesday morning before.
The doctor said we were going to have to go to Florida South Hospital, the Flagship of the Adventist Health System. It is the hospital I am a chaplain in.
Now our house had been without AC for the entire weekend, and we were sleeping on the floor downstairs. The AC man was coming that day, so we decided that I should home and wait for him, while Melissa went on with Abrielle to the downtown hospital. I returned home to find 2 police cars and a CSI truck at my home, waiting to question me about abusing my child. While I was being questioned by one aggressive police sergent, 2 detectives, 1 cop, and a Department of Children and Families social worker were heading to the hospital, where they proceeded question my wife for 45-60 minutes asking and repeating the same questions.
By that time I arrived, Melissa was back in the room with our child, every emotional. She had been questioned profusely, yet no one had come and spoken to her about Abrielle's health. This was heart breaking. They seemed more interested in finding us culpable, than in making sure she is healthy. For them her safety is healthiness, but the immediate health issue was not discussed with us her parents, who brought her to the hospital to ensure her health.
The cops proceeded to re-enter Abrielle's hospital room, to speak with Melissa again. It was then that I had to assert my fatherly and husbandly authority and direct them to leave the room. I directed Melissa to take the baby to the bone scan DCF had orderd to check if she had any other healed breaks in bone. I then turned my attention back to the cops, informing them that they were finished speaking with my wife, and if they had other questions they could speak with me. I showed them to the room were they would question me, a process which took all of 30 minutes. The shortness of my interview informs me that they were trying to emotionally intimidate, manipulate, and coerce Melissa into admitting something that didn't happen.
They left, and I went to find my wife. My wife's good friend Melissa Johnson, the wife of my good friend Juleun Johnson, was with Melissa the entire time. I met them at the bone scan. Abrielle was fighting the entire time. She didn't like being tied down, in a strange machine, around strange people, for a 30-45 minute scanning period. I could hear her screaming and fear, anger, confusion, and defiance. I was very proud of my daughter. She gave them hell.
We returned to hospital room for the night.
The next day the neurological PA surgeon came in and proceeded ask us if we had rememberd anything different about what happened to Abrielle, which we hadn't told the police. I almost cursed her out. She left shortly afterward.
Another doctor came in checking in on Abrielle. I asked her if she was coming in to ask the same questions as the myriad of others, or if she had anything different to say than the others' who came to to "check" before her. I think I made her a little defensive, but she was kind, and very understanding.
Soon another person for Child Protective Services came to ask us the same questions we had answerd numerous times the evening before. She was kind, less aggressive or accusing than the team the night before. She was finished with both of us in 1 Hour.
We were released from the hospital around 2:30 Wednesday afternoon. Around 6:30pm, the DCF inspector met us at our home, to do a walk through. He was straight forward, direct, and not aggressive.
I go to sleep that night afraid that someone would come at night and take my daughter, and since her crib is now to small for her, I slept with her the entire night on the floor.
What have I learned from this experience?
1) There are idiot parents out there, who should not be parents. They viciously abuse their children.
2) Due to idiotic, demonic parents, the system has a procedure place to ensure the protection of children, which assumes parental guilt unit proven innocent.
3) The system's solution is to remove the child from the home and in the worst case place them as a ward of the state.
4) There is a facade of freedom which can be taken away at a moments notice. Security and freedom are dependent upon everyone abiding by the rule of law. Since we have numerous statistics which demonstrate that the rule of law is eroded and being eroded, the freedoms and securities of law abiding citizens are at jeopardy.
5) I have never felt more powerless in my life. I have been trained for action, but none of my training would have positively effected the situation. I had to operate under a different power than my training...the power of confident humility.
As of today, we are all three together at home. There is no record of abuse in my past or Melissa's. There is no history of abuse in our family since we have been married, or since we have been parents. Everyone who knows us knows we love our family, we love our marriage, and we love our daughter. So here is my closing point:
6) The only thing one has in life is one's integrity and character.
Situations will come which will challenge. We have to know who we are, and be honestly who we are, so that when we are questioned or investigate the only thing others can say is the truth: we are people of integrity.