You know, I kept meaning to write about this and forgetting to actually do it.
Way back on May 7 of 2003, I was very surprised to get a call from a social worker at the Department of Family & Children’s Services (DFCS). While we have for years lived with frequent threats of “If you don’t (whatever) I’ll call DFCS on you!” I always figured that if a report were made, we’d know because of an in-person visit from a social worker.
In any case, the nice lady said that, yes, a report had been filed. No, she couldn’t tell me anything about it. I invited her to come to visit immediately. Instead, she asked when we could come to her office for an interview. I wanted to know what was going on as soon as possible, of course, so we made an appointment for the following evening.
We arrived with the entire family, as requested. The lady asked to speak with just me and Sam, to begin with. She said that someone had called DFCS on March 7 claiming that
1) We were force-feeding the kids—holding them down and shoving food down their throats.
2) We were also starving the kids, and the only way they could eat was to hide food in their bedrooms.
3) Because of #2, we’d locked the children out of their bedrooms for the last 4–5 months.
4) We killed the children’s dog.
5) We had “a woman named Jen and her three kids” living with us.
6) Our 3 homeschooled kids were totally isolated socially and not allowed outside contact.
7) We’re polygamous.
8) I was suicidal, so I forced the kids to take psychiatric medications they didn’t need.
There was more, but I can’t remember it all now. Those are details I’d noted in an email to a friend.
I haven’t figured out how we could do some of those things—I mean, not even in advanced evil stepmother training have I learned how to both starve and force-feed the same children! Also, Sam and I aren’t even married to each other—how many people were they thinking we were married to?
We told her right up front that we are not a typical family. Sam and I are not married. We told her that we’re polyamorous and have dated another couple within the last six months. We told her that we are pagans and that we homeschool Katie and would be homeschooling the other two kids if we could. We also told her that we were in the middle of a custody battle, and gave her the name and numbers for Rowan and Genevieve’s Guardian ad Litem and the social worker who worked with Genevieve while she was hospitalized. We explained the circumstances of that hospitalization, of course. She didn’t care about the dog, but we did explain that we’d found a new home for the dog because Rowan and Genevieve had refused to cooperate in her care as promised (a consequence that was set up before we got the dog).
She asked us questions, which we answered fully. She asked us for references—we gave her names and numbers for just about everybody. Friends, family members, our therapist, minister, the kids’ teachers, you name it. Yes, some of you were on that list. I don’t know if she contacted any of you. We gave her far more information than she wanted, in fact—I guess it might have been a formality.
Then we left, and she talked to the kids for less than 15 minutes. She asked them about the allegations in the report, and Rowan and Genevieve were simply so flabbergasted that they just stared at her at first. All three kids said that no, none of those things were true. She gave the children the opportunity to speak with her privately, but none took her up on that offer. She asked if there were other problems, and all three children said that there were none and that they were happy and healthy.
In order to close the file, the social worker needed to schedule a home visit. I wanted that out of the way as soon as possible, too. We told her that we were packing to move, so the house was very chaotic, but she was welcome to come on over that very night. The earliest she could schedule us was the following Monday evening (we were meeting with her on Thursday).
The house was actually even more chaotic by the time she arrived on Monday, but we figured it would be silly to try to hide the normal business of moving. We gave her a tour of the house, she said hello to the kids, and she left. We gave her our new address as soon as we got it.
Sometime in June, we got a letter from the social worker saying that the case had been closed due to finding no problems with us, the kids, our home, etc.
So, just for the record—DFCS, at least, doesn’t think we’re doing anything wrong at all. I’m quite happy to find that out. Hell, I had previously said that I wished I could just request an “audit” from them to make sure there wasn’t anything wrong, considering the recurring threats from that silly person.
And that’s despite being openly queer, pagan, polyamorous homeschoolers “living in sin” in the Bible Belt.
I wasn’t terribly worried about ever having to deal with DFCS before, but I feel even better now.