Contributed to TLB by: Health Impact News and Medical Kidnap
When Brenda Maney of Richmond, KY, walked into her Termination of Parental Rights (TPR) hearing on May 7, 2015, she was not prepared for the impossible choice the Family Court would present to her.
About 2.5 years earlier, in the winter of 2012, a series of unfortunate events in Brenda’s life led to a friend naïvely calling Kentucky’s Department of Community Based Services (DCBS) for help. DCBS social workers showed up at Brenda’s door, and despite the children being well taken care of, removed her children after “diagnosing” her as having Postpartum depression and demanding that she check herself into a psychiatric hospital for treatment in order to get her two children back.
Brenda would never get her baby daughter back, despite the fact that she did what DCBS required and checked into the hospital (to “prove” that she was not depressed), and subsequently worked her case plan within 4 months, DCBS changed her plan from Reunification to TPR/Adopt. Brenda claims that DCBS rescheduled her TPR 5 times, dragging her case on for an additional 2 years, in order to break the natural bond between mother and daughter and strengthen the bond of Tanaieah with the foster family, making an adoption “inevitable.”
Because DCBS couldn’t break the bond between mother and son Aaron, they used him to coerce Brenda to “voluntarily” surrender her parental rights to her daughter Tanaieah. After her TPR hearing in May, Brenda was fearful of coming forward with her story, scared of DCBS’ retaliation tactics, fearing that if she told the truth about what the Family Court forced her to do, they would return and take Aaron out of her home again. Aaron has been home since June 2015, but it wasn’t until Brenda regained full custody in October 2015, that she felt safe enough to come forward with the update to her original story. Brenda is still haunted by DCBS’ power to destroy her life, and worries every day what they might do in the future – if they might come back and try to take Aaron. Brenda expresses her fears:
“Every day I wonder, will he get off the bus? I’m still worried that DCBS can come back and take him for some stupid reason. That would just destroy him!”
See original story here:
Kentucky Mom Given Sophie’s Choice
At Brenda’s TPR hearing, Brenda was given what many have called a Sophie’s Choice – an impossible choice between two unbearable options. (Sophie’s Choice is a holocaust movie where a Jewish mother was given the horrific option of choosing which of her children (son or daughter) would live and which would die, or both would be sent to the gas chambers to die if she did not choose.) At the beginning of the TPR, the judge called a recess which lasted about 40 minutes. Brenda’s attorney came back and said that the court was offering Brenda a choice – to choose between having her 14-year-old son Aaron come home by giving up her 3-year-old daughter Tanaieah voluntarily to adoption, or lose both children. The attorney explained:
“Your daughter does not know you, she has bonded to the foster family and she is happy. She thinks they are her family. DCBS is going to use her attachment as the ‘Best Interest of the Child’ and if you continue with the TPR hearing, you will lose. Your son wants to come home. He’s miserable in foster care. He’s not thriving in foster care. Every potential adoptive home he’s been placed in has fallen through. You should take this offer, for Aaron. If you go ahead with the TPR hearing, you will lose. You will lose both children.”
Faced with an unbearable likelihood of losing both children, Brenda could not allow Aaron to suffer any longer. Brenda chose to get Aaron out of the foster care system that was destroying him, by relinquishing her rights to Tanaieah. Even though the Family Court required that Brenda sign her rights away “willingly,” she did so out of coercion and feeling that she had no other choice. Brenda painfully recalls:
“I never in a million years ever would’ve thought signing my name on a piece of paper would hurt so much as it did that day! My soul hurt and I just felt numb, but I decided if I could save my son, that was what I was going to do and that was a choice I will live with the rest of my miserable life.
The judge immediately gave me a 90 day in home trial to start the process to returning my son back to my custody after I signed my daughter away. I was made to say in court as I was signing that I was of sound mind, not on any drugs that would alter my thought process and that I was not coerced or under duress after signing.
But I very much was, but I didn’t feel like I had any other choice, losing them both would have meant MY DEATH, because I couldn’t have lived with myself knowing I left my son to either die, be beaten, raped, starved in boys group homes, or in jail/prison because that was the path he was leading down while in foster care. He had already been in four different foster homes of potential adopters but had disrupted to the point of being placed in respite homes off and on throughout the three years which made him be in respite more than an actual family environment. Nobody wanted to keep him because they said his behavior is too bad and they couldn’t deal with him. So he was given back to me to see if I could handle him.”
“Unadoptable” Special-Needs Son Thriving When Returned Home
While Aaron was in DCBS care, he was miserable, and often complained of being mistreated, and he always begged to come home. Aaron told his mom that he refused to be adopted and all he wanted was to come home. Brenda recalls:
“He lost weight and you could see his ribs and the bones in his wrists. He had dark circles under his eyes. He no longer has a personality – he didn’t laugh, he didn’t smile.”
While in foster care, Aaron was on several medications: Risperdal, Adderall, Seroquel, Clonidine, Prozac. Since Aaron has been home, Brenda has been able to take Aaron off of all medications, and he is doing better than ever. Brenda happily shares:
“I got my son home and within three weeks of him being home I got him off all the unnecessary drugs they had him on that were causing most of his behavior problems. He has gained 25 lbs since being home, no longer looks super thin, and he has life back in his eyes that had been gone since entering [foster] care. He was shuffled from school to school [while in foster care]; I think he just gave up trying. He is healthier and happier and is doing great in school now and making good grades.”
Conflicting Family Court Message: Is Brenda a Fit Mother or Not?
According to Brenda, she regained custody of her special-needs son Aaron, primarily because he was “not adoptable.” However, Tanaieah was not returned home because she was “highly adoptable.”
The Adoption and Safe Families Act gives huge bonuses when a foster child is successfully adopted, and penalize States when children languish in foster care. Brenda’s attorney told her that because Tanaieah had bonded with the foster-adoptive family, that DCBS reasoned it was in her “best interest” to be adopted by them.
Why is breaking natural parent-child bonding not an issue when DCBS removes children from their birth homes, but it is a key factor in determining adoption eligibility? Are decisions made in Family Court based on whether or not you are a fit parent, or are they based on whether or not another family wants to adopt your children? How can a mother be found fit for one child and not the other? If Brenda is a fit parent for a special needs teenager, reason would have it that she is also fit to parent her toddler. If the court found Brenda unfit to parent, why then give any child back to her? Where is the justice in Kentucky Family Court? Brenda grieves:
“I guess I’ll never understand how I was fit to care for one child but not both?? I have not seen or talked to my daughter since my “goodbye visit” in June. I wake up every day in immense pain. I don’t even want to get out of bed, but I know I have to for my son.
I guess I’ve just learned how to live while inside being emotionally dead! I feel like a corpse functioning with a brain but with no heart, my heart left with my daughter or at least half of it did, and the other half I’m still trying to mend the shards back together again but it’s very, very hard! They do the damage and leave it up to me to repair it.
I’m trying my hardest but my son left my house a child and came back home a young man. I missed him going through the puberty changes, and being in [foster] care had to make that difficult on him. I missed holidays and birthdays and precious time that I can never get back or make up. My life, my children’s lives all turned upside down, destroyed, forever separated, and my good name dragged through the mud, my reputation – well I’m seen as a monster who deserved to lose her kids around my community.”
Social Worker Threatened to Make Brenda’s Life Hell – She Did
Three years ago when the DCBS workers ordered Brenda to go to a mental health hospital or lose her children, she recalls vividly the social worker’s threat to make her life hell if she didn’t go to the hospital:
“I am taking your kids because you need to go to the hospital to get treated so you could be a good parent and be healthy for your children. You’re not healthy right now and you need to be healthy, and I am taking your kids and there’s nothing you can do about it, and you’re going to sit right there and you’re going to shut your mouth and let me do my job, because, I promise you, if you make my job hard for me, I’m going to make it hell for you to get your kids back.”
Brenda says the social worker did make her life hell, even though she went to the hospital! When Brenda got out of the hospital 8 days later, DCBS did not return her children as promised, instead, they used the forced hospital stay against her. Because Brenda went to the hospital, DCBS claimed she was unable to care for her children, and was therefore neglectful, adding “Dependency Neglect” charges as the reason to keep the children in foster care.
Are Former Foster Children Job Security?
Brenda strongly believes that she was an easy target because she herself was a foster child. She remembers the words of her caseworker when she was a youth:
“You know, if you ever have any kids, we’ll be involved in their life too!”
While in foster care Brenda says she suffered repeated sexual and physical abuse and eventually ran away from the foster care system at 16. Because of the traumatic life she had, she was diagnosed with anxiety and depression as a child. Brenda says that the social workers “already knew her case history” when they showed up at her door 3 years ago, and she believes that’s why they kept pushing for a “depression diagnosis” as a reason to take her children into custody. At one point Brenda recalls the social worker saying (about Brenda),
“There’s is no way she is mentally sound after the childhood she’s had.”
Since the CPS system must increase its numbers of “adoptable goods” every year in order to keep the federal funds funneling to their State, is it nothing more than a self-perpetuating organization that guarantees themselves future “at risk children” every time they intervene in a family?
Although DCBS receives federal funding to provide services to keep families together, DCBS does not actually provide services, they just demand that parents complete them via a case-plan in order to get their children back, but parents are required to pay for these services out of their own pockets. Although Brenda completed her case plan within 4 months, her children were not returned home, and she was also court-ordered to pay child support to the system that “kidnapped” her children.
Foster Family Allegedly Connected to DCBS
Brenda believes that from the first day DCBS removed Aaron and Tanaieah from her home 3 years ago, their end goal was always to adopt out Tanaieah. Both children were originally put into a foster-adopt home, and not with relatives, because DCBS claimed that they did not want to split the children.
However, after 4 weeks, Aaron was removed from that foster home and bounced from home to home for the next 2.5 years. At the very first visit, Brenda says the foster mother (inappropriately) shared how she had 4 miscarriages (all whom were girls), and she desperately wanted to adopt a baby girl, and the foster mother had her eyes set on Brenda’s baby. Brenda alleges that the foster-adopt family had “connections” to DCBS through family ties, plus the social worker and foster mom were “good friends.”
Brenda says that the foster mom put in an “order” to adopt Tanaieah after only 3 months, even though Brenda was working her case plan to be reunited with her children. Brenda claims that this “order” to adopt Tanaieah was being granted as a “favor” by DCBS, and that they were determined from the onset to adopt Tanaieah. When the opportunity presented itself to coerce Brenda into “voluntarily” relinquishing her parental rights in order to keep Aaron from a group home, DCBS didn’t hesitate to get what they ultimately wanted – a baby girl for one of their “friends” who couldn’t have one of her own.
If Brenda’s story seems too far-fetched to believe, see investigative reporter John Boel’s report from some years back where DCBS whistleblowers confirm that “orders” for babies to be adopted are indeed placed to put babies into their custody:
A Piece of their Hearts Forever Missing
Brenda sadly explains:
“This is a hurt that hurts to the core of your soul. It’s a constant torture. I understand that I signed the paper, but people need to understand why I signed the paper. It is not something I wanted to do. I felt like I had no choice. They were going to TPR both kids and I had to sign to get Aaron back.”
For Aaron, losing his sister has been something he doesn’t understand. Despite DCBS separating them after 4 weeks in foster care, Aaron remained very bonded to his baby sister. At his last couple of visits, Brenda explains how hurt Aaron was when Tanaieah would pull away from him and cling to her foster brother. Aaron would ask:
“Why is she going to him? I’m her brother, not him!”
“My daughter thought the foster family was her family and she was brainwashed to feel like her brother and I are ‘BAD.’” She’s going to grow up never knowing the TRUTH, only the lies she’s been told by DCBS and the foster mom. I will never get the chance to tell her the truth – that her brother is not a monster and he really loves her, and so do I.”
Show your Support – Forced Adoption is Trauma
November is National Adoption Month, but Brenda and other families who have had their children forcibly adopted are bringing awareness to the fact that “Forced Adoption is Trauma.” Show your support by changing your profile picture for the month of November to one of these Red Buttons, or choose one from the “Is Adoption Trauma?” Facebook page here.
Kentucky has a new Pro-Family Governor
Matt Bevin ran on a Pro-Family platform, and he will take office as the new Kentucky Governor on December 8, 2015. Perhaps the new Governor, who wants to cut back the size of government, will listen to Kentucky’s families and end DCBS’ destruction of Kentucky families. Tell Matt Bevin that Kentucky families are Standing United and are tired of being Divided!
Matt Bevin’s contact form is here.
Email Matt Bevin here.
Facebook Matt Bevin here.
Matt Bevin’s Twitter account here.
More Stories from Kentucky:
Destroying Families in Kentucky via State-sponsored Child Trafficking: United We Stand, Divided We Fall
Kentucky is Being Investigated for Corruption: Will the State’s Sordid History of Legal Kidnapping Finally be Punished?
Is Kentucky The Most Corrupt State in the Country Trafficking Children Through Child “Protection” Services?