Tuesday, February 9, 2010

'Move On'

The moment my parental rights were verbally terminated, my Spokane County public defender Mark Callen set up a meeting with my CPS contracted mental health therapist. He did this without consulting with me first. He further emailed me and basically ordered me to attend. During the meeting, Mr. Callen and my therapist Carla Paullin attempted to persuade me to not appeal the termination ruling. They informed me that I should just 'move on' with my life and 'continue to make progress'. Fascinatingly enough, I have been advised by some of my friends to do the same. I guess my question to anyone who so freely gives this advice is-- what exactly does 'move on' mean to them? Would they encourage a parent to move on if their child had been kidnapped by anyone other than CPS? Would they not want to see the kidnappers imprisoned and punished for the crime? Should it not be the same punishment for state agents, judges and court commissioners who illegally detain children from their parents?

I met a woman named Michelle Magers approximately 4 years ago during my nightmare with CPS. She was doing some kind of assignment for her schooling to become involved in social work. Little did I realize at that time that she was heading for CPS social work. Ms. Magers interviewed me to include in a paper she was composing and the title of the article was "From the Parent's Perspective". In the article, several parents involved with CPS spoke about their experience. Most of the interviews spoke negatively about CPS. I think there was one that spoke even remotely positive about CPS. To make a long story short... Ms. Magers, in my opinion, pretended to be a friend and support to me during my nightmare with CPS. She spent hours with me. We played board games, went for coffee, talked about my case, etc. She listened to me share with her the deep pain I was suffering at the hand of CPS and "family court". She listened as I talked about my frustrations at the constant contradictory messages I was receiving from CPS social workers, Guardian ad litems, CPS contracted "treatment providers" and even the Court Commissioner and judges involved in my case. She listened to me talk about the confusion that was caused purposely by all the players in my case. I talked with her about the oppressive conditions under which me and my son Micah were allowed to visit... and the severe lack of time I was allowed with him. In short, I confided my deepest secrets and feelings to Ms. Magers. She paid lip service to my feelings and frustrations, and in the end dropped me like a deadly disease once my parental rights were terminated. Once CPS mission was accomplished, she was finished playing friend to me. I feel very violated and wounded by Michelle Magers. In my opinion, and by all appearances, she played me like a violin. I believe she shared all of my secrets with the CPS social workers and CASA workers. I believe this because immediately upon the termination of my parental rights, she suddenly deserted me. She no longer contacted me like she did prior to the termination of my parental rights. She even changed her whole tune about what CPS was all about.

Prior to the termination of my parental rights, Ms. Magers would, as I stated before, pay lip service to my grief and frustrations with CPS. She even said some nasty things about the social worker, Guardian ad litem and one of the 'treatment providers'. She said she didn't think the social worker deserved to be a social worker. She agreed with me when I stated that CPS was crooked and oppressive. She had very little positive if any at all to say about CPS or family court. I recall a conversation I held with her after my parental rights were terminated. She completely changed her position on CPS. She informed me that if CPS clients did what CPS told them to do-- then they would regain custody of their children. She seemed so cold and indifferent to me. She seemed rather pompous in her tone. It seemed as if my worse fear was brought to fruition. Ms. Magers had played me for a fool, taking advantage of my need to really trust someone and confide in her. I feel she led me to believe she was my friend and sympathetic to my situation. I believe she made a regular practice of relaying my innermost feelings and thoughts to the social worker, Guardian ad litem, treatment providers, lawyers and so forth. All of those people in turn used and abused this information, twisting and turning it and blowing it out of proportion in their reports to the court. I feel Ms. Magers abused my trust in her and used it against me. I feel so stupid for having trusted her in the first place. I am sad it turned out the way it did between her and me.

I ran into Ms. Magers a year or so after my parental rights were terminated. She appeared somewhat friendly and again led me to believe she wanted to be in contact with me. I asked her to remind me of her phone number and I would call her. She responded by informing me she still had my phone number and would call me. As a matter of fact, she stated that she had been thinking about me and how I was doing. Apparently she was not that interested because she has never called me since that day I ran into her back in March of 2009. I suspect she doesn't want to be known to associate with me as long as she works with CPS. Almost immediately after my parental rights were terminated, Ms. Magers began trying to impress upon me that I should 'move on' with my life. The same tune I heard from my own defense attorney and CPS contracted counselor... (who also happened to desert me almost immediately after the termination of my parental rights.) She saw me just a few more times after that and then dropped me as a client. No more money from the state... no more seeing the client. How cold and calculated is that?!

I genuinely invite anyone to explain to me their definition of 'move on'. Does that mean that the parent should just sail off into the wild blue yonder and live as if this tragedy never happened to them and their children? Does it mean that those parents wounded by the unreasonable and even illegal actions of state agents should not work to affect change in the child welfare system? Does 'move on' mean that the parent should be silent and not warn the general public of the dangers of becoming entrapped by CPS? Yes... I said entrapped.