I walked into the courtroom a mother, and I walked out neutered.
Before the hearing, I was playing with my two young daughters and another child. A little girl, who had wandered away from her mother to come play with us. The mom was talking to another adult. This was a familiar dynamic. I’m not the best with adults; I’m awkward, anxious, and defensive. But I’m great with kids. Kids don’t make me nervous. Kids are sparky little humans who, most of the time, just need a little more love, attention, or food. Before the hearing where my daughters would be forever taken away from me, I held their hands and the hands of another child, a stranger’s child, the child of a mother who wasn’t paying attention, and skipped in a circle singing “ring around the rosy.” I colored with them, using the paper and crayons I had stashed away in my bag because I was the mom who always thought ahead. I sang with them. And then I walked into a courtroom and had them taken away by a magistrate who had seen none of that, and who knew nothing about me except that I went to methadone treatment for heroin addiction four years earlier.
Hi all. If you follow my blog, you’ve probably noticed I haven’t been around as much as usual. And I’m sorry about that! Really, I am. I love producing honest, relatable content that helps other mamas with PTSD feel human, and which keeps me connected to the world at large. But with everything going on in my life, I’ve had to privilege paid work over blogging. I’ll link a few of my recent stories that I’m most proud of at the bottom of this post, so you can see that I haven’t been doing nothing. But as the year comes to a close, I want to offer you a way to keep Betty’s Battleground going. By asking you to support the blog through Patreon. Let’s keep ‘er alive…
If you follow this blog, you already know that my family has been forcibly separated for the past six months. If you’re not already familiar with the situation–or if you would like more information–I have published a couple articles that go over my personal story, as well as different problems that compound each other to create a system in which these types of gross miscarriages of justice are common.
“In 1956, author Philip K. Dick published a short story called “The Minority Report.” Set in a near-future U.S., the piece describes a felony prevention system called “Precrime,” which harnesses the psychic powers of three mutated humans, dubbed “precogs.” The precogs predict egregious crimes like rape and murder before they ever take place. Then, Precrime detectives arrest the future assailants before they have the chance to complete the act. The targeting of people who haven’t committed an offense is justified by an inspired faith in the precogs’ psychic abilities. “The precogs are never wrong,” is a narrative refrain.”
The ground feels unsteady, like there’s some dark ocean lurching beneath the wide flat floor tiles. I don’t want to be here. It’s early July, the second day of my dependency trial, when a single judge will decide whether or not I’m fit to parent my three- and four-year-old daughters.
Several people have also reached out asking how you can help my husband and I while we battle an unjust, stacked system to get our daughters back. It’s been difficult to answer that realistically because I don’t know anybody who can afford to retain a private attorney for us, nor do I know anyone with the ability to dismantle the incredibly broken and corrupt United States child welfare system. But now, I have an actionable answer to the question “how can we help you?”