Dear Carla and Robert, I’m sorry for the lost years. Life has not been kind to me. I lost you both when you were very young. I was very ill at that time and very broke. I was at the mercy of strangers who took pity on my condition. For that you both suffered. I couldn’t give you the care and love you both deserve. My mental illness caused me to neglect what I love most. I am thankful however at that very tough time, your Nana was there to take you in. I am very grateful to her, that my own Mom cared for and raised you.Losing custody of you both was the hardest thing I’ve ever endured. But now, if I were to lose your love and respect totally, it would be too devastating.
I don’t know all the feelings you’ve had. I do know that you had to have suffered. I can imagine your emotions have been mixed as to what you’ve thought about me all these years, and it has probably changed every now and then. I hope someday you could give me a chance to tell you my side of the story. I just want you to know that even though it may have seemed like I didn’t love you or didn’t care, that is far from the truth. You are my children and I love you more than anything in the world. It breaks my heart to keep reliving memories for years without you both by my side.
I wouldn’t want to do anything to upset your life now. My only fervent wish is that when I start seeing you more often, that you can open up your hearts just a little and try to forgive me as best as you can, for now. I always miss you so much.
I’m so proud of you both, for your precious, good hearts, for your tenacity both with life’s struggles and in your artistic abilities, drawing, singing, and acting, character imitations, poems, and you both even have good looks, you’ve got it all!… You’re deep thinkers, creative, intuitive, strong, intelligent, mature for your age, and very loving and caring young adults.
All these years I have tried to provide and send my love in one way or another. I’ve tried with all my strength to conquer this illness. I have never given up on the hope that one day I will hold you both in my arms again, someday.
All my love,
My side of the story: The stress caused by the abrupt, and premature separation from my 3 and 4 year old children, Carla and Robert, has been horrendously painful for me and hasn’t ever stopped. Michael and Megan are now 15 and 16 years old. I love them more than anything in the world. They live only about 3 to 5 minutes away from me and yet I only see them every month or so. When they were first taken from me by the child protective services, it was because I failed to take them to the pre-school that the child protective services demanded I take them every day. I was very poor, didn’t have a vehicle to get them there, and I have some severe mental challenges. My children are only one year apart, exactly. Michael was born in 1993. Only three months after Michael was born, I became pregnant with Megan – born in 1994. The rare but brutal mental disorder I suffer with is called Jealous Delusional Disorder. I also have Attention Deficit Disorder and I survived several extremely emotionally and physically abusive relationships. Before Megan was ever born, my grandmother, who had dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, came to live with my husband and me. We cared for her and earned some money for that through the state’s In-Home Supportive Services subsidized home caregiver program.
Unfortunately, after I deliver a baby, my body has what the doctors call a water shift, which means my hormones change at a rapid and powerful pace, causing me to sometimes become so emotionally challenged that it turns into psychosis. To deal with all the stress, my husband at the time turned to alcohol. I became addicted to pain pills – Vicodin – and our worlds and lives began to crumble and we were falling so fast it was as if we were in quicksand. The technical reason the child protective services took our children was “neglect.” I really wish they would have been able to help us more than they did. They threw some reunification plans at us that were not possible to complete. Both Danny and I went in for psychological evaluations and the results were to be implicated into the plan by orders from the judge. I was told that I needed to be in a full time dual diagnosis residential treatment center for 2 years before my kids could be returned to me, and Danny was told basically the same thing. I was eager to get my kids back. That’s all I cared about. I looked everywhere in the near vicinity for a full time dual diagnosis residential treatment center and one where I could bring my kids in with me and take care of them there. I couldn’t bear the thought of being without them for two years. I searched and searched and was able to find a place called the Pomoroy House in San Francisco where Mothers could bring two children in with them, as long as they were under the age of 5. I fit the criteria and hoped it wouldn’t be too long of a wait, even though they said the wait could be up to 2 years. I waited, and called, and waited, but there was never an opening to the house and my Mother was awarded legal guardianship of my children.
Sarah’s name has been changed to protect her family’s privacy…and she may be contacted through our magazine’s email address, firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will pass on messages. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area. She loves her two children deeply and also is quite skilled with graphic design and photography and resume/career coaching and would love advice on legitimate ways to work from her home.