I'll first paste into this post a condensed version of the e-mail I sent to our staff updating them on the situation w/ the wee, sweet baby:
"After staffing (mom's) situation, A.L. made a referral to CPS. D. DOES NOT KNOW THIS—we’re waiting for more medical information to be made available. PLEASE BE EXTREMELY DISCREET ABOUT THIS (the walls have ears!) CPS essentially told A.L. that they could offer services to D. on a voluntary basis (!?) but we don’t have anything concrete enough to warrant an investigation. This may change as other information (hopefully) comes to light. In the meantime, we are very very worried about (the baby's) safety and tonight’s staff had him in the office most of the night, making sure he was being fed, changed, and cuddled. At this point, his safety is #1 priority and we need to be aware of where he is and what D. is doing at all times.
p.s. I forgot to mention that (2 clients) came storming downstairs about 9:45 telling us to go up to the dorm ASAP. When we got up there, (another client) pointed to the baby's bassinet and said “she’s bottle propping.” Sure enough, he was crammed in there with way too many blankets rolled up around him (they were around his head—suffocation risk) and a bottle jammed in there. I held him and fed him the bottle and Amanda (staff and friend) brought D. up from downstairs. As I was feeding him, she said various (sometimes contradictory) things about him throwing up all the time when he eats a lot (I fed him all the formula he wanted this afternoon and tonight and he was ravenous and didn’t spit up once). She also stated that she doesn’t want him to get obese—she feels like he’ll eat when he’s not hungry and get fat. AAAAACK! We told her that he needs to eat as much as he wants right now. "
Now, here's the letter I sent to my boss who is also a very close friend (this was extremely hard to do):
"Okay, here goes: I am feeling very strongly that we cannot sit on this situation for a minute longer. In fact, I am distressed that it took until this afternoon with a table full of staff to decide to call CPS. I feel that CFTC (our tx center) has dropped the ball big time and we are actively keeping the baby in harm’s way by not pursuing this with vigor. I am terrified, terrified, that he will die here. I do not believe that I’m being ridiculous with this concern.
Inefficiency with clients and kids happens here, but it’s not life-threatening. In this case, so many people with so many e-mails and so little time could and might cost this kid his health or life. I am not in a position to tackle this myself—it’s way, way beyond me. But I am starting to feel an ethical obligation to deal with this situation at any cost and I really don’t want to be backed into a corner because we can’t pull it together to:
a) GET HIS MEDICAL INFORMATION! We have NOTHING on him. NOTHING. How can it be 5 days since he was taken by paramedics and none of us is sure if he has a diagnosis and what it might be? (p.s. Amanda got a release of info for the hospital tonight, but the doc wasn’t in)
b) Recognizing that he’s being neglected and probably harmed and DOING SOMETHING ABOUT IT. For example, the baby should be monitored constantly by staff. I know it’s “not our job,” but not if a baby is at such serious risk. D. is not feeding him, she says, because she doesn’t want him to be obese (he is so hungry; he couldn’t get enough to eat all night). She is propping bottles and leaving the room, he’s “slipped” and gone underwater in the baby bath, he has sustained head trauma from something (“I dropped a toy on his head”). Etc. etc. etc. We all have a million and one “red flag” moments with her but we can’t seem to combine them effectively.
c) Be relentless with CPS until they have enough information from us.
I hate to be so blunt, but I’m angry and scared. Really, just very very scared. And frustrated. I don’t want to be the Lone Ranger, but I can’t let it go until this baby is safe. "
This is maybe the most frustrating case of stalled bureaucracy I have ever waded through. I do not understand how this happens. Don't think for one second that I haven't considered stealing him. Obviously, the cops would be on that right away. Oh, the irony. I want to kick someone. One thing I can say is that it is such a deep pleasure to be able to hold, snuggle, and feed this baby. A swaddled infant who is sucking away with eyes closed in satisfaction= a terrifically satisfying experience. Sarah, if you're reading this, I remember at the Teen Home the first time I watched a mom swaddle her baby and stop his crying-- it amazed me and still does. Also, remember Miu? This girl reminds me of an amplified Miu. Total crazy train. Okay, I shall sleep now. I have an impenetrable headache and hope that a long, long sleep will help. Tomorrow I may be planning a kidnapping; I need my rest.
Much love and thank you for the thoughts. Send love and goodness to the baby,