I am at my wit’s end. I can't take it anymore. I have a mentally ill son, Christopher, who will be 17 in February. I was a victim at 13, and he was born at 14. I read so much when I found out I was pregnant — everything that would tell me how I should have the baby and where there would be help. I thought I was doing the right thing. Fast forward. He’s now at a residential treatment facility. Since he was seven or eight, my son’s been receiving treatment for mental illness. It was a battle every day to make sure nothing made him mad, and when he did get mad, we followed safety plans to a “T.”
Christopher has bipolar disorder, ADHD, intermittent explosive disorder, and possibly, and probably, more. When he gets mad, he physically assaults people and it happens out of no where. He's gone after his infant siblings, strangers in the street, classmates, and teachers. He will attack anyone who’s around. He says, “I will kill everyone.” His main desire is to stab people to death. He attempted to stab me. He hid in the house with a butcher knife my grandmother used and forgot to lock back up.
We’ve exhausted all mental health services, and I mean all. I even drove him out of state to be hospitalized. The residential treatment facility is the last thing that can help, but I can't afford it. Child Protective Services, therapists, other family members, and medical providers all agree he needs this, but insurance won't pay for it unless he is a drug user.
So here we are. All involved agree my son cannot be in my home. It's too dangerous for me and his younger siblings. He’s strong and over six-feet tall. I love him, but I'm deathly afraid of him. So are my two daughters who he attempted to sexually molest as well as physically assault. The state of Michigan would help me pay for his treatment, but here’s the catch: I'm being charged with child abuse and child neglect. Authorities say it’s the only way to keep everyone safe and to get him help. They’ve put me on a child abuse registry. I won’t be able to go back to working with children (I previously worked in an elementary school.) I can't go on field trips with my other children because my name is on that list. My trial isn't until January 10. The attorney they gave doesn’t seem to care about my right to a fair trial. He's only showed up for two hearings, talked to me less than 90 seconds each time, and has never looked at my son’s medical documents and other evidence that I carry with me to every hearing.
January 1, 2019: I just now looked at my mail that didn't come until late yesterday evening. There is a letter from the court. It says a pre-trial management conference was scheduled for 12/18/2018 and that all witness lists and evidence were due by 12/21/2018. My attorney has none of this information and I'm being informed by mail that wasn't sent out until 12/28/2018 (stamped on the envelope).
To make matters worse, the state promised me they wouldn't involve my rapist/abuser, a man I’m greatly afraid of. They said it would be in my son’s best interest not to involve him as he has a lengthy record. They lied. The letter I just opened says they sent a copy stating my name, my information, and the date for trial, to this man. He ruined my childhood and essentially scarred me for life. I never put him on my son’s birth certificate. I am scared to death, angry, and hurt. It feels like a set-up.
Everyone I talk to feels bad but no one can help. The problem is legislation. I've contacted all local officials, from my local state representatives to the governor’s office. However, because of elections and terms being close to an end, no one could help. Here I am. I’ve never been in trouble with the law in my life. Now I’m being persecuted for having a mentally ill child, and not being able to afford the $300-a-day treatment he needs. Seems there’s no way to help a parent get the treatment her mentally ill child needs without charging the parent (me in this case) and labeling her as a child-abuser. The state’s stripping me of my parental rights, and sending me a bill for my son’s expenses while he’s in their care.
I have a therapist and, after he looked at all my documents and heard the story, he was in shock and felt bad. He said, “Nothing can be done.” It's a Catch-22. Usually, he tries to help his patients work toward a goal, but he doesn't have a goal for me to strive for. He can only allow me to vent which, at this point, isn't enough. God help me. I don't know what to do anymore. It feels like the state of Michigan wants me dead.
Note: Sarah cancelled her court appearance for 1/10/2019. She says, “I'm too afraid to go to trial Thursday and risk being found by my childhood abuser. My concern is his being in front of me at the trial, possibly following me home, or getting my address while at the trial. I was told by the judge's secretary they would ‘try not to disclose my address.’ However, I don’t put it past the courts that they would hand him a document with my mailing address on it, or say it out loud during the trial.”