Nothing In My Hands, Chapter Seventeen
By Del Starr, a pseudonym, all rights reserved. Posted Sept 9, 2015.
My God, My God, Why Have You Forsaken Me?
Dianne watched the patrol car pull away with Janelle in the back seat. Though her heart was breaking, she knew that it would all be okay in the end. Janelle had told her the truth about Joe’s conduct. Dianne understood teenagers and also understood that Janelle, at thirteen, wanted to go back to Kansas in whatever way she could. Dianne turned around and went into the house.
A hearing was called and Dianne went to the Youth facilities for that meeting. There wasn’t much said to her, she was only allowed to listen. No questions were asked of her. When the meeting was over, the pronouncement had been made that in the interests of the children, they should all be removed from the home.
Dianne rushed from the building to the nearest pay phone and called home. Brad answered the phone and between horrid, raging sobs said, “They took them, Mom! They took them! There wasn’t anything I could do. They just came in and took them!” Brad was fifteen years old.
Dianne raced home. The children were gone. The only one who remained was Brad. They had tried to take him also but he had reminded them that he would soon be sixteen and old enough to determine for himself where he should live.
Meetings, meetings and more meetings. Hearings and more hearings. Dianne lost her job because she had to attend all the meetings and hearings. With each ensuing hearing, the noose tightened around her neck. She expressed to the social worker that she loved the children with all of her heart. The reply was, “Sometimes love is not enough.”
There was absolutely nothing Dianne could do. Her heart palpitated with terror. Each time she heard a siren she just “knew” that her child had suffered an injury. Doctors would not prescribe anything for her nerves and she was a basket case. She begged and borrowed anything that would help to calm her down. She also got a new job. This time it was for a company that traveled Washington, Oregon, Northern California, Idaho and Montana on a contract basis with companies that must perform OSHA-demanded testing. This served to give a focus to Dianne’s life and she didn’t have to face the lonely house.
Brad was tortured by memories and many nights he awakened with nightmares.
Visitation was arranged for Dianne with the children. Her company was very good to arrange her schedule so that she could attend the visitation but when she had attended more than one visitation in a row, the schedule would be changed and she would have to rearrange her schedule to accommodate the state.
Dianne’s habit had been to reassure her children by touching them gently on the cheek. On the occasion of one visitation she reached out to touch Cynthia’s cheek and Cynthia pulled back. Dianne was not allowed to be alone with her children and she protested to the caseworker/observer that her child must be being abused, for she had withdrawn from her mother’s touch, something she had never previously done. Dianne was ignored by the caseworker.
The children had been in the care of the Children’s Services Division for a year when Ted called Dianne, asking to speak to his children, Cynthia and Randy. Dianne’s state of mind was not so that she could talk seriously with the man. Because of his drinking their home together had been ruined. She was furious that he had left her alone to raise the children and that he had not been in contact for a year and did not know of the whereabouts of his children. She told Ted all of this.
Ted contacted the Children’s Services Division and arranged for visitation with Cynthia and Randy. He too, noted that Cynthia had been abused and spoke with the case worker about it. It had been nearly a month since Dianne had brought it to the attention of the case worker and only now, when Ted mentioned it, was any action taken. The children were interviewed and it was determined that indeed they were being abused. They were immediately removed from the foster home they were in and moved to another.
Ted then submitted application for Cynthia and Randy to live with him. It was granted and he was given custody of the children.
After two years, Dianne had become reconciled to the idea that she would not get her children back. Sometimes they were able to slip off and come to her home for a visit but that was rare. The case went to court and the judge declared that Dianne was a drug addict and an alcoholic and that her children should be given over for adoption.
Dianne could not reconcile all of this in her mind. She had never used drugs of any sort, had vehemently decried her sister Kathy’s usage of them and yet she, Dianne, was now determined to be a drug user.
The part about being an alcoholic seemed ironic to her. It had been several years since she had been drinking any alcohol and to now be avowed as an alcoholic also bewildered her. She had submitted to personality tests (MMPI) and alcohol screening. Both had shown that Dianne had no problems. She did not understand what had taken place. All she knew was that her precious babies were not in her care and that the lines of communication between them were being broken. The children had been separated; some of them were in institutional homes and others in private homes. The entire family had been upset.
One day, Dianne was scheduled to be in Southern Oregon in the evening. The day had already been miserable. Another driver for her company had borrowed her trailer and when he parked it, he had put the handle for the landing gear in his own pickup. He was long gone and Dianne had to work up some way to get the landing gear lifted. The morning had been used in going to welding shops and the like, to have another handle made. Now she barely had time to make her trip.
She was finally ready. The pickup was under the trailer and she was raising the landing gear when a car drove up. A lady got out and asked if she could direct her to Dianne. Dianne identified herself and the lady informed her that Joe had turned her in to psychiatric officials as having mental problems.
Dianne’s mouth dropped open and it took her a few moments to speak. Finally, in frustration and anger, she said, “Look! I have 300 men waiting for me in Southern Oregon. I’m late already and I don’t have time for your nonsense. Give me your card and I will call you when I return.”
The lady smiled and said, “I think you have answered our questions adequately.” She got back into her car and left.
Dianne felt that the entire world was closing in around her. Too many thoughts, too many feelings, too much interference, too much of everything. Dianne could not face more. It was only a few short weeks later that Dianne determined to end her life.
She awakened in the intensive care unit of the hospital. It was several days before she was allowed to return home. The social worker asked her, before she left, what she planned to do now. Determination had again built in Dianne and she replied, “I’m going home and get that load of laundry washed that I had loaded in the machine.” She was allowed to return home.
Another six months or so passed and the older girls, Janelle and Tina, called Dianne and asked to speak with her. Dianne met with them and they asked if they could come home. Dianne couldn’t believe her ears. How could they legally return home? She learned that the girls had run away from the homes in which they had been placed. Janelle had once more flown to Kansas, but this time she had been intercepted by the police. They had wanted to find jobs, but the state would not help them get work permits. They had been declared “incalcitrant” and released from custody. Janelle was sixteen and Tina was fifteen and they were on their own with no help and no hope. Dianne gathered them into her arms and they went home together.
It was only another couple of months until Kira also was released and she, too, came to Dianne. It would be another long year-and-a-half before Chad was released to Dianne’s custody.
Since the incident of Joe’s reporting Dianne for mental problems, Dianne had discontinued having anything to do with him. Joe ran back and forth to Mississippi several more times and finally moved in with another woman.
Dianne continued in her job traveling the country. She loved it, she loved the people with whom she worked, and it gave her time to be alone with her thoughts and to get her life in order Many times she would lie on the bed in her motel room and read the Gideon Bible that was always at her bedside. She longed to have a relationship with God but she knew now, as never before, that she could never accomplish it. She did, however, want to learn about Him, even if she could not know Him and so…. she read.
At home she would read her precious books by Ellen G. White, to shore up the things she knew in the Bible. She would switch from one to the other, always seeking, ever learning.