This series of articles will be dedicated to documenting a journey of one unfortunate child who was a consumer of a Community Mental Health organization in MI that not only had his true disabilities denied for years by his local CMH, they also tried to have him funneled through the criminal justice system to avoid their responsibility. We will also try to provide some information for parents that may feel their Community Mental Health organization or schools are not providing them the assistance that their child may be entitled to. These articles chronicle how this child was denied help for years and how his parents that were determined to help him were both were forced to give up professional careers and into financial ruin to assure his rights were protected from the same organization that was responsible to help him. Discrimination comes in many forms and discriminating against the most vulnerable in our society is the worst form.
To understand how this could occur, it is important to understand the unfortunate beginnings of the child’s life and what lead up to the continued appalling behavior of the Community Mental Health organization. For this series of articles we will refer to this unfortunate child as "Joey".
Joey is currently a 15 year old young man struggling with Autism, Mental Retardation, Fetal Alcohol Syndrome, Reactive Attachment Disorder, and many of the behavioral problems associated with these disorders. It is important to understand that Joey did not ask to have a biological mother that drank and used drugs during the pregnancy. He did not ask to be neglected as a baby. He did not ask to be dropped off and left for days with strangers including a convicted child molester. He did not ask to inherit his biological parent’s disorders. He did not ask for corn and peanut allergies. And he did not ask for a Mega Colon and other health problems.
When baby Joey was two and half years old his aunt who had never met him and could not have children of her own jumped at the opportunity to adopt Joey and become a mother. Joey did not know it yet but he now had a mother that would sacrifice everything for him. Out of all the terrible things that had happened to Joey in his short life he was for the first time going to have something go his way and he would have an advocate that would stand by him no matter what. Joey could not and may never understand how lucky he was for this one thing in his life that was good. Little did his adoptive mother know that she would be tested in ways that she could ever imagine. It was only her unconditional commitment and love that could get her through the pain, violence, screaming, yelling, name calling, insatiable demands of her attention, sleepless nights, being ostracized by members of her community, never having anytime to herself, never having even a night out, or the numerous other behaviors that Joey would display that could not allow her to live a life with any hope of even an hour of normalcy. Nor could Joey's mother ever imagine that the organizations and people that should be helping her with Joey (Community Mental Health, Schools, Psychiatrists, etc.) would dismiss her and in many ways be the largest obstructionists in trying to help Joey.
Joey's adoptive mother was contacted by her family and told that his biological mother was going to lose custody of him if a family member did not adopt Joey. All she was really told by the family was that Joey was a handful. Again, not being able to have children of her own and wishing nothing more than to be a mother, she was more than willing to take Joey. In fact during her sisters pregnancy she had offered to adopt Joey then as she knew her sister was having massive issues at the time. If in fact Joey's biological mother and family had thought at the time and done the right thing, maybe Joey would have not had what would become the biggest issue that both he and his adoptive mother would struggle with for many years.
Although it will be impossible to describe what life was like with Joey it is important to understand how his disabilities manifested themselves and what his mother was up against. At the age 2.5 when she adopted him she had to fly him from the state of his birth to MI. The plane ride was going to be an indication of what she would now face for many years although she did not know it yet. During the flight she could not keep Joey restrained and when asked to hold him he reared back and broke her nose. This was the beginning of what would change her life forever.
Even with all this she never once failed to try to help Joey with the limited resources she had, or did she ever fail to each and every night after all the multiple fights of the day fail to tell Joey that she was the luckiest mama ever and that he was the best son any mama could ever have.
Community Mental Hell (Part 2):
Community Mental Hell (Part 3):