As of late I have been working out the details of running a program, for Lyric and Ayn. One which I am to set up both in the home for Lyric and in the foster home for Ayn. Significant resources have been made available to me by MCFD for this endeavour, and I'd like to set up the best program I can for the money.
Judicially things as always are creeping along, next hearing on the 18th and I believe it is the commencement of the protection hearing/process. Not really sure what exactly happens at it to be honest, which in itself is frustrating... they have your child, your told to sit and wait your turn throughout this long and tedious process... and one which really I do not even understand. I think a case conference will be scheduled at that time and I believe the MCFD either returns or asks for a TCO (temporary custody order), but again I really couldn't say for sure.
Closing in on 2am, and still a ton of reading to do, will fall asleep doing so.
Continued the sorting of all my photos, keepsakes, and old paperwork. Found some interesting POPARD reports and many of Ayn's precious writings. Will scan a bunch in this weekend and get them posted for everyone. It is very hard to look through those items, yet at the same time it is incredibly inspirational. I am quite literally falling asleep sitting here writing this (2:38 am) I will finish it up in the morning.
Was Wyatt's birthday today, we spent alot of time together, talked about Ayn and what we would do once she was back home. Tried to get him to focus on what was in his power to change or improve upon, that Ayn will be coming home and we will do everything we can to ensure that something like this never happens again. He has such a beautiful and pure sense of right and wrong, but does not understand the sociological nuances of empowering that which is right without allowing coercion to simply persist.
A lot of people understand right and wrong but do not understand that to force someone to be "right" is in itself wrong.
I hope to continue this fight long after Ayn is returned so that she nor any other has to face this sort of treatment in the future. It is not what is being done to Ayn that is wrong, so much as why and how. There are children who may benefit from this, but that decision should be left up to the family not forced upon an entire populous... though not every one of us will ever be subjected to it, we are living with a system which believes it has the right to do this to its people against their will.... The system is wrong, we built it, we support it, and we can abolish it.
To replace a tyranny of the minority with a tyranny of the majority is still tyranny.
My daughter is being held against her will and mine, all with the intent on making her more manageable, to force "help" upon her... all the while acknowledging they do not know her and do not even care to hear about her... yet they know best and I can sit down shut up and wait my turn. grr
I surround myself with things of Ayn's, her sheets are on my bed, her photo placed directly in my field of view by the computer, her mickey mouse toy beside me, her songs often playing, I read her words written on my walls which I have refused to wash off, wish I hadn't spend the hours washing the rest of her words off either, I would be surrounded by them now if I hadn't.
It is not that I am worried I'll forget her, or that I need inspiration... it is simply for comfort.... a physical manifestation of her presence in my mind. It really takes alot of rationalization to calmly proceed whilst this is being done to her, a parents urge is to rush to their child, danger be damned. This is of course impossible because now I am facing kidnapping by the State, and they are unmatched in their ability to use force, those institutions conceived to defend our rights, have become aggressive violators of them.
So I sit, I plan, I prepare, but I cannot go get my daughter.
I hear many many people say just do what they tell you and it will be fine.... really... where is the logic in this statement?? Has that worked in the past? Do people not see the fallacy in that statement? How has subservience to the State worked to benefit mankind in the past? If I were to adopt that tenet Ayn would not be any safer from this... we cannot succumb to apathy, and I sure hope we haven't been so beaten that we will allow strangers to come and take and drug our children. If no-one stands up and says "no this is wrong!"... how is it we expect it to change?
Obedience does not inherently culminate in safety or everything being "fine". We often defer to others on decisions where we understand our limited expertise, but when that deference is forced upon an entire populous, we are in alot of trouble.
The liberty my daughter has lost is not isolated... this is not just one little retarded girl... this is an encompassing decision that must be recognized and resisted. I love her, I will not give up on her just as I love that which is good in humanity and will not give up on it. I love life, apathy is my enemy, I will obey no-one.
I do what I'm told out of reason not coercion.
I have been reading much of my written work on here, and acknowledge the political nature of much of it. I also recognize that many may not view this as a political action as I do. In fact many may retreat from the very notion of politics; I am a political animal, we all are. I do think in those terms and I do see the coercive nature of these actions levied upon my daughter and myself (amongst others). I cannot separate the two as they are inseparable, this could not have happened in a different political environment.
The pervasive belief has become one in which everything is up for a vote... I believe in inalienable rights. I believe this action simply is not one which is up to them, I care not what note they wrote themselves to say they are allowed...................
Ayn is a victim of a political decision, a view that we are servants of the government rather than it a servant of us.
Did my daughter need help? Yes, of course, all children need help.... was she getting the help she needed?
They do not care, her life was ignored, all that mattered was the uninformed opinion of one social worker, a woman who had never met my daughter and never cared how Ayn was doing in the home. She read some school reports thought oh boy this is concerning and then attempted to force their "help" upon us in the form of a "voluntary care agreement". This is the reality we face, this is how "voluntary" is viewed by the system, akin to a mugger asking you to voluntarily hand over your wallet.
But don't worry cause if we all give him our wallets it will be fine.... right? Wrong.
Well this was certainly emotionally one of the hardest days for me to go through... it is indescribable, a rush of different emotions laced together by one thread... propensity to cause suffering. Now many may find it strange because.... well let me start from the beginning.
I awoke this morning from the first dream ever of Ayn being returned.... it was late at night, perhaps 10, and Wyatt began yelling "She's here!" or "She's home!" I said "What?!" and ran down the stairs unlocked the front door and sure enough there was Ayn accompanied by two people... I burst into tears and hugged her tighly as she did me.
"I missed you." I said. "I missed you" she replied.
We went in and upstairs and very shortly after I awoke, it was so vivid it took a few disappointing seconds to realize it was not the truth.
After getting Lyric off to school (and Wyatt having gone to Amie's yesterday), I had a few moments to try to collect my thoughts and prep mentally for the upcoming meeting with the SW.
Now it began with essentially me clearing the last hurdle to Ayn's return, visitation, an elation to be sure. After yesterday hearing that my suggested alternatives to visitation were rejected, today my offer of a "fixed return date" was accepted and I believed an agreement could be reached. For about an hour and a half ideas were tossed around and details discussed. When we reached the: ok so what date could be done, pen was put to paper... and the response was 16 weeks.... I dropped silent... closed my eyes and began to cry.
Consolement was offered as was the assurance that they were trying to help and understood that I was a "stand up guy". This essentially ended the meeting as I was unable to continue.
We meet again Friday. Now the 16weeks was the longest end of the timeframe, and the one they would commit to, it was asserted that likely it would be sooner. As early as 10 weeks.... 2 and a half more months. still putting it into January, missing her birthday, missing Christmas... though she could visit on those days. So what to do, what to do? I collected my thoughts and tried to step outside this bubble I'm in and see what way was best to proceed.
Received tons of advice and perspectives; still not sure "what to do"... but getting closer.
On December 14th ten years ago when I laid eyes on her for the first time in the delivery room, my heart was hers. I have given my all for her. I would never harm her, nor have I been accused of such. I have dedicated my life to nurture and understand her.
She has been torn from her family for no apparent reason other than a perception that she was an unmanageable, deteriorating child and that far from the truth. Ayn is a wonderful caring child. It is true that she is autistic and that she has a difficulty explaining what she wants but she has an astute understanding of body language and she has a very strong will. Although Ayn is verbal and possesses a large vocabulary, she still struggles to share with others her desires, fears, and thoughts. Presently, she continues to ask for me and she continues to assert that I am coming. She knows I would not abandon her. Yet the Ministry of Children and Family Development continues to keep her from my care and custody.
On Oct 18 the government sought court approval for temporary custody for 90 days. I refused to consent to this and since this is my continued stance, an effort will be made to determine if trial is necessary or whether mutual consent can be achieved between the parties. This step is called the Case Conference and has been scheduled over 90 days away.... on Jan 23rd. If this is the case, why ask for 90 days? Why even pretend to ask? My reasons for refusal will not be heard. I continue to wait for hearing after hearing, never being given the opportunity to even speak. At the conclusion of each meeting, another one is scheduled and in effect we are shuffled to the back of the line struggling to merge schedules to obtain the next suitable date.
When the MCFD is purportedly educated to identify emotional abuse, why can abuse be ignored when MCFD is the actual source of that abuse? At home Ayn was in no greater danger than her disability naturally initiates. I am asking that she be returned to my care immediately. If MCFD is obliged to investigate then expedite that inquiry rather than separating us for over four months already with no social worker as yet asking me how Ayn was when she was in the family home, the very place from which she is being withheld. She has been returned to the school where the "deterioration" was observed. She has been returned to the foster care home from which she has twice escaped.
MCFD has offered to me unsupervised access effective immediately and yet MCFD will not return Ayn to me. This is a nightmarish power struggle for our family with an institution whose stated function is family development and whose guiding principles are: "a family is the preferred environment for the care and upbringing of children and the responsibility for the protection of children rests primarily with the parents" (CFCSA 2b) and "decisions relating to children should be made and implemented in a timely manner" (CFCSA 2g).
I have devoted my life to my children and I continue to care for my sons, one of whom is also autistic. I do this cheerfully and have never once complained about the complexities and problems I face raising two severely autistic kids. All three children and most certainly the two autistic children are happy and thriving children and there is nothing to suggest otherwise.
I am angry. I am in pain. I suffer and yet the truth is that this does not matter – Rather, my daughter Ayn is all that matters. This young girl does not deserve this traumatic interruption. Instead, she should be viewed as a citizen in the same sense as you or I, and as the social workers involved in her case and as the different judges who are giving oversight to this process. However, she is being treated like property. The sadness she experiences because of my absence from her is used against me as is my advocacy for her to get proper services. During all this time she sits in a basement wondering where her family has gone and not understanding what has happened or why. She may wonder whether she did something wrong, or whether we don’t want her anymore. She has no capacity to comprehend the Ministry's legal squabble. She knows only that she has been forcefully removed from those whom she loved and who love her and with whom she has be every day of her life before this horror. Is the horror to be regarded as acceptable because Ayn has been placed with various caregivers who are nice people? It is still not commendable that good people do the wrong things. Even caregivers are uninformed as is the public and as am I. So now we wait, past her December 14th birthday, past Christmas and New Year, for a “Case Conference” in which I will still not have opportunity to argue for her return. Instead I will receive a scheduled date when that will happen, a date which in all probability will be a year or more away. Of course this cannot be what our community expected when we created this child welfare institution.
Please help to tell Ayn’s story and thereby help her to come home. She is very special. She is a sweetheart. She needs to be with me her daddy, with her mommy and with her brothers. We love her so dearly. I will never concede, or all of this will have been for nothing and the net result will be a little disabled girl who will never know why or when she could be snatched again.
Ayn's 10th Birthday – December 14, 2011
I figured I would create a doc to summarize some of the things which we are working on for Ayn's birthday, perhaps it will help to facilitate others involvement.
1- Balloons: We will be releasing balloons and/or photographing balloons on her birthday from all over, If you would like to include yourself that would be awesome, all you'll need is a balloon and a sharpie marker, write your birthday wishes to her and snap a shot. Helium and release is optional :)
1b- I will be filling and blowing up several hundred balloons on the 13th hoping to have them all ready in time for her birthday, just how to get them to her I do not yet know... I will be discussing this with several people over the next few day to try to facilitate this as best I can. the options are: Amie visit, school, MCFD delivery, foster home.
2- Cards: I hope ayn will receive many many cards for her birthday, individual ones are great and Jean Nicol is arranging a large one with individual messages. So let her know if you would like your name and message added :) Here is the address to send the cards to:
Ayn vanDyk c/o MCFD
2828 Cruickshank St,
Abbotsford BC Canada
3- A Cake: I am hoping to find a place which can add a picture to the top of a cake to help lift Ayn's spirits a bit, and yet keep her family in the front of her mind. Mindblowing that this can and is happening. have yet to select a photo which is another decision to be made in the next couple of days.
4-Balloon and Birthday Wishes event: here we can share our photos from the day and I will try to comment on posts throughout the day, which will no doubt be a very shattering day emotionally.
I think that is all if I have left anything out feel free to add it, and any other suggestions let us know :)
Jan 23, 2012
We arrived early for the case conference which was set to begin at 10:45. It started a bit late, likely closer to 11. The meeting is in an informal setting at a round table where all parties are to discuss the situation as it stands, what the hang ups are and how we can move forward from here. Time is very short so all points are made in extreme brevity, I tried my best to outline some of my frustrations and concerns.
I did not walk away with any greater understanding of MCFD's position, though they were questioned about it many times. My understanding of the "conference" before entering was that it was my chance to finally get the judicial process to the point where I can argue my position before an unbiased judge. In that it was successful, there was alot of pressure to put off the trial and wait until after mediation. However, I was adamant that I wanted that opportunity.
It was very emotional for me, I cried several times, and tried to get them to see the harm they were doing to a beautiful girl and her loving family. My lawyer requested a brief recess towards the end to try to reduce my emotions, upon my return I did get them to agree to a trial. With that we set off to the court clerk to find some available dates.... well my lawyer did, I went outside where my emotions again poured out rather embarrassingly. A group member did happen to pop in and was right there to let me cry on their shoulder.
I then went in to sign off that I had received my dates (yet another pink slip); but this one was different it was the finishline, win or lose it will be the end. So here they are: Oct 23rd- pretrial, Dec 7th- Trial begins, Jan 30th 2013 second trial date, Jan 31st third, Feb 1st fourth, Feb 14th fifth, and finally Feb 15th completion (this could elongate mind you). So now finally we can see the end of the judicial process, a year away but we can see it. This does not mean that the ministerial process is over but that the oversight of the courts has reached its point where a trial is set to determine the justifiability of this.
I am meeting with the new SW on Wed, where I do hope to discern where this process is headed from here in terms of the ministry, I hope to continue where it had left off but as of yet I am still in limbo.
I do know that are going to begin drafting a counter proposal to offer me, but I have to wait weeks longer for that to complete, it is "hoped" that it could be done by Feb 24th, a week prior to my Formal mediation which is scheduled for March 2, I believe.
So tonight I ponder what to do and where to go from here, lots of possibilities lie before me and I am sorting through it all. Will be posting more and am hopeful that I'll get lots of input and advice from everyone.
So where to even begin.... as I am sure most would understand the last 8 ½ months have been beyond nightmarish. Tortuous does not begin to describe this either, the reality is that I have dedicated my life to my kids. I have dropped everything to ensure their happiness and development and to have this culminate in an attack by my own government, who has taken no time to understand my children or my family yet claim some authoritarian power over it is monstrous. To make matters worse this is being done under the guise of “help”. They throw around phrases like “child’s best interest” as if they empower them with some dictatorial aura, yet have no idea what those words even mean.
We are now 8 ½ months in..... 263 days..... and my daughter has yet to see an autism expert. The closest she came was a tertiary glance by their resident expert on day 45, who told them to not treat my child as a psych patient. I have requested the assessment, input and opinion of an autism expert since the very beginning, yet we continue to wait. How quickly they rushed to have her drugged and put into a psych ward, yet still have yet to enlist the expertise of an expert in her known, diagnosed condition... autism. I have spent dozens and dozens of hours trying to explain the situation to them, trying to explain how to appropriately treat a child with autism, to try to get them to understand the concerning behaviours of autism and how it was this terrible mistake was made.
Within the first six months Ayn had already had 4 different social workers, this fact has been used as a consistent excuse by MCFD who justifies their inaction and ignorance with a claim of “staffing issues”. And while I try to be empathetic to the daunting task faced by each new worker to get caught up to speed, the reality is that my child and family continues to languish whilst this persists. And rather than pick up where we left off with the previous social worker they simply want to begin anew, of course each time however we are further along in the unabating process.
MCFD continues to arrive to the variety of meetings uninformed, operating under a blanket liability protection which does not hold them to any standard of quality.
What I am about to type will require qualification and I will be drawing up an elaborate timeline of this whole ordeal to do so; however the reality is that MCFD has not done anything in terms of an investigation or a plan of care since Sept 20th, nothing. On Sept 26th they were granted a 22 day interim order to give them time to complete an investigation (which never happened), we are still operating under that interim order to this day... that is 159 days.... on a 22 day order. Now is the painfully slow judicial process to blame? No not really, it would be nice if the wait times were not as long as they are, but that is no excuse for MCFD to literally have done nothing in terms of my daughters care or keeping me informed of her well being. I have faced: broken promises, lies, threats, stonewalling, willful ignorance, silence... ohhh the silence.
Now as per the restrictions on my speech in regards to the Mar 2nd Mediation, I will try to elaborate on my understanding therein. Sect 24 of the CFCSA is quite clear that anything “obtained” in mediation must not be disclosed, so in essence anything NEW which was disclosed at mediation cannot be disclosed, except under a few circumstances which I likely do not meet, except arguably “d) if the disclosure is necessary for a child’s safety”. However until I get some further clarification on that point I will refrain from such disclosure. Now that does not mean I have to shut up or that anyone else does either, as a matter of fact screaming from the rooftops is one of the few recourses left available to us and I intend to use it.
With that said I am facing an escalating battle not an improving one, one which is taking place on many different fronts; my time on FB will be limited, my time in front of cameras or in print will be on the rise, and the time I need to spend studying will also continue to be pressed only to the limits of my fatigue. I ask for everyone’s help spreading the word about this and keeping up a dialog on how it is we got to this point and what we can do to inform others of what is happening, not simply in regards to Ayn, but to the “child protection system” which has strayed so far from its goal to now become an imposing threat to the safety of children and not the heroic saviour they would like to cast themselves to be. If the populace knew how this worked it would not be tolerated, and in fact will serve as a clear exemplification of why the granting of such powers under blanket liability protections is a terrible and dangerous thing.
So please please please, walk with me in this battle, in whatever capacity your individual talents endow. We have been setting up groups to facilitate this movement, and will need all the help we can get; what it will take is simply communication and coordination between everyone.
We love our kids, and we as their parents need to advocate for them.... to treat an issue as serious as the removal of a child(ren) with such casual disregard is not tolerable, my child is not a number....
Her name is Ayn... she has hopes, dreams, fears and loves.... I am one of them and I will not let her down.