Saturday, December 18, 2010

When Hell Came to Our Home Update December 18

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We're back at the Okolona house with the children for the first time since our house was broken into, doing a last email download before changing over the phone. If you've emailed me recently, please be patient. It's going to take me a while to go through that mess.

Friday December 10 -- We met with the new lawyer and went over the case. She was thrilled that we were buying a house. She showed us the official notice from the psychologist that I was Certified Sane and Not a Danger to Children *TM* (And don't y'all forget it! :P) The only remaining issues we all could find were my middle child's dental records and verification that we weren't living in Chickasaw county anymore. We'd filed a change of address to Choctaw county, where we were staying with a relative, and both lawyers had informed Chickasaw county DHS of that, but when we'd stopped by Choctaw county DHS they'd never heard of the case.

Our lawyer had no idea if we were going to be in Youth Court Friday December 17. She said Chickasaw County DHS didn't bother sending out summons to anyone! All she had was Natasha Ivory asking her, "Are you doing anything Friday?"

Lawyer: "Is there something I need to do Thursday?"

Natasha Ivory: *silence*

Personally I think that's grounds for a lawsuit right there, but first thing's first.

Sunday December 12 -- The seller finally agrees to sell the house for the appraised value (instead of the ridiculously high figure they were holding out for, but that's a story for later.) The bank needs two days to process the last remaining paperwork, and we agree to meet on the morning of Wednesday December 15, the last day all the requisite lawyers and officials can be rounded up before sometime in January (which would do us out of a year's worth of Homestead Exemption.) We're hoping this clears before Friday's Youth Court deadline, which we still have no confirmation about.

Tuesday December 14 -- While we're out buying kitchen wares for the new house, the manager of Choctaw County DHS visit's our relative's house. She says she'll be back to check on us tomorrow morning -- at the exact time we need to be at the bank buying the house over an hour and a half's drive away! But we've got to have this confirmation tomorrow to avoid Friday's Youth Court hearing! We put her off until the afternoon, which is when we're already scheduled to meet with both sets of subcontractors to discuss the renovations. Nobody sleeps well that night.

Wednesday December 15 -- We get up early, go to the bank, sign the papers and take possession of the house, then fly back to Choctaw County to meet the manager of Choctaw County DHS.

2:30 she arrives. I'll have to look up the spelling of her name as I can't remember it offhand. She was nice and professional, and had trouble reconciling DHS Standard Operating Procedure with what has happened in our case.

"What have you worked on in your Family Team Meetings?"

"What's that? We've only heard that term once before."

"What do you want to work on in your Family Team Meetings?"

************** "We want the case closed."

She did note that we'd met all the points that had been presented. She kept wanting to see our updated Individual Service Plan, the one with the vaccination information on it. We showed her the only ISP we had (which doesn't mention vaccinations), and told her that Chickasaw County had refused our repeated requests to clarify and update the original ISP. Apparently there is an updated one we haven't seen, though, because she appeared to have seen one that does mention vaccinations. Interesting.

(We have a family history of allergic reactions to vaccinations, and are delaying the children's vaccinations until they turn 12 so they'll be big enough to handle an adverse reaction should one occur.)

She kept asking when the pictures were taken of our house for the DHS.

"We never allowed pictures to be taken of our house for the DHS. If there are any pictures they were obtained illegally."

She shut up about the pictures. So apparently there are pictures which were taken during a break-in in our DHS file. Interesting.

She took pictures of our relative's house (which pleased our relative none at all), and then my husband had to fly our to meet the subcontractors. She tried to talk to our daughters privately, but they refused to talk. Finally she told them, "We're going to get this resolved so you can get back to being kids. No kid should have to go through this."

She asked very politely if, after all this was over with, I would delete the video of her from my camera as she hated being videoed.

Before she left I asked her to verify our Youth Court appearance. She called and told me we were scheduled to appear in Chickasaw County Youth Court at the Courthouse Friday December 17 at 9:30 am.

9:30 am! Shit!

Wait a minute. Chickasaw is a spit county (has two county seats half an hour's drive apart for historical and geographic reasons). Did she mean the Houston Courthouse or the Okolona Courthouse?

She called back. It was the Okolona Courthouse.

*deep breath* Okay. I thanked her gratefully for clarifying that, said goodbye to her, and set about figuring out what to do next.

A few minutes later I was told that she was back. She said that she'd been called back and that it was really the Houston Courthouse.

Houston, Okolona, which was it? If we guessed wrong we'd automatically be in contempt of court!

"Anna's assistant said Houston. I'll called Anna back to verify."

"Wait, who's Anna?"

"Anna Brook is the manager of Chickasaw County DHS," she said absently while dialing her cellphone.

"Oh thank you!" I said, so thrilled I was ready to jump up and down (also so cold, as I'd come out without my coat.) "We've been trying for months to find out who the supervisor is! Not even our lawyers could find that out!"

"She stared at me, then asked for verification. She said Chickasaw County was supposed to call her right back with the information.

We waited for 10 minutes while she glared at the phone and I shivered. Then she told he that she would find out the exact location and type it up on a Choctaw County DHS letterhead and leave it at her office for us to pick up in the morning. I said goodbye to her again, not expecting to see her anytime soon.

At 6:30 that night she showed back up at our door, handed me a piece of paper, and said, "This should take care of things. Remember our agreement." Then she left.

I opened the paper. It was a letter from her stated that after consulting with Anna Brook, manager of Chickasaw County DHS, we had met all their points and our case was closed. There were no scheduled court appearances for us anywhere. I'll post the letter later.

Everyone is thrilled!

Still, my husband and I are waiting for the next shoe to drop.

Lest anyone reading this wonder how any county could be so corrupt, here's last week's headline: Chickasaw jailer arrested for selling drugs to inmates.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

When Hell Came to Our Home Update December 16

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Bought the house. Renovations begin Monday. Current move-in date is in two weeks.

DHS case may be resolved. More details Saturday.

Thursday, December 09, 2010

When Hell Came to Our Home, Update December 9

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Both our lawyers have informed DHS of our official change of address.

Natasha Ivory has said that we'll be summoned to appear before Youth Court on December 17 (it meets once a month), but we haven't been given an official summons yet. I'll quote from the lawyer's email as to the reason:

She indicated that you have not signed the service agreements or the rights and responsiblities. Ms. Ivory indicated that your service agreement has not changed. She indicated that Gene asked them to provide additional information regarding the agreement but did not inform them of specific questions. The service agreement must be signed. It is indicating that you understand and agree to work with DHS to achieve your goals/objectives.

Those of you who've seen the video know that we repeatedly asked for specific additional information which we never recieved, and which they promised ON TAPE to provide us in writing.

Our psychologist has finished my sanity assessment and faxed it in. The children have been medically examined and gotten clean bills of health; a letter to that effect should be ready Monday.

The preliminary paperwork is finished on our buying a house, and the final negotiations are about to begin. It'll need about a week's worth of renovations after the purchase is finalized. (There's isn't a "move-in ready" house in five counties. We looked.)

That's what passes for good news.

We've been talking with the Mississippi Bureau of Investigations. After stalling us for weeks, they finally said that due to budgetary constraints all property cases without a "smoking gun" piece of evidence attached to them when they come in the door are being given low priority. This was in spite of the fact that the number of property cases had gone through the roof during the recession. Everyone who voted to cut government spending, thanks for nothing.

Tomorrow we have a meeting with our lawyer to discuss matters.

When Hell Came to Our Home Update December 4

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We have new mailing addresses. We're staying with a relative in Choctaw county and using her address for our personal mail, and we've got a PO Box for our business mail.

DHS refused to believe that our new lawyer was our new lawyer without paperwork, which they delayed mailing to us at our new address so we could sign. We hand-delivered it yesterday. They didn't like seeing it back.

The new lawyer informed DHS that according to Mississippi law, NO agency has the right to monitor homeschoolers. They didn't like hearing that either.

The next part gets really weird. Our old lawyer was emailing us every day insisting that we tell him where we were staying every single day and night, apparently at the behest of DHS who wanted a continuous update on our E911 address. We refused. Our new lawyer is perplexed by our old lawyer's behavior, since even convicted felons don't have to report in that often. Then they insisted we give them a mailing address. We gave them our new PO address, but they refused to accept it. We gave them our relative's address in Choctaw County, but they refused to accept that either, insisting that we were still living in our house in Chickasaw County.

West Chickasaw County DHS insisted that we take the children by Chocktaw County DHS at the beginning of the month so they could see them. We went Thursday, but Choctaw county DHS had never heard of us and couldn't wrap their brain around why West Chickaway County DHS would insist that children who weren't even living in Chickasaw county report back to Chickasaw county once a month. When they called West Chickasaw County DHS, they were told to tell us to bring the children up to Okolona on Friday.

Friday we drove the children 90 miles both ways just so West Chickasaw County DHS could see them, but when we got there they ignored the kids and focused on me. Their only question was had I gotten the mental assessment done?

Then they announced that they were taking us to Youth Court on December17 for not providing them with a mailing address. When we told them they had our new address, they refused to believe it was valid. We don't understand this, and neither does our lawyer.

There's been this weird dichotomy since the beginning. At first they were urging us to go on and move out of the county, so they "wouldn't have to take us before the judge". Now they're threatening to take us before the judge for moving out of the county. Nobody we've talked to understands this.

Here's the Election Day video on youtube.

Part 1

Part 2

It's 19 minutes broken into two parts. I apologize if it's crude, but we did the best we could at the moment. It gets hard to see and hear when they speak to our children (for their privacy) but it gets really interesting after that.