With a heavy heart I must inform you that I can no longer be Bob and Max’s caregiver. This has been an extremely difficult decision because I have so much love for the boys. I have always cared for them as if they were my own children. Unfortunately, I have seen them get worse with increased contact with their mom and I am unable to obtain for them proper assessments and professional help. I have seen the boys’ continuing violence towards animals, their sisters and adults. This recent decision means the girl’s can’t continue their relationship with their dad. I believe I have no choice coming to this difficult decision for the reasons I explain below.
I know these boys to be very kind and loving. Bob loves to draw and play the drums while Max loves sports. They think of my dad as one of their grandfathers and my youngest daughter Eloise as their sister. They look up to their big sisters and really enjoy Eloise looking up to them.
At the time of placement Bob was very anxious, biting his nails. Max was very emotional and aggressive towards his brother. Nighttime was difficult. Prior to placement they didn’t have a bedtime. It was very inconsistent. They were often up until 4am. They had no boundaries, manners, didn’t know how to share, and weren’t respectful of other children. Shortly after placement Bob stopped biting his nails, they learned to play with my daughters and other children, they did very well with a regular bedtime routine. Their school commented on the noticeable positive change. They were very respectful and had good manners. They seemed very calm and content and happy at our home.
About two months into it, their visits with their mom were increased and I saw changes. They displayed a violent anger that was uncontrollable. As you are aware NAME REDACTED, their therapist, started working with the children about a month after placement. I gave her a history of their behavior over the 10 months prior to placement and the first month after. The boys adjusted very well right after placement. I voiced my concerns to their therapist. I reminded her that they transitioned on and off prior to placement between the both of us. What I started to see in the boys was very different and disturbing at times.
The boys started to have extreme violent mood swings, often times out of nowhere. They would be calm, playing and turn on a dime. The boys would grab anything they could get their hands on as quick as possible. Toys, picture frames, any object within arm’s reach, they can pick up they would throw. They violently threw these things at me, my daughters, anyone near them, as well as at the windows and walls. They have broken iPads, cellphones, flipped small furniture and break it, along with many toys. Bob threw a remote at the tv so hard he cracked the screen. I had to take many things out of their room because they would destroy it. I have had to put things up out of their reach. Things that normally would be appropriate for a 4yr old, have to be put away. After they break things many times they say that I broke them or their sister did. Mine and Charlie’s daughters have been strangled, kicked in the head and stomach, scratched, bit, slapped, punched in the face and head, and spit on. Myself and anyone around them have also experienced this. My daughter Sami had to be taken to the doctor after getting hit in the eye with a toy when Bob came home with from a visit with his mom.
The boys have also been waking up with nightmares. Bob wakes up more often than Max, screaming and crying and it’s usually more than once in a night. The nightmares started about two months ago, then went away. Recently they have returned. Bedtime has become incredibly challenging because of the nightmares and Bob especially is very scared to go to sleep.
Their aggression is very confusing. They have a very gentle sweet side and in an instant it’s as though a switch is flipped in their mind. They can’t help it when these things happen. The boys will play very kindly with my youngest daughter, and for no reason will knock her in the head or push her over, or pinch her hard and won’t stop. One of the boys picked up a small chair to slam on her head. I was able to stop him. I can’t turn my back on them for a second. When they think I’m not looking they’ll kick our old lab in the face or punch one of us in the head. There was a period of them being fascinated playing with their feces and urinating on our walls. One evening I put them to bed, I was getting their sisters ready for bed. The boys snuck in my youngest daughter’s room while she was asleep and locked the door. I was terrified. They wouldn’t make a sound. They wouldn’t answer me. I couldn’t hear them even though I was calling for them. I had to get Charlie’s security. They broke open the door. The boys were in my daughter’s bathroom, one was pooping in her tub, while the other one was on the toilet catching his own feces and throwing it all over her bathroom.
The most concerning behavior is that boys complete detachment from any emotion when they are in the moment inflicting harm on a person or animals. While in these moments they enter a zombie like state. This is their most troublesome behavior myself and others have witnessed. They have expressed their love for our dogs, which are very gentle and kid friendly. They both have repeatedly kicked the dogs in the head, squeezed their heads with both hands while watching the dogs whimper in pain. The boys have choked them, punched them, pressed on their back and head extremely hard. While petting our little dog very sweetly, a second later they had had their hands tight around our dog’s neck and lifted him off the floor while strangling him. While doing this, they showed no remorse or any emotion. Due to their state I can’t get their attention to stop them when they’re inflicting harm. I have to physically pry their hands away. I could wave my hand in front of their face and they won’t flinch. I have repeatedly shared this many, many times to everyone involved in this case. I tell the boys they could kill the dogs strangling them, but have gotten many responses from the boys that they want to hurt them and want them to die. Shortly after they will tell me how much they love the dogs. The examples I have given are a handful of incidences that I have witnessed since having the boys. I realize that the boys have endured a lot and I would imagine the reasons the department removed them from their home have had an effect on them. I am aware that the boys are confused. How could they not be?
On a monthly visit with the department, NAME REDACTED said she knew what I was talking about when I expressed my concern of the boys appearing to have a lack of emotional attachment while causing harm. She said that she saw one of the boys almost smiling while he was being aggressively physical. Prior to placement I never witnessed this behavior. I had seen tantrums and aggression, but this is extremely different. I am very worried that they will do severe harm to our other children, themselves or anyone else. Over the summer I had them enrolled in a gymnastics camp, after several tries they were asked to leave. They were hurting other children, slapped the coaches, and their aggression was disruptive in the camp. When the boys started school in September 2013, the head of the school was concerned. She felt that she didn’t recognize the boys that she saw the end of June 2013. The boys have continued to have trouble at school. Bob especially. He harmed other children as well as punching and slapping teachers in the face. The incidents are not everyday. It goes in waves with many ups and downs. This is true at my home, and my understanding is the same for school. However, it only takes one incident for the boys to do extreme harm to another child.
As things started to escalate with their tumultuous mood swings and volatile behavior, I went to their pediatrician for help. In August their pediatrician wrote me a letter which is attached to this letter. He expressed his concerns over their behavior and urged me to have them go to a doctor he recommended, NAME REDACTED for a complete development and behavioral assessment. Their dad agreed also. I sent their pediatrician’s letter to the boys attorney and the department. I was given permission to move forward with the assessment. I had a two hour appointment with NAME REDACTED without the boys. During the course of the appointment she explained an assessment was important because she questioned whether the boys’ behaviors were attributable to the transitions. The appointment with the boys was two days later. The day before their appointment with the boys, NAME REDACTED from the department called and informed me the boys’ mother did not want them assessed and I could not take the boys to their appointment. After speaking with the boys’ attorney a week or so later it was explained that their mother would consider moving forward with an assessment, but wanted a doctor that I did not suggest. I reminded him the recommendation came from their pediatrician not myself. NAME REDACTED said someone else mentioned to him that I possibly wanted to take them to a doctor to get them medicated. Medication was never mentioned in any conversation that I had in discussing an assessment or anything else. It was also conveyed to me that their mother and her attorney felt that I was trying to find something wrong with the boys so that she can’t get them back. I have had to defend my position in regards to caring for the boys many times. I have been repeatedly accused of having an agenda. I will remind the department that I have genuine care and love for the boys, they are my daughter’s brothers. I do not get additional child support, their mother has continued to get support during placement. I have no agenda other than the boys’ best interests. As a result, the boys have not been assessed. It’s been about two months that I was informed I am not to take them to their pediatrician, and since then I have not received the name of one that I’m allowed to take them to should need be.
With no authority to make decisions on their behalf, I feel my hands are tied in providing them the proper help, support, and care that I feel as a parent they need. Often times their actions create an unsafe environment for themselves, my children, and others around them. There are times I feel that their best interest is being overlooked in this case and as a result I can no longer support this situation. As a parent and person who’s cared for them consistently for the last 7 months since placement and 10 months prior to placement in which they were in my care on and off at their mother’s request, I feel it would be extremely beneficial to get additional professional help for the boys. I have informed everyone involved in this matter that I believe the boys’ current mental health is detrimental to themselves and others around them.
I have spent many hours participating in therapy with the boys. I also did family therapy with their mother as requested by their therapist. I personally take care of all of their needs. I take care of the boys when they’re sick. I bought them all new clothes and shoes because they didn’t have any that fit when they were placed with me. Our daughters gave their room to their brothers which we decorated and surprised them with all the things they love. I truly have taken care and loved the boys as my own. My family has done everything to make them feel this is their home and not just a place they are staying. I have seen them feel loved, secure and benefit from the stability in our home.
The only agenda that I have is to care for them. That is it. I have no other agenda other than their well being. When I have deep concerns, seeing signs and behaviors indicating something is wrong, I would be irresponsible to not do something.
In my opinion I believe there is something deeper going on than difficulties due to transitions. Something in the boys has shifted. It doesn’t happen all the time, there are periods where it can be more often, and times when it’s less often. It’s very up and down. Regardless of how many times it’s happening, when it happens it’s on another level that is actually hard to explain unless witnessing it. I was told it’s normal and to be expected for their situation. I have been regularly told “These things will most likely go away once they’re back full time with their mom. ” I don’t know how this could be expected given her history. I also don’t know how the severity of their behavior can be ignored.
As you know Friday evening I received a call from the department that I can no longer monitor the father’s visits with the boys. The reason I was given was because of recent media. The department has previously been very supportive of the boys’ relationship with their father and also felt it was a good idea when he and I made the decision for the children and me to move close to him. As you have been made aware, it was previously very difficult to impossible for him to have a relationship with his sons while they were in the care of their mother. The last 7 months Charlie has been able to go to their school, while he was previously not allowed by their mom. He attended a Father’s Day event with the boys at school, a field trip. He has spent time with us consistently as you’ve seen on the visitation logs. His parents have been able to have a relationship with the boys as well. Janet and Martin Sheen have been very involved since placement. At the time of placement, the department was supportive of me being the monitor for their father even after their mother and lawyer opposed this in court. What may go on in the “media” has nothing to do with what is in the best interest of the boys.
Charlie has been off work the last few weeks. During that time he’s taken our daughters to school most days and picked them up, brought breakfast for all of the children, helped with homework, and had dinners with us. I’m also including their father’s final visitation log up to date. Because I have to be his monitor he’s not allowed to take his sons to school. While I am working a nanny has had to take the boys to school instead of their father. Charlie and I both respected the boundaries in place, and there has never been an incident where he has been inappropriate in front of the children. My home is very harmonious and nothing negative has ever been said to or around the boys. I can’t control what the boys may share with me or their father, however, nor should anyone try. Charlie has always remained respectful and supportive about their mother in the presence of the children.
I’m now not permitted to have their father in my home while the boys are present, which at this time is almost everyday. I do not believe that is in the best interest of the children.
Like Charlie, I have had to endure the boys’ mom’s accusations. I’m including photos that the department and the therapist have seen. I have a photo of what Bob’s face looked like at the time of myself and the boys’ meeting the monitor. From there the monitor took the boys to their mother for a day visit. I will remind the department that the photo the monitor, NAME REDACTED, or their mother took is indicating that Bob’s face looked very different from the time I gave the boys to the monitor. I was very upset by this, their therapist NAME REDACTED was at the visit at the time of arrival and did confirm Bob’s face did not look like the photo that NAME REDACTED had.
I was committed and willing to care for the boys and do everything I could to provide for them until their mom gets well. However, given I don’t have permission to get them the care and help they need I’m not able to provide the care that I believe is in their best interest. I have made endless requests for additional psychological help for the boys and explained in detail why. Nothing has happened. This is a very difficult decision to make, but necessary under these circumstances. It’s become unsafe in my home at times with their behavior. I can’t risk anything happening to my daughters or anyone else in my home. For that I have to step aside at this time. I’m here to help make the transition as smooth as possible for everyone involved and hope that my daughters will still maintain their relationship with their brothers as well as myself.