A letter to Charlie
This letter comes after 30 years of silence. It may find you well. I hope so. Please know that I tried to do all that was humanly possible to rescue you from your horrible young childhood. It is not that I did not try to notify all that I could, but I was stopped at every turn by those who were hired to keep you safe. Let me start where I first came to know about you. I will use only your first name, for your continued protection.
In 1984 I was trying to adopt a son. Our family had two daughters, but I could no longer have any more children due to ovarian cancer. I went to where all that wished to adopt were sent. The counties, Department of Family Childrens’Service. Which was also known as DFACS? There was a big push by them on T.V. to come and look at their book called “My Turn Now”. In this book was picture after picture of “available and ready for adoption”, children. I did so. After picking out many and having stories told to me that this child or that child was not “available” I began to doubt their story. At this same time I worked for a law enforcement agency. Not only was I a traffic court clerk, but I was the only K-9 handler in the county. I also did search and rescue on horseback when needed. As I was also the only other female in the department, when a call came out for a domestic problem involving children I was taken along to assist.
Here is where you and I met. You were a foster child and had been placed in a foster home. Neighbors called to complain and law enforcement arrived. We were not ready for what we all saw. You had been kept in a wire dog crate and had only a dog food bowl and a dog water bowl with you. Both were empty. You had no clothes on. You were five years old. To say that all the officers were mad at what they saw would be an understatement. We were horrified. No one knew how long you had been in this closed and locked crate. You were immediately taken out and taken to another foster – emergency 24 hour home. We all then had to continue to work. We all checked on your status with DFACS. We were told you were doing much better after your short visit at the hospital to be checked out and were starting to communicate with you new foster parents.
I, however, was not satisfied. I continued to call and check on you. The T.V. continued
to display the ads. Now I was asking those at DFACS to make me your mom. Our Home Study had been long approved. It seemed to me that you and I were both waiting on something to happen that would never happen. Then I called the governors’ office. I asked the person who answered the phone, “where are all these children that are “ready and available” for adoption?” After he yelled, someone else picked up the phone and asked me to repeat what I had just asked the governor. So I did. Then the next question I asked the operator was when could the governor set up an appointment with me and all employed at this DFACS. I felt they were not doing their job and wanted a full investigation. After several months this did happen. Two people from the State of Georgia governor’s office arrived and the meeting began. I had my tape recorder out and on my knee. Since I had to come from work I was dressed in my full police uniform. I also clocked out for this meeting. I used this time as my lunch hour. After much round about discussion that was going no where, I asked to be approved to adopt you and stated your full name. Since this was a small county, they were all very familiar with your case. I was told no. Around we all went again. In this round I found out that the place were I first saw you, the foster male was from out of state and no criminal background investigation had been done. Neither was he even fingerprinted. No background and no fingerprints. No wonder he was able to get away with what he had done .There was no one looking or checking on him or you. Now I was more determined than ever to get you out of the “Foster Care Syndrome” you were in. All kids knew that at least every six months they would pack their little case of clothes and move. Birth parents would not be able to locate their children. Georgia is a large state. I told all people in this meeting that this was indeed a “Foster Care Syndrome”. I also told them that the victims were the children. There was no reaction. Then the Director made a statement that almost put me on the floor,” the state received $2,000.00 for every child they kept in this Syndrome”. I then asked my final question:” Would I be able to adopt a male child, age 0 to 14 years of age, with or without mental and/or medical handicaps from them before I reached the age of 65 years. The Director’s answer was NO. Now all there knew I had my approved Home Study in my hand for the meeting. With this type of answer I got up and said I think this meeting is over. The Director then wanted to know what I was going to do with the tape. This was all he was concerned about. I told him to worry about it and that he would be the first to know, if and when I decided to let it out to the media. I then went back to work. All at work wanted to know the outcome. I told them. They were all very upset. My children wanted to know. I told them and they were upset. No other calls of mine were ever returned. We then adopted out of the country. He was the same age as you.
Every day I think about you. Every day I have prayed for your safety. I hope you are well and married and have had a god life and hopefully children of your own. You deserve such. As you can tell, you are still part of my life. I do not know how you are, or what you have done in your life. I do know that anyone that could survive a wire dog crate and the horrible treatment that you did, is a survivor.
I am writing this now due to the stories on T.V. that the media find so hard to believe can happen, especially in the United States of America. They often ask why people do not do something, anything. My answer to them is this story. How far up is one single person to go when the very people that are put into a job to keep children safe do NOT care? I was in law enforcement. Reports were taken. DFACS was involved. Safety steps had not been taken by them. I called the governor for a full revue. No one in that meeting, except me cared. I was barred from every turn in my attempt, by these same people.
I had hope that times had changed. But as I watch the T.V., it does not seem to. Children are still the helpless victims. I am sure there are good people out there that do foster care. I am not talking about them. The ones that Charlie met, those are the ones I am talking about. I hope that if you had to go to other foster homes they were the good ones.
To all the other Carlies’ out there…stay strong. I was adopted by a loving family, so I know they exist.
Be safe Charlie and good night.