Chapter 17

Chapter 17 – Oh Shit, What Now???


07/19/2009: Found out Ruth took 3 mg or more of Klonopin from David’s stash when she was pregnant with Paige. Klonopin shouldn’t be taken during pregnancy…

Paige’s case moves from Family Reunification to Adoptions after Ruth and David refuse services. Anita Michaels is assigned to our case. She is a well-seasoned social worker, having worked with the County for over 20 years. She has personal as well as professional experience with adoption.

At her first visit, I tremble and talk rapidly, like a 78 RPM record being played on 45 RPM speed.* Anita has the final say about Paige’s adoption; she decides whether Paige has bonded with us and if we’re a good fit. I know without a doubt that the answer to both these questions is yes, but I’m still scared Anita will find a reason to take away my daughter.

Sydney 130-1


I answer the door and Anita greets me with a big, bright smile. She is tall and thin, with bright blue eyes and fluffy blonde hair.

“How’re things going with Paige?” She sits on the couch, pulling out a notebook and pen.

Holding Paige in my arms, I beam, “She’s wonderful!”

Anita studies us a minute before speaking. “I don’t want to alarm you, but I’m concerned about Paige. She has a certain… look.”


“What do you mean?” I study Paige – she looks perfect to me!

“Infants exposed to anti-seizure medication in utero, particularly Dilantin, can develop Dilantin Syndrome. They have some unusual yet specific features in the same way infants with Fetal Alcohol Syndrome do.”

Fetal Alcohol Syndrome? I panic as a patient would if told, ‘The lump we see looks like cancer.’

“She looks fine to me,” I say defensively. “What features are you talking about?”


Sydney 128-1


“Infants with Dilantin Syndrome usually have poor growth and development. They have heart shaped lips and a small head. My adopted daughter has Dilantin Syndrome so I’m familiar with it. I think Paige should be evaluated.”

Anita stands up to leave and says, “I’ll refer her to a genetic specialist for evaluation.” Andrew and I walk her to the door. She shakes our hands and smiles. “I know regardless of what happens, she’s your baby and you’ll love her no matter what.”

Fear pierces my heart. But what if I don’t??

* Does anyone know if this analogy correct?


2 thoughts on “Chapter 17 – Oh Shit, What Now???

  1. I have never heard this analogy, but I think it’s not familiar enough to readers, especially younger readers, to use. You might want to use a simpler analogy, one that means the same but is more common.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I made up the analogy. Remember when we were kids and we’d put the record on the wrong speed and it would sound squeaky and too fast? But you’re the second person to point out not everyone may understand the analogy so I will probably cut it out. I’m open to suggestions! 😉


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