What Inspired “Its Almost Tuesday”

Its Almost Tuesday

“It’s Almost Tuesday” is a fictional story based on true events, using a young child’s exact words when possible. I was approached by an advocate asking for me to write a poem for child abuse awareness month. I agreed and was happy to do so. I love to write.

“Its Almost Tuesday” depicts true incidents reported within the Texas Foster Care System.

I had researched on the Child Care lookup site for TDPRS’s required reporting of foster home incidents. While this story is fictional, in the the situations are based upon the incidents of abuse that occur were occurring in the foster homes I was looking up. I took notes and pictures at my son’s visits, and I logged everything I could remember after I left the visits. I suspected abuse, and began to compare those notes to the visit recordings, and look up incidents that were reported online trying to figure out what might be happening to my son in foster care.

My son was abused for months before it became too obvious for CPS to hide.   I still don’t know what exactly happened to him. The worst day of my life, seeing my son bloody and bruised, was the best day of his life during that time, because it was the visit that led to him getting out of foster care. The irony is sickening.

He never did come home though.

I was placed under a gag order and my website depicting a timeline of events as they happened was shut down. He was placed elsewhere, name changed, and location information sealed. As of 2009 I haven’t seen or talked to him in 4 years.

There was one tape that had us talking softly near the end.  A woman was crying in the background and the caseworker was talking on a phone, so its hard to hear.  I often listened to these tapes and realised I’d forgotten things that were said, or details, and I had listened to this one, and at the end my son said, “blahblah..(something inaudible) … I just screamed…(something inaudible)” … and I couldn’t remember what he’d said to me. So I listened again, and again, and again.  It wasn’t clear enough to hear.

So I changed it from the tape onto digital, listening to it on the computer, it was still hard to hear, so I downloaded programs to tweak it, and extract the sounds. I changed speakers, I changed the baud rate. I did this with a fervent obsession.  Why was he screaming.  Why?

I spent over a year trying to find out why my baby screamed.  This was my secret ritual when I had any time alone.  I screamed too. I cried, and got so frustrated, and listened over and over again.  The one sentence and the woman crying in the background and the caseworker repeated the same thing over and over in my head, driving me crazy.

Until that day I heard the tape absolutely clearly… and I knew why he screamed.  For me.  Little does he know, I screamed too.

That was the inspiration for my story.

I miss my 8 year old boy who is growing up without me. In my memories, dreams and mind, he will always be 8 years old to me… I will never hear his child voice again say “I love you Mommy”, its gone. I never got to say goodbye.

The incidents in the story are based on reports I had read and things that he said at the visits that I remember all too well.  Since only he and I visited, and often even the caseworkers were not paying attention, these are memories that only he and I share.  Memories that I cannot carry alone, or allow him to, when I know he’s not the only child, and we’re not the only family.

That time of my life terrorized and traumatized me. As a mother feeling so helpless and so guilty for the mistakes I made.

When I was asked to write something, I had no problem coming up with ideas, the story was already written in my head. Within 3 hours, I had written, by hand, in a notebook and on scrap paper & napkins, the story “Its Almost Tuesday” with two alternate endings; and called her back to let her know it was finished. Other than a few minor changes and grammatical corrections, the story was final in its first raw draft. We chose an ending between the two I had written, and it was first posted for child abuse awareness month in 2005.

Foster homes are meant to be a placement of safety for children removed from their family homes due to abuse or neglect.  When foster care abuse occurs- something is terribly wrong.