‘It’s Crazy and It’s Torture’

These visiting restrictions are not to protect my sons.

The coronavirus lockdown is impacting my time with my son, Kristopher, who is nearing 2 years old, and my 6-month-old twins.

When this started, we did have an in-person visit. I wore two medical masks and a bandana over them, with hand sanitizer in my pocket for quick use. With my son, I put a little mask on him although he kept pulling it off. I washed his little hands and sanitized them, we checked our temps and were good to play for two hours. That is half our normal time but it was something.

Now my visits are replaced with video visits and 15 minute voice chats. My order says I get 12 hours of visits a week but now its only 45 minutes a week. 

With my twins, obviously most bonding with infants is feeding, changing and of course carrying and talking. On video, I am only capable of talking while someone else has to do all the work. So it’s basically I’d be watching someone else bond. I refuse to do the video visits with twins because it just confuses and upsets them until they cry and the visit gets cut.

Kristopher is affected by my absence but has trouble sitting still or staying on the call. He wants me to come play in person. It makes me feel like a bad dad because Kris wants me there playing with him and he asks my sister every day, “Where is Dada?” or, “I want Dada.”

My sister and I both want the agency to find a way for us to visit because it is messing with Kris’ emotions. He has been acting out since I stopped visiting and even our church time together has been cancelled. 

As long as we take all precautions, haven’t gone anywhere, check our temps every day and have no symptoms, why can’t I go see him at placement? My sister is fostering him and wants me there. All of us want me there. We have all been super cautious because my brother-in-law is high risk. Still, the worker said no, and if we visited anyway, they would come take him to a stranger’s house. Then my son would be exposed to unknown people and would be more likely to get sick than if I was there with a mask. So I stay home. It’s ridiculous. It’s not to protect my son, it’s to protect their control over me and my family.

It’s crazy and it’s torture. It’s the worst feeling in the world to know your kid is wondering why you’re not there and you can’t do anything to fix it. 

My whole life is turned upside down. First, I couldn’t see them every day. Now I can’t hug my sons or hold them at all. Even though I still have my parental rights, it sure doesn’t feel like it because I have no say.

The workers need to put themselves in our shoes—or put their kids in our kids’ shoes—and think about the solutions as if it were their own kids or grandkids that were taken away. Would they find a safe way to fix this problem for their families or would they just accept a no and leave it at that? Have they actually tried their hardest or are they just going with what’s easiest since it doesn’t affect them? I think they haven’t tried hard to find solutions. I think they have no empathy toward those they have authority over.