A Black Heart

When you have a baby who is diagnosed with Down syndrome, well-meaning people offer all sorts of platitudes.  One of the most popular is “God gives special children to special parents” or some similar version of this sentiment.  I’ve always known this to be a load of crap, because: (a) there ain’t no invisible, magic guy in the sky with a plan, and (b) “special” kids do, in fact, very often end up with really awful parents.  Today, I was introduced to the blog of one such parent, and I am saddened and sickened by this troubled woman (who is apparently pregnant, which makes the situation all the more appalling) and the suffering of an eleven-year old girl with Down syndrome.

The woman is the girl’s step-mother, and she is full of anger – rage, even – and resentment and contempt for this little girl.  Now, personally, I have always thought that it must take a certain kind of person to be able to open up one’s heart to someone else’s kid and love that kid as their own.  My own husband did it; Kevin was four when Michael and I got married, and Michael has been a committed father to him for all these years.  My dad’s second wife resented me and my brothers and really never made a secret of it, so I know what that feels like – and we never even lived with her, she just managed to get her resentment across on occasional afternoon and weekend visits.  I’m sure that being a step-parent has its own set of built-in challenges; I won’t pretend to know what it’s like to take on someone else’s kids, to inherit them when they’re not even cute babies anymore.  But meanness is uncalled for, and cruelty is inexcusable.

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The fact of the matter is, whenever it is a relationship between an adult and a child, it is the adult who carries the responsibility for making the relationship work.  If it is not possible for a step-parent to love a step-child, that step-parent has a responsibility, nevertheless, to treat that child with kindness and compassion.  One may not be able to control what is in one’s heart, but one can control how one behaves and treats other human beings.

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This is a person who gives Christianity a bad name.  She seems to use God as a crutch, and she seems to have this fucked up belief that she is absolved because Jesus is her champion.

Even more sadly, it doesn’t seem that she has such hatred for the little girl because she’s not her own flesh and blood, no.  She has such contempt for her because she has Down syndrome.

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Many of her commenters seem to be supportive of her, telling her how hard it must be, and how brave she is for sharing so honestly.  (She’s also deleting negative comments – mine, for instance.)  The fact is, loving someone with Down syndrome – indeed, loving someone who is different – is not an act of charity, nor is it heroic.  There is nothing noble about having compassion and recognizing someone’s humanity.  It’s called being a human being.  And there is nothing brave about sharing such ugly thoughts and behavior – ballsy, maybe, but brave?  No.

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Listen, Jessica: there is a whole community of parents out here who are very concerned about that little girl’s well-being.  And we’re all watching you now.



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55 Responses to A Black Heart

  1. Sheila Kraus January 28, 2013 at 6:01 am #

    As a parent of a child who has a rare form of epilepsy, autism, and multiple handicapping conditions, I find that woman’s blog appauling as well. I hate it when people call me a hero or say how god gave Brendan to my husband and me because we can “handle” it. I sure as hell am not perfect, I am no hero (just ask my neuro-typical kids), and I have a very hard time dealing with Brendan and his myriad disabilities. However, his courage, spirit, and sense of humor keep me trying to be a better person. That bitch needs to wake up and realize this is not about her- it’s about an innocent little girl who did not ask to be born with Down Syndrome. Get some compassion or get the fuck out of her life.

  2. Stephanie January 28, 2013 at 7:35 am #

    Woah woah woah.

    She did *what* to a child!?

    And then wrties about how *she* would eventually forgive her friends and husband for “casting her off”!?

    And of course, everything else is Satan’s fault. Obviously. And the counsellor is “pushy”. She is obviously incapable of accepting responsibility for her actions. Sure, she acknowledges them. But they aren’t her fault. It was Satan. And she’s gonna pray it away and not try other than that. Disgusting. This blog is nothing more than her looking for validation “see? I know I’m not perfect, but today I prayed about it. Tell me how brave I am so I can keep my head in the sand!”

    Where the heck is her husband in all this? He’s just as guilty as she is, IMHO.

  3. Megan January 28, 2013 at 10:15 am #

    Sick. And sicker still to use God as a crutch. I can’t even go read it, I’ve heard it quoted enough not to bother. Doesn’t she know that this kid WILL read, will someday google herself and her family (because isn’t that something everyone does?) and will be damaged to the core? Of course, someone with that much contempt is communicating it clearly to the kid, even if she never says a word.

  4. Laura January 28, 2013 at 10:38 am #

    Reading some of her blog makes me feel sick to the pit of my stomach. What a horrible woman. I feel really sorry for that girl stuck with her.

  5. Deanna January 28, 2013 at 1:24 pm #

    oh my word. This is wrong on so many levels. Of course the poor little girl is retreating and not able to click with her new mommy because she’s NOT STUPID and she understands exactly how this lady is treating her. Seriously makes my blood boil.

  6. starrlife January 28, 2013 at 1:35 pm #

    Are we sure that this is a real person? Has this been verified? She sounds suspiciously like a troll….
    But if not a good reminder that not all kids with DS are lucky enough to have us and how many are out there like this…..

    • ashley January 30, 2013 at 9:40 pm #

      oh shes real!!!!!!!!!!!!

  7. Jen Marie January 28, 2013 at 2:35 pm #

    oh my goodness… I do not have a child with an issue but I do have a child. All I can think of is they are going to let her have a baby lol.. I wish we could find out where shes is at so that we could turn her in to authorities.. I mean if she posts about this stuff who knows what she is actually doing to the child when the father is not around.
    This just sickens me!

    • ashley January 30, 2013 at 9:40 pm #

      oh shes real!

  8. Molly Guthrey January 28, 2013 at 3:05 pm #

    I think she’s from Coeur d’Alene, Idaho.

  9. Jonathan January 28, 2013 at 3:52 pm #

    How many have reached out to help instead of sit back and judge? Not a single name above looks familiar to me.

    • Lisa Morguess January 28, 2013 at 3:58 pm #

      Jon, she is deleting all comments on her blog that don’t suit her, including comments of people attempting to reach out to her. And there are people contacting authorities about this, as it seems clear that your children are in danger. The fact is, however, that it is YOUR responsibility to keep your children safe, and if your wife has problems that are endangering the children or anyone else, YOU need to be proactive.

    • t21mama January 28, 2013 at 4:33 pm #

      I know for certain the local Down syndrome group, and several local moms have made an effort to connect. Jessica has not accepted that kind of support. She shrugged off a therapist.

      Does she have a history of mental instability and illness? Have you talked to her parents about this? Greg Samson seems like a decent guy from his facebook account. The posts on her old blog seem to indicate she battles depression. Is she taking any medication or making any effort to improve her mental status?

      The things that she writes about Ciena are awful. What kind of person could feel that way about a child? Does Ciena’s mother, Ciara Cruz know how your wife feels about Ciena? Have you had any child protective service involvement?

      Your wife appears to be in a deep seated rage against your innocent child. How can you allow this? Do you not feel compelled to protect her?

      You speak of how much you love this child on your own blog. I’ve seen your videos of her performing at events, and playing the Wii. She is such a beautiful child.

      Don’t you feel like you owe her more? Don’t you feel like she should be in a loving home? How can you justify Jessica’s behavior? Surely, you are wise enough to see all the troubling signs.

      She has some very strong feelings about your child. It appears that she verbally and emotionally abuses YOUR CHILD. It is readily conveyed on her blogs. Nothing Ciena does pleases your wife. Do you find that normal? A nanny cam might help you to see how she really feels about your daughter.

      No child should have to live in an environment where she is so mistreated.

      The kind of regret you will carry, if anything happens to Ciena, won’t leave you easily. You cannot and should not write the concerns of the masses off, merely because she is your wife.

      Be wise. Stand up and be the father who loves his child infinitely. Be that man who feel so deeply in love with your child. Intervene now.

    • Becca January 28, 2013 at 4:37 pm #

      Jon – I have reached out to her both on her blog and via e-mail many, many times over the better part of the last year, and she often said she understood and wanted help, but obviously wasn’t paying the least bit of attention. If you read her blog, you need to take heed – she is damaging that innocent child of *yours* more than you can possibly know. She’ll know my name – she comments on my blog regularly. But I haven’t been to hers in a long, long time because I can’t bear to see what she’s doing to your beautiful daughter anymore.

    • Vonda January 28, 2013 at 4:55 pm #

      I have left many comments and they were all deleted. My comments were not mean, cruel or hateful, I simply posted my point of view on raising a child with Down syndrome. If the comment doesn’t say “I agree” or “thank you for your honesty”, it gets deleted. She doesn’t want help, she wants PRAISE in her way of thinking. It’s all about HER, why can’t you see that?

    • Helena January 29, 2013 at 10:34 pm #

      Are you serious? Wouldn’t it be YOUR job to protect your child? Instead you are supporting your wife in her cruel actions.

    • thara June 2, 2013 at 12:35 pm #

      I agree with the posters. Jonathon, it is YOUR job to care for Ciena and keep her safe as well. YOU should be getting Jessica help NOT arguing with us. Nothing Ciena does pleases Jessica. That is NOT normal and will never ever be. Does Ciara, Ciena’s mother know about this?

  10. soundtek January 28, 2013 at 4:06 pm #

    this just breaks my heart and I have no words

  11. Vonda January 28, 2013 at 4:51 pm #

    Lisa I love you with all my heart. Thank you so much for posting this!

  12. Jonathan January 29, 2013 at 12:22 am #

    A snapshot does not give the full story, watch the conditions of your own heart for you will be judged according to how you judge others. Thank you all for the concern for my daughter, but I have already removed her from the house of a pshycotic woman in the past and if this were the case, our feet would have the pavement beneath them. For your own sake, don’t judge the world based on rantings of a blog, but the whole story and the real condition of the people involved. Read my blog and maybe you can improve your point of view.
    I will not be visiting with these, comments, so please do not leave any more for I will not see them.

    • t21mama January 29, 2013 at 12:43 am #

      I highly doubt you will be able to refrain from coming back here. A blog is indicative of the story the person tells. No one knows how much of it is true, or what has been fabricated. An individual, or in this case, a group of individuals, can only go by what is written.

      The concern her is not one made in judgment. No, It’s not judgment at all. It is fear for the well-being of your child. Any human being with any sense of compassion would fear for her life. Add in the extra chromosomes, and well, the Down syndrome community at large is not one to take suspected abuse and neglect lightly.

      Her words stand alone.

      You’ve rescued that gorgeous girl from her mother. Is her step-mother a better parent? This doesn’t seem to be the case.

      Does Ciena have an extended family that loves and adores her, regardless of her chromosomal makeup? Maybe an Aunt, Grandmother, anyone who will love her from the ends of those beautiful curls, all the way down to her toes? Is there anyone who will love her with every fiber of their being?

      Maybe you do. Maybe you want what is best for her. It’s hard to tell. I mean, given the variables that we do know, it would seem that your wife is a heartless monster.

      I even worry about that baby she is carrying now.

      How much less will Ciena matter when her baby sister comes along?

      Please, for the love of that child, get your wife some help.

  13. Mary January 29, 2013 at 1:02 am #

    Hi.. I drop by from Ireland from time to time and I hope this wont be let go by you. If you need any emails written from this side of the pond, just ask. Regards

  14. Grace January 29, 2013 at 3:21 am #

    Reason #652 why I have no patience for the mommy bloggers who try to shame women into not aborting due to down syndrome/disability. It’s all love and light unless you’re the child who has to deal with parents who aren’t capable of properly loving and caring for you. Dad is just as much to blame as stepmom in this situation. And then there’s the birth mother who also seems to be abusive… /sigh

    With that said, I couldn’t help but roll my eyes at the ‘we’re watching you’ part of this post and some of the comments here. I read through the whole blog, and while the thoughts and feelings she expressed are extremely problematic – they’re really not all that rare. Especially in parents with an older child.

    Hopefully this doesn’t turn into a pile on that’s more about punishing her for what she dared to say out loud than true help and resolution for this family. It’s a bit odd to me that people who identify as advocates would be so gung-ho about contacting the authorities. Unfortunately, unless Ciena ends up with a guardian angel to help guide her through the system- she’s MUCH better off where she is now.

    • Lisa Morguess January 29, 2013 at 3:44 am #

      Wow, Grace. Pretty harsh. I think we’ll have to agree to disagree on this. Wondering where you get your information, that this isn’t rare. I mean, obviously child abuse isn’t uncommon, but I don’t think that abuse of a child with a disability is the norm, either. And I don’t think anyone is out to “punish” this woman. Everyone’s number one concern appears to be the well-being of a defenseless little girl. I’m not sure why you would think that if in fact this step-mother choked her until she turned blue and hit her so hard that she fell down, that this girl is better off where she is. I understand that the foster care system is rife with its own problems and abusers, but I would hope that some loving family out there would be a better place for her.

      I totally understand that this is mostly all conjecture, too. Personally, if this woman is for real, I think she’s got some serious problems, and I worry for the little girl. Simple as that.

    • Wow January 30, 2013 at 3:02 am #

      Holy shit. You may be a bigger idiot than Jessica Biles.

      • Grace January 30, 2013 at 4:35 am #

        This actually did hurt my feelings. So, mission accomplished on your part I guess. *shrug*

      • k January 31, 2013 at 12:46 am #

        No, there was nothing idiotic about Grace’s comment. It was a reasonable, well-expressed opinion and I’m glad she shared it.

    • Anonymous January 30, 2013 at 8:39 am #

      As a person who was removed from an abusive home environment as a child, I will respectfully agree to disagree.

      I am not familiar with American CPS (I’m Canadian and went through the CAS system)

      I was removed from my home at the age of 15. And I can assure you, as shitty as it was (and it was shitty), I was much better off.

      • Grace January 31, 2013 at 2:03 am #

        With all due respect, it’s not about you or your experience. It’s not about doing what makes you feel better. It’s about looking at the reality of the situation and being honest with yourself about what your actions mean for that little girl.

        In a perfect world, yes – Ciena would be better off in foster care. Heck, in a perfect world foster care wouldn’t need to exist.

        Unfortunately, we don’t live in a perfect world.

        We live in a world where the best choice isn’t always a good choice. It’s sad, but yes- a mom capable of choking her child until they’re blue in the face is often still the best choice due to the state of the system here in America.

        Pretending otherwise in the context of this type of advocacy is only self serving. It may make you feel better.. it may make others feel better and like they did something.. but it doesn’t actually HELP. This is bandwagon concern and outrage – not actual help.

        Good intentions don’t change an overloaded foster care system. ( ..and yes, the system in her area is extremely overloaded).

        Good intentions don’t change the abuse that’s she’s more susceptible to in the context of that overloaded system due to the fact that she’s a developmentally disabled african-american female child who is pretty close to falling into the
        ‘non-verbal’ category.

        Maybe she’ll get lucky and have more time spent on her case due to outside pressure, but it will mean time taken away from the case of another child.

        Maybe the down syndrome community can rally together and get her placed into one of those super loving foster homes Lisa mentioned. But why is she more deserving of that placement than the kid whose abuser didn’t decide to blog about it? Because it makes everyone else feel better?

        It sucks to have to look at things from this perspective, but denying reality doesn’t help these kids.

        I was non-verbal for decent chunk of my childhood and I saw the worse parts of human nature. I KNOW her pain. I want to crumble into a million pieces when i think of what she’s up against.

        I thought… I could grow up and change the world for kids like me, but i learned very quickly that sometimes the best you can do is simply making sure that things don’t get worse.

        Knee jerk reactions by people who haven’t bothered to give a crap about the struggles kids in the system face before today can make things a lot worse for her.

        Unless the people calling CPS will be able to sit on her throughout the whole process, that’s just not the right decision to make in this case. I’m sorry, but it’s not.

        • Lisa Morguess January 31, 2013 at 2:53 am #

          Grace, obviously you feel very strongly about your perspective with regard to this – and your perspective is clearly coming from your own experience, and this isn’t about you or your experience any more than it’s about me or my experience or anyone else’s. So, what would you have anyone do if they are aware of a situation of abuse, of a situation in which a child is probably in harm’s way? Just do nothing because the foster system sucks? Everyone should just turn a blind eye and not get involved because the system is broken? I don’t doubt that the system is broken and that the foster system sucks, but to do nothing . . . I think you’re in the minority in believing that’s the best thing to do. I also have no doubt that there are plenty of people out there who are grateful for the foster system, who didn’t necessarily jump from the frying pan and into the fire. Yeah, there are no guarantees, but I don’t think very many people want to sit on their hands and not try to do something in the face of what appears to be a very disturbing and dangerous situation.

          I have no idea if anyone has even contacted CPS. To my knowledge, parents in the Down syndrome community have contacted this family’s local Down syndrome support group – what’s wrong with that? And if one of Jessica’s own friends called the police because Jessica choked her stepdaughter – wasn’t that the right thing to do?

          Off topic, but I am genuinely curious how you found my blog and what keeps you following it, since you seem to take issue with quite a few things I bring up in my posts. In fact, I don’t know if you’ve ever commented when you weren’t taking issue with something (I could be wrong). I honestly don’t mean that offensively, I’m just truly curious who is reading my blog and why.

      • Grace January 31, 2013 at 2:08 am #

        Also, I’m really glad that things turned out well for you to the extent that you were better off. I hope my reply doesn’t come off as being flippant about your experience.

  15. Jenny Miller January 29, 2013 at 5:32 am #

    Good for you for speaking out for this child. It’s hard to believe this woman is for real but like you say, if she is for real she needs real help. I skimmed her words and my stomach turned….it’s just not OK. Even more concerning that “Dad” seems to be in denial – hope this post gets the family the help they need!

  16. Julie January 29, 2013 at 8:16 am #

    Holy shit. It’s like an accident scene. I couldn’t stop looking at her blog, in horror. Her ‘disconnectedness’ is frightening. Why does she even bother referring to herself as Mommy?

    Lisa, I am a Christian…and I am one who regrettably said some of those nicey-nice Christian words when you first had Finn (I was once on preg.org/the large family board with you). I think I said something about Finn being born into the right family. I apologize now for making assumptions and projecting my expectations/faith onto you. Reading your blog has been illuminating for me and my platitudes are firmly packed away (or at least I try like hell to avoid putting my foot in my mouth). I learn so much from your writing and I thank you for your forthrightness, your advocacy and your honesty.

    I guess I’m trying to say that this person’s faith (I sort of hesitate to call it that) and her passive waiting for God to fix everything is lazy and unconscionable and pathetic. Oh, this is getting longer than I intended and words aren’t necessarily coming out right…cramming this into a comment may or many not convey my thoughts as well as I hope, but it was worth a try. Regardless, thank you for the post and for calling a spade a spade.


    • Lisa Morguess January 29, 2013 at 2:46 pm #

      Peace, Julie. And, thank you.

  17. Elle January 29, 2013 at 3:13 pm #

    Another classic example of religious people using their beliefs to diminish responsibility for their own appalling actions. This woman needs to be judged and not by her imaginary friend but by the local authorities. This woman has no right to have the responsibility of this child or the one growing inside her. She is a disgusting human being. If she is incapable of taking responsibility for her own actions then her husband should and needs to remove this child from that environment. Argh … I don’t like to use the word hate… But if the ugly cruel and disgusting shoe fits…

  18. Jacki January 29, 2013 at 5:31 pm #

    This is, at BEST, heartbreaking. And I can’t help but wonder about this poor little girl’s safety. If someone is willing to put such open, seething hatred towards her disabled stepdaughter on the internet for anyone to read, what is she doing at home? I feel terrible for this child.

    To Ciena’s dad, if you are reading, your wife needs help. Your daughter needs help. I don’t know how you could read these things and not be frightened for your child. Please stand up for your little girl.

  19. Helena January 29, 2013 at 10:31 pm #

    Thank you. I stumbled across her blog earlier and I’ve been holding back tears. My heart breaks for this little girl that apparently has nobody to stand up for her. What is wrong with her father, allowing this woman to treat her like this? This woman needs help, and this little girl deserves a loving environment.

  20. me January 29, 2013 at 10:32 pm #

    I am TERRIFIED for that little girl. There must be something we can do as a community. I was shocked to see positive comments on her blog… now it makes sense that negative ones are deleted. This isn’t just a case of a mean woman, she has to be mentally ill to treat a child like that. Especially a child with special needs. She is fucking crazy! She needs help. I also loved the religious bullshit weaved into her posts. If I believed in god and prayer, I’d pray for the child not that woman. WHERE IS THE DAD IN THIS? I am just so outraged.

  21. Reverie January 29, 2013 at 10:33 pm #

    Thank you for bringing attention to this

  22. Jsland January 30, 2013 at 12:06 am #

    Thank you sooooo much for putting this out there! This woman is pure evil and I am seriously concerned for that poor girl. Not sure if you have noticed but she has changed the viewing settings on her blog so “uninvited” readers can not access it (probably bc she has gotten so much negative attention from it) I am hoping there is a way to alert the local authorities in her area, something must be done!!!

  23. Victoria Keen January 30, 2013 at 12:15 am #

    I’m a born again Christian, and a mama. My heart is grieving. What can be done?

  24. CJ January 30, 2013 at 6:08 pm #

    Jon’s whole “things are fine” approach is bullshit. People who have nothing to hide don’t pull their blogs down. People who feel their child is safe with a step parent don’t run and hide. They don’t demand their wife remove her blog. People who scold you for judgement and say you should, instead, offer support KNOW things are bad.

    And BOTH their religious views remind me of the cases where a child is murdered…..in the name of God….because their parents are delusional idiots who can’t take accountability for anything.

  25. Grace January 31, 2013 at 7:35 pm #

    Huh? My perspective and experiences?

    Lisa, the foster care system kind of speaks for itself if you care enough to pay attention and get involved.

    My experiences (even the bad ones) have added up to a pretty privileged life… so what exactly are you trying to imply? What experiences are you even referring to…?

    It wasn’t my intent to suggest that everyone should just do nothing, but rather that they(we) need to do MORE in situations like Cienas in order for her to truly be better off.

    My point was that you have to be careful about hopping onto the outrage bandwagon and getting so caught up in doing ‘something’, that you end up doing the wrong thing for this little girl.

    When not enough thought is put into doing ‘something’, it can absolutely end up being worse than nothing.

    Saying contacting CPS is the wrong decision in Ceina’s case isn’t the same as saying contacting CPS is the wrong decision in every case.

    I think you know better than that and I think you’re smarter than some of the straw man arguments you presented in your reply.

    Obviously, abuse is a spectrum of behaviors and every situation is different.

    There’s no one size fits all solution, but in Ceina’s case specifically? I would take the route of establishing an instant intervention and long term outreach/support plan with local organizations rather than contacting CPS.

    Especially since the authorities were contacted previously in this situation, and they chose to leave her in home.

    Of course there are people who are grateful for the foster system, there are a lot of amazing foster families out there! …but we’re
    still quite a ways away from that being the norm.

    You know… I just saw you on the gomi site cheering someone on for contacting CPS(and Gawker! and Jezebel!) and I’m officially uncomfortable. Especially after seeing your posts in the Kelle Hampton thread there, and I’m not even a fan of that woman. I think it’s time for me to bow out of this discussion.

    **I don’t think I can even count on two full hands the number of times I’ve commented on a post of yours? I’ve definitely thanked you for writing certain things about Finn, and gushed over your cute ass baby. I even offered you free dev help with your blog!

    I guess that translates into taking issue with someone in the sahm blogger world?

    Anywho, that’s not something you have to worry about anymore. Good luck!

    • Lisa Morguess January 31, 2013 at 7:58 pm #

      Grace, I think you’re misconstruing at least some of what I’ve said. You mentioned being non-verbal and seeing the worst side of people in your own experience, so I assumed (reasonably, I believe) that your take on Ciena’s situation is largely based on your own personal feelings and experiences.

      Look, I don’t profess to have all the answers. I suffered a lot of abuse as a kid, and I had nobody on my side. It still blows me away to look back and think of all the times I went to school with bruises or my hair and face a wet mess because my mother had dragged me to the sink by my hair and pushed my head under the faucet to punish me for some infraction, or the depression I clearly exhibited, and nobody stepped in to stand up for me. I did go live with an aunt for a few months when I was a teenager, but even my high school counselor who was made very aware of my home life never ever tried to talk to me or anything. I finally ran away from home. That’s my story, which is obviously quite different from Ciena’s story. Am I putting my own spin on it based on my own experience? Yes, undoubtedly.

      I don’t live anywhere near Ciena, so from this far away there’s not a lot I can do except help raise awareness of the situation of a defenseless little girl who doesn’t seem to have anyone in her corner. You hear stories in the news of “Disabled Child Found Malnourished and Locked in Basement,” and crap like that, and people are always like, “How could nobody have known? Why didn’t anybody step in?” If making their local police dept., and widely-read publications like Jezebel and Huffington Post aware of a potentially tragic situation might in some way prevent a tragedy from happening, I’m all for it.

      I never said anything about you “taking issue with someone in the sahm blogging world.” Not sure where that’s even coming from. I’m sorry if what I’ve written here or elsewhere has made you uncomfortable. If you choose not to visit here anymore, I understand.


      • t21mama February 1, 2013 at 12:36 am #

        I can’t understand at all where Grace is coming from. It seems a little self righteous to me. When you don’t agree with her opinion, she’s more than willing to pull you out on the carpet in an effort to make you look bad. Seems a little juvenile to me. I’m assuming this is someone who is the business of fluxing her thoughts but is unwilling to see the basic principle of this discussion.

        This child is in danger. No matter the opinion anyone, No one can deny this. No one.This woman very publicly discussed her feelings for this child. No a single phrase spoke love. Not a single one.

        No one knows what came of the police call. There are situations when CPS should be called, but they aren’t. You know why? People can tell some really great lies, and there are laws that prevent the police from overreacting.

        Does this mean the police wanted to leave her in that home? Hell no! That’s a foolish assumption.

        I’m sure they knew Jessica was a few eggs short of a dozen. I’m sure most people there know this.

        Whether or not any of us believe Ciena should or shouldn’t be with her parents really doesn’t matter. We don’t live where she lives, we don’t know who she knows.

        Does this mean we should turn a blind eye to abuse and neglect? Hell no!

        Everyone reacts differently to situations. I for one, immediately contacted the local Ds group. That group said they were aware of Jessica’s blog. They said they were monitoring it carefully and doing what they could to support this family.

        Does this mean they want Ciena taken out of the home? Who knows?

        Is it wrong for people who don’t know this family to contact the police and CPS? That’s all a matter of personal opinion.

        People will do what they want to do, good, bad, or indifferent. Are there situations when people overreact? Sure thing.

        Is this that kind of situation? Hell no!

        Do you know that stats on abuse for a child who has an intellectual disability? Do you know that most of these children are abused and neglected by people that they know?

        As the mother of an individual with Down syndrome, I’m willing to go to bat for Ciena. I don’t stand alone.

        Nothing about what Lisa said in this post is unnecessary. It’s her living room. And, she’s not alone in these feelings, not by a long shot.

  26. Sarah Brandt (@OMGTheresThree) February 1, 2013 at 6:05 pm #

    This is making me sick to my stomach. I want to take that poor little girl in my arms and never let her go. She needs to be loved and enjoyed for the wonderful person she is.

  27. Kimberly Herbert February 5, 2013 at 1:05 am #

    I can’t read the screen shots (on Chromebook). If someone has enough information you might try sending the screen shots to the school the child attends or the district she should attend if being homeschooled.

    Schools are mandated reporters and have other resources they can use. When one of our now 3rd graders was in Kinder, we found out she had a brother with Downs Syndrome. The mother an immigrant, who speaks limited English, had been told he will never, talk, never walk, can never learn by some “doctors”.

    We have an early intervention program (2yo – 4 yo), a K-2 Lifeskills unit, and a 3- 5 lifeskills unit on campus. Our principal, the early intervention teacher and our BIL coordinator made repeated home visits, until they convinced the parents to enroll the little boy. He now walks, talks a mile a minute, and starting to learn to read.

  28. Elastamom February 5, 2013 at 4:34 pm #

    There is no way I could go and read that woman’s block. She doesn’t deserve to have Cienna in her life. And shame on Cienna’s father for putting her in this situation. I feel sorry for people who don’t appreciate the joy these children bring to our lives.

  29. sylvatine February 5, 2013 at 10:50 pm #

    Very strange post indeed! I am a Christ follower and find this woman’s behavior very disturbing. I fear for the Ciena. Jesus loves everyone regardless of their race, religion, skin color, social class, abilities, disabilities, convictions, opinions, choices, lifestyle, sexual preference, or sexual identity and everyone is worthy of being treated with respect and kindness. In fact Jesus commands us to love our neighbors which includes our children-step or natural.

  30. Oh man oh man oh man help us help her March 12, 2013 at 8:54 am #

    I had a counselor over THE PHONE from a work hotline once insightfully say to me: why did your dad take you away from a situation that had you in physical danger but not one that was emotionally damaging? (Not true, we were physically abused but not too super badly for MOST of the many of us, but I wasn’t elaborating on that because the parallels with work didn’t apply much until I was banned from work soon after as an attempt to discredit me.)

    Anyway, this post sickens me and I’ll highlight one excellent suggestion: REPEATeD discussion with the family. Like an addiction, denial is super tough to get through. If this step-parent has no love then she must disappear from the child’s life which seems apparent. If she is in need of proper medication & addiction treatment herself along with Dad I’d venture to guess then get it.

    Either way & whether or not the child is involved with her birth or extended family ever again–let’s take this time to give “extra” attention to the situation. Work to bolster the resources of an area identified with a weak CPS system through temporary volunteer efforts until adequate funding from appropriate sources is SUCCEsSFULLY attained.

    But Grace, you are on a tough challenging impossible path. However the journey is one that is filled with heartache & love and sorely needed. A quote by someone: don’t think one person (or step?) can’t change the world; because in fact it’s the only thing that ever DoES.

    Baby steps count and count a LOT. Community & grass roots efforts can get policies changed & people elected president. It is not a guarantee but lots of small effort CAN and WILL matter with the right tenacity and passion.

    By golly Grace, Lisa and anyone reading or commenting–by golly WE HAVE THOSE skills and can make the time to find a way to take the baby steps. Write a Congress member. Find & post the local authorities & state/national legislative info.

    I don’t CARE if the feelings are more “typical” for some at that age–then we bolster support now for all of us younger families now and families at that age immediately & actively.

    Grace you have the courage and bravery. I believe you have action and skill to help so many and have before. Keep the amazing work going!

  31. Rorybore March 12, 2013 at 10:21 pm #

    I just wanted to say that I am one of the people who read Jessica’s blog and did leave comments. comments that I hoped were uplifting and encouraging. NOT because I approved or in any way condoned her treatment of this precious little girl: but because I could sense that something was not right at all. clearly there were some serious issues in the home, and within Jessica herself. However, since I do not live in her country — there was very little I could do to actually help her. Aside from just trying to be an encouraging voice, as I was worried if I was negative and judgmental, that in turn might be further taken out upon this innocent little girl. I exchanged some emails too…but there was very little reply. She left some comments on my blog. It was very clear she was seriously struggling. But not being a medical professional or counselor of any kind….what could I do?

    So do not assume that all of us who left comments were not aware of the situation. I simply did not want to say anything that might possibly fuel her rage. And I wanted to keep her talking….to be kept aware of the situation. But now…..because of all extreme backlash and lack of compassion towards her: she’s closed the blog to even me. Now I cannot keep up to date on her state of mind, or how she is handling the situation.

    Perhaps this could have been handled in a better way than so harsh an “outing?” so that she was not pushed into hiding. It seems all that was accomplished is that you pushed her further down into whatever darkness she was pulled towards — except now? we have no clue just how far she might sink. How could we possible help her and her step-daughter now?

  32. Colette (@IrishColette200) August 26, 2013 at 12:55 am #

    I just came across this post, OMG, that poor little girl! I know this a while now since the post was published but is anyone aware what happened as I see both her mothers and fathers blogs are not available to view (the fathers does not exist now apparently). I’d really like to know if there is an update as my heart is breaking for her and I’d hate to think that the situation was forgotten about now that the blog is not viewable! Many thanks.

    • Lisa August 26, 2013 at 3:54 am #

      Colette, I have no idea. I’ve been contacted by a couple of people who wondered if I know what’s going on currently, and I don’t. They both shut down their blogs. An attorney contacted me not long ago asking if I had anything other than the screenshots of her blog; apparently Jessica’s son’s father is trying to get custody of him based on suspicions that she’s been abusive at least to her step-daughter. I don’t know if the attorney was legit or not, and unfortunately, I do not have any other information. I, too, think about that little girl, though, and hope that she’s okay.

  33. Amy Dietrich Hernandez August 27, 2013 at 8:53 pm #

    Whew! Traffic jam on your blog today! 🙂 Anyway, I’m glad you have those screen shots.


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