June 20, 13
To Whom It May Concern:
As a UMC pastor, one of the many conversations I have with people is about why we don’t follow the laws laid down in the Hebrew Bible. I explain to them the difference between following the letter of the law as our Jewish brothers and sisters often do, and the spirit of the law. The example I usually give regards Sabbath: the letter of the law means that no work can be done, and for our Jewish friends that is laid out with very exact expectations. But for us, as Christ-followers, we remember that the Spirit of the law is to have a dedicated time apart to worship God, and to rest, and that the Sabbath was intended by God to be a helpful thing for humanity.
I say all of this to ask if there is a way that we can follow the law-requiring Ivy and Eva to be in West Virginia until paperwork is complete -without being exacting and demanding on two girls who have already had enough upheaval and transition.
It has probably already been reported to you that Ivy has been having some major meltdowns, and that she required hospitalization a little over two weeks ago. We have had them back in our home in Baltimore for 6 nights, and only the past two have gone without a major issue. She is just now feeling stabilized and supported again. We believe, based on our training and experience, that removing her from our home and placing her back in the Ford’s home (or any respite care) is going to cause her to regress in her therapeutic work and may cause further trauma due to her strained relationship with the Fords. She does not yet trust that permanency will happen because she is still required to go back and forth at the state’s whim.
If we have to take her back to WV for the weekend, I am seriously concerned that she will start to go backwards again and we will have to start all over.
These girls have already been in care way longer than they should have, and now that their permanency plan is in place (adoption by us) it is merely a matter of paperwork. Can’t we let the paperwork work itself out, and do what is in the best interests of the children in this case? The rules don’t always take that into consideration. Much like the Sabbath, we must remember that these rules were made for the children, not the children for the rules and sometimes we have to set aside the pre-scribed schedule and timetable so that the children can thrive.
Please find a way to fix this, so that our girls can begin their lives anew and begin the healing process. We will of course, follow the direction of the court, but we hope that we can find a middle way for the sake of the girls’ well-being.
Thank you for your consideration in this matter.
Rev. Patricia S Watson Dwight Calvin Watson Jr.
Lead Pastor Senior Child Care Worker
Epworth UMC, Cockeysville, MD Board of Child Care