“My wife just gave birth. That is him playing over there with my wife and his big sister. He was born on my birthday, so that was the best birthday present ever. A couple of years ago ago my wife and I went through an ordeal with his sister that I will never forget, and never want to go through again.
“I was at work, and my my wife had dropped just our over a year old daughter off with the babysitter. About 10 o’clock in the morning my wife called me and she was hysterically crying. I couldn’t understand what she is saying and when I finally could I heard her say, ‘Our baby is unresponsive! We are bringing her to the hospital!’ I raced down to the hospital, and our daughter is lethargic, and staring off into space and vomiting. They transfer her to Jersey Shore. A couple of days later when she close to getting discharged, we got notice from a social worker at the the hospital that they just went to court, and they got an emergency hold, and she is not leaving here yet. Our daughter wound up staying for another 16 days in the hospital, and then when she got released, they wouldn’t let her come home with us, so we had to get my mother-in-law approved for custody of her.
“The doctors had told us they saw some hemorrhaging behind her eyes and it looked like she may have been shaken, or that she was dropped on her head, or some kind of blunt-force injury. My father has been a social worker for many years, so he advised me to call DYFS and speak with them, that it was the right thing to do. So we talked to an investigator who then called the police department, and a police officer came. The officer told my wife and I that the kind of injury she got could have happened up to three days before she started showing signs, so they couldn’t say for sure it happened the day she was brought in, and that my wife and I were both suspects. I was terrified. I was so afraid I was going to lose my daughter for good. And I honestly thought I was doing the right thing calling DYFS, because I thought they would help us. We truly has no idea what happened to her. We never did figure it out.
“There were constant court dates. We payed over $20,000 in lawyer fees alone that year. It was such a roller coaster. Every time we thought things were starting to turn in our favor, we would get news that the we would have to wait longer for the final court date. But it brought my wife and I closer. We realized we would either become a team and get through it together, or we would crumble as a marriage. But we grew closer and we got through it together.
“It was in the month of July when our daughter got hurt, and it wasn’t until June the following year until she finally came came home with us for good. When we finally had her home with us, my wife quit her job. She is a full time stay-at-home mom now.
“We are very blessed that after that our daughter is just fine physically now. She is four-and-a-half years old, and a perfectly normal kid. I admit it has made me more cautious as a father, perhaps even more than if it never had happened. Like just playing at the park, when she is at the top of the playset, I will get so scared, and go over to her and stay real close to her, or when she is jumping on her bed, it is so scary for us. If that makes us helicopter parents, then so be it. We are just so thankful we got her back and she healthy. When she finally came home wth us after being gone so long, we all just couldn’t stop crying and hugging. It forever changed us, and brought us closer, not just my wife and I, and but our whole family.”
~ Point Pleasant Beach. (POTJS Note: He asked for his family not be in the photo, but I can tell you, she was one of the most beautiful, happy, four-year-olds playing on the beach I have ever met)