Well...the good news is that the major crisis only lasted a day or two before I was able to isolate the problem and begin to work on a solution. The bad news is: we had a visit from Child Protective Services!
My teenager called me from school hysterically crying because she had been pulled out of class and interviewed by two CPS workers about my neglect due to our unsafe house. Apparently all three of my other children were subjected to the same. How traumatic is it for children who have been permanently removed from their birth home by CPS to be interviewed by CPS in their adoptive home? Ms D has asked me ten times since I picked her up early from track practice if they are going to take her away from me.
The terrible neglect/child endangerment issue is that my shower sprung a leak in the wall two weeks ago and it leaked through the kitchen ceiling onto the stove and floor. I am having to have the bathroom floors, some walls and kitchen ceiling replaced in addition to fixing the plumbing problem. I can't afford to do all this at once. For two days, I turned all the water off UPSTAIRS (until I could isolate where all the leaks are coming from) which meant we had to use toilets and sinks downstairs and for a couple of days, I took them to a friends house to shower.
Once I found out where the leak was by taking down part of the kitchen ceiling to see the pipes , I turned the hot water only off upstairs and I turn it back on when we bathe. The only limitation we have is the kids have to take a bath and they'd rather take showers (although it's hard to get Sean to take either). That's the whole plumbing story. The other thing that happened is that a connection must be loose in the wall because the electricity to the upstairs bathrooms and one of the bedrooms (MINE!) went out last weekend, so we are having to use flashlights in there. I am the main one suffering because of that, not them.
I have told this story to some people for two reasons: 1) It kind of illustrates my life in a humorous way ("It's always something") and 2) I was hoping someone could recommend a really nice electrician and/or plumber who could do some work and hold off full payment until my tax refund comes (which is being delayed because all returns that took an adoption tax credit are). I just saved up and paid $5300 for a new heat pump last month so we would have heat and a/c, so I'm a bit broke.
Here's why I'm angry: I'm angry that there is someone who thinks so little of me that they believe I would endanger my kids. I'm angry that someone didn't just come talk to me about it since it's obviously an inconvenience, but not neglect. I'm angry that with no emergency situation, they went to my kids' school instead of just calling me and coming here to see for themselves and talk to them here. I'm upset that someone went to my children's school WHERE I WORK to investigate ME. I'm angry that I cannot trust anyone we have interacted because someone decided that instead of offering help, it was better to add more stress to my life. I'm angry that someone upset my kids (who have trauma overload) over something that they have pretty much taken in stride. I'm angry because I have to be investigated by Child Protective Services because my shower and sink pipes sprung leaks resulting in me having to do expensive home repairs. Heck, maybe they will decide my home is "unlivable" and then we can be homeless!
I actually thought this was a pretty typical kind of penny-strapped, homeowner problem to have and I know many people who have gone through this and none of them had a CPS "file" because of it.
I feel like I cannot get a break. This feels like a slap in the face.