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7:54 pm - Tues 6.02.2009
Case File (Pt II)

Case File (Pt II)

I think I left off my last entry with Mrs Lydia DeHaven, my foster mother, and how ending up at her door was pretty much the one bit of good fortune I was to have as a child.

Actually, Mrs Willard Mouser, my maternal grandmother, also showed a great deal of caring and concern for me early on - She was the one who physically transported me to the Welfare Department, since my biological mother had moved away at that point, and she assisted the department in getting my things together, obtaining my medical history, etc.

She was clearly embarrassed and apologetic about her daughter/my mother, saying that she was "not a bad girl", blaming Gregg Hoffmaster for her becoming "immoral".

Mrs Mouser also "checked in" a couple times afterward to see how I was doing, telling a worker, according to one report, that "had she and her husband been in good health they would have taken Eddie" (I was "Eddie" for the first year of my life).

But it's Mrs DeHaven who emerges as the hero of my early childhood - she cared for me, was an advocate on my behalf, and basically turned a malnourished, neglected child who wasn't walking or talking at a year old, into...well, eventually, into me.

(About four months into my placement with Mrs DeHaven, my mother called the Welfare Department, asking to have me returned to her. The Welfare people basically said, "you'd have to prove to us you could do a better job than you did the first time around"; apparently, that was the last time they ever heard from her. But anyway...)

I wish I could say that Mrs DeHaven fed me solid food and dressed my wounds, and purchased a walker for me, and I was suddenly "right as rain"...but it didn't really go that way.

For a time, I continued to have difficulty walking, and was eventually fitted with corrective shoes.

But even after my physical problems seemed to have been fixed, and I was "an attractive little boy", as is frequently noted in case reports, I wasn't coming along as I should developmentally.

According to a report in June of 1963 (Making me two years old), "his present situation is one whereby he appears only to have a problem in being mentally slow....he has been slow in talking, but says a few words, and can make himself understood".

Not long after that, the word "retarded" starts showing up in reports.

A report in April of 64 got me a bit "riled up" when I read it - After talking with Mrs DeHaven, but without examining me, a clinical psychologist recommended

...that the foster mother continue treating the boy as she had done, and wait until a year before he was to enter school before bringing him in. According to the psychologist the foster mother is doing all she can for the boy, and he does not recommend any treatment for the boy at this time.

This was probably the angriest I got while reading the case file ("Where did this guy get his fucking degree?", I thought) - You have a child, possibly mentally retarded, certainly "developmentally disadvantaged", and his great advice is to, basically, do nothing?

What makes this diagnosis/non-diagnosis so deadly, in terms of my life's trajectory, is that the social workers then seem to largely give up on placing me in a permanent adopted home.

It does not appear that James will be able to be adopted, unless he comes out of this.

As far as Butch's placement in a permanent home ("Butch" or "Butchie" was Mrs DeHaven's pet name for me), worker doubts this will ever become a reality.

Worker would hope that there would be a couple who could accept him, be able to work with him, and encourage him in the few accomplishments he might make (Italics mine)

I definitely consider this one of the major "bad turns" things take in my early childhood (But more on just what I mean by that in the next entry).

Another "bad turn" is the death of Mr DeHaven when I was three years old (He had heart trouble).

I've never talked about him much, because I don't remember him much - All I really remember is that there was a "Mr DeHaven" early on.

While the "retarded" label worked to keep me with the DeHavens, the death of Mr DeHaven, ultimately, was the thing that pushed me out of the DeHaven home - With his death, Lydia DeHaven realized adopting me herself would be "impossible", reports start talking about the "lack of a male role model", the lack of intellectual stimulation, and Mrs DeHaven's age (She was 62 or 63 years old when I left - And I'm guessing being 63 years old in West Virginia in 1969 was very different than being 63 today).

Well, Crap! - I want to write more, but I have a serious "crick" in my neck - probably from having my head bent over this case file so much (This is probably the most "studying" I've done since college) - and I might want to be able to move my head at tomorrow's Dexter audition.

So, once again, "to be continued"...


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