Barb Hay

The Frog in the Frying Pan


In March 2017, mcfd took my grandchild. They saw fit to place my newborn grandbaby in foster care with her mother and I screaming and crying, united in grief and confusion. If they had such an issue with my daughter at that moment, then the child should have gone directly to me, loving Grandma. That is the law. Mcfd doesn’t care about the law and they don’t care about families.

It would take months, the better part of 2017, for the paperwork to reflect what should have happened in the first place…mcfd should never have been allowed to build a child protection case on pillars of wet sand. Time eventually dried out the sand and, in the end, one wave knocked down the pillars with only the scum of their case floating to the top, exposed for the moment.

These are some of the tricks they used on us, and from the many, many stories I heard, these tactics get used rather systematically. I pray with all my heart, this advice helps you get your children back and reunited with family where they belong.

1) Mcfd will pretend to be helping you when actually they’re gathering only negative information to use as ‘evidence’ against you in order to take your children.
2) They do #1 by dirty trick #2…getting you to talk. SHUT UP. You don’t know it yet but they’ve already acted like judge and jury even though you haven’t seen the inside of a court room. To them, you are already guilty. Do not use words to try to explain who you are as a person and how much you love your kids. They don’t care. Do not agree to meet them at, say, a café for a friendly chit-chat. Suggest their office or better yet, your lawyer’s office. You have the right to remain silent and get a lawyer.
3) They will strip you of your identity. This trick makes it easier for them to rubber stamp the removal of your child. Their tactics work better and faster if they can reduce families to labels.

Men are abusers. Women are victims. Grandparents are a nuisance. Children are mcfd’s commodity to get funding.

Reducing families to labels eliminates their ‘moral obligation’ (never mind their LEGAL OBLIGATION) to treat an individual with human rights and dignities.

These labels help mcfd divide and conquer.

4) They will try to use a tidbit of a struggle in a marriage, blow it out of proportion and try to get one parent to incriminate the other. (refer to trick #2 SHUT UP.) If there’s a disagreement between you and your spouse, keep it behind closed doors and keep your front united when dealing with mcfd. Remain 100% focused on keeping your family united or reuniting them if they’ve managed to remove your child.
5) If they have managed to take your child by now, the next divide and conquer tactic is to try to get the child to rat out the parents.

(At this point readers, I have to concede I don’t have tried and true advice for you. My grandchild was just a baby and unable to talk. We kept the bond between mother and baby as strong as we could. Mom expressed milk day and night to keep her supply of nourishment going in baby’s absence. She phoned mcfd several times on weekends to arrange for fresh milk to be delivered to the foster family. Actions speak louder than words, and your words mean nothing to them. Return in kind. Keep that connection to your child going any way you can. Do not miss visits. Keep your chin up and your faith that you taught your child well…not to talk to strangers. If they remain quiet, I think that will help.)

6) I cannot stress enough how much they use the divide and conquer tactic. So, they may encourage you and your spouse to get separate lawyers, even ‘helping’ with recommendations. (refer to #1) If you’re in the middle of a divorce try, if you can, to keep the custody issue with one lawyer that you both agree on and stay united as far as your kids are concerned. Otherwise, mcfd will drive a wedge even further between you and pontificate that they know what’s best for YOUR children. When dealing with mcfd, your lawyer’s biggest task will be to help you wade through the tremendous amount of legal gowbly-goop that’s coming your way. Your lawyer can’t help you prepare mentally because you’re going to have to dig deep for strength you thought you never had. Your job is to keep your mental sanity because tactic #7 is surely to be used, if it hasn’t already.
7) Gaslighting. This technique is perhaps the most heinous of them all because, broken down, it contains its own brand of dirty tricks. Do not adjust your set. You are not in the twilight zone. Chances are, you’re in BC dealing with the ministry of child and family development and if you’re nodding by the time you get to #8, you’ve been gaslit. And it was intentional.

Mcfd will tell blatant lies.
They will deny saying something even though you have proof.
They will say one thing, yet do another.
They will throw a positive reinforcement into the cauldron, just to confuse you.

Mcfd knows confusion and stress weakens people. They know that normal people like having a sense of stability. Mcfd intends to uproot you, make you question everything, including your sanity and, keep you off-kilter. And the truly manipulative byproduct of gaslighting is that they know that it is human nature to seek the person or entity that makes them feel more stable. This is the illusion which mcfd perpetuates to make you seek their approval. Do not fall for it. They are not on your side.

Instead, find a healthy outlet to cope with your stress. Time will help with clarity. Find their personal weaknesses and privately, have some fun with it. We got a lot of laughs out of the simple fact that some, if not many of, mcfd social workers have never had children of their own. They haven’t a clue how you feel as a parent. And find a little glee in that the very things they are accusing you of, even if it’s false, are issues they are projecting onto you because they themselves struggle with it, like alcohol perhaps. Or anger management. They are far from perfect themselves.

Stay calm and stay united. I know you want nothing more than to be left alone, but you becoming isolated is what they want. It’s easier to try to control you.

The truly insidious thing about gaslighting is that it is done gradually, over time. A lie here, a snide comment there; mix it up with some positive affirmations and then they start amping it up. Even the brightest, most self-aware person can get played and the stakes are unbelievably high. That’s what makes it so effective. It’s the ‘frog in the frying pan’ analogy. The heat is turned up slowly, so the frog never realizes what’s happening to it until it’s too late. Its tadpoles are gone.

8) If your child does get removed, do not drop the ball. You may think there is nothing more that they can do to you. You would be wrong. Mcfd will kick you while you are down and out on the playing field. GET UP AND GET BUSY. You have the time. They’ve taken your kids.
Even if you’re lost in a hot soup of disbelief, anger, confusion, pain and grief, serve some protein and bread with that soup because you’ll need strength. Get a journal and document everything. Times of visits. What your children were wearing. How well-groomed and taken care of they look. How they’re feeling. How you’re feeling. Break things down; otherwise, you will be overwhelmed.

At this point, I must speculate. I’m sure so much was said to the foster family about why this baby deserved better. The foster family understood that they were to be baby’s temporary home. But our actions at this point changed the course of things. We didn’t miss a visit. We told mcfd point blank WE ARE NOT SIGNING ANYTHING. We made it very clear within days that we were dug in for a fight and each and every day, we asserted our rights to visit our baby. That would never change. My daughter would have never signed a c.c.o. Basically, what you have to do is DISRUPT their process. Mcfd knows damn well they can’t adopt a baby without parent’s signatures. They know they’ll have to wait up to a year to apply to the courts to have a c.c.o. granted without parent’s signatures. So, the more you disrupt their process, the more chance you have a getting your baby back. As highly adoptable as that brand new beautiful baby is, you assert your rights and make damn sure, any adoptive family will be having to accommodate visits with you. That makes your baby less and less attractive to be adopted out and gives you more and more of a chance to do whatever mcfd is asking of you and GET YOUR CHILD BACK.

If mcfd made a mistake by taking your child in the first place, don’t expect them to admit it. The second mistake they continually make is trying to cover up the first mistake. They will set things up so that they control the pace, whether they want things to go fast or slow (refer to #7). Be ready for them to spring a court date on you and get the lawyer to help you navigate through all the acts and accusations they’ll legally label you with. Tell your lawyer to speak loudly and tell the judge that mcfd just handed him/her the paperwork. That way, it goes on the court transcript that yet another dirty trick is to wait until five minutes before court time to present their documents backing up their accusations. Try with all the calm patience you can muster to keep your kids with you; if that’s not possible, fight for a next of kin placement with a family member you trust…anything to disrupt their systematic process.

9) They will continue to insinuate themselves into your home on the pretense of doing assessments even though your kids are no longer with you. Make them get a warrant. If you’re lucky, like we were, they will find themselves in the unenviable position of being in a catch-22. They’re looking for new information on you to present to the judge. Without a warrant, they can’t get it unless they get your signature on a release of information form. DO NOT SIGN ANYTHING without your lawyer. Without a warrant, they can’t collect new information. Without new information, they can’t get a warrant. Do not fall into the trap of thinking you can cooperate because you have nothing to hide. I had something in my 20’s I didn’t want them to use; it was very personal and none of their business. Just because it was so long ago and had no reflection on who I was now as a Grandma, didn’t mean that they’d agree and find it irrelevant. It wasn’t even the things I could remember; it may have been something I’d forgotten. I wouldn’t risk it. Make them get a warrant and get your lawyer to back you up.
10) They will want to keep you isolated. You will now enter a very lonely time in your life. Your trust in humanity will be shaken. You will still be in your home, in disbelief and grief over the loss of your children. Trust very few people. Work on yourself and be honest with yourself and what you need to do. Addiction? Get help and overcome it. Housing? Get busy looking through ‘for rent’ ads. If you have a job, keep it. Another trick they use is tracking you if you’re on some kind of government funding. Borrow if you have to and keep your source of income private. Remember to stay calm and 100% focused on getting your kids back. Your faith in God and your hope that justice will prevail is all you have. And so, your clergy’s leader and your attorney are the two relationships you can trust and are protected by law. The gaslighting will continue because even though you will feel hidden eyes and ears upon you, mcfd will deny the use of their spies and snitches. Do not give a ‘frog in the frying pan’s fart what they say or think of you. There’s still work to be done. But time is on your side now. Eventually, mcfd will reach into their dirty bag of tricks and find they’ve got nothing left. Your love for your child is eternal. If you’ve made it this far, I hope it’s because you’ve successfully neutralized all of their tactics and now feel empowered. Build on that with positive affirmations. I’m sure they’ve been tearing you apart, making you feel like a crappy parent. Do not focus on setbacks and negativity. They’ve been focusing on that enough to go around. If you’re still scared and need encouragement, speak honestly with your priest, your friend, your family…someone you trust with your very life.

The hell that mcfd put us through shook me to the very core of my being. We were so very, very lucky and I’m crippled in tears when I think how badly it could have gone. We had the right people come into our lives at the right time and, give us the right advice, right when we needed it. I know others are not anywhere near as lucky. I only hope this guide helps you if for no other reason to know that YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

I don’t know why this happened to you. I don’t know why it happened to us. I may never be given a straight answer, I’m resigned to that now. I only know that mcfd seems to target single moms with mental health issues and/or drug or alcohol use, which is ironic. What they put you through is its own brand of mental anguish requiring a special brand of medication. At some point during the summer of 2017, my daughter started to fare better than me. I started to realize that she was closer to her high school years than I was. My daugher’s skills were fresher than mine…skills of having survived the manipulations, rumours, pettiness and bullying of high school. I’m a Grandmother now and far too old for this nonsense. They have no right to play God and their day will come. I truly believe that. Stay true to yourself and do right by your children. Fight tooth and nail for them. And we can all help each other. It’s hard to explain to others what this nightmare feels like and we don’t have the time or the wherewithal.

Let’s help each other, in prayer and positivity, for if you’ve made it this far you are all Gentle Giants.

It costs nothing. The intrinsic value of love shouldn’t cost a cent. But the rewards are eternal and should you get your children back, that day when your family is reunited will be an image you hold in your mind’s eye until the very day you die.

Gentle Giants is a movement.
Gentle Giants are parents who are loudly asserting their
right to quietly care for their children in calm and peace.

But it’s not just parents.
Anyone can be a Gentle Giant.
As long as you believe,
Each child is beautiful, born pure.
Each child is born with gentleness and sensitivity.
Each child’s parents will have the opportunity to develop that
sensitivity and that gentleness.
Fine words and eloquent speeches
will not be an influence upon the child,
for the child’s eyes see all.
For children are knowing creatures,
And will learn by example only.

Taken from ‘The Rose and the Eagle’ by Rosemary Altea.

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