On April 27, 2004, in Ft. Worth, Texas, after visiting with their grandson, the CPS Caseworker informed Sandra and Wesley Seely that Judge Kimberly Brown, 323rd District Court, had given the state Permanent Managing Conservatorship (PMC) of their grandchildren. Judge Brown denied Sandra and Wesley Seely's Motion to Adopt and denied the foster parents intervention to adopt.
The only "accusation" against Sandra and Wesley (SBS), has now been denounced by the doctor who made the initial diagnosis. As many of us have experienced, once in court CPS rules. Although CPS has turned this families life upside down and inside out, the Seely's have been proven innocent of any wrongdoing. Why are their children still in state foster care?
- July 17, 2002 - Shelby and Lexi were born 3.5 months early, at 26 weeks gestation.
- July 26, 2002 - Shelby passed away after nine days.
- Lexi, weighing 1.5 pounds miraculously survived; although a critically ill preemie.
- October 11, 2002 - Three month old Lexi was discharged from Harris Hospital and went home with her older brother (Wesley) and grandparents, who had raised Wesley since he was six weeks old.
- October 28, 2002 -Lexi was admitted to Cook's Children's Hospital in Ft. Worth, placed on a ventilator, and diagnosed with a respiratory virus.
- November 7, 2002 - Eleven days after Lexi was admitted to PICU at Cook Children's Hospital, Dr. Norman diagnosed Lexi with retinal hemorrhages.
- Within a matter of days, CPS had taken complete control of Lexi and 15 month old Wesley was removed from his loving grandparents who had previously been granted Permanent Managing Conservatorship (PMC) by the state of Texas.
- November 12, 2002 - Lexi was released from Cook Children's Hospital and placed in foster care.
- November 18, 2002 - Lexi had to be readmitted to Cook Children's Hospital, by the foster parent.
- November 22, 2002 - CPS requested Lexi's medical records
- According to the biological mother's desire, Sandra and Wesley Seely, the maternal grandparents are going to adopt both grandchildren.
- April 27, 2004 - Judge Kimberly Brown ruled against them but Attorney Vaughn Bailey does not give up so easily. He knows that the Seely's have been robbed by Child Protective Services and the Court, not only of their money but also of the most important time in their children's lives. Wesley was developing on target according to his pediatrician while in Sandra and Wesley's care. Now that CPS has moved him three or four times, in court CPS actually had the audacity to blame the Seely's for Wesley's present speech delay!
Since November of 2002, Lexi and Wesley have lived in foster care because Dr. Norman made the statement, "it might be SBS". Because of one doctor who was evidently not not up-to-date on medical science concerning
Shaken Baby Syndrome this family has been separated for almost 18 months. CPS workers are supposed to investigate a case before removing a child. Why did CPS not get a second opinion? Their babies were taken because a doctor said "might be SBS" and "might be" does not mean "imminent danger" nor does it meet the standards for "exigent circumstances". Surely, Dr. Norman is not the only Ophthalmologist in the city of Ft. Worth, Texas.
Lexi and Wesley Seely's fate was determined in the case of:
Cause No 323-73380J
IN THE INTEREST OF MEYERS/SEELY CHILDREN
Wesley and Sandra Seely of Ft. Worth, had raised their grandson for 15 months; since he was only six weeks old. They are the only parents he has known. Each time he has to leave after visiting with his grandparents, Wesley's screams of "NO Go, Mimi! NO Go, Mimi!" fall on deaf ears.
Lexi became ill with a respiratory virus and her grandparents had her admitted to Cook Children's Hospital only two weeks after she had finally come home. Lexi was three months old and weighed 4.5 lbs. After being in PICU for Eleven Days, Dr. Norman stated, it "might be SBS".
Imagine shaking a 4.5 pound baby hard enough to cause retinal hemorrhaging (bleeding in the eyes) without leaving a single bruise, or any other symptom of Shaken Baby. I would expect such a tiny baby to have severe bruising on her body, if the shaking did not break her little neck! Lexi was scanned from head to toe and there was no bleeding in the brain, no fractured skull, no broken bones, and no bruising on her little tiny body. Two days later CPS was in complete control of Lexi and removed Wesley from their home.
After being in foster care for six days, on Nov. 18th, Lexi had to be readmitted to Cook's Children's Hospital. CPS ordered her medical records and realized what Lexi's grandparents had been trying to tell them all along; that Lexi is a very sick baby and has been that way since birth.
CPS has created numerous plans and Sandy and Wesley have followed every requirement. They also submitted to, and paid for, polygraph exams at the request of the DA and Guardian Ad Litem, and psychological exams, parenting classes, anger management classes, etc; all having come back with positive results relating to the Seely's character and ability to love, nurture, and care for their children. After passing the Polygraph, they were not charged with a crime, but their babies did not come home. CPS motioned to have the results of the Polygraph not be entered as evidence; and won.
The lack of knowledge concerning Shaken Baby Syndrome by Cook Children's Ophthalmologist, Dr. Norman, and CPS is incredible! Toni Blake of
Shaken Baby Syndrome reported that anemia alone could cause retinal hemorrhages in such a tiny infant, not to mention the extremely high systemic pressure that measured 100 instead of the normal, 20. Her pulmonary arteries are not growing properly and there is only a 50% chance of her surviving this condition. CPS is stealing what precious little time Lexi may have with her family.
The reality is that Lexi and Wesley Seely were wrongfully taken from their grandparents care. This case should have been closed and Wesley and Lexi should not have been taken from their loving grandparents' care. CPS refuses to admit their error and recommended the foster parents intervene to adopt Lexi and Wesley.
Lexi Seely and her twin sister were born at 26 weeks gestation, over 3 months early, due to medical complications. Lexi's twin sister, Shelby, died after only 9 days but little Lexi has miraculously survived. Although she weighed only 1.5 pounds at birth she has overcome many milestones that doctors have said she would never reach.
Sandra and Wesley brought Lexi home, heart and lung monitors, feeding tube, special instructions, and a list of appointments with various medical specialists to address Lexi's numerous diagnoses, including:
- Neonatal Respiratory Distress Syndrome
- Chronic Lung Disease
- Patent Ductus Arteriosis
- Peripheral Pulmonic tenosis
- Oxygen dependency
- Diuretic dependency
has overcome many obstacles but now she needs a new heart and lung
and the complete evaluation of her condition, including putting her on the heart/lung transplant list with Texas Children's Hospital needs to happen... yesterday!
Letter from Sandy and Wesley Seely:
CPS claims the ONLY thing that could have caused it was Shaken Baby. This is a false accusation. It is not known if these hemorrhages existed when she was admitted 11 days before they were discovered and all research indicates that they cannot be dated beyond a 1-4 day window, however, CPS insists that they occurred while she was in our home.
Two weeks later a heart catheterization revealed that she has excessively high systemic pressure that measured 100 vs. 20, which it should be. Her pulmonary arteries are not growing properly. There is only a 50% chance of her surviving this condition.
My husband and I know that she was not shaken and we cannot help but believe that with all of her difficulties that at least one or more of them caused the retinal hemorrhages.
CPS is taking what precious little time we have with her away from us. We have been allowed to see little Lexi only one time per month since November for 1 hour each time. The caseworker assigned to our case has stated that she does not have time to read the thousands of pages of medical records, nor does she have time to be trained on the multiple monitors Lexi is on so that she can supervise visits, rather than relying on the graciousness of the Luther Social Services supervisor.
The caseworker's unwillingness to learn this is part of the reason we get only one visit per month. That is all the Lutheran Social Services (LSS) supervisor can do. In addition, they claim they cannot get permission from the Doctor to allow her to be brought in for more than one visit per month due to her condition, however, the foster mom has been seen on several occasions out shopping with Lexi.
The caseworker refuses to willingly give us reports on her condition and gets angry with us if we call her and insist on finding out how she is doing. It has gotten to the point that I check the obituaries everyday to reassure myself that she is at least still alive.
The emotional distress they are causing Wesley is beyond cruel. He had been placed with my mother-in-law and we had unlimited supervised access to him but each time we are with him and have to leave him again and again, he suffered emotionally and cried inconsolably for hours after we would leave, but at least he could see us everyday. That is until they did a home study on my mother. We were told that she would not be considered for placement because she will not say that she thinks we did anything wrong or that anything happened in our home.
Two days after that, the caseworker showed up at my mother-in-law's home with an investigator and told her that the woman that had done her home study did not do it properly. They took several pictures of her house, inside and out, and the caseworker told her that during her conversation with my mother, my mother had nothing good to say about anyone in our family. That she went on and on and trashed all of us. This is a total lie and if that were the case, why was she turned down for placement.
Later, we get a call from our attorney; he received a call from the CPS attorney stating that after 8 months in Wesley’s great grandmother’s home, CPS was filing a petition to remove Wesley from my mother-in-law. They were successful and Wesley has now been placed in the foster home as well. We now have contact with him for only 1 hour per week, when they can arrange for an aide to transport him.
This had already traumatized Wesley and doing this has accomplished nothing but to hurt him more. CPS did this to Wesley all because our mothers will not say what CPS wants to hear. No one in our family is going to say what they want to hear; because my husband and I did nothing wrong and nothing happened to Alexandra in our home.
Also, the only thing they have to go on as far as shaken baby syndrome is the retinal hemorrhages, there were no fractured bones, no brain injuries, nothing else. Lexi weighed 4.5 lbs when this allegedly happened and was on heart monitors. Shaking to the degree it takes to cause retinal hemorrhaging would have killed her. Also, as small as she was there would have to have a least been bruises where she was held tight enough to shake her and there was nothing! The only thing they are basing this on is an ophthalmologist’s three-word statement that it is "most likely SBS". They have never said that my husband or I did anything to hurt her, they say there is an unknown perpetrator, but it had to happen while she was in our home.
These children need to be returned to us, back into the loving home they were torn from with absolutely NO PROOF that we did anything wrong or that anything inappropriate happened in our home. All research shows that retinal hemorrhages cannot be dated beyond a 1-4 day period and Lexi had been in the hospital's PICU for 11 days when they were found CPS refuses to admit that they made a mistake and separated our family without a complete investigation into all possibilities. It was not until the foster mother had to have her readmitted to the hospital after having her for only one week that CPS bothered to order her medical records and realize what we had been trying to them all along; that Lexi is a very sick baby and has been that way since birth.
We have done everything that CPS has required of us, psychological exams, parenting classes, anger management classes, etc. All having come back with positive results relating to our character and ability to love, nurture, and care for children. We have, at the request of the Guardian Ad Litem and DA, had every member of our family who was alone with Lexi (5 of us) take and PASS polygraph exams. By passing these polygraphs we have proven that nothing happened in our home, or by anyone in our family.
CPS has been unable to find any reason that we should not have custody.
Based on all of this, we have gained the support of the CASA workers and the Guardian Ad Litem. However, none of this seems to be good enough for CPS. Since they have been unable to determine exactly what happened, as they refuse to investigate the possibility that something may have happened at the hospital or that her overall condition may have caused it, they cannot determine a perpetrator.
For this reason, they have decided that allowing the foster parents to adopt the children is the best thing. This determination goes strictly against all moral and ethical laws, not to mention a direct violation of the “Adoption and Safe Families Act of 1997”, and CPS very own manual which states specifically that “Family Reunification or Family Placement” is ALWAYS their first priority and outside adoption is the last resort. CPS has not attempted to keep our family together. My husband and I have spent every penny we have and sold nearly everything we own to pay legal fees to fight this and get our babies back. We will continue to fight with everything we have. I pray that this nightmare will end soon and our children will be returned home where they belong.
It is our goal at our daughter's wish that we adopt these precious little souls. I know that God is on our side and we are relying heavily on our faith and pray daily.
CPS has unjustly torn our family apart and we are being treated unfairly, but most of all they are hurting our babies. They are accountable to no one for their actions. They can destroy families at the drop of a hat and in the words of their very own supervisor; “they DON’T HAVE TO PROVE ANYTHING” They can do whatever they want. They have entirely too much power and not enough accountability.
God's Blessings and Love Upon You,
Sandra and Wesley Seely
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