This morning I witnessed a little girl walking with her mother and she briefly paused, with a childlike look of awe and wonder and exclaimed, “Look mommy at the flowers.” Before her was something that many of us pass daily, in our rush and daily struggle, without that same awe and wonder striking us about God’s creation anymore. It wasn’t anything fancy, just a planter in front of an IHOP, but it had captured that little girls fascination. I choked back tears and walked into our motel.
My daughter, Elianah, was the last of 7 children between my wife and I. Our oldest son, Tyeler, was born when my wife was only seventeen. Due to medical complications Amelia’s heart swelled up and she was in congestive heart failure. Tyler was cut out of her womb, with only a local anesthesia, because she was dying. Tyeler Scott was born into the world two month’s early. Back in those days, he had a slimmer chance of survival than today…but they both survived.
You would think that after the first go around Amelia would have sworn off pregnancies, but one thing I can testify to of my wife is she loves children, everybody’s children. Before our two universes merged she had two more babies. Unfortunately due to her own abuses, at the hands of people that had been entrusted to protect her, she struggled from an illness. In a given year, this illness affects 5 plus million American’s a year. It is known as PTSD. While Amelia and I were growing up this disorder was almost completely unknown, unlike today. Many of us lived for decades, un-diagnosed, psychotropically medicated, and believing that there is something inherently wrong with us; living in guilt and shame. This led to Amelia being in abusive relationship’s which only aggravated her medical and mental conditions.
My wife and I grew up in the same, tiny Kansas town. We knew each other since earliest memories of adolescence. Population 1200, at least in those days. Small enough we had to go to a county school. It was a big class if they managed to graduate thirty seniors. Most of the town and my teachers would have classified me as a troubled child. Due to my own family dynamic, and way to much energy, I bounced into a lot of trouble. Eventually, this led to me being placed into the Kansas foster care system. In the eighties, before they were sued by the ACLU, Kansas DCF was called the SRS. Many former foster care kids can testify to the horror of Foster Care. It was continual abuse until the age of 18 when I was no longer a money maker. This was before they kept kids until they were 21 to maximize funding. At 18 I was released to go be a productive citizen; after being traumatized by this system.
Just to give you an idea of this journey; from 14-18 years old, I spent most of my time locked up. Offended at the gall of any government authority believing it could strip me from my home and family, I ran away from every placement they put me. Without ever even being charged with a crime, I was placed in Maximum Security juvenile lock ups. For daring to resist the authorities, I was cycled all over the state of Kansas to detention facilities in Hutchinson, Wichita, Topeka and others. I remember one such place in Topeka where a fellow incarcerated juvenile was a child that was so angry he murdered his sister by shooting her 24 times. He reloaded twice. When I asked him the reason for the murder he numbly said, “She pissed me off”. What was I doing there, I was not a criminal?
While Amelia was dropping out of school and having babies…seeking love in all the wrong places; I was learning the art of living on the street or in lockup, as a child. Kansas DCF taught me to steal, do drugs, sell drugs, escape from locked facilities, have sex, drink myself into oblivion, and fight. My first friend died when I was 14. There were about 30 more to follow over the years. I received my first tattoo at the age of fifteen and ran with gangs. At sixteen I was falsely accused of a crime. Some people came after me because of the accusations, onto my parents property, and I pulled a gun on them. The Riley County Police temporarily held me in an old, large storage room waiting for DCF to show up. They never did.
For weeks I stayed, with only a notepad and pens, locked in a closet until one day I heard arguing outside the door about being sued. DCF thought I had been released to my parents. My parents had thought I was shuffled to another placement. Suffering almost a month of solitary confinement as a child without even being charged with a crime, I was moved to a foster home. The gun incident was classified as self-defense because the individuals were claiming they were going to kill me. As my son Caleb said about his forced incarceration in a Kansas institution by DCF, I was in a living hell. DCF non stop tried to force medicate me to deal with my “Behavioral Problems”.
My final 9 months of underage life was spent at the Youth Center at Larned (YCAL) for running away. It was a high school graduation behind bars. Again, I was not in there for any crime I was charged with or convicted of. I was placed with gang bangers during the time when the mid-west had exploded in street gang violence. During those months I was assaulted or got into fights over thirty times. One such incident an individual sucker-punched me in the temple so hard I believe it gave me a concussion. I spent 48 hours in the hole, in pain, and sitting in a blanket covered with my vomit. Sometime during those hours I believe I had a seizure. I remember being alone and crying, the stench of vomit in my nostrils and pain pounding through my head. When all of a sudden I was enveloped in the most amazing, brilliant light and felt peace fill me like a cup. I don’t know what happened, but that moment began my search for spiritual significance as the event faded. The pain, crying and isolation set back in.
Between Tyeler and Deven, Amelia had a daughter, Madison. She was pressured by unhealthy people in her life, to abort the pregnancy. She fled into hiding and adopted her out through a Christian Adoption Agency. Amelia believed she was protecting her daughter and trying to give her a better life than herself because at this time in her life she was living in her car or crashing here and there. Even though the adoption was open, Amelia struggled so hard in her personal life. She was not able to maintain contact as she has only met Madison once during the entire time we have been married. It is something still very painful and hard for her to share about.
Fast forward to 2001. I was 28, and after a stint in the military I was again victimized by people in positions of power and authority. It led to my discharge, a year long drug binge, and a prison sentence. After my parole Amelia and I crossed paths once again. Drowning my recent bouts of nightmares in alcohol at a bar in our small town which I had recently moved back to; I noticed her from across the room. She professed that when we were growing up, she had always had a crush on me. Her aunt had been my neighbor and we played almost daily. We started dating after that fateful night in the bar. She got pregnant and we got married. Not many people thought it was a good idea. Though we were two raw nerves of pain walking around the world, somehow we connected on a level that neither of us could break free of the other; no matter how hard our marriage became. Sometimes it seemed like we were two drowning people who couldn’t swim trying to cling to the other for support. It led us to the church.
We both had become Christians and began our journey through an evangelical church system that didn’t know how to deal with our pain and instability. Neither of us knew how to have meaningful communication or relationships. When people asked how we met, we became embarrassed that our story was not storybook like we thought others were. (Though my wife just tells people we grew up together; which is true and more romantic sounding.) Both of us had our families constantly trying to get us to divorce. So, instead we moved 600 miles away to Colorado where God began to change our lives. The journey was slow as we both remained un-diagnosed and untreated for a decade for our mental and health issues. Some churches worked with us, loved us, taught us what the roles as husband wife mom and dad, and prayed with us through the trials. We grew and healed alot during this period. We are still not perfect, but we have changed a great deal through the years. We chose to surround ourselves with healthier people.
I honestly believe those years WERE very hard on my children. It breaks my heart because all I wanted was to be the dad and Father I never had. My wife wanted to be loved instead of used and abused. Neither of us knew what that looked like in a healthy way as we had few examples around us. The maxim held true “Hurt people, hurt people.” One thing we never did was accept our deficiencies. We constantly fought to improve our lives and our children lives. Nor did we abuse our children.
The wound of Madison, still lying in my wife’s heart was re aggravated every time we had another child. To Deven and Tyeler I became dad, it was a title I wore with honor. That was never ever conferred upon my own step-father, who was an alcoholic abuser. I love Deven and Tye as my own because they are my own. Each baby was a boy. My wife expressed to me in tears once she believed God was punishing her for giving up Madison. She loved her boys ferociously and they loved her. After a miscarriage in 2009, which broke her heart, we became pregnant again and I knew deep down it would be our last.
Amelia’s health was not the best, she had to have her gall bladder removed while pregnant, we became homeless because of my instability and addiction but received assistance from fellow Christians and got a home. She fought hard through the pregnancy, her health growing worse and worse until doctors demanded she start taking medical cannabis because she could not eat or maintain weight and her body was rebelling against her. Deep down inside she wanted a daughter, but also wanted to love this baby as much as the rest of her children.
On 10/20/2010 Elianah Schwab was born, our Beautiful flower.
Her name in Hebrew means “Gift of God”. Despite Amelia’s continued pain at not knowing where Madison is, even today, (and if you are reading this by the grace of God Madison your mother loves you very much), God began to heal her heart. Are we whole, no, but we are healing and Kansas once again is trying to push us into the grave.
My wife and I have not lived a fairy tale life. We have not created what we dreamed for our own children due to our own personal exodus out of child abuse. We tried to raise our children in the most protective way possible. My wife, though never graduating high school, educated herself to educate our children, so they could focus on learning and not go through the bullying we endured. Even DCF worker’s love our children and say they are well liked and intelligent, but forget they were educated by my wife. She became a housewife, mother, friend of those suffering, and Christian. I went to school, graduated from a Christian University with a degree in Organizational Management and continued to graduate school for theology and counseling, eventually working with fellow Veterans at the Dept of Veteran Affairs. While we still cannot claim to be the parents of the year, one thing we can say is we did not do what our allegations allege. Kansas DCF has verified this in their own report which found those allegations to be unsubstantiated. Kansas cannot have our children.
There was a family dispute about us moving back to Colorado when this offense occured. Our children did not live in the county they were taken in from; they were taken there unlawfully. Riley County capitalized on a family in crisis knowing who we were. From that point we have discovered a vast network of State Sponsored Child Traffickers like Riley County all over this nation. Destroying Children and Families.
Barry Wilkerson said to me the day of our protest in Riley County, with contempt in his voice “I knew you as a child Raymond, sorry how your life turned out”. Well sir, my life turned out that way because of the child abuse your county and system put me through. But I have risen, my wife has risen, and you cannot do the same to our children. We will fight you with every grain of our being until the end of days.
Barry Wilkerson Riley County Kansas DA
I wept this morning because the awe of a small child looking at a potted flower reminded me of a time sweet innocence pervaded my own life before it was snuffed out by the likes of Barry Wilkerson, Chief judge Wilson, and Kansas DCF. This out of control system thinks because it tried to lay my life waste it can now do it to my kids. I thought of my daughter and wife, in good days. When my wife would sing “My beautiful flower” holding Ellie’s hand and she would dance and spin, giggling and smiling. Caleb would hunt down every bug and snake in the bush. Asher would laugh and joke, fulfilling the meaning of his name: happy. Avraham would be diligently participating in some serious task or sport in his competitive nature. Tyeler and Dev would be learning how to do amazing feats of skateboarding prowess. You cannot have them Kansas! These children are ours!
DCF Visit with Schwab Children.
The world has a way of hardening and scarring our hearts, where we lose that childlike awe. Yet, we are all beautiful flowers. My children have had a few petals broken. They have been abused in this system now also. My wife and I may have thick stems of thorns, but as they try to crush us the fragrant, pungent smell of life will overpower those who do service to death and destruction. By the grace of God Kansas DCF, you will give us our children and we will heal. We will dance and play with our children once again. I pray for all of you who have been plucked and crushed by this child trafficking system, or the world in general, will bloom once again to be the beautiful flowers that we all are in the garden of creation.
#themothersarecoming #amotherishere #schwabstrong #beautifulflowers