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Emily Siege's Autobiography (submitted 5/17/06)
Three charts were rubber-banded together. "Kids going to foster care," called the ER nurse. "Fourth one's in school. We'll bring you her chart when she gets here. Routine physicals. Should take you half an hour." I sighed. The girls were 9 months, 23 months, and 4 years old. Why was the baby the size and weight of a 5 month old? Police provided some history: mother not seen for three days--she left the day after Thanksgiving. A down-the-hall neighbor, seeing no adults except a teenage uncle, called for help.
As the baby drank bottle after bottle of formula, we worried she'd vomit. The twenty-three-month old had genital bruising. The four-year old had vaginal tears. When she arrived, the seven-year old said the neighbor gave them some meals, combed their hair. Their uncle was also in the apartment sometimes. He had pushed pencils into her sister's vagina.
Five hours later, exams, paperwork, and phone calls to the state reporting agency complete, I went home, exhausted.
I was asked to testify before a grand jury so that the uncle, who had been arrested, could be held in jail. The courthouse, marble and grand outside, was full of tiny cubicles and narrow hallways, paper everywhere. Harried-looking Assistant District Attorneys rushed about. As I spoke, members of the grand jury leaned forward to listen.
I wish I know what happened to those girls. I did hear that the baby quickly gained weight and strength. I hope their foster family was kind. I hope their mother returned and became a responsible parent. If not, I hope they were adopted together and are loved.
Most of all, I hope they are all doing well.