Sunday, September 9, 2012

A day at the park

Miss Ellie and I had a great day at the park. I thought I'd share a few pictures from today. It was a beautiful day. I cherish these moments with my daughter! oh, and GO BEARS!!!!!
Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos
Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Happy Birthday!!!

On August 31, Baby Ellie turned 2!!! Does this mean I have to quit referring to her as "baby" Ellie?? Sniff, sniff! Ellie is doing simply wonderful. We celebrated her birthday the Saturday before her actual birthday with a Minnie Mouse party at the park. She LOVES Minnie (and Mickey!).

Ellie is doing great these days. She is a very typical mischievous toddler, but that's to be expected. One of her new favorite games is to run and hide when you want her to do something. Silly kid. She seems to be picking up more words each day. She now speaks in short sentences. Her favorite songs to sing are "The Wheels on the Bus", "Happy Birthday" and "Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star". She loves to read books and play with her babies. I got her a toy kitchen and a table/chairs for her birthday. She has been enjoying "cooking" me dinner and having lots of tea parties. Life almost feels normal! We have definitely gotten our lives back. It's just a shame that it took so long for us to be fully reunited.

Nana and Papa are still a huge part of Ellie's life. She spends the night with them about once every 2-3 weeks. She gets so excited when she knows they are coming to see her. If anything, this tragedy gave them a much closer relationship than they ever would have had before. I am thankful for that.

Right now, life is good. Ellie is beautiful and independent and just a blessing. I <3 her more than anything.

Happy 2nd Birthday, sweet girl! Mommy loves you to the moon and back!!!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Monday, July 30, 2012

Dr Petrak Strikes again!

So, I am clearly not the only victim in Dr Petrak's grasp. A man was acquitted of Dr Petrak's claims of shaken baby syndrome last week. This woman needs to be stopped! Read about the case Here!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Saturday, June 23, 2012

A Quest to Help Others

So, today I had the privilege to participate in a press conference highlighting the need to take a closer look at the differential diagnosis in shaken baby syndrome cases. Pam Jacobazzi has been in prison since 1999 after being wrongfully convicted of shaking a baby to death. I was delighted to join the Illinois Innocence project today as they asked the governor to grant Pam's clemency petition.
I was highlighted in a news story leading up to today's event.
Check it out here!

And a link to a story on ABC news.
I vow to speak up until policies change. Innocent people are accused far too often! Nobody should have to live this nightmare. There is a fine line between protecting children and destroying lives!

Saturday, June 9, 2012


Here are some recent pictures of my beautiful daughter, Ellie!!!

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

The past 9 months...

So much has happened in the last 9 months. It's hard to know where to begin! I hope I remember to add it all!!!
Last August, I was able to finally obtain a 2nd opinion in Ellie's case. The head of pediatric neurology at Loyola looked through Ellie's medical records. He determined that her tiny brain bleed was likely caused by birth trauma. He was absolutely on board with helping me out.
After we obtained the second opinion, I was scheduled to begin my adjudication hearing in juvenile court. The day that the hearing was set to begin, the state's attorney presented me with a plea. He would remove all allegations related to head injuries of I agreed to an adjudication based on medical neglect. Where they came up with medical neglect was that they believed that when Ellie's legs tremored in the newborn period, I should have taken her to the ER instead of the pediatrician. This was a very difficult decision for me to make. I ended up agreeing. Even though the charge was absurd, it meant my daughter would be home very soon. As soon as we put things in motion for the negotiated finding, I was able to have overnight visits with Ellie! It was wonderful!!! I loved being the last person to kiss her goodnight and the first to hug her in the morning. Within 1 month, I received the best news in the previous 14 months...Ellie was returned to my custody!!! She was ripped from my arms on October 17, 2010 and returned on December 3, 2011. After she was returned home, I was visited by our case worker weekly for the first 2 months, then biweekly, then monthly. On May 2, 2012, I regained guardianship. DCFS could be out of my life, forever!
In the time between adjudication and the return of guardianship, I was able to finally get my day in court. I was able to appeal the DCFS indicated finding of head injuries. You see, even though the juvenile court in Illinois dropped the head injury allegation, DCFS did not. The hearing took two full days for testimony. On March 2, the DCFS doctor (Dr. Petrak) and my expert both testified. Dr. Petrak told the judge that Ellie's brain bleed could only have occurred by non-accidental head trauma. I would like to mention that she admitted during her testimony that she failed her boards in the child abuse specialty. She also lied on the stand. She said that she had NEVER been proven wrong before by a 2nd opinion. (this was later proven by looking at the Wiedner case, which was publicized in the Pekin Daily Times). It was then time for my expert to testify. He is the head of pediatric neurology at Loyola. He stated that Ellie's bleed is very consistent w birth injuries, especially since she was only 5 weeks old. He also testified that she likely never even had a seizure, but rather benign myclonus of sleep and drowsiness. The testimony of the doctors was all we had time for that day. The hearing concluded one month later. On April 2, the DCFS investigator testified, my mom testified, Ellie's pediatrician testified and I testified. At the conclusion of the testimony, I was told that I would hear the result in about 45 days. On May 17, I did get that result. I was finally vindicated. My indicated finding was overturned. My DCFS record was expunged. I WON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I WON!!!!!!!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Exciting updates!!!

It's been quite a while since I last posted an update. I had taken the blog down while I was awaiting my adjudication hearing and later my administrative appeal. I did not want the opposing attorney's to use my words against me. But now, it's over. It's all over.
Baby Ellie is home! Yep, I called my beautiful daughter by name. She has been returned to my care and I once again have full guardianship of her. Ellie is out of DCFS custody and is mine...forever!!!!
The title of this blog is "Guilty Until Proven Innocent.". Well, that's exactly what happened. I was guilty in the eyes of DCFS until I proved my innocence. On May 17, I received a certified letter from DCFS stating that they would reverse my indicated finding. I won my appeal. It took 19 months, but I was vindicated. They were wrong. I was right.
In the coming days, I will post the story of what has happened in the last 9 months. But for now, I want to shout it from the rooftops that I won my appeal!!!!