Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Deception Pass 2008

Two moms, three kids (2 3-year-olds and a 10-month-old), one night in the woods at Deception Pass State Park. I'm gonna just toot our own horn here and say; Not many moms would be up for this task. We had fun, and it was relaxed. Although the weather was easily 20 degrees cooler up north on the water, and it even sprinkled around dinner time, the kids played in the dirt with sticks, we went on a few beach excursions, ate many snacks happily by our fire (camping gives one permission to bring and eat as many wonderful snacks as you wish i.e. Reese's Peanut Butter Cup S'mores), and all the kids slept in 'til 8 the next morning!

(tree fishin')



(Asher in their 'under the table fort')

(doesn't get much dirtier)

(group shot on the cliff)

(Eileen and kidos)

(Baby Mini)


(campfires...look @ those bruises on my daughter's shins! Can you tell she learned how to ride a bike this summer?)

I will say now though, our trip was slightly soured the next morning when we found Rose, a small 4-year old girl on the beach without a caring adult. This sweet little one was wandering in a thread barren sun dress, without shoes or undergarments and filthy dreaded hair.
Upon our baffled discovery we invited her to play with our children while we started asking her questions;
"Honey, where are your parents?" Rose nonchalantly informed us they were camping in the park and were at the site, a site that was easily a mile from the shore. (sigh)
"Do they know where you are (imagining our terror in even momentarily loosing sight of our children in this strange place)?"

Another couple on the beach informed us that they had already once returned her to her site and were greeted with a very distant, unenthusiastic and removed "You should tell us where you're going..."

What to do? Do we call CPS, 9-1-1? Clearly her parents don't care that she's traipsing along the most dangerous waterway in Washington State, with it's crazy currents and steep drop-off's. She informed us that she lives in hotels in Portland, and would be turning 5 in late September. Our hearts were aching. What is the social responsibility? Parental responsibility? If we took her back to her site, she would inevitably find her way back down at the waterway not to mention the very distinct possibility that tempers could flare and things could get ugly. Calling the police or CPS seemed so drastic, but was this a drastic situation? (sigh) We opted for calling the Ranger Station. The Park's Chief Ranger met us on the beach where we filled him in on as much as we knew in hopes that he would take the appropriate steps. We went back to our site unsettled, and sick to our stomachs. We packed our things and slowly made our way home feeling like we really had done what we could, but not feeling like it would really help in the end. Eileen e-mailed the kind ranger to follow up, and found that indeed CPS had been contacted and that he was thankful we had found Rose and cared enough to step in.
"Thank you so much for caring about Rose, and keeping her safe. She was a sweet girl.

I met with her parents, who had actually gone to our camphosts a short while earlier to get a search started. I had a long chat with them, and did not get the impression that their parenting skills were appropriate. They were packing up to leave when I brought Rose to them, having been told by the hosts that we had Rose and would be bringing her to them.

I got their identification, and then called our regional Child Services unit in Everett. They agreed with my assessment that this was not a good situation. They are having the Portland Child Services unit follow up with the family when they get home from vacation, to have an in-home assessment and visitation.

I hope the follow-up is effective.

Thanks again for your concern and care for Rose. You may have prevented a severe tragedy here, and together we may have prevented a future tragedy of neglect."
Dear Little Rose,
We pray for your safety. We hope you find rest and comfort in the fact that two strangers in this very confusing world do care. Keep your confidence, keep your smile. We think of you often, and will continue to do what we can to ensure your right to a life with some sense of security.


  1. oh, wow! i am all teary eyed! how sad... but how lucky she was that you stepped in and took appropriate action. i'll pray for little rose.

  2. this broke my heart. as a social worker, i am so glad the ranger called cps. i do pray that little rose will find parents that will care for her appropriately--hopefully her own!

  3. i'm sorry that you had to go through this, but more than that, i'm so glad you were there. what if no one had been around? i shudder to think of what could have happened--especially as a mother myself. poor kid. thanks for the post.