By Mary Alice Miller
Marvell Cruickshank has been celebrating every day for the past few weeks. Family Court ordered the return of her daughters from foster care supervision. “I feel relief because they are home. They have been in foster care for two years without a cause. It is a relief to our family,” said Marvell Cruickshank. “I just give thanks to the creator for watching over my babies, keeping them safe in this terrifying situation. They are home safe and sound. I don’t have to wonder if someone is hurting them or mistreating them. It was not a day that went by where I was not worried. I can go back to being a mother to my babies.” The children are happy to be home.
“I feel great,” said Tyonna, 11. “I like being home so that I can spend more time with mommy. I like being back in my own home and see all the things my mommy bought us and sleep in my own bed in my room.”
While leaning on her mom, Arianah, 6, said, “I like being back home with mommy,” with a big grin on her face. “We get to go places like the library. I like that. I like that I get to sleep in my own bed. I like being with mommy. We make earrings and do things together.” Both children love their mother’s cooking. “It’s a party in my tummy,” said Arianah. “I eat it all.”
The children were allowed to come home on July 19, during an extended heat wave. “We sat down in the living room under the air conditioner and just hugged each other and sitting quietly,” said Marvell. When they came home, they started pulling out their old toys. The first thing the two of them did was pull out their scooters.
“Later, my older daughter was walking around the apartment reacquainting herself with home,” Marvell said. “The most important thing for me is allowing them to explore their home environment as if nothing changed.”
For the rest of the summer, Marvell is going to try to take them to as many events as possible, and the library so they can have a good time and enjoy the rest of the summer.
As reported in Our Time Press, Marvell’s children were removed from her care two years ago based upon false allegations from her teen daughter, who did not want to live by her mother’s cultural and religious values. During that time, Marvell missed Arianah’s pre-K graduation because no one at the agency thought to notify her. Arianah has experienced several serious injuries while under foster care supervision and still bears dark scars from 2nd-degree burns she received in one co-foster mother’s home.
Marvell is apprehensive about public schooling due to how she was treated when her children were removed. In addition, Marvell received a letter from Arianah’s school three months after the child was removed from class and placed into foster care. The letter stated “your child has missed 51 days and has been late 11 days of school this year”. Marvell is seriously considering homeschooling her children.
Marvell credits the Committee to Honor Black Heroes for arming her with the knowledge to navigate the system and “speak out about the cruelty of ACS against my family and I. They were so eager to dismantle my family. ” Now that her children are home Marvell said, “I don’t take one moment with them for granted.”