She answered the knock at the door. It was 11 am.
The baby fresh from her nap happily played behind her on the floor of the family room. One of her brothers was at pre-school and would need to be picked up at noon. She would pick him up in the family’s car using the driver’s license the family paid for her to get. Her other brother was in grade two at the french immersion school on the other side of town. His mother will pick him up on her way home from work.
Next to her, in the living room behind the glass door, the families new camera sat on the coffee table. Their new IBM computer on the desk behind the couch.
She had arrived the year before from the Philippines. Hired by the family to take care of their three children while both parents worked. Both of them often had to leave the house before six am for work.. Too early, to take the children to daycare and the costs of a live in nanny much less than full-time daycare for three children aged 2,4 and 7.
She opened the door. Standing before her were two intimidating middle-aged men in suits and ties. They showed no ID. She didn’t know she could ask for it. Her nanny training prepared her for medical emergencies and strangers in the park. These men scared her as they pushed their way into the house.
One man walked past the baby on the floor to look around the living room while the other distracted her with his words. He told her they were from child services and her employers had called them because they suspected she was abusing their children. These men didn’t stay long, maybe fifteen minutes, a lifetime. They had seen all they needed. They had seen what was worth stealing. They left her, hysterical, clutching the baby and sobbing.
Seemingly betrayed by the employers whom she had thought liked her. In fact, they had seemed to embrace her warmly into their family. She was desperate with thoughts that she would be deported in disgrace. Her family shamed. What would become of her? She had done nothing wrong!!!
It was 3:15 pm and I walked in the door with my eldest son laughing and happy. My four-year old and two-year old were playing together on the floor of the family room. My nanny was in the living room, eyes red and puffy… sniffling .. “Whatever is wrong?” I asked. Only a family death could cause such sadness.. How can I help? What is it? …
She replied “You don’t know?” as she glared at me with suspicious eyes. “No, of course not. Tell me” I begged.
So she told me the story. I had never heard of such a thing, and got on the phone immediately to the police. The first officer I spoke with told me that she should have asked for ID. Very helpful…(not). I asked to speak to someone more helpful. The next officer explained that even if someone, because it sure as hell wasn’t us, had reported her for suspected abuse. A) They would have notified us and B) Child services would have visited when we were there.
I got off the phone and explained the procedures to my nanny but she could not stop crying and I could not convince her that I wasn’t in some way involved. So I phoned the police again and begged for a sergeant to come and check out my house and talk to my nanny. I also got on the phone and ordered an alarm system to be installed in our house the next day.
That evening when E was home, the sergeant from the local police arrived in full uniform and sat down and explained everything to us again. Eventually we got her calmed down and convinced that we trust her and the kids adored her…
It was definitely one of the most difficult days of being a mother who worked fulltime outside of the house. Over seven years we had three full-time Nanny’s. This story is about the one who stayed with us for four years. We were very fortunate to have such great care for our children when we had to be at work. I have complete empathy for our kids now as they try to sort out babysitting for our granddaughter. It is a busy busy time.
Two weeks after these mysterious two men visited our house, a neighbouring house was completely emptied with all furniture and valuables loaded into a moving van parked in the attached garage during the day while the family
was at work.