Let me start at the beginning. My younger sister has two kids. One is two (and the love of my life) and one is four months. I'm not very close to the baby because her bf won't really let them around us much. He is so controlling...but that's another story altogether.
So today my nephew, who is two, was falling asleep in my arms when my sister suddenly decided to change his diaper. He was sleepy and reluctant to do so, but she pulled him down to the floor and began to change him. Well, being that he's TWO, and was sleepy, he began kicking his legs, and he kicked my sister's stomach. This next part is unbelievable, but I swear it happened. My sister balled up her fist and PUNCHED my nephew in the stomach, hard. She then made a fist again and waved it in his face, saying "I DARE you to kick me again." He began crying and holding his stomach and saying "mama, mama?" I was so upset I didn't know what to do...I was in shock, so I ran out of the house. When I eventually came back upstairs I she told me she had just "smacked him on his tummy". This is UNTRUE. It was a closed fist punch. So I told her that I usually don't talk to people who abuse their kids. She got angry, and a few minutes later she thought my husband was looking at her wrong, so she threw her soda on the ground and went after him. She proceeded to punch, kick and scratch at him until four of us pulled her off of him. He, of course, never hit back. He just covered his face and tried to push her off. So after we get her off of him my mom takes her outside. My sister ends up calling the police. They come and take statements, and then determine that my sister was at fault, and give her a summons to court on assault charges. When it was my turn to give my statement I told them about the stomach punch and about other incidences I have seen, and they start writing things down and ask me if I would be willing to testify against her in a child abuse case. I told them yes. The thing is is that she's done stuff like this before to my nephew...things like flicking him in the mouth, pulling his hair, and locking him in his room. I never came forward with this because I didn't want our family to be broken...but today I had to say enough is enough. I will go to her court date and if she is charged with child abuse I will testify of what I saw today, and what I have seen. I feel so guilty that I didn't step forward before...but my mom would beg me not to and tell me horror stories of foster homes and broken families...so I never told. I feel like a failure because of this.
I guess my question is...did I do the right thing telling the police today? Was the punch considered child abuse? What about the hair pulling and the shouting? I love my sister...but something is wrong with her. What if my niece and nephew are sent to foster care? Will that be better than how they are living now? I'm so confused, hurt and upset by this whole thing, but my nephew has to come first...I couldn't in good conscience allow her to get away with punching him. I guess I'm just worried about what could happen to her (and the babies) now?
Thanks for listening....I don't know...I guess I'm just looking for reassurance that I did the right thing, and that the babies will be ok. Should I have told DHS earlier about the maltreatment, or was I overreacting?