Thank you to the author, Jennifer Verraneault (May 03, 2014) from http://www.ctlawtribune.com/id=1202652965182/Guardian%20Ad%20Litem%20Reform%20Approved%20By%20Legislature?mcode=0&curindex=0&curpage=ALL&slreturn=20140503203106
excerpt: Parents who are good parents are not seeing their children as a result of many things wrong with the way we do business in family court. Court orders are not followed and nothing happens to the offender. Time goes by and children miss their right to have a relationship with their parent. Parental alienation is very real and unfortunately, in my opinion very common in our family court system. I view our family court system as an enabler; attorneys, GALs, AMCs, judges, mental health professionals who call themselves consultants are all getting it wrong. We can spend tax payers dollars on giving, yes giving retired judges a very comfortable pension even if they only serve for three years, but we can‘t provide these same judges with the resources they need to help when they‘re on the bench. It doesn‘t make sense. I know there‘s a lot of good in family law but unfortunately, there‘s a lot of bad apples who have used our system to ruin it for children, parents and the good guys (full comment/article below):
Thank you for your unbiased, educational and nice commentary. Just as we accuse GALs, AMCs, judges, mental health professionals and alike for being not so good; we have to admit that there‘s also some not so good parents who have been vocal and also silent throughout our cause to promote constructive and overdue changes in family court. Parents who have joined other parents to share their experiences, from my view, have legitimate complaints and concerns. Are there parents in which they may have some form of a personality flaws or disorders? Are some parents more vulnerable to personality adjustment disorders when they go through one, if not the most stressful and detrimental life experience ever? I am sure, however, for the vast majority of these parents I have met, none of what has been reported, researched, analyzed, scrutinized and so on rise to the level of abuse, neglect or a determination of being an unfit parent. We are not talking about DCF cases. Our most vulnerable children need a voice and this is not what our cause is about.
I will say, a lot of parents don‘t have the luxury, although it should not be viewed as a luxury but a right, to ask their children about their day or to spend precious time with their child because their rights have been ignored. Not only the parents right to care for their child, absent abuse and neglect, but their child‘s rights to have a relationship with their non-custodial parent have denied. All communication has been stopped, therefore have a telephone conversation is not even an option with most of these parents and children. This is very sad and it will end up being societies problem when these deprived children grow up to be adults. I understand your recommendation for parents to let the system evolve as we know it will, and to spend their energy and efforts on their children, but it‘s truly not that easy. Parents who are good parents are not seeing their children as a result of many things wrong with the way we do business in family court. Court orders are not followed and nothing happens to the offender. Time goes by and children miss their right to have a relationship with their parent. Parental alienation is very real and unfortunately, in my opinion very common in our family court system. I view our family court system as an enabler; attorneys, GALs, AMCs, judges, mental health professionals who call themselves consultants are all getting it wrong. We can spend tax payers dollars on giving, yes giving retired judges a very comfortable pension even if they only serve for three years, but we can‘t provide these same judges with the resources they need to help when they‘re on the bench. It doesn‘t make sense. I know there‘s a lot of good in family law but unfortunately, there‘s a lot of bad apples who have used our system to ruin it for children, parents and the good guys. Sorry for any typos.
2013 – How We Got From There to Here (And Where We Go From Here?):
April 2013 –
This month was a turning point in our cause as it was the beginning of what I called being “noticed”, where I was successful in communicating, “volleying” I called it, by email w/guardian ad litem, for the first time in the year and a half since this gal’s appointment and her recommendation to the court to remove my children from my custody and place them in the full-time care and custody of my ex-husband in November 2011. My ex-husband had never been the primary caregiver for our children and had a criminal record, continued to abuse drugs, and had irrefutable, questionable moral and ethical issues that continued to be detrimental to all of our children.
My youngest child, my daughter, who was 12 years old by this time in April 2013, was continuing to show signs of great distress, mentally, emotionally, and physically, her schoolwork and behavior continued to be a cause for alarm and was documented by teachers, and I notified the court appointed psychologist of this, as well as my ex-husband’s behavior toward my daughter which was increasingly threatening and abusive. He imposed extreme isolation upon her, monitoring all of her activities and phone use and/or had her older brother assist in monitoring and withholding her outside contact, as well as utilizing other relatives as well. The turning point for me came when my daughter related to her psychologist the details of her father threatening to kill the family pet, my daughter’s only comfort in the home, which was a cat she’d been caring for since she went to live with her father in November 2011. I persisted in my attempts to communicate regarding these events to the guardian ad litem as well as the court appointed psychologist. Up until this time I was not included in meetings/sessions regarding the children, having been banned by my ex-husband at the time he obtained custody of our children. I finally received a response from the court appointed guardian ad litem and began to relay more details, and accurate information she appeared to be lacking in, and documented how my ex-husband had recently frightened my daughter in his re-telling of killing a previous family pet, my dog, by shooting it in the head after our separation and divorce. These details were traumatizing to my daughter and her father laughed about these events.
This month was crucial in that with these details and my newfound attempts to communicate with teachers, the court appointed psychologist, and, the guardian ad litem, I at least began to engage the guardian ad litem in communications with me. I also brought to everyone’s attention the facts regarding my ex-husband’s continued drug use. The children had photos, and sent them to friends, of a bong that was sitting in plain sight on the patio at my ex-husband’s home, and photos and videos of other disturbing sights and sounds occurring in their father’s home.
Many incidents had occurred up until this point re: the disturbing events occurring at my ex-husband’s home, his behaviors that were not in the best interest of the children, the lack of parental supervision at my ex-husband’s home, underage drinking, suspected drug use, teen parties that were allowed in the home unsupervised, and other matters that were no longer going completely unnoticed by professionals, neighbors, other parents, etc. who were around my children while they were in their father’s care.
At this time I still continued to remain under limited, restricted visitation with my youngest child only, my son who was not yet 15 years old at the time having ceased visiting and/or communicating with me totally nearly a year prior, in May 2012, with no assistance or intervention on the part of the court professionals.
Once again, by April 2013, I had attempted, and did, relocate to this area and jurisdiction in order to be closer to my children, regardless of whether I was “allowed” to see them or not, and, in order to be closer to the jurisdiction overseeing our family court matters. I researched and monitored my own case and was active in all proceedings and felt this move was prudent in order to relieve the 200 mile trip (one-way) burden that had been imposed upon me since my children were taken from our home and hometown and placed in their father’s care and custody some year and a half prior. This continued to be extremely difficult for me as I had no support system or network in the area. At times, my day-hours visitation with my young daughter, every other weekend, were held in local parks, McDonalds, anywhere we could manage to visit … inclement weather made this very hard but we always managed and my daughter and I looked forward so much to those few hours every other week. By April 2013 I lived from one friend’s home to another, rotating in order to not become a burden upon any one family, while helping my elderly parents with their health and housing issues that had been, and continued to be, extreme and critical. By April 2013 I was thankful to have secured part-time employment at the Law Firm of a local attorney who remembered me from years prior. It was a start up and back into the field and area of my experience and expertise, title abstracting, and though it was not enough income to be independent and self-sustaining, it was a major turning point for me in that it redeemed me in my own eyes, and, in essence, redeemed the community around that had there-to-fore appeared to ignore my and my children’s plight. This somehow, perhaps inexplicably, came to me as some form of redemption of mankind itself that I sorely needed and was a great boost to my self-esteem and self-confidence, calming me so that I could re-group, prepare, and try to plan once again for the future. The trauma, grief, loss, and horror were still very real but by this time I felt as if I had been given a much needed breath of fresh air which fortified me, strengthening me to once again try to seek the truth, find others who had endured similarly, and, to begin to find and use my own voice again, for my children, for me.
Court Proceedings: April 2013 – My attorney was given an hour “oral” argument in which to plead his case once more re: the removal of the guardian ad litem, which was promptly denied by the Court, again. Sanctions were also imposed against my attorney, and, contempt fees against me. I faced the very real and imminent threat and danger of being incarcerated for the matter of the guardian ad litem’s unpaid fees. A hearing for this matter to address my incarceration was to be scheduled and noticed in the next few weeks.
Wouldn’t Know Your Own Child If You Saw Them On The Street? (In Memory of My Son)
“If writing of this helps another loving mother from marking a day in her own diary of life as the day in which she could not, and likely will continue not to be able to recognize her own child in a photo, then, somehow, it may all be worth some of the pain that went into sharing this, our loss”
03-08-14: Yesterday someone dear to me text me a photo of what I thought to be a picture of this person’s son and his prom date. I took a moment to admire the photo, and sent reply text, remarking on what a sweet, handsome couple these two young people were. After a brief pause, I received what I am sure was a difficult reply … that the handsome young man in the photo was my own son, Philip. Philip will be 16 years old next month. He was taken from me, from home, June 4, 2010, when he was 12 years old, against custody, and never returned. Philip and I have had no significant contact since, no assistance by family court professionals, despite the fact that we had a guardian ad litem and psychologist appointed by the courts to see to my children’s “best interest”.
I have only recently begun to speak up, publicly, to get any attention to our cause, and our case. I have, in fact, spent most of my time, energy, and resources battling to avoid going to jail for unpaid fees for the “unprofessional” professionals in charge of seeing to the best interest of my children, instead of fighting for my children, which has been extremely dispiriting but necessary and very critical.
I am sad, and ashamed, that I couldn’t do more for my children when they needed me the most and it has been, IS, extremely dispiriting but necessary and critical … you have to remain alive, and out of prison, of course, before you can fight to help your children.
All the most critical matters, addressing rights of parents, rights of children, reform, and oversight, laws, ethics, etc. all took backseat to issues of fees, and, sadly, as in other cases, children “age out” before any wrongs are ever identified, addressed, much less righted. And, so many community leaders, and others “in charge” are simply uncomfortable getting involved. From all I have learned, these are the primary reasons for which these issues, this silent epidemic, has been allowed to continue for so very long.
Yesterday, the realization of accepting that I was not even able to recognize my own child in a photo washed over me in a slow and steady crush.
Writing has been my lifelong habit, mostly a joy, and has surely been some positive exercise for me during times when I could not speak of the unspeakable, explain the inexplicable. During these past months I have written, and, slowly, I try to hone this habit. I confess that I recognize my writings can be too much, too overwhelming, to the reader, the listener. I try always to remain mindful of this fact and I recognize that I often fail. The things of which I write and speak eek of a pain and suffering on such levels that wears on the spirit of the reader, the listener, and my words, our story, has not yet had victories, redemption, which we all need to have in order to be inspired.
I share these things with the hope that all we have experienced, all the time and effort I have put into research, all that we have sacrificed and lost may not be in vain. I am learning to try to accept that going back is impossible (very hard, for a mother, for any loving parent) – that I will not wake up to be back in our happy home in Ocean Springs, with my busy, active, sweet, spiritual, loving 12 year old son and 9 year old daughter, with ever-revolving doors of friends, laughter, music, clutter, activities, dinner-time, and chatter … all the joyful noise, and chaos that makes up a busy, loving home. All I know to do at this point is recognize that we did indeed have this, it was no dream, and, nightmares have to end, one way or another.
I ask you to pray for my children, and for me. If writing of this helps another loving mother from marking a day in her own diary of life as being the day in which she could not, and likely will continue not to be unable to recognize her own child in a photo, then, somehow, it may all be worth some of the pain that went into sharing this, our loss.
Still A Mother In Mississippi
Please see forwarded email sent to a local Judge yesterday, 08-13-13:
My children are in desperate need. You know me, as well as my 80 year old father who’s practiced law in Mississippi for over 50 years. He has been as ineffective getting help for my children in Rankin County as my previous attorneys. And now we both face incarceration for different reasons, mine for guardian ad litem fees that I am unable to pay and never agreed to in the first place, his for his inability to pay sanctions imposed on him for what the court called a “frivolous hearing” (my previous attorney was hit with sanctions as well, in April 2012 for the very same reason). Both of them are very good, ethical attorneys, who had valid cause for seeking help for my children. I implore you to look over the information in this email. My youngest, Miranda Grace, just turned 13. She has begged to speak to anyone for almost two years. She was cut off from home, friends, neighbors, classmates, my family, and, most important, she was cut off from me outside of 12 day-time hours only, every other weekend, 200 miles from home. I have no criminal record, history of immoral or unethical behavior, no addictions, no psychological issues … I was in a much lower income bracket due to having to defend myself and fight to maintain custody of my children, which I did for eight years, until August 2011. Being impoverished is no reason to have your rights as a parent essentially terminated, is it? I’ve been campaigning for my daughter’s rights for nearly two years (my son Philip’s was given the same rights as an adult, by the court, with the help of the guardian ad litem, when he turned 14 years old. He was sexually active, drinking alcohol, using tobacco, for certain, and, it was rumored that he was in trouble with drugs as well. I lost the fight for his childhood in July of 2012. He is worth more to me, but, not to anyone else that has been involved in our case, or in his care and custody). Miranda Grace still has a chance for some semblance of a childhood, if I can convince anyone to listen to her, to me, to all of the teacher’s, law enforcement, others who have seen what is going on in her father’s home but can’t get past the court-appointed guardian ad litem in order to do anything about it. No one in the Rankin County Justice System seems to care about one, young girl who has been suffering, invisible, in plain sight. Miranda has gone through such severe isolation, and all manner of abuses in her father’s home, and even more so at the hands of the guardian ad litem. The gal has ignored my children since she made, what every one involved in our case now does not dispute, a very grave error by failing to investigate our case and recommending to the court that my children would be better off in the care of their father. Since doing this, in November 2011, the gal has been provided proof of, and subsequently ignored and overlooked, all matters pertaining to my ex-husband’s drug addictions and his unethical and immoral behaviors which he does not protect our children from, as well as his refusal to parent the children in any way other than to provide food and shelter for them, and, his obvious, dislike, animosity and hostility toward our youngest daughter, Miranda Grace, who’s crime is only that she still loves and misses me, her mother. Judge, I am sure you hear slander and accusations hurled between opposing parties every day but I beseech you to give me the benefit of the doubt, for the few moments it takes to read over this when I state that that is not the case here. I have always been discreet, and have never tried to slander and defame my ex-husband. This is likely one of the reasons he was able to effectively slander and defame me because I failed to enjoin in that behavior. His lifestyle is deplorable and hurts my children more every day. The fact that no one in authority is even available or concerned enough about them to investigate and hold him accountable for this hurts them as well. I fear they will never recover from these abuses in order to grow into the healthy, intelligent, loving and compassionate adults they were born to be. They are sweet children who need only for one person to care enough to investigate what they have been forced to live in.
I lost my son, Philip, when he was 12. His father kidnapped him, against custody, and filed what we all now know was a “false” sex abuse charge, in July 2010, in our Gulf Coast hometown of Ocean Springs, against a youth minister at the church that I brought my several children to on Wednesday nights. Though I was not a part of this charge, or horrible accusation, I bore the burden of assisting the OS police in their investigation, which took 15 months to get before the Jackson County Grand Jury, who promptly no-billed it due to lack of evidence. This one act on the part of my ex-husband destroyed more than my family, I am sure you can understand that. This act is what prompted Rankin County Chancery presiding Judge to order the appointment of a guardian ad litem in August 2011. None of these details are in our family court file. It simply leaves this important matter out entirely and moves into the custody switch after the gal’s failed investigation removed my children from my custody and from our hometown, and the two years I have spent desperately seeking help for my children, and for myself. My son has been completely alienated from me, with the guardian ad litem not only ignoring this as it occurred, she is indisputably complicit in helping my ex-husband. She has also failed to report his failed, court-ordered drug tests. There are so many things that she, and the court, has failed to do. I want only the opportunity to be allowed to offer the proof to substantiate these facts. I can.
My father is overwhelmed to say the least. He was also too emotionally involved too be of any help. He has suffered shock, sadness, and, it appears, some guilt, as if he is somehow to blame being unable to help me, his daughter, and his grandchildren, with whom he had never become very close with. I have never felt that he was in any way to blame but I have despaired of trying to encourage him to cast aside those feelings.
I have been in touch with everyone I can think of, and re-connected with everyone, again, at least once, in this two year period. Our jurisdiction should never have been in Rankin County in the first place. My ex-husband and I lived with our children in Harrison County until he filed for a temporary order in Rankin, July 2005, that I had kidnapped our children and moved away from Rankin County. That simply was not true and I have documentation to prove it. Our temporary hearing was set on the same date as Hurricane Katrina made landfall and the rest is legal-nightmare errors history.
I don’t know where else to turn. My parents are elderly and my youngest sister has depleted all of their funds and assets. I have found myself taking care of their needs more than focusing on my children’s. This is heartbreaking and avoidable. I have recently reached out to Jackson-area community, and our church friends, asking for help with Mom, and Dad so I can focus on my own family’s needs but this has been emotionally and financially draining for me and time continues to crawl by with no one addressing my children and their needs.
Please, would you at least consider these things and if you are able to offer any advice or suggestions, I would be very grateful. I sincerely thank you for your time.
Writing For My Life (June 2013)
Ours is quite a horrible, almost unbelievable story but it is becoming alarmingly clear that we are not so rare. Coming across other stories, mother’s, father’s, children, is like manna from Heaven. I’m not relieved other’s are hurting. In fact, I’m sickened and it is incredibly painful to read their similar, heartbreaking stories, but for so long I could find nothing, no one else living this nightmare.
I have kept a daily journal of my own family’s tragedies for as far back as I can remember, detailing every tragic moment, highlighting each triumph, marking every injustice, and giving thanks for each miracle, big and small, along the way. I thought it a quirky habit, born of necessity, for self-help and healing. Maybe this was not as self-centered as I once thought. Recalling is like reliving and is incredibly painful. But, failure to recall allows for no reporting which only encourages ignorance and ensures continuation of abuse. The most powerful weapon that I can think of that would defeat this level of suffering and injustice is collective outrage and outcry from fellow mothers, fathers, grandparents, brothers, sisters, children. This has finally hit too close to home. No one can read our story, all of these family’s stories, and possibly feel safe or immune anymore.
To be rendered useless, unable to help while children suffer is surely the most painful agony on earth but abandoning them has never occurred to me. I liken it to watching a child battle a life threatening illness. I could never leave their side no matter how painful it is to watch them suffer. Anyone who turns away out of indifference, or self preservation, has a heart of stone and will one day be accountable for their actions, or in-actions. I could never mistreat or abuse any child and certainly would never do anything to compound or prolong a child’s suffering. I’m at a loss to explain to my own children why so many people can and do.
I continue to pray, every minute of every day, that my children will soon receive the attention, protection, and relief they deserve. I hope others are able to use our information to help them as we would have been grateful to have and receive help, to know we were not alone living the nightmare.
These last few months have finally been productive and I am now able to put to use all the years of research, and resources to good use. I was very recently blessed to catch the attention of a local firm who, in addition to giving part-time work, gave me something of even greater value … the credibility and validation in that was apparently lacking in Rankin County and it’s has now become clear why this was necessary in this small town with it’s “network”. These good people in this small, local firm thankfully did not have the common hang-up so many people stumble over, wondering how and why things like this can happen to people like me, and to children like mine.
I have detailed the information surrounding the circumstances of my recent April 2013 meeting with my children’s court-appointed guardian ad litem. This meeting was just 2 months ago and was only the 2nd ever meeting I have had with this guardian ad litem since her initial appointment August 30, 2011. The first and only other meeting I had with this guardian ad litem was in her office barely a month before the ill-fated “custody switch” hearing of November 28, 2011 in which this guardian ad litem recommended to the court that my children be placed in their father’s care and custody. This gal never met with me and my children together and never visited our home, hometown, nor did she bother to drive the 200 mile distance to interview my character witnesses, colleagues, neighbors, friends, family.
My April 2013 meeting with this gal was very informational, however, and I was finally afforded an opportunity to correct a great deal of misinformation and speculation, supporting all of the facts (though most were already made available and were previously submitted to her in September through November, of 2011). I am satisfied that I provided sufficient, accurate information in order to expedite the current investigation that this guardian ad litem was assigned to do in her most recent re-appointment by the court on November 29, 2012 and by which she agreed to the duty of investigating charges of abuse of my two children by their father. That appointment was 6 months ago and, to my knowledge, she has not yet met with either of the children, alone, or together.
I hope that I have at least become a nuisance in that, at least, my existence has finally been acknowledged. Whether I am a mosquito nuisance, or a yellow-jacket nuisance, I don’t yet know and really don’t care. I continue to care only that my children are noticed and heard. They deserve to feel safe and secure. They are still so young and impressionable and the sooner the intervention, the greater the possibilities of healing, for my family. I have no idea what or how this will be done … “when” is more important to me. The whats/hows, whys/hows will most assuredly come in due time.
I have had some assistance by some professionals who have been instrumental in helping me with my inquiries and information gathering. It is my understanding that our 2 separate hearings, FINALLY scheduled, have been set for different dates, in June and July 2013, but I’ve now received notice that all 3 motions are to be heard on the one date, July 15, 2013, originally set aside for the Modification of Custody, as noticed this past November 2012. This is disturbing and poses many problems and concerns. These matters cannot possibly be heard all at one time. The matter of the unpaid fees, and sanctions, appear to be taking precedence over the Motion to Extend Visitation, and, a separate Motion for Custody, which is kind of ridiculous to hear on the same date anyway. I am worried that these matters will be not be given proper hearing time, or, worse, set aside once again.
It must be stopped.
For over two years, since the beginning of our most recent of family court battles, I have sought to get help for my family, my four children, especially my two youngest children, now ages 15 and 13. We have been forced to live our lives according to the whims of an angry man who, for nearly a decade now, has manipulated the legal system and used our two equally dysfunctional extended families to further isolate and victimize me as well as each of our four children. Manipulating chaos and discord and stirring conflict has only perpetuated the cycle of violence we continue to live with, ten years after a finalized divorce that my ex-husband initiated.
My children and I have had no choice but to make the best of a no-win situation and have tread new ground in unfamiliar territories, alone, afraid, but bound by simple, basic, human love. We have far exceeded all expectations and are no longer only a story of simple survival but of success. We successfully maintained bonds, loving bonds, albeit fragile and still smarting, but we are the epitome of “love knows no bounds”.
This is a very long time to live adjusting to what is easily seen and clear to read as an obvious pattern of abuse that is marked by repeat, return-trips of endless back to back court appearances and custody hearings that began in July 2005. We had no choice but to appear and answer to at least one, sometimes two and three per year since. That summer in 2005 my ex-husband filed this first emergency legal action, an emergency separation and for emergency custody of our three minor children who had been in my care and custody since birth. The three children at that time were ages 14, 7, and 4. He filed this suit in a jurisdiction that was 200 miles away from the jurisdiction in which we resided and he filed his petition immediately after he abandoned us, leaving me and the children penniless. Shutting down our mutual checking and savings account was actually the first action he took. In that very first legal action of July 2005 my ex-husband claimed that I kidnapped our the three (3) minor children against their will and moved with them to another county in an attempt to hide them and keep them from him (their father). It would be careless to omit the date of that very first hearing, August 29, 2005, and the impact it too would have on our future. The day that Hurricane Katrina made landfall on the Mississippi Gulf Coast (landfall actually within 10 miles of our home). At that moment I was standing on courthouse steps 200 miles away waiting for a hearing that would be reset due to bad weather. This was a pivotal and defining moment in me and my children’s lives in more ways than one. So, although the blatant and outrageous lies and accusations were never given credence and I was able to maintain the custody and care of our three children, these lies sat at the top of our “family file” and opened my own family’s new story, foretelling the tragedy to come and that lead us to where we are today. I didn’t know it then but the very fact that these very serious claims, lies and allegations were never addressed or curtailed by “authorities” of the people in charge, or, the inaction” by the court that day gave some sense of freedom from all accountability which is in essence nothing short of a green-light to an abuser. That day a new pattern of torment emerged and a whole new pattern of torment began in the form “legal abuse” by my ex-husband. Money and the ill-equipped court system were used by my ex-husband as new weapons to punish me since he was, in fact, no longer legally allowed to do so as my spouse.
I can state that although I knew what was happening to us and that I was fully cognizant, horribly aware, that what we were going through was abusive, I did not fully understand how much damage this abuse could and would inflict upon me and my children nor did I have any idea that this would ever be allowed to continue as it has for so many years. I have to live with that ignorance and what it cost me and and my children. We lost basic freedoms and minimum rights yet managed not only to survive but somehow thrive despite impossible circumstances. I am proud of them and proud of the example I have set for them.
Not only do all of my children have years of emotional damage in which to cope with and heal from, they have only very recently been allowed the chance in which to try begin the painful process. They also carry the added pain and scars from so much suffering they had to endure for so long in plain sight. The entire community around them failed to them because it has not yet even recognized, identified, or acknowledged what exactly “It” is. This has only intensified their pain and sense of worthlessness, further isolating and violating them. They have had to cope with the constant rejection and abandonment by the similarly dysfunctional extended families of origin of both of their parents … how could they possibly avoid feeling worthless and unimportant? No one will ever really know how much damage all of this perceived apathy and rejection has done to them. It is certainly understandable that most communityleaders, neighbors, and friends assume extended families, if there are any, will step up and in to help if there are valid emergencies. Sadly, that is not always the case, and these days it is a very dangerous assumption to make. There are no villages anymore.
My children have been completely “invisible” in plain sight and as their mother I can’t rest until they are noticed. Because I myself failed to comprehend, accept, and define what was happening to us there was no possible way to explain it to others, let alone ask for help. I carry the full weight of this, knowing I have been the biggest failure of all to my children and I carry it with me like the weight of the world on my shoulders every day. There are so many caring people who have looked on helplessly, uncertain how to help. My children have completely lost their childhoods and I have completely lost the years in which to mother and nurture them. I wish very much to make this the time for change, the beginning of the end of this destruction. Maybe, in the process, we can shed some light and knowledge on this most terrible of human atrocities. It is occurring every day in every community in our civilized society. If left unchecked it will undoubtedly catch up to each and every family in one way or another. Maybe we can avoid further unnecessary and senseless suffering. Maybe we can help other “invisible” children and parents. This is a senseless shame that has invaded our homes, steals childhoods and robs memories and leaves everlasting scars. This is tearing families apart and is dividing communities.
Would you please help me with this, for my family and for yours?
Mother’s Day has not been anything real for me since the beginning of PAS of my 21 year old daughter, in 2007. All these years later, my 16 year old son has fallen into the alienation, WITH the help, or lack of help from the so-called court-appointed professionals, and, I now face my 1st Mother’s Day that my youngest, 13 year old daughter is showing solid signs of PAS and distancing herself. I do not know if I will visit with her at all this Mother’s Day. One child was like a surreal blow that I went into shock over, second child was agony and long-held scream of protest that kicked me into reality, frantically educating myself with how to battle PAS while battling courts, ex, etc., … the third and youngest child?… feels worse than death. idk … it’s worse than a nightmare and very hard to avoid feeling as if you have failed them all miserably. Divided we fall … the irony. I hope and pray for awareness and education in order to unite, RE-UINTE so many of us, the broken, severed families wandering around in so much pain. Prayers to all who are experiencing this same pain. It’s indescribable. And, many thanks, deepest gratitude to those who have been paving the way, forging ahead through all of this confusing nonsense ahead of us these many years, writing, studying, educating. Without them, without their putting a name, definition, to these atrocities, I believe I would have fallen through the cracks many years ago. God Bless You!
A very learned and goodhearted parent once gave me some advice, a long time ago, at the start of my family-court nightmare, … “don’t take it personally”. I, of course, found that impossible to do at the time, being a newbie and all. This Veteran Mother, Parent of “the system” understandably, instinctively, knew how hard and long it takes to actually follow this advice, and kindly followed up with, WHEN the time came that I WAS able to do this, accept that the horrible treatment given to me, and to my children, by the court, and the court appointed professionals, and, just as painful and unbelievable, by the “apathetic bystanders”, whether they be the attorneys stymied by the outcome or those just plain out corrupted into “buying the outcome”, and that it was, in fact, NOT personal to them, just business, then I would be able to move on to the next level and try to begin fighting BACK.
I state with all sincerity and not just a little shame, that this piece of advice was the hardest thing for me to accept. How can it NOT be personal … when it IS personal? When it’s your life being destroyed, your children being ripped away with no voices, as if they are worthless orphans .. the outrage, horror and grief of this is at times unbearable. The sad fact is it remains unbearable to many who capitulate, in total despair. Why and how some of us survive these horrors and traumas is inexplicable to me, even now, years later. I mourn those who did not make it, envy those who made it out and ran for their lives, and even resent (sometimes) those who made it out seemingly without a trace, having signed gag orders, etc. leaving no trail for those of us left behind to follow, like cracker crumbs to help guide us into finding OUR way out of the dark forest of this unspeakable hell. I then console myself and forgive, knowing that there were MANY times during our nightmare had I been offered any reprieve to rewind, get out with my life and my children’s lives and childhoods intact I would certainly have jumped at the chance.
Parents – try, try, and try again, to NOT take it so personally simply in order to be able to see the great forest despite the trees in order to see the bigger picture. And there is a bigger picture. Try to console yourself that although it is very much personal to you, and to your precious children, if you can only find a way to survive You WILL, one day, get to speak up and out and make it personal. In the between time, while you feel invisible, do everything you can just to survive it in order to live to fight another day.
My day has arrived. I don’t have my children back, and am dealing with the aftermath, and the secondary horrific crime of alienation, but, we are officially out of the system, by agreed order, not by any help from the courts and finally all court appointed unprofessional “professionals” officially discharged from our case, my ex finally haven gotten a mere hint of a taste of their wrath, it was, after all, ALL ABOUT THE MONEY, and last fall he began to run out of money, actually losing custody himself just a few short months ago of the very children that these same “unprofessional” professionals granted him some three years prior. It’s important to note he lost custody for the very reasons, grounds, that I had for many years tried but been denied from exposing to the courts, and their court appointed professionals.
I, the mother, ran out of funds after 6 years and $45,000 into the system while my ex had enough funds to continue on an extra three years. It cannot be a coincidence that was this the three year period of time in which he was not only given custody but was assisted in his campaign to block access and visitation between me and my children. These were the barriers my children and I faced these long years.
This January 2014, I was able to begin the long and scary road of coping with and accepting the pointless, unnecessary tragedies that wrongfully separated my children from me for over three years due to an abusive ex who simply used a corrupt system as a means to continue to abuse and denigrate me. Our children are the real victims.
I begin my journey back to them … God only knows if or how we will reconcile with one another, and, if or how we will ever be able to accept and triumph over all that has happened to us while everyone around watched and did nothing to help us. It takes a great deal to overcome feeling that powerless and unimportant. One thing is certain … we are not unscathed.
I pray every day that we will find a way to use our tragedy in some positive way to help others who are suffering similarly.
It has to begin somewhere. This is my beginning, and I am now, finally, able to make it personal. I am speaking up, and out, for my children and for all children and their protective parents.
As convinced as I am that the Fed’s are abusing their powers, I am just as convinced, and urge others to explore solutions BESIDES AND/OR in addition to just giving MORE power to abuse to the many crooked STATE, COUNTY, and CITY politicians. All levels of government are corrupted from the lowest to the highest. Those of us who have experienced family court abuse know firsthand how the judiciary fails our children, and state bar associations and review boards, investigative committees (IF your state even has oversight and investigative committees … many do NOT) look the other way or are so overwhelmed and incompetent they are waiting for HELP from higher authorities. As it stands, it really is the wild-wild-west, city, county, state and federal. We must overhaul the system, bottom-up or top-down but it REQUIRES a complete overhaul.
I am convinced that is why change has not yet happened … we must organize, report, investigate, punish and hold accountable and replace those who are corrupt.
WE (ARE) THE PEOPLE ….