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.