Tag Archives: Mississippi Child Custody

Wouldn’t Know Your Own Child If You Saw Them On The Street? (In Memory of My Son)

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.

Bobbie

Still A Mother In Mississippi

Advertisements

My Letter To Local Judge (08-13-13) A Mother, Still, In Mississippi

Please see forwarded email sent to a local Judge yesterday, 08-13-13:

Dear Judge,

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.

Sincerely

 

Writing For My Life (June 2013) I have at least become a nuisance in that, at least, my existence has finally been acknowledged

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.

Everybody’s Children, Nobody’s Children, My Children (September 2013)

 

​Writing For My Life (September 2013):

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?

 

“Maternal Deprivation is inflicting abuse by severing the mother-child bond…” from research, Sept. 2011 (BEFORE fated gal appointment!)

Unethical treatment of women and children in family court & Maternal Deprivation:

Maternal Deprivation is inflicting abuse by severing the mother-child bond. It is a form of abuse that men inflict on both the mother and children, especially men who claim they are “parentally alienated” from their children when there are complaints of abusive treatment by the father.

Maternal Deprivation occurs when men seek to keep their children from being raised by their mothers who are the children’s natural caretakers,
seek to sever the maternal bonds by making false allegations of fictitious psychological syndromes in a deliberate effort to change custody and/or keep the child from having contact with their mother when there are legal proceedings.

In seeking to define this form of abuse certain common elements are found in the Maternal Deprivation scenario as follows:

History of domestic abuse that could be physical, psychological, sexual,  and/or social abuse occurring on or off again, occasionally, or          chronically which could be mild, moderate, or severe, including  homicidal and/or suicidal threats; Legal proceedings relating to abuse;
Hiring of “Fathers Rights” attorney; Use of “Hired Gun” mental health  professionals to make accusations of psychological disorder against the  mother and children in deliberate effort to excuse abuse and change  custody or grant visitation that is contrary to safety concerns (Another  name for these unethical professionals are “Whores of the  Courts“); Raising claims of “psychological disorders” against the mother  such as “Parental Alienation Syndrome” (PAS), Munchausen by Proxy  Syndrome, Malicious Mother Syndrome, Lying Litigant Syndrome,  Hostile Aggressive Parenting or any other mother-blaming  psychological disorder that can be used by the unethical professional to  re-victimize the victims; Infliction of “Legal Abuse” by continually and  excessively filing motions so that the mother continually has to defend  herself and her child(ren) causing financial and emotional devastation.  Can occur in response to child support legal proceedings as retaliation;

The intent of “Maternal Deprivation” is to punish the mother and the child for revealing the abuse and to falsely claim that they are not abusive. This very commonly occurs as there are more and more “abuse-excuse” parental alienation accusing professionals who use this scientifically invalid theory over and over to achieve specific goals of the person paying them.

Maternal Deprivation can also occur in response to child support legal proceedings. When occurring in this manner, Maternal Deprivation is a response to the financial demands as retaliation. Suddenly the father who had little prior involvement wants to take the kids half the time to avoid child support obligations, etc.

When the men are really abusive, they ask for sole custody and demand the mother of the child pay them. Although some people call this “Maternal Alienation”, a distinction needs to be made as the pro-pedophilia “Parental Alienation Syndrome” and the use of the word “Alienation” are most often used AGAINST battered women and abused children. There needs to be a distinction between the phony psychological syndrome and the intentional infliction of abuse on a mother and child by intentionally severing their natural bond. This distinction can best be made by NOT using the label of “Alienation” which will always be associated with the pro-pedophilia monster Doctor Richard Gardner.

Some of the characteristics of the especially heinous abusers who inflict Maternal Deprivation include but are not limited to the following:
*Angry; *Abusive;
*Violent; *Coercive;
*Controlling; *Threatening; *Intimidating; *Demanding; *Domineering;
*Harassing;
*Stalking;
*Tyrannical;
*Oppressive;
*Forceful;
*Manipulative;
*Deceptive;
*Unethical;
*Un-empathetic(Lacks Empathy);
*Entitled;
*Immature;
*Self-centered;
*Neglectful;
*Guilt inducing;
*Pushy;
*Intentionally tries to humiliate mother and/or child;
….

 

A MOTHER’S LAMENT, by B. R. Hardin, Attorney, Father, and Grandfather

(The following is a letter written by a mother who lost custody of her two children, reminiscing of the times they spent together, their life in Ocean Springs.  Because her ex-husband could afford the children a larger home, and her inability to recover from her loss when Katrina swept the gulf coast, she lost custody of her children, and was limited to visits on an every other weekend basis, but only to the tri-county area of Rankin, Madison and Hinds, and no over night visitation, I suppose for fear she would remove the children from the jurisdiction of the court.  She spent her life’s savings, over $45,000 dollars in attorney fees and the fees of Guardian Ad :Litems appointed by the court to investigate and report their findings to the court for the purpose of assisting the court in determining the best interest of the children and which parent would be more suitable for their care.  The first Guardian Ad Litem gave her a favorable report and recommended to the Court that the children be placed in her custody, but the second Guardian Ad Litem, for some reason, chose her ex-husband over her, and the Court favored this last report and her ex-husband one out, mainly because, in her opinions, he had a large, lovely home in Madison County and had the funds to raise the children, whereas, due to her circumstances, she did not.  That was seven years ago and she has been fighting to recover their custody since that time.  This is a lament of her efforts and the pain that she has suffered in that pursuit. It is addressed to a dear friend and to her older daughter by a previous marriage.   It begins with the ending of one of her visits with her young, twelve year old daughter.)

“Tonight, as I drove Miranda back to Madison, stroking her hair as her head lay over the armrest, stretching toward me as close as her seatbelt would allow like she always does on those drives ‘after the visit is over’, I vowed to begin writing, again.  It is one of a few passions of mine for which I have slowly turned away from.  My other favorites were put away much more abruptly.  My present demeanor may be disheveled, at times, but my memory is as sharp as a tack, like it has always been.  I recount my life events by dates, sometimes even down to the hour and minute, of ‘before’ and ‘after’ events.  Fishing, which always included some form of beach walking and nature exploration (which meant cardio exercise and fresh air as a bonus), ended the last time I went with my youngest daughter Miranda.  I haven’t allowed myself to recreate that particular memory down to the time and date, but I know it was with her, and I know that it ended as abruptly as the day we were separated by a court order that wrenched us apart in November 28th, 2011.  Listening to music, especially bayou-zydeco and country-western, old gospel hymns, and really old country ho-down music that I was tickled to hear my kids sing to as well.  I had amassed quite of collection of downloads, cd’s, and 2 great stereo’s that I wired together … my talent for setting up surround-sound and wiring “outdoor” speakers in nooks and crannies along the outside of our home was acknowledged and admired by even the most manly men of neighbors and teenaged boys with jack-up trucks and booming sound systems (my kids were quite proud of their mom’s sound-wiring skills), and every night, summer, spring, winter or fall, we enjoyed sitting outside by a fire …. for just a few minutes to a few hours, listening to, and singing along to “our” songs.  We always seemed to have extra’s, company, whether invited or not … the kids friends, their friends of friends, their parents, our neighbors…. somehow, our music and outside supper’s became an international “welcome” sign in our yard and drew wanderer’s in like magnets.  The kids loved it and I never minded.  It was a peaceful, simple time and I take some comfort knowing with all certainty that I made mental notes all of the time to “stop, and ENJOY them”.  I am grateful for that.  My love of music listening, as well as my infamous “singalongs” was severely restricted after my 12 year old son, Philip, went missing, or, for a better term, was “parentally abducted and never returned”, June 4, 2010.  I continued to enjoy some music with my young daughter, Miranda, after that date, but it was limited to music that would NOT remind me of Philip.  It was difficult, but I made it work for the next 17 months, and Miranda and I found our “own” music that we belted out every day.  The music ended completely, November 28, 2011, the date my daughter was taken from me as well.  I have not been able to bring myself to listen, or sing, since then.  The world became very dark, and very quiet, and remains that way.  Music brought me great joy.  Yard work, and gardening, of which I spent a great deal of time enjoying in all seasons and was quite talented in and for which I took great pride in, ended when I boxed up my belongings with the help of my oldest daughter Jessica, this past April 2012 when the decision was made to end the burdensome, tiring 5 months of travel that had been unavoidable since the day Miranda and I were separated and she was ordered to live with her father in Madison Mississippi.  I struggled valiantly to keep up our home in Ocean Springs, waiting day to day, week to week, turning into month to month, chasing the “15-day reversal of opinion” I’d been assured was certain to happen due to the many errors and fraudulent claims made in court that led to the removal of both of my minor children, Philip and Miranda, from my lifelong care and into the care of their father.  As the days and weeks turned into months, and the certain “presentation of the real facts” and the “testimony of real witnesses that would at the very least show his contempt of court and have the judge make good on his promise to reverse his opinion and return the children to me failed to come forward, and with these failures, my dreams for keeping our home, our very lives as we knew it, began to dissipate.  In addition to the near-weekly frantic drives I made those first few months to Jackson to be near my youngest child due to her very real, very serious medical, emotional, and/or legal emergencies surrounding our case, it slowly became clear to me that I could not continue to “stay home” and keep house while driving to and fro.175 miles each way.  Looking back, that is one of several things that astound me… that I even managed to hang on to the dream for as long as I did. Yes, the gardening was a great loss to my spirit and my body… but, the real joy in it ended the same time the music ended, November 2011.  I continued to manicure my lawn, and fret over it’s condition after my daughters disappearance from our home in November 2011, but my heart was no longer in it and I gave it up completely when I boxed up our life and closed the door for good in early April 2012.  Crocheting, which I recently picked back up due to the odd timing of a double urging and suggestion of two important people in my life who have never even met one another, yet who each brought up the topic within the same 24 hour period leading up to this past Christmas Eve.  The urging was by a friend who coaxed me into attending a small Christmas gathering at her home the night before Christmas Eve, and the suggestion was made by my oldest daughter, Jessica, who mused about my ability to “create” the newest craze of baby beanie hats that is so popular and in demand among all her co-workers and friends.  I have been a longtime believer of there-is-no-such-thing-as-coincidence so I paid heed to the sign before me and picked up my crochet needle, junk yarn from the back of my truck, and, with some help from Google, proceeded to crochet intently throughout this very difficult time of year… Christmas without my children.  Christmas without my closest friends.  Christmas away from home.  Homesick, Heartsick, and … Christmas without my children.  Thank you, Arlette, and Thank You, Jessica.  Your blessing and gift to me put an idea and a desire in my mind that thankfully I did not turn away from.  It helped me survive the most hearbreaking Christmas of my life.  Little Blessings…. count them one by one:)”

Me (A Mother, Still, In Mississippi)

 

 

 

Where’s this Money? … “”Funding for Legal representation provided for Rankin, Adams, Harrison, Forrest Counties”….

“Mississippi is one of only two states that do not provide free representation to …. ???  {article & url below}.  I personally would like to know where all this “funding” went, or is going?!, ie. where’s the money?, as referenced in the headline …. “Funding for Legal representation provided for Rankin, Adams, Harrison, Forrest Counties” …. I certainly don’t know, and I personally have not found in any of my research anyone who has received assistance for this program, and for the purposes outlined.  My children and I were denied, twice, for assistance to receive any representation by Mission First, several times by Mississippi Legal Services, and, the Mississippi Bar Association has kept re-routing me back to steps A and B .. the black hole of despair and the never-ending cycle meant to make you dizzy or chase your tail until you cry “uncle” and quit or die trying!

Over the past two years I’ve inquired, applied with Southern Poverty, ACLU, …. no funding available for me or my children, whether for reasons of race, gender, nationality, jurisdiction, location, etc. I was not allowed not know, ALL AGENCIES I’ve spoken with, even Children’s Rights, regrettably informed me that my children and I fall into category of  “high conflict divorce” which eliminates many families.  This is quite frustrating, unfair, and unjust as, in many cases, certainly in mine, my divorce was finalized years ago (mine, March 2006) …. how can that be labeled “high conflict?.  These agencies shy away from any cases in which domestic violence or child abuse is inferred, alluded, and, as in our case, very easily documented.  I suppose they have good reasons for this … but I would certainly like to know what they are.  I exhausted my savings, over $45,000, by last count, in the first six years, defending myself and my children, and I was successful …. until my savings was depleted.  Coincedentally, I was unable to protect my children when my money was gone, spent, fed into the system.

 

 

Article re: funding for Mississippi, legal representation below:

February 25, 2013:  Youth Courts in Adams, Forrest, Harrison and Rankin counties are participating in a pilot program which provides free legal representation for low-income parents in Youth Court hearings in which allegations of abuse or neglect could result in court-ordered removal of children from parents’ custody. 

Rankin County Youth Court Judge Thomas Broome said …., Harrison County Youth Court Judge Margaret Alfonso said, “The hope is that parent representation will result in better outcomes for children and families. It will provide parents with a better understanding of the procedures and what is necessary to be reunited with their children.”   

Providing a legal advocate for the parent will curb unnecessary removal of children from parents, Judge Alfonso said. “Ultimately the goal is to prevent removal if possible. If appropriate services can be provided to prevent removal, we are obligated to attempt to provide services that prevent or eliminate the need to separate the child and the family.” 

Mississippi is one of only two states that do not provide free representation to low income parents in Youth Court proceedings which may result in loss of custody of children.

Adams County Youth Court Judge John Hudson said, “The fact that government can come in and take a person’s children away and that person has to walk into a courtroom where everyone else is represented by attorneys and that person does not have an attorney — I can’t think of anything worse than that.  “But if they had committed a misdemeanor (that could result in jail time), they could get a (court appointed) lawyer,” Judge Hudson said.  Providing attorney representation for low income people provides fairness, Judge Hudson said. Judges dealing with unrepresented litigants are put in the untenable position of trying to assure fairness without crossing the line into advocacy, he said. While judges can explain the proceedings, they can’t advise and help the unrepresented party.

Forrest County Youth Court Judge Michael McPhail said that before the pilot program began, the Department of Human Services, the prosecutor and the court administrator might explain proceedings before a hearing, then he would explain the person’s rights and the process from the bench. “These people were hearing everything about their case and their rights from somebody who does not represent them,” Judge McPhail said. “They may lose because they didn’t know what to do.”

Having an attorney representing parents also creates another level of accountability, Judge Hudson said. When the court sets conditions for reunification, parents may procrastinate to meet those conditions. An attorney will push the client to comply with the court’s orders.  Having an attorney available to represent the parents will speed up the process so that proceedings don’t drag on. “It’s going to speed the process tremendously,” said Judge Hudson.  Quicker resolution of cases will save public dollars, Judge Hudson said. “It will save money by getting them out of the foster care system quicker.”

Part of the funding for the pilot program comes from a $100,000 grant from Seattle based Casey Family Programs, the nation’s largest private foundation focused on foster care and improving the child welfare system. The foundation works to reduce the need for foster care by helping the child welfare system to prevent family crises that lead to separation and foster care.

H. Lien Bragg, Casey Family Programs Senior Director of Strategic Consulting, said, “Casey Family Programs is pleased to support Mississippi’s efforts to establish parent representation for families involved in the child welfare system. We believe timely, adequate and competent legal representation is a critical driver in expediting permanency and well-being outcomes for children involved in dependency court proceedings.”

 Harrison County, which has the largest number of cases, received $50,000 in Casey Family Programs grant funding for a full-time attorney. Adams and Forrest counties each received $25,000 in grants to pay for attorney representation. The Administrative Office of Courts provided $45,000 through a Court Improvement Program grant to fund the Rankin County program.

The arrangements differ among the four pilot counties. A full-time attorney on the staff of the Mississippi Center for Legal Services will begin representing low income Harrison County parents on March 1. Parents in Rankin County since October 2012 have had access to an attorney who works for Mission First Legal Aid Office. Mission First Legal Aid is a partnership between Mississippi College School of Law and Mission First, a neighborhood outreach ministry. Forrest County uses two part-time contract attorneys who started representing clients in October 2012. Adams County in December began appointing a local attorney who takes cases in a part-time contractual arrangement.

Judge Broome said that he does not order parents to contact Mission First Legal Aid Office, but makes them aware of the availability of legal representation there.  Mission First Legal Aid has opened 16 cases for parent representation since last October, said Director Patti Gandy. Mission First attorney Carlyn Hicks, who handles

Rankin County parental representation, is there “to be that voice for that parent who may be so distraught that they may not be able to coherently tell the court their side of the story and what’s really going on,” Gandy said.

“What we are trying to do is shorten the period of time, if that child has to be taken from that home, and to determine if it is really necessary for that child to be taken from the home. Sometimes it’s not necessary for the child to be removed from the home,” Gandy said. “Studies have shown if you can get an attorney involved for parents at the beginning of the proceeding, it shortens the time the child is away from home or separated from parents.  It’s all about making sure the child does not stay in the system any longer than is necessary,” 

 

Found on link:  https://mail-attachment.googleusercontent.com/attachment/u/1/?ui=2&ik=4bb2674b6d&view=att&th=140c588a5768064f&attid=0.1&disp=inline&realattid=1444626868951857644-1&safe=1&zw&saduie=AG9B_P8HWWUfo58erssemNaUU0Rp&sadet=1377707912573&sads=lSl4GznVy71-BY_MjrQtv9um-2E

 

Family Court for Dummies (A Work in Progress – Steps for Newbies in Family Court)

    1. Do not allow your attorney or opposing attorney to strong-arm, influence, or rush you into accepting an appointment of a guardian ad litem OR psychologist OR ANY OTHER COURT APPOINTED PROFESSIONAL (cap) under ANY circumstances WITHOUT running your own background check, gathering referrals, credentials, even checking into OTHER cases of said guardian ad litem, and/or psychologist … take the list of the names they offer you (it WILL BE A SHORT LIST!), and look into who they are offering – your life depends on this.  You HAVE the RIGHT to take time to run background checks, you have the right to take TIME to do this, YOU EVEN HAVE THE RIGHT TO ALTERNATE NAMES OF PROFESSIONALS, if you do these things before the gavel hits … please do not underestimate this.
    2. BY INVESTIGATE … please first run FOIA (Freedom of Information Act) Request on ALL professionals involved in your case, in the county of your jurisdiction.  The purpose of this is to find out if/what they are being paid as private vendors from your county of jurisdiction funds … again, you WILL BE SURPRISED.  This is how you follow the money.  Not complicated – more on this later.  It’s also easy enough to run all professionals names through your State’s Secretary of State database for corporations they own, are officers, or holders in … again, it’s following the money.  Please take this step very seriously – it can change the tide of the whole case, and QUICKLY, BEFORE you have a FINAL HEARING.
    3. Go to your county of jurisdiction, pull your own court file, go through it with a fine tooth comb … look for missing documents, stamps, dates, evidence, missing documents, hidden, stapled, etc.  You would be surprised how few attorneys take the time to go through your court file, and, you know your own file better than anyone else.  Make notes, or better yet, ask for a complete copy of your file, and update it every few weeks, days even, if you can.  Documents turn up missing, added, misplaced, placed out of order, “hidden”, etc. ALL THE TIME.  This is less likely to happen if you keep up with your own case file and what has been submitted for the court’s record.  Keep an eye on items that are “tabbed” for quick review … it gives clues to documents hurried “professionals” flip to automatically without taking the time to read your entire case history.  After all, that would require a lot a time and effort on their part … it’s just your life, and the lives of your children depending on them to do so … are you willing to take the chance that they are THAT invested in your fair trial, treatment, case?
    4. Find out how, when, yes, even IF, the court appointed professionals are communicating with YOUR attorney (again, you’d be surprised how often they communicate with only ONE side).  Insist on copies of all communications between your attorney and the court appointed professional (cap) … you can dissect this information on your own time and will surely have more invested in it than even your own attorney.  Good attorneys are often naive to the manipulative, underhanded tactics “biased” professionals use in order to leave a party out of communications, correspondences, etc. and often end up blindsided, surprised, in court … leaving you, and your children, no recourse (aside from time-wasting threats of appeals, reversals, reconsiderations … you’ll all be too tired and old to make it that far, very few do, trust this).
    5. Addendum to 4, but deserves section of it’s own:  It is not unusual for court appointed professionals (caps) to hide, send by “error” OOPS … I DON’T KNOW HOW THAT HAPPENED, I THOUGHT I WAS USING YOUR/YOUR ATTORNEYS PROPER EMAIL ADDRESS … or, LET ME CHECK WITH MY ASSISTANT … I DON’T KNOW HOW THAT HAPPENED … WHY WE MISSED THAT … HOW YOUR EX RECEIVED COPIES OF REPORTS YOU DIDN’T … COPIES OF YOUR PERSONAL EMAILS … anyway, the list is infinite, I’m just adding some I have heard personally.  This section simply means, do not be surprised by ANYTHING, ask questions, who’s talking, who received what, what is going on, what they are doing/teaching/counseling/advising … do NOT allow yourself to be shamed into thinking you are being overly pesky or paranoid.  Easier said than done, I KNOW, but, I assure you, the alternative is much worse, much more final, much harder to bear, years and tears later.  Ask the questions, even if they make you feel it, or you, is/are STUPID  … remember what we teach our children? … There ARE NO STUPID QUESTIONS!
    6. KNOW the HIPPA laws and do not fail to use them in your conversations with cap’s (this should be a given but turns out it is often a slam-dunk in getting their attention).  It’s hard, but you’ll have to learn early own to stop letting them intimidate you into silence … you will not win them over with good behavior – remember, your good reputation and good behavior did not help you in the first place.  It’s likely the matter was decided well before you step into a courtroom.  Again, do all of these things BEFORE any final hearing or it’ll take YEARS to get back on any solid ground and lawsuits, reporting, ethics, commissions, review boards, are all AFTER you’ve lost your children’s childhoods.  You’d much rather have their childhoods.