A Personal Update

I am going to jot down an update on things that have been happening for us, then also do another post that focuses more on the positive aspects.  I would say, though, that although there are some frustrating things going on, there are a few really shining lights in it all.  There’s a lot going on too… which I will try to condense.

1. CPS investigation for physical abuse:  So, CPS came through at the end of October and opened an investigation for a bruise on my daughter’s leg which she reported to the school was from her dad.  They suspended visitation for a weekend, but reinstated it quickly because (a) their dad denied the abuse, and (b) there’s a court order in place for visitation.  The highlights are that CPS spoke to their dad and he denied ever raising his voice, denied any physical discipline and denied knowing anything about our son having issues with redness on his bottom after weekends with him.  He also (this is a highlight) refused to sign a ‘contract’ that  he would not yell or hit our kids, and refused to meet with me and CPS without his lawyer present.  CPS calls him “not exactly forthcoming”.

Our daughter’s therapist didn’t stand up and say that the visitation and resuming visitation would be harmful for our daughter, which is frustrating.  However, she did flat out tell the CPS social worker that my ex is lying about hitting and yelling.  She attested to our daughter being truthful and consistent with her complaints.  She also spoke with my ex’s attorney and filled him in on lots of things he had no clue about.  This was one of my favorite things to hear as my ex’s attorney fights tooth and nail, and now he has a reality check on what his client is really like.

Also, my ex was asked NOT to speak to the kids about the investigation.  He blatently did not listen, and immediately tells our kids that I want to have him arrested and put in jail, and he wants to have me arrested and put in jail.  Of course, this caused a lot of angst for our kids.  It was definitely noted that he was that blatent in not listening to this request that was given to him by both the CPS social worker and our daughter’s therapist.

Lastly, there have been two weekends with their dad since visitation resumed.  On both weekends, he took the kids to the ABC store, purchased scotch and drank it when the kids were there that night.  They say “it makes daddy stink and he really smells in the morning”.  They also reported that sometimes (although not on those weekends) he has driven them to the grocery store at 11pm at night after drinking the “peach colored alcohol”.  CPS is aware of this, unfortunately, drinking with the kids at home is not illegal and it is not written into our court order.  So, they can’t do anything with this.

Net net:  My ex is showing his true colors, my daugher’s therapist is speaking out about what’s happening, and CPS sucks as they will not be doing anything to help.

2.  Red bottom / Pediatrician reporting suspected sexual abuse:

The second weekend back with their dad, our son returned complaining of his bottom hurting him.  It was red and I took him to the doctor on Monday.  The doctor is unable to tell what’s causing it, but was wonderful about following through vehemently.  Get this:

She called the CPS social worker we have, who said that they would not investigate it because we were investigated for that last year.  The doctor says “that was then, this is now”.  It made no difference.

Pediatrician then calls the CPS hotline and files the report specifically.  Our CPS social worker calls her back again and tells her again… “no investigation.”

Pediatrician speaks to the head of the local children’s hospital.  They say that they can’t investigate it without CPS approval (strange, eh?).  But they try calling the CPS social worker multiple times and their calls are never returned.  They eventually suggest to the pediatrician to tell me to call the police the next time our son returns with a red bottom.

Pediatrician also calls the supervisor at CPS.  They have a circular, frustrating conversation… no investigation will be conducted.

Thank God for wonderful pediatricians.   Also, the culture came back with nothing other than regular bacteria present.  This bacteria could have caused the redness, but not conclusive.

3. Child support case in January:

My attorney finally files a motion for failure to pay child support for the past four months. Yay!

My ex handed me four checks last night.  However… he paid about one third of the support amount for the past four months.   They are sequentially numbered checks, all with the same december date.  The amount he paid is the amount he wants to see it reduced to.  However, it doesn’t matter – even if he were successful in a reduction, it would be as of the court date and not some arbitary date in the past.  Again.. I would drop every penny in exchange for our freedom.

4. Failure to pay for our daughter’s therapy, per court order:

Attorney also filed a motion asking that ex pay for his portion of therapy, now an outstanding ~$4k.  Ex wrote me a scathing email to stop harassing him and he wouldn’t pay it, as well as telling me verbally in front of the kids.  TBD what happens here, but at least it is in play and on record (although my ex truly thinks he is right and just in his actions).

5. Psychological evaluation for our five year old son & horse riding lessons

The other debate is my long standing request to have our son evaluated.  Our daughter’s therapist has been firm on this needing to be completed and has presented it as not being in relation to either parent’s parenting (for the sake of making it easier to get it completed).  Our son has been doing better picking up on concepts in school in the past month… which I attribute to helping him at home and the wonderful bi-product that (up until last night) their dad hasn’t been raging the past two weekends they’ve been with him.

This is supposed to be addressed in court in January as well.  My ex has said he would agree to the evaluation if I agreed to let him ride the horse (he pays for lessons but not for child support!).  I haven’t because I am concerned that our son cannot focus well enough and is too small / immature to handle a horse or even a pony.  I also asked our son “do you want to ride?  It’s okay with me, whatever your answer is.. I just want to know what YOU want to do.”  Our son answered: “I tried to get him to calm down, Mom… but it seems… that he just doesn’t want to forgive you.”  What?

In the meantime, as an attempt to gain cooperation – I have agreed to have our son evaluated at an equine therapy place as to whether he is ready to learn to ride horses.

6.  “I only want to see my dad on Thursdays, and be with my mom every weekend”.

God bless my daughter.  She is being very brave and telling her dad and her therapist that she wants to only see her dad on the evening dinner visit.  She is also being very loud about how she doesn’t want to be with her dad for six days over Christmas.  She has put this request into our prayer box at home.  I have asked her to say her prayer request in a positive way – to request to be with me every weekend in lieu of asking “not” to be with her dad.  This way, it’s very specific about where she does want to be.  Ditto her prayer request for Christmas.

7. My wonderfully supportive family:

God bless my family too – as they are giving me money to help for Christmas, and are coming up to be with me on Christmas so I don’t have to be alone or geographically far from my children (I have no local family).  I am so thankful.

That’s it, in a nut shell.  I am also looking into a new attorney, as mine says she feels it is too risky to go to court and ask for a modification in the visitation.  She fears that I come off too much as someone who wants to block their father from his kids, and that a bad judge would turn custody around entirely.  God knows.. that is not what my ex wants because he is lazy and doesn’t even have clean clothes for them every other weekend!  Nonetheless, I can’t move forward with a fearful attorney, so I need to consider what to do next.

Happy Holidays to all!  I will be praying for all children who are spending time with abusive parents during this holiday season.  May it still be merry and bright, and most of all … SAFE for them.

13 Responses to “A Personal Update”

  1. Julie says:

    Holidays are really tough (today i felt like i was having an anxity attack) because of the stress. It is especially hard when you have to share custody with someone who is not a trustworthy or capable parent. Lately my child gets very angry with me about going and doesnt want me to leave for a minute during my custody time. I haven’t seen my child in days and i do worry my child will get hurt or not come back. But i am going to win and get the agreement changed! So will you! (positive projection) Good luck in court! Maybe your daughter should talk to the judge, she sounds like an activist.

    • I am sorry – I know I responded to your comment but it doesn’t look like I did, so I apologize that something didn’t work. I hope your little one is back with you now. What I do when I feel those fears is to envision, repeatedly, my children walking back through my door and giving them hugs. I also do a meditation of sorts and ask God to send with them the very best angels to protect them, and then I envision the angels going with them. Sometimes I hear in my head a very clear answer “they are already there”. This started because one day when I watched my ex’s car drive off (and my daughter had been crying about having to go), I swear that I saw transculent angels flying behind the car. It seems strange to say, but it felt so reassuring. Are you able to speak to your little one while they are gone? I get a phone call each evening, and I truly treasure it. Sometimes he has withheld this, or ripped the phone from their hands, or raged at them for asking for the call, but we seem to make our way through it. As for court and custody – I have to wait for more evidence, but I am filled with faith that we will soon be able to make it a reality. Do you have a date scheduled? I would love to hear your strategy.

  2. Ana says:

    I hope things go well for you in court and that the kids are ok after being gone. My daughter just left for 6 days and it breaks my heart when I have to make her get out of the car to go with her dad.

    • Oh, do I know how you feel. I listened to my daughter tell me every night on the phone how she wanted to return home. On the second to last day, she tried to fool her father that the return day was on Christmas day, and not the day after. If I were a parent who’s child didn’t want to be with him – it would drive me nuts to want to repair the relationship. I notice how you used the phrase “make her get out of the car”… I’ve been there in those screaming fits all too often in trying to get my kids to go. I hope you endure these days as well as you can – and that you have support to deal with them. Maybe keeping a journal while she’s gone and jotting down fun notes and drawings each day can help? I had my family with me, and although they drive me nuts ;), it was absolutely wonderful to have their presence and support. Im sending you loving, supporting thoughts!

  3. JenelleMarie says:

    Completely understandable, I’ve been quiet myself as it was a hard transition this year mentally for me. I will be sending prayers up specifically on Wednesday for you. Take your time, don’t forget to center yourself and know you are going into court on the 2nd with prayers and support behind you. And I’m hoping that the kids are back home with you and are settling in without too much backlash or trauma. I just want to scoop them up for you! Hugs

    • Thank you! The kids and I have had our moments – particularly my daughter who has had screaming fits about how she hates her father and never wants to see him again. I did have a wonderful conversation with the CPS person, who is going to keep open our ‘family assessment’ case until I get our son a SANE exam (sexual abuse nurse exam). The plan is to take him after a return with a red bottom. His bottom was red when he returned, but not as much as in the past – most likely because I did bring it to my ex’s attention just before the break. I didn’t want to take my son to an exam just as they returned to have Christmas with me, so unless he was a mess, I was planning to hold out. It’s good though that CPS is supporting an exam! The downside is that they rarely are able to find physical evidence anyway. I will remember your thoughts on centering for court, and do some positive affirmations around deserving a positive outcome for my kids.

      I have an idea I think you’ll like that I’m going to jot down as a post…. a new way of doing a vision board 🙂

  4. JenelleMarie says:

    Sending up prayers for a new attorney who will fight for the children as relentlessly as you have. And sending many hugs

    • Thank you! sorry to be so quiet.. trying to make it through the holiday, court on jan 2, the fallout of the kids being gone for six days and how to align next years calendar. How has it been for you?

    • You rock 🙂 So – I met with only one other attorney, who has been around for a while. GREAT demeanor – spoke about staying grounded when the ridiculous emails and accusations fly and staying centered on what’s best for the kids. My attorney has said the same – but his demeanor and the way he came off with it was so much more calming. His basic recommendation regarding attorneys was to stay with the one I have. He said she is very respected by the judges and a great attorney. He also said he agreed with her recommendation to get the evaluation for our son and then see if we have the solid enough case to go back and seek a change in visitation. It was a $300 consult (which deters me from consulting others), but I think it was helpful enough.

  5. Kate says:

    Oh Natalia, my heart breaks for you- probably because I understand the helplessness that you must feel. My son has had 2 broken bones in his fathers care over the last12 months and this has not registered as slightly important with our social services here. And I understand your lawer being scared to represent your view to block all access because mine feels the same and our current judge has a real thing abot mothers being nitpicky and vindictive and has changed custody around in previous matters to award it to the other parent.
    I hope and pray for the safety of you and your kids over the holiday season. I hope you can find the strength to get through it. Remember our kids need hope for the future. Remind them about coming home to mums, how you will be waiting for them and what you have planned when they get home. Give the appearance of strength and remind them where their real home is and what a real home is made of, love, caring, compassion – and they have all that with you! Kids are tougher and stronger than us. We worry that they will bury all this hurt deep down and never be able to recover, but, we are their helping hand out of the ditch. Whisper gently to them that they will hear your voice on the breeze, see your face in the moon and that just because you are physically apart you will never really leave them because you live in their heart and they in yours. One day they will be old enough and understand that we did the best we could given a really oppressive family law system in the age of the uprising of the men’s movement. I’m told there is a gradual shift occurring in the men’s movement. Our kids maybe adults by the time any real change happens but who knows, maybe they will be active in creating a better future for tomorrows children. They will always love you and know you did your best.
    Keep the faith
    God bless

    • I am so shocked by hearing about your son’s broken bones. It is so frustrating to hear the “well, dad’s take more risk” type of response that people say. It’s more than that, though… if it was a father who is caring, loving and supportive, then if the broken bones occur you can work with them to talk about what happened and other precautions to take. It’s the attitude and disregard by the personality disordered parent that is what causes the appropriate response of anxiety in the mother. It’s not that mothers are inherently “nitpicky”!

      Your words of encouragement are wonderful and oh-so-true. We will be the shining star for them – that glimmer of hope that we can prevail. I am thankful that my children are with me so much of the time. It’s absolutely wonderful, really. I know my daughter yells and screams about how she wants to speak to the judge directly to tell him he is not the puppetmaster and she is not his puppet (seriously, this is her own words). I have visions that (if they want) they may be a part of the movement that impacts change for children in these situations. Thanks for reminding me how much impact we can have to help our children along the way…

  6. Heather says:

    MerrY christmas!!! Sounds like some good results mixed in!

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