Monday, November 29, 2010

Trial Part Two

Next up that first day and the last to testify that day was the children's assessor.  Now I have to be honest.  She gave an honest evaluation based on the info she was given.  My mother gave her a list of many false symptoms and behaviours and also got my daughter to do the same.  The assessors report is based on that info and unfortunately they can only work with what they have.  If they are getting false information then they will only be able to give a false report.  Her job was to try and determine if the children were being made to say the things they did.  Unfortunately I don't think she was truly able to get the whole picture because of how good a con artist my mother is.  If she had been able to speak to me in person and also speak to the step kids I know she would have gotten a totally different picture.

She got up and testified that on several occasions in April she and I tried to set up a meeting.  We ended up playing phone tag a few times.  We were finally able to set up a meeting for a day that we were going to be in the area for a visit with the kids.  Unfortunately there ended up being a blizzard that day and the visit with the kids had to be cancelled because of it along with us seeing her.  She then testified I tried to set up to see her the following week but she was booked.  So we had a phone conference instead which was less then ideal.  She wanted to see body language and so on.  Which was important for her assessment of me.  She then explained about play therapy and such and then told of my daughters experience with the doll house.  She asked my daughter what she was doing with the dolls and my daughter said that she was doing what happened at the last visit.  She put the two boy dolls to bed.  Then put the little girl doll on the couch and a mommy and daddy doll under a blanket on the floor,  She then said that they are wrestling while I watch Jurassic Park which is not an appropriate movie for me.  Now remember in October it was said that my fiance and I had been on the couch making out.  Then at the JDR the judge had said that even if we had been doing that that it was not wrong to do or a reason to remove visits.  Neither scenario happened but after the JDR then this new scenario of us under the blanket came out.  As for the movie I looked in my log that I kept and that movie was never watched.  She watched Harry Potter on one day and the two Nights at the Museum movies over that weekend.  I did not learn of this new scenario till after I received the reports from my lawyer in June.  Obviously my daughter had been coached very well on what to do and say.

Then she went on to how my mother report the visits, me refusing to see them on holidays, rarely  visiting or calling and no presents for b-days or Christmases.  My friend who got the presents for the kids that first year will prove differently in her testimony.  Then she went on to saying that I had no interest in my kids schooling at all.  That even during our conversation I had stated that I ask but no one tells me anything.  She said that did not sound right to her because she was hearing that the info was being offered and I just didn't care.  Luckily I have the emails to show that I would ask for medical reports, info on health reports and also requests for school info.  Sadly though all those emails, that I still have, were not submitted.  My lawyer didn't think they would be needed.  But they would have proven the truth to so many lies in a lot of the testimonies of the department and my mother.  So another key to my case was not included for the judge to consider. 

Then she went on to talk about the abuse I had told her about when it came to my mother and growing up.  She said that she was doubtful of a lot I was saying because even when I talked about what was going on during my marriage that my version and my daughters didn't match but yet my daughters and my mothers matched.  So she was more included to believe my mother then myself.  If the step kids could have given their testimony that would have corrected that.  But they were not able to.  So another main key to my case was gone. 

Then she went on to talk about what my daughter told her and my mother told her of the routine in the house and then my version.  They said that my daughter watched the kids 24/7.  That they rarely if ever had clean clothes and I rarely cooked or cleaned.  That I only cared about the man I was with or my dogs.  That the kids had tons of chores and so on.  She said when she talked to me my version was totally different then my mothers and daughters.  Well of course it was.  In the abusive situation I was in there was no way my house could have been in the situation they described without me getting a beating.  I kept it clean the majority of the time and I did all the cooking.  I make everything from scratch, always have because it saves money.  The kids did have chores to do.  My daughter had to make her bed, put her dirty clothes in the hamper and tidy her room before she could have breakfast.  Then she had to clean the litter box before leaving for school.  She was 9yrs old.  Her lunch consisted of either soup, home made stew or sandwiches.  Along with a fruit and some baking for snacks.  After school she had to have a snack then homework.  Then it was off to play outside if the weather was nice or the play room while I prepared supper.  After supper she was responsible for putting her dishes in the dishwasher and then if was play time till bath time then bed time.  On Saturdays she had to help sweep the kitchen so I could wash it and also had to help do her laundry with my supervision and all the kids had to help organize the play room on Saturday.  My younger son was 3.  His main chores was learning to make his bed himself(I was still redoing it after his attempt) putting his clothes in the hamper.  He was also responsible for dust busting the kitchen after breakfast.  I found this was a great starter chore for kids because it is fun in their mind.  He saw it as an attack and destroy operation.  lol.  He also had to put his dishes away after breakfast and he was responsible(with supervision) for feeding the dogs.  I liked to instill in my children to care for someone other then themselves and a good start to that was helping with the pets.  He also like to help collect the laundry from each room on laundry day.  This was the extent to the chores.  And part of their routine.  It was a totally different version then what my mother and daughter told.  But the smoother the house ran the less angry my husband was.  I do like my routine that I had but for me sticking to it was a matter of survival, not just to help the kids learn.  If we had lived as my mother described then my life would have been more of a hell then it was.  And the only time my daughter would watch her 3yr old brother was when I was making supper. 

At the end of her report she stated that I need to take ownership for my daughters feelings and the fact that she wants nothing to do with me but yet has no problems being around there father.  She testified that the kids did not have the nightmares after seeing their dad and that they didn't get sick knowing they were going to see him.  That they enjoyed his visits and being with him.  To me I would really wonder about this.  In every testimony they had to admit that I never abused or neglected my kids but yet in every report their dad had.  Yet the kids want to be around their abuser and not the one who defended them and never abused them.  This makes no sense to me and would put a huge red flag that something is wrong here.  But it didn't for her.  She testified that the kids mental health would be in jeopardy if they were returned home to me and that they should remain in the loving home of my mother. 

The next day I was way more stressed.  We dropped my dog off at the daycare again and went to court.  This time it was my assessor who was on the stand.  My lawyer was told earlier in the week that he was going to give a very damaging report so I was honestly very nervous.  His written report was very positive for me and showed that I had done all he required and had a sever change.  His report also did not state to not send the kids home.  It stated that if they were sent home that there were some requirements that would be needed to be set up.

He surprised us by sticking to the report.  He talked about my first assessment and the differences from the second and all the positive changes.  He also stated that the medication could have been the cause of such a bad assessment when I had the first one and that the sever spousal abuse could have been a huge factor as well.  Neither of which was an issue now.  He did say that if the kids are going through what my mother stated they were then the courts had to take their mental health into consideration.  He also stated that my bi-polar could be find for years and then I could hit another sever low or high where it affects me badly again.  That there were no grantees.  That was about the worst thing he stated.  All in all it was a very positive assessment for me.  I was unsure how much my mothers fax to him had had an affect on his report.  I saw him a little bit later in the court yard during a break.  I thanked him for his honesty and his help.  I have a lot of respect for him.  He was always frank and honest with me.

The next and last testimony was the social worker that I had been dealing with for over a year and a half.  Right from the beginning he was lieing on the stand.  He testified that he regularly tried discussing the concurrent plans with me.  Concurrent plans are plans that the worker and the parent are suppose to come up with together and discuss every 60 days.  In over a year and a half he only contacted me twice to discuss the plans.  And I only received the plans 4 times.  Always a large stack of months of back plans that I never received.  He also never went over them with me.  He would just hand them to me and tell me to sign them.  I told him I was not signing anything unless my lawyer approved it first.  So then he put in all his reports that I was refusing to sign the plans.  There was a lot of misinformation in the plans.  Hence why my lawyer had to look them over first.  The last couple of weeks prior to the trial he kept emailing me trying to convince me it was my doing for the plans.  I was frank and told him I was not taking responsibility for his not doing his job.  I still have the emails.  I repeatedly asked him why he never contacted me every 60 days.  Or asked for a meeting to go over them.  He was seeing me regularly from the visits so there was no excuse.  He ignored the questions.  I wish the judge had been able to see the emails.  He would have seen the truth then.

He testified that he did all he thought was required.  That maybe he could have done more but I was always making it so difficult for communication since it had to either be done via email. with my lawyer or taped.  He said I made it so that there was no comfortable communication between us.  He also said my move had interrupted the mental health treatment they had set up yet did not say what that was.  Simply because there wasn't any.  He went on about me refusing visits, going for long spans with out visits and basically not caring about visits.  No mention of his ignoring requests or refusal of visits.  And when asked by my lawyer if he ever refused visits he stated that only when there were other plans that conflicted like a camping trip.  Total bold face lie.  Again if the emails could have been submitted this would have been proven.  He said I never informed him of suicide attempts or the breaches.  Again false.  I told him myself but can't prove it because that was prior to me making all communication be via email.  So that was done through phone calls.  He stated that I should have made it easier on them for working around there schedule for visits.  And that I refused to see the kids sometimes on Thursdays when that would have been easier on them.  Yet he did not testify that every Thursday morning was my women's group therapy for domestic violence at the women's therapy.  When asked if he knew that he said that he thought visiting the kids was more important then group therapy.  Which then begs to ask why my visits were refused for camping with my mother when they camped regularly with them each summer.  So a camping trip is more important then group therapy that ended up saving my life?  Makes no sense.

He then went on to testify that my mother had done all she could to communicate with me and her home always had an open door policy for me to see the kids any time I wanted.  No mention of the summer of 09 when I was refused for 2 months 2 see my kids because her requirement of a 3rd party.  He then went on to explain about the kids reactions to visits that he had been informed of by my mother.  Everything always had to do with my mother.  He went on that she did all she was told to do.  Taking all the courses provided and suggested.  But then my lawyer caught him and asked what courses had they suggested to me.  He had to admit that he didn't suggest anything other then parenting courses.  My lawyer asked if the parenting courses that my parents had taken if they had been offered to me and he said that they could not be offered to me because it was for only kinship caregivers.  Then he said I should have taken courses for kids of high needs.  My lawyer asked if that was suggested to me.  His response was I should have thought of that myself.  So my question is if no one is telling me these kids are high needs and no signs are being shown that they are when they are in my care then how would i know to take those courses?  Then my lawyer asked him if anyone had suggested I get counseling for domestic violence and he responded with another lie.  He said he was positive he had.  The only thing I was told was to get counseling that was it.  Not what type.  My therapist suggested domestic violence counseling.  He also testified that he knew of the abuse and the assaults but yet no one offered me any help or suggestions. 

He then went on to lie more saying I refused to see the kids after thanksgiving of 09.  Yet my emails will prove that this is a bold face lie.  I put in requests and they were ignored.  I was then told that I could not visit the kids till the JDR.  Where they tried to take away my visits.  He then kept on lieing.  He testified that he requested the children be assessed when in fact I begged the judge to get them assessed in the hopes that it would show the brainwashing.  He then lied about there being a supervision order that was being placed on the table.  He said this idea was only hashed out with the lawyers just to see what kind of scenario it would be.  But that it never went past a discussion and was never a consideration.  This was completely false and again the emails would prove it. 

He then said that I still show no consideration for my kids feelings.  That in the summer my youngest was showing fear of my dog and that they brought this concern to my attention and that I totally ignored his feelings and forced him to be in the car with the dog when we brought them back.  No mention that I provided video and picture proof that this was not how my child honestly felt and that he begged for the dog to ride back with us which they did regularly.  No mention that that same day that they told me this concern that we showed up at the house and he ran to the door calling her name and I provided pictures of him hugging her.  He went on about how I refused to see that my son needed the medication for school and that I was not taking his well being into consideration.  Yet no mention of the research I sent him in the email where I sent the list of side effects and also things they could do that would help these supposed symptoms.  No mention of my repeated requests for them to do a CAT scan on him to prove conclusively that he had it.  Nothing.

My lawyer tried to ask him if he knew what Battered Wife Syndrom was.  He testified that he was no expert but he had read some on it.  So my lawyer asked him if he realized that alot of what had happened could be contributed to that.  Before he could answer the departments lawyer asked the judge to stop that line of questioning.  And the judge agreed stating that it really had no place in this trial and he could not see any importance as to bring up that issue.  So that stopped all questions pertianing to that which was another big part of my case.  I truely  felt like I was not allowed to give my defence or proof.

He repeated a lot of what my mother had stated in his testimony as well.  Again if my emails, that i still have, had been submitted that all of this he said she said would have been thrown out the window and it would have destroyed their case and all the lies.  During those two days i remained calm.  I didn't say anything.  Anytime I thought of something I wrote it down in my book for my lawyer to see.  But when I was alone I broke down crying.  If I was the judge with the limited info he had I would not send the kids to me.  Yet if he had my proof it would have changed the whole picture.

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Sunday, November 28, 2010

Trial Part one

The trial lasted 3 days.  It went from Nov 4-8th.  I will post this in 3 segments.  The first day, the second day and the last day.  I can tell you right off it was very stressful.  The first day was more stressful then any of the others.

Our day started out the night before.  My fiance worked till midnight that night and then we were up by 5:30am so we could be out the door by 6:15am at the latest.  We bought some 5 hour energy drinks to be able stay awake and alert.  Not those sugar fill things.  The little shots.  When we got to town we dropped my dog off at a really good doggy daycare for the day.  Then we headed to the courthouse.  We met up with my lawyer and he prepared us for the coming testimonies.  The department got to present their witnesses on the first two days.  On the first day The departments supervisor was the first to testify.  Then one of the workers that we had had only for a short time.  After her was my mother and after her was the psychologist that did the assessment on the children.  The next day would be the main worker we had had and as well as the psychologist that did my parental assessment.  So here we go.

The supervisor was the first to get on the stand.  She was not a supervisor when we first met her.  She was a worker and she was the one that came to the house with the police in February of 2008 to take the kids.
The Supervisors testimony.  She got up and testified that when she arrived at the house it was a mess, that there was cat and dog urine and feces everywhere and this was the cause of the smell.  She attested that the kids were not dressed and were dirty when she arrived.  She attested that after the sewer backup that my daughter was still made to stay down in the basement.  She said I did not contact anyone for any assistance.  She said I moved away from the mental health treatment that they had set up for me.  All of this was false.  Facts take and twisted and facts removed to make the case look worse then what it was.  The truth was there was no cat or dog urine or feces in the house.  I am a published dog trainer.  I am know for teaching dogs to use a potty pen outside instead of using a yard.  I also am known for teaching dogs to throw up in tubs or showers instead of on carpets or beds.  Why would I train my dogs to do this yet allow them to get in the house?  It makes no sense.  As for the cats for 13yrs previous to this I was a foster home and volunteer trainer for rescues.  They would not allow a foster home to be in that condition especially since they provide all the food and litter the cats need so are there regularly.  Was my house spotless?  None.  I can be honest.  I own a German Shepherd or otherwise known as a German Shedder.  I did keep it reasonably clean.  But when she arrived to pick up the kids the whole upstairs was filled with all the things from my daughters room, her bathroom, the playroom and so on.  So did the house stink? Yup.  From the sewer letting go.  Proven by the insurance records.  I also have hundreds of pictures and videos to prove the usual state of my home.  Lived in but clean.  As to the kids being dirty and not dressed this was a total lie.  They were dressed.  The baby was in a onesy and my son had his PJ's still on when they called.  I was dressing them when they called and finished getting them ready along with packing a bag when they showed up.  My daughter was not even at the house when she showed up.  The night the sewer backed up I woke her up and took her upstairs.  The next day she was at my mothers.  So she never had to be down there after it was discovered.  AS for asking for help I had called the LDS Social Services for help because my husbands Aunt worked with them.  They offered no assistance on what to do with my husbands temper and trying to make things work or help my daughter.  So I did ask for help.  I also asked my own church as well.  My home teacher knew some of the stuff going on.  No support was given to me.  As for the mental health treatment there was nothing set up.  And I was the one that got it all going within a few months of moving.  This small town offered nothing in the way of counseling that I could access because of my Service Dog.  The big city I moved to offered so much more in the way of help, therapy and assistance in parenting.

The next person to testify was the worker we had that went behind our backs and got the temporary guardianship order.  My lawyer was not to interested in her because it was really a non issue as far as he was concerned.

Then my mother got up and testified.  My mother got up and as soon as her mouth opened she was lieing.  She was very animated.  Loud and moving around a lot.  Her first lie was about when my daughter moved in with them.  First she attested that my daughter had to walk back and forth through the sewer stuff for days and had to sleep down there still.  Then she said that my daughter moved in with them on February 10th.  The Insurance records show that the back up happened on the 23rd of February.  My daughter moved in with her the very next day the 24th.  Then she testified about how she tried to offer assistance to me by taking the kids for the week starting on the 14th.  So that my husband and I could have some private time.  This can be proven false as well because on the 14th I was at home with the kids and that night I tried to kill myself.  When I left the kids were home and in bed.  The next day I was in the psych ward in the city 30 minutes away and was there till the next day.  So that whole story was made up and can be proven.  Then she went on about how it had been so long since she and her husband had parented and that it was a totally different world now and that they took tons of courses that the department advised them to take on parenting.  She then went into what programs they have the kids in, all the activities and fun they have and so on.  The truth is that 6yrs previous to my kids ending up there she and her husband had kicked the youngest step kid out.  So it was not ages since she had had kids.  And of course she took all the courses.  She had taken a ton of courses about home schooling and parenting when she had the step kids.  She was one of the main people to go to on homeschooling while she was abusing the step kids.

Then she went into how healthy the kids are now compared to how they were.  The first one she started with was my youngest.  She said that he stank when he arrived and was paranoid about eating.  Screaming till he was fed.  Said that he was overly clingy then and that he had spots all over his body.  The truth is that those spots appeared 2 weeks after the kids were taken.  And I was the one that complained during a visit with them to social services about the spots.  AS for his screaming for food he was still adjusting to formula after being on breast milk.  I had had a few months reserve in the freezer that I had pumped when I stopped breast feeding him.  It ran out the middle of February.  He didn't like the formula so there was that adjustment going on.  As for clingy of course he was.  He stayed with me all the time.  Even sleeping in his crib that was right up against the side of my bed.  So he went from being with me all the time to suddenly no mommy except for visits at 5 months old.  Then she started to say that he is now hyperactive and has been diagnosed as ADHD.  He just turned 3 by the trial.  They can not diagnose a child that young as ADHD.  And when we had him for overnights and for visits there was no sign of this hyperactive personality she was attesting too.  He learned quickly and concentrated on things very well for his age.  His only issue was always needing his security blanket and not being potty trained yet.  He was a typical 3yr old with the energy of one.

Then she moved onto my oldest son who just turned 6.  She attested that when he came to live with them he could not talk.  That he could only bark like a dog.  That he would have 2 hour long temper tantrums, was aggressive to others.  All of this was untrue.  When my oldest son was born he swallowed a lot of the maconium.  This caused him to not be able to make any sounds for the first month of his life.  After that he had a hard time learning sounds.  He could talk he just had a speech impediment.  So you had to work with him on repeating words.  The only time he would bark was when he was pretending to be a dog and this was when he would play with our dogs.  As for two hour temper tantrums this worries me.  He never did that at my home and I have never witnessed anything like described during any visit.  He was the typical child.  When he would do something wrong he would get a time out.  The first part of the time out he would be angry and verbalize that like most children do.  half way through it would stop and he would be saying sorry mommy and so on.  His time outs were always 1 minute per year of age.  So 3 minutes when he was 3 and now he is 6 so 6 minutes.  If he was throwing temper tantrums that bad or that long I would want to know what my mother and her husband were doing so that it lasted for that long.  As for violence he had never shown any violence.  Maybe a shove here or there at his brother when arguing over a toy but that would be it.  I highly doubt her description of this behaviour.

Then she moved on to how she says he is now.  He has had to redo kindergarten.  She says he does not retain information.  That she can't remember names of people he meets, that he can't remember numbers or letters, that he has no concentration or patience for doing written work of any sorts but that he loves puzzles and is good at them.  That he gets angry very easily and that he can never sit still.  The truth is my mother is lazy when it comes to working with my oldest son.  The summer of 09 she kept trying to convince me he was color blind so that she had a reason that he didn't know colors or letters or numbers.  He couldn't even print his name.  I doubted this diagnoses just like I doubt all of them she comes up with.  So I worked with him.  All it took was us working with him on visits and with in 2 visits he could print his name(though sometimes some of the letters were upside down or backwards).  We worked on him with his colors and with in a few weeks he knew all the primary colors and many others.  We started to work on his letters and numbers with him more this year and have noticed that the only time he gets frustrated is when he has to read the letter or print it.  Same with numbers.  So I started using techniques for kids that have dyslexia.  He was picking it up fast this fall till the visits stopped.  I begged for them to have him tested for dyslexia.  I have had it my entire life and he shows all the same symptoms.  He has a great attention span for all other actives.  He is not hyper active at all.  He does have a lot of energy but only what is normal for his age and he easily takes direction.  Sadly I am seeing the same in my youngest when it comes to not being taught the basics.  My youngest is 3 and he has no idea the names of most every day animals let alone the sounds they make.  He has no idea about colors or the ABC's or any of those things.  This is not because he is ADHD.  This is because he has not been worked with.  We were spending 30 minutes of each visit at home working with him on these things and also working with my older son on the things he needs worked with.

She next started on my daughter.  Said when she came to stay with them she was withdrawn and scared of people, that she would pee her pants at school and began acting out my the first summer by peeing in her closet.  Said she had no friends and was not allowed to do any school activities.  Said her grades were bad and she was failing and that she had missed a ton of school while in my care and that all changed.  The truth is my daughter did have some issues but basically the opposite my mother stated.  She was not withdrawn.  We were actually dealing with issues of her bullying other children.  Twice she kicked another child for no reason so as a punishment I required her to write an apology and also give up one of her favorite toys to that child so that she could see if she put her hands on another child in a violent manner then she would lose something dear to her.  She was not scared of people and was no way withdrawn.  In fact in her report cards it tells of how popular and chatty she is and that she needs to learn to do her school work more instead of wanting to chat with her neighbouring student.  I have no idea what she means about her peeing her pants at school.  Never happened in my care and if it happened in my mothers I would want to know what was going on at home to cause that.  As for the peeing in the closet again I have no idea what they are talking about but if she was then what was going on in that house at that time.  She had been living with my mother for several months by then.  As for friends she had tons of friends.  I have many pictures of her with her friends at the house, the large b-day parties I would throw for her.  Activities we had her in were swimming, a skating club and also sparks.  So she had activities she was in.  As for missing school her report cards that I have show that she missed less school when she was with me then she has had since she moved in with my mother.  My kids are more often sick now then not.  And this worries me.  They were rarely sick when they lived with me.

She then moved on to visits.  Saying they rarely happened though she has always made her home available and always begged me to come over or call.  She said once they went camping and I showed up at the camp site on a few occasions and told the kids i was not there to see them but to see her husband.  Supposedly I talked to him for a while and then left without saying anything to my kids though my mother testifies that they were begging me to see them.  This in fact never happened.  I don't drive.  My mother testified that I showed up alone and the only way to get there was to drive.  I have never had a license.  So that right there shows the extent she is lieing.

Then she stated that on all the visits the youngest would scream and cry saying No Mommy No Mommy.  He never said those words to me.  And only on 3 visits did he cry.  And that was the visits surrounding the supervision order.  Prior to the announcement of the supervision order there were no issues and once it was removed from the table this behaviour stopped.  Which led me to figure that he was being made to be scared.  Within minutes though of being with us he stopped crying and we have video that shows this.  He would be happy and laughing and playing the whole time with no issues.  Again pictures and video prove this.

Then she went on to her lies about the phone calls the thanksgiving visit and so on that I have explain in previous posts.  Then she went into her spiel about how much she loves me and has always been so concerned about me.  How she has always had an open door policy with me and has always helped me when ever I need it.  That she has always been worried about my mental health and my ability to make up these stories and seriously believe them(hmm I guess the step kids have the same mental issues too since they can back up so much of it).  She said she always wished that I would get well enough to parent but knew that would never happen and knew that I was a danger to any child and that for the sake of the kids mental and physical well being they should stay with her.  That they get physically ill 3-4 days prior to me picking them up and have terrible nightmares for days after.  That I have been violent since I was young but present as normal. 

I sat there the entire time and just stared at her with a straight face.  I did not look away.  I wanted her to see that I had over come her control over me even while she was doing her best to destroy me and ensure I lost my kids.  I didn't break till I was alone with friends after court let out and then I cried and shook.  At this point in the trial I seriously felt that my mother might win with all the lies.  I felt it was her last means to hurt me and she was doing all she could.

My lawyer tried to question her on her past but the departments lawyer stopped it and the judge backed her up.  He stated that this was not about my mothers fitness or history of being a parent but whether I was fit to parent and whether the kids would do better in my homes or if would affect them badly mentally.  So nothing was allowed to be submitted of all she had done prior to children.  Not her record, nothing.  So there was no way for him to see how she can brainwash kids to say and do anything.  Or how she could convince professionals or anything.  A huge part of my case was destroy in those few words. 

Right now I have a huge headache and this is already fairly long.  I would put the children's assessors testimony in the next post so I can have a break.

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Going Through Puberty

That is one time in life you really don't want to be in my mothers care.  I will start with myself.  When I hit puberty I had no idea what was going on.  My mother never discussed anything with me.  I was 12 and I was at home alone.  My sister was off with friends and my mother was out with her friends.  I felt these awful pains and ran to the bathroom.  When I saw all the blood I freaked out.  I thought I was dieing.  I ran to the phone and called my mother at the restaurant she was at.  One of the people working there picked up and I asked for my mother saying it was an emergency.  Luckily her table was right next to where the phone was.  I told her what was happening.  She started laughing and then announced it to the whole group she was with.  Telling them what an idiot I was because I was crying and thought I was dieing.  They all started laughing.  I still had not been told what was going on but because I was so embarrassed I hung up the phone.  I grabbed a towel crawled into bed and curled into a ball and cried.  I was scared and in a lot of pain and alone.  I had no idea what was wrong with me and people thought it was funny. 

About an hour later my sister came home.  She asked me what was wrong.  I told her and she took me into the bathroom to show me how to use a tampon.  Holy Cow that hurt to use.  I was in so much pain from it that after 10 minutes I had to take it out.  My sister said it was a couple of sizes too big for me and that I would have to wait till my mother got home to get ones for my size.  She got home about an hour after that.  First she walked up to me and slapped me on the face.  I coward in front of her.  She told me that if I ever hung up on her like that again that she would beat me senseless.  She told me about how I had embarrassed the crap out of her by hanging up on her in front of her friends.  She then asked my sister if she had taken care of me.  She said that hers didn't fit and I needed a much smaller size.  My mother then said tough.  She was not going out again and I would have to wait till tomorrow.  She didn't give me anything for the pain.  Just told me to go to bed for the rest of the day.  The next day she did get me the small size.  It was still uncomfortable but I could handle it.

I didn't understand that periods could affect moods.  I seemed to cry at the drop of a hat.  For no reason at all.  A few days later I got home from school and was looking in the fridge for a snack.  There were only apples and I didn't want one.  I wanted an orange.  I started crying.  I didn't know why.  I just did.  And my mother walked in demanding why I was crying.  I told her there were only apples and i had wanted an orange.  She then started hitting and kicking me around the kitchen.  Accusing me of telling her that she was not providing well for us and that I should be thankful for what ever I had.  She then grabbed me by my hair and literally dragged me to my room and tossed me in so hard that I slammed hard into the bunk bed my sister and I shared.  My side hurt for weeks after that any time I breathed, moved to fast or twisted or lifted something.  There was a huge black and blue bruise that formed there and remained for over 2 weeks. 

I was not the only one that suffered while going through puberty.  When the oldest step daughter was going through it was when she was made to live out in the barn for over two months.  And when the youngest step daughter was going through it she was residing alone with my mother and her 5th husband.  She basically was made to live in her room.  Only coming out to do cleaning or for meals.  My mother took great joys in telling teachers, therapists and others all sorts of lies to convince them that she was trying hard to work with her but that she had mental issues and was acting out badly.  In the end she was kicked out when she was 12.  My mother told people that she had taken all of her photo albums to the basement and set them on fire.  She accused the step daughter of tearing them all up and putting them in the trash.  Neither story was try.  The albums didn't exist.  When we had moved from the east coast to the prairie provinces we traveled by bus and had had to leave a ton of items behind.  Including the photo albums.  My mother had said they were not worth it to bring because there were so many bad memories.  She only brought one album with us.  And when this was going on with the step daughter I had that album in my possession.  A few years later I returned it.  The accusations were just a way for her to have another excuse to kick another child out.  Luckily her dad though had remarried and came to get her. 

I truly fear for my children when they start to go through puberty.  It is hard enough to go through it in the best of places but around my mother it is even more confusing and at times scary.

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Saturday, November 27, 2010

Family Counsels & Chore Lists

My mother loved to take actual good ideas of parenting and twist it to her own sick needs.  Take for example chore lists.  Chores are a good thing in teaching children responsibility for not only them selves but for their environment.  Chore lists are a good idea for reminding them what their responsibilities are and keeping them organized.  People probably wonder how you can twist that.  Well someone like my mother could.  The step kids and I didn't have a chore list.  We had a chore booklet each.  Yup I said each.  Mine of course was the thickest since I was the oldest then came the oldest step kid then the step son and so on.  My mother of course didn't have a list.  She was management.  Her husband Mr. Fix It.  So my mother was the only one that didn't have to do anything yet took all the credit and would constantly complain about how hard her job was.

The list of chores were insane and all had a time limit.  If you missed your time limit then the consequences were bad.  For example the step son was responsible for feeding the dogs.  One was a very big black dog named Bear.  He was always kept chained to the Quonset.  If the step son did not place the dish just right then bear could knock it over.  If the dog did then the consequence of it would be he had to eat the dog food.  I remember once the dog threw up the food.  My mother told the step son it was because he didn't clean the dishes good enough.  So made him eat the thrown up food.  He cried the entire time.  If he argued or made too much of a fuss then she would yell at him and smack him on the back on the head. 

Perfection was the key to do the chores and everything had to be done just the way my mother dictated.  For example dishes.  The water had to me the temperature she required.  Which meant scalding.  Your hands would be red as lobsters withing minutes of starting.  To this day I can handle hotter water in the sink then most because of it.  If she caught you adding cold water then she would refill the sink and stand behind you.  On most occasions, unless you were a favorite that week(and this could change from week to week) she would find fault with every chore you did.  Requiring you to do it over and over and over.  Yup her house was spotless and her kids were always clean.  But not by her hands.  By our own.

Family counsels happened every week.  And yes family counsels are an awesome parenting tool in the right hands.  It gives everyone a voice and a chance to air grievances and so on.  Not in this house.  It was a change to single one child out and humiliate them in front of the others.  It was also a time to unleash fear and threaten.  On many occasions my mother would look at all of us and tell us that they could drop us all off in the middle of a large city and no one would notice or care.  There would could be murdered or raped.  She also would tell us on many occasions that she could kill us and no one would notice.  She would also tell us that we should be thankful to be living there because if we left we would be put into foster homes and they like to rape children there and a lot of the time kids go missing and no one cares or notices.  We were always fearful of losing our only home.

The restrictions were also crazy and fanatical.  No music or radio unless it was Mormon or church music.  No TV ever and no movies unless they were church movies or g rated.  All skirts or dresses had to be below the knee, no vee necks ever, nothing even lightly tight.  All the girls had to have long hair and the boys short.  No friends allowed over ever.  No calls.  No dating.  I was not even allowed salt on my food.  And since I have a salt deficiency this really affected me badly health wise.  Up by 6 for scripture study.  I also had to write reports on the scriptures read.  We were totally isolated and had no access to anything that would tell us that this was not legal or right or even how to seek help. 

It was like a totally different world.  No one had to tell us what Hell was.  We lived it every day.

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How Far Will They Go?

After the threats I was nervous to say the least.  I felt like they could do anything they wanted when it came to stopping me from seeing my kids and that I had no rights or ability to stop it.  We put in another visit request for August 20, 2010 First request made on the 12(no response), also put in a standing request that all visits be made weekend or over night visits. Second request made on the 18. Received a confirmation was told in same confirmation that the visit for the 27th was a go. Had a great visit.  We were already informed that the 27th visit was also a go so we waited till the next visit.

Was informed on the 20th that that day would not work and to switch to the day before(26th). Also the department requested to put my oldest son on ADHD meds. I denied the request because I do not believe he has it and if it is proven he does then the last resort is meds. I would try other alternatives first that are safer. We were emailed the name of the drug that they wanted him on.  THe side effects were crazy and are listed in one of my other posts.  I sent them a reply listing a slew of alternatives, if he was ADHD, that they could do to help aleviate the behaviour without meds.  We confirmed we would pick up the kids on the 26th. Had visit. More accusations were made against our dog. This time that she had jumped up and scratched my oldest sons eye lid. So we provided pictures to show that just before we dropped the kids off there were no scratches proving that this did not happen in our home or with our dog but after they were dropped off at the departments building.  Requested the next visit for September 3, 2010 First requested visit on the 30. Received confirmation on the 1st. Had visit.  Requested the next visit for September 10, 2010 First request made on the 6. The worker tried to reduce this visit to 4 hours but I had to make sure it was 6 hours to ensure a visit since the weather has been so cold and wet. Asked for confirmation on the 8(no response). Asked again on the 9. Received confirmation. Had visit.

From this point things seemed to be getting easier to get the visits.  Requested the next visit for
Sept 17, 2010 First request on the 14. Request confirmed on the 15. Had visit.  Requested the next one for
Sept 24, 2010 First request made on the 20. Visit confirmed. Had visit.  Requested the next one for
Oct 1, 2010 First request made the 28. Received confirmation on the 29th. Had Visit.  Requested the next one for Oct 8-11, 2010 First request made in August(no response). Second Request made Sept 23(no response). Third request made on 1(no response). Received a reply on the 5th. Denying a weekend visit(so no b-day or thanksgiving with the kids). Was told the visit would be Friday for 6 hours as normal. No reason stated as to why. I asked them 5 times in the days leading up to the holiday weekend as to their reason to denying the holiday with me. They ignored all requests.  That weekend was also my oldest sons b-day and the following weekend was my youngest sons b-day.  We had requested the weekend for Thanksgiving so we could have a party for my oldest son and also have thanksgiving together.  So far ever since they were taken I was only allowed one holiday visit with them.  All their choosing not mine.

The next visit we requested for was the weekend of Oct 15-17, 2010 Made first request in August(no reply). Made second request on Sept 23(no reply). Made third request on Oct 1. Received a refusal for the weekend. Made fourth request on the 14th for the 6 hours. Got a confirmation on the 14th. Had the visit.  Agian because of this we were unable to do the party we had planned.  I could not understand why they would not allow over nights or weekends.  They never gave a reason though I asked multiple times.

From there we had to say no to the October 22 visit because both my fiance and I were sick with the flu.  But we did get to have what became our last visit on October 31st.  I have not seen my children since then.  We had the trial(I will give details to this in my next post) and immedately following the trial they cut my visit hours in half.  Telling me we were only alottedOUr gas for the whole day was only $30.  We always prepared home made hot meals at the house.  And being home meant that the kids were safe and warm and could play board games with us, make crafts and play with their toys.  They are young and can't focus on one thing for 3 hours.  My own lawyer even stated they are going against the rules provided to them to follow and are making their rules with no thoughts to the welfare of the children. 

I miss my kids so much.  I know my oldest son is probably thinking he has done something wrong.  I sit here crying as I write this because I want to be with my children and they are already doing all they can to eliminate me from their lives and there is nothing I can do to stop it.  My legal Aid runs out with the verdict on the 9th of December.  After that I will have no funds or way to fight this or appeal if the PGO is granted. 

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A Toddlers Suffering

At the beginning of April a very good friend gave us the ability to see m kids when ever we could.  In exchange for some work he gave us a car.  With this car we were able to see the children for a lot cheaper.  So more requests were put in.  They went like this:

We wanted a visit for May 7th.  Request made on 29th. Received confirmation on the 30. Had visit. Was informed that my youngest would see an eye doctor in early May.  My lawyer then informed me that we were making head way with the department.  They were considering a supervision order and as such was going to start allowing me over night visits.  This would be a lot easier for us.  We were having visits at our home so that weather could not affect the visit.  So it was a 90 minute drive there to get them, another 90 minutes back to our city.  Then a 3 hour visit at our home and then a 90 minute drive to drop them off and then another 90 minutes back home.  It was a very long day for us with all the driving so at the end of it we were always exhausted.  So this excited me. 

We put in our request for our first over night visit for the May 21-22, 2010 Request made on the 7th. Received confirmation on the 13th for an over night visit. When I changed my youngest for a bath I Discovered that he was 35 inchs tall, 2yrs and 7months old and only 25LBS. Took pictures and forwarded them to the lawyer.

You Can View The Pictures Here

His knees and elbows were huge compared to his stick like arms and legs.  You could see all his ribs, his spine stood out prominately.  All his bones stood out.  There was not an ounce of fat on him.  At dinner that evening my fiance and I worked hard to get him to eat.  After 2 bites of food he said he was full and wanted down.  So we played with him with his food and succeeded in getting him to eat it all.  My oldest son asked why we were doing that. He said at home playing at the table was not allowed and that when his brother asked to get down to play my mother let him down.  All kids go through growth spurts and times when they eat very little.  It is the parents/gaurdians job to ensure they get the nutrition they need for their growing bodies.  It angered me a great deal that my son looked this way.  None of my children were ever this skinny.  Lawyer sent in request for my youngest to see a paediatrician along with forwarding all pictures and measurements to all other lawyers.  I did not want to return him in that condition because by the next day he was out eating me at the table.  But I knew I had no choice.  I was a mother wanting to protect her children and was not permitted too.

We made the request to have another over night visit for the May 29-30, 2010 First request made on the 22(no response). Made second request on the 25(no response). Third request on the 26th(no response). Fourth and final request made on the 27th. Got confirmation. Had visit. No change in Ronan’s weight. Asked repeatedly also if Ronan had yet been seen by a doctor. No response from the department.  Also when we picked up the children both my mother and her husband did the exchange.  Here is a copy of the email I sent to the department about what happened when we picked them up, names have been removed for privacy:

"From: ****

To: ****

CC: ****

Subject: Nicole

Date: Sat, 29 May 2010 14:13:16 -0700

.Just wanted to let you know that when we picked up the kids we told my mothers husband and my mother that we had the cell and it was recording. They immediately started to try fighting with us. Even to the point where they were yelling at us and threatening to press charges. All of this in front of the children. My fiance and I kept calm and everytime they yelled, threaten or made accusations about them not agreeing to be recorded I calmly answered with the fact that we have it recorded from one of the previous visits that we had told her husband that all interactions would be recorded now and he had agreed to it. He then said he works for the cops so will have us charged. They just kept yelling about it having to be in writing (verbal agreements are just as binding) and that they would have us charged for illegally recording them. So I finally told them to go ahead. I was not going to fight with them or yell at them in front of the kids so I took the kids to the other side of the car. Her husband then demanded my fiance to prove he had a drivers liscense. My fiance said he did. My mothers husband demanded he show it to him. So my fiance opened up his wallet and showed him it. Her husband then demanded he hand his wallet over. So my fiance gave him the wallet. After it was proven that he had a liscense her husband then demanded to know if the car was registered. My fiance said yes. Her husband demanded to see proof. So my fiance got it out and showed it to him.

I am not comfortable with how they behaved in front of the children in this situation. If they no longer agreed to being recorded they should have informed you and you in turn would have then informed us. Yes this interaction was all recorded. Since they are behaving this way and refusing to now being recorded and threatening us in front of the kids I would appreciate you arrange someone to else to do the transfers of the children that does agree to being recorded. With the false accusations that have been made in the past I have a legal right to protect myself by recording these interactions. If they are refusing then someone else has to handle the transfers.

The one for Sunday is the last one I will agree to with them. I will not have them yelling and threatening us in front of the children. So please arrange someone else to do the transfers for next weekend when we pick them up on Friday and bring them back on Sunday. I appreciate your attention to this matter.
Nicole "

I never did recieve a response to this email.  We had a fun visit.  I weighed my son and there was no change in his weight.  I had yet to hear from the department about him seeing a pediatrian.  And I was getting the feeling I wouldn't.  When we dropped off the children the next day there was someone there for the exchange which I was very glad to see.  We wanted to have the kids for a weekend this time so we put in the request to have them for the weekend of June 4.  First request made on 30(no response). Second request made on the 2(no response). Third request on the 3(no response). Received a response on 4th. Day of visit. Visit was denied. No reason given as to why. Still asking for a confirmation on Ronan’s doctors visit. No response on whether he has been or not.  I was getting frustrated by this time.

In the mean time my lawyer forwarded me a copy of the potential supervision order.  We agreed to every condition except two that pertained to my mother.  All phone calls between my mother and the children would be done at the social services building in our city with a worker present also all exchanges were to be done there as well.  After her threats the last time I was cutting all contact.  I had to take this woman out of my life completely because of the effect she had on me and the damage she could do.  My lawyer sent in a revised plan and our agreement to it.  The next day she was informed that the supervision order was off the table.  And that they were still going for the PGO.

I put in another request for a visit for the weekend of the 11th.  First request made on the 4(no response). A 4 hour interview(web cammed) was held at our place on the 8th. No reply as to whether we were getting that weekends visit or not during the conversation. Was finally told my youngest had seen a family doctor(not a paediatrician) 10 days prior to the meeting but no response as to what was discovered. Requested the visit twice on the 10th(No response). Requested again twice the morning of the visit. Visit was finally denied late that day. No reason as to why.  After I would find this out I would break down.  I wanted to see my kids.  There was no reason I should not be allowed to see my kids.

I sent in another request for a visit for the weekend of the 18th.  Made first request on the 11(no response). Second request made on the 15(no response). Third request made on the 16(no response). Fourth request made on the 17(no response). Finally heard the day of visit. Visit denied and was informed that all visit was now being changed to 4-6 hours. Only reason give was because of the application for PGO.  I was stunned.

I wanted to see my kids so I would take what I could.  I sent in a request to have a visit for June 26th. 

First request made on the 18(No response). Also again asked for the doctors report on my youngest sons evaluation. Second request made on the 22. Received a response confirming the visit on the 23rd. Had visit. The doctors report that I was promised was actually just a sentence on a prescription pad saying he had been in the doctors office and appeared normal. My youngest son's weight had actually dropped from 25lbs to 24 when we weighted him this visit. Because of his weight drop and no response to this concern we felt our only option was to speak to the police about it. We informed the department that we had and we also phoned the emergency contact number that Social Services had given us. The department then requested a criminals records check on my fiance.  So we were a step further and did the one that people who work with children would have to get.  We faxed a Criminal Records check (24th) to the office as requested. It was clear.

We then put in a request for the next visit for July 7th.  First request made on the 25(no response). Finally received a response on the 2nd asking us to change the date. Could not due to work schedule. Visit was denied and we were told that no visits could occur till after the 14.  The reason given was the kids were going camping with my mother.

Our next request, due to movig to a bigger house to assits my fiances mother(her rent had increased and her ability to do some things at the age of 77 was getting very difficult).  The next visit was request for August 6.  Made first request on the 1(no response). Finally received a response on the 4th confirming the visit. Had visit.  The kids loved the new house.  And we had a ton of fun.

We put in the next request for August 12.  First request made on the 6(no response). Finally received a confirmation on the 11. Had visit. When we arrived the worker and his supervisor said they needed to talk to us beforeallow the visit.  I was not comfortable with this idea without my lawyer but I wanted to see my children so agreed.  They then proceeded to threaten that if I took the children to the police, hospital or doctor that all my visits would be taken away. Also was told that more accusations were made. This time against my dog who is a trained Medical Alert Dog. She was accused of biting my youngest yet there were no marks. They said my youngest was presenting as fearful of the dog. So I provided pictures and videos of him and the dog playing together. To show that these thoughts are being placed in the child’s head and is not actually the fact.  I then told them if I provided more video and pictures of todays visit showing that there was no fear and it was all made up like the other false accusations to please check the source of the accusations.  I provided the videos and pictures.  They did not say anything.  I knew that my mother was having a hard time agianst my proof and ablity to protect myself from her lies so she was trying to not only make my home sound unsafe but also take away my supports. 

How was I to protect my kids with them threatening to take away all visits if I contacted athorities?  The question is I couldn't.  I was being forced into a corner and I could see no way out for me or my kids.

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Friday, November 26, 2010

Truth Does Not Always Win Out

After the JDR I went home a lot happier.  I put in a request to see my kids for Christmas.  They of course did not send me a reply.  So a week before Christmas I was invited to spend Christmas with the mother of the man I was dating and his adult daughter.  I went there and spent a wonderful two weeks.  I called my kids a couple of times but still had no word from the department.  A day before Christmas I went back to my home and found 3 messages from the worker asking me when I was going to have my Christmas visit.  I had been checking my email daily and he replied of course by phone instead of by email.  I emailed him back letting him know that since he had gotten back to me via phone I had not gotten the message and he was to communicate by email.  I keep all the emails I send and receive from the department, my lawyer and my mother so that I have proof of what was actually going on.  I never got a reply back.  No surprise.

I did get a wonderful surprise though.  The man I was dating proposed.  I accepted.  My kids really got a long well with him when he was with us for visits and this was very important to me.  I emailed my lawyer right away.  Her reply was that this was great because one of the things the department was using against me was the fact that my ex and I kept getting back together and they wanted to convince the judge that I would go back.  I had not been in contact with him since the March prior.  She announced it to the department and to the other lawyers on the 6th of January because he also moved in with me that month.  The department needed to know all the people residing in the home.

Neither of us had a car at the time and times were very tight so there were no extra funds for visits.  I called and told the kids the second week of January.  My daughter congratulated me and my oldest son screamed with joy.  He loved "Donald"  the kids called him this because he could talk like Donald Duck.  AS my son was excitedly talking to me about all the things he and my fiance would do I heard whispering in the back ground.  10 minutes later my daughter came back on and said she was not comfortable with him.  I asked her why.  She said because she didn't know him.  I told her that only time would do that and he was very excited to teach her to play her new guitar.  He asked her to list some of her favorite songs for him to teach her.  She listed off several church songs.  Then my mother called her away from the phone.  There was more whispering.  Then she came back on and said she was not comfortable with him because she had seen him hurt the dog when she was that during thanksgiving.  I asked her what she saw.  She was quiet for a minute then said that the dog would not stop barking so he had grabbed her mouth and squeezed till she cried.  My fiance and I both knew this was not true.  My dog is a service dog and trained to only give one or 2 alert barks and then stop on command.  I told her that she knew that did not happen.  She got angry and said it did.  She said she saw it with her own eyes.  I reminded her that he was only ever at the house during dinner time and that he was never alone in the home so never had a chance to do that.  She kept saying it happened.  I decided to do something that I had learned from love and logic, one of the parenting courses I had to take.  I told her I loved her too much to argue.  And then tried to switch topics.  She tried to lie again.  So again I said I love you to much to argue.  I did this 3 more times and then the phone went dead.  I thought maybe one of the younger kids pressed a button so phoned back.  My mother husband came on and told me I could not talk to the kids till I learned to listen to them and do as they say.  So I asked him if that meant I was to condone lieing and he hung up.

A waited two days and then called back.  My daughter then said I was not allowed to argue with her.  And i repeated the phrase and then asked about school.  She again stated that I was not allowed to argue with her and had to do as she said.  I asked what she meant.  She then said that I was not allowed to have any more babies.  I was dumbfounded.  I told her that is a decision that an adult makes not a child and that I didn't know if I wanted to have any more babies or not but it was a decision I would make with my fiance.  She told me that I was not allowed to argue with her about it.  I again repeated the phrase from Love and Logic.  And the phone went dead again.  I then contacted my lawyer who contacted the department.  They in turn contacted my mother who said I phoned up my daughter yelling and screaming and calling her names.  That all my daughter was trying to do was explain her feelings and I was telling her she was not allowed those feelings.  They said that when I started swearing is when they hung up the phone.  The department chose to believe her.  So my lawyer advised me no more phone calls to keep everything done via email so we have proof as to what was said.  Sadly though I was informed that my daughter was refusing visits unless they were supervised and only if my fiance removed his tattoo and other crazy rules that pertained to religion and house hold duties to prove I had changed.  I refused to have the visits supervised.  It was just my mothers way of trying to control the visits through my daughter.

Finally at the beginning of March I was able to afford the gas for a visit.  We sent in 4 requests over a 2 week period to get a visit for March 5th.  All request were ignored till the 4th.  Then we received a confirmation.  We had the visit.  We audio recorded the visit with our cell phone.  After the accusations of the last visit we were protecting ourselves.  After that visit we sent in a request for the Easter Holidays.  This is how it went.  Sent in the first request March 9th(no reply), requested again on the 18th(no reply). Both requests were done through my lawyer. Lawyer sent in another request on the 26th(No reply), I sent in a request on the 29th(no reply), lawyer sent in a request on the 31st. Lawyer was told that disturbing allegations made meant that only a 4 hour visit could be granted. The allegations were proven false with audio tape. They never requested my proof.   My Lawyer was never told what the allegations were through she repeated requested what they were.  They took the allegations as fact and I was only allotted 4 hrs for Easter.

The next visit request was for the Easter 4 hour visit which we wanted on the 9th.  Requested it the first time on the 31st. Did not receive a reply till the 6th which was a confirmation. Had the visit.  Again audio taped it.  Just prior to this I went and had my new Parental Assessment.  Also we were audio taping the exchanges as well.  We made sure to inform all parties first that we were.  Against the lieing we had to protect ourselves.

The next visit request was for April 30, 2010 Request made on the 10th, also requested that my youngest
 see an eye doctor for a lazy eye. Received a confirmation on the 16th. Was informed on the 29th that the visit was still a go but that the boys had been throwing up and had the runs. There was no way I was taking them out when sick so I cancelled the visit for their health. Asked if my youngest ad seen an eye specialist yet.  Was told he was not seeing one till some time in May.  At this time I also received a disturbing phone call from my Lawyer.  My mother had faxed the psychologist that had done my parental assessment a bunch of lies.  These are the exact lies she sent from a copy of the fax that I have:

1)  Terrible mood swings sometimes lasting 3 or more weeks.  Even now if my husband of I say or do something she does not like she will not phone or email for weeks on end.  Then she fabricates a story that is untrue, however she believes it and expands on it.

2)  My husband first met Nicole and her daughter in the spring of 2001 when I began dating him.  We went to her place and her house was over run with cats and a blue heeler cross dog.  One only had to open the door and you could smell her house from the basement.  That still seems to be the case because the children carry that smell with them when ever they have a visit(musky, garbage).

3)  Nicole has sent her youngest home with a peed diaper after every short visit, She does not change him after a short visit so what would happen full time.

4)  I am concerned that Nicole will disappear with this children if she gets them back.  She has told me that if she gets the kids back she is not telling the department where she or the kids are at.

5)  These are 3 high needs kids, what is going to happen if she goes into a deep depression.  Who is going to care for them then>

6)  I feel her anger towards me is unfounded and is a smoke screen.  Many times she will ask for help and when it is given she will twist it around and accusations follow.

7)  Her notes on her facebook are full of accusations towards me.

8)  The manner in which she has dialogues with her daughter shows she is incapable of handling these three children.  The two boys can be a handful especially when the oldest boy decides to have a temper tantrum.  Then the youngest will follow and then the daughter and it becomes a  three ring circus. 

9)  Her daughter has displayed that she does not want anything to do with her mother because of the inappropriate way she treats her.  She has told them that if she gets them she is having another baby.  Her daughter wonders why she would want another baby when she is incapable of caring for them. 

10)  I understand Nicole had another sever mood swing from the middle of December to the middle of January.  Cutting off contact from everyone again for about 3-4 weeks.  Refusing to answer her phone or email.

All of these were lies easily proven with pictures, video tapes, audio tapes, witnesses and so on.  But the department didn't want my proof.  They took everything my mother stated or got the children to say as fact.  But sadly for them regardless of the fax, I passed the assessment with flying colors.  The assessor even stated that I had done all the requirements that he had given me at the first assessment and showed amazing improvement. 

Still I felt like a dark cloud was hanging over this and felt like something was still going to stop me from getting my kids back. 

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A Mothers Lies

After stopping the medication I felt like I was waking up from a bad dream.  My mind was no longer cloudy.  I could see problems and plan for the solutions with no feelings of giving up.  I felt like my feet were finally on firm ground again.  At the end of May I requested a visit for a Saturday.  Wanting to see the kids all day.  I had a way to get there every week.  The department told me that visit would be easier if they took place at my mothers and to arrange them with her.  They said they talked to her and that she was wanting the visits at the house.

So I called her.  She told me that the only way a visit could occur at her home was if I provided a third party witness.  She said she had court documents stating that this was a requirement.  She said it was a restriction the department requested after what happened the previous fall.  She told me not to worry about it and that she would arrange a third party person.  I asked her to get someone for that Saturday and she said OK.  During this time I was phoning the kids every day and they were even calling me several times a day.  The day before the visit she called me up sounding upset and saying that her person cancelled and that we couldn't have the visit because of the requirement but that the person confirmed for the next Saturday.  I said OK.  The phone calls continued.  Then the next week the same thing happened and then the next.  Finally at the end of June I was asking her what was going on.  So she told me to phone up the social worker to get the restriction lifted.  I did.  For 4 weeks I would call the social worker multiple times a week after talking to my mother requesting the removal of the restriction.  He would always tell me that there was no restriction and that this was a requirement my mother was placing.  So I tried to get her to agree to one of my friends being the third person and she said it had to be someone the department agreed on.  I was hitting a brick wall and it was over 2 months since I last saw my kids.  My frustration level was increasing. 

Finally I had had enough.  I told the department that someone was lieing.  And since I could not prove which one I was going to have my visits at the social services building.  The next week the visit was arranged. As soon as my mother found out I got a call.  She was angry and spent over 30 minutes yelling at me about how I was undermining her and making things so hard on my kids and so on.  When I could get a word in I reminded her about the issue of the third person requirement and how the department kept saying over and over that it was not required.  Finally she admitted that she and her husband required the third person after the accusations in the Fall.  I said that is fine but to make it easier on all the visit would be at the social services building.  She got so angry that she screamed at me and then slammed down the phone.  All this time she and her husband had been telling me that they had no intention on keeping my kids.  That they just wanted me better so that I could then parent them.  I was starting to get a different picture all together.  As I talked to my mental health team they made it clear that I needed to set up boundaries with them and keep fighting to see my kids.

In August I started to see them again every week and some weeks two or three times.  I was still talking to them on the phone every night.  Though my mother stopped them from calling me.  At every visit my kids would ask me when they were coming home.  Ask me if I still loved them and wanted them.  I always reassured them.  We always took plenty of pictures and videos.  By the middle to end of August the worker was talking like there was a good chance the kids could come home.  So I put in my notice at my one bedroom place and got a 2 bedroom place.  I wanted to make sure I had the room for them.  My daughter and I would share a room and my two sons would share the other room.  I had saved all their bedroom sets, toys and so on.  So got it all ready.  But during my last meeting with the worker the last week of August he had changed his mind.  Instead he told me I had not completed the things the department had listed for me to do so they were applying for a PGO(Permanent Guardianship Order).  I was in shock.  I asked him what I had not done.  He refused to answer.  So I took out the concurrent plans and showed them to him.  I showed him each thing on the list and showed proof that I had done it.  So I again asked him what I had not done.  He still refused to answer.  Finally he said it was too little too late and even stated this on the court documents.  I walked out of there and cried all the way home.

My lawyer was shocked as well.  She and I both knew I had done it all.  But she said we would go to trial so not to worry and to keep doing the visits.  She said now that the medication was solved that I had to show that I was stable for a period of time.  So I continued to visit the kids every week.  My lawyer was able to convince the judge to remove the supervised visits.  So I was able to see my kids without supervision.  Which meant I could take them places.This made visits a lot easier and a lot more fun.  At this time I had two friends coming to the visits with me as not only drivers but also witnesses.

The visits were going so well that my lawyer was able to convince the department to allow me to have weekends with the kids.  Starting on thanksgiving weekend I would get the kids for every third weekend.  Then at Christmas I would have them for the whole Christmas Holiday and then after I would get them for every other weekend.  Then I would have them for the Easter break and then every weekend after that till school ended.  Then the plan was they would finally live with me.  I was so excited.  It went so fast from them going to apply for the PGO to them agreeing to this plan.  I was so excited for the first weekend.  It was a long weekend. 

Two weeks prior to this weekend my mother did another lie.  One of my friends and I had asked my daughter if she would like us to bring some nail polish to do her nails the next time we came.  When my mother heard this she decided to tell the department that I was planning to cut and dye my daughters hair.  At this time the main part of the visit was at a park.  I told the department the plan was to do her nails not hair.  That there was no way we could dye her hair even if we had wanted to since we had no access to a shower.  So the whole thing didn't make any sense.  They refused to believe us and told us that in no way were we allowed to dye her hair.  At this time also my daughter started to show the fanatical brainwashing my mother was doing to her.  Any time we gave her a barbie or any toy she would color the barbie so that it was no longer "naked" and would tell me that it was an inappropriate gift unless it was colored.  She also would throw out  or rip up any clothes for the dolls if the dresses were above the knees, the shirts were to low or so on.  She also saw my one friends tattoo and told me to make him remove it because that was bad and evil.  It was a tattoo of his families Irish Crest.

The department brought the kids to my place at 6pm on the Friday.  I had supper ready and on the table.  I had been informed previous that my oldest son had an intestinal bug so had to stay on a liquid diet.  So I prepared for that.  The kids were very excited.  I had a friend there when they arrived as a witness and had organized to have friends stopping by at various times as witnesses to how the house was kept and the kids moods.  We had so much fun that weekend and I took video and pictures.  I made a thanksgiving dinner for myself, my kids, and several friends.  We all enjoyed it.  I also kept a very detailed log of the whole weekend.

AS soon as we took them back I went home and emailed the department about visit and requesting the next visit for 3 weeks later.  I was excited.  I was happy.  All communication with the department was now done via email after what had happened the summer previous.  This way I had a written record of what people were saying and visits requested.  This was started in September of 2009.  I called my kids several times the next couple of weeks but didn't hear back from the department.  I sent in another email requesting the visit.  Still no reply.  After 3 weeks, just prior to the visit date, my lawyer called to tell me that there had been some disturbing allegations made about the visit.  I was shocked.  I asked what they were.  There were several:
*  The guy I was dating was there all day and all night every day and all we did was sit on the couch making out(in January this story changed to him and I laying on the floor under a blanket wrestling)(He also was working nights, 10pm-6pm at McDonalds at the time and he was renting a room across the street so was only at the house during supper hour and to help put the youngest to bed)
*  That we were swearing all the time
*  That my sons were on time outs the entire time
*  That any time my daughter asked us to stop swearing she would get a 2 hour time out(times outs were the as many minutes as they are in years.  So my oldest son was 5yrs old so that meant his time outs were 5 minutes long)
*  That the whole time the kids were cleaning because I as too busy making out
*  That the kids had to make all of their own meals
*  My daughter had to change my youngest or else he never had his diaper changed

All of it was lies easily proven with the pictures, video, log that I had kept and my witnesses.  My lawyer asked the department if they wanted all of that to prove that it didn't happen.  She got no reply.  I put in more requests for visits.  They were all ignored.  Then my lawyer asked and was told that until the JDR in December that all visits were cancelled.  I couldn't believe they could do that. 

At the same time I had reduced my use of my Service Dog as my mental health improved.  When the JDR came I traveled by bus 2 hours away without her.  All by my self.  There was a judge over seeing it.  More lies came up as their reason for refusing visits.  They wanted the judge to agree to take away my visits and put me back on supervised visits.  The newest lie was that I had called my daughter 5 days after the thanksgiving visit yelling and screaming at her because of the lies she had supposedly told.  My lawyer squashed this.  She told them that this phone call didn't happen and she knew for a fact it didn't.  The judge asked how she knew.  She let him know that I had no idea about the accusations till 3 weeks after the fact and that she had been the one to tell me.  The judge said it was obvious that someone was lieing.  He also said that even if the accusations were true( and he acknowledge that I had proof that they weren't) that they were not enough to take away my visits.  Their next point was that I had failed the parental assessment in April of 2008.  He told them that they could not use that any longer because it was over a year and a half old and that my situation had totally changed.  He told them that it would be best to have me do another one.  He told them to allow my visits and that they were not to be supervised.  I wanted to kiss the judge but refrained.

After hearing all the lies told by the department who was convinced by my mother I knew my struggle with my fight to get my kids was only going to get worse.  But I was not giving up.

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Thursday, November 25, 2010

This Is Not Normal

At the end of December of 2008 my husband moved back in with me.  We ignored the no contact order and were just very careful.  I thought I could not survive with out him.  But the truth was I could die with him.  But I couldn't see it.  My landlord knowing I could not handle the costs of the house released me from our lease and I found a cheaper place to live.  Sadly it was not a good place to live.  It had all the rooms for the kids we needed and the price was right but the people who lived in the basement and beside us were not nice people.  If I even walked across the floor I would get yelled at from the downstairs tenant.  And the tenant beside us would not allow me to even turn on music or else she would be banging on the walls or calling the cops.  It was crazy.  I had started to visit the kids.  Just once a month and I would take the bus.  It would leave a 5am and not return till 8pm.  My visit were at the social services building and were only for 2 hours but they were worth it.  The rest of the time I had to sit at the bus station.  I was not permitted to be in my mothers house after I had informed the department of what had gone on.  I still talked to the kids almost every night though all the calls were on speaker phone.  My mother would not allow me to have a private conversation with my kids at all.  I asked the department to get her to allow it but they said she told them that I always had private conversations.  The department choose to believe her.

In early March my husband and I were caught again at a pet store.  He was arrested and when I stood before the judge I was again lucky to get a judge that understood.  He didn't sentence me to anything.  Just advised me to get help.  When my husband was released he told me he was going to his parents to fix the car.  He would call me in a few days.  Two days later I talked to the worker from the department and he told me over the phone that I was not making enough progress and that I was not going to get my kids back.  I got very depressed.  Then no word from my husband for 2 weeks.  On top of that I got a notice from the landlord telling me they had sold the building and I would have to move.  I replied back contesting that they had to give me at least 3 months notice.  So they sent me an eviction notice for 14 days stating that I was causing a disturbance to the other tenants.  The strain of everything started to get to me.  I had only a few weeks to find a place that would accept two GSD's that I could afford.  I had found a new home for my black one in December knowing there was no way I could afford all three if my husband took off again. 

Then the final straw.  I got three emails from my husband telling me he found the love of his life, wanted a divorce and that he was living with her.  I lost it.  I took every pill I had in the house.  I broke under all the strain and stress.  I do not recall what happened after that but I woke up in the hospital.  I had a breathing tube down my throat, an IV in my artery.  They told me I had crashed twice on the table.  My whole body ached.  They told me they had to admit me to the psych ward.  I asked the police to please call my husband to come take care of the dogs.  The last thing I wanted was them taken to the shelter and I had nobody else I knew to care for them.  When the officer called him my husband told him to take the dogs to the pound.  There was no way I could allow that.  I signed myself out of the hospital against doctors orders.  My throat was raw and killing me from the tube but when I got home I called another friend of mine that was 2 hours away.  He came down and helped me for the next two days.  Not leaving my side and trying his best to be a support.

I had just started a program at the women's shelter called Courage to Change.  I realized that I had to stop what was going on.  I had to take control of my life.  So I decided that if my ex contacted me again I would call the cops as I should.  He did.  And he was arrested and placed in jail for 2 weeks.  Which was right when I was moving so he would not know where I moved to.  It gave me some sense of relief.  Sadly I was unable to find a place that would take both dogs so had to take the pup to the shelter.  I felt like I lost half of myself when I did that.  It went against everything I believed in when it came to pets but even the shelter told me that it was cases like mine that the shelter was there for.  I moved into a small 1 bdr basement suite.  And was doing OK.  Still visiting my kids once a month, calling them every day or so.  Going to therapy, women's group, parenting classes.  I was starting to take care of myself.  Taking more pride in how I looked. 

Then for no reason at the beginning of May I crashed emotionally.  I just could not stop crying.  I felt worthless.  I was on 5 different meds at this time and was taking them perfectly as prescribe.  Then one day I just gave up.  I was thinking I failed my kids, failed my marriage, failed everything I did.  My mother and husband were right all along.  Everyone would be better off with me gone.  I took all the meds.  As they started to take effect though a small part of me knew this was wrong.  Something was seriously wrong.  There was no trigger for me to feel this way.  Nothing had happened to cause me to suddenly crash.  My life was actually starting to look up.  So I called help.  They took me to the hospital and pumped my stomach.  Then I was in psych for 2 days.  And then released.  I was taken off all the meds I was on. 

It was later discovered that 2 of the meds I was on had the side effects of suicidal thoughts and tendencies.  I had one really bad week of withdrawals.  After that I improved by leaps and bounds.  That last attempt in May was my last attempt.  The meds were actually the main catalyst to the suicide attempts.  So two major hurdles I had finally over come.  I was finally away from my husband permantly and I was becoming emotionally stable finally.

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Burns and Compassion

After my husbands arrest in August of 2008 I was stressed beyond belief.  We had just moved in to this new city.  I knew no one.  I did not drive so visiting my kids was impossible.  My disability did not even cover the rent let alone any other expenses.  I looked at my dogs and cried.  With the sick place my mind was I thought that my husband was the only person on earth that might ever love me.  I thought I could not live or function without him.  My depression worsened.  After a week I called his boss to see how he was doing.  I talked to them about the upcoming rent and my worries.  They said they would talk to him.  A few days later the extra money I needed to pay the rent and some bills appeared in my mail box.  I could breath for one more month. 

2 weeks later I got a call from his boss telling me that my husband was in the hospital.  That he had been in an explosion and had sever burns to his hands and face.  But that the hospital was releasing him and he had no place to go.  I told his boss that there was a no contact order in place and she told me that if it was her husband she would show some compassion and bring him home.  So I told her if she heard from him to tell him to come home.  When he showed up I was in shock.  I didn't recognize him.  He had third degree and second degree burns to his hands and face.  I asked him what had happened.  He had been living in our Suburban for the past several weeks and to keep warm and to cook his food he was using our little propane barbecue to cook in the car.  He said one night he had thought he had turned off the propane but clearly he had not.  In the morning when he woke up he went to light his cigarette and the air exploded around him.  Burned up the inside of the suburban pretty good.  Someone the explosion and call the fire department.

For the next week and a half I waited on him and took care of his every need.  When he was well enough he left.  He was worried about being caught by the cops.  Though every so many nights he did come back for a night and a good meal. 

At the end of September I went to the mental health department and asked for a therapist.  I started seeing her weekly.  By the second visit she was asking me if anyone had suggested I attend domestic violence consoling.  I told her no.  She asked if the department was aware of my husbands abuse and attempts to kill me.  I told her yes.  He had told them himself.  She was shocked that they didn't even suggest domestic violence consoling or any other services that might help me since it was so obvious that I was suffering from sever spousal abuse.  She suggested I attend a women's group at the women's shelter for just that purpose.  She also set up an appointment with a psychiatrist that she said was very good.  She also asked what parenting classes the department suggested.  I said they never told me what ones to attend.  They just said to attend parenting classes.  So she put me on the waiting list for the 2 main ones that she knew the department in this city always suggested.

I started the women's group with my service dog and at first I was really nervous but after a while I started to open up some.  I was so confused.  I wanted my husband still but I wanted the abuse to stop.  During all of this I was calling my kids several times a week to talk to them but had not been able to see them for lack of funds and transportation.  Then in November my brother in law died of cancer.  So my husband and I drove there for the funeral.  On the way we stopped at my mothers house to drop off some presents for the kids.  When we walked in my 3yr old son was sitting on the time out stool against a wall soak and wet and shivering.  I asked my mother what she was doing.  She showed me a spray bottle and told me the department told her that she could spray my son in the face if he talked back or threw a tantrum on the stool during a time out.  I was shocked but said nothing.  After the funeral when we got back I placed a call the next day to the department.  I told them what I had saw and what she had said.  The worker was sceptical of my story and said that they never told that to my mother.  They later told me they called her and she denied it and when they spoke to the children a few days later they also denied it.  When I heard this I started to feel cold with fear.  The lies and cover ups were starting and I had no idea what I could do about it.

That Christmas was so tight that I had no money to get the kids anything.  I applied with the city for the adopt a family program and also a friend of mine that was 3 hours away got a collection of toys and presents from friends of hers.  All of this we got together and then a few days before Christmas my husband brought it down to the kids.  I found out a few months later that many of the toys were either given away or thrown out and she later claimed that we didn;t give the kids anything for that Christmas.  Also in that month my husband and I were caught breaching the no contact order.  I was put on a 3 month probation and the judge was very kind.  He understood women that had been abused by their husbands like I was and understood the hold on them.  He told me to seek help.  The logical part of my brain knew he was right.  The sick part didn't and didn't see anything beyond my husband.

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