Wednesday, April 1, 2015

"You Can't Have It Both Ways. Either She Is a Fit Parent Or She Isn't"

So yesterday was an emotionally stressful day.  Had a 2 hour trial conference with the departments lawyer and the judge who I have mentioned before as making statements being prejudicial.  First I will bring you up to speed on what happened this past weekend.  As you will recall last summer it was agreed that the department would have an assessment on my sons done.  They were given 3 months.  And as you will recall once it was complete, instead of giving me a copy, I had to demand one in court.  Well just like the records I received(which had only had about a quarter of the records vetted, for those who don't know what vetted means it means that someone goes through the documents and blacks out names, locations and anything that can identify people or give them locations of people or other contact information.) the assessment was not vetted at all.  Which I didn't mind one bit of coarse.  Well on Saturday I get an email from the departments lawyer demanding the unvetted copy back.  Over 4 months after receiving it.  He said he would exchange it for a vetted copy.  He wanted me to exchange them yesterday at the trial conference.  When I refused he got pretty flustered.  He demanded to know why.  I stated I have notes and such on my copy.  There is no way I want them to have my notes.  On top of that I have all that information in my hands now for over 4 months.  Why the sudden desire to get it back?  He was not happy about that. He said because he didn't want me to just spread the information around.  I smiled a sweet smile at him and told him I have not once ever posted on my blog anything that a Judge has told me not to.  He then said I should have no problem then to give it to him.  I told him I can say that I have followed judges orders but my experience with the department, their workers and their lawyers have shown me that they have no problem lying, twisting things and so on.  So as I have proven I can back things up and follow the law they have not.  So I am not handing over the papers.   I told him I would mention it to the judge or he could bring it up at the next court date and if the judge told me to hand it over then I would but not before.  At the end of the meeting we discussed it and even the Judge could see that I had valid reasons to not just hand it over.  So it was agreed that I would take the vetted copy that day, move my notes over and then black out my notes on the original.  The next court date I am to bring my original copy in and the court will destroy it.  The departments lawyer won't get it.

So back to start of the meeting.  I was expecting the same as before when dealing with this judge.  As soon as I saw him my back was up.  I had no desire to sit through him making assumptions about me or this case based on no evidence in front of him and watching him help stack the deck for the department.  But I was about to be in for a surprise.  At first it went the same route.  And I responded right back.  I didn't care at this point that I was talking to a judge.  I was sick of the assumptions about me and I called him on it.  For once he seemed to sit back and listen.  I am serious too.  I got the impression that for once he was seeing me as a human being instead of an evil mother that was trying to slander the department.  He stated it is not his place to put a judgment on this case.  His job is to prepare it for court in a manner as to ensure the critical witnesses are there and there is no one there to waste a judges time or the courts time.  Finally something I agreed with. 

At this point he turned to the departments lawyer and told him, and I quote "You can't have it both ways."  The first part of this case is I have to prove that I am a fit parent who is ready and willing to take my sons back and raise them.  If that burden can not be met then it is pointless to move onto the next more critical part of the trial which is "What is in the best interest of my sons."  So usually he explained this is done via a pre trial.  And this is where he put the department on the spot.  He said either she is(meaning me) a fit parent or she isn't.  And since I just had the PGO for my daughter rescinded in December as all concerns having been alleviated(stated in court documents), and because I have always had full custody of my youngest son that the department has a serious problem.  He said they have two choices.  They either concede that I am a fit parent or it will go to a pretrial.  At this point I stated that if it goes to a pre trial just to cover that first point then I would be calling additional witnesses.  The judge looked to me and commented that I don't need to add more witnesses.  I said these witnesses would speak directly to how fit I am since they are my sons surgical team from the Alberta Childrens Hospital.  They see him every year and do assessments on everything about him every year.  They would not just speak about his condition but everything we have done with working with the team, my sons developments for learning and so on.  Then I would also call my community support workers as well and others. 

The judge then turned to the department and again asked what their position is on the first point.  He read from the departments letter that they were not going to have me or my home assessed.  That they are going to go based on the PGO judgment.  You could see this did not sit well with the judge as he clearly stated that in the law we are using it clearly talks about situations changing and such as a good reason for a judicial review and they don't have anything from a professional except something from 5yrs ago also that states I was ready to parent as long as I had the supports set up.(Parenting assessment prior to PGO being granted)  The departments lawyer tried to say I was fit for my teen and my 2yr old but not special needs boys.  I looked at the lawyer and said any loving parent can take care of a special needs child as long as they have the community supports in place for them and the family.  I HAVE THOSE IN PLACE AND HAVE FOR YEARS.  After I stated this the department again tried to say that their position is I was fit for my teen and my youngest and the Judge interrupted and again said "You can't have it both ways." and then he told him that if this goes to pre trial and a judge has to sit though countless witnesses to prove I am a fit mom, and the judgment for the first point comes out that I am a fit parent then the department better be prepared to pay ALL COSTS for that pre trial.  Which I gathered also meant any costs to me for calling my experts to prove that I am fit.  I could see the departments lawyer was not swallowing that piece of news very well.  I on the other hand was elated.  No matter what happens on point one I have won a HUGE point.  If they concede the point as the judge is telling them they need to seriously consider, then it makes everything they have done to my family be confirmed.  The department tried to stated with the PGO being granted against me that I was not fit to parent anyone.  They stated the same when my son was born and I was begging them to re-evaluate my home and myself without my mother there to taint anything.  This was before they had been placed in their current home, which the departments lawyer is stating is a foster home in emails to me.  Interesting to note that in court letters they are a pending adoptive home but in other places they are called a foster home.  I think the foster home description is more accurate.   They would not even consider re-evaluating me.  And didn't think I would use that time to prove with other agencies that the PGO judge and the departments workers were wrong about me.  But I did just that.  Now they don't have just me or some friends trying to convince a judge that I am fit.  Now they have to try and convince a judge I am unfit all while professionals(Children's Hospital Team, our family dentist and other medical professionals), including 2 professionals that work for a program that CPS funds and are Mandatory Reporters all stating that in the 3yrs I have been working with them that not only am I a fit parent but I will jump through any hoop they ask me too and beyond to do what is right for my entire family.

So the departments lawyer needs to find out if they are going to concede on point one or if it goes to pretrial.  I am fine with a pretrial.  I know I will win that.  I would so love to be a fly on the wall hearing those conversations between the department and their lawyer and the family who has my children.  The family was always lead to believe that I was unfit, an addict, an abuser, totally insane.  I really hope in realizing the truth that they finally decide to do the right thing.  Love my sons but support them in returning home to the family they never should have been separated from to begin with.  Do I hope their heart finally opens up and realizes the right thing to do.  For sure.  Do I think they will?  I have never met them.  All I know about them is how much they have hurt my daughter and my sons by doing all they could to ensure that they suffered as much trauma as possible by separating them completely with no contact.  They are causing my children harm and trying to cover it up with "she is trying to steal our family".  When the reality is they are helping in hurting my sons and they are the ones that unknowingly at the time helped in stealing them from their real family. 

So then we talked about the second point.  He did make it clear, which I already knew, that the courts do not always put emphasis on the biological family.  He did make one statement that I have to share here because I am sure there will be a huge out cry.  And I questioned him 3 times to make sure I had it right.  He stated that if I am successful in showing that the department did majorly mess up and that none of this should have happened, that it does not guarantee that a judge will return my sons to me. He said this very calmly.  And to be honest I suspected it but was not sure till I heard it come out of a judges mouth.  So I looked him straight in the eye and stated "So if CPS screws up, totally destroying a family, gets proven as such in a court, that that does not necessarily mean that the family will be reunited?  How is that justice.  Why should they have to have a life sentence?"  He said it always comes down to the best interest of the child.  And that is when we move on to the assessment.

He asked me if I had any issues with the assessors credentials.  I said no.  He seemed surprised and so did the department.  He then said a lot of weight rides on the assessor.  I said I know.  But I then went on to point out two important points on how an assessor comes to their conclusions.  He asked for me to continue.  1) History.  I then stated I can use the departments own records to show that they not only gave a misleading history but one that was totally fabricated in many areas.  He looked over at the departments lawyer who looked shocked.  2) what he sees.  Again using the departments own records and the assessment I can show what he was seeing and what he was being told is totally different then what the departments own records show.  Then when you thrown in my evidence there is serious cause to wonder if he came to the right assessment.  But even then the assessment is not very favorable in many areas for the department. 

The judge then said the two points he thought I was going to be trying to fight with was that I am the bio mom so know what my kids need(this is true but courts don't always believe it) and that the department screwed me over.  He reminded me that I was not allowed to relitigate the original PGO.  I reminded him I won't be.  I said I will be using everything that has happened since the PGO was granted against me. I will show that not only have my sons not thrived while in care, but that they have permanent life lasting scars from what they have endure while having no voice to scream for help.  He nodded and said that I can't be faulted for my passion when it comes to my children.  He has no idea how accurate his statement is.  There are many other things I will be addressing to show that it is in my childrens best interest to be home and out of the departments care.

Personally I don't trust this judge because of how he made me feel the last two times I was in his presence.  But I will say that this time I felt like I was at least being treated as an equal to the departments lawyer.  I didn't agree with him on a lot of points but he always stated things in a respectful manner and was much more patient and understanding when I asked questions and worked harder to help me clarify things so I could understand.  So where we stand right now is that the departments lawyer has to find out if his client wants to do a pretrial for just the first point or if they are willing to concede.  So all in all a very good day but emotionally taxing for sure. I hope my story will continue to help other families to fight and not give up.  Whether you have a lawyer or not.

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