“Be strong enough to stand alone, smart enough to know when you need help, & brave enough to ask for it.”
For those of you who know me well, you know that asking for help & being vulnerable is not something I am good at. I also never bring my personal “diary” to social media. Right or wrong, to say that I feel shame in writing this is an understatement, but the truth is I need you, my son needs you, and we cannot do this alone. And…in spite of any embarrassment or shame, I would do anything for my son. If you can, please consider helping me bring him home.
Unfortunately, since June 2019 a system that I believed in has been failing us. I am an ordinary person and I do not come from an impoverished economic background. I am employed and I work 40-60 hours a week. I am college educated and hold a professional degree. However, the legal fees I am facing are so overwhelming and are coming in faster than I can keep up with. In spite of the thousands I pay each month, the attorney fees are mounting. Since June I have paid anywhere from $3k-$10k/mo in legal fees and now I am drowning in them. Because I just simply can’t keep up, I am afraid (terrified) my attorneys will walk as the outstanding balances continue to increase. Good legal representation simply doesn’t come cheap. The bottom line is, I am in the legal fight of my son’s and my life and the truth is I’m not equipped to litigate this matter on my own . My son & I need these attorneys and, thus, we shamelessly ask for your help.
I have been a single mother since my son was 3 months old and for the last 8 years the majority of his physical, financial, and overall rearing has come from me. In short, I love being his mom. We are extremely close and have a very good relationship. I am a very good mother and no one would or could ever say otherwise.
However, on 6/11/19, while my son was on “vacation” (scheduled parenting time) with his father, my ex filed a temporary petition to modify [custody]. Without an evidentiary hearing, in other words, no evidence presented, no testimony given, no cross-examination conducted, and while I wasn’t even present, the court entered an order that removed my son from his home and granted a handwritten order that said “….[my son] shall continue to reside with [my ex] in [county] until further order subject to the court’s reconsideration.” That was the entirety of the order. That was it… Parenting time was not addressed, no emergency was presented, no emergency was alleged, no abuse has ever been present or presented, no abuse was alleged. With the strike of a pen, the court, based on zero evidence, removed an 8 year old little boy from his home, ripping him from his mommy – his primary care giver, his family, his friends, his dog, his church, and the only life he has ever known.
Since that date, there have been a series of hearings that result in a continuance and, in spite the authority to do so (arguably the obligation to do so), the court is still refusing to appoint a Guardian ad Litem (an objective, impartial attorney appointed by the court to represent the best interest of the child). I still have not been allowed parenting time or given a visitation schedule. This isn’t for lack of requesting (imploring) leave of the court to do both.
As of today, September 22, 2019, my little boy has been ripped from his home, his family, his friends, his dog, his school, his sports teams, his church, his community, and everything he has ever known for the last 4 1/2 months. My son never even had an opportunity to have his 8th birthday party due to these spurious actions.
Prior to June 11, 2019, my son was happy, healthy, & thriving. We live in a community that is very hands on and my son attended an A rated school (public statistics) where he & I are very involved and he has many friends. He loved going to school. He loved having play dates with his friends. He loved playing on his sports teams. He enjoyed attending our church. While not every child is lucky to come from a community such as ours, my son was and there is no reason he should be pulled from that environment and thrust into one that isn’t, especially, without any consideration of his best interest or for lack of cause.
Due to this 6/11/19 order, my son has since been enrolled in a B- (public statistics) rated school in a community that isn’t as blessed as the one my son comes from. While it is not necessarily the children from this community’s fault, the reality is the type of environment you come from does affect your behavior. With that said, for the last 3+ weeks my son has attended this new school and has been subject to repeated bullying. In less than a month he has had 2 separate incidents whereby other children have physically assaulted him, he has been threatened, and he has been subject to verbal/social bullying. The first physical incident came from another child who decided to punch him because my son’s (recess) kickball team won and the other kid’s didn’t. This incident was reported to me after-school by my son and I called & spoke with the teacher and I was assured it was addressed & the other child’s parents were called. The second, I was just told about by my son, a child repeatedly knees my son in the butt while in gym and in spite of him telling the gym teacher it hasn’t stopped. Third, last week two boys threatened to punch my son “in the nuts” and threatened their mom(s) would “handle” him when they came to pick up the other two children. They are 8! That incident resulted in my son going to the bathroom & crying and the principal calling both my ex and myself. In addition and fourth, my child has also been subjected to verbal/social bullying (pointing/laughing, etc.). All of these incidents occurred in a short amount of time and upon each occurrence my child had not even been in that school a month. Aside from what is going on at home, my son is now subject to an environment where he is no longer happy, healthy, & thriving. He no longer has the support of his friends or his community. He no longer has the comfort of his dog. He no longer has his mom to come home to.
Unfortunately, our legal system is broken in that such a series of events have been allowed to happen in such a short amount of time and no one has even been appointed to look out for a little boy’s best interest. Be that as it may, I will never stop advocating for my son and pursuing all avenues to ensure he comes home. It already is, but will only continue to be extremely costly to right this wrong. If you can find it in your heart to help us, I will forever be in your debt. I also vow to pay it forward because someday this will pass, but another child & ordinary family, like ours, will be going through something similar and will need help. These series of events have forever changed me and likely both of us.
Any contribution is appreciated even if it is saying a little prayer for us & just sharing.
The #bringhimhome campaign will be managed and administered by me. Monies will be disbursed on an as-needed basis for the above referenced expenses.
In the event the associated financial obligations are satisfied, any remaining unused monies will be donated to a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit that provides assistance to individuals and families facing similar mounting legal fees.
“It can be difficult to ask for help, but that’s okay. Everyone will need help at some point in their life.”
With all my gratitude & heartfelt thanks,