Sunday, January 31, 2016

Family update

I've been promising updates for a while, and have been frustratingly vague when folks ask me questions about the kids. For that, I apologize, but have been in court over my children's visitations with their fathers, and didn't want to jeopardize things. Likewise, I will be short on details in this update because I believe it's in the best interest of the children not to release any information that isn't already in the public records.

The Big Kids began visitation with their Dad in February of last year, after an extended period of him being absent from their lives, by his own choice. We were all hoping that it would go well and the kids were very excited about him reentering their lives.

Unfortunately, things didn't go as we had hoped. From the beginning, there were red flags, but it took a couple months for the kids to bring their concerns to me. The short version is, his live in girlfriend was engaging in inappropriate physical contact with our daughter, in his presence, as well as both adults saying things to her that would be out of line for any kid, but are particularly harmful to one who struggles with attachment issues.

My sons, who have been educated about abuse since they were small, recognized the grooming behaviors and one of them brought the concern to me. After talking to the children, and the therapist addressing the issue in multiple sessions, it seems that, to the best of our knowledge, that the conduct had not yet escalated to a criminal level, but was absolutely causing harm to her, and clearly inappropriate.

Discussing the matter with Wasband did no good and, unwilling to leave my child to be victimized, I had to file for some resolution in court. Once that happened, not surprisingly, the negative behavior during visits escalated, and therapy had to be increased to attempt to assist my daughter in processing things. There have been attempts to attack my character in that community, and many awful things have been said about me. But I accept that, because my first priority is to protect my children, so that is all that matters.

In any event, last week, I left court with an agreed and ordered safety plan for when the children have visitation. Wasband is to comply with all recommendations from the therapist, which will include therapy about appropriate boundaries and contact, as well as attachment therapy with our daughter. 

The offending girlfriend, who I recently learned has previously been accused of making sexual advances on a young teen boy, is not allowed to be unsupervised with any of my children. She is also not to have physical contact with the children. We will have a status hearing in 6 months, to see how things are going.

While it's not the best, it puts some protections in place. Unfortunately, our laws are extremely reactionary and won't actually limit his "right" to visitation with his children unless or until the offenses have become criminal, or if the court tires of him violating their orders. So, this is really the best outcome that we could hope for, at this point (other than him actually prioritizing the needs of the children and being a responsible parent, of course). 

At the advice of the therapist, I have gone over safety parameters with all the kids & the fact that they are all to stay together, at all times, while at visits. It's awful to have to put such weight onto children but, when the adults responsible for their safety blatantly states that he sees no reason for a safety plan and has no intention of following through, (which begs the question of why he agreed to it, but I suspect his attorney advised him to because he was gambling with the possibility of supervised visitation), there's no other real choice. So, for now, I will just continue to hope and pray they are safe each time they visit him.

As the first paragraph eludes to, I'm also in court with the youngest's dad, but that hearing isn't for several days, and I'm too emotionally exhausted with that situation, at the moment, to discuss it. So, I will see about an update once it's over.