~Ange~ - posted on 05/26/2012 ( 8 moms have responded )
Hi everyone. A friend suggested this site and I am running out of ideas on what to do. Quick rundown. I have 3 kids. Currently 15 (separate dad), 12 and 10. In late 2006 I became very sick. It ended up being a virus attacking my nervous system but symptoms were so bad they though it was a rapidly progressing brain tumor. Because I couldn't take care of the kids myself I signed primary custody over to their dads. I kept going to Dr after Dr where I lived in Pennsylvania but didn't get any better. In Feb of 2009 blood work showed no improvement and the meds the Dr's were giving me had only made the effects on my nervous system worse. I move to Michigan in August 2009 where I had friends and had found Dr's that were familiar with my diagnosis. (sidenote: Diagnosis is Chronic Active Epstein Barr)
I talked to the kids at a minimum once a week, seen them every couple months when I traveled back to Penn. In December of 2009 the father of my 10 and 12 yo filed to terminate my rights. In Sept of 2010 the Local Court granted his petition. I appealed and in June 2011 the Civil Courts decision was overturned.
Now where I need help. I still haven't seen or talked to my kids. I have filed petitions to modify and contempt. I had sent it with tracking but they just couldn't seem to find it. Next one I sent return receipt requested along with a contempt petition as my ex changed his email and phone numbers and I had no way to contact the kids. They scheduled it and didn't notify me until less then a week before both were scheduled (at this point we are in December of 2011). So I ask to do them by phone. It was granted for the modification conference but the judge refused for the contempt. So I requested the contempt be delayed because I couldn't get off of work. Again denied. So I hired a lawyer to appear. 20 minutes before the hearing the judge had a personal matter come up and delayed then canceled because at the conference my ex gave me his email address and phone number. However as he gives me the information, in front of the mediator, he states that he will not answer any phone calls or respond to emails.
A couple weeks later I get an order stating that I can not attend anything else by phone and I have to attend parenting courses. So I attend and mail the proof in (return receipt requested so it doesn't get "lost" again). We are now in the beginning of Feb 2012. March 20th or 21st I get a phone call asking if I was notified of todays conference? I tell the court officer no and get a stream of apologies about how they forgot to send me notice and they tell me they will reschedule ASAP. I get a call maybe an hour later that says they can't reschedule because they never got notice that I had completed the parenting classes. I pull out my return receipt and tell them the date, time and person that signed for it. More apologies and a we will call you back. They call back a while later with a new date and time. A couple weeks later I get a letter stating that was changed because my ex's lawyer can't make it so it will be on April 28. I take April 28 & 29 off work. I get off work the 27th at 9, drive 500 miles and when I show up for court I am told it was rescheduled and more profuse apologies on not being notified AGAIN. I am notified, while in their office, that I am to be back there on May 12. Well, I can't get that off work or afford to make the trip again so I request it be delayed until my next scheduled trip the beginning of June and file another contempt because I still haven't seen or talk to the kids and my ex is taking them to a therapist and refuses to give me the information. They schedule everything on June 7.
May 21 I get a filing where ex filed a Petition for special relief (ex parte in most other states) asking that the court take away my right to contact the kids or their therapist. This therapist feels that the kids seeing or talking to me would be detrimental as they feel abandoned after I just "disappeared" when the Civil Court tried to terminate my rights. May 23 I start getting calls from the courthouse that they have to reschedule the hearing on June 7 as ex's lawyer is demanding his petition be heard with the contempt. I still talk to some people in Penn and my ex's new wife, that wants to adopt the kids, is bragging about how she is related to one of the judges in the county. It's a small county and I don't know which judge.....
Any of you can imagine how I feel right now so I am not going to dwell on the hurt, anger and some days even rage. Gut wrenching is the only thing I can say. My kids think I abandoned them. I know moving out of state wasn't the best choice but it was the only choice I had if I wanted to live. My body couldn't handle a constant pulse of 120+, I weighed 100 lbs, my body shook constantly as the antigens attacked my nerves and there were days I couldn't tell you my name (I mean that literally). Three years later I am pretty normal. My immune system isn't perfect but I have it under control. There is always a risk of relapse so moving back, to Dr's that can't help me if I do relapse, is not an option.
I don't know where to turn or what to do. Lawyers in the county the case is in or those near by won't touch it. I don't know what office on a state level oversees how the courthouse is ran. I want someone to answer for all of this. I want my kids to know I did NOT abandon them. I did not leave their lives willingly and I am not giving up with out one h*ll of a fight. I am not 100% of what I used to be but I am 100% enough to make sure they KNOW I love them and I am here and I am fighting. I just need help on who's catookis to light a fire under to make the courts do their jobs because every day that passes is held against ME. It doesn't matter what I have filed or how many time I have emailed my ex or the therapist (I finally got the information through a third party). It doesn't matter to the courts that, according to the lawyer, are just going to say too bad so sad you haven't been around for how long so why change that now and it doesn't matter to my kids who just want to know where I have been and I can't make up the time I haven't been there.
Any help, any advise is appreciated. And thank you for taking the time to read. I know it is long but I wanted to give you as much information as possible.