The following letter was sent to the Guardian ad Litem when my request for the children to testify was denied, and the guardian instructed to interview the children to probe my concerns. In the “supplemental report” that the guardian later filed, most of the issues presented below were never addressed. My son wanted very much to be heard, and was unable to speak. The so called “Voices of the children” were in fact that, voices speaking for and over the children’s own voices. Dear (Guardian ad Litem),
I will be bringing in to your office a copy of the court order terminating jurisdiction in which (ex husbands name withheld) was instructed by the court to provide therapy for the children as well as between he and the children to facilitate reunification which was completely ignored as it is part of my argument that the children to this day suffer from the emotional effects of the period of separation from their parents and oldest sister.
1. (daughters name withheld) is ten years old. She is being left home unsupervised with no telephone and no access to food. Foods that are in the home are labeled “Do Not Eat” for (girlfriends daughter), or for (girlfriend) herself. (my daughter) reports to me that there are “ingredients” such as “Ranch Dressing” but nothing that she can easily prepare on her own. This lasts at least one hour every day after school and according to (my youngest daughter) last year lasted up to four hours while (my son) was at football practice, and (my oldest daughter) and (my ex) were working. (my oldest daughter) initially reported this to me last year which I conveyed to you in our initial dialogue.. She and (my ex husband)had an argument during which (my oldest daughter) states he told her that his job was more important than hers and she would have to sacrifice her job to care for (my youngest daughter). I was never asked to assist, or even notified of the absence of supervision. Please note that this began when (my youngest daughter) was age nine. While Florida does not have a specific law as to what age a child can be left alone, the Department of Children and Families backs a guideline set forth by the National Safe Kids Campaign that states that no child should be left alone prior to age 12. It is certainly easy to agree that if a child is left alone that they should have at the very least a telephone available to dial 911. Since (my oldest daughter) is no longer a part of the household, it is (my son’s) responsibility to come home immediately after school to minimize the time that she is left alone. This deprives him of the opportunity to receive tutoring. His grades are failing. (my youngest daughter) has reported to me tearfully that she feels that nobody cares about her because her prior after school arrangement was to go to the house in the neighborhood where her friend Hannah lives. (my youngest daughter) reports that she “was replaced” by (girlfriends daughter) in the after school care at that home and that Hannah’s mom has even expressed concern that (my youngest daughter) is home alone and invited her to be at the home. (my youngest daughter) is unsure why she is no longer allowed to be there. Recently, (my youngest daughter)’s glasses were broken as you noted, and yet no effort was made by her father to even assist by taping or gluing the missing arm back on. (my youngest daughter) has reported a problem with numbness in her legs. I took her to St Petersburg Pediatrics who advised that we should schedule an appointment with a neurologist. She also told me to check the strength in both of her legs as well as her arms during the instances. She asked me to note how long the instances last. With her father being with her most of the time, I advised him what the doctor said. When (my youngest daughter) did tell him he acts as if she is making it up and does not test her strength or pay any other attention to the matter. 2. (my youngest daughter) has reported to me tearfully that she feels left out in her fathers home. This past weekend as I tucked her into bed we had a very long and tearful conversation. She told me that she became very mad at her father the Thursday before she arrived for our weekend. I asked her why. She began to cry and couldn’t speak for three to four minutes. She then told me that her father had cheerfully asked (girlfriends daughter) if she wanted to come with him to the store. (my youngest daughter) stated that they enjoy going with him to the store. It is a treat because he lets them look at the magazines while he shops. (girlfriends daughter) apparently refused. (my youngest daughter) heard this invitation and happily ran out of her room to ask her father if she could go with him. According to (my youngest daughter), he snapped at her and told her “No! Go to your room!”. (my youngest daughter) was very upset by this. She did not understand why (girlfriends daughter) was invited and she was prohibited. She then began to recount a conversation at “the table” with (girlfriends daughter) wherein (girlfriends daughter) was teasing (my youngest daughter) by saying “(name withheld), remember when we went to the play at the theatre? Oh, that’s right, you weren’t there.” then following sequence with several other activities that the family had done without her. (my youngest daughter) feels as if they only plan family activities when she is away with her mother and feels intentionally left out. On one instance, I was told about a trip to Sea World that (my youngest daughter) was begging to go on with the family. It was explained to (my youngest daughter) that she could not go because it was on Mom’s weekend. I personally called (my ex husband)and insisted that he switch weekends with me for (my youngest daughter) to be allowed to go. (my youngest daughter) then told me that (live in girlfriend) had taken her and (girlfriends daughter) to the Halloween store to “get decorations for the house”. Both children happily went along. Instead of home decorations, (girlfriends daughter) was allowed to choose her Halloween costume. (my youngest daughter) asked if she could choose her costume and was told no. (girlfriends daughter) proceeded to select a costume, and went home where they ordered the appropriate size online. (my youngest daughter) asked her father the next morning about her Halloween costume and was reportedly “yelled at”. I took (my youngest daughter) the following morning to purchase her costume. In the past (my youngest daughter) has conveyed stories of (live in girlfriend) taking her to school in the morning. They would drive daily through the “Fray’s Donut’s” drive thru. (live in girlfriend) would purchase donuts for her children and herself, leaving (my youngest daughter) with nothing. Daily. (my youngest daughter) asked for Donuts too, and was told no. She first reported this to me as we were on a bike ride. I was riding her on the same bike as me like we did when she was small, and I had to stop the bike to allow her time to cry before we could continue. She reports many stories like these where she feels ostracized from the family and family activities. 3. (my youngest daughter) reports being afraid of retaliation by her father if she speaks negatively about anything to do with his home, or her treatment there. When she feels me becoming upset with her allegations she begs me not to say anything to (my ex). Historically (my ex husband)has been very prohibitive of information given to me. The children were prohibited from telling me all of the following- I believe that each instance listed below should be verified and reported to the court. Preventing the children from talking to their mother about these very serious issues prevents them from receiving the assistance and care from the second parent, depriving them of their right to maternal influence and support. a) At the age of sixteen (my oldest daughter) was taken to a doctor and placed on birth control as she was dating an 18 year old boy. She was told to lie to her mother or “she will have him arrested” and rightfully I would have, (my oldest daughter) was not of an age to consent to sex, nor was she counseled on responsible sexuality. I have always encouraged her to practice abstinence until marriage, especially due to her medical issues which make childbirth potentially deadly. . b) (my oldest daughter) was able to hear (my ex husband)and (live in girlfriend) very clearly during their sexual activities. So clearly (my oldest daughter) could hear the words that (live in girlfriend) said to him though she would not repeat them. She was screamed at intensely because (my ex husband)thought that she was on the phone reporting it to me when really it was her boyfriend on the other end that she was conveying her story to. She was very distraught by this and was told by (live in girlfriend), “It’s normal, everyone does it…” with a laugh. A sixteen year old girl that has been removed from her family for over a year is vulnerable and needs guidance and protection from premature sexuality. She should have been talked to and advised that this is something amongst adults in committed relationships, and that although she felt confused her family would be there to support her. Instead, she got birth control and “It’s normal, everybody does it.” c) (my son)had nearly all F’s on his report card last year and was told not to tell his mother. This year he has begun to receive F’s and told my friend Anon to please not tell me. The secrecy continues. Our children are afraid to defy their father. d) (my son)was prohibited from telling me dates or times of his football games, but I was expected to get him to practice. e) The children were told they were not allowed to answer the phone when I called them on the phones that I provided. (my youngest daughter)s phone mysteriously disappeared over three different times from her home. f) Every time (my ex husband)moved in with (live in girlfriend) or reconciled their relationship or broke up with one another the children were prohibited from telling me. This was especially notable after the breakup when (my oldest daughter) and (my ex husband)had both taken (my youngest daughter) aside to warn her that (live in girlfriend) was unstable and trying to use her to manipulate (my ex). (my youngest daughter) was left home with a tearful and reported by (ex’s) own words “hysterical” (live in girlfriend) while he went out one night after their breakup. (my youngest daughter) awoke to (live in girlfriend) in her room around midnight commencing a tearful dialogue of how she and (my ex husband)were breaking up and her dad wants her ((live in girlfriend)) to move out of the home. (my ex husband)reported to me that he was one step away from shutting off the power to force (live in girlfriend) to leave. The children were prohibited from conveying any information regarding the growing instability and arguing in the home. G) They reconciled- the children were not allowed to tell me about it. (my son)was left home alone to fend for himself for dinner as (my ex husband)took (my youngest daughter) to (live in girlfriend)’s house nightly for dinner. (my son)dislikes (live in girlfriend) and refused to attend. He was not allowed to tell me, but it became obvious with all of the phone calls asking me to order him pizza that he was being left out of dinner plans. H) Most recently (my ex husband)was evicted from his home. He told the children not to tell me that they had to be out in two weeks. (my oldest daughter) texted me at two in the morning that she was worried about her apartment and couldn’t sleep. I didn’t know why it was so stressful to her… Later I found out that she had until the weekend to find some place else to live. She wound up moving in temporarily with her newest 23 year old boyfriend as there is no room for her either at her fathers new home, or at my home at the time. I offered to move into a bigger house when I was finally notified by (my ex husband)the weekend of the move. (my oldest daughter) insisted that she wanted her own place. I) At some point recently, and I am being lied to so I do not know when, (live in girlfriend) was hospitalized for a week. Apparently she had a weight related stroke. I was not notified, but (my youngest daughter) was sent to stay with a friend for the entire week. This friend- Jaquelyn is the friend that (my oldest daughter) claims lives in a drug house, and (my youngest daughter) has called me from at night with a TV blaring very adult content in the background. I made her unplug it because she couldn’t find the remote. Verbal Abuse- Verbal abuse is common in the home. This past weekend (my youngest daughter) was in the car with Anon and I and recounted a story from earlier in the week. She had been in the car with (my ex husband)and (live in girlfriend) and again they were calling her brother names. She was angered by this and “stuck up” for her brother by asking the adults to please stop calling her brother names. She told the adults at that time that they were no better than the bullies that (my son)dealt with in elementary school. (my youngest daughter) is constantly demeaned. She was told by (live in girlfriend) that one of her haircuts was ugly, called names like spoiled brat, and drama queen. (my youngest daughter) formerly had a photo of me on her wall which she was required to remove by (live in girlfriend). (my son)also noted that all photos in the home are of (live in girlfriend)’s family and that they are not permitted to display any of their own. (my son)reports one photo specifically of him and (my oldest daughter) that mysteriously disappeared when displayed. (my son)was told by his father that his hair looked ridiculous. He said it in an angry and demeaning way. He offered (my son)no assistance in doing his hair, but insulted his appearance, and screamed at him for not taking care of himself. (my ex husband)wanted (my son)to cut his hair like his fathers and (my son)refused. The way that (my ex husband)talks to (my son)is belittling and negative to the self esteem of a sixteen year old boy. (my oldest daughter) has witnessed this behavior. (my ex husband)recounted a story to me during our four hour conversation about having punched (my son)in the back for telling him to “Shut Up” when his dad was insulting him in front of one of his friends. His dad told me that he had (my son)take out the trash and waited outside the back door in the dark for (my son)to come outside with the trash when he surprise punched him in the back and told him never to talk to him like that again. I asked (my son)about this incident which he denied. I heard it directly from (my ex husband)however, and can only say that I feel (my son)is afraid to admit to it. (my son)feels as if he is constantly the victim of name calling. He feels disliked and out of place in his home. (my son)also has reported hearing (live in girlfriend) on the phone with his grandfather discussing loudly how she can’t wait to show the court what a loser “she” is (Jason’s mother) he reported that he was texting his girlfriend at the time and told her “April, just keep talking to me because if she doesn’t stop talking about my mom like that I am going to go off”. All of the children have heard (live in girlfriend) berate me and discuss allegations such as being a “dirty whore” and “worthless” living in a “garage apartment” and “working the street”. I was once screamed at by (live in girlfriend) on the phone all of those things to which (my son)said he was witness. (my son)reports that he never leaves his small room because he doesn’t want to get yelled at. Jason’s bedroom is messy and unkempt. I went to Jon’s home on one occassion to check Jason’s blood sugar as he was on Atkins for football and home sick. I entered the home and found (my son)playing video games in his fathers room with sex toys laying on the nightstand and a huge jug of Crown Royal on the counter. I asked (my oldest daughter) who reported that she too had seen the sex toy with the adults in the room she told them that was disgusting and they laughed and looked slightly embarrassed. Missing Items Many items that were gifts from me have either mysteriously broken, or disappeared. Both (my son)and (my oldest daughter) had wallets with high amounts of cash in them disappear when only (live in girlfriend) and (my youngest daughter) were in the house. (sons’s only (live in girlfriend) was home) When (my oldest daughter)’s disappeared I had just given her 300 in cash to shop for clothes with as we ran out of time at the mall during our visit. When my son’s disappeared (my youngest daughter) saw (live in girlfriend) go in and out of Jason’s room which she never does. He was here working in the yard and not at home. He left the money he had earned working here in the yard in his wallet on his dresser. It disappeared. I gave (my youngest daughter) a blanket that she slept with all of the time. It disappeared for months until one day she saw (girlfriends daughter) using it and cried. She told (live in girlfriend) “That’s a special blanket, my Mommy gave it to me I have been looking for it” To which (live in girlfriend) replied, “Oh Well, It’s (girlfriends daughter)’s now”. (my youngest daughter) cried to (my oldest daughter). (my oldest daughter) told (my ex husband)that she had been searching for months and that it was mean to allow (girlfriends daughter) to take a sentimental item. (my ex husband)eventually got (live in girlfriend) to return the blanket. (my ex husband)told her it had been put away in his closet for months. (my youngest daughter) had at least three phones purchased by me. Each time she would keep it for about a week before coming home from school to find it had disappeared. Once it disappeared after a trip to my parents in West Palm Beach and even (my oldest daughter) saw that it was left on her dresser when they left. My son’s birthday was in July. His father did not celebrate or give him any gifts. I bought him a PSP as well as a new video game that was “from Dad”. His PSP was left on the coffee table at (live in girlfriend)’s home never to be seen again. (my son)was not allowed to participate with the family for Halloween last year. They left without him. He called to ask his dad to come get him and he said no you will have to stay home and just pass out candy. (my son)felt left out. (my son)is worried that he won’t be allowed to dress up this year because (live in girlfriend) said he is too old. One of Jason’s hobbies is Anime and he enjoys participating in “Cos Play” common with teens. He enjoys creating the props and accessories that go along with his characters. (my youngest daughter)’s birthday was last December and happened during (my ex husband)and (live in girlfriend)’s breakup when (my ex husband)asked me to take full custody of the kids for nearly a month. He did not even phone her on her birthday. None of the children have received any birthday anything from their father since they returned to him. During the time that (my ex husband)withheld all visitation from me which lasted six months, I created a website that can still be found at http://www.findmommy.wordpress.com
to communicate with (my youngest daughter). I bought a computer for them that had wimax so that I could provide the internet access for the children to skype with me, or email or visit the website. They were permitted to Skype with me two times before their father said they were not allowed to skype with me anymore with no reason. Eventually he discovered (my youngest daughter) was visiting the website and then took their computer and didn’t allow her to have access. . I have only in the past few days had the computer returned to me broken. During one of our visits I told the children to bring their computer with them. I wanted them to be able to use it at my house. (my ex husband)would not allow them to take it because (live in girlfriend) was ordering pizza on it. Medical Neglect I mentioned above the issue with (my youngest daughter)s numbness in her legs. (my youngest daughter) also went over a year with no glasses. Twice now (my youngest daughter) has arrived to my house with broken glasses. Once, she had only one lens in them and it took me a moment to realize the other eye was empty space. I replaced her glasses then. She then showed up recently with an arm broken off of her glasses and her dad didn’t even bother to tape them together for her. I again took her to the eye doctor for contacts which she loves. Recently as you know, (my youngest daughter) came home sick from school. They called her dad to pick her up. Her dad dropped her at the house where (live in girlfriend) was in the bedroom. (my youngest daughter) said (live in girlfriend) never even came out to check on her. She began vomiting again and (my youngest daughter) went to (live in girlfriend)’s door to ask for help and (live in girlfriend) told her that her dad wasn’t home. (my youngest daughter) spent that sick day alone, instead of being brought to me. (my ex husband)called me that night to ask if Jill could come early Friday as she was ill. I naturally agreed and (my youngest daughter) told me how sad she was the day before to be alone and sick. (my ex husband)had a prescription for (my son)to get glasses but refused not only to buy them, but also refused to allow me to fill the prescription saying (my son)would never wear them. (my ex husband)had that script for a year before I ever even knew (my son)needed glasses. He was furious when he found out that I spent 360 buying (my son)his glasses saying that I should have given him the money and that he will never wear them. (my son)has never gone a day without his glasses since then. (my son)has been trembling visibly. I have talked to (my ex husband)about obtaining healthy kids or medicaid because he has custody but he does not do it because he does not have his taxes filed for several years. I am concerned that in adolescent boys trembling can be a sign of thyroid issues and it has not been checked. I am working to be able to afford to schedule an appointment for them, but if they were with me I could have health insurance for them through medicaid but you must be the custodial parent to apply. When (my oldest daughter) lived in the home she was forced to live with a dog that she was allergic to. (my oldest daughter) has selective IgA deficiency and has not been to a specialist since living with her godparents in West Palm Beach. (my ex husband)has never made any minor effort to do any medical care other than a football physical. During the six month period that I was not allowed contact with my children at all… there were three exceptions. When (my youngest daughter) got headlice three times. All three times the kids were brought to me to purchase headlice medicine and conduct the delousing. There was another instance when (my youngest daughter) has called me crying when the air conditioner broke. (my ex husband)wanted her to go to stay at the friend Jaquelyn’s house. (my youngest daughter) did not want to go and said the brother is always fighting physically with the sister and it scared her so bad she hid in the bathroom. (my ex husband)screamed at her and said fine- if you don’t go to her house then your staying in your room and don’t come crying to me when you get hot. Jill called me in tears. (If you read The Honest Courtesan, Maggie’s husband heard the whole conversation) I calmed her down and told her that she should go and apologize to her dad and just do what he said. (this was before the concerns about the house being a drug house) (my youngest daughter) was told to tell her dad she was sorry and would do as he asked. Then (live in girlfriend) interjected and said that since (my youngest daughter) had refused that now she should be forced to suffer in the heat of her bedroom. Which she was. She spent that night alone. Her dad and (live in girlfriend) never even checked on her. DCF Allegations I was notified by (my ex husband)that (my youngest daughter) had made a statement to a child at school that she has sex with her father and her mother watches. (her friends at school refer to the girlfriend as her “mother” as she is the adult woman in the home) I was mortified, considering (my youngest daughter) had not lived with me in two years. (my ex husband)and (live in girlfriend) insinuated that this had something to do with my history in the adult industry and the detectives were directed somehow to my home. (my youngest daughter) was punished for this incident, and left on her bed alone all night with noone to talk to about what happened. I returned home the same night and (my ex husband)would not let me speak to her by phone or any other means. (my youngest daughter) was upset and said that she wished that she could talk to me. The school counselor told (my ex husband)that it was critical for him to spend time with (my youngest daughter) alone and apart from the blended family at least one hour per week. Even just for a walk. (my youngest daughter) said that only happened once. No further effort to bring her to counseling. I have pushed (my ex husband)for counseling and he refuses to take them even with a court ordering him to provide it. Interference with School I was advised when this case began that (my ex husband)had no right to have kept the children from me for six months. I was told that I had the right to go to her school to have lunch with her like any other parent. The school was receptive to my inquiry and they forwarded my request to the school board attorney that supported my position. I was told by Ms. Ferris the guidance counselor that (my ex husband)screamed at her so loud the entire office heard him on the phone. He said things like “Can’t you read? It says that I decide when and where she sees these kids.” Ms Ferris was helpful in establishing early contact between (my youngest daughter) and I during the beginning of this case. Screaming at the kids for arranging rides home (my oldest daughter) called me after ten pm one evening from the Vinoy Hotel where she was with a boy near the pool. Her father had left her there after what could be described as a double date they had been on. He told (my oldest daughter) he would “be pissed” if he had to come back and get her but she assured him that she would get a ride home. She called and asked me if I could send my cab driver for her. He was on his way to pick me up for an event that was scheduled at a night club. I told her that I would pick her up, and to make the route shorter she would be in the cab dropping me off at the night club, and the long time cab driver would drive my seventeen year old home. When (my ex husband)found out that she called me for a ride he screamed at her so loud that the cab driver reported to me that he could hear him the entire fifteen to twenty minute drive to her home as she cried. (my son)was at the mall needing a ride. He could not reach his father, so he called (my friend) who is considered a part of our family here in this home. A step father figure almost. Chris agreed and ran to pick (my son)up. Chris told him to call his dad again but his phone was dead so Chris insisted he call from Chris’ phone. Chris could hear (my ex husband)screaming at (my son)through a shut truck door and window. Denying Visitation for Six Months I would question the children as to the experience of being deprived visitation from their mother for six months as well as the times for months on end when only one hour a week was allowed. . (my youngest daughter) asked (my ex husband)repeatedly when she would be allowed to see me and his only response is “I don’t know” or “That’s not for you and I to talk about.” Jon’s excuse for this is that he thought that the court order gave him that right. However, (my ex husband)was told not only by the Police, but also my lawyer as well as the School Board Legal Department through Ms Ferris the Guidance counselor that he was wrong. It is also required by law that if you feel that you must withhold visitation as a protective measure that you notify the State Attorney’s office within ten days of the concerns, and commence a custody hearing to determine the validity of the concerns. (my ex husband)would never specify to me what his concerns were, Chris was appointed during the dependency case as the Court Appointed Supervisor and he did not know what the concerns were. It took six months for me to save the money to hire a lawyer to bring this case to court and finally reestablish any contact at all. I am mentioning this here for you to pursue in your interview because this affected the children and still does. There has been more consistency in their visitation with me now, but (my youngest daughter) often fears that her father will get mad again and “never let me see you again”. Chris witnessed her crying hysterically after this case commenced when the Police were called after a six hour birthday/school shopping trip in July. She wrapped her arms so tightly around me that I could not get her to let go. She clung to me until the Police arrived and took her inside the house telling (my ex husband)that there is no one hour limitation and that I had done nothing wrong. The Police told (my ex husband)that the courts want us to work together to make peace for the kids. I think that the fear that (my ex husband)will withhold visitation is very clear and present in (my youngest daughter) as well as myself and Chris. We have seen him ignore Police, Court Orders, Social Workers, Schools and any other persons that say that I have a right to my children. Even today I had to file a police report regarding (live in girlfriend) emailing me demeaning messages that certainly do not demonstrate any change in her opinion that the children should not be allowed to see me. (my son)is more quiet on this topic, but has stated during the times of alienation that he is tired of asking to visit me, because it just causes a fight. He is tired of the fighting. He just quietly sits in his room like a condemned man waiting out his prison sentence. Guardian Ad Litem’s Report There are a great many challenges to grasping an accurate picture of the complete dynamic of a family in turmoil. However, I would question the children if they appeared in court as to some of the statements relating to the children in the GAL report. Specifically relating to the statement that neither parent really seems to encourage the children’s interests in hobbies or activities. When the children are here I focus on three things. Individual time with each child, time together as our original family, and time spent with our “blended family” including Chris’s family. (my son)loves to cook and has been cooking with me since he could stand up. He took to it more than the girls. (my son)enjoys cooking but is reportedly not allowed at his dad’s because (my ex husband)would have to do the dishes. (my son)has learned to BBQ with me here and is now capable of building his own fire in a wood smoker and maintaining proper temperatures. He has helped me to do my roadside vending, and we have attended food truck rally’s for ideas on how to build our trailer. (my son)has participated in a Community Hot Sauce and Salsa Competition in Largo recently and also joined his mother in a jalapeno eating challenge just for fun. (my son)enjoys cos play and has built enormous wood props using the full shop in Chris’s garage. Chris has helped him learn to use some of his saws. (my son)creates ideas for costumes using his sketches and I helped him paint his face for “Megacon”. We worked on his costume together. He is working on a screenplay for a school project which I am helping him to do some computer graphics for special effects. It is a Naruto film. During the film a song plays. He thinks it is called “Last Resort” He told me it is his favorite song. I would ask him if he were to testify to tell me about that song. I watched the eight minute film and noticed the lyrics to the song. It made me sad, but I told him I could see how he can relate to the song… He strongly agreed. I worry about that. I think (my son)feels more pain than we know. Read these lyrics, and ask him about his screenplay…if this is his favorite song… Ask him to tell you why… “Last Resort” Cut my life into pieces This is my last resort, suffocation, no breathing Don’t give a fuck if I cut my arms bleeding This is my last resort, Cut my life into pieces I’ve reached my last resort, suffocation, no breathing Don’t give a fuck if I cut my arms bleeding Do you even care if I die bleeding? Would it be wrong, would it be right? If I took my life tonight, Chances are that I might Mutilation out of sight and I’m contemplating suicide ‘Cause I’m losing my sight, losing my mind Wish somebody would tell me I’m fine Losing my sight, losing my mind Wish somebody would tell me I’m fine I never realized I was spread too thin ‘Til it was too late and I was empty within Hungry, feeding on chaos and living in sin Downward spiral, where do I begin? It all started when I lost my mother No love for myself and no love for another Searching to find a love upon a higher level Finding nothing but questions and devils ‘Cause I’m losing my sight, losing my mind Wish somebody would tell me I’m fine Losing my sight, losing my mind Wish somebody would tell me I’m fine Nothing’s alright, nothing is fine I’m running and I’m crying I’m crying [x4] I can’t go on living this way Cut my life into pieces This is my last resort, suffocation, no breathing Don’t give a fuck if I cut my arms bleeding Do you even care if I die bleeding? Would it be wrong, would it be right? If I took my life tonight, chances are that I might Mutilation out of sight and I’m contemplating suicide ‘Cause I’m losing my sight, losing my mind Wish somebody would tell me I’m fine Losing my sight, losing my mind Wish somebody would tell me I’m fine Nothing’s alright, nothing is fine I’m running and I’m crying I can’t go on living this way Can’t go on, living this way, nothing’s alright (my son)also enjoys Par Core running and has showed off for me on many long walks with our friend Anon’s dog. He is unbelievable in his ability to scale playground equipment like Spider Man. He is a big boy on the outside, but on the inside he still wants to play and be loved. He asks me for backrubs sometimes when his back hurts from football. He misses football and was sad when we drove past a game his school was playing. I asked if he wanted to stop and he said “Nah, I’ll just be mad I can’t play.” In Spring he is supposed to be able to join the team. He definitely wants to. When I asked him why he said he didn’t want to play football his answer was ” I love it, and I hate it.” as in it is hard work and physically demanding, but he misses being part of the team. (my son)was employed at my restaurant and learned about commercial cooking and even prepared orders on his own. He learned to use the fryer, to clean and disinfect as well as food handling guidelines. He was very happy doing this job. He was proud to have his own income. His father would not allow him to work on his weekends. As I told you the mysterious phone call to the pub that I believe could be noone other than (live in girlfriend) resulted in our being forced to end our kitchen lease after only two months. (my son)and (my youngest daughter) both love to paint. They each are painting their side of the wall. (my son)has been working on an Anime Mural on his side. We all sit together as a family and paint on canvas as I teach them about different brushes, and things I know about painting. I share their love of art and this is a peaceful Sunday morning activity that we all enjoy, even my niece has joined us once. They are proud of their paintings and their talent is clear. (my son)had a girlfriend that his father never allowed him to see. I think that at his age (my son)needs someone that cares about him, but needs supervision as well. I never allowed them time alone, but I would invite April and her family to do things with our family such as BBQ, Drum Circle, and shopping trips to the mall. (my son)enjoyed being special to someone, and it hurt him when his girlfriend broke up with him because his father was prohibitive of them spending time together. I encouraged my son in a positive direction, and had a healthy and mature conversation with my sixteen year old son regarding responsible sexuality. His father has not had this talk with him. As for (my youngest daughter) our individual time has been spent caring for and walking her two rabbits. Riding bikes two miles to the Animal House Pet Store that she loves and especially talking. She is glad to have time to talk to me about female things relating to growing up. Last weekend we talked about when a good time to start shaving her legs would be. She is wanting to start. (my youngest daughter) is in puberty and has noticed a boy named Ricky last year but noone this year. We spend time cuddling at night and telling each other bedtime stories. Sometimes we lay together in the Hammock and talk. (my youngest daughter) and I went on a dolphin cruise alone together, and to the Pier Aquarium. When she was involved in cheerleading I took her and her brother via greyhound bus and taxi cab to Lakeland for her cheer competition because her dad didn’t want to go. (my youngest daughter) has made friends in this neighborhood and she enjoys climbing trees with them. She loves the computer and uses it often. We spend time getting our nails done together, and doing make overs. She decided she likes to curl her hair now and on the Mondays that I take her to school we wake up extra early to have time to curl it. She likes learning about make up and girl things. Chris’s family join us around the firepit where we roast marshmallows, play basketball and ride bikes together as a family. We go to drum circle at the beach many Sunday evenings. We play Monopoly together, rent movies, and turn on stage lights to play Rock Band together which is one of their particular favorites. We have rented jet ski’s and gone to the beach and to see many movies. We enjoy eating out together sometimes as well. (my youngest daughter) wants to play Volleyball and we practice in the front yard. She also wants to be a primatologist so she finds learning about that fun . We recently went to the zoo with their cousin and (my youngest daughter) and (my son)rode a camel together. (my son)had the biggest smile on his face. Something you rarely see. I have taken (my youngest daughter) on her own out to “explore the city” as well as all of the children together. We board city buses and travel by trolley and walk and ride bikes to various destinations. The children love the alternative to riding in the car and I think it is an important lesson in green transportation. We often walk to the grocery store together instead of driving and use reusable bags. Chris and myself are both artists. We both love children and the idea of childhood having not had much of one ourselves. This home is full of life and love and hope and encouragement. We build the self esteem of our children together. We make up a family here. The children feel loved and welcome here. They are encouraged in their interests and activities and I would ask them to elaborate on that. I would also ask them to elaborate on their fathers interactions with them, because as far as I know (my son)never leaves his room and (my youngest daughter) feels like she is outshined by (girlfriends daughter). I see no effort for them to do any activities at all. I would also ask the children how they feel about the frequent moves they have made with their father. I would ask them if they feel safe living under (live in girlfriend)’s roof knowing that there was recently such an ugly breakup. I would ask them if they feel they will still live there next year, and I would ask if they think that we will still live in my home next year. I have lived in my home above Chris’s for nearly four consecutive years. There are no plans to ever change that. For a moment to accommodate (my oldest daughter) I had considered moving, but at her insistence she wanted an apartment. I helped her furnish it. Chris has owned this house for sixteen years, and when it is appropriate for our families, we may consider a relationship, but not now. Right now we are happy as a combined family. I am a loving female influence, taking his son for haircuts and helping his daughter with shopping and girl things and he is a positive male influence. After years of Domestic Violence it is important for the children to have a male that is non violent caring for their mother. It is a healthy example. We are not a traditional family, but we are a blended family. Our unique style of home allows privacy for both families when our children need us all to themselves. I would think that the childrens testimony would support this contradiction to the “stability” of both mother and father being equal. (my ex husband)has moved four times and two of those times were last minute moves where he needed me to take the children for weeks at a time to facilitate his move. His relationship is not stable, and is demeaning and destructive toward the childrens relationship with me. They do not hide this from the children. I would question them about that as well. Finally, I would ask the children how they felt when they found out the recommendation was that they stay living with their father and (live in girlfriend). It has been four years that they have tried to speak, (my son)about the horrible abuse in North Carolina and (my youngest daughter) about her longing for her mother. They are never listened to. Nobody hears them. They are well behaved, and will never be impolite…. but they are suffering and they need someone to ask them directly about these topics. I asked for a judge to allow them to appear in court because I think they would be more comfortable knowing they were talking to a judge. Knowing that their exact feelings and words were heard and not translated. Please take the time to explore these children just a little further. There is deep pain lying just beneath the surface. They are so unhappy in their home. They love their father and I have never suggested that they not be with him also. I have not maliciously prevented them from seeing him. (live in girlfriend) is a danger to our children. She is extremely vindictive toward whoever is not on her side. When she was first dating (my ex husband)she was malicious toward me. Then breaking up with him she was malicious toward him in her texts, then reuniting with him she is back to malicious toward me. The one consistency is maliciousness. Please explore the childrens feelings about her further.