Saturday, March 19, 2016

When Parents have to Fight to Be Parents / #family #community #doingtherightthing #justice

It is possible for one or a group to be so focused on a desired goal that they will begin to relax their convictions on how to go about achieving those aims. Formalities are dropped and insincerity takes hold in situations like this. It becomes necessary to do so once one's principles are put aside and an aim becomes an overarching imperative. Sometimes it is possible that the one or the group bypasses common decency and blinds themselves to good principles.

However, it is my experience that achieving great feats is never permanent when one's principles are put by the wayside. In that same fashion, it is quite common to subscribe to bias and unproductive alliances in order to maintain a status quo that is not in line with what is right and good. For a time, this strategy may seem to be victorious in the eyes of the one or that group who have suspended their principles in search of a desired goal or upholding of a desired status quo. History shows that doing the wrong thing, however subtle it may be and however it may present itself in the gray tones between what is just and what is downright wrong and simply uncouth. That is to say... lacking grace.

In my own life, I am in the midst of fighting to be in the life of my three young children, ages 8, 5 and 4. It has been seven months since I have seen them. Through the courts of Stamford-Norwalk where justice is SUPPOSED to be blind, fair, unbiased and impartial sway, I have been only able to wrestle nine hours of parenting time with my two youngest treasures and six with my oldest boy over the course of eight months. Two years ago their mother abruptly separated from me and the children (without planning) on my birthday leaving me to care for them for 40 days on my own. I was not able to work. As a self-employed private Educator this heavily impacted my ability to go to work or make income to support my children. If it was not for my mother and late-father I do not know what state I would find myself in. The mother simply walked away and wrote to me on at least one occasion that she was not taking the children. Eventually, when she had set up her house she demanded I return the children to her or face hell's fury. I was glad to hear that she would be a mother again and with my parents assistance made arrangements to unite the children once again with their mother.

Children need both mom and dad in their life. 

I am a staunch advocate of that. That was now nearly two years ago. Since then, I have not had a single week of normality as a father nor have my children been afforded consistent parenting time with me that was scheduled and routine. From the moment the mother was given the children she opposed abiding by a parenting schedule and agreement that was set in place to the benefit of our three remaining children. In the aftermath of this status quo, I have done what I can and more to be a presence in their childhood. I adore my children and they very much love and miss their father. I am a caring, nurturing parent who puts their physical, emotional and spiritual well-being first. iPads and phones have been given to their mother to establish lines of communication between the kids and I. The phones mysteriously disappear and I have as of yet to receive a Skype or FaceTime call. The courts (and family mediation office) in Connecticut are of no use with their heavy blind bias favoring the woman in all cases regardless that each situation is unique.

For over a year, I appeared in court a great number of times to press my parental rights and with the hope of having the courts enforce the parenting schedule agreement that was agreed upon between her lawyer and I at the time. The mother would never appear in court. I was self-representing myself at the time and the judge would have me wait from morning through lunch each court date waiting to see if the mother would appear. Each time the mother was given leeway.

My work and personal life has been greatly impacted by this fallout and absence of my children. To date, I have missed all major holidays and birthdays over the last two years. My children are growing taller by the month and my oldest son is confounded by what his mother says of me. This I know from his communication with me of the six hours I have had with him recently. There are no phone calls. My son tells me that the mother tells him that dad is sleeping or he doesn't care. She has made him tell me that it is more important for him to go to his 'play dates' than to spend time with his father. My youngest son hardly speaks. My daughter, who is my princess, is strong at heart and full of grace. God bless her. She tells me she misses me.

The mother's lawyer dropped off from the case telling the courts (the mom was not present that day) that the mom accused her of conspiring with me against her and that it was no longer possible to continue representing her given that the mom stopped communicating with her. The few hours that I have been briefly reunited with my children have been possible thanks to third party support of the mothers own family who she is now estranged from. They have been kind enough to help me where they have been able to by being the required third party, as stipulated by the mother if I wanted to see the children.  The mother further stipulated that other third parties had to carry $2 million insurance if they were to help in the pick up and drop off of kids. Her family, whom she has also divorced herself from have their own lives and work and cannot always help me, which I understand. I am thankful to them for the kindness and help they have given so far.

Through all this, I have been thrown in jail for over a week (4 nights of which I was held unconstitutionally) in the aftermath of delivering yellow roses to the mother's place of work as a peace offering to get her to come to court. I handed the flowers to her supervisor that day without seeing her and left the premises. It was a harrowing time for me in Bridgeports jail. I was sending a marshall to formally serve her papers and did not want to anger her with the surprise visit from the official. She called the cops on me and had me arrested. It is not my intention to draw things out or to place undue burden. I simply want to be a father. I want to be in the life of my children. I am missing out on their childhood. My afternoons and weekends are quiet. There is no desire in me to go have fun or play billiards with 'the guys' given the predicament.

To compound matters, the mother has made it so that the schools do not allow me on their grounds. I do not know my children's teachers and they are not forthcoming with me. It is as if I have been painted with a large brushstroke as 'bad daddy.' To be fair, my oldest son's school, based in an old historic town on the Connecticut/ New York border, has refused to allow me to partake in being a part of schools functions as they pertain to my son, but have been kind enough to send me an invitation for a fundraising event to fill their coffers. So nice of them.

I go to court-mandated parenting classes which were a requisite for both the mother and I.  I go twice a week to these I(four hours) though coaching and advising parents is part of my work. Writing these words are not just for my case, but for all the fathers out there fighting to be part of their children's lives. Please do not give up in your quest to be in your children's lives. They need us men. The men are needed to raise the kids. Both parents are needed. It does not matter that the courts constantly rule in favor of the mothers. Keep fighting. The judges and educational institutions are not always correct. They are made up of regular people subject to historical biases and entrenched beliefs that serve as lenses by which they view the world.

I do not rest my case but will continue to fight the good fight to be their for my kids. God bless the state of Connecticut.

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