There is a lot to this and I want to explain where I am coming from so, here it goes:
I have a DSS who is two years old. I am the only mother that he has known on a daily basis for the past year and a half. His birth mother and my husband fought for custody earlier this year. They have joint custody with my husband as the residential parent. The agreement set by the judge is that she will pay a whopping $60 a month in child support and see the child every other weekend. This agreement was made in March. Since then the mother has not paid one cent of child support. She does not work, she is not disabled, she instead takes advantage of a local church to pay her rent and utilities. She does not have a car, but has a license and is never the one who actually is in charge of the transportation of the child ( a church member who we don't know always drives her). She is 35 yrs old and has two other children that she does not see but once a year. The custody agreement is pretty basic. She can have visitation every other weekend, alternate holidays, five weeks during the summer, etc. She had one weekend visitation for the months of April and May. For her five weeks during the summer she only had him a week and a half before calling and having us go get him because she had to go to the hospital. (Pretty sure she was miscarrying) But she would never give me a straight answer. The other weeks she was supposed to have him for the summer she got her other two children instead and missed the pick up time for DSS. During the month of August (his birthday month) she did not ask for visitation but we invited her to the party (much to family and friends dismay). Because regardless of what happens we (DH and I) would love for her to get herself together and co-parent with us.
But. She only calls every two weeks at the most and now it is just every month. We have to argue with her to have minutes on her phone (for communication with DSS because he can verbalize) and we get calls from strange numbers of people we don't know and she won't give us a name as to who's phone it is. She never asks to talk to DSS.
She did not get visitation in September because she would call three days before she wanted him and DH and I both work full time and cannot change our schedules at the drop of a hat. She had visitation the third weekend of October for the first time in four months. DSS is always upset when he comes back. He clings to me, saying "Hold, Momma.... Hold" and does the same to DH. He screams almost the entire 50 min. car ride home (even if we stop and get him calmed down, when we start on the road again he looses it). He chews his fingernails and wrings his hands. He has nightmares for three to five nights afterwards and any sort of discipline we have made progress with goes out the window after a visitation. When we went to drop off DSS in October I went to check her car seat (she never has it in correctly) while DH was holding him he pointed at his mother and asked, "Who's that, Daddy?" Because he hadn't spent any time with her in months.
Tonight she called to discuss Thanksgiving which is her holiday this year. She is supposed to get him at six o'clock on Wednesday until six the following Sunday... FIVE DAYS!!!!!??? The psychological effects are already here. She abandons him for months and is then a mother when it is convenient for her without giving support.
We contact the child support office every couple of months but they are so slow with enforcement it is ridiculous. We do not have the money for a child psychologist but cannot see allowing a visitation of that length when it would do damage to him. She has three violent charges on her record for assault (previous boyfriend, DH, and me which is a whole different story). And she is mooching off of this church which makes me sick to my stomach. I am not very religious but have faith and consider myself a Christian and as such find this very hard. We know she has a history of drug use and a recent one (meth in the past three months). The list goes on and on. Our attorney tells us to wait, just wait until we have 6 months of financial abandonment and 6 months of her having no contact. So that when we go back to court, it is one fail swoop of full custody. But what is the price of waiting? How much harm does DSS have to go through? How many times does he have to come back dirty, crying, how many nightmares???
I haven't been very rattled until this last visit. It was just an inconvenience and now... I fear for his well being. I know I can do "well checks" through the police while he is there but I don't want to be the "new wife who cried wolf."
So. Any suggestions? Or do I just wait. And freak out.... And feel bad for the DSS that I love as my own....