At a loss and I really can't "wait" any longer - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 6 Old 11-10-2010, 10:21 PM - Thread Starter
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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) greensad.gif 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.... 

Artist wife to dh_malesling.GIF. Mom to DSS superhero.gif (3 yrs) and DD (04/12).  brokenheart.gif (2/28/10). winner.jpgcd.gif

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#2 of 6 Old 11-11-2010, 06:15 AM
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I am so sorry, mama.


Your lawyer is probably right - you want to have a slam-dunk when you go back to court, so waiting until she meets the abandonment criteria is probably a good idea. 


But I can't imagine how hard it must be. Well-child checks (called in by your HUSBAND) may be a good idea. If her current boyfriend realizes that having your DSS in his house means cops are going to show up, he may forbid the weekend visits. Also, how far does the custody agreement allow you to move? You might want to get yourselves off her beaten path / away from her comfort zone / out of the range that she can find a church person to drive her. 


Note: none of these stunts would stop her from taking her visitation if co-parenting your DSS is a priority for her. But if it's not...

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#3 of 6 Old 11-11-2010, 06:41 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the reply, Smithie. I know that the well child checks are a good idea. Especially since the mother is now abusing her boyfriend (surprise, surprise) so he has no backbone and has been living with her for a year and a half. The church thinks they are cousins (gross). So that isn't really an option, unfortunately.


We already live two hours away and are not in a position to move at this moment. I'm finishing a degree and don't want to move DSS until I go to grad school, plus financial reasons, etc. Moving out of state will happen three years from now but by then DSS will be five. 


Co-parenting isn't a priority for her and never has been. I hate to sound so.... blunt. But she has two other children that she didn't raise and never sees, so I know it is only a matter of time before the contact tappers off. She is aware that we are pushing child support and brings up how we want her in jail asap every time we get a phone call. I don't want her in jail. I want her to be a mom. I want her to get her crap together. I have friends who have wonderful co-parenting relationships and I am envious. DH has just accepted that we are going to have to play hardball. He doesn't care to hear her excuses, gets outraged when she brings up the past ("Well when we were together you said this was ok!"), yet he seems content to wait. Which probably says more to his ability to be patient where I can't be. 


Her church members always want to engage us and talk to us, also. They say that they don't want to get involved, how DSS is a sweet child, "I'll drive safe!", etc. I just want to scream, "How are you not involved if you are transporting our son?!?!" Her only resource is the church and while I don't want her homeless. I don't like the idea of people that I don't know transporting DSS for hours in a car. 


Eh. When I think about the situation it seems so hopeless at the moment. I just can't see him going to her for five days without something going wrong. 

Artist wife to dh_malesling.GIF. Mom to DSS superhero.gif (3 yrs) and DD (04/12).  brokenheart.gif (2/28/10). winner.jpgcd.gif

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#4 of 6 Old 11-11-2010, 02:34 PM
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My dd , while having a different relationship with her bio dad, was showing similar signs of stress after visits and we were able to get visitation changed after taking her to therapy. I'd call around at a few clinics in your area about non-profit therapy groups to take your dss to. We have a great one here that works with student therapists who do in home visits for young children. I know that courts do take the recommendations of therapists seriously and play therapy can help little ones express and work out their emotions too. I'm so sorry your dss is going through this, I know it's hard to watch and feel like you can't protect them, but I'm sure he is benefiting from your love and involvement in his life

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#5 of 6 Old 11-11-2010, 05:17 PM
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, , , 

You and I have very similar situations! My step kids have been all but completely abandoned by their mom. They were taken from her custody by cps, a year ago May, and she had weekly supervised visits with them while they were going through the courts. As soon as the judge ordered her to have only supervised visits at our house until her therapist gave the court the ok, she stopped coming. That was last April. Now even phone calls have tapered off to nothing. Luckily, it has been a relatively clean break for us- they never actually go with her. She is also homeless, and has a seven month old baby, so really isn't getting it together at all. I want to look into the requirements for claiming abandonment, too, because I'm terrified she could come in and exercise her parental "rights", which I'm afraid in her case means the right to lie to the kids, manipulate them, and make them think she cares about them just long enough to really make the knife twist when she ditches them again.

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#6 of 6 Old 11-11-2010, 06:11 PM - Thread Starter
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Ravensong 13: Yes, we have thought about that and I will be doing some calling Monday after some research online. I would love for a therapist to see what is going on through play therapy and such. Yet with how sporadic her contact is, I wouldn't know how to schedule something.  But we'd figure it out. I also think that a therapist's recommendations would definitely come in handy when it comes time to go to court again.... I've even thought about video taping visitation exchanges to show how upset he is... I know that sounds terrible but no one seems to take me seriously when I tell them how hysterical he gets. 



Singin'intherain: Your fear of her exercising her parental rights is exactly where I am. Before March DSS was going to her one week (no longer than five days is how long she could stand it) and back to us for at least seven days. That is why we pushed and fought so hard for residential custody and moved two hours away. We had to put space between she and us for the sake of our relationship. Also, two weeks before the judge ruled, I miscarried mine and DH's child... Two weeks later we moved away and a month later we were married. So. A lot has happened. We are so much happier now and are finally figuring out how to be us without all the commotion and craziness that came with being in the same town as bio mother. Even though I am the step mother... I want to adopt DSS asap. And we have asked her to consider giving up her rights, but she won't do it out of spite. Which is fine because she will probably loose them through the courts at this rate. I know that in my state they consider 6 months of no contact with the child to be abandonment. We had four months until October when she wanted him for HER birthday weekend... 


And as if things weren't bad enough, my nephew is having radical brain surgery on Monday because part of his cerebellum is hanging out of the bottom of his skull and the fluid that circulates around his brain is not draining... Lots going on. Thanks for the feedback and listening. I can always count on these forums for support and it really helps. :hug.gif

Artist wife to dh_malesling.GIF. Mom to DSS superhero.gif (3 yrs) and DD (04/12).  brokenheart.gif (2/28/10). winner.jpgcd.gif

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