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I'm going to put this here because it concerns my parenting and someone elses. I had been friends with this woman for about a year when my husband and I backed away from her because of her boyfriend and the way he treated his son. She showed up at our house one night saying that he was beating his<br>
son with a spatula and she was scared. She called the police and CPS. After all their drama played out she STAYED with him and of course, we became the bad guys who forced her to call CPS ( according to her boyfriend). Well, she then became pregnant (we no longer had contact with her as I was pregnant at the time). We heard through some mutual friends about how she had tried to leave him with the baby (after she was born) and he had "come and found her". It seems she has a weak constitution for resisting the "baby, please don't go, I love you" speech.<br><br>
So recently her kid was taken by CPS because of an altercation between the my former friend and her boyfriend (she had moved out of the house 3 weeks prior). She yelled at the baby and has been hitting her.<br><br>
Lo and behold, the baby goes to my husbands aunt as a foster parent. Small town, man. Small town. So I played with the girl (she's 1.5 yrs) all afternoon and evening yesterday. She yells ALL the time and has to frustration coping skills. Based on my experience with the mother my humble recommendation was that the woman get some counciling, a good legal custody agreement, stay away from the boyfriend and make some friends who also have babies.<br><br>
So here's my problem. I want to help her. I want to tell her where to go to get help, how to fill out DSHS forms for foodstamps and mental healthcare coverage for a therapist and give her books to read about parenting.<br><br>
My husband had pointed out that this woman has brought nothing but drama into our lives and in a lot of ways she has (she wasn't always bad, just with the boyfriend, sister has some PROBLEMS with men). He has also pointed out that if I help her and she gets back together with the biyfriend, having supported a breakup, we will again eb the badguys, and her boyfriend has a temper, he likes to threaten people, although I've never seen him act on it.<br><br>
So do I just recognize that there are programd in place to help her and say a prayer for her and her kid? Do I surreptitiously try to get her help my having a discussion with her sister in law? Do I just try to get a hold of her?<br>
This concerns my parenting in the sense that I don't want this to effect my really young kids. I just can't stop thinking about it, I don't really trust the system to help her. The social worker didn't even tell her she could have visitation rights to her kid. (She can, the foster mother said so.)<br><br>
What do I do?<br>
Crystal
 

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I agree with your DH your friend is bad mojo. I think the best you can do is hope that her baby gets adopted by a nice family.<br><br>
Kudos for you for being concerned, but there isn't anything you can do. You can be supportive and give her resources, but thats a slippery slope too. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug"> much love
 

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I would do what you initially said . . . offer her as much help and support as you can. It can take women many tries to leave an abuser, but she is going to need support to get out of that relationship and get her baby back. I wouldn't be able or willing to abandon someone I knew to the systems that are supposed to help her. All CPS will do is screw her and her baby over. If you can help them, do it.
 

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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/yeahthat.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="yeah that">:
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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Jessy1019</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/12372601"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I would do what you initially said . . . offer her as much help and support as you can. It can take women many tries to leave an abuser, but she is going to need support to get out of that relationship and get her baby back. I wouldn't be able or willing to abandon someone I knew to the systems that are supposed to help her. All CPS will do is screw her and her baby over. If you can help them, do it.</div>
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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/yeahthat.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="yeah that">:<br><br>
It'll be hard, but you could potentially help this woman out tremendously.
 

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There's no way you could put together a packet of advice with the books and pass it to her anonymously?<br><br>
I would be concerned about her partner. You can't put yourself at risk.<br><br>
V
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Violet2</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/12372815"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">There's no way you could put together a packet of advice with the books and pass it to her anonymously?<br><br>
I would be concerned about her partner. You can't put yourself at risk.<br><br>
V</div>
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That's what I thought after reading the originql post. Maybe you could create a packet of information/resources, and either mail it to her/drop it off anonymously.<br><br>
It's hard to watch someone self-destruct, especially when you care about them and the answer seems so obvious. The problem is that the answer is not obvious to the person in that situation. I would try to offer whatever support I could, but still protect my family. For that reason, maybe some anonymous info would help. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/hug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="hug">
 

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I would help her. I know it has the potential to blow up in your face but it could also change her life.
 

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Speaking from experience, I would NOT get involved in this situation. You could be putting your own children at risk. I would see if there is a Women's Center or other program for battered and abused women that you can put her in touch with. A lot of those places have advocates that will help women get custody of their kids if the kids are with CPS or have a problem with CPS. They can help with restraining orders, housing, and a number of other things. They can also help with counseling and other stuff that is way beyond your expertise.<br><br>
Before I had kids, I would stick my neck out and help. Now that I have kids, I will not do it. It is too big of a risk. Even if you have not ever seen this guy do anything bad, that does not mean that he won't. It is much safer if you hook her up with someone that the boyfriend doesn't know. If they reconcile, it won't be your fault. I have seen situations where a person gets back together with the abuser and then the person that was once a friend gets on the bandwagon with the abuser and they BOTH try to seek retribution. I am not trying to scare you but I have seen this happen. My sister was involved in one of those relationships and even though she had a restraining order against the jerk she would still let the kids see him and would get angry and defensive against anyone that tried to remind her of why there was a restraining order. It can be an ugly mess.
 

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Can you tell me how she would be putting her own kids at risk? Not being snarky just wanting to know how.
 

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speaking from experience...<br><br>
i put a great deal of emotional and physical energy into trying to help my friend who was being abused by her boyfriend. for 8 years she stuck around him, loong before i came into the picture. we were in college together for 5 years. she was with him the entire time.<br><br>
when she was finally ready to leave him, she basically had to cut off contact with everyone. she had a major blowout with everyone she knew. she cut off contact with everyone. even me. so there was my best friend and personal social service case gone in a poof. with no explanation. we were supposed to move in together and we had gotten post-college jobs in the same town, and then all of a sudden i'm screwed and having to turn down my job and move somewhere else.<br><br>
well here we are 4 or 5 years later and i've actually talked to her and she has turned her life completely around. when i began the apology process she just broke down and said that in order to make the necessary changes in her life she really just had to cut herself off from so many people, for many different reasons. that she was sorry. that she wanted to be friends again, but she felt so judged by so many people, especially after her drastic departure from everyone and everything that she didn't go seeking anyone out.<br><br>
point is...you're gonna put a lot of work into this. it's going to be mostly thankless...and then if the point comes where she actually does find the strength to leave him, you may very well have nothing to do with her decision and you may never see her again. think about how that will bode for you after such a strong emotional investment. i was REALLY HURT.<br><br>
she IS bad mojo. this has been and will remain a sad story until she wants it to end. with bruises around her neck from being strangled...my friend would get angry with us for telling her to leave, or imposing a no-bf-in-our-houses-cause-we-don't-want-to-be-forced-to-call-the-cops rule. she would intelligently (as a psychology major) denounce our supplications with a simple "Nothing is going to change me until i want to change me."<br><br>
and she was right.<br><br>
so if you DO do this. be assured that although your efforts will not be ignored they won't always be applauded or appreciated and in the end you may lose your friend anyway. thanklessly and after investing so much into her emotionally.<br><br>
sorry so long...but i've been through this. i'm not saying i wouldn't do it again, but given the option, i would probably brace myself more carefully against getting hurt.<br><br>
hth.
 

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I would leave it alone. She has to come to the decision, within her own self, to leave her abuser and to choose her child over him.<br><br>
In my experience, CPS gives parents every opportunity to get their lives together and to get their kids back, provided they actually put the work in to do it. You said that the sw didnt tell her she had visitation rights...well, the sw does not (in most cases) make that decision, the judge does. She may not even have them yet...it really depends on the case. My foster son was in care for several weeks before anything was decided about visitation (his mother pretty much abandoned him though, so it never really got as far as court ordered visitation)...even though my son's mother never even saw him, never left an address/phone number where she could be reached, never sought him out, never contacted the one family member who was maintaining contact with the baby (he had no idea where she was even though she lived with him right up to the birth and he was present at the hospital)...it STILL took four months for them to terminate her rights to the baby, even with *no contact* in all that time. Plus, she may very well have been told what her rights were, and either didnt understand them or is "forgetting" ("That social worker didnt even tell me i could see my baby!!" when the social worker made things very clear....thats been known to happen too)<br><br>
If she goes to their parenting classes, shows a sincere desire to parent her child, have a place to live etc...she will in all likelihood get her kid back (again, in my experience)...if she goes back to an abuser, she may not (and shouldnt, IMO).<br><br>
Speaking from personal experience (from my brief stint living w/ an abusive alcoholic), nothing you say will make a difference to her. She *knows* what kind of man he is, knows what the right thing to do is. She even knew, before they had a kid, what kind of father he was! I wouldnt bring that kind of drama into my life, personally.<br><br><br>
Katherine
 

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I would send her a card letting her know that you're thinking of her, with a mobile phone number on it, and you're there if she needs you. Then leave it down to her and the universe. <b>Domestic violence kills</b>, and CPS could have saved that little girls life. IF she gets out of that relationship, it could have saved two lives, but you can't do the work for her. It has to be the right time for her to leave, and you can't make that judgement call. I'd follow it with a Christmas card, and another one next year, all with a phone number on it. Don't lose touch entirely, because there could come a time she needs you.<br><br>
jeca, this man is violent. It is possible that this man could be violent towards the OP or her husband, and one of them could end up dead too. I've never actually heard of someone being murdered for intervening in an abusive relationship, but I've heard of assault. It's pretty uncommon relative to the proportion of women beaten in relationships.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>queenjane</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/12374511"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">If she goes to their parenting classes, shows a sincere desire to parent her child, have a place to live etc...she will in all likelihood get her kid back (again, in my experience)</div>
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Maybe it's a regional thing, but this has not been my experience at all, especially not with young babies. Doing everything you've been asked to do does not translate into getting custody -- and the people I know who permanently lost their children this way had far smaller things for CPS to hold against them.<br><br>
Abandoning her and her baby to CPS is unconscionable. If her daughter is taken from her and adopted away, she's going to have no reason at all to turn her life around, and (IME) will be more likely to seek out abusive situations to further punish herself.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Jessy1019</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/12375018"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Maybe it's a regional thing, but this has not been my experience at all, especially not with young babies. Doing everything you've been asked to do does not translate into getting custody -- and the people I know who permanently lost their children this way had far smaller things for CPS to hold against them.<br><br>
Abandoning her and her baby to CPS is unconscionable. If her daughter is taken from her and adopted away, she's going to have no reason at all to turn her life around, and (IME) will be more likely to seek out abusive situations to further punish herself.</div>
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I dont want to derail the thread by getting into a debate w/ you about CPS. Obviously, you have personal experiences that have colored your view, as have I. You also have political views about adoption that greatly influence how you feel about CPS.<br><br>
To tell the OP that it is "unconscionable" for her to "abandon her and her baby to cps"....it is NOT the OPs fault that her friend stayed with an abuser (well after she had proof that he was a crappy parent, and before she chose to have a baby w/ this man), and it is NOT the OPs fault that her friend lost her child because she was not keeping her baby safe. I'm disinclined to view the friend as a victim, or at least not as much of a victim as her daughter is. Ideally, the parent will be the one to protect their child. In this case, since she was either unwilling or unable to do so, thank goodness there is a safe place for her baby.<br><br>
The mother has been hitting the baby, and yelling at her, according to the OP. Thats not good. Now is the time, if this woman truly wants to parent her child, to stop being a victim (she apparently has left the home of the abuser...which is a good start!), learn some better parenting skills, and do the work necessary to get the child back.<br><br><br><br>
Katherine
 

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Allowing CPS into a family's life is not abandonment. As it is a public service provided by taxpayers money and run to the standards laid down by government, it is the means by which society offers social support. I don't agree with some of the ideas over there, and I do think the US as a whole is too quick to remove children, but <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/shrug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="shrug">: Not my back yard.<br>
OP, I kept thinking. It's probably going to be really hard for her to be around you at the moment, because you have kids the same age but hers is in care and yours isn't. I honestly don't know what to suggest.
 

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I feel bad for admitting this but our policy is if CPS gets involved with someone's family (not for something that wasn't their fault, like a relative calling CPS bc they were co-sleeping or homeschooling) then we don't hang out with them anymore. My husband has some cousins with kids the same age as ours but we don't see them because CPS is a constant visitor. Before we had kids it was fine, but now, it's too much of a risk. (YYMV as CPS seems to be different in various places.)
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>jeca</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/12374111"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Can you tell me how she would be putting her own kids at risk? Not being snarky just wanting to know how.</div>
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-Getting involved with somebody that has a lot of emotional baggage can expose the kids to things that they shouldn't have to hear or deal with. I know that the friend is in a bad situation but how can you help her without taking time away from your own children? Is there somebody that the kids can be left with while she is helping her friend? If not, are the kids going to be going with her when she takes her friend to get help? I am sorry but I do not want my kids around that.<br>
-It coul backfire and CPS could come knocking on your door.<br>
-Since the friend has been abused, would she be able to refrain from talking about certain things in front of the kids? My sister never used good judgement and would talk about stuff that should never be talked about around kids.<br>
-Also, helping somebody takes a lot of emotional energy that can have an indirect impact on your kids.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
I've decided to trust the people around her- her brother and his wife and her parents (her sil's folks) to help her. I know they can do everything that I could.<br><br>
The boyfreind of this woman has threatened my husband before, and knows where we live. He also knows that I am home alone auring the week. The woman also knows where I live and I worry that if I stick my neck out there to help her she may want me to become a crutch for her, helping her far more that I am able to. I can't fix her life, as much as I would like to. I know the foster Mother who's got her child, and I've put my two cents in with her, and I know the SIL's mother knows where to go to get counceling, etc.<br><br>
I don't feel that I am abandoning her, I have realized my wanting to help her however well intentioned could easily turn into meddling where I don't belong. More than anything, it would be unconscionable for me to put myself and my family in a potentially dangerous and explosive situation. I'll say prayers for them all.<br><br>
Crystal
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>sea_joy</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/12393078"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I've decided to trust the people around her- her brother and his wife and her parents (her sil's folks) to help her. I know they can do everything that I could.</div>
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This sounds well reasoned. Seems you are making a smart choice.<br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">The boyfreind of this woman has threatened my husband before, and knows where we live. He also knows that I am home alone auring the week.</td>
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I think you are right to be protective of your family's safety.<br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">The woman also knows where I live and I worry that if I stick my neck out there to help her she may want me to become a crutch for her, helping her far more that I am able to.</td>
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Having had this happen to me personally in a way that was not in the end helpful for anybody, I think you are smart to know this in advance and choose something else for yourself. In the end, that will probably be better for your friend too. There are definitely plenty of social services and agencieis out there, and it sounds like she has good family support. Hopefully CPS's involvement will be a catalyst for her now taking action.<br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">I can't fix her life, as much as I would like to.</td>
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It is so good that you are grounded about this. It can be so easy to get wrapped up emotionally to the point you can't see this clearly. Good for you!<br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">I don't feel that I am abandoning her</td>
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Indeed. You aren't. Not certainly the baby...afterall, you already have a personal relationship with the foster mother. And not the mother either, who has family support and access to support agencies. Every single city I have ever lived in has had an organization that serves women who are leaving abusive relationships. Often these are just absolutely *incredible* organizations that do tremendous work and are such great resources for women in exactly your friend's shoes. Her becoming involved with such an organization would far surpass her friend trying to become her "case manager."<br><br>
You are wise.<br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">More than anything, it would be unconscionable for me to put myself and my family in a potentially dangerous and explosive situation.</td>
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Indeed, as what is needed is already being provided, there is no reason to take a risk like that.<br><br>
Finally, I'd like to say thank you so much to Katherine for your posts in this thread. I find this pretty accurate, and the second to last sentence soooo sad, but evidence nonetheless of where this would head if you became involved (likely nowhere other than where it is going to head in any case):<br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">Speaking from personal experience (from my brief stint living w/ an abusive alcoholic), nothing you say will make a difference to her. She *knows* what kind of man he is, knows what the right thing to do is. She even knew, before they had a kid, what kind of father he was! I wouldnt bring that kind of drama into my life, personally.</td>
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In regards to foster care and CPS, I too do not want to derail this thread. But I too can offer some reassurance that it is unfair for someone to accuse you of "abandoning your friend and her baby" to the system. Not only am I a foster mom, but I have a very close friend who grew up in foster care as well as a personal (not online) relationship with multiple moms who have had children in foster care.<br><br>
I too have found that although the system is flawed and there are certainly poorly handled cases, in most areas of the U.S., parents are given every possible opportunity to reunify with their families. The statistics from the county I am from are something like (sorry, this is from memory...don't have the exact number on hand) 93% or 96% of children who go into foster care return home. Many return within 3 months, and a fair percentage within 6 months.<br><br>
The cases I have seen where this didn't happen (cases I have seen and been involved in very personally, including having close relationships with birthfamilies...I am not talking about people I've made friends with online), the kids didn't go home for legitimate safety reasons.<br><br>
Almost all return home within one year, and when the system is doing it's job, they return to safer homes than the ones they left. It is not okay that your friend was yelling at and hitting this little baby. And until the father is either out of the picture or recovered himself, this baby would be in danger at home.<br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">I dont want to derail the thread by getting into a debate w/ you about CPS. Obviously, you have personal experiences that have colored your view, as have I. You also have political views about adoption that greatly influence how you feel about CPS.</td>
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Yes.<br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">Ideally, the parent will be the one to protect their child. In this case, since she was either unwilling or unable to do so, thank goodness there is a safe place for her baby.</td>
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Yes. And it sounds like this may be the impetus that was needed all along for the mom to protect *herself* too.<br><br>
As someone said, domestic violence kills. It can kill women and babies. We already know this man isn't afraid to cross the line with children.<br><br><div style="margin:20px;margin-top:5px;">
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<table border="0" cellpadding="6" cellspacing="0" width="99%"><tr><td class="alt2" style="border:1px inset;">Now is the time, if this woman truly wants to parent her child, to stop being a victim (she apparently has left the home of the abuser...which is a good start!), learn some better parenting skills, and do the work necessary to get the child back.</td>
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It happens every single day all over the country. I know because I have spent more days in family court and seen more cases run through the system than I can count. Sitting in court, you see a lot more people come through who are involved in a lot more cases than just the one you are involved in. I've seen a number of parents do what Katherine is describing in this statement, and she is exactly right. Now is the time for this woman, if she truly wants to parent her child, to do the work necessary.<br><br>
In my view, it is unconscionable to disempower and dehumanize this woman by presuming she is helpless. OP, you've shared with us that this woman is surrounded by support. I will be praying right along with you that she now reaches out and does what needs to be done.
 

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OP, have you read The Gift of Fear or Protecting the Gift? Both are amazing books about trusting your instinct to keep you and your family safe. If you feel threatened by him, then you need to stay away. You have to protect your family.
 
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