I'm not very outgoing and I never like the vulnerable feeling of asking for help. I spent 3 years in an extremely abusive relationship and marriage. The only good things to come from that are the three kids that I got to meet and fall in love with and my soon to be 10-year old daughter.
I spent almost a year with the kids on my own before Social Services decided that they had had enough time away from their mom (which really just means they wanted to close the case and walk away). I have dealt with discrimination from day one (it took nearly ten police visits for them to finally realise that I was always the one with bruises, scratches, etc. and do anything about it). I've also had to deal with the complete failure of Social Services in three Colorado counties to actually protect children who are saying there is abuse happening.
Last year, the second-oldest child was removed from the home and was sent to live with my parents here in California. Based on some of the experiences that she shared, we knew we had to act quickly and we finally felt we had an chance to get my daughter safe. We filed for custody in the fall of 2018.
We paid for a Child and Family Investigator to assess the situations in both homes; ours and the children's, who had been bouncing around from place to place for over a year at that point; living in a camper and in Airbnb's. They determined after interviewing all the children and involved parties that there was a significant amount of physical, emotional and mental abuse taking place.
After the report was submitted, we filed for emergency custody and the court granted it based on the kids' claims of continued and consistent patterns of abuse. Thankfully, that was upheld a month later.
Their mother continues to fight everything with as much misinformation and chaos as she can possibly cause. So far, it has cost us nearly $30k in legal fees and we are running out of resources. There is a final hearing this February that should make all of this permanent, but the attorney is expecting a two-day trial and we know it will not be cheap. It has been an extremely frustrating journey through a legal system which favours mothers and requires an absurd amount of money in order to protect a child that should have been protected years ago.
This amazing girl is a huge part of our world and our hearts and we will do anything to keep her here and keep her happy and safe. Now we are at a point where what we have to do is ask for help. Any amount that we raise above legal fees will be split between charities that help provide legal assistance for parents in similar situations and charities that help children recover and heal from abuse.
Thank you for taking the time to read this and we appreciate any assistance.