Attempting to change custody is a serious matter, one my husband would never try to take unless it was for serious circumstances. For him, the neglect, and physical and sexual abuse of his children is one of the worst. But that is what we’re facing. This holiday season, when we should have just been able to focus on a Christmas morning full of joy for its own sake, his (ours) was spoiled trying to have a semblance of normalcy after just discovering what my stepson and -daughter have been going through.
On Christmas Eve, three days into their visit, a disturbing event caused my husband to seek help from a counselor for my step-children, and there he learned that his children were being routinely abused physically, and his daughter sexually, by their older half-brother and -sister, 13 and 12, at their home out-of-state. His son and daughter, 8 and 9, told the counselor about instances from at least the past year in great detail. He’s heard what has been happening, and assures me I wouldn’t what to know it all. But it’s gone on due to the two half-siblings being left to babysit unsupervised. It was enough that the counselor advised that they shouldn’t return to the home, and that he needed to contact an attorney, law enforcement and social services. Since then, he has followed that advice, contacting as many agencies as he can, considering this all came to light between Christmas and New Year’s Day.
In the past week, we’ve contacted police, filed a report with the Child Abuse Hotline in their home state, and are now scraping everything together for the attorney filing an Emergency Custody petition in Tennessee. And that’s what brought me here. The retainer for the attorney is $5,000; we’re reaching out to family, friends and even looking to borrow. My husband doesn’t want to act maliciously, nor rock the boat unnecessarily, over seven years he’s just been grateful for every moment he’s had with them; and for him, this isn’t about the mother, we just want to protect these kids. He asked his kids what they wanted him to do, and his daughter said “help us”, and that’s what we intend to do. Since they’ve been here, they’ve opened up more and more, and are able to just be kids. I’m asking for help so we can keep them here and help them feel safe.
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