The last ten months of hell
So I wrote a "little" back story in my previous post, if your interested in the full story.
In January of 2022 my DH and I got temporary full custody of my SD 10. BM has unaddressed mental illness issues and substance abuse issues. There is also some emotional abuse, codependency (her kids were raised to be HER emotional support), domestic violence, erratic behavior, unsafe situations and unhealthy relationship dynamics issues and parental alienation.
BM is entitled to 6 hour visits on the first, second and forth weekend of every month per our court order. Leaving the third weekend and any months that have a fifth weekend for us. In January, the day that the judge was to make a decision, BM sent SD out of state with her oldest sons paternal grandparents. Luckily for us the grandparents were super cooperative. My DH didn't feel the need to disrupt their trip and just asked that SD be returned to him when they come back in town. It was at this exchange that we brought up the idea of them being the supervisors for BM and SDs visits, being as SD was comfortable with them and we trusted them to have integrity and hold BM accountable for following the rules. This arrangement was meant to be temporary because the judge had given BM the opportunity to no longer need a supervisor. All she needed to do was submit to a mental health and substance abuse evaluations, provide documents regarding her mental health and drinking over the last year to the evaluator, and obtain documents proving that she either did not have any recommendations for treatment or that she was following the recommendations for treatment, and send all of it to my DHs attorney.
We did these visits at the grandparents house, we would drop SD off in the morning and come pick her up in the afternoon when the visit was over. BM was almost always over an hour late, and would leave an hour to 2 hours early. So out of a 6 hour visit she was only there for about 3. *as a mom I don't understand this at all. If i was only allowed access to my child for 2, 6 hour visits a week, I would be arriving early every single time with the hopes of getting even 5 extra minutes with my child* During the time that BM was withholding SD she got back into a relationship with the previous boyfriend whom she had claimed was abusive, and had hidden cameras in their apartment when she kicked him out. He was also present for visits even after SD said she just wanted time with her mom and brothers.
At the end of February, the grandparents let us know that they would be unavailable to do visits during the month of march. BM had asked DH if her boyfriend (the one who supposedly hid cameras and was trying to kidnap their son and was abusive) could be the supervisor. Of course DH said absolutely not. instead of trying to find another supervisor, she just argued. We ended up setting up a visit at the end of March because the grandparents had not gone out of town like they had planned, Which BM knew, and still chose not to attempt visits during this time. Something seemed off when BM and her boyfriend arrived at the park, without their son. BM also appeared to be hungover and was just overall kind of rough looking. We set up a visit for the following day, at the grandparents house like we had been doing before. The visit ended up being canceled because one of the kids was sick. oh and BM only stayed at this visit for a little more than an hour.
About a week or so later I found out why things had seemed off at the previous visit. BM had just gotten out of jail the day before. She had been arrested for passing out, drunk, in her car, parked at a gas station, with open containers all over the car, WITH HER FOUR YEAR OLD IN THE BACK SEAT! and a few days after that visit, he boyfriend had been arrested on a domestic assault charge, involving her, which their son was also present for. Both of her other kids had been removed from her care by CPS at this point and placed with family members. BM of course says it was all her boyfriends fault.
We arranged it so that SD could go to the grandparents house and participate in the visits with her brothers on the weekend. Which were supervised by a CPS appointed supervising agency. This only happened for a few weeks before BM moved the boys visits to during the week. She has since gotten a new boyfriend, a neighbor at the new apartments she moved into with previous boyfriend. My DH has bent over backwards, to make visits happen for SD. To the extent that he would find a third party to go with us to meet BM in a public place. Non of our friends or family are comfortable being alone with BM because of the wild accusations she throws out. BM has taken complete advantage of this. Not even attempting to find a supervisor still, asking if her new boyfriend can do it (HA NO) SD doesn't even know this man. She waits until the day of her parenting time, hours after the visit is supposed to start, to try and arrange a visit, expecting us to run off of her time and where she wants to go. Giving no regard to SDs feelings of comfort or security, and never even coming close to using the amount of time she has available. She tries to use the court order to get her way, saying that per the court order she gets 6 hours. The court order says she gets from a specific time to a specific time. Also trying to use those time frames for weekends that are not hers, and she never tries to arrange makeup visits before hand, its always last minute and she doesn't ask. Telling DH that he will drop SD off at her new boyfriends moms house, where her boyfriend will supervise, for a family BBQ. A house SD has never been to, with a boyfriend she doesn't know, and a party full of people she has never met before.
In the last couple months she has primarily asked for us to bring SD to the visits that she has with her sons during the week. once asking for a visit on her weekend but outside of her given time frames, DH agreed anyway but BM only stayed long enough to lecture SD about her hair and use her as the middle man to try and set up a visit during the week, which she had already been told several times isn't an option. This is outside of her parenting time, and disrupts our entire nightly routine, which SD didn't have any of before so we have been trying so hard to get them in place for her now. We do take SD to those visits with her brothers when we are able to, which is about once every other month. The issue is mostly that those visits start at 5p and go until 7p, SD doesn't get off her bus until 4:30-4:45 and we live at least 30 minutes away from where these visits are held, also DH doesn't get off of work until after 5p most of the time. then at 7, we would have t drive the 30+ minutes home, do dinner, and showers and bed time routine. BM is supposed to provide dinner for the kids during these visits (per CPS) but she only ever brings Gas station hot dogs or little Caesars pizza. During these visits BM doesn't engage or interact with the kids much. SD spends more time with her little brother, helping him on the playground or when he falls instead of BM.
The visitation schedule that was implemented in the court order was specifically tailored by the judge to fit both BM and DHs work schedules, and SDs school routines. Bm could get extra time with SD during the week if she had done what she needed to with the evaluations. Ten months later and she still hasn't done them. I think that BM is trying to get all the visits with all of her kids at the same times on the same days during the week so she doesn't have to sacrifice so much of her time for her kids. She has a running theme that everything and everyone should be functioning based on what is most convenient for her. She expects all of the people who are currently caring for her children to bend over backwards for her. It has to be done on her time, where she wants it, with the exceptions she wants made, her way. Shes grasping at strings of control she no longer has. She has also taken to demanding things from us. Like texting DH that her mom was in town and would be picking SD up the following day for a makeup visit... on DHs time. Which he agreed to only because he knows that relationship with gma is important to SD... but we're "detrimental to SDs mental and emotional wellbeing because we aren't maintaining any of her relationships" Or texting DH in the middle of us trick or treating demanding that we have SD call her and that I send her pictures of SD in her costume. Which i did, and didn't even get a response.
BMs mother has also posed as a huge problem in this whole process. She lives out of state, 8 ish hours away. but she is BMs biggest enabler. In may she contacted us wanting to talk to SD because BM "had to have emergency surgery and Im sure SD is worried and wondering how she is doing"... SD didn't know anything about mom being sick or needing surgery. So I inquired about needing more information so that DH and I knew how to best support SD in this situation. Being as it would likely cause her distress to be worried about mom and trying to just come up with a game plan on who should tell SD, when should SD be told, Maybe we should wait until BM isn't in so much pain (the whole reason her mom was contacting us instead of her supposedly) before we tell her. BMs mother was just combative, asking why we should be the ones to tell SD and that BM is perfectly capable of handling these situations appropriately, that she had seen her do it in the past, asking if we didn't trust BM. OF COURSE WE DON'T TRUST HER!! a few days later we found out the the "emergency surgery" that BM had and was in so much pain from after 4 days was a nasal reconstruction, from a physical altercation a year previous where her nose was broken and it was causing chronic sinus infections... She had a medical nose job.
Bms mother has sent numerous text message to both DH and I telling how we are being detrimental to SDs mental and emotional wellbeing by not maintaining all of the relationships with her grandparents, aunts, uncles, siblings, and whoever else. Mind you, we let BMs mom take her whenever shes in town, we let her go stay the night at her brothers paternal grandparents house whenever she asks (which is where older brother is currently living), She has seen BMs dad a few times also, which is a relationship that BM had destroyed because her dad wouldn't give her money and enable her anymore. SD has her own phone that she can use to talk to any of her family that she wants to, we put all the relatives numbers that we have into her contacts. Bms mom thinks that we should be forcing SD to talk to her mom everyday, and we should be making exceptions for BM to see SD and we should even open up our home to BM so she can come see SD whenever she wants. In my mind, there is a big difference between enchouraging SD to respond to her gma and BM when they text her, and forcing her to talk to people that have done nothing but lie to her and put her in unhealthy and unsafe situations. This is the tiny bit of control that SD gets in this situation. Her whole life was uprooted, even before we got custody, she had lost her home, moved to an aunts, who kicked them out in the middle of the night while it was snowing because of BM, then went to stay with grandparents, then got told that she had to go live with her dad whom mom had been telling her was trying to kidnap her and take her away forever.
Since living with us SD has told us A LOT about what went on when she lived with her BM. Things like BM used to drive around with the kids while she was drunk, She used to leave SD and her older brother at home alone for hours to take care of their little 3-4 yr old brother. She had seen BM preforming sexual acts on her boyfriend which prompted SD and her step brother at the time to reenact it with each other (they were 5 and 6yrs old). We've heard stories of physical altercations between BM and her boyfriends where they would throw things at each other, SD even getting hit with things in the crossfire. Stories about how BM would tell SD and her brother to lie to any CPS workers about her drug use, and what the situation at home was because CPS will just take them away. Telling them not to trust their teachers with anything because they will just call CPS. SD hasn't been allowed to have her own feelings, anytime shes upset or angry with BM and tells her so she is met with "Why?, why are you mad at mommy, you shouldn't be mad at mommy, its not mommy fault, please don't be mad at mommy" She has been conditioned to be more worried about BMs feelings than her own. DH and I have worked hard to get her more comfortable with her feelings. After getting in trouble we will ask her if she mad at us, when we first got custody she would say no or a little. Now though she will straight up look at us and be like "yup, Im mad that you yelled at me" we tell her that okay, she can be mad, were the adults, we can take it, and that if she stays mad for more then a little while that we can talk about it. We say the same things in regards to BM, that its okay to be mad at her, that mom is the adult, but we encourage her to not get stuck in being mad at mom, and that at some point she should talk to mom about these things. We've talked to her a lot about doing therapy with BM to try and build a healthier relationship with mom. Shes scared though, she doesn't want to hurt her mom and BM hasn't even tried to get into any sessions even though she was seeing a therapist at the same office for a little while.
I think the hardest part of all of this is that because the CPS case is in a different state, non of those resources are available to us or SD. We don't get a supervisor who will transport SD to visits, we have to do it. We don't have a "team" of case workers, social workers, attorneys and advocates. It is literally just DH, me, SD's therapist and our attorney, whom I fear will pull out of the case before we go to trial because we cant afford to pay him and we are still paying cash medical assistance for SD to be on BMs medical insurance, even though BMs insurance had lapsed before we got custody so we had to put SD on ours. I ask myself everyday if we did the right thing for SD or if we're just giving her more issues shes going to have to deal with later. How are we supposed to help a kid that has been stuck in chaos, trauma and unhealthy situations her whole life, but we cant prove it? The anxiety that BM could talk her way out of all of this, make excuses for not doing what she was supposed to, and flip it to make it seem like DH has been withholding is almost unbearable.
If you made it this far, thanks for reading. I know its SO much information, I just needed to get it out.