Today, I am going to share a story with you which has been shared with me, almost verbatim on two separate occasions. I have court watched similar cases on several occasions and sadly they do not always have happy endings. They do not have happy endings as oft times the courts are looking for a reason, any reason to give the child to Child Protective Services where they can and will be sold to foster homes or other options solely intended to generate income, oft times this is Federal funding through the governments, Social Security Act, Title iv-e program and these dollars go to the state, their agencies and of course the foster care home.
Quickly… as a matter of record, for the most part, I have little to no respect for Child Protective Services or the Foster care system and I will be writing about that in great detail in the near future but now back to this most important article which you did not hear or read about in the news…
Several years ago in a divorce and custody proceeding in a county near me here in Sacramento, California. A husband and wife were fighting over custody of their then 3-year-old child. Both parents were addicted to Meth and in very bad shape, the judge had no option and I would agree, the child, in this case, needed to be put in protective custody. This order was issued and agreed upon under the stipulation that when the parents were clean and sober, off of the drugs, they could then petition the court and it would consider parenting plans.
The father could not bear life without his child, he immediately quit meth and became clean and sober. Test after test revealed the same, dad was clean and sober but unfortunately, the mother was unable to quit her drug habit and it was apparent to all without even testing her, that she was still at least using meth.
In that the father had proven he was clean and sober, working and had a stable environment he petitioned the court and was granted full custody of his then 4-year-old child. The child was, of course, happy to be back with his father who showered his son with unconditional love.
However, even though the mother was not clean and was still addicted to meth, the court allowed her, at the continued behest of her attorney, supervised parenting time of several hours every Sunday. Again, I concur, this was a fair ruling with the hope that the mother would see the error of her ways, quit drugs and work towards a shared parenting plan with the father.
Unfortunately, after several months of supervised parenting, the mother was still unable to and/or unwilling to quit using drugs. However, the mother did have an attorney and the attorney did successfully petition the court to allow the mother the ability to have overnight parenting time with her child.
On the very first overnight, the now 5-year-old boy woke up from his sleep on his mother’s family sofa. He was scared and did not know where his father was, he opened the front door and took his blanket and went walking down the street in the dark searching for his father. Soon another mother, on her way to work saw the young boy walking down the street. She stopped and asked the boy where he was going and he replied, “I am looking for my daddy”. The police were called, quickly arrived, put the boy in the front seat to warm him up and began asking the boy where he lived, why he was outside and where he was going. He was adamant that he wanted his daddy, he did know his father’s address and the police drove him the few short blocks away to his father’s home.
Upon arrival, of course, the father was chastised by the police for allowing his young son the ability to get out of his house and walk the streets at night. The father explained the entire story and how this was the first night that his son had not slept in his own bed at his own home in almost 2 years as in fact, his ex-wife had just been granted her first overnight parenting time. The father then, with the police present called his ex-wife, it was approximately 6:00 am by this time. The father asked his ex if their child was OK and she stated, “Yes, of course, he is sound asleep on the sofa,” the father asked that she double check to be absolutely certain. Upon double checking, she found that the child was indeed missing and began screaming in terror. The father stated that he, in fact, had their child at his home where she then accused him of abducting their child and stated that she was going to have him arrested. He then followed up with the fact that they were on the speakerphone and the police had brought their son to his home after he was found wandering the streets by a stranger in the dark.
The last I had heard of this case the father still had full custody, the mother was still addicted to drugs and she and her attorney were still petitioning the court for custody.
My personal message to the mother… “This is your brain on drugs”