I haven’t written publicly about it before now – but feel that this is the time.
It’s a complicated and heart wrenching story.
It’s a story about anger and jealousy. Of power and control.
It’s a story of an unconscionable state of being within family law court.
It began by me saying yes – yes to a man that I hardly knew, who swept me off my feet during a time when I was vulnerable and hurting. He swooped in and loved me like I had never felt before. Within a few years, we had 3 children together. The love and attention gradually shifted to anger and violence. I can’t begin to explain the darkness that engulfed our family. I was filled with confusion, I had become completely dependent, and couldn’t see a solution.
Finally in desperation, I made my break with the 3 kids, and began to put myself back together again. The separation was amicable at first – but when I began a new relationship, which led to becoming pregnant with my beautiful daughter Zara, the world and universe for our family shattered.
I can’t tell you what that time was like – when it all broke – it was a darkness that I could never have imagined. My precious 7 year old talked about suicide, followed by his older brother. I watched the light in their eyes dim more each day.
The day I received the court order demanding my appearance before a judge, I was sitting on my couch breastfeeding my new baby. A large man, with a very visible gun on the side of his body and bullet proof vest opened the door to my house and walked in uninvited. I couldn’t move. I just sat there in shock. What was he going to do to me and my baby? He smiled brightly and asked me if I was Linda Hamilton. Yes, I told him. He proceeded to sit down next to me and mentioned how cute my baby was. Feelings from my childhood when I would be randomly sexually assaulted by big smiling men came rushing back…the fear literally paralyzed me. He then proceeded to “serve me” with the legal documents – which began a 3 and a half year battle that was bloody and horrific.
I realized at one point that nobody was ever going to “win”. The case would go on and on. I spent as much time as I could researching, talking to others that were or had been in a similar situation. I met with, retained, fired many lawyers throughout the process. I sat before “judges” that blatantly lied to me. It was a fucking circus of an unimaginable kind. Every “mediation” – every “hearing” was a harvesting of life force. As the blood in a battle would pour like a river – this is how I felt every time – every day. For over 3 years. There was no energy to do anything else. Forget cleaning the house. Forget trying to make money to pay for that house. It consumed us all. The tear stained faces of my beautiful children kept me alive to keep fighting. “We want to be with you” they would say – please tell the judge that. “Can I talk to the judge and tell him?” my daughter once asked me. When I asked Judge Placey of Cumberland County, Pennsylvania if he would hear what my 12 year old daughter wanted to tell him, he told me very pointedly that he didn’t care. As he looked me in the eyes saying “I DON’T CARE” – I felt the callous, dark force emanating from him. “This is the man that holds my childrens lives in his hands”. It all collapsed then. I remember leaving the court room knowing that I couldn’t be a part of any of it anymore.
I called my ex husband on the phone to ask one more time if there was another way we could sort this out. It turned into one of the worst fights ever and it was then that I knew that I had very limited options. And I had come to such a desperate place in my own life and in my own health that I made what has become the hardest decision of my life.
I walked away. I surrendered. I knew that as long as I continued in the circus, the blood would continue to pour out of all of us.
I made a decision based on my survival and the survival of my baby. I moved far away. Came back to my home in Costa Rica, leaving my 3 kids with their father in a system that we had left long before they were born.
I remember seeing a war movie once where a refugee woman who had 3 children could only take one with her. Oh how that scene destroyed me. I cried like a baby watching it. “There can be nothing worse than being forced to make a decision like that” I thought. And here I was, in that same position.
It changed who I am. It forced me to see further behind the veil of what is happening in our world today. Soul shattering. Devastating. I haven’t seen my 3 kids for years now.
Mutual manipulation by a vindictive man who is coddled by a deeply emotionally disturbed, yet successful lawyer, all playing together in a self created illusion of power and control within a soul harvesting legal system prevails.
Further manipulation of the system, demanding an amount of child support from me that is impossible to pay – has led to a current warrant for my arrest. If I return to the states to visit my kids, it would be a visit in prison, leaving my other daughter Zara without her mom either.
No “good” choices to be made here.
So I share my story with you – I’m not even sure why – as there will be no resolution in it. Now that I’m finished with it, I don’t feel healed – I don’t feel “better” – if anything, I’m crying again. Like I have so many times before. And I don’t have an answer. At all.
I do invite you to share the experience with me and my children, and within that invitation, ask you to join me in having hope. Hope that things are changing – that a better way will emerge because we want it to. Because it needs to. For the kids. Not only are they the future – but just simply because they deserve better. We all do.