Monday, February 21, 2005

A Clear Case of Counterfeit

The opposition is getting desperate, I can tell. Not smart, and certainly not wise, but desperate in a sadly amusing way. This woman who claims to want nothing more than to regain custody of her son goes about it in some bizarre ways. For instance, she signed over physical custody of the boy when he was 2 1/2. Taking care of toddlers is hard, after all. She tried to sign over all custody in exchange for not having to pay child support, but the state of Hawaii requires support even if there's no parental contact, so that went out the window. For $90 a month, she gets to do basically anything she wants with the kid on his break time and retains the privilege of turning him back over to someone else when it's time to do the work. I may have mentioned this before; what a sweet deal.

But something or someone whispered to her what a lousy excuse for a mother she was, and if she was to be worth something as a woman, she must regain her child or die in the process. I think it was her mom. Anyway, soon after the divorce, she started throwing these histrionic scenes, going on about how she's been wronged, cheated, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera, and how she will fight to get her child back. She points to her current big dumb boyfriend and says, "And BDB's promised to marry me so that I can get custody," cause we all know that married people are more likely to be given custody of children in court... (If they haven't just willingly signed it over to someone else, you stupid bimbo.)

Well, she quit her job at the sex shop, moved across the country, and eventually, yes, did marry BDB, who was a soldier and consequently, of course, a highly reputable and upstanding citizen. ("No good! I've known too many soldiers!") This was, however, after my husband had married me, a senior civil servant with a good salary and better benefits, not to mention a college degree. Even better, our marriage wasn't based on selfishness and greed, so we stayed together quite happily while she fumed and fretted and cheated on BDB (now BDH) whenever his back was turned. Still, she swore to wrest away control. (#1 Son, age 4, hangs up the phone, crying, "Mommy says she's going to fight Daddy!" What a loving mother.)

I don't know whether divorcing BDH was part of her plan, but she used it anyway, wailing at her boy, "I'll never get married again! Men don't like me!" A few months later, my husband asks her permission to move, she refuses, sending the matter to court. Suddenly, she's engaged again. This time, she thinks she's got the profile pegged. I'm older and have a college degree; to counter, she'll marry someone who's 20 years her senior as well as college-educated. And who could ask for a more respectable profession than police detective? Granted, a gullible one. And we won't go into what Dave Barry says about cops (and teachers). This time, she thinks she's done it. She's gonna win. She totally ignores the fact that her new husband's son is a child molester and has repeatedly assaulted her son in their home. In fact, she really doesn't see the big deal, but her lawyer's smart enough to downplay it in court.

I won't repeat the story of our court date last week. As of today, we're still waiting for the judge to decide our fate. Everyone's. 'Cause it's not just a matter of where one 10-year-old boy lives, although that's important. It's a matter of whether our family has a member amputated--whether our younger boys cry for their brother for the next couple of years and wonder when it will be their turn to be sent away, whether it was their fault, or his fault, and what on earth could be worth doing this to our family. This decision will determine how our son's life turns out, whether he learns to value hard work, responsibility, and honesty or flighty self-indulgence and deceit. There's more to it than that of course, including whether we go merely broke or full-blown bankrupt, but those things aren't as important.

So, as I was saying, the opposition is trying a new and even more desperate strategy. This evening, #1 Son came back from his weekend with "Mommy," commenting that his day couldn't get any worse, meaning that he'd spent half the day in an SUV stuck in traffic. He got home late but basically unscathed, which is a blessing.

Then he mentioned that three girls are going to be living with "Mommy" for a few years. (I'll believe that when I see it; she doesn't stick with anybody that long.) When pressed for details, he said he didn't quite understand it, but "Mommy" had said something about "Foster." (Hmmm.) Foster-parenting three girls? Yeah, he said, that sounded about right. For a long time, like several years? Again, the affirmative. He couldn't provide any other details, like why on earth a commitment-phobic, um, person like her would take on no less than three foster children (or what kind of lunatic would give them to her). I nudged my husband. "Money." He looked confused. "They pay foster parents, didn't you know?" The light dawned. "So that's why there are so many kids found starving in basements!" Yep. It's all about the Benjamins, baby.

But in this case, there's more. "Mommy" hasn't been willing to have any other children biologically ('cause this whole custody thing is such a pain, and who needs more of it?), but she sees that having younger siblings is something our boy really values. In fact, it was a major reason for the evaluator's recommendation to have Son1 stay with our family. That is, we are a family. He has a strong bond with his brothers and it would injure him to have it broken. "Mommy" considers that, dismisses the ridiculous idea of actually leaving him with our family, and comes up with her own clever counterfeit: A call to Social Services, and voila! Instant family, with her instead of us. What more could the boy want?

It's really sad that she thinks a cheap imitation should be as good as the real thing. Worse, that she's using innocent human beings for her pawns. But it's even sadder to think that a court of law might take her side anyway.


Jessica said...

Scone - I cringed as I read this post. You are 100% right when you say, "but it's even sadder to think that a court of law might agree."

In my first marriage, my (then) husband and I were awarded custody of his 4 year old son. That occurred without the mother willingly giving the child up and in small town Arkansas - not an easy feat. Sometimes, the judicial system really does do the right thing.

I will be thinking of you and your family as you await the court's decision.

Scone said...

Thanks, Jessica. It helps to hear from others who've been through this kind of thing. I really want to have faith in the judge, but I had faith in the evaluator, and he didn't even manage to get the basics right. I'm hoping that with enough time to reflect and study the evidence, the judge will be able to figure out the truth-- and what's best for our boy.